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Author Topic: The Necessity of Circle Casting  (Read 8401 times)

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FairyQueen

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The Necessity of Circle Casting
« on: November 15, 2011, 01:08:38 PM »

I have noticed one consistency in my study of the pagan "sects*"  that use magick. Circle casting during spells/rituals/cleansings/etc. I vaguely, from what I read, understand that circle casting creates a "sacred" space. An almost spot light effect for the deity to hone in on you while you are doing your magickal workings. I might be wrong here, but I also understand a circle as a way to concentrate magickal workings to make the effects stronger - I could be wrong there though.

Okay, now the reason I'm creating this post: For a pantheist like me, who feels everything is divine and there is no "deity" per se, and that my energy (magick) is pulled from the Universe and the environment around me, how is casting a circle effective? Would that not be counterproductive? Wouldn't casting a circle block the energy from coming to me from my surroundings?

I realize that not everything that pertains to the magickal community will pertain to me, but I'm just concerned that if I do not perform something that is so uh...consistently performed in the magickal community that my workings will not be effective. (Not that I'm anywhere near comfortable yet, still learning)

*I know "sect" has a negative connotation, but its the best word I know to describe individual groups under the same umbrella religion. Sorry...no offense meant!
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dragonspring

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2011, 02:16:47 PM »

The main reason for circle casting besides creating sacred space is to keep out undesirable energies and entities.  The circle does not block anything that should be in there or that you invite in. 
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FairyQueen

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2011, 02:24:54 PM »

The main reason for circle casting besides creating sacred space is to keep out undesirable energies and entities.  The circle does not block anything that should be in there or that you invite in.

If everything is sacred or if all is divine is there any such thing as an "undesirable"? Could I not use its energy to my advantage as well? Does it not have its place? Am I making any sense what-so-ever?  :gaah:
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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2011, 03:00:22 PM »

YOu are making sense, BUT... no, not all energy or entities are desirable or positive or easily worked with. I don't usually cast a circle if I am working on my home turf because I have the entire property warded. All things may be divine... but that doesn't make them all positive OR pro-human. Especially when you are first starting out, err on the side of safety.
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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2011, 03:02:58 PM »

Everything is sacred and everything is divine... that doesn't necessarily mean that everything is helpful or useful for a given work.

For example, chamomile might be great if you're doing something that requires you to be calm and relaxed, but it would not be appropriate to use in a working where you need to be alert and awake. Lemon or ginger would be better for that. Could you use chamomile? Sure. It wouldn't be as effective, though. For that particular work, chamomile is undesirable.

Let's say you have a whole bunch of loose herbs floating around. It would be easier to take the ones you need and put them in the tea ball, rather than throw everything in it and then try to pull out the ones you don't need after the tea has started brewing.

Another analogy - if you're in the library and trying to study with a group, is it easier for you to focus and get things done when there are only the few of you who are involved in the project, or when there's a kindergarten class running around you, coming up to see what you're doing, pestering you and looking over your shoulder? The children aren't "undesirable" in general, in the right situation with the right purpose. But in this situation, it would be better if they were kept away from what you were doing so you could focus on your project instead of having to worry about them.

Just my $0.02.
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Tirya

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 03:09:39 PM »

*I know "sect" has a negative connotation, but its the best word I know to describe individual groups under the same umbrella religion. Sorry...no offense meant!

:) For what it's worth, "traditions" or "denominations" might work better than "sect".
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FairyQueen

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 03:32:44 PM »

Tirya - Thank you so much, for both responses. You definitely put it into perspective.

I guess my next question is, how do you respectfully deny entrance? I'd hate to tick these energy sources off and have them plague my existence because I decided I didn't "need" their help.

Now that just sounds stupid...ugh.
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Tirya

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2011, 03:51:28 PM »

Does a closed door on someone else's house tick you off? :)

(I know there's more explanation that should go with that, but the words aren't coming - that's just what popped into my head, so that's what I'm going with right now... if I figure out the right words, I'll add more.)
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Crystal Dragon

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 03:55:13 PM »

Gonna add my 2 cents before I respond to your last question ...

To me, a circle (circle being a misnomer since it's really a sphere) serves multiple purposes.  Yes, it is a boundary to keep out those energies I don't want in a working.  But it is also a connection to the Universe ... when I create a circle, I am creating a sacred space within the Universe and all it's dimensions (not just the 4 we physically experience) and it connects my personal space with the space in other realms.  It also helps to act as a means of focusing, concentrating, and sending out the energies I create within the circle.


I guess my next question is, how do you respectfully deny entrance? I'd hate to tick these energy sources off and have them plague my existence because I decided I didn't "need" their help.

Don't know about others, but my feeling is that the circle I create is MY space and only those entities/energies that I specifically invite in are allowed ... all others are kept out by default.  Tir's comment about a closed door is a good analogy. ;)

As an aside, even my animals respect the boundaries of a circle. I once had a need to create one in a small room and part of the circle "cut" into the corner of one of my fish tanks.  The fish came all the way up to the circle's boundary, but not to the side of the tank like they usually do.  I found that interesting at the time because I'd not been doing ritual work for very long back then.
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FairyQueen

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 03:58:46 PM »

Thanks Tirya and Crystal Dragon. I love the plain speak explanations. They definitely help my frazzled brain - I probably should talk to more adults, toddler talk is all I hear all day and it definitely has effected my understanding lol
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Crystal Dragon

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2011, 04:01:22 PM »

Having kids will do that to ya. ;)

And I just realized that really didn't get into why entities don't get ticked off at us.

When we create a circle/bubble as a sacred space, we are staking our claim (though it may be temporary) to a small space in the Universe.  The circle has the effect of being like a "do not disturb" sign on a hotel room door.  It's not negative, nor is it taken in a negative manner.

Most of the entities out in the Universe find humans to be slow, boring creatures and tend to ignore us anyway, so I've never worried about ticking anyone/anything off and have never had a sense of any of them being annoyed.
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Tirya

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2011, 04:04:08 PM »

LOL!

I apologize for the shortness on the second answer. Sometimes I'll read something and a reply pops immediately into my head, and I've learned over the years that when that happens, it's generally good for me to post it.

The frustrating thing is when the reply that pops in is a one-sentence thing (like the door comment), and for the life of me I can't come up with more words to help it make sense. ;)
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Zlat

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2011, 04:12:12 PM »

Just as an aside, if you want a little different perspective on the purpose and use of circle casting. If you get some time to read it, look into runelore casting. There's a specific means and method of creating a sacred space, that basically incorporates all the runes (and what they represent) to surround you in that sphere (it's not really a flat circle). It sort of puts you in a nexus between the worlds, elements, etc...

And there's the keeping out counter-productive energies, not to mention ill-meaning critters...

I'll post a good book title if you're interested, don't have it on me atm.
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FairyQueen

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2011, 04:41:33 PM »

I'll post a good book title if you're interested

I'm totally interested! Thank you!
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Zlat

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 06:03:50 PM »

Sure. I'm at my parents house cooking supper at the moment, but when I get home in a few hours I'll post the details up on this thread. :)
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earthmuffin

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2011, 08:53:49 PM »

For me the circle-casting (or creating sacred space) is, in addition to what others have said, an important precursor to the main ritual workings as it helps me get into the appropriate frame of mind and level of consciousness in order to do the work. As an example, I burn sage and play a drum and rattle before I do a shamanic journey and the acts of burning the sage and playing the instruments and well as the sounds and smells that accompany those actions prepare my brain for journeying by helping induce a trance state. Spirits are also invited to the space at this time. Circle-casting basically works the same way.
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Zlat

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2011, 09:11:59 PM »

Here's the book I mentioned.

FUTHARK: A Handbook of Rune Magic.
Author: Edred Thorsson
copyright: 1991
Publisher: Weiser

The 4th chapter is the one that has the rituals in it, titled Rune Work
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FairyQueen

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2011, 10:17:39 PM »

For me the circle-casting (or creating sacred space) is, in addition to what others have said, an important precursor to the main ritual workings as it helps me get into the appropriate frame of mind and level of consciousness in order to do the work.

Thanks earthmuffin! I hadn't thought of it this way, either. That makes a lot of sense even if it didn't serve any other purpose.
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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2011, 11:49:55 PM »

I have noticed one consistency in my study of the pagan "sects*"  that use magick. Circle casting during spells/rituals/cleansings/etc. I vaguely, from what I read, understand that circle casting creates a "sacred" space. An almost spot light effect for the deity to hone in on you while you are doing your magickal workings. I might be wrong here, but I also understand a circle as a way to concentrate magickal workings to make the effects stronger - I could be wrong there though.

That is one purpose. One way to look at it (and there are many) is to think of it as a propane tank. If you just let the propane dissipate into the air as you produce it, you lose a lot of it. If you bottle it up in a tank then you can hold it while you are producing it and keep it safe and uncontaminated until you are ready to use it.

The circle can be used like that. You can hold the magical energies in place until you are ready to let it loose in one go.

Also as it is being stored, other energies and blessings can be placed on it as you are holding it. Either directly or as a side benefit of letting the powers of the divine in and letting it get charged by the workings in the circle.

Quote
Okay, now the reason I'm creating this post: For a pantheist like me, who feels everything is divine and there is no "deity" per se, and that my energy (magick) is pulled from the Universe and the environment around me, how is casting a circle effective? Would that not be counterproductive? Wouldn't casting a circle block the energy from coming to me from my surroundings?

When you create a circle, you are not isolating yourself from everything. You are casting a barrier to prevent anything you do not want from coming in and to allow that which you allow to come in. Think of it as a firewall for a computer. It protects you from the harmful things on the internet but does not cut you off from the internet.

So you cast a circle. In the circle you can isolate yourself from the negative thoughts of your neighbors, the negative energies of society (especially at this high stress part of the year). You have a clean slate in which to work. Now that you are encircled you can then let in the powers of the Divine, the powers of the elements, the powers of others that are willing and able to help you. You can do this because you invite them in.

Quote
I realize that not everything that pertains to the magickal community will pertain to me, but I'm just concerned that if I do not perform something that is so uh...consistently performed in the magickal community that my workings will not be effective. (Not that I'm anywhere near comfortable yet, still learning)

The energy out there in the world is there for you to use. Much of it has no shape and has no direction. You need to use your will to ask permission of the Divine (Elements, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Lord and Lady, etc)  to use that surplus energy and to channel it to fit your needs. this is why we often say that visualization is a very important part of what we do.

You don't need to cast one to do magical workings, but many find that it being a cleansed space that is isolated (until you let things in) is very peaceful and allows them to better achieve focus.

Quote
*I know "sect" has a negative connotation, but its the best word I know to describe individual groups under the same umbrella religion. Sorry...no offense meant!

I think you're thinking of "Tradition" or "Path". They are better at explaining what we are. I can say that I'm Wiccan but follow a family tradition or path. Others may say that they follow the Gardnerian path. Still others may say that they follow Norse Traditions. Etc and so on.
[/quote]
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FairyQueen

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2011, 12:04:27 AM »

Everyone says "circle" or "sphere" but the visualization that I get from what you all have posted makes me think funnel and on the one end of the funnel there is a cheese cloth filter.

Why a circle (sphere)? Why not a square (cube)?

I'm sure I'm just being silly now...:\
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Crystal Dragon

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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2011, 03:34:44 AM »

I don't know where the term 'circle' comes from but the sphere shape is intuitive and logical because the sphere in nature is the strongest possible shape and easily holds surface tension.  That's why soap bubbles are sphere shaped. ;)
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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2011, 06:29:10 AM »

The term "circle" most likely comes from medieval Ceremonial Magic Grimorires.
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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2011, 06:53:31 AM »


I have a different visual- for me, raising the circle progresses first from empowering the ring, then growing it to a fence, then to an infinite tube, rather than a sphere. It may be my linear thinking, but a sphere 9' in diameter- the most commonly quoted size- is only 4 1/2' in radius, meaning your head and shoulders protrude out of the top! A sphere permitting a dozen adults in the center without cutting their heads off would have to be at least 20' in diameter, and realistically, unless you're standing shoulder to shoulder, more like 30'!

peace,
ES
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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2011, 09:46:38 AM »

ES's comments raises the question why a sphere 9 feet in diameter was chosen as the "proper" size in the first place.

Who came up with that size?
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Re: The Necessity of Circle Casting
« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2011, 09:49:28 AM »

To answer my own question (did a little research) it was in the Gardnerian BOS; however there was no mention of a sphere ever being envisioned so that was apparently a later add-on of somebody or other.
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