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Author Topic: What is a Magical Circle?  (Read 3776 times)

Magique

What is a Magical Circle?
« on: May 13, 2012, 12:03:46 am »
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

Ruby Moon

Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 12:18:40 am »
Quote from: Magique;54256
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

There really is no single answer to this question, so I will try my best to give you a universal explanation. The magic circle is an unbroken symbolic ring of energy, purity and protection in which a ritual/spell takes place. Different traditions are unique in their approach, so I would suggest you research these traditions as best you can before deciding on an approach that works for you.

It is vital that all tools needed, yourself included, are within the space you will be working prior to casting your circle. The circle itself may be marked with an athame, a wand, salt, your imagination alone... How you choose to go about consecrating your space is entirely up to you. I myself prefer the use of an athame, but it really depends upon the situation I am working with. Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 12:19:58 am by Ruby Moon »

spoOk

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 02:21:23 am »
Quote from: Ruby Moon;54260
There really is no single answer to this question, so I will try my best to give you a universal explanation. The magic circle is an unbroken symbolic ring of energy, purity and protection in which a ritual/spell takes place. Different traditions are unique in their approach, so I would suggest you research these traditions as best you can before deciding on an approach that works for you.

It is vital that all tools needed, yourself included, are within the space you will be working prior to casting your circle. The circle itself may be marked with an athame, a wand, salt, your imagination alone... How you choose to go about consecrating your space is entirely up to you. I myself prefer the use of an athame, but it really depends upon the situation I am working with. Good luck! :)

 
generally it is to create a sacred and or safe space to do your ritual/work etc. within its boundrys. and the rest is as has already been sed.
Ize bel zafen.
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Elani Temperance

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 03:02:42 am »
Quote from: Magique;54256
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

 
Again, welcome to the board :-)

If I remember well, your introduction said you're Wiccan. Can't your tutor help you with this :-) The most important aspects of casting a circle have been mentioned but I wanted to say that, in general, a circle is cast to keep the good in, and the bad out. Especially within the Wiccan pantheon, I have been told (and Trads, please correct me if I'm wrong) it is believed that calling the God / Goddess or doing spellwork opens up a sort of portal into other planes of existance. I have heard this described differently before but it comes down to this. The energy that is released might attract malevolent creatures who are kept away from you by the circle. A circle also allowes you to better direct the energy of the God / Goddess or the spell.

I hope this helps! Good luck with your spell :-)
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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2012, 04:26:53 am »
Quote from: Magique;54256
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

 
Ruby, Spook and LittleWitch have given some info, what I add to this is that in Wicca. the circle is used to contain the energy raised during spell work while you form it into a cohesive whole and purpose it with what you want it to do before you send it out to do it's work

The Banish/Draw/Bless of the circle at the beginning of ritual also acts to concentrate your focus on the purpose at hand thereby working to dispell extraneous thoughts that might disarray the nature of those energies.

Good luck on your workings and work safe

monsnoleedra

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2012, 06:10:09 am »
Quote from: Magique;54256
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.


Just remember the magical circle is greatly driven by ones pathway, as such it is not applicable to all pathways.  Even in those where it is utilized it may not be for the same reasons or manner of utilization.

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 08:46:11 am »
Quote from: Magique;54256
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

 
As others have said, to some extent, it depends your path - but it also depends on what you're doing.  A circle can be for protection, but it may also be a way to be a sacred and prepared space to welcome specific deities, or a place you use to prepare yourself for specific ritual work, or a container to help you focus and raise energy more effectively. Or all of those at once!

I've got an essay on my website that might help: http://gleewood.org/seeking/practices/whats-a-circle-for

In terms of where to start, when I teach circle work, we begin several steps back from there. First with basic energy skills like centering and gounding and directing energy. Then by learning to banish unwanted energies from the space, and add the energies we want. (this doesn't mean the starting space is wrong, somehow: think of it more like cleaning off counter space in the kitchen and making sure you know where everything is, before you start cooking a big meal).

And then move onto specific parts of the circle - scribing it, calling the quarters, inviting deity or other beings into it. Each step should, in a well-designed circle, help build towards the goal of that work in some way.
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Ainne

Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 10:19:41 am »
Quote from: Magique;54256
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

 
I'd like to point out to a previous poster that most people practicing Wicca today do not have tutors or mentors - unless you're entering a traditional Wiccan coven- most people are self taught.

Simply put, think of a circle as a container. It will contain all of the energy you raise as well as keeping "bad stuff" out.
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monsnoleedra

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 10:34:10 am »
Quote from: Ainne;54310
I'd like to point out to a previous poster that most people practicing Wicca today do not have tutors or mentors - unless you're entering a traditional Wiccan coven- most people are self taught.


That's a different debate that goes back and forth.  There are still a great many who think self taught makes you an eclectic practitioner but not a Wiccan.

Quote
Simply put, think of a circle as a container. It will contain all of the energy you raise as well as keeping "bad stuff" out.


Again that is your perspective but it does not make it correct for anyone other than you.  Many traditions hold that the circle holds and molds the energy until released its not about keeping something out, especially given that most times your calling upon something external to generate the energy you hope to use.

My own opinion that is part of the problem with self taugh practitioners.  They find some book that presents a concept and that becomes the only one they consider or accept.  Especailly in consideration of so called 'Bad or Evil" stuff when there's more of that already in the circle from the practitioner's presence than anything they are likely to cause to take notice of them.  Pride, envy, greed, anger, desire, spite, lust, etc all forms of "Bad" you've already brough in to that sacred space.

Agonistes

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 02:23:33 pm »
Quote from: Magique;54256
I'm looking for a simple explanation on what a magical circle is. I know it should be cast before a spell but I don't completely understand its purpose or what I can use to cast it? I want to perform my first spell but I don't know where to start.

 
Physically it can be either a representation in your mind, be it a ring of fire, a bright, white circle, or some even envision it as a cone-figure going up to meet a point where the energy is strongest. Or, it could be laid out by cord, sticks, candles, etc...

Magically, the definition I most commonly here, is that it keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out!

This reminds me of a very satirical movie called Lo, it's about a guy who summons a demon and is using a stereotypical renaissance circle to keep him at bay.

Also, to go along with the other discussions, you don't have to be a Wiccan to be a witch, but you have to be a witch to be a Wiccan.

Rhyshadow

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 02:37:24 pm »
Quote from: Agonistes;54344

Also, to go along with the other discussions, you don't have to be a Wiccan to be a witch, but you have to be a witch to be a Wiccan.

 
Uhhhhh - No, not as far as my experience (12+ years as Wiccan)

Wicca is a spiritual path
Witchcraft is a system

You can be both OR either - one does not need the other

I know plenty of Wiccan's who do not touch magick in any way, shape or form - whether it be circle-magick or kitchen-witchery

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2012, 03:00:57 pm »
Quote from: Rhyshadow;54348
Uhhhhh - No, not as far as my experience (12+ years as Wiccan)

Wicca is a spiritual path
Witchcraft is a system

You can be both OR either - one does not need the other

I know plenty of Wiccan's who do not touch magick in any way, shape or form - whether it be circle-magick or kitchen-witchery

"Witches were the Wica or wise people..." -Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today

Am I confusing this with something else? I possibly could be, I'm a historical buff after all--not a Wiccan, heh.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 03:01:54 pm by Agonistes »

Rhyshadow

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2012, 03:41:31 pm »
Quote from: Agonistes;54358
"Witches were the Wica or wise people..." -Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today

Am I confusing this with something else? I possibly could be, I'm a historical buff after all--not a Wiccan, heh.

 
Ole' Gerald tried to mix a system with a spiritual mish-mash derived from various sources.  While Gardnarians/Alexandrians and others who adhere closely to his invention DO claim that, it's evolved over time.

Many dictionaries still link the two, but the spiritual practice and the system of magick are separate things and you are not required to be one in order to be the other.

monsnoleedra

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Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2012, 04:15:29 pm »
Quote from: Agonistes;54358
"Witches were the Wica or wise people..." -Gardner, Gerald. Witchcraft Today

Am I confusing this with something else? I possibly could be, I'm a historical buff after all--not a Wiccan, heh.


I think part of what your seeing here is also the struggle for identification that occured when Wicca suddenly was pushed upon the masses via books in the late 80's and 90's.  You really started to see a conflict of ideologies as the ecclectics and neo-Wiccans came upon the scene and tried to find a term that identifed them.  Yet along with that came a sense of reclamation of terms, the most apparent being Witch.

Prior to that time frame I do not recall hardly anyone claiming to be a witch in the sense of a practice not a spiritual pathway such as Wicca.  Yet since so many were claiming the title of Wiccan without the lineage or seeking to lay claim to a magical practice without the baggage of a spiritual system it got really bad.  You saw many witch wars in regards to who was actually more of a witch or a true witch.

In some ways I think Wicca was divided as a concept because of the sudden explosion of 101 books.  People didn't want to be Wiccan's so they were witches without the religious / spiritual baggage.  Yet other's wanted to be Wiccan's but not necessiarly continue with the magical slant so you had religious / spiritual practices without the need for a magical componet.

As one who came from a Family Tradition it was actually sort of funny to watch.  We called ourselves Trads or other terms that could be preceived as either a religious / spiritual practice and theology or as a magical abet folkish magical practices.  But very few would even consider the idea of us being witches and using that as a descriptor term for ourselves.

In some ways similiar to the split that has occured with regards to Pagan being a descriptor of a group of practices regardless of spiritual / religious & magical to now being identifed as a specific spiritual / religious pathwalk.

Marilyn/Absentminded

Re: What is a Magical Circle?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2012, 07:11:26 pm »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;54366

As one who came from a Family Tradition it was actually sort of funny to watch.  We called ourselves Trads or other terms that could be preceived as either a religious / spiritual practice and theology or as a magical abet folkish magical practices.  But very few would even consider the idea of us being witches and using that as a descriptor term for ourselves.

 
I find myself surprised all over again every time you bring this up.  It may just be the term you use, which is in disrepute these days to start with, that throws me.  Or I may be seeing a claim to greater age than you mean to imply, since I can see family traditions springing from the time of Gardner and Cochrane that could be a few generations at this point.

The idea of 'famtrad' was pretty much debunked at the same time as the 'surviving underground witch-cult' was.  All the people in the sixties and seventies who claimed grannytrads and famtrads as a way of one-upping the wiccans were claiming that the 'anshunt arte of wytchcraphte' had not been driven as far underground in their families as in the general population (rather than not having been a cohesive practice to begin with).

They were laying claim to an older, more 'real' practice than the wiccans had, and went to great lengths to convert any family superstitions or folk magic survivals into 'traditions'.  A lot of them were co-opting practices from very Christian groups, like the Pennsylvania Dutch, and re-naming them witchcraft.  Much of it was bits and pieces of folk history mixed in with outright appropriations of wiccan material and 'exotic' cultural adoptions.  

I would be very interested in what you are defining as famtrad.  You may be doing yourself a disservice by using a term as fraught with pejorative connotations as that one.

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