The Ritual Circle
The ritual area is prepared with candles and decorations appropriate to the time of the year. Atmosphere is an important component and prepares the mind and spirit for magical works. Appropriate symbolism aids in altering the consciousness. The Godstang should be set in the northern perimeter of the working area, and in a pot of earth if the circle is cast indoors. It is a representation of the Horned God Cernnunos.
The circle diagram should be drawn prior to the actual casting. Ritual Circles can be permanently scribed, etched, or painted on concrete or other surface areas, but the tracing of the drawing with the tip of the Ritual Knife is done prior to every arcane endeavor. This charges the diagram and readies it for use.
Ritual Circles create consecrated space, provide protection for conjuring and summoning, act as a conduit and reservoir to collect and focus energy for greater magical casting, and provide greater power for specific spells, charms, or curses. Keep in mind, a circle is not necessary for the working of all magic though. Magic can be successfully cast to great effect without a circle.
The casting of a Ritual Circle is much more though… it is a mystery representing death and rebirth, in itself worthy of contemplation. By entering the Ritual Circle you have left the normal outside world and have stepped into the Underworld. The Altar is oriented towards the north, the direction ruled by the element earth, the Great Goddess Morrígan, and from where the Horned God watches the Low Road. The Underworld is the womb of the Mother Danu, all comes from it, and all must return to it to await rebirth. When the ritual is complete and you leave the Circle you are born again into the world above. Therefore, the casting and closing of every Ritual Circle is a symbolic death and rebirth. Ritual circles can be used at any time of the day or night, but any magical working completed during hours of darkness, preferable within the confines of “the witching hours” will have greater affect. Midnight to 3AM, being the aforementioned time frame.
The ritual circle I most commonly use is constructed of three concentric circles. Depending on the purpose, I will then inscribe within the two enclosed rings that these three lines create. Although the circle should ideally be 9 feet across, as that is a sacred number, it is no less effective if it is smaller or larger. Do not get too caught up on measurements.
Casting the Ritual Circle
Facing North with the ritual knife in your left hand, eyes steadfast upon the Godstang say:
In ancient times the Horned God Cerrnunnos came to man in the form of a serpent and offered light and knowledge. Man accepted his gift and received the fire of creation and knowledge of the craft. He taught that divinity is a path that any may embark upon. For this we thank you, Lord Of All Witches. Watch over my rite, lend it power, and provide your protection. I have cast the circle thrice about.
Step to the northern quarter, whisper while tracing the outside perimeter of the circle with the Ritual Knife held in the left hand in the deosil direction:
I conjure thee, Circle.
Here at the crossroads, a world within a world,
Under the watchful eyes of the horned God of the Witches.
Take a small portion of Cross Road Earth from a container on the altar and sprinkle it around the base of the candle in the northern elemental circle and say:
Morrígan, Mistress of the Underworld, hear my call. I beseech thee to watch over my rite, lend it power, and provide your protection. –Light the candle.
Pick up the candle in the eastern elemental circle, blow upon it and say:
Lugh, Sun God, trickster, and sacrificial lord, hear my call. I beseech thee to watch over my rite, lend it power, and provide your protection. –Light the candle.
Pick up the candle in the southern elemental circle, light the candle and say:
Bridgit, Fire and Inspiration, hear my call. I beseech thee to watch over my rite, lend it power, and provide your protection.
Take a small bottle containing water from the altar and sprinkle it around the base of the candle in the western elemental circle and say:
Mother Danu, from you all-that-is was given birth, hear my call. I beseech thee to watch over my rite, lend it power, and provide your protection. -Light the candle.
The Circle is rightly cast and the Gods are present. This space is blessed and hallowed. So Mote It Be.
After casting the circle and completion of all of the rites and rituals for which it was created, disbanding the binding magic is fairly simple. Thank the Gods, declare the Ritual circle open, and allow your Will to let go of the binding power. The energies will dissolve and flow into the surrounding area. No formal ritual is required for this.
Great Gods and Goddesses, you have my thanks, and I ask for your blessings before you depart. The Ritual Circle is now open. So Mote It Be.