03-06-13 Lesson 13: Month 3, Week 5: Circle Casting

Circle casting


The subject of casting a circle is much documented. Everyone has a method as to how it is done. You can google it and come up with an absolute plethora of answers ranging from the very simple to the very complicated.

The first thing to know is there is NO RIGHT method. Whichever method resonates with your practice is perfectly right for you. Don’t hesitate to try any or all of the methods that will be cited and even go further and try out examples that you find on the internet. The words that you use are for you and the divine and so the choice will always be yours. There are some great examples on youtube as well! As with anything research and try it out!


Let’s take a step back and look at the WHY? Why do we cast a circle??


Realpagan.net gives this answer:

“Well, there are a number of reasons why a person of any tradition or path may wish to cast one before their work commences. Most of the justifications can be summed up in three types: a circle of sacred space, a circle of power, and a circle of protection.


Sacred Space


While all circles create a sacred space of some type, some create it purely for this reason alone. Typically, this type will be used exclusively on Sabbats, which are reserved for veneration of the gods and observation of the seasons within most Traditions, rather than magical feats. Some pagans that do not practice magic will still create one of these for religous practice.


When we cast that circle, we are creating a rift between the seen and unseen worlds. We are creating hallowed grounds in a place that exists and does not exist simultaneously. We are separating ourselves, in mind, body and spirit, from the everyday world and saying “This is where I and the gods do meet”. It is here that below ascends to the above, and above descends below. Sacred space is equilibrium.


Besides devotional practices, a circle of this type may be created for the purpose of meditation, personal studies, or to ‘get away from it all’, stepping away from the hustle and bustle of life and into asylum found within its perimeter.



Circle of Power


Some circles are created for the purpose of magical operations. This circle acts as a vessel and retains the Will of the solitary or the Will of the collective in the coven and, magnifying it with action and invoked forces, is released for the maximal effect upon the intended aim. See: Cone of Power.


In most circles of power, conjurations of the elemental/divine ‘quarters’ (or, guardians, watchtowers, etc) are established in the four cardinal directions. This establishes some noteworthy events:


The Crossroads. The four directions intersect and creates a crossroads within the circle. And, according to tradition, all witchcraft happens at the crossroads. The witch/magician who stands within the center then becomes the center axis and conduit upon which the forces are directed. This is one reason why the High Priestess and/or High Priest stands in the center.


Guardians. Whenever you cast a circle, it becomes a lighthouse that beacons across the etherial worlds. This has the uncanny effect of attracting anything to its attention. Thus, the guardians make certain that the ritual proceedings are not influenced by outside, unwanted forces. They are the divine doormen that only allows the invited within and prevents the uninvited guest from crashing the party.


Assistance. Sometimes, they are requested to ‘lend their power’ to a specific operation. They may be requested to bless and consecrate new tools- or, the new initiate. Their assistance amplifies the ritual and thus increases the certainty that one’s Will be done.


It should be noted that the quarters are often established in a circle whose sacred space is purely devotional, too. In this case, they prevent external disturbance and also share in the communion with the gods.



The Circle of Protection


And, finally, the Witch or Magician may find cause in working with a particular entity of which one should hope to never have a direct encounter with elsewhere. Typically, we are talking about negative or chaotic spirits. Sometimes, even, it’s not a negative entity, but rather one too overwhelming in presence and you want a buffer between you and the spirit. In all cases, you want to make certain that your circle is especially fortified. Archangelic and God-forms typically stand as guardian. You want to make damn sure that it cannot reach out and cop a feel on your magical rump at any point during the ritual.


Some of these circles can be lengthy in time to erect. Some may include physical boundaries, too, such as with salt or red brick dust, for extra protection. Invocations delivered to invest the magician with the authority of the divine are commonplace, and sometimes demands, backed by threats, are made to submit the spirit to your Will. In other cases, you simply need to ask the spirit, but you still want that partition between you two. Whatever the case, the circle must be flawless in its creation. An error could be quite disastrous.


Why would someone do all me this? For the same reason that a government might ‘hire’ criminals to do some dirty work. Sometimes, no others can quite do the work like an angry ‘ghost’ or something out of the belly of the underworld. Far more often than not, however, the vast majority of magic users will be without the need for this type.”


This last bit is not something that I would ever feel comfortable with, but protection is still something to think about.


For the HOW I want to first look at Christopher Penczak’s method in the Outer Temple of Witchchraft as this is the closest to my own philosophy of circle casting. The process, at it’s core, is not about words or gestures, but the heart of the practitioner. Up until this point we have been working on visualization and meditative states. A circle is created by using one’s own inner power and the power of visualization.


1,To begin I would suggest as Penczak does to go back to the Inner Temple exercise of counting down to a meditative state (the beginning of his total relaxation audio ritual. It is written inside the Inner Temple pdf if you did not hear the audio) The one where he counts down from 12-1- The numbers appearing on the screen of your mind, slowly relaxing you into an altered state.

2. Then you must think of that inner power. Re-create inside yourself that awareness, in your heart, mind, body and soul. Acknowledge your sacredness and the sacredness of the space around you. Gather yourself at your center.

3 using your projective hand (the hand you write with is your power hand) Turn in a circle, clockwise, visualizing a stream of light coming from your hand. Eyes opened or close as you prefer

*** For those who have trouble visualizing as I do, do not hesitate to rub your hands briskly together before doing so to help you “feel” while you “see””

Whatever color you visualize is just fine. Experiment with different colors.

4 Trace a 2nd circle to re-enforce the first

5 Trace a third over the others. You can change colors as you go if you wish.

6 Feel the shift in energy or vibrations from inside the circle. This may take some practice and that is ok!


To release the circle, there are 2 ways of doing it.  Both start by re-tacing your steps backwards (counter clockwise) with your other or receptive hand. Begin by re-tracing the circle as you had created it

First one is to imagine that you are pushing back a curtain, when the circle is complete, you are pushing out the curtain ring. This, like a pebble dropped into some water causes the ring of light to expand out infinitely.

The 2nd is to imagine that you are a vacuum and are sucking up the light and grounding it down your body into your feet and down into the earth.


When you are done, return to your normal conscious sate and do any necessary grounding. (Stomp your feet hard a few times is a good quick way)


For people who are new to circle casting try this out without words for a few times to get the hang of the actual circle before adding any words. I think too often, we get bogged down with ceremony and forget the actual necessary core work.


Circle casting with words:

As I said in the beginning, there are umpteen methods for circle casting, ranging from the quite detailed to the very simple. This will be a personal choice. Usually people have 2 methods. One with all the bells and whistles and one very bare bones method to be used in a pinch for shielding or protection.


I asked a few of the more experienced members to write down their methods and I am going to include a few here. Please don’t hesitate to experiment and to find what feels right to you.




“May St Uriel be in front of me, St. Michael Behind me

St. Raphael to my right and St Gabriel to my left

Above my head and below my feet the presence of the Divine Spirit

As above, so below the powers assemble, and my magic holds.

I visualize a shield rise like in the last movie of Harry Potter lol



Starting in the North:

I call for security from the Divine. Hail St Uriel guardian of the Earth that is Her body

East: I call knowledge and intuition true. Hail St. Raphael guardian of the Air that is Her breath

South: I call for passion and courage for all that I do. Hail St. Michael guardian of Fire that is Her Spirit

West: Grant me visions and bless me with love. Hail St. Gabriel guardian of water that is Her living womb

As above, so below the powers assemble, and my magic holds.

To release:

West South East North

Thank you AA_______ for your presence today,

Go if you must, stay if you will

May we always meet in perfect love and perfect trust.

The circle is now open but never un-broken

Release the magic as my words are spoken



Adrienne’s simple version:

This is the Circle casting method I used most    You will notice that some of the steps you have read about in other casting rituals are not listed here.  I’ve cast Circles on a grander scale but I find this more to my liking due to usual time constraints.  The items I need are already on my alter (blessed salt, candles, oils, etc.)


My alter is in my very crowded bedroom against the wall, therefore, in order to cast a circle you must visualize beyond the wall…  this is where your practice comes in to play.  When I see the circle as I cast, it starts as a bright blue light that grows into an iridescent sphere when it is complete.

*** I would like to say here that some of word in the ritual are original and some from other sources that I‘ve heard or read and resonated with me.

Before I begin I will have water and 2-3 drops of the oil I wish to use in the warmer.  I usually use Lavender, but if I am doing a particular working, I will choose one that is compatible.

First, Ground and Center.  


Cleansing the Space Take a pinch of salt and add it to the water in the oil warmer and say, “May the Elements of Earth, Air, (light the candle in the warmer) Fire, and Water consecrate and cleanse this sacred space.   Stand and breathe. Be in the moment. Visualize the scent filling the room. Feel any negativity evaporate from the room.


Casting Standing facing North, take your wand or projective hand, pointing in front of you – visualize a light marking the circle as you turn Deozil, to East, South, and West, coming back to North.   As you turn, recite the following:


“By the Earth that is Her body,

By the Air that is Her breath,

By the Fire that is Her bright spirit,

By the Water that is Her ever living womb,

This circle is cast!  May it be blessed.”


Calling the Quarters/Guardians of the Watchtowers

I call to the Guardians of the watchtowers, requesting protection of my sacred circle  ~ (In my practice, I consider the Guardians to be the Archangels.  Use whatever words fit your Path.)  ~ Beginning in the North, and turning as you go, recite: “Uriel of North and Earth, Raphael of Air and East, Michael of Fire and South, Gabriel of Water and South, Hail and Welcome!”

There is usually another shift in the air once the quarters have been called.


Inviting Deity

Next, light the Goddess and God candles on the alter and say:

“I invite my Lord and Lady to join me in my Sacred Circle.  Hail and welcome!”

Once again, a discernable shift can usually be felt here.

Then announce your intention.

“May my working of (announce your intended working ~ scrying, spell work, meditation) be protected and blessed.  May it be for the good of all, harming none.”

~~Proceed with your intended workings.


Lifting the Circle When your working is done, stand facing North.  Extend your wand or hand, turning widdershins recite:


“By the Earth that is Her body,

By the Water that is Her ever-living womb,

By the Fire that is Her bright spirit,

By the Air that is Her breath, This Circle is lifted! “

As you are doing this, visualize the light from the Circle drawing back up into your wand or hand.


Farewell to Deity and the Guardians Recite (or paraphrase) the following:


“My Lord and Lady, the blessed Archangels,

Thank you for your presence your protection and your blessing.

Go if you must, stay if you will!”

At this point, I stand in front of the alter and ground and center again.


Whole Ritual for Andrea



Before the ritual:

I usually have a bath with bubbles or salts (helps me to relax and to alter consciousness)

I don’t have a “ritual wear”, but I wear things that are comfortable.

Put some appropriate music.

I do a little meditation for 20 minutes or so.


Space Purification:

I walk around the space where my circle will be, with a little broom, sweeping. Usually chanting about letting go all the negative energies and letting in all the good ones.


Casting the circle:

At this point I lay out my altar items according to the elements… I have a shelf altar (kind of a little table) but when I do ritual, I prefer to lay all my tools and stuff on the floor, I guess is more comfortable for me.


My altar has:

Salt (for Earth), Incense or oils (for Air), Candles (for Fire) and Water

Bread or cake (something typical for a sabbat if it’s a sabbat ritual)

Wine (mostly red)

A candle representing the Goddess and a candle for the God (but sometimes I use the tarot cards of the sun and the moon to represent them)

Quarter Candles : Green (North), Yellow (East), Red (South) and Blue (West) and matches at hand… I love candles, but they’re all come encased in jars for security.







Wine Glass

Stones, herbs or talismans (depending on the ritual)


My ritual book (kind of like a book of shadows, but I only have rituals in it… it’s kind of a normal small spiral book, pretty but nothing too fancy)



With the athame, standing up, looking down to my tools and facing the altar, I draw an imaginary pentagram in the air to bless all my tools while saying an invocation: “Blessed Be, Instruments of Light, Tools now of magick with power and might.”


Now, sitting down (I do the whole ritual like this, more comfortable), I light the candles (except the quarter candles) and incense or oils (for the oils I use a little votive candle and an oil diffuser).


Bless the altar elements with an invocation for each one of them. “Element of (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), I cleanse and consecrate you in the names of the Lord and Lady. I bring their blessings upon you now. So mote it be.” Visualize a sparkling light surrounding and infusing the element.

Then I say “Powers of (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), this circle grace. Purify, cleanse, and bless this space.”


Ring bell 3 times and declare that I’m starting to cast my circle: “The circle is about to be cast and I freely stand within to greet the Lady and the Lord.”


Calling the Quarters:

I light the quarter candles and invoke them, starting in the north moving towards the west. (I could use a generic invocation or, if I feel creative, I make a nice invocation that has to do with a particular sabbat or full moon) — first, I light them and second, I say the invocation:

[North] “I call upon light and earth at the north to illuminate and strengthen the circle.”

[East] “I call upon light and air at the east to illuminate and enliven the circle.”

[South] “I call upon light and fire at the south to illuminate and warm the circle.”

[West] “I call upon light and water at the west to illuminate and cleanse the circle.”

Facing north and with the athame or wand, I declare that the circle has been cast:

“Round and Round the Circle’s Cast, Joining Present, Future and Past. A Sacred Place, A World Apart, Where Powers Merge and Magick Starts.”

Then I Take up athame and point it to the sky, while saying, “As above…”

Then I lower athame to point it at the ground, while saying, “So below.”


Invoking Goddess and God:

I welcome the God and Goddess with a nice invocation, something like: “Hail to the elementals at the four quarters! Welcome Lady and Lord to this ritual! I stand between the worlds with perfect love and perfect trust!”


And then, pour some wine in my wine cup and drink to them (just a little bit :p) I hold the cup up  (all facing north) and say: “I drink to the God and Goddess.”  … usually ending with a “blessed be” or something more elaborated.


Then I present myself before them, do some affirmation of communion with the Divinity honoring them and to say thank you for their blessings.

“I, (magickal name), who am your child, stand between the worlds and call upon my Lady and my Lord, to hold communion with me. If it harms none, do what you will. Thus runs the Witches Rede. I affirm my joy of life and union with the Lady and the Lord. I honor the God and the Goddess for the favors they have bestowed upon me, and ask their blessings upon me.”


I usually say something to honor and bless the elements at the service of the Divinity, presenting each one of them to the God and Goddess.

I set the bowl water on the pentacle, hold the athame over it pointing down, and say: “Great Mother, bless this creature of water and earth to your service.”

Putting back the bowl water to its place: “Great Mother, I Honor you!”


Placing censer or oil diffuser on the pentacle, hold athame over it pointing down, and say: “Great Father, bless this creature of fire and air to your service.”

Returning censer to its place on the altar: “Great Father, I honor you!”


During Ritual:

I usually do a meditation just to be there in silence, enjoying the moment and the connection with the universe, accepting the energies and being thankful.

I do some “raising and sending energies” exercises. The way I do them may vary but they are very connected with the previous meditation.

If I have to do a spell, this is when it happens, but I don’t normally do them… I also, don’t have a patron deity, but when doing a spell and according to the nature of it (or when doing a certain moon ritual), I can call an aspect of deity just to connect better with the intention.

Grounding and earthing exercises also, to give mother earth the excess of energy and to better connect with her.


Cakes and Wine:

Raising the cup of wine: “Power and grace, beauty and strength are in the Lady and the Lord both. Patience and love; wisdom and knowledge. I honor you both!” I take a sip of wine: “may I never thirst, blessed be” I put back the cup of wine.


Raising the dish with the bread, I say: “Power and grace, beauty and strength are in the Lady and the Lord both. Patience and love; wisdom and knowledge. I honor you both!” I take a bite of the bread: “may I never hunger, blessed be” and put back the dish.


Releasing the Quarters:

Starting in the north and moving to the east, I say goodbye to the elements, blessing and thanking them, while blowing or snuffing out the candles for each of the elements.

I put my hand over each candle saying:

[North] Depart in peace, Elemental Earth. My blessings take with you!

(Snuff the Northern element candle before proceeding to the next quarter)

[West] Depart in peace, Elemental Air. My blessings take with you!

(Snuff the Western element candle before proceeding to the next quarter)

[South] Depart in peace, Elemental Fire. My blessings take with you!

(Snuff the Southern element candle before proceeding to the next quarter)

[East] Depart in peace, Elemental Water. My blessings take with you!

(Snuff the Eastern element candle before proceeding to the next quarter)


Facing the Altar, Say:

“Beings and powers of the visible and invisible, depart in peace! You aid in my work, whisper in my mind, and bless me from the Otherworld, and there is harmony between us. My blessings take with you. The circle is cleared.”


Thanking The God and the Goddess:

I say thanks while blowing or snuffing their candles, or, if I use the tarot cards, I just put them on top of my pentagram (for some reason, It just feels right… and they usually stay in this position in my shelf altar).

Thanking the Goddess, Say: “I give thanks to the Goddess for guarding my circle and joining my rite. Hail and farewell.”  Extinguish the goddess candle.


Thanking the God, Say: “I give thanks to the God for guarding my circle and joining my rite. Hail and farewell.”   Extinguish the god candle.


Closing the circle:

Ring the Bell 3 times, Standing up, facing north, facing the altar, I take the athame and retract the energy of the circle back into myself by moving widdershins  (counter-clockwise) beginning in the north around to the east (North – West- South – East – North) envisioning the blue light going into the athame, using the following chant (3 times): “The circle is open yet the circle remains as its magical power is drawn back into me.”

Once the circle is closed, I say: “The ceremony is ended. The circle is open, but unbroken.”


If I still feel like “not so much in contact with the world” or lightheaded or just  like “something is not quite right”, I ground and earth energy again.


Time to clean up, I put almost all my items in their usual places in my shelf-altar.



Moon wolf Full ritual :


Ritual 1 (Standard)


Clean area

Set up alter

Bless Tools

Purification bath

Draw circle with salt

Purify Space (Broom & sage)

Breathing Exercise

Alert Spirits of intent


“In this sacred space and time

I call now the old ones

The Guardians of the Watch Towers

North, East, South and West

The Goddess of the moon

Of sea’s and rivers

The God of the rayed sun,

Of valley’s and forests

Draw near me and aid me

While I cast my circle

Blessed Be!”

(ring bell)


9.          Consecrate and Cleanse Water

(dip Athame into water holding upright and visualize Athame blasting away all negative energy from water)


“I consecrate and cleanse this water,

that it may be purified and fit to dwell within my sacred circle.

In the name of the Mother Goddess and Father God,

I consecrate this water.”


10.          Bless the Salt

(hold left hand over salt and visualize all negative energy being blasted away from salt)


“I bless this salt that it may be fit to dwell within my sacred circle.

In the name of the Mother Goddess and Father God,

I bless this salt.”


(add three pinches of salt to the water and with right index finger stir round 3X)


“Together the two are one”

(bless self)


11. Alert Quarters

“Guardians of the watch towers

Great Spirits of the Standing Stones

Ancient Ones and all ruled by the elements,

I call upon you to attend my circle I do cast,

To charge it with your powers and wisdom

Protect me and guide me as I work my craft.

I invoke thee!”

(ring bell)


12. Circle Casting

(1st deosil ~ SALT /visualize purple energy)


“I conjure thee, O Great Circle of Power

As a place of perfect love and

perfect trust during this hour in this place,

this circle round,

I consecrate this sacred ground with purple light,

this space surround all powers here contained & bound.”


(2nd deosil ~ WATER /visualize blue energy)


“From earth, the things that manifest

From air, the things of mind from fire,

the things that motivate from water,

the soul is refined.”


(3rd deosil ~ ATHAME / visualize white energy)


“And yet no place of time there be

Between the worlds, realms and me

Welcome Ancient Ones, come see

My circle within a circle times three

This circle is now sealed & bound

And so I stand on sacred ground.

Blessed Be!”

(ring bell)


13.Call quarters

(EAST ~ yellow energy ~ light incense)


“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the East,

Ancient Ones and all who are ruled by the element of Air

I call upon you to attend my circle rightly cast to charge it

and invoke your powers of visions and wisdom.

Watch over me, protect me and guide me in my craft this day.

I invoke thee!”


(SOUTH ~ red energy ~ light candle)


“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the South,

Ancient Ones and all who are ruled by the element of Fire

I call upon you to attend my circle rightly cast to charge it

and invoke your powers of protection and health.

Watch over me, protect me and guide me in my craft this day.

I invoke thee!”


(WEST ~ blue energy ~ pore water)


“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the West,

Ancient Ones and all who are rules by the element of Water

I call upon you to attend my circle rightly cast to charge it

and invoke your powers of healing and friendship.

Watch over me, protect me and guide me in my craft this day.

I invoke thee!”


(NORTH~ green energy ~ flowers, salt or dirt)


“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the North,

Ancient Ones and all who are ruled by the element of Earth,

I call upon you to attend my circle rightly cast,

to charge it and invoke your powers of prosperity and fertility.

Watch over me, protect me and guide me in my craft this day.

I invoke thee!”


14.Call Deity



(standing at alter facing North with arms raised high)


“Gracious Goddess,

you who are the queen of the God’s

The lamp of the night,

the creator of all that is wild & free;

Mother of woman & man;

Lover of the horned God

And protector of all;

Descend I pray,

With your lunar ray of power

Upon my circle here this hour.

Blessed Be!”

(ring bell)



(standing at alter facing North with arms crossed over chest)


“Blazing God,

You who are the King of God’s,

Lord of the rayed sun,

Master of all that is wild & free;

Father of woman & man;

Lover of the moon Goddess

And protector of all;

Descend I pray,

With your solar ray of power

Upon my circle this hour.

Blessed Be!

(ring bell)


15. Circle Blessing


“This is a time that is not a time,

In a place that is not a place,

On a day that is not a day.

O Gracious Goddess and Great God,

I have built this circle with perfect love and perfect trust So that no harm shall enter in or from within.

It is a holy place between human world and spirit realm, Where I honor you and work my will

Under your care and guidance.

Blessed Be!

(ring bell)


16. Observation

(pick one or two)

~Sabbat Observation

~Spell work








17. Simple Feast ~ Grounding


“In the name of the Horned God,

I bless this bounty.

May I never hunger.”

(leave a small portion for offering)



“In the name of the Goddess,

I bless this drink.

May I never thirst.”

(leave a small portion for offering)


18. Release and thank quarters




“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the North

And all who are ruled by the element of Earth,

I thank you for assisting me in my craft this day.

Go if you must, stay if you like.

Hail and Farewell!”



“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the West

And all who are ruled by the element of Water,

I thank you for assisting me in my craft this day.

Go if you must, stay if you like.

Hail and Farewell!”



“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the South

And all who are ruled by the element of Fire,

I thank you for assisting me in my craft this day.

Go if you must, stay if you like.

Hail and Farewell!”



“Guardians of the Watch Towers of the East

And all who are ruled by the element of Air,

I thank you for assisting me in my craft this day.

Go if you must, stay if you like.

Hail and Farewell!”


19. Open Circle

(walk windershins around circle with Athame)


“Oh great circle of power

Attend me no more this hour

But be released into my Athame

To attend me again another day.

This circle is now open

Yet the blessings remain and the circle forever unbroken.

Merry Meet, and Merry Part,

until we Merry Meet Again.

Blessed Be!”


Homework :

Do the creating an astral temple ritual that I have re-done and posted to Youtube



2. Practice casting a circle with no words at least 3 times before trying one with words


3. Try one with words-(Only the circle casting not necessarly the whole ritaul that will come)

Don’t worry about finding YOUR method right away, this may take time or change over time


Resources :

Christopher Penczak : Inner and Outer temple of Withcraft



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