There are lots of books out there that talk about how to cast a circle, but they leave a lot out, I think. So here’s my step-by-step, and how I experience it.
- Planning the space: Assuming all of your ritual “stuff” is set up and in place, you have to decide where the circle boundaries are going to be. If you’re working with others, discuss the boundaries before beginning in case some of them can’t perceive the energy well enough (yet) to keep from crossing the circle. Because things come up unexpectedly, always plan where a temporary door into/out of your circle may need to be. Due to the layout of my living room, that can only be in the South or Southeast, for example.
- First breath, Ground and center: Take a deep breath, let the tension flow out of you down to the center of the Earth, and as you inhale focus on your heartbeat to make you fully present in your head with the energy of the Earth filling you up.
- Second breath, Open to the sky: Make sure your crown chakra is open to the moon, the stars, the sun and breathe that stellar energy in to mix with the Earth energy in your solar plexus.
- Third breath, Turn it up: Basically, as you inhale the third breath picture the Earth and Stellar energies making you glow brighter and brighter, then set your breathing on automatic and keep that image in your head.
- Anchoring the circle: Choose your starting point. I like starting/ending my circle in the North, because that’s the direction of Earth for me and that’s where all things come from. You may choose something different, and if it works well for you that’s fine, but you have to start/end casting the circle in the same place, or it isn’t a circle at all.
- Begin casting: I’m going to remind you that you’ve charged yourself up with energy, so here’s where you start using it. Keep in mind, that while you’re casting the circle you are still also charging yourself up so you shouldn’t feel depleted when you’re finished.
- Whether using your hand or a ritual tool to direct the energy, start a stream of energy flowing to the starting point and leave it hanging in mid-air as you move your hand to draw the line of energy, and step to the right. Go all the way around the room, maintaining the flow of energy from the earth/stars into your body, down your hand, and into the circle.
- Tie it off: As you’ve moved around the room leaving the energy for the circle behind you and replenishing yourself from the cosmos, you will come back to your starting point. I like to draw that last bit of the circle into an infinity loop, the final stroke of which will connect it to the point I started from. In my mind, this keeps the energy moving while I am not the source of it.
- Finishing: By the time you’ve tied off with your infinity knot, you should feel the change ripple through the space like the rings on a pond after tossing a pebble in.
And that’s it. Your space is warded, your circle is cast, and you’re ready to start your ritual or spell. The person casting the circle usually also maintains a “watchful eye” on it during the ritual to make sure it stays up.
As for opening or un-casting the circle, there are more options than I'm listing here, but these are the most common:
- Break it: Yep, some people cut the circle with an athame and declare the space open, letting the energy disperse.
- Suck it up: Some people are more comfortable drawing the energy of the circle into a tool for “storage” to be used in the next ritual.
- Earth it: Some folks will uncast the circle directing the energy into the Earth.
Now, it doesn’t have to really be round. It can be an ovoid shape, depending on the space you’re in and the number of folks in it. If you’re in a really long room, you won’t have a round ritual space. It’s OK, the important bit is having the space enclosed by magic.
You can choose to cast silently, but if you’re with a group sometimes having words spoken while casting can help the group share the same imagery for the circle, and they will feed energy into the person casting it so that the circle is strengthened additionally by the combined will of the group.
Happy Zapping, Witches.