Solitary Witchcraft: How to Cast a Circle

Updated on March 6, 2020
theraggededge profile image

Born in deepest Cornwall, now living in wild Wales, Bev has been practising her personal brand of eclectic witchcraft for years and years.

One of the basic practices of witchcraft is casting a circle. The purpose of a circle is to create a sacred, magical space where the witch is able to meditate or perform a spell, a healing, or a ritual of protection or gratitude.

The circles described here are for solitary witches. In other words, one witch working alone. They can be easily adapted for two or more people simply by increasing their size.

One thing I’d like to emphasize is that everything in witchcraft, including casting a circle, is flexible and adaptable. There are no rules, just guidelines. So you are free to change things around if it makes more sense to you. For example, my circle assumes you are in the northern hemisphere. If you are in the southern hemisphere, you might reverse the correspondences for North and South because the hottest part of the planet for you is in the North, toward the Equator.

The circle is both symbolic and protective.
The circle is both symbolic and protective. | Source

What Is a Circle in Witchcraft?

You can’t see it. You probably can’t feel it, but there is a definite increase in energy within it. As a matter of fact, circles aren’t really circles at all, they are spheres. Imagine a large bubble all around you, penetrating the floor and sometimes even the walls, depending on the space you have available.

The function of a circle, as mentioned is to provide a sacred space for the witch or Wiccan to work. However, it is more than that. It is protective; keeping unwanted energy at bay while the ritual proceeds. It also concentrates the energy within, helping the witch to focus his or her attention and put as much power into the working as possible.

It’s hard to describe the feeling, and it is probably different for everyone, but there is really something special about performing this simple procedure.

Do I Always Have to Cast a Circle for a Spell?

No, indeed not. I rarely use one these days as my spells tend to be spur-of-the-moment events. I usually use sigil magick, which takes just a few minutes. Yet, it is lovely to set aside some time and create a wonderful sacred space by casting a circle. There’s something so beautiful and magical about it. Even if you are simply going to sit within and meditate for a little while.

The Very Basic Magickal Circle

Casting a circle can be as easy as pointing a finger to the ground and turning 360 degrees deosil (clockwise). You could say something like, “I cast this circle for my protection. Keep negativity out; let only love come in.” At the end of the ritual, the witch turns widdershins (anti-clockwise) and says simply, “The circle now fades away.”

That could be thought of as ‘circle-lite’. It’s handy for quick spells and also for protection when out and about. Visualize it around you like a protective glass sphere, always with you.

Unless you are about to perform a deep and complex ritual, this is really all you need. Easy, yes?

A perfect natural place for casting a magick circle.
A perfect natural place for casting a magick circle. | Source

Ritual Circle

Most witches prefer to put a little more effort into it when working magick, celebrating a Sabbat, or an Esbat (full moon). They base the circle around the four cardinal directions and their correspondences, known as the ‘quarters’.

Wiccans often go further with this by calling upon the Lords of the Watchtowers to act as protectors while they work their magick. In essence, it’s exactly the same as I will describe, but the words are more specific. For now, we are simply going with the guardians of each cardinal point, plus a fifth, the vertical plane that connects us with spirit.

Decide where your circle will be. You can allow it to enclose your altar if practical. Circles can penetrate walls, so don’t worry if the ideal place means part of the circle circumference will be outside of the room. If you like, you can cast your circle in a garden or other private outside space.

The size of the circle should give you room to work. You might want to dance or move about, or you might want to work sitting down, with little or no physical movement. The standard measurement is nine feet across, but it really doesn't matter.

These directions are for casting the circle only. Once it is done, you will be working your magick, so I am assuming you know what you want to do and have your ritual formulated and the various elements memorized, written down as notes, or laid out in your grimoire.

Steps to Casting a Magickal Circle

Beforehand: Tidy and clean the space. This is because cleaning drives away negative energy - I'm sure you've noticed how much lighter the atmosphere is after you have cleaned your room or your home.

Establish the cardinal directions; use a compass if necessary. Gather your tools and anything else you want within the circle. If you are going to be sitting down, have a pillow or chair ready. Either have your altar within the circle or create a temporary one on a small table, desk, or even a chair. Arrange your witchy tools to your satisfaction. Light incense and candles if you are using them. Don’t light candles that will be forming part of a spell. You’ll do that when you work the spell.

Optional: Place an item that represents the directions/quarters/elements at the respective points. Your circle will encircle them. You might have a pebble at North/Earth, a small cup of water at West/ Water, a feather at East, and an LED candle at South (I don’t recommend placing lit candles on the floor for safety reasons). An alternative is to use the corresponding Aces from a tarot deck as markers.

  • Step 1. Stand at the center point of your, as yet uncast circle. Breathe deeply three times, making sure to exhale fully. It’s important not to rush the process. In your mind, be clear on the purpose for the circle and your intended ritual.
  • Step 2. Take your wand, or point the index finger of your dominant hand at the floor where you imagine the perimeter of the circle will be. Turn toward East, pause and say, “I call the Guardian of East and the element of Air to watch over this sacred circle.” Take a moment to imagine what a Guardian might look like. A hooded figure, an angel, a concentrated form of energy, or whatever your imagination comes up with. Bow your head slightly in acknowledgment.
  • Step 3. Keeping your wand or finger pointing at the circle perimeter, turn slowly to South. Pause and say, “I call upon the Guardian of South and the element of Fire to watch over this sacred circle.” Again, take a moment to visualize the Guardian materializing. Dip your head as before.
  • Step 4. Now turn to West, pause and say, “I call upon the Guardian of West and the element of Water to watch over this sacred circle.” In your mind’s eye, see the Guardian take its place and acknowledge its presence with a slight bow of your head.
  • Step 5. Lastly, with your wand or finger, turn to the North. Pause a moment and say, “I call upon the Guardian of North and the element of Earth to watch over this sacred circle.” Visualize the Guardian appearing and bow your head. The drawing of the circle perimeter is complete.
  • Step 6. Raise your wand or finger to point upwards above your head. Say, “I call upon the Spirit of the Universe to watch over this circle, fill it with love, peace and divinity." Imagine a bright beam of light, emanating from above, and going right through your body, down through to the floor. Visualize your circle forming a protective sphere around you.

You are now ready to perform your ritual, cast a spell, or simply sit and enjoy the experience of calm, yet energizing energy all around and through you.

As you visualize your circle transforming into a sphere, you can imagine it looking something like this plasma globe.
As you visualize your circle transforming into a sphere, you can imagine it looking something like this plasma globe. | Source

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.

— Joseph Campbell

Dissolving the Circle

When you are ready, stand up, facing East and say, “Thank you, Guardian, go in peace and love.” Turn to North, West, and finally South, saying the same words.

When you are back at East, point your finger or wand to the floor and slowly turn widdershins (anti-clockwise), imagining the circle dissolving and fading as you go.

That’s it, you are done.

Circle Etiquette

There are a few things about working with circles that you need to know.

  • Firstly, if there’s an emergency, don’t worry about leaving it. Just go.
  • Small children and animals can enter and leave without breaking the circle.
  • There’s a Wiccan guideline that says if you want or need to leave the circle, you can cut a doorway in it with your athame (ceremonial knife) or hand. Personally, I would just pretend to move an imaginary curtain and walk through. You can always strengthen the circle on your return by a quick deosil turn and point.

If you have any questions about circle casting, ask below.

Have You Ever Cast a Circle?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • I’m new to this. Today I cast my first circle. Everything was going well as I was meditating. However, I suddenly felt an urge to open my eyes and I felt a presence I very much did not like. Across the street from me was another Wiccan casting a circle. Do you think she could have influenced what was going on?

    It's possible, I suppose, but your circle is supposed to keep out those negative external energies. That's why it's so peaceful to meditate inside it. If you feel uncomfortable about her being close by, find yourself a protection ritual, and preferably a simple one that you can activate on demand.

    This article has some suggestions:

  • What does it mean to sprinkle salt around the circle in witchcraft?

    Some people think it provides extra protection. However, you shouldn't do it unless you are working indoors on a tiled floor. If you do it outside you will kill any plants, including grass, as well as small creatures that may inadvertently pass over it. I've never used salt in that way; it's not necessary.

  • Why can you just leave the circle? What happens if you do?

    Nothing would happen, but that focus of energy will dissipate.

  • I am practicing witchcraft by casting a circle. I am building my circle with rocks as the outline. Must the rocks touch all the way around the circle?

    You can have it exactly as you want it. You might choose to use only four rocks or stones to mark the quarters. You might like to use more. It's your choice.

  • Yesterday I made a love jar for a particular person and I have to say that the night has been quite a mess. I dreamed of animals like black pigs, I kept seeing a black shadow through my dreams. I think I may have done something bad with that jar. Can someone help me to understand?

    Okay, you haven't done anything that can't be undone, but please learn this lesson well. Never try to manipulate the emotions and actions of another person. It never ends well because the energy you have set into motion is crashing against the energy of the other person. I expect they are feeling pretty horrible today.

    Go here and follow the instructions to reverse the spell:

© 2018 Bev G


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      5 weeks ago from Wales, UK

      Hi Cam, of course. You can use a simple circle/sphere visualization. Or use actual physical markers like pebbles.

      However, being secular doesn't mean you have to abandon the idea of your circle being aligned to directions and their associated elements.

      In any case you don't have to follow the 'rules'. Make the process unique to you.

    • profile image


      5 weeks ago

      Hi, I am a secular witch, is there a way to cast a good solid circle without the north, south, east, west stuff?

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      4 months ago from Wales, UK

      You are very welcome, Kenzie. I think people get too hung up on the fripperies. I like to keep it real and do-able. xx

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      I really love and appreciate your content! I am reinventing my witchy side (I let go of my practice last year due to personal issues) and your articles are full of valuable information to learn from. Thank you for making this available to people trying to learn.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      6 months ago from Wales, UK

      Hi Ambrose, you can keep the circle active (by using visualisation) as long as you need it. If you don't formally close it, it will just fade away. Closing it properly ends the ritual cleanly.

    • profile image


      6 months ago

      How long can I keep the Circle up for before I need to dissolve it? I am still very new to this! Thank you!

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      Thank you so much! This helped me a lot, and I'm looking forward to casting my first circle and doing my first ritual and spell soon!

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      8 months ago from Wales, UK

      Your choice, Joshua.

      Here's an article by Mackenzie Sage Wright that might be helpful in your practice:

    • profile image

      joshua rensberger 

      8 months ago

      can a circle be used in blood magic/dark magic

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      21 months ago from Wales, UK

      Your English is fine, Shigure. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Shigure profile image


      21 months ago

      Thank you so much for your kind reply, Bev. I'm going to keep learning from your blogs!English is not my native language, I hope my question readable and may the poor expression has not caused you any inconvenience. Blessings always!

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      21 months ago from Wales, UK

      Anything works, Shigure. There are no 'rules' although some would have you believe otherwise :)

    • Shigure profile image


      21 months ago

      “An alternative is to use the corresponding Aces from a tarot deck as markers.” Thank you Bev, I'm a novice and I began to practice circle casting not long. I find that using candles to mark four elements directions so inconvenient cause the stub wax was hard to tidy as well as the light might scald myself incidentally. Does the tarot aces really work? That will be nice if so

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      21 months ago from Wales, UK

      Thank you, Kim. Blessings right back at you xx

    • ocfireflies profile image


      21 months ago from North Carolina

      I found this hub very interesting and helpful. I look forward to sharing with a group of my girlfriends. May your circles always be full with love and positivity.

      Blessings Always,



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)