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This is the nineteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.
“A Witch uses the magickal circle as a physical and non-physical representation of a temple on the earth plane.”
This isn’t really something one might have a lot of opinions on. It’s pretty straightforward in meaning and, I believe, most witches would be hard-pressed to disagree. Our Circle is sacred, and we all acknowledge that simple fact, no matter how a Circle is constructed.
I’d be overstepping it if I said that every witch in the world casts the magickal circle, but all of the witches I’ve met have done so at some point in their lives. It’s safe to say this is a common practice. If you’re reading this, then you probably already know what the magickal circle is. For those of you who don’t, I’ll gladly explain.
First, to keep things clear, I use “magickal circle” and “Circle” interchangeably, with “Circle” capitalized to denote its spiritual importance to me. We witches use the Circle to create a sacred space where we can safely practice magick and worship the Divine.
To create a magickal circle, one needs little more than intent.
That said, most of us do prefer to use certain tools that allow us to physically mark the space as sacred alongside our spiritual efforts. This serves in not only giving our minds a type of anchor, so that we’re grounded and focused on the task at hand, but it brings together our earthly world and the spiritual one.
Witches use a variety of methods to create their Circle; some even use different methods for different occasions! Here at Maiden’s Circle, we have a basic Circle-building structure that we feel is useful in all occasions. The full method is taught in our upcoming Covenpath course, but I’ll go over the basics here.
Generally, all of our Circles start with an activity to help participants ground themselves and focus on the upcoming ritual. This could be anything from a few deep breaths to a full on meditation to singing and dancing—anything that gets us grounded in the space and within our bodies.
Once we’re grounded and our intentions are focused on our purpose—whatever reason we’ve chosen to create the Circle—then we’re ready to erect our Circle. This usually means calling to the four cardinal corners of the earth (North, East, South, and West) and asking their spiritual guardians to protect us while we work. In our practice, these guardians are represented by four major elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
We would then hold an object that represents each element in its corresponding direction and call upon those guardians to join our Circle and protect it. Many witches also call upon a deity or two, often a feminine and masculine pair.
Lastly, we would visualize an orb of light growing around us, covering our space and solidifying it as sacred.
This is our temple. This is our church. It exists where we choose to create it.
Of course, once we’ve completed our Circle, it’s important to respect the space we’ve built. A good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t do it in a public church, you shouldn’t do it in your own Circle. Naturally, there are many exceptions, since public churches tend to have a very different idea of what’s appropriate.
But, what I mean is if it would be disrespectful to a spiritual space, you might want to avoid it. For example, you wouldn’t want someone coming into your Circle and starting fights. You wouldn’t want someone to enter your Circle with cheesy or greasy fingers and then proceed to touch all of your ritual tools. So, don’t do it to yourself or to anyone else’s Circle. In general, when you’re in another person’s sacred space, you’ll follow their lead for how the space should be treated.
Over time, we all figure out what works best for us in Circle. Even people in covens have their individual methods in addition to the coven’s style. Like most things in witchcraft and Wicca, we have the benefit of being able to cast a magickal circle in whichever way suits us.
However we create our Circle, I believe it’s a useful practice for every witch. The Circle allows us to have a sacred space anywhere we choose, it protects us from any ephemeral beings that are up to no good, connects our mundane lives with the Divine, and enhances the magickal energy of all of our workings. We are truly safe within the sacred Circle.
Do you cast a magickal circle? Do you cast it for every work or only during certain rituals? Is it an important part of your practice? Share your responses in the comments!
With many blessings,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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This post is a bit of a warning.
There’s a group on Facebook that claims to be a teaching group for witches (Witchy Witch Teaching Circle). It’s a pretty normal group most of the time. The admin, however, was found giving bad advice. When questioned about it, she blocked at least 4 people from commenting or posting in the group. Possibly more at this point. I think this is a dangerous response for someone who claims to be a Pagan teacher, to resist any kind of disagreement.
I also think it’s important to explain the situation. She posted a screenshot of a conversation in which she told a man that he couldn’t be a witch because he was Taoist, Buddhist, and/or Hindu. She said “being a witch means having only witchcraft as a belief system.” This post is in an effort to avoid that kind of misinformation.
What’s wrong with that?
Being a witch requires 2 things 1] the practice of witchcraft and 2] the choice to be called a witch. That’s it. I may not agree totally with the idea of a Christian witch, but I wouldn’t tell them they *can’t* be a witch if they so choose.
There is no such rule that states a witch isn’t allowed to follow different belief systems. Furthermore, witchcraft is a practice. Yes, it is based on a type of faith, but in and of itself, it is not its own “belief system.” And it isn’t an exclusionary practice.
Naturally, this was pointed out to the admin in question by multiple people. Her response, instead of considering that maybe she’d given some bad advice, was to block and ban every person who commented along those lines. Every one.
Petty and dangerous
To make such a claim as “being a witch means having only witchcraft as a belief system” is harmful, misleading, and a sign of dangerous leadership. To deny any questioning of a claimed religious teacher is borderline cult behavior.
This did not sit well with me at all. As someone who strives to be a Pagan teacher, who wishes to help and guide witches in need, I’m always on the lookout for dangerous and controlling behaviors. The Pagan community deals with enough misunderstanding and negative representation. We don’t need more.
It’s okay to ask and even correct a teacher
Keep your eyes open, Witchlings. Not every witch who claims to be a teacher wants to help you. Some just want to be religious leaders, to have followers, to never be questioned.
But I urge you to question. I urge you to speak out when information rings untrue, when something seems harmful, or just because it’s confusing. Speak up and question anyone who claims to be a religious teacher. The right teacher won’t mind.
Lady Morgana Brighid, HP MCCA
I’m in a lot of Pagan Facebook groups where Pagans of all traditions can come together to celebrate, grow, and learn. A question that pops up time and time again in these groups is something along the lines of How do I know if I was born a witch?
If you’ve wondered this yourself, you might have gotten some pretty varied responses. Well-meaning websites list anything from marks on your palm to just not giving a damn in general as “signs” that you’re born a witch.
Those erroneous articles aside, most practitioners know the truth: no one is born a witch. It’s true that some witches are born with certain spiritual gifts. You may have always “known” things beyond what you’ve been exposed to. You could even have been born into a family with a long-practiced witchcraft tradition. However, while anyone can be born with spiritual gifts—that doesn’t make one a witch.
What does make someone a witch is choice. You choose to practice witchcraft, to learn what it has to offer, and to make it a part of your life. No one else can tell you whether you are. No special marks or gifts. You choose to be a witch, and it’s as simple as that.
For most of us, it’s a lifestyle and endless journey. Sure, there are those who call themselves “dabblers,” but most witches have spent a significant amount of time learning our craft and incorporating it into our daily lives.
In the beginning of my own practice, I asked this very same question. Was I born a witch? I had many gifts and didn’t fit in with anyone, instead choosing to drift through social groups, mainly in shadow. I knew things others didn’t and saw the world differently from just about everyone around me. There are quite a few in online communities who’d claim those are signs I was a witch at birth.
I believe that I was born with the potential to become a witch. There are spirits, deities, and such varied otherworldly beings who interact with us on the earthly realm all the time. Whether in this realm or another, it’s possible for these beings to become attached to others. They may choose to guide and protect certain people, much in the way we might choose to help and protect our friends and family.
That’s why it might seem like witchery has been “calling” you. In a way, it has been. Some people are more inherently tuned into the spiritual realm and are therefore more likely to pursue a Pagan practice. Still, you are not a witch until you take on that mantle.
No one is born a witch, but most of us are born with the potential to become one. If you feel you’re guided to this path, I encourage you to pursue it for at least a year before deciding one way or another. Remember that no one else can decide for you whether or not you’re a witch—not relatives, not other witches, and certainly not strangers on the internet.
So, what are some of the signs you saw or experienced growing up that lead you to this Pagan path? How did you discover your connection with witchcraft? Let’s discuss in the comments!
With love always,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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