28 June 2011

Casting the Circle

A circle is the boundary within which the Wytch works. The four positions on the rim of the circle represent the cardinal direction and their corresponding elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Thus, a circle contains within itself a square, as well as a point above and a point below, for the “circle” is, in fact, visualised as a sphere. This is the moveable temple of a Wytch, one which can be set up anywhere simply by “casting the circle”.

At the end of the ritual the temple is as easily dissembled as it was assembled, and the area it occupied ceased to be a sacred space. The important point about creating a sacred circle is that it is created with the mind, using visualisation.


If Wytches merely go through the physical motion of setting the circle without visualising its existence and making a link to the subtle energies, the result will be a possibly dramatic and colourful psychodrama but it will be devoid of magick. It will be entertaining, pleasurable, but otiose. The purpose of the ritual is to “connect” the members of the circle to the Universal consciousness via the subconscious mind, and if a ritual is performed correctly, the circle contains magickal powers, and is sometimes referred to as a “cone of power”.

Using either a sword or the athame, the Wytch cuts the boundary of the circle (“rents the veil”), or sphere, separating the sacred from the secular, and circumambulates in the direction of the Sun (deosil) while all envisage a blue-white light of energy gradually forming a sphere of protection. The HPs then expands her etheric body to the circle boundary forming the true circle in three dimensions. In this way the circle becomes a “meeting place between the worlds of men and the realms of the Mighty Ones”. Once the circle is ready, no one moves outside its boundary until the ritual is completed.

Rituals can be subdivided into: celebratory rites, including the Wheel of the Year; life passage rites, including handfastings; initiation rites; and rituals of “workings”.

Source: “Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia” by Lynne Hume (Melbourne University Press)

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