Answer – The purpose of the magic circle varies among those who choose to incorporate it into their rituals. The circle can be used to raise a protective boundary to prevent any unwanted unseen influences interrupting the witch’s work. It can be used for those who blend their craft with religion to create sacred space in honour of deity. It can be used to intensify the energies raised by the participants in ritual and it can even be used for the psychological elements of getting the witch in the right head space for spell casting. My own personal use of the circle is a blending of the above – it is demarcating a space specifically for the purpose of spell craft and ritual and separating that space from the mundane world.
In terms of how to go about making a magic circle – again the methods vary greatly. Some witches prefer to construct an actual physical barrier for the circle – most commonly achieved by the sprinkling of salt (purifying the boundary) others are more comfortable with directing energy toward a visualised edge of the circle. This is usually achieved by the participants walking the circle barrier and focusing on erecting a ring of energy around the designated circle space. Usually the boundary is walked three times though this can change according to circumstance and preference. The energy can be directed with tools (atheme, wand, crystal) or simply with outstretched hand or finger.
Circles do not have to be “circles” and sometimes in a small space a witch will cast to the corners of the room to make the most of all available space for ritual.
Often a witch casting a circle will call the spirits or corners (most commonly this is a Wiccan practise) and invite them to join or bless the workings to be performed. The compass points and their associations may be represented with appropriate symbols (water, feather, rock and candle being popular choices to represent the four elements.
The most important thing about creating a circle is your own belief in the boundary you have created. There is little point going to extensive ceremonial efforts only to hop out of the circle because you’ve not prepared properly and remembered to bring everything you need with you. Visualise your boundary as a clear and definite break from the real world and treat it with the respect it deserves.
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