circle

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within by Cherry Gilchrist

December, 2018

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within

by Cherry Gilchrist

 

 

publisher: Weiser books

© 2018

length: 252 pages

This book is a rewrite of an earlier work the author wrote in the 1980s; the author talks about what it was like trying to write this book, the first time when the Internet was not yet available to her. When I went looking for the original text, the publication date on Amazon was 1750. I instantly had the thought of “She’s on to something. If she still here using the same name in 2018, and she wrote this book that long ago.”

She writes about nine different archetypes that comprise the circle of nine. Ms. Gilchrist does point out that it is three sets of three. There are three Queens, three Mothers, and three Lady’s, that work to comprise the circle of nine. On page 224 of the book, Ms. Gilchrest states “plan your journey around the circle of nine; there are 362,880 ways (99) of doing this.”

The examples that appear in the book regarded as devotees, healers, spirited dancers, and gifted seeresses. The first chapter is dedicated to the nature of the nine, and how the number nine figures into women’s groups and women’s spirituality.

She wraps up each chapter of each archetype with images of that archetype,

Street image.

Mythic image

Personal Image

Evolution of each archetype.

Youth

Maturity

Old Age.

Manifestations of that archetype.

Gifts

Trials

Rituals and Cults.

Visions of that archetype

The Circle of Nine is a well-written book by Ms. Gilchrest that with today’s world I see a lot of women utilizing to find their archetype energy. The archetype energy described in this book for each of the nine archetypes is present in each woman. I can honestly say though, that there were two that I didn’t feel a connection with, until after I read them thoroughly. They were the Queen of Beauty, and The Lady of Light, it was only after reading the images of the archetype energy that I was able to see both in myself. If you run a women’s group, this is one of the books I would suggest you use to help women strengthen their spirits and honestly see themselves.

The Circle of Nine: An Archetypal Journey to Awaken the Divine Feminine Within on Amazon

 

***

About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Finding Your Own Way

November, 2018

Chapter 7

Meditating With A Spirit Drum

One of the easiest and most effective ways to meditate is by using a ‘spirit’ drum.

Having been a part of many workshops and drumming circles, I can personally attest to the simplicity and effectiveness of using ‘spirit’ drums for healing and journeying.

If you have a few interested friends and somewhere to go to practice, – you will find that it is an amazing and uplifting experience.

Should you wish to form a circle, you will find that spirit drums vary greatly in price.

A lot of people use ‘bodhrans’ instead, as they are cheaper and can be bought from most music shops. They are hand drums used in traditional Irish and Celtic music.

If you look online, there are many useful videos to get you started. Compact discs are also widely available with shamanistic drumming and Spirit music. I would recommend Native American drumming tracks, but that is just a matter of personal taste, – there are drumming tracks available from many cultures.

If you decide to drum in a group, the biggest obstacle to success will be your own self-consciousness. Having just a small group of two or three close friends will help.

The rewards of overcoming your initial feelings of reserve are well worth the effort.

In a drumming circle, the energy of the drums take over, and the rhythm takes on a collective life of its own.

It is always a good idea to set out your intentions before drumming. Whether you wish to feel uplifted, journey, or send healing to someone, – make your intentions clear before beginning the drumming session. Imagine yourself working within a golden circle of love and protection.

Upload a few tracks online until you find a beat that appeals to you and practice it quietly in private until you feel confident with it. There is no great art or skill required. The most powerful beat is a simple steady rhythm of single beats on the drum. This is called a shamanistic beat.

Spirit Drum Meditation

To begin, choose a quiet area where you will be undisturbed.

Take several deep breaths and tell yourself to relax.

Take a little time to read the poem below and to absorb the images from the artwork

You may play a drumming track quietly in the background if you wish, but it is not essential.

Imagine a golden sphere of protection around you as you work.

Begin with the third eye meditation.

As you breathe out through your third eye, visualise a shining path ahead of you.

Allow yourself to be drawn onto this path.

You can see a fire ahead of you, in the distance, and you walk slowly towards it.

If you see any creatures nearby, take note, as they may be important to you later on in your journeys.

You will see a group of figures around the fire. Some may be drumming. Some may be dancing. How they appear to you will depend on what it is you need to learn on your path.

Spend some time by the fire and take note of whatever you experience there.

Stay near the fire until you are ready to return.

Turn back and walk down the path and you will find yourself back where you started the meditation. Breathe slowly and easily and open your eyes when you are ready.

If you feel uncomfortable at any stage of the exercise, simply open your eyes and you will return to your room, safe within the circle of light.

Finish the meditation by thanking your subconscious mind for its cooperation. Also, thank any Deities and helpers. Then draw the golden circle back to you and close the session.

What you experience and where you go on this journey will vary greatly according to your personal needs. It is always helpful to spend a few moments in setting the boundaries for your journey before you begin. What is it that you wish to achieve? What type of journey are you expecting? Is there some challenge or personal goal that you wish to focus on?

This meditation is particularly powerful when done in a drumming circle.

Be sure to have a drink and a snack before travelling home or handling any machinery.

Write down anything you saw, heard or felt. Especially, note any creatures that you encountered.

Drumbeats

The drums are beating softly in the distance,

Like a peaceful heart. they draw me to them,

leaving life’s conundrums far behind.

Like poetry, with inspirations, much too large for words,

The rhythm opens up my soul and fills my mind.

As I sit and write, the rhythm of the drums still beats within my heart.

In the forest of my mind, I see the shamans dance and whirl.

Orange flames that go so high, they almost reach the moonlit sky.

Somewhere in the Once, or in the Now, they beat their drums for me.

And now the healing magic of their chants is reaching out to me.

Wolves with emerald eyes are in the shadows.

I can hear the eagles piercing cry.

Brother Bear is everywhere, and I can also see.

All the spirits of the native forest watching over me.

Lending me their powers, so I can live the life I never thought could be.

There is poetry in every beat, and magic in the rhythm of the drums.

Through the cadence of his chants, I find the link, the shaman comes.

Healing for the body, for the spirit and the mind,

As I leave this world of consternation far behind,

and find again, the wisdom and the beauty that was meant for all mankind.

This is another meditation for the spirit drum which came to me a few years ago.

It is almost impossible to meditate without finding a great connectedness with the wider universe and the earth around us. This poem is a warning about the way we are treating the earth.

We are all interdependent, – if a single species dies, then we are all so much poorer and so is the legacy that we leave to our children. If the earth dies, – then we die with her.

Whether we have one life or many, we have a duty of care for the planet and those around us.

As we develop through meditation we will feel this much more keenly.

Reaching out to the world and the people, plants and animals around us will bring us much joy.

However, our increased sensitivity brings with it a need to learn to protect ourselves, and a tendency to avoid certain people and situations. Unexpected changes will begin to happen in our lives, as we move into areas of activity that were once difficult to even imagine.

Be prepared too, for resistance from family and friends as you move away from old habits and develop new areas of activity. Much of it will be in a misguided spirit of over-protection, so be patient in your dealings with those who fear the changes in your life will begin to balance out as you forge a new agreement with your subconscious mind. You will be forging a new path in life which is based on your own needs and not the expectations of others.

A Warriors Tears

What will we make of the world when the last rose has died?

When all alone we stand upon the naked earth where once the weeping willow cried.

Where once the sparrow chirped upon the leafy bough,

And now, across the barren wastes, the wind blows soft and low

And when our world has gone,

Where will we go?

Where vast majestic rivers flowed, now runs a ragged little stream.

No fish still swim within its dark and murky flow.

No dragonflies above the bare, baked clay that guides its weary way.

No butterflies delight our eyes with a colourful display.

And when our world has gone,

Where will we go?

Take the seeds of mother earth and scatter them wherever you may go.

We can plant ten trees for every tree that dies.

Cut the fences, chop the posts and let the buffalo run free.

Take the earth back from the greedy; let us share it as we did in days of old.

For when our Mother dies,

Where will we go?

I channeled this in a couple of minutes. The first two verses came in an instant. I added the last verse after a moment’s reflection as a reminder that there is always hope.

For those who drum, it chants well to a basic shamanistic beat or, “drums across the water” (such as you might hear in an old cowboy movie)

My wife, Tina, told me to sing it, and I grabbed my drum.

To my amazement, it just flowed through me. It was a very powerful experience.

***

About the Author:

Patrick W Kavanagh, Featuring the inspirational art of Bill Oliver

Writer, poet, Patrick W Kavanagh was born in Dublin and now lives and works in Lincolnshire in a small rural town. Patrick became fascinated by the strange abilities of the human mind from watching his mother give psychic readings using tea-leaves and playing cards. With a lifelong interest in metaphysics and parapsychology, he has given tarot and spirit readings for over 40 years. He travels to many events with his wife Tina, exploring the power of shamanic drumming to heal, and induce therapeutic trance states. They also hold a regular drumming circle in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds.

By Patrick W Kavanagh available at most retailers:

Finding Your Own Way: Personal Meditations for Mastery and Self-knowledge on Amazon

Mindful Meditations

August, 2018

Welcome to Mindful Meditations, a new column to help you connect to yourself.

Monthly the author will switch between two witches that are massage therapists that lead meditations and are in the same coven.

 

Fire Meditation

It’s Leo season and what better way to enjoy that excited, expansive energy than with a bit of fire scrying, either with your friends or alone. This fire meditation is crafted to work as a guided group meditation or an easy-to-follow solo journey. So light your fire, grab a journal and let’s drop in! If having a physical fire isn’t a possibility, you can use a candle or call the energy of fire into your mind’s eye and let your imagination create the flames for you.

 

 

 

-Cast a circle in whatever way fits your practice. Create intentional, sacred space so you feel comfortable opening to the messages you receive. I encourage you to call in the element of fire especially, an example would be “I call the element of fire into my/our circle tonight. I/we honor your passion and power, your transformation and transmuting, and your illumination and warmth. Guide me on this journey into your flames tonight. Hail and welcome!” Once in sacred space, set your intention for what you wish to receive from the fire. How am I holding myself back from my desires? What direction should I take? How can I manifest my dream? Or simply, what do I need to know right now? Feel free to do this silently or as a discussion with your group.

 

-Once you’re clear on your intention, find a comfortable seat where you can easily gaze into the fire. Feel where your body connects to the Earth and see roots sprouting down into the soil to anchor yourself to her. Notice your breath and feel yourself entering the present moment with each inhale and relaxing into the now with each exhale. Let everything but your breath and the fire melt away.

 

-Bring your intention into your mind. Begin to ask questions to yourself and the fire. Let possible answers drift through your awareness, staying mindful of not attaching to any one idea. Watch the fire, how does it respond to your thoughts? How do you feel as the fire shifts with a passing thought? Let it speak to you.

 

-As you get more comfortable asking and receiving, relax deeper into the fire and clear your wandering mind. Be open to receive any messages the fire has to give you. Notice images, colors, or changes in the flames. As messages come to you, feel free to write them down so you can release the idea and allow another into your awareness.

 

-Take a deep breath and let the inspirations float back to you and by the fire light, start sorting, shifting and integrating. Free write or daydream, pulling these messages into your awareness. Take a piece of paper and write the most important messages from the flames. Did you discover a block, a new direction, something that no longer serves, or an inspiring message? Write it down, being clear what you wish to change, bring in or release (remember words have power!), and bring it to your heart. Give gratitude to the flames for facilitating this insight. As you gift the paper to the fire, say “Thank you, thank you, thank you. As it is written, so mote it be.”

 

-Close your circle, sit back and enjoy the fire.

***

About the Author:

Becky Coates is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Tarot reader located in Manchester, CT. Visit beckycoatesmassage.com for more information. 

Creating a Wiccan Tradition

December, 2015

We started out completely captivated by the dance of the Lady and the Horned God. Our hearts beat faster, life spinning with colours! A homecoming! Then as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months and years we tried to go deeper into the Mysteries of our awakening. The Divine is immanent; God and Goddess are alive intertwined within the Sacred Earth. The question we asked ourselves was how can we go deeper?

First we studied the books, any books, excited by the smell of incense in the Occult Book stores. We learned how to cast a circle, how to connect with the Elements, how to call them into the circle. We learned the names of the Pantheons and how to cast a spell. The books gave glimpses of the Mysteries and in our Circle things were happening. We went to Public Rituals and met other beginners; we formed study groups, joined the Women’s Circle, the Men’s Circle and learned new ways of doing things. We read more books and joined Wiccan correspondence courses searching for that wise Witch who could be our teacher. We studied Shamanism, meditation, yoga, martial arts, gardening and anything else that seemed to be part of the Mysteries. But still we did not feel the dance and the Mysteries eluded us.

Finally we met a High Priestess and eagerly bowed at her feet asking to be taught. Daily practice and study, learning the Tarot, casting circles, working with the Elements, reading more books! The years were passing and our quest was fifteen years long. Then the day came when we received first degree initiation, we started learning how to run a Coven and be Priest and Priestess, we received 2nd degree initiation and learned how to be Elders. Third degree initiation was bestowed and we were supposed to be Elders….the beginners were eagerly bowing at our feet asking to be taught. And still the daily practice and the study, reading more books, going to workshops and searching for the key to the Mysteries. Did we know anything? Was it real? But we could not find the Dance within the Tradition we had studied. Somehow we were not satisfied with where we had arrived.

In the Coven things were still happening, a Presence bringing joy and laughter. We didn’t want to leave the Circle and go home to our beds! Out of the muddle and chaos of all the books and the workshops and the teaching and the daily practice a pattern was forming. The pattern solidified and we realized that all the things we had learned created a spiral path and at the center was ourselves. Then we finally understood that what we were searching for was within us all the time and that the Goddess had been with us since the beginning! Could we map this path and teach it to others? In the Coven each Witch seemed to be learning his or her own lessons although we were studying the same thing, but there was a brightness to it all and we were changing. It seemed our bodies were becoming light and our hearts were becoming ecstatic. Shadows came and went and the learning was deeper and not from books. Inspiration was our guide now and we felt the truth.

We decided to make a test, to try and teach the pattern to others and see if they could move into the brightness and the joy with us. At first it seemed as if we weren’t teaching them anything, that they were just remembering things. It was as natural as breathing. Some of the people that came to us left when the Shadows on their paths appeared. Some battled and befriended their Shadows and learned from them. Some of them started to see the Pattern that we had created and touched the essence of what we had learned in our hearts. One day we woke up and realized that we had created a Wiccan Tradition, different from all the other Traditions, and yet with the same resonance. We cast circles, like other Traditions; we called the Quarters and we invoked the Lord and Lady; we danced and raised power and did magick and laughed a lot! We saw the people walking the pattern we had created were becoming brighter and their hearts were becoming joyful. It seemed we were evolving into a new kind of being and we felt the Presence and it brought tears to our eyes. We started to see our Life’s Work…the need to send peace from our Circles into the world. Could we really change anything?

Sometimes there was conflict between Sisters and Brothers in the Circle and darkness clouded our minds. We cried and felt guilty and angry. But we held onto one thing: if there cannot be peace in our own circle, there will never be peace in the world. As above, so below; as within, so without. The conflict between us was another Shadow and maybe even a test! We worried that we would lose what we had learned; lose the brightness and the joy if we did not tread carefully when holding each other’s hearts. Then we understood what an Elder was…the Witch who can love without judging and judge lovingly at the same time. Witches who nurtured the hearts of the beginners so that they felt safe in Circle and could dance the pattern of the Tradition; Witches who held people while their Shadows beat them and shaped them into something completely new. Transformation is birth and it can be painful! We were the ones who did the dishes and cleaned the toilets, sacrificing our time on the altar as our hair turned grey and our faces became lined. We learned that only sacrifice can bring us deeper but the sacrifice was joyful.

Now our quest is twenty long years, the Book of Shadows a thousand pages, and more Witches dancing the pattern of our Tradition. But where do we go from here? Is the pattern set now or is it organic and growing, metamorphosing like us? What will happen to us when we have finished all the inspired work that has been given to us heart to heart from the Lord and Lady? We have found the Presence in the Circle and discovered that we were the doorway. Each day seems a ritual as the sun lights the windows and the wind makes the willow tree dance. We wash dishes mindfully and we feel we could love everyone. We ask: Is this real? Will it last? We have become as simple as light and as elusive as the moon. Where will the dance lead us now?

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Meri Fowler was inspired to start the Greenwood Celtic Shamanic Wiccan Tradition with special help from Ronin, Hawk Oberon and Setanaya. Also many thanks to Highland Coven and Anam Cara, Red Hawthorn Coven, Tuatha de Daanan Coven, Cauldron of the Yew Grove, Silver Hawk Coven, Tre Stelle Coven, Willow Coven, Willow Moon Coven, and Misty Meadows for your love, dedication and support. For more information on the story of the our Tradition please see www.thewicca.ca

MagickalArts

December, 2015

To Join (or Not to Join) A Magickal Group

This is an article I wrote many years ago and I’ve decided to share it in this month’s column. As the community and spiritual paths of pagan practice become increasingly more available, so too are the opportunities to become intimately a part of that expanding community. What that participation looks like and how in depth are multi-faceted. It is particularly timely for me since I have been in process of Hiving and forming a new coven within our Tradition, The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. And, so in this spirit I pose the question that should be explored before committing to any one path of spiritual community.

The choice to remain a solitary practitioner or join a magickal group, coven or lodge is a very personal matter. Both offer benefits and detriments. Even if you consider yourself to be a solitary practitioner, there will be celebrations and stages in your development that will generate a desire to share, commune and connect. Similarly, those who choose to join a group will have specific times in their path of journey where they may wish to celebrate and/or practice in private; leaving group work behind.
Solitary Practice

Many pagans choose to walk a Solitary path. In former years this could be a very lonely, albeit a fulfilling one. We are fortunate to be on the Path at this particular time as there are many festivals and open events that both solitary and group affiliated members can attend. Meet-up Groups that have a pagan flavor are in abundance throughout the United States and the opportunity to interact without the deeper commitment of joining any organization has never been more accessible.
For some, group work and the structure needed to have things run smoothly is too restricting and limiting. For others, jobs, lifestyles or family obligations prevent the individual from attending group functions (there is usually a minimum requirement of events throughout the year that a group member would be expected to attend, unless there are emergencies), and this creates stress for both the group and the member. If a ritual at 2:00am is all you can easily fit into your schedule, most groups will not be accommodating to that and the pressures of having to fulfill attendance obligations can often sour the group experience.
Those who work as solitary practitioners often develop a very creative outlook that is largely self-directed. This is primarily because everything they do ritually or devotionally is generally self-generated and created and therefore they become quite adept at improvising. Working alone also guarantees that everything will be done at your own pace, in your own way and ultimately makes you solely responsible for your own experience, success and failures. Many prefer this freedom to connect to their spirituality by creating their own traditions and ways of offering up devotion to those deity and spiritual beings they commune with.
Group Work

Depending on the Tradition you are interested in joining there will generally be a specific length of time and protocol specified to facilitate the orientation process. Within our coven and Tradition we require at minimum a six-month “getting to know you” period where the prospective dedicant (newly dedicated member) attends open events and interacts with the other members of the coven and Tradition. Other groups accept members immediately and are less structured in their process of fully integrating you into the group and/or specific Tradition and still others have a lengthy process of education and training and when and if you are felt to be an acceptable candidate you are then invited to join as a member of the group.
Working within a group provides opportunity for direct sharing, access to those who are more experienced than you and the feeling of an energetic community and bonds to those who are your spiritual family. You will also have greater opportunity to network and meet others if the group you select holds open or sister events in collaboration with others in the Tradition, Coven or Lodge. Ritual work becomes a group effort in which you are able to be simply the participant and are able to open yourself in a deeper way since you are not the sole person responsible for the workings at hand. It provides the ability to see how others structure their practice and exchange ideas and suggestions about different approaches and subtleties. Now, of course, these are all things a solitary practitioner can experience in an open ritual; but the depth and openness that is shared between those within a group often occurs at those times when you are setting up or preparing for ritual before guests arrive or sitting in a group- only social event.
Some considerations you should have as you decide on what group is the best fit:
The group you select to petition for membership should offer a stable and fair structure of spiritual progress with resources to further and enhance your personal growth. Working within the group should feel like a spiritual family and these should be people that you trust to see you at your best and your worst. The energetic connection that you weave with this group of people will strengthen and build as you continue to work together and it is a very intimate relationship that requires respect between all of membership.
You should never feel pressured to do anything that you do not consider to be safe or is coercive in nature. Unfortunately, not all groups are ethical in their actions and offer up empty promises of the gifting of great powers and knowledge of the mysteries in exchange for sexual, monetary or other favors. Some traditions do work skyclad (naked) and perform sex magick as part of their magickal rites, but do so with the consent of all concerned and are up front from the very beginning, ensuring that everyone is on board. Bottom line is- if it doesn’t feel right to you and is not in accord with your beliefs you will probably not make much spiritual headway.
The leadership of the group should be people who live by example those teachings that they have been entrusted to pass along. There should be a comfortable exchange between leadership and membership such that any discord, or misunderstandings can be discussed and resolved in an ethical, intelligent and mature manner. Respect is key here, on both sides.  Respect that leadership has the best interest of the group, Tradition and its members always in sight. And, respect that membership will be supportive and helpful in maintaining a positive working environment and good intent for those they work with.
There should be encouragement of all members within the group to excel and progress in their magickal studies at a pace that will provide challenge but also allow for life events to take priority as needed. And, although healthy and constructive criticism is a great motivator there should never be an ill-intended push or encouragement towards unhealthy competition for recognition, roles or initiations among members. There will be many times when you will feel challenged unjustly and perhaps even feel as though you are not progressing in the way or at the speed at which you feel you should. A good barometer is to step back from the situation for a moment and ask yourself if you are just annoyed at the inconvenience or is there something truly and viably wrong.
It has been my experience that frequently the people who are meant to become members of our group, find their way to us through a synchronistic moment. They happen to be in the right place at the right time, find our website and decide to come to an open event or become interested through a friend who is already a member. Don’t be afraid to be selective. Take the time that you need to make an informed decision and never allow yourself to be pressured into joining a group. If a group is that desperate for new members, there are most likely other areas in which they will exert or force their will on the existing members- the number one “no-no” in pagan philosophy and ethics.

The bottom line is that if the group is a viable and healthy one, they will want to take their time in getting to know more about the potential members who come knocking on their door, and if the fit is right there is no need to hurry matters.  Neither your nor their interest in having you join them will diminish or lessen. If it does, perhaps it was not the place for you after all. The commitment to a group should be entered with the thought that this will be a place of working and growing for several years. There is no short track to magickal mastery and those who frequently leave and join groups, as well as groups who have a fast moving revolving door usually do not stand the test of time and longevity.

A Timely Choice

Just as all of life’s experiences change and flow as you change and grow in years and time, the decision to remain solitary or join a group will follow its own meandering course as well. Many start as Solitary workers; come to a crossroads where the progress they require includes working with others in a committed way, and when the lessons are integrated go back to Solitary practice. This is the nature of all spiritual growth regardless of tradition.
The start of your journey is begun of your own accord and decisions about how and in which direction it moves are formulated by you and you alone. As you move along the path of your making there will come a point in the road where the need to offer the mysteries learned in a broader and more communal sense rises to the surface. The yearning to share and exchange this wisdom with like-minded people and the security of feeling that you are part of something larger than yourself is the gentle rise of the hill ahead that offers no glimpse of what lay on the other side. You reach the summit of this path and begin the process of gathering to yourself all of the outer influences, interactions, joys and sorrows you have experienced. You take in new sights from this higher vantage point. These spread out before you in panoramic view. And, as the choices blur and thin in detail in the vastness of what can be, you look around and see that you have returned to the space of standing alone and quiet in your inner sanctum; new choices ahead and new paths to walk. And, so the cycle begins anew.
It doesn’t really matter whether you choose to join a group or remain a solitary practitioner. The important thing is that you continue your practice. That you seek out the resources you are guided to when and where you are led. And, when the time is right, you gather with like- minded individuals as one in celebration of the Pagan Path.
Blessings on your journey!

SpellCrafting: Spells and rituals

November, 2015

Circle Casting

Merry Meet!

A common practice in many pagan traditions is casting a circle, which defines a space where the ritual will occur and makes it both safe and sacred. There are as many ways to do this as there are pagans; by sharing some variations, this article invites you to think about why you do what you do and to perhaps try something new.

Typically, you’ll want to cleanse the area, by tidying it up and vacuuming, and then by wafting incense, using a broom ritualistically, smudging, ringing a bell, or sprinkling salt or salt and water – all while envisioning unwanted energies dispersing. Stomping and clapping are also used by some.

At my first ritual, the circle was cast with an athame pointed outward. In doing this, he was drawing on Goddess energy, visualizing Her energy mixing with his own energy and directing it down his arm and out the tip of the blade. I’ve learned to visualize that energy forming the outer boundary, and then I swing my arm back, up, forward and down as I visualize the circle becoming a sphere formed around me in which the ritual will occur.

When I began meeting with a group of women who gathered in a women’s temple many of them had helped build, we’d call the quarters, but the only circle was the one we formed as we sat in BackJacks on the floor. Anything more formal never felt necessary; much like walking onto a church or a synagogue, walking into this building it was clear the space was sacred and already defined.

However many pagan rituals are held either in spaces that also serve other functions or out in nature, which, I think of as already sacred. In either place, casting a circle will define a piece of it that will hold the magic, keeping in the desired energy and keeping out the unwanted energy. The circle, then, is said to be between the worlds, suspended in time and space. It is possible to both sense and see the edges of a circle. I mostly feel its energy and notice a physical change when it is opened.

Some always trace the circle three times; for others, once is enough.

While athames are perhaps most common, the tool used to cast can also be a wand, a sword or any other object, including a finger and a staff. I’ve been in circles where a wooden spoon and a pen were passed person to person to cast the circle.

Some traditions will measure and physically mark the outline of a perfect circle on the ground or floor using salt, candles, string or chalk. Rocks and pine cones also work well.

For a group ritual celebrating Lughnasdah this year, I used a basket of dried petals from bouquets of flowers that had been on my altar since spring. Walking around the outer perimeter of the where we had set up on the grass, I scattered them as I recited these words:

Let these flowers define a place

Suspended in both time and space

Between the worlds we do here stand

All that is harmful I ask be banned

Forces and powers around us do spin

If thou are good, I welcome you in

This circle I cast with love and light

Let it hold our magic throughout the rite

It’s Lughnasdah and this circle ‘round

I seal thee now from sky to ground

A sacred space within it lies

Protected from unwelcome eyes

As I decree, so mote it be

With another group of Goddesswomen, we have been known to cast a circle hand to heart. The person who begins reaches out with the right hand, taking the left hand of the person to the right and bringing it to their heart, saying, “I cast this circle hand to heart.” The person to the left takes the left hand of the person who just spoke, bringing it to their heart and repeats, “I cast this circle hand to heart.” This continues around until everyone is connected.

In other circles, we have just clasp hands, one at time, with each person saying in turn, “I cast this circle hand to hand.”

In both of those cases, I enjoy singing, “There Is No Time” by Veronica Appalonia. The words are:

There is no time but now

There is no place but here

In the sacred we do stand

In a circle hand in hand.

I have gathered for rituals where a room or an area was smudged or otherwise cleansed, and then people invited to enter the space in perfect love and perfect trust before a circle was cast. Other times, a circle might be cast by a high priestess and then individuals invited to enter, again, in perfect love and perfect trust.

Likewise, some traditions call the quarters before casting the circle and others cast the circle and then call the quarters.

I invite you to post a message sharing how you cast your circle.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Wiccan Basics

February, 2011

Calling the Elements

This is just one of many different calls… please feel free to create your own.. or just call from your heart. But until you know by heart .. find a simple one and use it.. it really does make things a bit easier

Everyone stands and faces each direction as the Priestess calls in the

Elementals…..or this is perfect for the solitary practitioner.

Spirits of the Air!

Blow gently in our Circle this night.

Bring your gifts of great wisdom and truth.

Carry upon Your currents

Our thoughts and prayers!

All Say: Come from the East, come, be with us now!

Spirits of the Fire!

Burn bright and pure in our Circle this night.

Bring Your gifts of swift and sure action.

Give us Your blessing of perfect timing

For the good of our magical workings.

All Say: Come from the South, come, be with us now!

Spirits of the Water!

Flow smoothly to our Circle this night.

Bring your gifts of emotional balance and healing.

Cleanse us with pure, unconditional love;

Bless us with a warm heart for all!

All Say: Come from the West, come, be with us now!

Spirits of the Earth!

Plant Yourself securely here in our Circle this night.

Bring Your gifts of stability, reliability and solidity.

Manifest in us that which is perfect

And the best for our highest good!

All Say: Come from the North, come, be with us now!

Spirits of the Air!

Blow gently in our Circle this night.

Bring Your gifts of great wisdom and truth.

Carry upon Your currents

Our thoughts and prayers!

All Say: Come from the East, come, be with us now!

Mother, Father, Divine Spirit!

Join our Circle this night, and always

Bring us the gift of knowing

You are with us in all ways!

All Say: Come from Above, Below, Within; come, be with us now

Blessings until next Month

Book Review: Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice

March, 2010

Book Review: Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice

By: Deborah Blake

© 2007

Circle-Coven-and-Cove


Circle, Coven and Grove is nicely written and informative, great for any practitioner, novice to high priest or priestess. Deborah Blake has put together the basics of successful practice and a wheel of the year schedule that is easy to follow for any magickal seeker wishing to follow the old ways. This book is packed full of hints, tips, suggestion and practical etiquette for a happy and pleasant magick experience. No matter your style or path, this book encompasses all. Easy to follow spells, and holiday celebration rituals are especially beautiful. Circle, Coven and Grove is one of the most cheerful and friendly books I have the pleasure of reading in a long time. A true witch’s hand book; a must for all who seek.

Sacred Sites

August, 2009

Druids Stone Circle – Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland

Founded in 1670 and cradled in the heart of Kenmare Bay, Kenmare has been titled Kerry’s first Heritage Town. Its breathtaking scenery and unique charm make it a worthwhile stop while in the Killarney area. For the traveler willing to take a longer look, Kenmare abounds with archeological sites. Set among the artisan shops and spectacular views are ancient roots, for this town has one of the largest stone circles in the south-west of Ireland, and it is also the only monument of it’s kind to be situated so close to a town.

The pamphlet we obtained from the Kenmare Stone Circle tells us that “the Cork/Kerry Stone circles may have some relationship with the famous monument at Stonehenge”, and that in the center of the circle is a type of burial monument known as a “Boulder Dolman” which are rarely found outside of Southwestern Ireland.

This monument shows occupation in the area going back to the Bronze Age (2,200-500 B.C), when it was constructed. The circle has 15 stones that are made of greenstone or brownstone and form a large egg-shaped circle with a boulder dolmen in the center. This is an impressive boulder-burial with a giant capstone that weighs almost seven tons. Stones of this type are not found for many miles and were undoubtedly moved to this location. It is unclear as to what the meaning of this monument is. It may have been used for rituals by druid priests, hence the local name “Druids Stone Circle”. It may also have been used as a primitive calendar, or a burial site, beneath the center stone.

druid1

Stone circles were built during the Bronze Age for ritual and ceremonial purposes. Some studies have indicated that they were orientated on certain solar and lunar events, such as the position of the sun on the horizon on a solstice.

druid2

Visitors to the Druid Stone Circle conducting a ceremony.

When we arrived at the Stone Circle, we found another group holding a ceremony there. We stayed in the background observing their ritual, quietly lending our own energy to it. As you look around the landscape you’ll notice that a grove of trees surrounds it, giving it a sense of privacy, even though it remains a scarce few feet from the modern world.

As they finished, the woman who was leading the ceremony came over to us and offered a blessing and a smudging. Moved by the kindness we gratefully accepted. It seemed a shame to break the silence and inquire where they were from, so we shared in the beauty of the moment.

druid3

Celebrant offers a blessing to a traveler

It was only a few days ago that I realized who this lovely woman was, certainly serendipity connected us and I was able to thank her for her gesture of welcome and the blessings that came with it.

Observations from the group of travelers,

Inside this circle, one would find a very massive center stone, which we gathered was used for an altar stone. A ritual had just been held there, and in that spot, I felt a source of energy. Very interesting. The energy didn’t seem at all alarmed that we were there.  Perhaps it was not even aware of it.  Perhaps it was on its own plane of existence.  Stepping into that circle was like stepping back into time if one opened their minds and closed their ears and eyes.

On Friday morning we visited another stone circle just outside of Kenmare. This one seemed powerful to me, perhaps because the stones, taller and broader than the ones at the lake, stood like the ghosts of the people who once worshipped there. I breathed deeply as I stepped through the invisible boundary. These stone circles date to around 2500BC, well before the time of the Druids, though the two have become linked in our minds. We know that the Druids performed ritual sacrifice, but we have no idea about the Neolithic people of 4500 years ago. Nonetheless, it was disconcerting to see the large, flat boulder smack in the center of the circle. Maybe for sacrifice, maybe not, but it still gave me the chills.

Highly recommended place to stop if you are visiting the Killarney area of Ireland.

Rebecca Beld

Just a short walk up the hill from Market Street you will find Kenmare Stone Circle, just follow the signs on the left side of the road. There is a small structure at the entrance where you can get information about the site; there is a sign that asks for a small donation.

Resources:

Kenmare Stone Circle Information Booth

Andrea Mikana-Pinkham

Rebecca Sommers