Much of the preparatory phase for any magical work can feel like a dry, boring routine or a chore and certainly when we don't necessarily understand what the purpose of each act is, we just go through the motions. I think it's important to explain why we cast magical circles, rather than just expecting you to follow a set of instructions.
What is a Magic Circle?
The casting of a Magic circle is a declaration of intention. You are not simply putting an imaginary, or in some cases physical line around the edge of the area used for Magic working; you are creating a space in which you will be working your will, you are claiming this space as your own for that duration. You are setting out an area which is considered to be 'liminal' in that it exists not in, yet not fully out of the physical world.
The Magic circle is more than just representation of both the macrocosm and microcosm; with a firm will and intention the magic circle becomes the literal macrocosm and microcosm, the work you do inside the circle is also happening in the universe, it is not limited to that space. You are placing yourself at the centre of all of creation, a place in which you are able to alter reality in accordance with your will.
It is important to note that a Magic circle does not guarantee success for your magical work, that comes from purity and strength of will, practice, patience and focus.
The creation of a Magic circle, when enacted consciously and with intention can help to place your mind into the correct state of consciousness, regular practice helps the mind focus more sharply on the task and gives more power to the magical acts to be performed within it.
Likewise, closing the circle with as much focus as used in its creation helps return the mind to a normal state of consciousness. Setting oneself apart from the work done within the circle is important.
Can I leave the circle during the ritual?
I stand firmly in the "no" camp here. I have worked in circles where the ceremonial leader has opened a 'hole' in the circle with an Athame, fingers or by making the motion of drawing a curtain across, simply because they had forgotten a tool, needed the toilet or just wanted to check their phone! As the circle is a literal representation of the macrocosm and microcosm, it has become the actual fabric of the universe, opening up a 'hole' in this fabric, no matter how innocent the idea, is understandably dangerous. What would happen if a hole in reality opened up? That is what the opening of the circle is imprinting on the ritual, and the ritual is to affect reality! If you forgot a tool, you must proceed without it, or start the whole thing over. If you need to use the toilet, go before the ritual and if your need to check your phone is more important than your need to concentrate on and complete your ritual, you should not even have started your ritual!
Is it Essential?
It is not essential to use a Magic circle. The practice appears in history alongside, and presumably it comes from the development of ritual Magic. The first instances referenced are within works such as The Book of Abremalin, The Key of Solomon the King and other ancient Grimoires.
The Magic circle is a tool for ritual and is not necessary for things like Reiki treatments, Tarot readings and although it is often used in seasonal celebrations among neo-Pagans, it is not necessary and is more symbolic.
While some people do not use a Magic circle for spell work, I can honestly say from my experience that spells created within a circle feel more powerful than those without one.
Published by Herne on: