Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism, for the Novice to the Crone

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In many books you have read, you have probably been instructed to “create scared space” or “cast a circle” and may have felt confused about just what exactly, you were suppose to do and why. Creating scared space or casting a circle means that you are changing the energy configuration of a room or space within a room to an energy which is neutral, cleansed of any nonessential vibrations that may not be helpful or may even be jarring to the ritual or ceremony that you are about to perform. Casting a circle contains, focuses and intensifies the energies that you will raise during your rite. By clearing, cleansing and sealing a space for your rites, the magickal energy can be contained and built up for the proper moment of release into the universe.

You cleanse and focus the energies within the shape of a circle because it is a circular motion that magickal energies move. Just as our planet is round, it also rotates in a circular motion each day and moves in a circular motion around the Sun. Haven't you noticed that when you let the water out of your bathtub, the water swirls in a circle as it moves down the drain?

The creating of sacred space or casting a circle can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it. The main components regardless of the way you choose to do it are that you lay out the size of your space, mark the perimeters, cleanse the interior and take it down or release the energies at the end of your ritual.

Before you begin your ritual, you will need to decide if it is an internal or external working. In other words, is it a working that affects your subconscious mind like the one to recall past life memories or to rid yourself of bad habits? Then it is an internal working- it affects you internally. If it is a ritual to affect the world around you- a prosperity spell or one to fine the perfect job or home- then it is an external working. The reason you care is that for internal workings you will create sacred space by directing the energies in an anticlockwise (widdershins) direction, which helps to draw the energies inward. For external workings you will create sacred space by moving and directing the energies in a clockwise (deosil) direction, which spreads the energies and sends the energy outwards. If you will be casting a circle inside, clear the room of chairs, tables and anything that might obstruct your movements in any way as you move around the circle. If you will be outside, clear the area of rocks and sticks that you might painfully step on and choose a location that is relatively flat.

Assemble all the necessities of your rite (candles, incenses, oils, magickal tools, charcoal, matches, salt, water and any odds and ends you want) on your alter which will be set up in the center of the circle facing NORTH. When you set up your alter, place all of your tools on it in a balanced manner and put one lit White candle (called the flame candle) in the center of the alter. The Flame candle is optional but always a good addition to any rite. In each of the directions, place a candle at the edge of your circle for the Quarters. You will begin by going to the north or east quarter of your circle. You will decide for yourself which quarter or direction you will begin- some people who practice a Nature Oriented spirituality begin in the north, others who follow western ceremonial magickal traditions begin in the east for it is there that the Sun rises. If you use a ritual knife, raise it high in the air above your head and begin to fill it with energy from the universe around you, then drop your arm pointing the knife at the ground and send energy out of the knife into the ground, tracing the perimeter of the circle in a line of energy as you walk the inside of the perimeter, making sure you are marking out enough space to work in comfortably. If you do not use a knife, simply, raise your writing arm over your head, fill yourself with energy and then drop your arm sending the energy out of your hand as you mark the perimeter of the circle. The later of the two is more personable to many but you can chose either one. They b

oth are great examples.

Go to the alter in the center of the circle and pour some spring or distilled water into your chalice, then add 3 or 4 pinches of salt (for the element Earth). Go to the North or the East (wherever you started when you drew out your Circle) and sprinkle the salt/water as you walk the Circle completely, feeling the elements of Earth and Water cleansing the area and balancing it. If you wish to add a chant as you cleanse the Circle, it can help you concentrate and visualize the cleansing even better. Return to the alter and light your charcoal in your incense burner with the Flame candle. Let the charcoal ignite completely then drop a small amount of incense onto it (this can be the incense specifically for your rite or a traditional cleansing incense such as Frankincense of Sage leaves). Go to the same starting quarter and cense the circle as you walk the perimeter again with your incense burner. This represents the elements of Fire and Air. Again, feel the elements of air and fire cleansing the area and balancing it. If you feel that the censing is only for the element of Air, then you can also add one more step with a White candle starting and finishing in the same fashion as before, with the water and incense, to represent the element of Fire. Now is the time to call or invoke the Quarters. This means that you are inviting the energies of each of the elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, to bring power and balance to your circle. Earth is associated with the North Quarter, Air is associated with the East Quarter, Fire is associated with the South Quarter and Water is associated with the West Quarter. Once again, go to your starting quarter. Meditate on the qualities of that element (see elemental correspondences).

There are many ways that you can invoke the quarters. You may wish to concentrate on the divine nature of that quarter and verbally or mentally address a deity of the element in your invocation. For example, you may wish to invoke the Earth goddess, Danu, for that quarter. Or you could address the quarter as ”Lord of the Earth”. Or perhaps the animal correspondence strikes a responsive chord in you. Then you could begin by saying ”Great Bull of the North”. Use the correspondence that means the most to you and that seems the most appropriate to the rite you are doing. Don't mix correspondences, though. If you begin with a deity, invoke a deity for each quarter; if you begin with the animal association, use the animal associations for each quarter. As you are meditating on the element, light the candle in that quarter with the Flame candle, pause and then go on to the next quarter. Again, meditate on the qualities of that element and then light its candle. Do this at each quarter.

After each quarter has been invoked, return to the alter and light the alter candles. Put the Flame candle out and set it down beneath the alter. Now your scared space is created, cleansed and balanced. It is time to begin your rite. When your ritual is finished, it is time to release the energies creating the perimeter of your circle. Go to the quarter in which you began (North or East) and either verbally or mentally thank the powers of that element for attending your rite, then extinguish that quarter's candle. NEVER BLOW OUT A RITE CANDLE! This is considered an insult to the powers and conflicting elements are not to be messed with. Always use either your fingers to pinch out the flame or better yet, a candle snuffer. That said, do this at each quarter and finally extinguish the candles on your alter.

These directions were for a more formal casting. If you wish to create a scared space in a less formalized manner, you can stand in the center of the space that you will be using for your ceremony and connect your energies with those of the Earth. With steady, quiet breathing, absorb into your body the energies of the Earth and then project from your solar plexus (diaphragm) this energy while slowly turning until you have completed a circle around yourself. As you turn, visualize the energy flowing from you in a band of light and project it far enough into the space to give yourself plenty of room to work. After you have completed your ritual, stand again in the center of the space, turn slowly and release the energy that has formed the perimeter of your circle back into the Earth.

Creating Sacred Space

Creating sacred space can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it

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