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Circle Casting Question

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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby ThetaChoir » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:11 pm

Jenny Crow wrote:

I'm sure it's very nice to light some candles around yourself and aesthetically very pleasing but again, in my opinion it's not actually casting a circle;


I'm curious; is casting a circle a modern invention that was created specifically for Wicca? Or is there evidence going back hundreds of years that witches have always cast circles in order to perform their spells?
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby Etbonusmalum » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:14 pm

Jenny Crow wrote:
Etbonusmalum wrote:You didn't hit a nerve... Trust me. It's the "lighting a couple candles around yourself isn't casting a circle" part I didn't like. That's your opinion and I practice the way I want.

It's comments like that that keep people from actually sharing their experiences.
Have a nice day...
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I'm sure it's very nice to light some candles around yourself and aesthetically very pleasing but again, in my opinion it's not actually casting a circle; but if you're only meditating or doing a simple type of spell then that's great. You, yourself, said you haven't done much work magically, but when or if you do I would advise using a more advanced type of circle, especially if you're going to do a serious working, calling on entities and spirits, and especially execration magic.

Perhaps your path isn't witchcraft, perhaps it's simply neo-wicca or a simple paganism, you didn't say, but when a person asks about casting a circle and someone posts something that could potentially lead someone into running into trouble (which is quite possible if they want to do some serious rites/workings/rituals etc.) someone like myself who has been practicing for thirty five years and more, and also teaches witchcraft, just wants to help the person asking the original question to not get into any difficulties.

When you post in forums and groups, by the way, you should always be prepared for people not agreeing with you. I was not trying to be rude and I was not "putting you down" - just stating some truths.

Have a good day,

Jenny Crow

I have much respect for those who come before me like yourself. BUT having 35 years experience doesn't qualify your way as the only way.

Really, it's all on a grayscale!

Telling me I have to have a ritual bath, say eight chants while burning sage & drawing a invisible circle with an athame, on a Friday night, when the Moon is waxing, Blah blah blah... All just to cast a circle is tiring to me lol. Most of the literature I've read has similar hoops you have to jump through to cast a circle. It sounds ridiculous to me! But I didn't say it that way as not to offend the people who do all those things. I simply answered the OP with what I do!

I was offended by what you said. Maybe I shouldn't be. But I stand by what I said. I'm not just lighting candles and that's it. I chant & its the flames I need, not the candles. But candles are the only thing to hold a flame that wont get out of control in a small apartment. I'm not on your level yet! Take that as a compliment;)

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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby Etbonusmalum » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:19 pm

And the OP is asking about casting a circle for meditation and giving thanks. My method sounds just right for the subject.

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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby Jenny Crow » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:41 pm

ThetaChoir wrote:
Jenny Crow wrote:
I'm curious; is casting a circle a modern invention that was created specifically for Wicca? Or is there evidence going back hundreds of years that witches have always cast circles in order to perform their spells?


The Gardnerian way of casting a circle (Gardnerian Wicca, as you know, was started by Gerald Gardner in the late 1950's) was taken from the Ceremonial Magical systems such as the Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis which were started somewhere around 1850 or so which themselves were based on such traditions as Christian mysticism, Qabalah, Freemasonry etc. and are quite ritualistic as the OP mentioned. Since Witchcraft, in some form or other, has been around and recorded since the beginning of recorded history I would assume that the ritual circle has been an important component for quite some time.
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby Jenny Crow » Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:09 pm

Etbonusmalum wrote:I have much respect for those who come before me like yourself. BUT having 35 years experience doesn't qualify your way as the only way.

Really, it's all on a grayscale!
Telling me I have to have a ritual bath, say eight chants while burning sage & drawing a invisible circle with an athame, on a Friday night, when the Moon is waxing, Blah blah blah... All just to cast a circle is tiring to me lol. Most of the literature I've read has similar hoops you have to jump through to cast a circle. It sounds ridiculous to me! But I didn't say it that way as not to offend the people who do all those things. I simply answered the OP with what I do!

If someone had said they used the blood of sacrificed kittens to cast their circle then so be it. Poor kitties, but that's their method. Who am I to say it ain't a magical circle?!

I was offended by what you said. Maybe I shouldn't be. But I stand by what I said. I'm not just lighting candles and that's it. I chant & its the flames I need, not the candles. But candles are the only thing to hold a flame that wont get out of control in a small apartment. I'm not on your level yet! Take that as a compliment;)

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I understand where you're coming from, it sounds like a lot of bother, but the point that I'm trying to make is that these things are done for a reason, it's not just about hoops you have to jump through, blah, blah, blah. The ritual bath, for example, is to get rid of any negative energies you are harbouring or that are around you; drawing a circle with an athame (or wand or even your finger)is conjuring a boundary line between this world and the world of the Mighty Ones; calling the Quarters or Watchtowers is to invite the spirits of the four cardnal points into your circle and also the elements and elementals. These beings are called upon to help you with your rites/magic and to protect you as well. If doing Christian magic those four Quarters would be inhabited with the Four Archangels. Becoming attuned to and working with these entities/spirits and forming a bond with them helps to develop your magical skills. It sounds ridiculous to you because, perhaps, you haven't taken the time to study, research and understand the meanings behind the actions.

And you're right though, I quite agree that this need not be done for meditation or even simple spellwork.

If, through chanting, you're using the flames (the element of fire) of the candles for protection then you're using an element for protection and that is good. If you're also using the chanting to get into alpha, that is also great. Your method does sound just fine for meditation etc.

The Celtic tradition usually uses only three of the elements used in the above mentioned traditions, namely Earth, Sea and Sky and some practitioners call on different guardians for the four Quarters.

I never said that my way was the only way, I didn't even say that it was my way. I have used that way/method in the past and it has always worked well for me, I've also used the Celtic way. I've also used other ways.
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby ThetaChoir » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:26 am

Jenny Crow wrote:
Since Witchcraft, in some form or other, has been around and recorded since the beginning of recorded history I would assume that the ritual circle has been an important component for quite some time.


You are certainly free to make that assumption. I'm just pointing out that it is just that-- an assumption. That does not make it fact.

For my part, I am making the assumption that if I were to go back in time and explain to a witch living in the 1600's that she should not be casting her spells until she had taken her ritual bath (which would have been something of a luxury for the average person in that period of time) I think I would expect a bit of pushback on the subject.

It's clear that you are very experienced and knowledgeable, and I don't in any way want to minimize that or offend you. I think you have made many excellent points and have greatly added to this discussion; you've given me another perspective to consider, and I thank you for that.

If I may make one observation, however, it is that statements such as these:
Jenny Crow wrote:
It sounds ridiculous to you because, perhaps, you haven't taken the time to study, research and understand the meanings behind the actions.

...are not really all that helpful. They seem to simply be an attempt to shut people down by implying they are not educated enough to hold the opinion they are expressing. I think your time would be better spent (and your message more efficiently received) by simply expressing your own opinion without resorting to implying that someone else is too uneducated to deserve to hold theirs.

Sometimes it is simply a matter of ideology, not research. For example, I do not believe in the Archangels any more than I believe in Satan, and no amount of research is going to alter that.
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby Etbonusmalum » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:02 am

ThetaChoir wrote:
Jenny Crow wrote:
Since Witchcraft, in some form or other, has been around and recorded since the beginning of recorded history I would assume that the ritual circle has been an important component for quite some time.


You are certainly free to make that assumption. I'm just pointing out that it is just that-- an assumption. That does not make it fact.

For my part, I am making the assumption that if I were to go back in time and explain to a witch living in the 1600's that she should not be casting her spells until she had taken her ritual bath (which would have been something of a luxury for the average person in that period of time) I think I would expect a bit of pushback on the subject.

It's clear that you are very experienced and knowledgeable, and I don't in any way want to minimize that or offend you. I think you have made many excellent points and have greatly added to this discussion; you've given me another perspective to consider, and I thank you for that.

If I may make one observation, however, it is that statements such as these:
Jenny Crow wrote:
It sounds ridiculous to you because, perhaps, you haven't taken the time to study, research and understand the meanings behind the actions.

...are not really all that helpful. They seem to simply be an attempt to shut people down by implying they are not educated enough to hold the opinion they are expressing. I think your time would be better spent (and your message more efficiently received) by simply expressing your own opinion without resorting to implying that someone else is too uneducated to deserve to hold theirs.

Sometimes it is simply a matter of ideology, not research. For example, I do not believe in the Archangels any more than I believe in Satan, and no amount of research is going to alter that.


I agree. In every attempt I try to make a point @Jenny Crow, I'm am being told in response that I know nothing. I have researched witchcraft & Wicca for years. I know all about what a ritual bath is for. Just because I do things differently does not mean I don't know how it goes!

I had a witch buddy tell me I have to use a certain color candle for everything. I don't agree. Back in the olden days, witches used candles made out of whatever kind of wax they could find, make or afford. The color didn't matter. IMO color is for the witch to better focus his/her workings. It does not matter what color or size your candles are.

It's for reasons like these I practice alone.

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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby SpiritTalker » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:27 am

I believe teachers have a responsibility to teach to the fullness of their ability, and appreciate the efforts made by all teachers and folks who kindly share their personal stories. I learn a lot from discussions like these.

Going back to my silly story, i asked myself the same question of whether the circle was really there or not. When I saw that bat, I was putting everything I had into that circle, and pushing energy and seeing a nine foot diameter circle with my mind for all i was worth. The bat did not cross the circle. (what is it with bats anyhow?) So, I will suggest that in the case I described, seeing the circle in my mind was effective and that the circle was fully present in accord with the conditions I tried to describe.

I don't think I have ever called anything but Deity INTO a circle where I was working. I have asked for the elements to support the circle and to hold the structure in place, yes. I do spells by visualization and seeing myself standing in the center of the moment of the spell's completion, and knowing it is done. It is the way I was taught by my teachers who were not Wiccan. I hope that helps clear up any possible confusion a short narration like this may cause.

Y'know, when you're inside a well formed circle time and space can get wonky...displaced, hyperactive. Call it what you will. And it sure can hold the heat. But I really don't want to go to all the effort unless I need to, being a lazy Crazy Cat Lady. One of my teachers over the years taught me we can cast circle from the solar plexus, the heart, and the third eye, but also taught me to use my finger. I think all the individual steps of casting circle, the to-do list someone mentioned above, are necessary to break it down so it can be discussed and passed on, like a dance. Once we get the sequence of the steps down, then the dance flows with the music. But you can't skip a step and expect the same results.
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby ThetaChoir » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:10 pm

SpiritTalker wrote:
Going back to my silly story...[SNIP, bat hilarity ensues...]

I have to thank you for sharing that story. It was silly, but in the best possible way. My mother's house is very old, and somehow bats seem to find their way into the basement via assorted nooks and crannies. That wouldn't be so bad, if only they didn't get the notion to fly upstairs for a visit.

Growing up, I was usually the appointed "Bat Catcher" because my mother and my sister were terrified of them, and if I let my father do it, he'd kill the poor things. I would catch them in a blanket and "escort" them outside to release them. I guess what we really needed was one of your bat-repelling circles, lol!
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby Jenny Crow » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:52 pm

Etbonusmalum and Theta Choir

You are free to think what you will. I have not intended to shut anyone down. I said my assumption was just that - an assumption, I did not claim it was fact. In no way have I implied that anyone here is not educated enough to hold their own opinions, if it seemed that way it was not my intention.

I believe that part of the problem here is that the discussion is covering many traditions. What I mean is that the old witchcraft practiced by the village witch or wisewoman a few hundred years ago was very different from the Gardnerian tradition started in the 1950's which includes some components of Ceremonial magic - and which a lot of practitioners don't follow and which is different again from what a Hereditary witch might do. And all of these traditions have their own way of casting a circle.
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby ThetaChoir » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:31 pm

Jenny Crow,

Thanks for taking the time to clarify. I totally agree that traditions have changed a lot over the centuries, and I guess that's pretty much what I was trying to call attention to. The fact that the practices of centuries-old village witches may differ greatly from what some modern traditions do today is exactly what makes me hold the opinion that if someone chooses to shorten a ritual a little (or even a lot!) by omitting certain steps, it is not necessarily a bad thing.

I believe the steps of a ritual assist people to work magic only so much as they assist them in focusing their intent and their ability to harness, raise, and direct their energy. In other words, the magick is in the individual, and in the Earth itself, not in a list of specific magickal steps that have to be taken. Therefor, choosing to restructure or even eliminate steps is, in my opinion, a valid choice for some.

Any ritual, no matter the purpose, if useless if it is never performed. So if, through simplification, someone feels comfortable enough to perform a ritual instead of avoiding it because they are otherwise intimidated or overwhelmed, I think it's a good thing.

That said, you do have a perfectly valid point that it is beneficial to study the rituals of various traditions and try to learn why they do what they do. By doing so, maybe I will find that something I once thought of as too time-consuming or unnecessary eventually becomes something that I find I actually resonate with.

Cheers, and thanks again for the discussion! :-)
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Re: Circle Casting Question

Postby Jenny Crow » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:25 pm

Cheers to you too and many blessings :)
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