Here’s how and why to cast a circle of protection before your ritual or spell.
If you’re new to Witchcraft, perhaps you’ve noticed that many spells and rituals start with the instruction: “First, cast a circle.” Or perhaps “First, cast a circle and call the elements.”
As a beginner, you might be wondering: just what is magical circle, exactly?
And why do you need to cast one?
And how do you cast one?
And what’s this calling the elements thing about?
A magical circle is a protective energetic construct that you build or envision around yourself before working magic, doing a ritual, or sometimes even meditating. For a single magic worker or solitary witch, it’s usually around 5 or 6 feet in diameter, but the size expands based on the size of a group.
Sometimes, the circle is defined by something in the physical world, such as a ring of candles or scarves, or perhaps just symbolic items at the four cardinal points to represent the elements. Other times, it’s defined simply on the energetic plane.
A magic circle serves two main purposes.
First, a magical circle provides protection. When you cast a circle, you cast it with the intention that only positive and beneficent energies may enter or dwell within. This way, when you open yourself up to the energetic realm, you need not worry about picking up any energies or currents that are not for your highest good or the highest good of your ritual or spell.
Second, a magical circle serves as a container for your personal energy as well as the energy you conjure. Your power as a Witch or magical practitioner is clarified and magnified by the circle, sort of like a megaphone. Or, more accurately, have you ever put a cell phone in a cereal bowl to amplify its sound? It’s a lot like that.
Here’s another metaphor for you: imagine the energy you raise during your ritual is like making homemade soup. You add a little of this and a little of that in order to create the intentional flavor you desire. The circle would be your pot. If you tried putting the soup ingredients together without a pot, they couldn’t gather, mix, or…you know…be soup.
Witches and other magical practitioners cast circles in many ways. I’m going to share my go-to method, which is very much on the simple side. You can start here. Once you’re familiar with the practice and the energetics of it, you can add your own flourishes or techniques and generally make it your own.
Find a flat, somewhat open space – indoors or out – where you won’t be disturbed.
If you don’t already know them, find the four cardinal directions using a compass (there is probably one on your smart phone).
Place a simple representation of each of the four elements at each corresponding point around an imagined circle, about 5 or 6 feet in diameter: Earth/north, Air/east, Fire/south, Water/west.
Here are some ideas for items you might choose to represent the elements around your magic circle:
Earth: rock, crystal, potted plant, ceramic dish
Fire: candle, essential oil burner with tea light
Water: sea shell, chalice with water in it
Stand facing east, in the center of the circle. Relax and breathe until you feel calm, centered, and present. Envision the wind whipping around you and get really in tune with the element of air. Simply say, “Spirits of Air, I call on you.”
Turn to the south. Envision crackling flames and the noonday sun. Get in tune with fire and say, “Spirits of Fire, I call on you.”
Turn to the west. Envision flowing water in waves and waterfalls and streams, possibly moving around your body. When you feel attuned with water, say, “Spirits of Water, I call on you.”
Turn to the north. Conjure up the scent of the earth after it rains. Imagine the silence and darkness of a cave and the rooted feeling of being barefoot on the earth. When you feel attuned, say, “Spirits of Earth, I call on you.”
Still facing north, become aware of your feet and send a column or roots of light deep into the core of the Earth. Bring golden white light up from the center of the earth and into your body. Say, “Mother Earth, I call on you.”
Next, send branches or a column of light up from the crown of your head, out of the earth’s atmosphere and into the Infinite Cosmos. Bring golden white light down from the Cosmos and down into your body. Say, “Father Sky, I call on you.”
Within your magic circle, feel protected and contained on all sides, as well as from above and below. Feel gratitude for this Divine support and say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you. The circle is cast. Blessed be.”
Now’s the time to sit or stand in the center of your magic circle and meditate or work your magic.
When you’re finished, be sure to thank each element as well as the earth and cosmos. This is part of closing your magic circle, and releasing the energy it contains.
To do this, stand again.
Face west. Bring Water fondly into your consciousness and simply say, “Water, you were here, and I thank you.”
Face south. Bring Fire fondly into your consciousness and say, “Fire, you were here, and I thank you.”
Face east. Bring Air fondly into your consciousness and say, “Air, you were here, and I thank you.”
Face north. Bring Earth fondly into your consciousness and say, “Earth, you were here, and I thank you.”
Still facing north, consider Mother Earth below you and say, “Mother Earth, you were here, and I thank you.”
Consider Father Sky above you and say, “Father Sky, you were here, and I thank you.”
Say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you. Blessed be. And so it is.”
And after a moment, say, “The circle is open, but never broken. The love of the Goddess is forever in my heart. Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again.”
Feel, sense, and imagine the energy you raised within your magic circle being released and swirling beautifully into the ether. Trust that your magic will do its work, and know in your heart that your magic is complete.
…Did you cast a magical circle using these 6 simple steps? How did it go?
You may like this video that describes What to Expect After You Do a Spell.