Creating a Spell Casting Circle
There are many ways to cast a circle, from the simple to the vastly complex. Circles are created mainly for protection or to increase magickal power while within one. How you choose to work and cast your circle is a matter of personal choice and of feeling what is right for you, as there is never a 'right' or 'wrong' way in the craft.
Circles can be any size and at their simplest are cast by the witch raising her wand, athame or finger and rotating slowly, pointing their finger at the ground and imagining white light rising from the ground. Some choose to mark out the circle with small rocks or twigs, if outside. If inside, some draw chalk lines or mark out the circle in other ways.
More complex circles involve marking out the points of the compass: East, South, West, North. You can use a compass or an app on your mobile phone to do this. Place an object at each cardinal point, on the edge of the circle, that symbolises the element it represents:
East - Air (wand, censer, incense, bell)
South - Fire (athame or wand)
West - Water (bowl of water, chalice)
North - Earth (crystal, pine cone, dirt, salt)
If you wish, you can mark each of the compass points with a candle that is lit for the time that you are working in the circle and extinguished when you complete your work.
In some traditions, the points of the compass are called upon, referring to them as 'lords of the watchtowers' or 'guardians'. Face each point in turn and call upon them to aid your working. A bell can be rung as you make your request, or you can choose to hold up each elemental symbol (raise your bowl of salt, or wand for example).
You may choose to place a pentagram symbol in the centre of the circle or draw a pentagram in the air using your athame or wand. There are different ways of drawing a pentagram, indicated by your starting point. Circles can also be marked with the points corresponding to those of a pentagram with North representing spirit, often seen as the fifth element. There are traditions, such as some Wiccan traditions, that typically set up an altar in the North upon which they may place some ritual tools.
Another way of working is to call the spirits of ancestors, or elemental spirits, to the edge of your circle to aid you in your work. I you do this be careful not to invite them into your circle which is your personal working space.
If you do call upon the quarters (or watchtowers) or ask spirits to help you, remember to thank them when you have finished your work and before closing your circle.
Close your circle by visualising the white light dispersing back into the ground, or by announcing that the circle is now closed, remove and cleanse your ritual tools and pour any salt, water or other natural substance into the ground.