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Preparing the Circle and Self
As with all other aspects of working magic and performing ritual, the process of casting a circle is highly individualistic. I cannot emphasize enough that there is no right or wrong way of doing things. As such, and in time, you will find there are many methods of casting a circle, and while one method may work for some, it may not work for others. You need to experiment and try different methods then improvise and do and use what works for you. By doing this you can then form your own method, unique and special to you.
Circle casting is heavily reliant on your abilities to raise power and the use of visualization. So if you are new to magic and circle casting you may wish to take time out here to read my article “What Is Magic”, in which I have explained both techniques.
Purification of Space:
If you are practicing at home as most people do, be aware that “astral garbage”, pockets of negativity and other non-productive energies collect in our living spaces. For instance, you may have had an argument with your husband or spouse, or scolded one of the kids for doing something wrong, or even received an unexpected bill and cussed the sender. These are all perfectly normal everyday happenings but all produce negative energies the residual of which hangs around and remains. As these energies can be disruptive to our “Sacred Space”, we need to ritually cleanse the area being used prior to the start of our workings.
Before lying out your physical circle and altar, clean the area physically with a brush, vacuum cleaner, or mop depending on your floor covering. Now we can clean up any negativity that might be present. There are several ways of doing this:
(1) If you have one among your tools, use the magical broom to ritually sweep away the negative clutter. This in effect is a symbolic action; the bristles of the broom need not actually touch the floor. Sweep rhythmically while visualizing energy sparks or flames shooting out of the broom, blasting all the negativity away. Know and feel it is doing so. You could also set up a rhythmic chant while doing this, using words like: “Sweep, Sweep, Sweep this place. Cleanse and clean my Sacred Space”.
(2) If you don’t have a magical broom, an alternative is to use a bell. Ringing a bell unleashes powerful energies, visualize its vibrations attacking and demolishing any negative energy. Start at the North point of the circle and work your way deosil (clockwise) through East, South and West and ring the bell at each point. Know and feel the vibrations cleansing the area. Any type of bell can be used, but if you can, choose one with a resonant tone.
(3) Another method is to simply burn purifying incense such as frankincense, myrrh, sage, thyme or rosemary. Fumigate the area by walking deosil around the circle and visualize the smoke dispelling any negative energy.
Once the area has been ritually cleansed, mark out your physical circle and place your altar in the center, then lay out all your tools together with any other equipment necessary for your rite or magical work. Next you may wish to purify yourself with a ritual bath or shower, while at the same time preparing yourself mentally for the coming ritual. When you think about it, we are all bombarded each day with negative thoughts and images, from scenes of carnage and destruction on the T.V., and in the newspapers, to our own dark thoughts and negative reactions. Meditate for a while thinking positive things and purify your thoughts ready to begin your ritual.
Once you have bathed and the time to begin approaches, you will need to consider how to dress for your ritual. Many witches particularly those of the Gardnerian path, prefer to work “skyclad” (naked), with the body in its most natural condition. But ritual nudity isn’t for everyone, if you don’t feel comfortable working nude, even in private, then don’t, there are other options. Many wear specialized dress such as robes and tabards. These can be quite ornate or as plain and simple as you like. They can be purpose bought if you don’t mind the expense, or make your own if you are handy with cotton and thread, you can even personalized it with you own runic signs and symbols. Use natural materials and fibers such as cotton, wool or silk and remember also to consider its colour correspondences.
If you don’t have specialized clothing to wear, simply wear some clean loose clothing of a neutral colour. It is normal to keep whatever you wear separate and wear it only for ritual and magic. The idea being that to slip into a garment used only for magic, lends a mystical atmosphere to your rituals by shifting your awareness to the coming proceeding and promoting ritual consciousness. Still, as long as you are happy and comfortable with what you are wearing (or not wearing) then that is fine, but you may wish to experiment and see what suits you best.
One other thing to mention here is "Music". Music and dance since ancient times has been incorporated into religious ceremonies and ritual magic. Not only does music enhance the atmosphere of ritual, it can also have a powerful effect on stimulating our actions and producing magic. Shamans of old (modern ones still do), used rhythmic drumbeats to induce trance like states in which to produce magic. Many modern day witches incorporate and use of music before, during and after their rituals. Pre-selected or recorded music can be played before the ritual to start and aid meditation and set the mood. During the ritual the steady beat of a drum may be used to set the pace of a dance or rhythmic rhyme of a chant. After the ritual has finish, joyous or celebratory music can be played while relaxing. Today there’s are a wide variety of pre-recorded Wiccan and Pagan cassettes tapes available, many are well worth investigating and trying. Alternatively you could simply record appropriate pieces selected from classical, ethnic, folk or contemporary sources.
The last and final thing to do is to make sure you will not be interrupted. Disconnect your telephone, close any open curtains and lock the doors if necessary. If you are working at home and have family, tell them you are not to be disturbed for sometime. Now you are ready to begin and cast your magic circle.
SundanceApproved The B.W.T.P.O.