Archive for athame

PBP: Circle Casting

Posted in Pagan Blog Project with tags , , , , , , , on February 10, 2012 by The Starry Path

So, what new piece of information do I have to contribute to this subject? Probably zero! Still I´d like to muse a bit about my observations regarding the circle in general.

To begin with, the circle is a mystical figure; with no beginning nor ending, both empty and full, flat or spheric. In a circle all men are equal, none above the other, like the knights around the round table. Also, the circle formation is ideal so that voices can be heard when outside. It holds in.

When we cast the circle (indoors or outdoors) we erect a temporary place of worship, a sacred temple. We state that it is a place between the worlds, outside of space and time, and it surely is. Many of us can testify that time seems to run a lot slower. An hour of ritual feels like less than half of that time. A few years ago I met with a group of witches who would often celebrate esbats out in the woods. For some strange reason, we ended up only meeting during the winter months, so it was often snowy or at least quite cold. It was then I realized that the circle also effects temperature. I would freeze before the ritual, but when the circle was cast I would think it was rather pleasant. Same thing when the circle was opened, then I would feel the cold creeping in again.

I have wondered why this is. I have observed that I tense my body and breathe deeper in ritual, maybe it has something to do with it, I don´t know. I also experience something I can´t describe better than a pressure change, due to that plopping sound you get in your ears.

I think it was Scott Cunningham who suggested that you´d experiment with the circle, test it out. I did that once, many years ago. I draw a circle around me in my bedroom and felt its boundaries. What appeared to me then was that the circle wasn´t static, it moved around me! It was like I was the power center and the circle radiated from me and was one with me. I wouldn´t dare to say it is always like that, since I only tested it once, but it was an interesting experience. I think that in common ritual, with more will, the circle stays where you want it to.

I have a very small ritual space where I live now, it´s long and narrow. To cast a perfect circle wouldn´t really be practical because that would give me a tiny space to move. So I draw all that space as my circle. But as Dianne Sylvan wrote on the matter in her book The Circle Within, you can imagine that the energy goes beyond the walls and forms a circle.

I have mentioned will, and that leads me to the tools. I think most witches draw the circle with their athame/ritual blade, though the wand can be used for the same purpose. Here, minds are divided as to what element these two tools belong to. To me, athame is definately a tool of fire, connected to will, passion and resolution.

There are lots of aspects and nearby topics to extend on when talking about circle casting, and I could go on forever I feel but I will end here.

May the circle be open but unbroken, may the peace of the God and the Goddess be ever in your heart. Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.