Circles
Circles are the boundary for your Magick Circle. This boundary both holds in energies evoked within the circle at least until you are ready to release it, and keeps out unwanted or menacing energies and entities. It marks "a place which is not a place and a time which is not a time."

There are exceptions to this. Little children, small animals, and other “innocents” may freely enter or leave a circle at any time without disturbing anything.
Invocation
As I said on the tools page, always use your athame in your right hand (unless you understand why you’re doing otherwise). Kiss athame, hold over your heart (in right hand, over left shoulder). Point up at direction, and invoke:
“Oh Mighty guardians (or Lords) of the watchtowers of the (direction), I (name) do summon, stir, and call thee forth (draw invoking pentacle) to guard this circle and protect from all perils approaching from the (direction).”
Proceed with one of the following per the quarter.
East:

All-wise Eagle, great ruler of tempest, Storm and whirlwind,
Master of the Heavenly Vault,
Great Prince of the Powers of Air.
Be present, we pray thee and guard this circle
From all perils approaching from the East.



South:

O Thou Lion, Lord of Lightning,
Master of the Solar Orb,
Great Prince of the Powers of Fire.
Be present, we pray thee and guard this circle
From all perils approaching from the South.



West:

Serpent of old, Master of the Deeps,
Ruler of the Bitter Sea
Great Prince of the Powers of Water
Be present, we pray thee and guard this circle
From all perils approaching from the West.



North:

Black Bull of the North, Horned One,
Dark Ruler of the Mountains and all that lies beneath them.
Great Prince of the Powers of Earth.
Be present, we pray thee and guard this circle
From all perils approaching from the North.


Center is different (and optional):

Kiss athame, hold over your heart (in right hand, over left shoulder). Point toward center of circle and down (not toward any person).
Oh Mighty guardians (or Lords) of the watchtowers of the center I (name) do summon, stir, and call thee forth (draw invoking pentacle around yourself – you’ll no doubt have to see it done) to guard this circle and protect from all perils arising from within.

When finished, go back and salute north – kiss athame, put over heart, point at direction briefly, return to over heart, then back down at (right) side.
Further Instructions
After each of these, hit the athame on a bell 3 separate times – let the ring complete. Light quarter candle (if applicable). For “name”, you use your Wiccan name. You can use a name from a (self) dedication too. In the case of someone casting the circle who is 2nd or 3rd degree, they would use the name of the lowest-level initiate present… If the circle were all 3rd degree people, they’d use their 3rd degree name. If the circle were 2nd and 3rd degree people, they’d use their 2nd degree name. If there were 1 person who was a 1st, they’d use their 1st degree name. If there are preinitiates, the person casting the circle would use their 1st degree name, or if they had the preinitiate cast it (for practice), that person would use their dedication name.

Your 1st degree name is pretty basically your name for Craft work. Your 2nd or 3rd degree name is held even closer, and among people of at least that rank where they’ve shared their 2nd or 3rd degree names with you.
Discharging
When you get done with whatever ritual or magickal work you’re doing in the circle, you banish these thus:
(Point athame toward direction as before)

Oh mighty guardians (or Lords) of the watchtowers of the (direction), I/we thank you for your presences here today/tonight. And err ye part for your lovely realms we bid thee (kiss athame) HAIL, AND FAREWELL. Hit a bell one time using the athame. Put out quarter candle.

Note that this is a gentle banishing. It’s more of a discharge. You don’t need to exorcise these beings. They are there to protect you and really don’t mean you any harm! You’ll want to call them back again next time. Be nice to them. No banishing pentagrams when you’re sending them away!
Word of Caution
It’s okay to summon either the Guardians OR Lords of the watchtowers. Doing all quarters the same is by far preferable to a hodge-podge of invocations. Consistency is helpful. The caution though is to BE SURE TO TAKE THEM DOWN THE SAME WAY! If you invoke the Guardians and banish the Lords, who’s left? The Ladies!!! The Guardians of the Watchtowers do NOT like to be left with nothing to do! That is likely to cause a lot of trouble.
Summary
  1. Sweep the clean with a broom. Words to use are, “Broom sweep clean. Sweep out evil.”
  2. Get everyone and everything you’ll need in order, and within the area for the circle.
  3. Mix some salt in with the water in the chalice. “Water and earth, where thou art cast, may no spell or adverse purpose last. Not in complete accord with me. And as I will, so mote it be.” Sprinkle the water around deocile, starting in the east.
  4. Light incense. Waft the smoke around the perimeter. “Fire and air, this charge I lay. No phantom in thy presence stay. Not in complete accord with me. And as I will, so mote it be.”
  5. Trace the perimeter of the circle with your athame (or fingers). “The circle is cast. All herein are in a place which is not a place and a time which is not a time. Merry Meet! Blessed Be.” (Share hugs with others if applicable.)
  6. “Bell, Book, and Candle” {laugh} That’s what I’ve said here about calling the quarters, lighting the candles, ringing the bell.
  7. Do whatever you’re going to do in the circle.
  8. Send the Watchtowers home. Open the circle in the northwest. “May the circle be open yet unbroken…”
Alternative Method
Clean the circle area as described above. Sprinkle the water and salt around an 11 ft diameter circle. Same with the incense. Then, taking the athame in your LEFT hand (I told you before not to use the left hand unless you understand why – I’ll get to that!), you cast the 11 ft circle deocile, starting in the WEST. You get back to west. Without pausing, you cast another circle inside that, about 10 ft. diameter, and go WIDDERSHINS! When you get back to west, you do it again, going around DEOCILE in a 9 ft circle. All of this is done completely silently.
Simple Method
The circle can be of any size, so long as it is large enough for the altar and all of the worshippers. The recommended sizes are anything from about 4 feet in diameter on up.

Clean the circle area as described above. Sprinkle the water over the entire ritual area, paying special attention to where you are going to sit or stand.

Light a candle. Trace the perimeter with the candle, silently. Light the incense, and trace the perimeter with the smoke from the incense, silently. Finally, trace the circle using a wand, again, silently.

Open the circle simply by stepping out of it, preferably to the southeast.
Copyright 2004 by Elizabeth Harper
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