A very wise teacher once told me, “First you learn every magical tool’s use, placement, and energy. You learn where to stand and what to say and how to move. You learn which herbs and oils and candles go with which spells. But ultimately, you learn that you never needed any of that.”
It’s like with writing. When you are first learning what letters make what sounds, you are not trying to describe the perfect sunset. When you are first learning how to put together a sentence, you are not composing epic poetry. At the beginning, you learn the basics. Master those basics, and you can soar.
The magic is you!
The truth of what natural magic is and how it works is very simple. Like attracts like. You attract what you are. So in order to have what you do not have, you must become the version of you who has it. You must become the version of yourself who has already achieved the magical goal, whatever it is. And here’s an even deeper secret. Every experienced magical practitioner knows that the goal is always the same. You want to feel better than you do now. “I’ll feel better when I have it. I’ll be happier when it happens. I’ll feel relief when it’s real.” It’s always about how you feel.
And for all magic the method is the same. Feel that way now. The entire spell, the ritual, the scents and colors and tools and words and music you use, all of it has one purpose. To help you vibrate with the goal. To help you tune it into existence. Every bit of it is about tuning your own vibration. Your own energy.
One definition of magic passed down from teacher to student is: “to create change in accordance with will.” The deeper mystery is that the change you are creating is within yourself.
Why we cast magic circles
When we learn the Craft of the Wise one of our first lessons is how to cast a magic circle. The purpose of the magic circle is the same as the purpose of a church or temple. It is sacred space. In fact, according to nature paths, the practitioner IS the temple. And so wherever she goes, she is capable of expanding that sacred space within her to create an area for work and worship.
I believe all of earth is sacred space. But you know, we get gum on our shoes and then leave bits of it wherever we go. Negative residue gets tracked all over the place. When we cleanse and consecrate sacred space, we are removing all of that by replacing it with a positive charge. With light.
The magic circle is considered to be a world between the worlds. A place where physical and non-physical meet and mingle (just like the human body.)
It’s said to protect the space from negativity, which is blocked from entering the circle. It is pure positive energy, so negativity cannot abide its power.
It’s also considered a container. It keeps our magic power contained until we are ready to release it out into the world. When I was first learning magic, I would compose my spell at the computer, just like creating a recipe. But often the goal would happen before I finished the writing. I consulted my teacher about this, and she suggested I cast a circle around my workspace, computer and all, to hold my magic in. At which point I replied, I really don’t mind it manifesting so fast.
Now, as an elder witch, I see a deeper point. If I create the spell in a circle and release its energy only when I perform it, it goes off with a bigger bang. You know, extra purple smoke and sparkles.
The magic circle is real
I have a pair of dousing rods that were made for me by one of my students many years ago. A group of us experimented by using the rods to sense the energy of our space before and after casting a circle. You hold the rods by the outer copper sleeves, so the rods themselves can move freely left and right. You have to keep them level or you can cause them to move. It takes a bit of practice. But you keep them level, your arms still and move slowly forward, just watching them move. They’ll be still and then suddenly just swoop outward as they encounter energy. Sometimes they only move a little, at smaller vibration. We just drip this stuff as we move through our lives. “Thoughts are things,” as teacher Mike Dooley keeps reminding us. Our rods consistently spread wide once the circle had been cast, and they had the same reaction no matter who held them. This experience demonstrated for me that the energy really does change when we focus our will upon it. And that’s all magic is. Focused will, supported by belief and a healthy and consistent state-of-being that’s more good than bad, more happy than sad, more calm than mad.
Circle Cast 101
This is the way most students of magic are taught to cast a circle.
- Cleanse the space. Usually done by walking round the edges of the circle clockwise wafting sage smoke and/or sprinkling with moon water.
- Begin in the North or Easternmost slice of your circle. Holding your dominant hand toward the floor or ground, walk clockwise, projecting a beam of blue light from your palm to create the circle’s outline on the floor.
- Walk round a second time, holding your palm out at shoulder height, and expand that blue light both upward from the floor and downward through the floor.
- Walk round a third time, palm all the way up now, other palm down, and visualize the blue light closing above and below to form a bubble. A sacred circle is actually a sphere, you see.
- When you return to where you began, stomp your foot and say, “The circle is sealed.”
Usually there are lines to say during each lap around the circle. Every group has its own method and most are oathbound. Every solitary practitioner has her own favorite method. Here’s one of my favorites from memory, which is shared widely among us, is this:
Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and gray,
Come ye, Come ye,
Come ye that may,
Around and around
Throughout and about
The good come in
The bad keep out!
It serves the dual purpose of inviting the elemental energies, here represented by colors, at the same time it creates the sacred circle. Black is for Earth (although I personally use green.) White is for Air. (I use yellow.) Red is for Fire. (on this we agree) Gray is for Water. (I use blue.)
As you can see this is very personal stuff, and the more you tweak any ritual to your own preferences, the more powerful it will be for you. Better yet if you create it from scratch. Write your own words to say as you cast your circles.
Advanced circle casting
Now, here’s how a well practiced witch might cast a circle.
Rub the palms together, close your eyes, pull in energy. Do this for about 10 seconds.
Spread the hands slightly, feel the sphere of light pulsing between them.
Raise your cupped hands and the ball of energy they hold up higher, then suddenly spread your hands wide and drop the sphere to the floor. When it hits it explodes, instantly expanding to fill the entire space. (Find your own way. Play with the energy ball, expand it bigger before dropping it. Or hurl it to the floor if you like that better. Make it your own.)
Wasn’t that fun?
Never forget this part!
When you finish communing or meditating or magic working or whatever, you must take the circle down. If it’s in a place that is not your own, or it’s in a room used for other things, move counter clockwise. If it’s in a space you will use for magic regularly, you can move clockwise instead, which will ground the energy but allow it to kind of seep into the space. This will build over time and become yet another source of power.
So to take the circle down, start where you started before, and move again around the circle, palm down, and visualize yourself vacuuming up the circle. The sphere is sucked back into you. You only need to walk around the circle once for this. I still do North to North unless I have reason not to.
Afterward, it’s a good idea to sit on the floor, press your palms to the floor, and imagine the gravity of earth tugging all that energy down, making it heavy, connecting it to the earth, grounding it within you so that it is stable and tame and earthed and not sparking around making you feel spacey. And I always recommend having a grainy snack after magical work, which helps ground you further.
So there it is!
Remember that once a circle is cast, you only move in a clockwise direction within it. Clockwise (Desosil, pronounced more of less “Djessel” which rhymes with vessel.) That’s the direction of creation.
For banishing, one would move in a counterclockwise or “widdershins” direction, but in my practice, I never do banishing magic, because I know the law of attraction will bring me more of whatever I focus on. And focusing on something I do not want is required for banishing magic.
The more you know, right? Post in comments to tell me if you have methods of your own, or let me know what you thought of the post.
Til next time!