Casting the Magic Circle (or calling the quarters or Watchtowers) –
Parts taken from Celtic Magic by D. J. Conway
When properly drawn, with the candles of the Elements at the cardinal directions and the altar in the center, the circle becomes a mandala, or sacred drawing, upon which the magician stands. The circle is drawn by the dagger, sword or index finger of the power hand as protection against potentially dangerous forces or spirits. It concentrates the cone of power raised within its boundaries. In magic, a properly drawn circle becomes an invisible boundary, having power in this and other realms. Once cast and sealed, it is unwise to cross the boundary until the ritual is finished and the Elements dismissed. Cats and small children for some strange reason are able to cross the boundaries without upsetting the power flow.
Casting the Circle:
Holding your ritual tool of choice in your power hand and beginning in the eastern quarter of the area to be circled, aim the weapon at the ground or floor while visualizing an intense silver-blue flame coming from the point. “Draw” a circle clockwise with that flame, overlapping the ends of the line in the east. More important than a perfectly round circle is that you see, at least with your inner eye, the boundary of silver-blue flame around you.
The actual area of the circle may be marked out with chalk or masking tape, but should be redrawn each time it is used for ritual.
The symbols and/ or candles representing the four Elements are set just inside the circle at the four directions. Use a compass to establish the correct cardinal points. Walking deosil, sunwise or clockwise within the circle is for positive magic and walking widdershins or counterclockwise is for banishing or cursing. After the circle has been cast and sealed, it is important to the power flow that you turn or walk within the cast circle according to the type of magic you are using. When the magical procedures are finished, “cut” the circle by a backward or reverse movement of the sword or dagger across a section of the circle. The silver-blue flames will wink out of existence.
Set the altar up facing east and have everything ready before you enter the circle from the east.
Take up your tool or use your finger to draw the magic circle, beginning in the east. Visualize the silver-blue flame and draw the circle, remembering to overlap the ends in the east. While you are drawing the circle, say:
I consecrate this circle of power to the Ancient Gods. Here may they manifest and bless their child.
Move back to the altar, facing east. Raise your tool in greeting. Say:
This is a time that is not a time
In a place that is not a place On a day that is not a day. I stand on the threshold between the worlds, before the veil of the Mysteries May the Ancient Ones help and protect me on my journey.
Set the water chalice on the pentacle disk. Hold your dagger over it and say:
Great mother, bless this creature of Water to your service. May I always remember the cauldron waters of rebirth.
Hold your dagger over the salt, say:
Great Mother, bless this creature of earth to your service. May I always remember the blessed earth, its many forms and beings.
Sprinkle a little salt into the water, touch the chalice briefly to the pentacle disk, then hold the chalice up high, say:
Great Mother, I give you honor!
Beginning in the east and moving clockwise, sprinkle the water-salt mixture lightly around the edges of the circle. Replace the chalice on the altar. Hold your dagger over the lighted incense burner, say:
Great Father, bless this creature of fire to your service. May I always remember the sacred fire that dances within the form of every creation.
Hold your dagger over the incense. Say:
Great Father, bless this creature of air to your service May I always listen to the spirit winds that bring me the voices of the Ancient Ones.
Put a little incense on the charcoal. Touch the burner briefly to the pentacle disk, then raise the burner high, saying:
Great Father, I give you honor!
Carry the burner around the circle clockwise, beginning in the east. Return it to the altar. Go to the eastern quarter of the circle, light the yellow candle, and hold your hand up in greeting.
I call upon you, Powers of Air, to witness this rite and to guard this circle.
In the southern quarter, light the red candle and greet the element.
I call upon you, Powers of Fire, to witness this rite and to guard this circle.
In the western quarter, light the blue candle and greet the element.
I call upon you, Powers of Water, to witness this rite and to guard this circle.
In the northern quarter, light the green candle and greet the element.
I call upon you, Powers of Earth, to witness this rite and to guard this circle.
Move back to the central altar, and stand facing east. Raise your arms in greeting:
This circle is bound, With power all around. Between the worlds I stand With protection at hand.
Proceed with your planned spell working or ritual ceremony. When complete, hold your hand or dagger over the altar and say:
By the powers of the Ancient Gods
I bind all power within this circle into this spell. So mote it be.