A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.
Casting a Wiccan Circle
Casting a circle is easier in theory than in practice. It's easy to explain in the same way it's easy to explain how to play the guitar. If you had never picked up a guitar before, I could tell you that all you need to do to play it is hold down certain strings with the fingers of one hand while strumming it with the other hand; but you are most likely not going to be able to pick it up and play a song. I could show you a diagram of all the hand positions you need to play chords, I could tell you all the notes you'll need to play a song, I could even demonstrate for you—but when you pick up that guitar, you're going to stumble for a while before you produce anything resembling music.
Likewise, with a circle, there are many great guides that give step-by-step instructions that tell you what to do, what to say, what tools you can use, what you should be thinking, etc.—but the actual skill is something that will only develop with time and practice.
Instructional guides that walk you through it are fine; they provide you with a framework for practice or give you inspiration for how to create your own Casting the Circle Rite. If you're interested in a "ritual script" I provide one here. But these kinds of guides alone aren't enough. Here, I offer some techniques and exercises to help you develop your ability to cast a proper Wiccan circle.
Meditation is the foundation for so many spiritual practices, particularly in orthopraxic religions like Wicca. Any experienced Wiccan mentor, coven leader, or school is going to emphasize mastering meditation as a basic technique. Three important elements of mastering meditation are breath, relaxation, and mindfulness. Practicing these exercises will enhance your ability to enter a meditative state at will.
- Breathing Exercise: Spend a few minutes per day just focusing on your breath. Don't try to force it into a rhythm, don't attempt to breathe or exhale deeply; just let it flow naturally. Focus on the in and out, the way it feels, the way the air smells or tastes, the feel of the rise and fall of your chest. If your attention wanders, that's okay; just redirect it back to your breath.
- Relaxation Technique: Learn to relax your body each part by focusing on one major muscle or muscle group at a time. Tense the muscles of one isolated area for 15 to 30 seconds, then let it totally relax. Start with focusing on one foot. Tense only the foot—then let it go. Move your attention to the calf muscle, the thigh, then work your way up from the other leg. Work your way up the buttocks, back, stomach, chest, each arm (hands to shoulders), neck, and face.
- Mindfulness Exercise: Pick one task per day for about 10 minutes and give it your total focus. It could be dusting the house-- put your mind in the moment, notice how soft the feather duster is, the smell of the furniture polish, the dust particles dancing in the air, the faint sound of the rag swiping across the surface, the shine of the wood. Become positively fascinated by the task at hand, question, and explore every detail and sensory experience of it with your mind. The next day you might be mindful during your shower, during the walk from your car to the office, while you're washing the dishes. Do it once per day.
When you're working with the spiritual, you're usually working with that which is invisible. The ability to visualize becomes important to ritual work; you cannot manifest that which you cannot even imagine.
Visualization often makes people think exclusively of visual images. This is because so many of us are visually oriented and rely on our eyes, or what we see, for our main source of sensory input. Perhaps "Creative Sensory Experience" would be a better term, because some people find it easier to imagine sounds, smells, tastes, or feelings-- either physical or emotional feelings. If you have trouble visualizing, not only is it fine to bring in other senses, but it's encouraged to bring in as many as you can to the experience.
Creative Visualization Exercises:
- Work on visualizing color. Go into a meditative state and envision a red 7 with your mind's eye—kind of like those big numbers that hang in the air on Sesame Street. Then envision an orange 6, a yellow 5, a green 4, a blue 3, an indigo 2, and a violet 1. A big part of 'seeing' things in visualization is the ability to see vivid colors, so train yourself to see the whole spectrum this way. If you're having difficulty seeing a certain color, get a crayon or piece of paper or pull up the color online and stare at it a while, then close your eyes and visualize it.
- Visualize a place from your childhood that you haven't been for a while—your childhood bedroom, kindergarten classroom, grandma's house, etc. and explore it again with as many senses as you can muster—not just the sights (like all the knick-knacks on the shelf or the papers on the bulletin board) but the sounds, the scents, the way the wooden chairs feel under your butt and the way you feel emotionally being in that space.
- Pick your favorite painting—perhaps The Scream by Munch, or perhaps just flea market folk art of a farmhouse hanging on your wall. Go into a meditative state and envision the painting. Then envision yourself stepping into it and exploring the scene.
In order to cast a proper circle, you need to learn how to manipulate energy. Some of this energy is drawn from your surroundings, from the universe, celestial bodies, the earth, etc.; and some comes from within yourself. You will mix and channel these energies and project them to take the form of your actual (this is where the visualization becomes important).
To learn how to improve your skills at manipulating energy, try these exercises:
- Sit and meditate. Hold your hands up with the palms facing each other, a couple of inches apart but not touching. Try to sense your own energy. Try this exercise with a friend, holding your palm up to your friend's palm and try to sense each other's energy.
- Go into a very dimly lit room with a white blank wall. Sit in front of the wall and meditate, holding your hands up with your palms facing each other. Open your eyes and try to see the energy between your hands. You may also be able to see your aura around your hands.
- After a few sessions, when you can see the energy clearly, start practicing with projecting the energy from one hand to the other, or out of your palm to the wall, or straight up or down.
When it comes to circle casting, practice makes perfect. You don't need to have an altar set full of tools, nor do you need to plan a full-blown ritual. You can practice casting circles anytime—anywhere. Cast one in your room at night to sit in and meditate. Cast one at the park. Cast one around yourself while you're sitting on the bus using only the visualization and your own ability to manipulate energy.
Here are some exercises:
- Visualize yourself pulling up energy from the earth below and the universe above. Visualize it gathering and mingling with your own energy in the center of your body. Visualize it forming into a bubble—let it grow, and grow until you are engulfed by the bubble.
- Practice with friends. Have your friend leave the room, then return. See if your friend can sense whether or not you have cast a circle. Then you leave the room and go back in to see if you can determine if your friend cast a circle or not.
The more circles you cast, the better you will get at it. Once you begin to master circle casting, you'll notice a marked difference in your rituals, as well as your magical workings.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright
futurewitch on September 30, 2019:
I always will believe in magic because when i was a little younger about 9 years old i always tryed to have magic and powers. And now im sure that i will get them !
jana belle on September 25, 2019:
hello i want to learn all of it
Adikwu Kingsley on March 19, 2019:
I want to learn how to do magic. I want to learn it and be perfect.
Allyssa Cullen from Montreal on November 07, 2018:
Hi Mackenzie, thank you so much for this article for interesting information you have provided us. I have been practicing Wicca for about 18 years on and off nothing to serious, however recently i have decided to take it more serious. The reason why is due to these visions i have been having. I just brushed them off as daydreaming until i noticed what i see has been actually happening. Do you think i could be clairvoyant? If so is there anything i can or should do to help elevate this ability?
Thank you again for your great article.
Elcerain on October 29, 2018:
Hello. I'm new to Wicca and any type of Witchcraft. I have slowly become more interested and comfortable with the idea of making this part of my life. I have been trying to research as much as possible before doing anything. I thought to cast a circle also required drawing it. You made no mention of it. Is it necessary to draw it?
Morgan on September 03, 2017:
If I consecrate a circle in my room, what should be done if I move to another house?
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on June 15, 2017:
Hello; casting a circle isn't a spell per say, but it is a magical rite in which you raise energy. Chants are only necessary in as far as they help you focus in directing and shaping that energy as a protective barrier around you. Some people can do that without chants, without tools, without even standing up-- they can sit and shape it entirely with their mind. Some prefer the chants, tools, movement, etc. because it helps them focus and raise the energy better. Hope that helps :o)
IllyriaOldOne on June 15, 2017:
Is there any chants or rituals that need to be done to be able to draw a circle, like a spell to go along with it? I'm a beginner, I haven't even casted a spell yet, and I want to know in advance.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on June 02, 2017:
Nope, it's just manipulating energy; you can use your hand.
Peanut on June 01, 2017:
So you don't need salt or any tools for casting a circle?
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 17, 2017:
Hi Aida; best way to know is keep practicing and you learn to sense it. If you struggle with meditation, you might want to try different methods such as mindfulness or moving meditation. Everyone can meditate, it is a natural state (ever do something that you get totally engaged in, you don't notice you're hungry, or what time it is, you're like totally lost in what you're doing and fully absorbed? That's a meditative state, and that's the state you want to be in for things like circle casting).
Not everyone can sit perfectly still for 30 minutes with a clear mind, so sometimes people can't do this and think it means they can't meditate. But that's only one type of meditation.
Aida on January 08, 2017:
I have always felt deep inside of me that I most of being a witch in a past life. Ever since I can remember I have always been attracted to the arts. I also have a deck of Tarot cards which I use daily. My intuition is very strong and I have also been told that I have Psychic abilities as well. I was completely drawn to the Wicca religion when I happened on it while browsing. I felt drawn to it. So, I have decided to learn everything I can about Wicca. I have also decided to practice Wicca. I am however a little concerned because I don't think I will be able to cast a circle. My attention span if any is very minimal. I have been trying to meditate for months now and I can't tell if I am doing correctly. In any case I will try to cast a circle and keep practicing. How would I know if I actually cast one? Not to be rude or anything but, how am I going to see energy?