casting a circle, circles, rituals, spell work, witchery, witching ethics,

Witchery: Is Casting a Circle Necessary?

Another “hot button” issue, along with the ethics of whether or not to charge for magickal knowledge, talents and spells, the ethics of using blood magick, the ethics of teaching with accountability, the ethics of teaching children, period, and the ethics of using some magick in general, is the frequent argument about casting a circle.

Some traditions insist that casting a circle for every magickal working is a strict necessity. Others suggest it is a good way to keep magick confined to keep from harming others if some nebulous “something” gets loose during a magickal working, and others do not seem to care one way or another.

On an individual level, I have met witches who swear that circles are crucial to every working; circles are required only when working with dark forces and dark magick. Some witches cast circles for rituals where power gathered from multiple sources is sent as a whole, for religious gatherings and celebrations, and some never use a circle at all preferring to trust in their skill level to control what is necessary.

Initially, I learned to cast a circle by a trad, which insisted it was necessary for every working. I must admit that I do not believe this is necessary any longer. I have cast for more than a couple of decades now, most of it healing magick, and I do not see a need to cast a circle for this type of magick. Beneficial magick is easily controlled now, since I have more experience in it than with any other type. I have learned to work with the feel of the energy and can tell if something is amiss and how to correct it.

I admit that there are spells, celebrations and magickal rituals where I do believe a circle is necessary, I think that once a witch gets a handle on the more common skills and uses of magick, a circle is a personal preference and not a requirement. When I practice alone, I have a simple circle that I have used since I created it back in the mid- 90s.

When casting a circle, it may be set to protect from within, from without or both ways. Use the setting that is most appropriate for your work.

When working alone, on magick that is unfamiliar, by all means, a circle is helpful. It can contain the power raised while the witch is focusing on unfamiliar things and might be distracted. A setting to prevent what is inside the circle from getting out is used, typically, with darker magicks. I would suggest for dark workings, unless you really know what you are doing, have a great deal of experience and control over what you are doing, that for your own protection you remain outside the circle.

To protect what is inside from influences outside the circle is necessary when the spell work or ritual is complex and the witch needs to be free to concentrate fully on what is happening inside the circle without distractions.

Personally, I only suggest a two-way circle when there are new witchlings who need to be protected from external disruption and need to be monitored to prevent their energy from going astray unexpectedly.

However, as with all things magickal, I believe that the witch who is working is the witch who knows best what is needed. Whether the individual witch wants to include their deities, powerful entities, or go it alone, it is the witch’s prerogative. Just as the witch determines the settings of the circle, they must also determine the medium used that best suits the needs of the circle, but that is a discussion for another post. 😉

 

charging tools, charging, magick,

Witchery: Consecrating and Charging Your Magickal Tools

After you have purchased and cleansed your magickal items, or other ordinary items you want to use in the practice of your craft, you need to consecrate and charge the items for their specific use. Consecrating the items is as simple as defining and declaring their use and asking any deities you may work with to bless the items and/or putting your own blessing upon the items. You can use a previously or professionally written spell or ritual or preferably create your own in order to put a stamp of your own on the items.

When it comes to consecration of items, it is my belief that each witch’s consecration ritual should be their own. After all, witches beliefs and deities can vary from tradition-to-tradition, pantheon-to-pantheon, and often from deity-to-deity even within some traditions, and especially within the practices of eclectic witches. There are vast differences between my practice, the practice of other eclectics, traditional witches, and especially wiccans. Some witches do not even work with deities in the practice of their craft, much less work with the exact same odd assembly of deities with whom I choose to work.

When it comes to charging items, things become quite a bit simpler and yet, they can be as complex as you want to make them. Using one method of charging is sufficient and simple, even using multiple methods can be simple. However, if you choose to weave their charges together to strengthen the overall charge or focus it toward a specific purpose it becomes more complex. Charging an item is similar, and sometimes the same, as cleansing it via some methods. The only difference is in the intent of the witch. When items sit in direct sunlight, they charge with solar power and moonlight charges with lunar power. Some items charge by using sound, either singing, playing an instrument, sounding drums, or gongs. Chanting on the innate power of the item can charge it. Items, not damaged by water, if left out in a rainstorm, a stream, or creek will charge in the flow of the dripping or running water. Passing an item through the smoke from a charged spell candle created for the purpose, or incense created for the purpose can charge the item. Use an elemental dedication can charge a tool.

One method of charging that needs to be used with each item is charging it with the power of the witch to whom the item belongs. It needs to be held in the witch’s sending hand (the dominant hand) and the witch needs to focus their power and send it into the item. They need to focus on their own power, see it melding with the innate power within the item. This not only charges the item, but also claims it for the use of that particular witch. At this point, dedicate the item to the purpose you intend for the item.

If people, besides the witch, handle the magickal items, they need to be cleansed, re-consecrated, and re-charged, again. You do not need the unpredictable energy of others affecting your spell work when you least expect it. It is a good idea to periodically cleanse, re-consecrate, and re-charge your tools to keep them in the best working order. Your tools will only work as well as they are able. After all, if you do not care for them, they cannot care for you.