Circle casting is one of the most basic practices in witchcraft. Although some witches don’t know how to cast a circle or simply choose not to, learning how to cast a circle is always a good place to start.
I personally cast a circle before I begin spell work 100% of the time. For me, learning how to cast a circle was essential because it gives me the protection I see. Whether or not it works for you is a different story; no two witches are alike. I highly recommend casting a circle at least a few times before you decide whether or not it’s for you!
There are two main reasons that I recommend that you learn how to cast a circle.
Firstly, the circle offers continuous protection from negative energy and entities. While we don’t typically need this protection during every day life, it’s much more essential that we protect ourselves when we’re doing spell work, as all energy and entities (both positive and negative) are attracted to spell work.
This is mainly because we are opening ourselves up to different energy by connecting with the other side. We are also expending a good deal of energy (although we may draw it from other sources, such as the earth), which draws spirits and other types of entities.
Anything out of the norm will call to other spirits. I find that a circle is the perfect way to prevent spirits and entities from disrupting my spell work.
Secondly, learning how to cast a circle will ensure that your energy doesn’t disperse if you lose your focus during spell work. The circle keeps the energy that you gather contained so you don’t lose energy before your spell is complete. You won’t need to worry about losing your energy; it will simply bounce off the circle wall and come back until you’re ready to release it into the spell.
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Is There Only One Way To Cast A Circle?
You’ll probably practice one method when you’re first learning how to cast a circle, but there are so many ways to cast a circle that your method may change over time.
Some circle casting methods take up to an hour, some only take 30 seconds. There are formal methods and informal methods. You might speak out loud or talk only in your mind; you can use physical tools or employ visualization. There are plenty of different ways to cast a circle!
The one thing that is consistent is that you must create a circle of energy that both protects you from outside entities and holds your own energy in the circle. Other than that, it’s up to you!
What Tools Do You Need To Cast A Circle?
Theoretically, you can learn how to cast a circle with absolutely no materials. You don’t really need certain items or elements to cast a circle.
Personally, I use one object of each element to cast my circle. For example, I’ll use a bowl of water, a plant, incense (for air), and a candle.
I place elements in in a circle before speaking and visualizing the circle. I then call upon each of these elements to hold the energy of the circle while I’m busy with my spell work.
Alternatively, you can use a crystal to represent each element, or a sigil of each element drawn into the appropriate area of the circle.
I also love using Tarot cards or Oracle cards. I will choose a card that represents each element. This is super fun with Oracle card decks, because no deck is the same. With Tarot cards, there really are no rules, although you can use the Queen or King of each suit if you want to be very clear. I also like using the Major Arcana cards that I feel represent each element.
You might make this circle quite small (on a tabletop, for example), or you might want to create a large circle using your 4 items and sit in the middle of them.
Here are the directions you should place each element:
Some witches will actually draw a circle or make a circle out of salt, leaves, etc., instead of using the elements. I have tried this before and found that it works well, although it can be a bit messy. I prefer this method when I’m working outside.
You don’t need to use any tools at all for your circle if you’d prefer to work with visualization alone. I like using tools because I find that it helps me cast a stronger circle. I’m not sure if this is a placebo effect, but it works!
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How To Cast A Circle
Here are the general steps for how to cast a circle. I find that the process is super simple once you get used to it!
Step 1: Cleanse Your Space
First, you need to make sure that your space is cleansed. I prefer to use incense for this. Cleanse yourself, the room you intend to use, and any materials you will use in your circle.
If you don’t want to use incense, you can also use sound or sage. You can even visualize a cleansing with white light and cleanse 100% through visualization.
Step 2: Create A Physical Circle
At this point, you will either place your elements in a physical circle (in front of you or around you: either works) or you will need to take a few moments to visualize a circle of light around you. Make sure that the circle has both a top and a bottom; you should be fully enclosed.
If you want to summon extra protection and energy during your spell work then I recommend using both physical items and performing a visualization.
If you choose only visualization, you’ll need to make sure that you call upon one of the elements for energy. For example, I call upon earth and link the energy of the earth to my circle. The earth will then provide continuous energy to keep the circle intact while I’m working.
If you use your own energy, the circle will fall apart the second you’re not focusing on it, however if you use the earth’s energy and program the circle so that energy flows directly from the earth into the circle you have visualized, then the circle will hold up while you’re busy elsewhere.
Step 3: Call Upon The Elements
At this point, you’re ready to call upon the elements. I find that the strongest circles include all 4 elements. Keep in mind that this is what works for me, but as you learn how to cast a circle, you can tailor these words and steps however you like.
You need to face each element individually and say something that effectively calls upon the element, asking it to work with you to reinforce the circle. Move clockwise as you do this.
Here are the directions and the order through which I call upon the elements:
When I’m casting the circle and speaking to each element, I use my finger to point. I find that it helps me to send out all of my energy through one point. I create a slow circle with my finger as I speak to each element until I arrive back at the North.
To begin, focus on the North and ground yourself. Feel the energy coursing through your body from the earth, through your feet to your head and your hands, and speak something like this:
“Earth, I call upon your power to create and reinforce this circle. Hail and welcome, Earth.”
Turn then to the East and repeat a similar statement, substituting Earth for Air. Continue this until you have spoken to all 4 elements.
I also include Spirit as the 5th element. You can substitute any word for Spirit (God, Universe, Higher Self, or any god or goddess you work with), or you can omit this entirely if that feels right.
Once you have called upon your elements, it’s time to state your intentions.
Call upon the people (spirits) or guides you want to help you with your spell work. This is the time to state what energy may pass through the circle. You can speak in any manner you like.
Once you’re done, say something like:
The circle has now been cast and I am between worlds.
This statement affirms that the circle is secure. If you feel that you must visualize the circle again for it to be complete, feel free to do so.
Step 4: Do Your Spell Work
At this point, the circle is cast. If this is your first practice session then congratulations: you learned how to cast a circle!
Don’t worry if you didn’t do everything perfectly. It’s the intention that truly creates the circle.
Now, you can go ahead and do your regular spell work. Whether you’re actively casting spells or are doing divination work or shadow work, you can safety begin.
My circles hold up for many hours. If you supplied energy to the circle correctly, then you don’t need to worry about it depleting as the minutes pass.
Step 5: Close The Circle
I say, “Thank you, Earth for co-creating with me. You are free to go, but are welcome to stay.” I say that for each element as I move back around the circle.
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How To Cast A Circle: Leaving The Circle Temporarily
When I was first learning how to cast a circle, I didn’t realize that I could physically leave it. I would avoid going to the bathroom or grabbing a drink of water during my spell work because I didn’t want to break the circle.
You definitely don’t need to do that! There are simple and easy ways to leave a circle without damaging the energy.
Once you’ve cast your circle, I don’t recommend leaving it without first creating a door. You can certainly pass through your circle without creating a door, but you might feel a jolt of energy. You may also reduce the strength of the circle if you continue to pass through it, so you’ll need to support the circle with visualization each time you leave.
A much simpler method for leaving the circle involves creating a door. Use your finger or any sharp tool to visually and physically “cut” a doorway to walk through. I recommend that you do this while facing the northeast direction.
Once the door is cut, you can (physically and visually) push the door open and shut it once you’re outside. Do the same when you return back to the circle, then reseal the area.
Make sure that you shut the door on your way in and out so that nothing extra can enter your circle.
The History Of Casting A Circle
Learning how to cast a circle is not a new art. Babylonian magic involved circle casting in various forms; this is some of the oldest recorded magic in history.
Pre-Christianity Pagan religions regularly used magic circles, although these rituals were normally done in groups and were performed outdoors. Celebrations and festivals (often surrounding Pagan holidays) in addition to spell work took place within circles.
Unsurprisingly, the shape of the circle is associated with magic throughout history. At points, circular stone structures were thought to be powerful, just as mushrooms in a circular shape were thought to hold dark magic.
Once Christianity took over, it was much more dangerous to practice magic in the open. Learning how to cast a circle was more important than ever, because it protected the Pagan practitioner from all harm, including disruptions or suspicion from other humans. The idea was that a circle would allow you to cast your spells in peace without anyone noticing.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of witchcraft and the occult, I recommend this book.