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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

An Isian Circle Casting

Circle casting adapted by Matrika of PAN -- the ORIGINAL Psychic Awareness Network BBS at 1-703-362-1139
ADAPTED from the Community of Isis Rites in Salem MA. for use by the Moonchildren Coven

This requires the use of a duly consecrated wand, a chalice, an athame and a container for salt and water -- non-plastic, PLEASE -- on your altar as well as 2 candle sticks with candles in them and an incense burner for stick or hanging incense. You should work robed or nude as you prefer. In the 4 directions you should have either air (as incense) or fire (as candle -- lit, of course, and preferably red) in the east -- according to your tradition. The OTHER element -- the one not used in the east -- in the south, again according to your tradition. (I prefer air/east -- wand, fire/south -- athame, personally -- but I realize there are differences in tradition.


A bowl -- again not plastic -- of water in the west and some rocks or a dish of salt in the North for Earth.

If you wish, you may lay a circle of salt on the floor, leaving a gate for the priest/ess to enter and leave for the temple purification or you may visualize the circle coming as electric blue light out of your athame point as you cast it. After s/he returns from purifying the outer perimeter, the gate would be closed and the circle cast (after the directions are called) by pointing the athame (or the sword) at the salt and charging it instead of casting into the air. The gate would be closed by completing the circle of salt.

Okay, I am writing this as used by a person working alone, but the P or PS in parenthesis is how it would be done if done by a couple. PS is the female and P is the male. This is the ideal form of the rite.

(PS) picks up bowl of salt and bowl of water on alter. (P) picks up athame and places it point down in the water and says: "Salt is pure. Let this salt be pure and let it purify our rites as we use it in the service of the Lady and the Lord."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS) pours some of the salt into the water. (P) stirs it with his athame and says: "May this sacred salt purify this water so it may be used in this service of the Lord and Lady, throughout this rite, in any way and at any time we may wish to use it."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS) takes the salt-water and sprinkles it about the perimeter of the circle (outer) saying the following while walking widdershins or counterclockwise (to banish):

"Salt and water where I cast thee
No spell or unknown purpose be
Unless in full accord with me
and as I will, so mote it be."

She returns to the circle. The (P) then takes the incense burner -- if a swinging one -- or the burning stick of incense and goes around the circle deosil saying: "Ever as we walk in the ways may we feel the presence of the Lady and the Lord. We know that in all we do they are ever with us. They abide in us and we in them forever. No disharmony or imbalance can be entertained for purity, harmony and balance are the dwellers within and without us:
For good do we strive and
for good do we live.
Love unto all things.
So be it forever.
Love is the law and Love is the bond.
Blessed be the Lady and the Lord."

All: "So mote it be."

He returns to the circle. He then picks up his wand and goes to the East, raising it high he invokes the element of air visualizing either the ruler of that element as he understands that being OR a yellow pentacle can be substituted. I like to imagine a weeping willow tree budding in the spring being moved by the gentle breezes through the center of the pentacle -- as if through the center of a window. (If you use fire in the east, swap visualization here with the one I give in the south and change the invocations accordingly)

"Hail to thee
Lord of the Watchtower of the East,
element of air (fire?).
We invite your presence and your power in our circle and
our magick this night.

All: "So mote it be."

(P): "Welcome and Blessed Be."

All: "Blessed Be."

Go to the South and repeat this visualizing either your conception of the ruler of the watchtower for the south OR a red pentacle -- I like to see a campfire through its center, as if through a window. Repeat invocation with raised wand making suitable changes of direction and element in it.

Go to the West and repeat this visualizing either your conception of the ruler of the watchtower of the west OR a blue pentacle -- I like to see a mountain stream or the ocean through the center of it, as if through a window. Repeat invocation making suitable changes of direction and element in it.

Go to the North and repeat the process visualizing either your conception of the ruler of the north OR a green pentacle -- I like to see mountains rising up in the distance through the middle of it, again as if through a window. Repeat invocation making suitable changes of direction and element in it.

He returns to the altar and replaces the wand.

THE (PS) takes up hers and invokes the Deities: "Hail to Thee, Lord and Lady." (Substitute aloud or silently the names you are using for the Goddess and the God here -- with non-initiates, some prefer to use the generic "Lord and Lady" out loud, keeping the names by which the inner circle of initiates know Them a secret. This is also a good idea to use when you have members of several traditions present who may not agree on what names are used for them) "We invite your presence and power in our circle and our magick this night."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS): "Welcome and Blessed Be."

All: "Blessed Be."

She then replaces her wand on the altar and picks up her athame or the coven sword and casts the circle -- either straight out, visualizing blue light coming from its point -- or, if a circle of salt is used, straight DOWN at the salt, to charge it.

This is done deosil (clockwise), of course, just like the censing of the circle was done earlier. The only time widdershins is used is the salt-water banishing / cleansing to prepare for circle casting and in opening the circle.

First casting: " I conjure this circle, a mighty Psychic rampart that turns back ANY excess positive or negative energy which may come to do us harm"

All: "So mote it be."

Second casting: "I cast this circle, a place that is not a place, a time that is not a time, a sacred place between the worlds, a place to commune with eternity (or THE LADY AND THE LORD)"

All: "So mote it be."

Third casting: "I charge this circle, a place of perfect love and of perfect trust where all may know peace profound"

All: "So mote it be."

She returns to the altar. If a bell is used (brass or silver ONLY please) she rings it and says: "Now is the circle cast."

All: "So mote it be."

The circle then perform the full-moon rite, raising the power and drawing down the energy into themselves by whatever rites they use and Magick is performed as is appropriate and necessary OR the ritual for one of the 8 sabbats is performed -- a much lighter and informal occasion -- according to the time and purpose of the circle.

The cakes and ale/wine (I substitute APPLE juice or SPRING water, as I am allergic to alcohol) are consecrated by the athame in the chalice.

NOTE -- the cakes should be as natural as possible. Show some respect! Please no twinkies or oreos -- I've seen some "people" do that!

Circle closing

The (P) takes up his wand and goes to the 4 quarters, beginning at the north and going widdershins, where he raises his wand at each and dismisses the rulers of the elements thusly:

"Farewell to thee
Lord of the watchtower of the (direction)
element of (name element)
We thank you for our presence and power
in our circle and our magick this night."

All: "So mote it be."

(P): "Merry part and Blessed Be."

All: "Blessed Be."

As he does this, he visualizes whatever he visualized earlier and then "sees" it fading out. When he has done all 4 quarters he replaces his wand on the altar.

THE (PS) picks hers up, raises it high and says: "Farewell to the Lord and Lady" (again names may be substituted silently or aloud) "We thank you for your presence and your power in Our circle and our magick this night."

All: "So mote it be."

(PS): "Go if you must, stay if you will. Blessed be."

ALL: "Blessed be."

She then picks up her athame (or sword) and pointing it either in the air or at the salt, whatever she did before, she walks widdershins and as she opens the circle she pictures in her mind's eye the electric blue light fading out or being reabsorbed by the tool she carries as she says: "THE CIRCLE IS OPEN, YET REMAINS UNBROKEN."

ALL: "So mote it be."

(PS): "Merry part and blessed be."

ALL: "Blessed be." (they all hug each other in many circles here.)

(candles are snuffed on altar here -- never blow out candles) If bell is used, she rings it and says: "The circle is now open."

Note -- our circle in New England, which met only for the Sabbats except for its leadership which did the full-moons themselves as it was a training coven, tended to use a lot of chanting and simple ritual drama to raise energy as we worked in a very confined space. Other methods can be used. In full-moon work I like active deep-meditation or guided trance and chanting because of size of space available to me at this time. However, many covens also use the dance, the cords, the Great Rite (actual or symbolic) and other methods. Always remember there is no one right path.

There is also no one right way of casting a circle. Different traditions differ greatly. The main body of this rite is that used by the community of Isis -- but I have added invocations at the circle cleansing that I like which come from Al Manning (for the salt-water) and Ray Buckland (for the censing of the circle). The blessing of the salt and water are also from Ray Buckland's teachings. Because of its clarity of intent, I prefer his method to the one I learned, so I use it here.

Part of the circle closing was also adapted from Starhawk. Many people like to elaborate on the invocations at the quarters and present them in poetic formats, as they do with the invocation of the Lord and Lady.

Next: Circles, why use them? (Mel White)