Tag Archives: circle

Ritual/Circle Etiquette

Ritual/Circle Etiquette

If you are attending a publicly advertised ritual, you need to check to see if they have any special requirements (check the website or call if they provide a number). 


Individual covens or groups often have their own set of rules to adhere to in a ritual or circle setting.  If you have been invited to attend a private coven/group ritual, do not assume it’s okay to bring someone else with you (this includes a spouse or significant other) and certainly don’t assume children are allowed.  If there is someone you’d like to bring, you need to contact the High Priestess (HPS) and/or High Priest (HP) for permission.  Please be respectful of their choice.  Also note, that if a ritual/circle is not ‘advertised’ or for public consumption, do not make it public!  Respect the privacy of the members and do not mention their names, or the ritual to outsiders.  Keep in mind, some traditions/covens take an oath of secrecy and take those oaths very seriously.  Please be mindful of the requirements for private covens (i.e. dress, jewelry, electronics, etc..)

 

Having said this there are some general guidelines for attending ritual/circle:

·       Never attend a circle/ritual under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

·       Time:  Make sure you know the time you must be there by and allow for a few hours total (this of course can vary from circle to circle).  This will include prep time, ritual time & ‘down’ time.  If you are on a time constraint it may be best not to attend, whereas someone who’s obsessed with the time may disrupt the flow of the ritual.  BE ON TIME!!!

·       Clothing Requirements: Some groups prefer clothes that move freely to avoid constricting energy flow (like ritual robes), some prefer shoeless, some prefer specific colors, etc…  Please make sure whatever you wear is comfortable and avoid t-shirts with ‘sayings’ or ‘images’ so it’s not a distraction.  Some covens/groups work skyclad (clothed only by the sky), if you are not comfortable in this setting, please don’t accept the invitation.  Also, if it’s going to be an outdoor ritual, dress accordingly!  Also, remove hats!!

·       Jewelry:  Some covens/groups have special requirements for the types of jewelry within circle, be sure to ask.

·       Fees/Costs:  Some groups have a fee for attendance to help cover expended costs, be sure to inquire about this and how payment is to be made (is check okay, credit card, paypal or cash only)

·       Food:  Many rituals/circles are followed by a ‘feast’ of some kind or sometimes just a snack setting.  Be sure to ask if you need to bring a food item if so, are there any allergens or special requirements and how many should you ‘account’ for when preparing food.  If it’s a Sabbat, you may want to research what foods are typical for that Sabbat and incorporate it.

·       Drink:  Again, don’t assume alcohol is okay.  If you are bringing drink to share, inquire as to whether alcohol is allowed or what other drinks are acceptable (some don’t like high sugary drinks).

·       Electronics:  Never assume electronics are okay in circle (more often they are not).  Most covens/groups prefer electronic items not be in the ritual space.  So remove watches, cell phones/pagers (have them turned off so they don’t go off) and store them in a safe place.  Cameras/Video are also not typically allowed within circle. 

·       Bags/Purses/Backpacks:  The circle/ritual is a sacred space and often ‘mundane’ objects are a distraction and inconvenience if circle dancing is involved.  Please leave these items in a safe place and out of circle.

PRIOR TO RITUAL/CIRCLE:

·       Make sure you have bathed/showered prior to a ritual (remember the old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” ).  A ritual bath or shower helps you begin to get into a certain mindset.  It’s during this time you begin to focus on the upcoming ritual and to wash away any ‘negatives’ you may be carrying around during the day.

·       Make sure you have all the items you’ll need for ritual (special clothing, jewelry, ‘tools’, etc…)

·       Make sure you have any food/drink items ready to go

·       If it’s an outdoor ritual, be sure to bring and apply insect repellant ahead of time!

·       Be aware of smoking rules (do not smoke in a circle at all), but be aware of designated smoking areas and be sure not to leave cigarette butts on the ground.  Dispose in dispenser (if provided) otherwise pocket it until you find a trash!

·       Find out if shoes are allowed or where they are to be left outside of the circle.

·       Make sure to listen carefully to directions during prep time to fully understand what is expected of you.

ENTERING CIRCLE:

·       Be mindful if there is a special ‘order’ in which to enter a circle.  Some covens/groups prefer a balance and therefore ask that people alternate (female, male, female, male).

·       Once people have begun to ‘line up’, it’s time to stop talking.  Now is the time to begin to center yourself and focusing on leaving your ‘mundane’ self behind as you enter circle/ritual as your magic(k)al self.

·       There may be a special spot for smudging or self consecration prior to entering, be aware of this and follow directions (these are for spiritual cleansing).

·       Never touch someone elses tools or altar items without explicit permission.

·       Move Deosil (clockwise) at all times in circle (unless directed otherwise for specific purpose).  When you enter circle, turn left, you’ll always be going in the right direction then.

·       You may be asked for a special name and/or password when entering a circle (others may ask once inside circle at specific times).  If you don’t have a craft/magic(k) name, don’t worry, just use your regular name

·       Make sure you’ve used the restroom!!!!

 

IN CIRCLE:

·       Again, remember to move Deosil and never touch tools without explicit permission.

·       If you are asked to touch something on the altar, it’s often requested that you use the right hand to either pick up or put down (The right hand is considered the active hand and the left is considered the passive hand).

·       Be aware of the circle boundaries.  Do not step over them, move your arms over them, etc.  Remember a ritual circle is a space between space and a time between time.  The circles are cast as a protective place and breaking that may allow undesirables to enter.  IF you break a circle, please notify the high priestess and/or high priest or coven member so it may be properly closed again.

·       When the quarters are being called, turn (deosil) to face those quarters.  If you’re unfamiliar as to what to do during this time, just quietly ‘follow along’.  (Due to some space restrictions, be sure to ask if personal athames are allowed ahead of time), a couple pointed fingers are the typical substitute for ‘saluting’ the quarters.

·       NO TALKING.  Unless you are specifically invited to do so.  Conversations within circle are meant to stay craft related.  Remember whatever you hear in circle stays confidential (kind of like what happens in vegas stays in vegas).  If you find value in info. or stories shared within circle, ask permission before sharing it outside. 

·       During some rituals, the HPS or HP may invoke the Goddess or God during ritual.  During this time, there is absolute quiet among the coven with the exception of the HPS or HP during the invocation.  During this time you should be directing your energies to the one doing the invocation (to lend them a hand in bringing down the Goddess or God).  Once invoked into the body of the HPS or HP, they (the Goddess or God) speak through the HPS or HP, so if asked a question at that time you do need to answer, or you may be given a message that is meant just for you (if you don’t understand it, just keep it in your mind to discuss later with the HPS or HP).

·       During most rituals there is a time called cakes and ale (or cakes and wine).  If you are passed something to eat or drink, do NOT immediately consume them.  Many covens/groups have a libation cup that is also passed around to give to the Gods.  After ritual, this cup is usually ‘returned’ to the earth.  During cakes and ale, is often a time for small ritual discussion or questions.

·       If you must leave circle during ritual (illness or absolutely can’t wait for the bathroom), ask a coven member to properly ‘cut you out’ so they can properly ‘re-seal’ or close the circle again.

·       If circle dancing is planned and you are not physically able to join, make sure the HPS or HP are aware of this ahead of time, so they can plan to ‘cut you out’ prior to the dancing (you may stand outside to continue to raise energy to send forth).

AFTER RITUAL:

·       Now is the time for hugs, discussion, etc…

·       Ask if there is anything you can do to assist in clean up or for feast preparations.

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Circle Casting for Solitaries

Circle Casting for Solitaries:

Place your quarter point/element candles or symbols in their appropriate quarters (colors of quarters/elements: North =Earth = Green; East =Air = Yellow; South=Fire=Red; West=Water=Blue).

Set up your altar (typically facing North). Your altar should include: candles, water, a bowl of salt and incense.

Light all the candles & light the incense.

Using athame, Bless the water:

“I consecrate and cleanse this water in the names of _______ and ______ (or whatever deities you prefer), so it may be purified for use in this rite.”

Using athame, Bless the salt:

“I consecrate and bless this salt in the names of _______ and _______, so it may be purified for use in this rite.”

Add some salt to the water.

Take the athame or sword, begin walking deosil (clockwise) drawing a circle (envisioning a white or blue light forming all around) , saying:

“O circle be a place of peace, love, joy and truth. A shield against all evil, a place of protection that shall contain the energies I shall raise within thee. I do bless thee and consecrate thee in the names of _______ and _______.”

Pick up the salted water, starting in the East (walking deosil), sprinkle the salted water around the circle.

Pick up the censer (incense), starting in the East (walking deosil), cense the circle.

Pick up the athame, go to East. Drawing an invoking pentagram, say:

“Hear me watchtowers and guardians of the East, look now upon me, guide and protect me in my rite.”

Follow with all the quarters just replacing the East with the correct direction.

Your circle is now ready for whatever work you intended to do.

To close your circle:

Thank the Lord and Lady.

Pick up the athame, go to East. Drawing a banishing pentagram, say:

“Watchtowers and guardians of the East, thank you for attending my rite. Let us live with peace and love in our hearts. Hail and farewell.”

Follow with all the quarters just replacing the East with the correct direction.

Extinguish all candles.

by: Lady Pagan/The Pagan Musings

Yule Blend (loose incense)

I didn’t get a chance to post this before Yule, but didn’t want to forget to post it for next Yule 😉

Our Yule Blend:
Frankincense: Sun – Protection & Spirituality
Myrrh: Moon – Protection, Healing, Spirituality
White Oak: Sun – Protection, Health, Money, Healing, Potency, Fertility, Luck
Bay: Sun – Protection, Psychic Powers, Healing, Purification, Strength
Cinnamon: Sun – Purification, Prosperity
Sage: Jupiter – Longevity, Wisdom, Protection, Wishes
Rosemary: Sun – Protection, Love, Lust, Mental Powers, Purification, Healing, Sleep, Youth
Juniper Berries: Sun – Protection, Love, Health
Nutmeg: Jupiter – Luck, Money, Health, Fidelity
Pine: Mars – Healing, Fertility, Protection, Money
Holly: Mars – Protection, Luck, Dream Magic
– Lady Pagan/The Pagan Musings

New Year ritual to banish negatives

the Secular New Year might be a great time to rid yourself of some unwanted or negatives in your life.

Items you’ll need in your ritual circle with you:
Pen (or something to write with)
Parchment or paper to write on.
Small cauldron (to burn inside of)
banishing herbs (some examples – basil, cedar, cinnamon, rosemary, lavender)

The ritual:
Cast your circle as you normally would.

Think about the things that you want to rid yourself of. When you feel ready, write down all the things you want to let go (keep them simple, clear and concise).

As you burn your list, say:
“As these negatives leave my life and the Gods remove my strife,
let me grow in a positive way, every hour of every day”

Make sure the list has completely turned to ash. Thanks the Gods and close your circle as your normally would. Dispose of the ashes as you see fit.

Some suggestions for disposal:
scatter the ashes to the wind to take it away
bury it in the ground
flush the ashes down the toilet

by Lady Pagan/The Pagan Musings

Circle Casting & Calling Quarters – Solitary

Circle Casting for Solitaries:

Place your quarter point/element candles or symbols in their appropriate quarters (colors of quarters/elements: North =Earth = Green; East =Air = Yellow; South=Fire=Red; West=Water=Blue).

Set up your altar (typically facing North). Your altar should include: candles, water, a bowl of salt and incense.

Light all the candles; light the incense.

Using athame, Bless the water:
“I consecrate and cleanse this water in the names of Cerridwen and Herne (or whatever deities you prefer), so it may be purified for use in this rite.”

Using athame, Bless the salt:
“I consecrate and bless this salt in the names of Cerridwen and Herne, so it may be purified for use in this rite.”

Add some salt to the water.

Take the athame or sword, begin walking deosil (clockwise) drawing a circle (envisioning a white or blue light forming all around) , saying:
“O circle be a place of peace, love, joy and truth. A shield against all evil, a place of protection that shall contain the energies I shall raise within thee. I do bless thee and consecrate thee in the name of Cerridwen and Herne.”

Pick up the salted water, starting in the East (walking deosil), sprinkle the salted water around the circle.

Pick up the censer (incense), starting in the East (walking deosil), cense the circle.

Pick up the athame, go to East. Drawing an invoking pentagram, say:
“Hear me watchtowers and guardians of the East, look now upon me, guide and protect me in my rite.”

Follow with all the quarters just replacing the East with the correct direction.

Your circle is now ready for whatever work you intended to do.

To close your circle:

Thank the Lord and Lady.

Pick up the athame, go to East. Drawing a banishing pentagram, say:
“Watchtowers and guardians of the East, thank you for attending my rite. Let us live with peace and love in our hearts. Hail and farewell.”

Follow with all the quarters just replacing the East with the correct direction.

Extinguish all candles.

by: Lady Pagan/The Pagan Musings

Circle Casting & Calling Quarters – Group

Casting The Circle (Group)
Janet and Stewart Farrar

Set up : place a candle in each of the four cardinal directions. Lay the rest of the tools on the altar cloth or near it. The altar can be on the ground, a table, a rock or a stump. The altar should be in the center or just north of center of the Circle. Light the six candles and the incense, start the music and begin the ritual.

The Ritual

Facing North, the High Priest and Priestess kneel in front of the altar with him to her right. She puts the bowl of water on the altar, places the point of her athame in it and says:

“I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water, that thou cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness of the world of phantasm; in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia”

She then puts down her athame and holds up the bowl of water in both hands. The High Priest puts the bowl of salt on the altar, puts his athame in the salt and says:

“Blessings be upon this Creature of Salt; let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hence, and let all good enter herein; wherefore so I bless thee, that thou mayest aid me, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

He then puts down his athame and pours the salt into the bowl of water the High Priestess is holding. The High Priest then stands with the rest of the Coven outside the Circle. The High Priestess then draws the Circle with the sword, leaving a gap in the Northeast section. While drawing the Circle, she should visualize the power flowing into the Circle from off the end of the sword. She draws the Circle in a East to North or deosil or clockwise direction. She says:

“I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou beest a meeting place of love and joy and truth; a shield against all wickedness and evil; a boundary between men and the realms of the Mighty Ones; a rampart and protection that shall preserve and contain the power that we shall raise within thee. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

The High Priestess lays down the sword and admits the High Priest with a kiss while spinning him deosil and whispers “Bless Be”. He then admits a women the same way. Alternate male female male. Then the High Priestess finishes closing the Circle with the sword. She then names three witches to help strengthen the Circle. The first witch carries the bowl of consecrated water from East to East going deosil, sprinkling the perimeter as she/he goes. They then sprinkle
each member in turn. If the witch is male, he sprinkles the High Priestess last who then sprinkles him. If female she sprinkles the High Priest last, who then sprinkles her. The bowl is replaced on the altar. The second witch takes the incense burner around the perimeter and the third takes one of the altar candles. While going around the perimeter, each person says:

“Black spirits and white,
Red spirits and grey,
Harken to the rune I say.
Four points of the Circle, weave the spell,
East, South, West, North, your tale tell.
East is for break of day,
South is white for the noontide hour,
In the West is twilight grey,
And North is black, for the place of power.
Three times round the Circle’s cast.
Great ones, spirits from the past,
Witness it and guard it fast.”

All the Coven pickup their athames and face the East with the High Priest and Priestess in front, him on her right. The High Priestess says:

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Lords of Air; I do summon, stir, and call you up to witness our rites and to guard the Circle.”

As she speaks she draws the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in the air with her athame. The High Priest and the rest of the Coven copy her movements with their athames. The High Priestess turns and faces the South and repeats the summoning:

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Lords of Fire; I do summon, stir and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle.”

She does the same pentagram and then faces West and says:

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Lords of Water, ye Lords of Death and Initiation; I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle.”

She faces North with rest of the Coven and says:

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Lords of Earth; Boreas, thou gentle guardian of the Northern Portals; thou powerful God and gentle Goddess; we do summon, stir and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle.”

The Circle is completed and sealed. If anyone needs to leave, a gate must be made. Using the sword, draw out part of the Circle with a widdershins or counterclockwise stroke. Immediately reseal it and then repeat the opening and closing when the person returns.

Farrar, Janet and Stewart; “Eight Sabbats For Witches”; Robert Hale 1983 and Valiente, Doreen; “Witchcraft for Tomorrow”; Phoenix Publishing 1985