Estelle Daniels

Why a Circle?

by Estelle Daniels

When performing a magickal working, the first step (after deciding what to do and gathering your materials) is to set up a circle. There are as many circles as there are practitioners, and then some. But did you ever wonder just why people have decided to use a circle when performing magick? There are many solid reasons.

The first reason is to define your sacred space. You are going to do a working, and you need to tell the universe, this is my space, this is where I'll be doing my thing, this is my property for the duration of the working. You psychically own the space, and it makes it a comfortable base where you can be yourself and do your thing. Ever feel uncomfortable staying at a friend's place? It may be nice and cozy, but it isn't yours and you don't pay the rent or make the rules. So you are on company manners while you are there. That uncomfortable feeling can hinder your energies. Putting up a circle claims the area as yours, and you can do your thing in your own space without having to follow anyone else's rules.

A circle is also a barrier between you and the other energies of the universe. You want to be able to concentrate, and it doesn't help if every stray influence and entity is able to come in and tap you on the shoulder. Or its like using a screen to keep the psychic mosquitoes away, you want to have fun without all the slapping. Those interferences are usually just small and annoying, but why put yourself through that? A circle helps you keep your peace of mind and increases your concentration and effectiveness.

It is rare to encounter anything which is harmful or dangerous while working magick, but those things can also be deterred by a circle. It can be like having a burglar alarm on your house. If a potential intruder sees it, they will usually leave and find an easier target. In the extremely rare case that there is something or someone actually out to get you, the circle provides a perimeter of warning. Whatever it is has to get through the circle before it can get at you, and that time and alarm can be enough for you to notice and then get ready and be on your guard. You can protect yourself better if there is a fence to climb and yard to cross before they can hit you on the head. The circle becomes your fence and yard. And if you are really worried about interference, you can construct a bigger and stronger circle, or multiple nesting circles. Your imagination and abilities are the only constraints. Of course all this takes time and energy, and then you have to balance the trouble you have to go through to be safe against the need for the working. Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone.

When you do a working, you want your energies to go into it and hopefully nothing else. There is a lot of stuff out there on the astral, and without a circle your working can become polluted with other stray influences. If you are doing a working for world peace, you don't want that energy getting mixed up with a potent love spell. Then the world peace may be achieved with a potentially disastrous population explosion. And you have to use more energy to overcome those stray energies if there is no circle to keep your stuff in and their stuff out. Without a circle, if you are intent on your working you could miss some stray influences and then what a mess that might be! Two or more workings could be combined and in the end nobody could sort out what was accomplished. Maybe that's how the pushme-pullyu was born.

A circle makes things easier for yourself. You have to expend less energy and can focus your concentration better and use fewer resources to accomplish your goal. As an analogy, you want to wash dishes. You need water and something to hold it. You can use a sink or dishpan, or you can use a swimming pool. Both are containers which hold water, but the swimming pool has a whole lot more water and you have to use a whole lot more soap to make sure there is enough. And if you are washing dishes in a swimming pool, where will you rinse them? You also have to take your dishes and go to the swimming pool, you can't carry it with you. The circle becomes your magickal dishpan. It's a convenient size, made to order each time, and is just right for the task at hand. You only have to use enough soap for the dishpan, and you aren't wasting water.

When you use a circle it becomes easier to raise a good amount of energy in a shorter time because the energy is contained. In winter, the house heats more quickly if you leave the windows closed, and stays warmer longer. You use less fuel and are more energy efficient. Circles are like that, too. Leave an open window and you have to keep pumping energy into it to maintain the right level of energy. But if it's contained, you can get more energy more quickly and it's all in one place, in an easy package to be sent more efficiently when you are ready to let the energy go to accomplish your purpose.

Your circle also is psychically polite. You aren't forcing your energies on any and all who happen by. You are being a good neighbor and keeping your business to yourself, not advertising it to all who live in the vicinity or are just passing by. It's like having a loud party, and closing the windows so the noise is contained. Then you can be as loud as you like, and nobody but yourself is disturbed. This seems a minor matter, but there are many sensitive people who have no knowledge or interest in magick. They still can sense the energies and it's like a blaring radio. Why ruin their sleep or concentration waving your doings under their nose? One person's good working is another's psychic pollution. With a circle you don't psychically disturb the neighbors.

Another reason is less tangible. That is, the act of putting up the circle helps get your mind in magickal mode, concentrates your thoughts and readies you for whatever you have planned. It's like magickally warming up before you do the magickal athletics. Putting up a circle you can psychically test the waters, see what's out there, see if you are ready or at the peak of your form. You can see if your mind, body and will are working in concert, or is this the day you just can't walk and chew gum simultaneously. If so, maybe it isn't the day for a big working. If you encounter energies which are powerful, you might want to modify your working in some way so as to either take advantage of the prevailing psychic weather or perhaps make things easier for yourself. There are situations when you have to be ready to sink or swim at a moment's notice, but if you don't have to why not make things easier for yourself. The circle is a buffer in your preparations, and after it is up you can actually pause, rest, gather your thoughts and get yourself together before proceeding. And if you use a similar circle each time, the routine of casting the circle calms your mind and allows you to gain confidence before you actually do the working.

And the circle provides for easy cleanup after your working is done. The act of closing or banishing the circle also cleans up any stray psychic influences which might have gotten away in the sending of the energy. Any stray energy is banished and the place made psychically neutral. It's just good manners to clean up after yourself, and the circle is a very convenient vehicle for that. You also don't leave traces or echoes of what you did for people to step in or pick up, either purposefully or accidentally. When we are crowded together it's just polite to keep our own garbage to ourselves and dispose of it properly. It also won't attract critters that way, and cleaning up your psychic energies keeps the stray beasties who like to feed on that stuff away. And it helps keep the psychic neighbors out of your business, they can't tell what you have been up to because you cleaned up after yourself. That way your privacy is assured and your workings can't be twisted, stopped or misunderstood.

All in all, a circle is a pretty useful thing, and if there wasn't one already, somebody would have to invent one. So next time you put up your circle, think of all it's doing for you.

Blessed Be.

© 1999, 2003 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.

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Article index

The Age of Aquarius

Alternative Sabbats

Auntie Estelle's Predictions for the Millennium

Basic Electional Astrology

Basic Qabala

BBS, Cyberspace and Privacy

Ceremonial Magick


Choosing Divination

Cord Magick


Dressing Kabbalistically

Eclipses, why are they such a big deal?

Ethical Garage Saling

Finding Magickal Tools

The Future of Witchcraft

House Shields

I Ching
Initiation Instant Circle Know Your Gods Know Yourself Kwan Yin, Mother of Mercy LBRP
Magical Ethics for Teens

Magick in the Workplace

Magickal Timing Tools

Mars Close Encounter

Mercury Retrograde

Modern Magic Carpets

Moon/Mercury Aspects and Psychic Ability

Moon Phase Timing

Moon Spells and Lunar Correspondences

Parents and Wicca

Planetary Hours

Planetary Stations

Psychic Attack

Psychic Manipulation

The REAL Millennium

Tarot Meditations

To Know, To Will, To Dare and to Keep Silent

Void-of-Course Moon

What is Divination?

Why a Circle?

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