Casting the Circle

a simple all-purpose Circle Casting
by Valerie Walker

You will need:

Point candles (yellow for East, red for South, blue for West, green for North, white for Center; or all white if you prefer); an altar (set up in the North) on which you have incense, a bowl of water, some salt, your chalice, your athame, your wand, your pentacle, and a symbol of the Goddess; your cord (if you have been initiated); some wine or juice, some cakes, bread, cookies, fruit or other food.

Light the point candles except for the Center one; light the incense and leave it on the altar. Coveners stand in a circle. The presiding Priest/ess (HPs) faces altar, takes three knifepoints of salt with the athame from the container of salt, and stirs them clockwise into the bowl of water, saying:"Salt and water,inner and outer, soul and body ..."

HPs shakes the water out over the altar three times, saying: " thou purified, be thou cleansed. Cast out all evils of the world of phantasm."

HPs puts athame back in sheath and picks up bowl of salt water. Turning to face other coveners, s/he says: "Into this cup I cast---- (here follows a list of whatever things, physical, mental or spiritual, s/he wants to get rid of). Depart from me, and return as energy I can use." S/he blows into the salt water, sending all negativity out into the mighty ocean; then visualizes positive energy coming back from the ocean, and takes a sip. HPs passes the bowl clockwise (deosil, the direction of increase) to next person in the circle, who repeats the process. (Some people prefer to pass the bowl counterclockwise [widdershins, the direction of decrease] as a sign that this is an exorcism. It's up to you--if the emphasis is on getting rid of negativity, do it widdershins; if the emphasis is on invoking positive things, do it deosil.)

When the bowl has been around the entire circle, have a designated water priest/ess (WPs) take it. Have a designated fire priest/ess (FPs) take the incense.

Now the three Ps go to each direction in turn to invoke the Guardians of the Watchtowers:

Everyone face East.

HPs: (takes athame, taps three times on the wall or window in front of her, stands in invoking position with legs apart and arms wide, forming a five-pointed star with her body)

"Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East
Powers of AIR, Powers of the MIND:
We summon, stir, and call you up;
By the air that is Her Breath
Come to us, come to us, come to us!"
(everybody joins in on the "Come to us")

HPs uses athame to scribe a pentacle in the air, saying: "Blessed be!" (all repeat).

WPs takes bowl of salt water and sprinkles to the East, saying 'With Water and Earth I purify the East. Blessed be." (all repeat)

FPs takes incense and waves it in a circle to the East, saying "With Fire and Air, I charge the East. Blessed be." (all repeat.)

Repeat to the other directions. The invocations go as follows:

"Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the SOUTH
Powers of FIRE, Powers of the WILL:
We summon, stir, and call you up;
By the fire that is Her energy
Come to us, come to us, come to us!"

"Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the WEST
Powers of WATER Powers of the EMOTIONS:
We summon, stir, and call you up;
By the water that is Her blood
Come to us, come to us, come to us!"

"Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the NORTH
Powers of EARTH, Powers of the BODY:
We summon, stir, and call you up;
By the earth that is Her body
Come to us, come to us, come to us!"

When the circuit is completed, the assisting Ps put their implements back on the altar; the HPs. turns to the East. Reaching up with the athame, then stooping to touch the ground, saying "As Above, So Below", HPs then turns to face the rest of the Circle and says: "The Circle is cast. The ritual is begun." HPs lights center candle and prepares for invocations of the gods.