The Circle of art and Creating Sacred Space
Let the space be readied
Let the mind be opened.
By Blue Flame and
We call forth the
Divine Spark within.
May the Gates be opened
And the Sacred Journey begin.
Before we enter the space that will be the place of your magick, the preparations leading up to the actual crossing of the threshold into what will become sacred space serves to make ready for the shift in energy, dynamics and consciousness that we hope to achieve. The casting of the Circle of Art takes the mundane space and transforms it into the appropriate container to hold the energies that will be used.
There are many ways in which to cast a circle; but the basic goal is to enclose a working space within a sphere of energy that will be sufficient to hold the energetic patterns of the work to be done. The actual scribing of the circle is symbol of the continuum of all natural cycles and the seamless construct that connects all time and matter. There are many ways to cast a circle and often the method will be selected that sets the tone for the working or celebration within its confines. Toning “Om” while the circle is being scribed adds the component of sound to elevate the vibrations naturally occurring from the movement of tracing the circle by the caster. During the process of the designated person casting the circle energy is directed towards that individual to blend and intertwine as bolster to what the caster is already connecting with and generating. If you think of the circle as a sphere, each strand of energy being sent from those standing along the perimeter of that sphere are like spokes of a wheel which all meet centrally and feed into yet another and smaller circle within the very core.
Igniting the Blue Fire
The work of the casting of a circle is to form a point in time and space where all may converge towards a place of transformation. It is alchemical in its creation and the principles of alchemy used are the stuff from which many of the protocols and principles of mundane science are derived. The energy that is directed into the casting of a sacred circle is often described as a blue flame. If we look to science for basis of reasoning for use of a blue flame the rationale lies in Chemistry. In Organic Chemistry flames have different areas of temperature. Even in an ordinary candle, the temperatures are separated into several different regions visualized by the varying colors of a flame. The blue region which is the innermost part of the flame is the hottest. The yellow and white portions are the lowest in temperature and furthest away from the initiating component that maintains the light and heat. This is also noted when blowing out a candle, the bluish glow often being the last to fade before complete extinguishing.
The hottest point of the flame is both the meeting inwards of what feeds that flame and the combustible outpouring of what generates or initiates the flame. So too, the casting of the circle is the initial thrust of energy which then feeds and fuels itself from the central place of Spirit.
From a Qabalistic perspective we could compare the color and dynamics of the blue fire of the circle to the energies and dynamics of the sphere Chesed. Chesed is the last sphere ascending the Tree before crossing the abyss (Da’at) that separates the pure Divine essence of the Supernal (Godhead) Spheres of the Tree. Its energy is that of coalescent, refined and summation of experience afforded the spheres leading up to this point. This sphere is considered the Hall of the Masters; the point where choice is made to either remain on the wheel of incarnation to serve humanity or to ascend beyond the realm of physical world expression and be fully reabsorbed into the source of all creation. Descending the Tree, Chesed is the first sphere of actualization. The point where flow and form have merged becomes the potent juncture that acts as the beginning of the work towards actualizing the concept or idea of manifestation so it may begin its journey into a place of reality.
If we take into account the energies and attributes of Chesed these are easily framed within the context of a magickal circle. We are creating a space that carries within it the memory and gnosis of all that was, is and will be. We are connecting with the Universal Mind and bringing it into a contained space where it may be used and accessed in accord with the intent of the ritual via the understanding of the magic worker. We have also, hopefully gained enough mastery over our physical being to raise sufficient energy for an effective circle and done the necessary research into who and what we wish to into presence for our ritual.
The Blue of Healing
Blue is the color of healing energy, lends its iridescent hues to the waters that hold the energies of the tides, and is seen in the delicate brush strokes within the beauty of the sky’s palette. All of these dynamics are present within the circle of casting. There can be great healing (at all levels of being) that occurs in connecting with Divinity. The ebb and flow of the waters within and comprising a large portion of our body intimately connect us to the ebb and flow of energy that presents itself within the circle and the limitless nature of the sky and what it holds above are the pinnacles towards which we strive as we do ritual, declare sacred space and work our magick.
A Circle is A Sphere
When you observe someone casting a circle it appears as though they are moving around the perimeter and tracing a single circular line of energy. In reality, the casting of a circle is more like a sphere. The energy of the working is contained on all sides in all directions at once and simultaneously at all ends and all points along the continuous curve. This imagery demonstrates the relevance of the adage “as above, so below”. This is the rising of the vibrations set into motion and streams of energy put forth as the casting progresses and are mirrored back to one another. It is again a mirror like reflection of the microcosm within the macrocosm. A sphere that is moving through the planes of time and space that is “not a specific time, nor a specific place; but a breath of potency that is between the worlds”.
Generally one person is selected to do the casting of the circle and the calling of the quarter energies. Traditionally the circle is scribed with the athame, but you may also use a wand, staff, crystal, sword (although a bit risky and unwieldy if very long) or your index finger. If it is a group working, the remaining participants take hands as they send a stream of energy from one to the other; forming an inner circle.
Moving deosil (clockwise/sunwise) around the circle and beginning in the East, the caster draws in breath and energy from his/her central core (remember we did the grounding prior and formed an energetic balance of earth and sky. It is from this blending that the energy is drawn to cast or lend support to the casting of the circle) and begins the tracing of the circle with right arm outstretched holding the athame. Visualize the blue flame of energy pouring out and through the tip of the blade and filling the space as you walk slowly around the perimeter of the circle. If group work, the person casting should be in the outermost area of the perimeter with those participants held within the center of the circle. Continue around the circle breathing gently into the energy as it streams forth until you arrive once again at the East.
Next you will be calling the quarter energies in to the sphere of art. Some traditions will fold the calling of the quarters and the casting of the circle into one singular pass around the circle. In this form; beginning in the East, you would invite the energies of the quarters into the circle; open the Gates of that quarter and then draw that energy around the circle as you stop at each quarter in turn. Again, you would end in the East. Personally, I prefer to establish the boundaries of the space and then invite the energies of the Elements or Deities into the prepared and readied space.
A Final Note For Consideration:
As with all magickal work, casting a circle takes practice. Because there are multiple levels of understanding and expertise that formulate the final product, a Circle of Art, as it is sometimes called- the more information you have about first and foremost-YOURSELF-the more effective any magickal working will be.
If you are a novice, take each piece of casting the circle apart and spend some time reflecting on how each of those pieces relate to you and your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual natures. For example, some questions to consider are:
What does the image of the blue flame mean to you?
Are you able to easily visualize this color and also hold the sensation of what that specific energy may feel like?
Change the color to yellow or red. Does it feel the same? Is there a sound that is emanating from this color and form?
As you walk what you have established as the perimeter of the circle, what thoughts move through you as you take each step? What other sensations are you experiencing?
Remember! The first steps towards learning how to direct energy are taken in learning as much as you can about its natural generator, container and conduit-YOU!
And It Is Done!
When the work is complete and it is time to leave sacred space, we walk the edge of Circle once again and bid farewell to those energies of the quarter elements we have called to aid our rite. Each quarter is thanked and the Gate to that elemental realm closed. We draw the energy of the circle back through the tool used to create it and send that energy down into the sacred earth of Mother below to assimilate and disperse, knowing that all that was accomplished within that sacred space is durable and lasting in its effects.
The circle is complete
Time has etched out the way
God and Goddess have graced
Us as we offered devotion each day.
The elements have gathered
In balance deep within
And, the alchemy of energy
Was carried on fire’s breathy wind.
The time for return, to review
And reflect is now close at hand
In the circle of the Old Ones
In the space of service
Hence forth, we shall stand.
Crafting Effective Quarter Calls