By definition the magic circle implies a confining space, a limitation, separating that which is within from that which is without.
It it a limiting factor as well as a binding factor. The Magician limits himself to the attainment of a specific end, and that no longer is he in the world of changes and a blind wanderer without aim, objective or aspiration. Within the circle, complete control exists. It is a built environment dedicated to a specific purpose.
The circle is a symbol of the infinite.
It also represents the astral sphere of the worker, or the individual consciousness. The circle in which one encloses himself, represents his particular cosmos: In this way, the circle expands the ego of the magician, for the worker builds a miniature universe within the circle. One that is slowly built, symbolically in most cases, filled with invocations and instruments that call to the inner mind the work that is to be done at the particular time. Slowly the man initiates himself within this circle and as he begins to understand the world without.
The circle is cast clockwise for invocation, counter-clockwise for banishing. It is begun in the east in all systems. To each of the directions is assigned the particular point allocated to the element of that sphere:
East – Air
South – Fire
West – Water
North – Earth
Guardian and divine names are sometimes painted on the floor, but these names are but an outward sign for the real work that is done on the astral plane, where the actual circle or temple is cast. Before casting, the area is banished of unwanted spirits, and invoked for those elements desired for the operation.
The circle is not to protect one from undesired elements, but simply to set a spatial limit within which spiritual work my proceed unmolested and without fear of intrusion by unwanted forces. (A circle may be used for protection of this sort, but is another type of circle and not the same cast for magical operation). One must not at any time ever enter magical work with fear in ones heart, for you will fail, and perhaps result such as obsession will occur.
One does not always have a temple available, so the magic circle transforms an ordinary room into something else, and to most efforts is a temple. The physical difference between a magical circle and a temple is that the circle it two dimensional and the second is three. In a temple a permanent circle is usually inscribed upon the floor, but still the magician uses his imagination to build the temple on the other plane.
The circle represents the whole of man (that is of oneself) and the whole of the Universe.
CASTING THE CIRCLE
The magic circle should be cast of chalk if possible. Four candles are set up around the circle, colored for the elements, if possible.
East – Orange
South – Red
West – Blue
North – Brown or Green
All gather within the circle.
A moment of meditation contemplating the work to process.
The censer is lit.
All are purified.
Circle is cast (astral)
Hps invokes the gods and goddess
Four elemental kings are invoked by all, led by ranking member
East – Yod He Vau He
South – ADONAI
West – EHEIEH
North – AGLA
After the work has been completed, the circle must again be uncast. This is done by the hps. Who thanks the Lord and Lady for attending.
In the craft, the circle becomes a bounding force – one that so contains the power raised to be utilized for the work in progress.
It is the words and intention used to cast the physical circle and mental direction for the astral circle that causes the binding element or the protection element. In the mind, one must visualize a wall of force separating those within the circle from those without.
So, naturally, it must follow that concentration and visualization exercise must proceed the first actual attempts to build the magical circle.
CASTING THE CIRCLE
In order to begin any ritual circumstance a circle must be cast. The circle is generally nine feet in diameter. If possible, a permanent circle should be painted or drawn on the floor. Where this cannot be done the circle can be laid out with rope or string, or else this can be done visually. The circle is always formed clockwise or deosil, as opposed to counter-clockwise or widdershins.
Prior to the actual forming of the circle the consecration of salt and water must be done. This consists of touching the water with the athame and: “I exorcise thee, O creature of water, that thou cast out thee all the impurities and uncleanliness’s of the spirits of the world of phantasms.” Next, the salt is touched with the athame and the following is said: “Blessings be upon this creature of salt. Let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hence-from, and let all good enter herein. Wherefore I bless thee that thou mayest aid me.” Then pour salt into water and mix.
The circle is traced with the ceremonial sword. Next, take the salt water and sprinkle this with the help of the sword, going around the circle. Then carry the censer around the circle. The next step is to walk around it with the sword, once more tracing the circle, and saying: “I conjure thee O circle of power that thou beist a boundary between the world of men and the realms of the Mighty Ones. A guardian and a protection that shall preserve and contain the power which we shall raise within thee, wherefore do I bless and consecrate thee.”
Then, pick up the sword extend the right arm and say: “I Summon, Stir, and Call thee up, ye Mighty Ones of the East to attend our rites and guard the circle.” Then trace an invoking pentagram.
Repeat this step for directions South, West, and North. Once again face the East, right arm extended, and say nothing, but merely trace an additional invoking pentagram.
At the conclusion of the ritual, in order to open up the circle, face East, athame in right hand, arm extended, and say: “Mighty Ones of the East, I thank you for attending and if go ye must, I say hail (kiss athame, the re-extend arm) and farewell. Do the same in the other three directions. Then, trace the circle with the sword deosil, then widdershins.
If it is necessary to leave the circle for any reason during the ritual, take the sword and trace out a door approximately two feet long. When you, or the other person, have left the circle retrace this line to seal the circle again. If there is a re-entry, merely trace the door again, and re-seal.