Spells and Circles
Article ID: 11218
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Chris K Underwood
Posted: March 4th. 2007
Times Viewed: 3,469
The question was: Do you need to cast a circle to do a spell?
The short answer is no, you do not need to cast a circle to do a spell and many do not.
I do not do many spells since I tend to save the magical workings for the really important issues in my life. Not to mention the workings done with my coven at our monthly Esbat gathering.
I will say, that on many occasions I have done spells while standing in the woods or beach with nothing more than the trees and wind as my implements.
But there are some good reasons why you might wish to cast a circle before doing a spell, and there are many sound arguments regarding why it’s a good idea depending on your beliefs.
The raising of energy is one important issue that some think is better accomplished inside a circle. Another is the blocking of negativity from others as well as natural negative forces that the practitioner may believe in.
Let’s look at some of these reasons for using a circle.
The first reason is psychological in nature. Humans tend to enjoy and use ritual to prepare for things. Besides the sympathetic magic aspect of the ritual process, some find it helpful when entering a higher state to use a formula to assist them in the process. Although it is not necessary, it may be helpful to some practitioners. When you ritually prepare for something, you are also imparting that much more energy and dedication into your workings.
Psychologically, you are also imparting a sense of importance and a certain amount of confidence in your abilities by putting more into the working that just meditation and casting alone. Many also find that they need the ritual preparations in order to put themselves into the proper mindset for magical working.
Some practitioners may also use ritual to block out negativity. Negativity in this sense doesn't imply fairies, demons, or spirits; those may be found in and around the spiritual workings of any religion. Here, the term refers to any negativity coming from the Witch personally.
This negativity may manifest itself as self doubt, or general negativity from the practitioner in terms of the psychic baggage that they may be carrying throughout the day. Meditation goes a long way toward helping to clear away this, but ritual can also help.
Other things that may have a negative effect upon the Witch have to do with interactions with other people, such as friends, coworkers, and even family members. Not that they are negative or hostile towards magical working (Although they could be), but simply because we as humans are never happy one hundred percent of the time and their negativity can leak over and have an effect on your workings.
So, this is a good reason to ritually clear out your magical space and then possibly erect a circle to keep it clear while working.
The last item to this discussion concerns the raising of energy inside the circle. As a Wiccan, this is one of the more important aspects to me.
Much like an Esbat ritual, the intent is to keep your energy contained as you build it towards your goal or focus. A circle is not only used to keep things out, but also to keep your magical energy in until you are ready to release it.
When talking about building the "cone of power", I have found that I can make a bullet go much further and faster by shooting it rather than throwing it.
Other issues to consider include concepts of bringing the two worlds together inside your sacred space. Many think that when creating a circle that it becomes a place where the mundane world connects and interacts with another world or dimension of magic. This harkens back to the original concepts of both containing energy and blocking negativity, but also reminds us to consider being respectful to those we invoke and invite. You would certainly want to pick up around the house before inviting guests to stop over.
One aspect of creating a circle in many systems is the invoking of the Guardians or Watchtowers. From my personal perspective, it’s not necessary to erect a circle to call upon these beings, but it's certainly a part of the ritual. Many systems have different beliefs regarding these beings; some including the Moon Dragon Tradition believe that they are energy conduits that maintain balance in the universe.
Since doing a magical working creates a small imbalance, you would wish to ask the guardians to assist you in correcting the balance in your favor or if no other reason than respect for their place.
Other systems believe that the guardians themselves are powerful beings that can either help or block your workings; therefore an acknowledgement to these would be necessary, in the least.
Circles are definitely a part of most magical systems and opinions vary on how and why they should be cast. Some feel that it is entirely an energy construct that can be performed just through visualization. Other feel that only a circle drawn with the proper implements and practices will actually benefit the magical workings.
I tend to lean more towards the side of intent, but also agree with the many good reasons why a circle should be cast. If I were out in nature and putting a little energy towards a sick friend or doing some other low impact magic, I would not spend the time erecting a circle; I would instead allow my energy to mix with that of the universe, carrying my good intentions to where it needed to go, thanking deity and guardians in the process.
Many times, I have lit a candle and thought about a person with illness or someone’s lost pet without a lengthy ritual and circle.
On the other hand, if doing a ritual with heavy leanings and much contributed energy on my part, I would erect the circle and spend the time ritually doing what needs to be accomplished as an individual and especially so in a group setting.
Do you need to cast a circle to do spell work? No, not really.
But it’s not a bad idea either.
Written by: Chris K Underwood
Edited by: Peter Hamel
Copyright: Permission to freely distribute is granted as long as the original content and credit is maintained.
Chris K Underwood
Location: Palm Beach County, Florida
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