The circle is an important thing to us witches. When we work, we make ourselves a circle where we can work in peace, cut off from distractions. This has been a practice for ages, as you can see by all the stone circles and carvings all over Europe. The spiral is also a commonly used symbol.
We always cast the circle deosil / sunwise / clockwise, and usually move in that direction. Widdershins / anti-sunwise / anti-clockwise is often used for banishing rituals.
Another important part of circle work / sacred spaces is the altar. It can be temporary or permanent, outside or inside. The word altar might sound a little scary to some, and no, it does not involve sacrifice - our deities don't want that. It's purpose is to be a focal point of the magic work, often set up in the north or center of the circle. We put our magical tools on it, use them there and put them there to make them sacred. If you make / use an altar outside, remember to use biodegradable materials to not damage the Earth.
To make a circle, one usually cleanses it first, by drawing energy from your chakras and put it into salt water that you sprinkle deosil from the east, and then over the participants. This does not apply outside (don't give plants salt water!).
Then you set up items representing the elements in each quarter and in the center.
There are some items that are very common in circle work:
- The athame is a special knife used only for circle work. Some use this to cleanse the circle. You usually bless it by exposing it to the four elements. It is either associated with Fire or Air.
- The chalice is associated with Water and love, and is used to drink wine or juice in rituals.
- The pentagram, associated with Earth, is often used as a plate for a piece of bread eaten in rituals.
- The wand, usually associated with Air (sometimes Fire), is used in the same way as an athame, to direct energy. It can be made of many different materials, and can be simple or fancy.
- The cord is used in some traditions, and is placed in the center. It is as long as the head circumference + around the heart + the height of the witch. It links us to Spirit.
It is important to note that you do not leave the circle before it is closed (unless there's an emergency).
When you're prepared, you can cast the circle itself. Open your chakras, and direct energy from your solar plexus to your athame / wand / finger and draw a circle in the air. Usually you nod to the north and start casting in the east, moving deosil. Afterwards you should say a few words. Then you welcome the elements, again beginning in the east and moving deosil. You should name some of its qualities before lighting the candle. If in a group, everyone else says ''hail and welcome''.
When you finish, thank the elements and blow out the candles (the Spirit one is extinguished after the last person leaves and says ''hail and abide''). The one who made the circle disperses it into the Universe or drawing it back into the tool, their body and then into the Earth.
In case you are confused; all spells are rituals, but not all rituals are spells. A ritual can be something as simple as lighting a birthday candle, throwing rice at weddings, or wearing lucky items. A small and simple thing we all do. A spell is focused on something specific, and requires a lot of energy. You should never do more than three in one circle.
One important thing to consider is the time you do the spells and rituals. Like the day of the week, phase of the moon and other occurrences in nature are significant to us and can help us. So if you can wait until the right time, it will most likely be more powerful - if you can't, that's okay too.
I do have to mention though, we do NOT do spells to harm anyone / do evil. We don't have sacred texts, but the closest thing is the Wiccan Rede, which basically says ''As long as you don't harm anyone, do what you want''.
Here are some pointers to help you out with spells and rituals!
Spells Communication, swiftness, exams, legal, knowledge, learning, conveyancing, travel
Herbs and plants Lavender, eucalyptus, comfrey, wormwood, lilac
Trees Birch, ash
Incense and oils Benzoin, sandalwood, lavender
Astrological sign Aquarius, Gemini, Libra
Day of the week Wednesday
Metal Mercury (quicksilver)
Symbol Upward pointing triangle traversed, feather, incense
Magical tool Wand
Animal totems All birds
Body parts Lungs, head
Spells Defense, willpower, courage, inspiration
Herbs and plants Rosemary, rue, dandelion, saffron, nettles, St. John's wort (Hypericum)
Trees Oak, rowan
Incense and oils Cinnamon, frankincense, vanilla, juniper
Astrological sign Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Day of the week Tuesday, Thursday
Planet(s) Sun, Mars
Symbol Upward pointing triangle, flame, blade, salamanders
Magical tool Athame
Animal totems Salamander, big cats
Body parts Heart
Spells Love, healing, dream-work, women's cycles, childbirth, emotional issues
Herbs and plants Poppy, rose, myrtle, violet, valerian, lovage, chamomile, geranium, hyacinth
Trees Willow, apple
Incense and oils Myrrh, rose absolute, orris root
Astrological sign Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio
Day of the week Monday, Friday
Planet(s) Moon, Venus, Neptune
Metal Silver, copper
Symbol Downward pointing triangle, cauldron, glass, mirror
Magical tool Chalice
Animal totems Fish, water-based mammals
Body parts Womb, kidneys, bladder, liver
Spells Manifestation, material wealth, shelter, fertility, growth
Herbs and plants Patchouli, sage, mandrake, woodbine, horehound, pennyroyal
Trees Cypress, pine
Incenses and oils Patchouli, pine resin, white sage, mandrake root
Astrological sign Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Day of the week Saturday
Planet(s) Gaia, Saturn, Pluto
Metal Iron, lead
Symbol Downward pointing triangle traversed, pentacle, wood, metal, stone, crystals, dragon
Magical tool Pentacle
Animal totems Hare, wolf, bear, serpent
Body parts Bowels, spine
SpiritSpells Initiation, transition, transformation, spiritual growth and knowledge
Herbs and plants Gentian, lotus, belladonna, henbane (latter two are poisonous)
Trees Elder, yew
Incenses and oils Nag champa, copal, dittany of Crete
Astrological sign -
Day of the week Sunday
Color Purple, white
Symbol Upward pointing pentagram, terminated clear quartz, web, thread
Magical tool Cords
Animal totems Spider
Body parts -
Planetary hours are calculated by finding out how many minutes there are between sunrise and sunset, and dividing that by 12. So if you want to do something that works best with a certain planet, do it at in the time period of the planet.
In which Moon signs it's best to do certain types of spells:
Aries - Banishing / binding, protection, fertility
Taurus - Wealth / increase, protection, fertility
Gemini - Love / relationships, healing / emotions, employment / commerce
Cancer - Love / relationships, healing / emotions, banishing / binding
Leo - Wealth / increase, emplyment / commerce, protection
Virgo - Wealth / increase, banishing / binding, fertility
Libra - Love / relationships, healing / emotions
Scorpio - Healing / emotions, banishing / binding, fertility
Sagittarius - Wealth / increase, emplyment / commerce, protection
Capricorn - Wealth / increase, emplyment / commerce, fertility
Aquarius - Love / relationships, healing / emotions, employment / commerce
Pisces - Love / relationships, healing / emotions, fertility
The days of the week
Colors Silver, pewter, white, grey
Deity Selene, Nephtys, Artemis, Isis
Associations Fertility, increase, dream-work
Symbolic object Cauldron
Deity Mars / Ares, Tyr / Tiw, Oya, Kali
Associations Defence, protection, inspiration, defeating obstacles, courage, sex, dance
Symbolic object Arrow
Deity Mercury / Hermes, Athene, Saraswati, Odin / Woden
Associations Communication, learning, study, exams / tests, legal issues, travel, ideas, memory, science
Symbolic object Staff
Colors Purple, dark blue
Deity Thor, Jove / Jupiter, Rhiannon, Juno, Laxmi
Associations Generosity, natural justice, expansion, property, wills, family matters
Symbolic object Drum
Deity Frøya, Venus / Aphrodite, Angus, Parvarti
Associations Love, affection, friendships, partnership, allurement, sexuality, beauty, art
Symbolic object Rose, star symbol
Colors Black or brown
Deity Hecate, Nemesis, Saturn
Associations Boundaries, binding, exorcism, discipline, reduction, protection, deflection
Symbolic object Chain, cords
Deity Brighid, Apollo, Lugh, Belissama
Associations Health, happiness, contentment, music, poetry
Symbolic object Disc
In my last post I talked about finding your magical name through visualization. If you did that and found some clues, you can combine that with these other methods:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
My example: Caroline Asgard, born August 8 1994
3 + 1 + 9 + 6 + 3 + 9 + 5 + 5 + 1 + 1 + 7 + 1 + 9 + 4 + 8 + 8 + 1 + 9 + 9 + 4 = 103
1 + 0 + 3 = 4
Your circle name should match up in the same way. You can take clues from your visualization, a deity you feel connected to or something else. Don't be afraid to take out or add some letters.
Another way you can experiment with a magical name is taking a piece of paper and draw four symbols / objects that represents how you see yourself, how you deal with close people, how your friends see you and your inner spiritual / emotional self. Make different combinations of two symbols, and see if it has a nice ring to it! Meditating on it can help too.
I hope you found this post helpful. Sorry it was kind of all over the place, but I'm sick, so my head is a little loopy. Hope you had a nice weekend!