The Sacred Circle

Wicca and other pagans do not have temples or churches. Nature is the most sacred of places, and almost all pagans I have met would prefer to perform their magic outdoors. This is not always practical, safe, or wise. Any space can be made sacred with proper cleansing and consecration.

A sacred circle is standard in Wiccan practices. Not to say it is always needed or that every single Wiccan follows this. I will lay out the basic steps for creating a sacred circle and will be using some of the phrasing of Raymond Buckland and Scoot Cunningham.

The first step would be to choose where you intend to do your ritual and what your intent is. Ritual is held for several reasons and occasions. Many Wiccans hold Esbats for the full moon. Decide your purpose and keep that in mind. Cleansing the space you intend to use can be done with incense, Full Moon water, sweeping, and other consecration methods. Many wiccans take a ritual purification bath before rituals as well.

Often the altar is also set up at this phase. Seasonally proper flowers, fruit, vegetables, wood, and any number of things can be used to decorate the altar, including an altar cloth. There is a general rule that all four elements should be represented, and I have listed ways to do this below. Also represented by candles or by images the god and goddess and your tools for the following ritual.

Once the space has been cleansed, and you are ready to begin, you set up your circle. This can be done with a length of cord, candles, a chalk outline or even a rug with a circle in the middle. You walk the circle three times with your athame or wand pointed outward, starting in the east. As you walk, visualize a steam of light flowing forth from you and out into your athame and forming an orb of light that arcs above and below you into the ground and all around you. After this, stand before your altar facing east and call and invite the Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, powers of Air to your circle. Repeat this with each of the cardinal directions concluding with the North.

  • East- Air censer or incense burner
  • South- Fire candle or burning charcoal
  • West- water- a bowl of water
  • North-Earth a bowl of salt or sand

Then invite your deities to the circle and ask them to hear you and empower your circle as well.

After this is the actual ritual you wanted to perform, whether this is honoring the gods, the Sabbat or Esbat ritual you have selected or written yourself or some other purpose. This can also be as simple as a rite of meditation, thanksgiving, or simply communing with the Divine. After this phase, power is raised, and any spells are cast. The circle is used to hold this power, and then the witch sends it forth to its destination.

The following step is sometimes called earthing the power or Cakes and Ale or Cakes and Wine. This is often blessed preceding the ritual. This is also a reflective time; for a coven to discuss any needed issues, or for a solitary to plan their next steps. Then thank the gods and ask that they come again when you call. You do not dismiss the gods.

There are many ways to break the circle, but be sure to thank the elements for their attendance. One way to break the circle is simply visualize again that energy drawing back into you from whence it came. Others cut the circle, visualizing the power flowing back up into the blade and handle and into you, or walk the circle in reverse.

Linda Green

Linda Green

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