#Circle-Casting & Laying-the-#Compass
What does it mean to cast a
#circle and how do you do it?
A circle can symbolize the Cosmos & the Earth in miniature. Circle casting puts us in contact with the Earth to create protected space set apart from mundane concerns; it helps us to unite the 3-realms of cosmic-above, mundane-here & now, and unseen-below to change consciousness levels; and to ritually stage & act-out fulfillment of needs. The Circle Ritual celebrates Life.
LAYING THE COMPASS
A Traditional Witchcraft non-Wiccan method of creating sacred space
There are folkloric Witchcraft methods to prepare a liminal area (a place between) in which to work. I reference Peter Paddon's "Grimoire for Modern Cunning Folk"
When working outdoors there is no consecration as the Land itself is sacred. There are no words to say or altar table to set up, but have a bottle of water, some bread, & a fire-pot with kindling & lighter set in the middle of your space. (Another tradition replaces open flame with a hearth stone 🧱). The broom stick 🧹or Stang Y is used to trace the compass (circle). Walking widdershins stirs & summons the earth energy. This is Gaia’s telluric energy; telluric literally means earth-light which is drawn through the staff as a go-between Earth & body; somewhat resembling a caduceus. As with any circle, you are uniting the realms of cosmic-above, mid-earth and under-world below in a sacred space between.
Hold the staff in the left hand (left being the receptive hand & linked to the underworld & Sacred Land) which will put you outside the circle. Start at North & walk 🔄 widdershins; drag the staff pressing down lightly as if to plow a furrow into the 🪨 EARTH. Visualize the staff stirring and drawing up the vibrant, serpent-like land forces as you make 3 passes to draw the compass.
Make a 🐍 serpent's hissing sound to induce light trance as you walk, deep breathing to hiss AIR 💨
To enter the compass without breaking the circle, lay the staff cross-wise as a threshold to step across & then retrieve the staff. Stand it up in a prepared hole at the center of the compass to mark the place where the three worlds & the 4 compass directions meet at the "cross roads" *️⃣. The staff stands as the axis-mundi, the center of the world.
Rinse your hands and face with some of the WATER 💦.
Light the FIRE 🔥 in your fire pot in the center.
The compass is made. The elements are present. It's appropriate to call a familiar spirit or ancestor to share the rite. Use your own words. The Old Ones are invited with chanting & dance. Use hand-signs of fig ✊🏽 with the left hand for The Lady, and horns 🤘🏼with the right hand for The Lord.
Paddon's Welsh custom is to pay a token coin to the Land Spirits in exchange for the use of the Sacred Land. Just flip a coin of any denomination over your shoulder and leave it there. State the reason for which you've laid down the compass & then proceed with that purpose.
Then, after you've completed what you came for, offer thanks by breaking bread & offering a drink. Eat & drink half. Place the rest of the offerings directly on the ground for the earth-spirits.
When you are finished you ground the residual energy. If you invited anyone be sure to thank & farewell them. Leave the coin & food offerings on the earth. Gather up your belongings & walk away. It's polite to not look back so the land-spirits can have their share in peace.
The traditional tools are a stang Y for the Horned God 🤘🏼, a libation cup🍷 for the Goddess ✊🏽, a cauldron is used as a fire-pot (or substitute a hearth-stone🧱) & your personal measure cord 🪢 is worn. The four direction's of the elemental associations vary by region. A common set are Air-White-North, Fire-red-East, Earth-black-South, Water-gray-West which is different from the western occult elemental directions.
. A measure cord 🪢 is a tri-color, braided cord as long as the Crafter is tall, plus tassels if wanted. Knots are tied at each end to contain the Crafter's energy signature, and 3 measures are taken around the head, the heart and the groin and a knot is tied to mark each. These represent the Crafter's 3rd 👁 eye, their 💚 will, and procreative 🐇 energy. The cord is worn whenever magic is done and can be used in spells. When not worn it should be safely stored.
The concept of the "World Tree" defines the 3 realms of our world. It is symbolized by a staff or broomstick. The top branches of a tree represents the upper cosmic realm home of Divinity and our links to the divine within ourselves. The tree trunk represents the mundane realms of daily life, all Nature & earth beings. The roots represent the underworld, the dead, the Fae and unseen, serpentine Earth forces of life-essence. Witches ascend or descend the tree (fly their broomstick) between worlds as they navigate levels of consciousness that can manifest as spirit travel.
At Gobekli-Tepe in Turkey (ancient ritual site with multiple stone circles dating back to about 11,000 BCE) the circle was oriented to the star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus, which was located in the "crotch" of a divide in an arm of our Milky Way galaxy & around which the night sky appeared to rotate. A holed-stone marked the northern altar & may have symbolized the birth channel of the Primordial Mother Goddess who birthed all that is & through which souls pass in birth and death.
It could be said that our earliest perceptions of deity derive from man's observations of the sky & earth. Legends of fire and ice may represent the ice age that followed a cataclysmic comet strike in North America, surviving mankind hunted by following the migrations of deer herds. 🦌Reindeer may be the earliest concept of a Horned God/dess - both genders of reindeer have horns. There are indications that the earliest forms of agriculture were first developed at Gobekli Tepi as the site was assumed to have been built by hunter-gatherers & the long-term work force & pilgrims had to be fed. It is not known why the structures at Gobekli Tepi were deliberately buried but they were rediscovered in the 1990’s. At the northern latitudes the wild forest re-emerged from what had been turned to charcoal by the comet. It brought forth the Forest Lord (the Elder) and the further development & spread of agriculture brought the The Lord of the Corn (the Younger). Always and ever-present has been the geo-centric life-force pulsing from the Earth's core & writhing 🐍 serpent-like throughout the planet as if chasing the Sun. These forces are recognized in traditional witchcraft practices today.
CREATING SACRED SPACE, AKA BUILDING THE 🏛 TEMPLE the Wiccan Way
ESSENTIALLY, casting a circle connects us to the Earth, our primary energy source. A circle has multiple uses: as devotion - to create sacred space set apart from mundane concerns; as consciousness altering - to unite the 3-realms of cosmic-above, mundane-here/now & unseen-below; as magical aid - to support our spell crafting.
THE BASIC IDEA is to clear ground and then load, aim & shoot energy to form a circular foundation & build a symbolic temple 🏛 within it. We raise the Earth's energy through our body - which stirs the 👁🗨 pineal gland - & then shape it with our thoughts to achieve goals. Within the Temple we are in touch with invisiable forces. The 4 elements are called in sequence by density - moving from least to most dense: Air, Fire, Water, Earth to move the temple from the thought-plane & into the physical realm.
First clear the area:
. Cleanse by sprinkling salted water which introduces pacifying (-) 🪨earth & 💦water elements; say "Around & 'round about, all good in all bad out."
. Bless with smoldering incense which introduces activating (+) 💨air & 🔥fire elements;
. Raise & project 👉🏼 Earth's energy in a circular form💫. Say "As I walk the circle is cast, guarding all & holding fast." (Ref. Doreen Valiente)
You can stop there if you want. You've cleared sacred space, the Elements are represented & you've cast the circle. Ground the energy to end the rite when you're finished. It adds another layer if you carry on & build the temple.
Construct the 🏛 Temple:
. Show a light at each quarter or place a stone or symbols of each element at quarters
. Set the temple's corners by facing each in turn & calling the powers of "E-I call air💨for power To Know; S-I call fire🔥 for power to go; W-I call water💦 for power to flow; & N-I call Earth🪨 for power to grow; I call ether✨to make it so, as👆🏽above, so👇🏽below."
. Infill the temple with sacred presence, "Lady🪆and Lord 🦌 of Nature, come if you can. Stay if you wil."
Do what you came for:
. Work in partnership with Deity (or familiar-spirits) to spell craft. Random spirits are not invited into the circle.
. Honor Nature at full moons & seasonal holidays; symbolically honor the Great Rite by lowering the athame into the chalice, signifying the sacred union of Goddess and God. A meal of bread and wine is shared & offered to Nature. Both acts honor Life.
Wrap-up & finish:
. Farewell the deities "Lady & Lord if go thee must, be it with love & trust", & release the 4 powers in reverse order to dissolve the links, "Powers of the N, the W, the S, the E, I bless & thank you, now go in peace."
. Release the circle " Upwards the spiraling power flows to aid friends and vanquish foes, I bid it now to GO!" 👊🏼Push.
. Ground your own residual energy for stability.
FOLK MAGIC WAY
Simple Circle - start and end at north, 🔄🧹sweep off debris, light some incense, & center to pull power to the belly; walk around ↩️, 👉🏼 point-&-push to cast circle. Seeing in the mind functions both in the mundane realm & in the etheric realm to help clear stagnant energy. Quietly lighting an inviting incense suggests knowing if/who you want to invite, and raising Earth energy ⚡️to project the circle takes a bit of practice before you feel it. You should release what you call before closing. The circle dissipates when walked through.
NORTH aligns with the ✨North Star, Polaris, around which the heavens turn to form a sky-hole gateway between the mundane and cosmic realms. Your circle aligns with the gate.
Make psi balls between the hands 👏🏽 for practice. Ground - send your energy down the spine to root into Earth, then center - pull power on the breath from Earth & Sky to your gut. Think the actions & push power from the gut & out the hands. You’ll feel a subtle pushback of energy with practice. Shake off your hands to clear them. If they buzz then just re-ground. Psi balls are like energy balloons 🎈 we load with intention & pop to charge spells.
Charge a cord like making psi balls between your hands👏🏽, then lay it in a circle on the ground, starting & ending at north.