Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...



Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]


Views: 20,089,461


July 2nd. 2017 ...

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

Ares and Athena


July 1st. 2017 ...

Elements of Magic


June 1st. 2017 ...

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

Herbal Astrology

La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength

The Lady on the Stairs

Nahualli: Traditional Aztec Witchcraft and Totems


April 30th. 2017 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

Why the Faeries?

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles


March 30th. 2017 ...

Magic in Daily Life

The East and West of Wiccan Magick

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords


March 3rd. 2017 ...

Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion


February 10th. 2017 ...

Understanding the Unseen

Kitchen Magic and Memories


January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

Little Dog, Big Love


December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule


November 10th. 2016 ...

What Exactly Is Witchcraft?

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)


October 10th. 2016 ...

Witchcraft from the Outside


September 11th. 2016 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)


September 3rd. 2016 ...

Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?

What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?

Nature’s Reward


August 12th. 2016 ...

When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Past Midnight

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament


July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

An Open Mind and Heart

Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum


June 13th. 2016 ...

Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

Life is Awesome... and the Flu


May 15th. 2016 ...

Wiccan Spirituality

Faery Guided Journey

How to Bond with the Elements through Magick

Magical Household Cleaning

Working with the Elements


April 2nd. 2016 ...

Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected

The Evolution of Thought Forms

The Fear of Witchcraft

Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele

Magic in Sentences

Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess


March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Spring Has Sprung!


January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Energy and Karma

Community and Perception


December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca


October 24th. 2015 ...

The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans

Feeling the Pulse of Autumn


October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts


September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side


September 16th. 2015 ...

Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate


August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale


July 9th. 2015 ...

Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Magic of Weather


June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?


May 6th. 2015 ...

I Claim Cronehood

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether


March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft


March 28th. 2015 ...

On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations


NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.












Article Specs

Article ID: 15139

VoxAcct: 188382

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,817

Times Read: 3,150

RSS Views: 13,641
Witches Do It In A Magical Circle

Author: Rhys Chisnall
Posted: August 5th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,150

Sacred space is a space that is ‘experienced or seen as’ sacred but remember, this need not mean it has any extra unseen property. In many religions, it is a permanent structure such as a church, a mosque, a druid’s grove or a temple. The place is seen as sacred, as numinous and special suitable and worthy of where the Divine can be experienced. These places are often made sacred through certain rites and ritual… a form of magic, which to my mind is the manipulation of meaning to transform phenomenal reality. The rites are the manipulation of meaning which leads to ‘experiencing as’ the church as sacred (even to those who never partook in the original rituals) and if that is not the transformation of phenomenal reality I don’t know what is.

Witchcraft differs from other religious and spiritual traditions in that it does not have any permanent sacred spaces. There are no permanent temples in the initiatory Craft perhaps because it is a spiritual tradition where the focus of the experience of the Divine is through life and death, where there is no dualism between the sacred and the profane, therefore there is no need for a permanent temple. In the Craft the sacred space is declared at every meeting, wherever and whenever the coven meets.

This sacred space is declared when the circle is cast by the High Priestess with her athame and is both psychological and mythological in character. It is psychological, firstly, as it is visualised by and ‘felt by’ the participants as the sphere is formed about them. It is ‘experienced as’ by the mind through an act of imagination. Secondly, the setting up of the sacred space in the Craft prepares the Witches for the rite in which they are to participate. For example a church is laid out to either assault the senses such as in the stain glass, incense, bells, candles, crucifixes and robes of the priest in Catholicism, or the in the stark whitewash and lack of symbolism of the Methodists. The symbolism, the bells and smells of the Catholic or the austerity stemming from the suspicion of idolatry of the Protestant both work to put the worshipper into a worshipful and receptive state of mind.

Likewise the words, gestures, incense, candle light and nudity involved in the casting of the circle puts the Witches into the state of mind where magic (the manipulation of meaning to transform phenomenal reality) can occur. If the same method of casting is used each time (as in Initiatory Craft) , then expectation and classical conditioning (like Pavlov’s dogs) combine to create the appropriate state of mind with little effort on the part of the Witch. Vivianne Crowley (1989) tells us of one priestess who says something like, “I only need to hear the swish of a broom and I am in an altered state of consciousness”. I can confirm from experience that that this is certainly the case. During the set up of our rituals and the casting of the circle, after twelve years of being with the same coven, I automatically slip into ritual consciousness.

The circle is also mythological and is full of symbolism. The circle can relate to four of the classical elements, air, fire, water and earth. It can relate, like the phases of the moon and the wheel of the year to the stages of life such as youth, maturity, old age and death. To my mind this means it can relate to stages in the hero’s journey, the mono-myth described by Professor Joseph Campbell in his book, The Hero with a Thousand faces. This is the journey of the mystic, who goes out into the metaphorical wilderness, fairy land, the world of adventure. It is here that the mystic has their adventure/experience, attaining gnosis (spiritual knowledge) , before returning to everyday life where they have to integrate what they have learnt. The failed hero or mystic is not able to do this and is stuck in the adventure world and so perishes. The circle can also be symbolic of the changing seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, which of course, underpin the myths of the Craft.

The circle, mythologically speaking, is out of time. It is also all time, all the seasons, all the stages of life, all parts of the hero’s quest and so paradoxically, which can happen in myth, is all time and at the same time it is out of time. The circle is experienced as the mythological every-when, fairy land and eternity where the tick, tick, tick of time does not pass; there is no past, present or future. Mythologically speaking, this is the mystical state. It is in this space were we experience mythologically, rather than logically. We participate in mythology, finding meaning that allows us to engage with the mysteries.

It acts as a mythological circle that psychologically contains the emotion and meaning. It represents the keeping away of thoughts and feeling not required for the ritual. These are the daily round of duties and thoughts, which might be stresses about work, money, or whether we have left the cooker on. They are outside the psychological circle and we within the ritual are on the inside. It is a psychological and mythological barrier between the emotions, thoughts and meaning necessary for the job at hand, and those that would distract us from our purpose. So the circle acts as a boundary and protection of meaning containing the emotional power we raise.

To conclude it is both a mythological space where we engage with and act mythologically and a psychological boundary. However, while this requires imagination, visualisation and concentration; it is not the same thing as play-acting. Rather it is ‘seeing as’, making and experiencing as profound meaning rather than simply make believe. This meaning can be allegorical but it is also archetypal in that it related to our deep feelings that are invoked by what is fundamentally important in life.





Footnotes:
Campbell, J, (1993) , The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Fortana Press
Crowley, V., (1989) , Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Age, Aquarian Press



ABOUT...

Rhys Chisnall


Location: Stowmarket, England

Website: www.suffolk-witchcraft.org

Author's Profile: To learn more about Rhys Chisnall - Click HERE

Bio: Rhys is a member of a long established rural coven with a Gardnerian heritage in the north of Suffolk. He and his wife Martika run a training group for those who are interested in Initiatory Witchcraft.




Other Articles: Rhys Chisnall has posted 17 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE




Email Rhys Chisnall... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Rhys Chisnall ...



Pagan Essays
1996-2017





Pagan Web
8,000 Links





Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.





Pagan/Witch
80,000 Profiles














Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops



Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2017 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World




Search Articles
1996-2017










 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide


NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).