Releasing The Circle

(After Wiccan rituals it's customary to release or disperse the circle to return the area to normalcy. I've heard of few traditions that fail to do this.)

Once the rite is ended, face North, hold aloft the wand and say:

Farewell, Spirit of the North Stone.

I give thanks for your presence here.

Go in power.

Repeat this same formula to the East, South, and West, substituting the proper direction in the words. Then return to the North and hold the wand aloft for a few moments.

Lay the wand on the altar. Take up the athame. Standing in the North, pierce the circle's wall with the blade at waist level. Move clockwise around the circle, visualizing its power being sucked back into the knife. Literally pull it back into the blade and handle. Sense the circle dissolving, shrinking-feel the outside world slowly regaining its dominance in the area.

When you arrive at the North again, the circle is no more.

That is one example of a Wiccan circle-casting. Though it is written for a solitary practitioner most are designed for group workings, even though only one individual may be involved in the actual creation of the circle.

I can't state often enough that the "Spirits of the Stones" mentioned above aren't disembodied human souls-not ghosts or demons or imps. They're what some Wiccan traditions term the "Lords of the Watchtowers," or the "Queens and Kings of the Elements." These are elemental energies that are called to be in attendance during rituals for protective purposes, as well as to lend their special energies. This practice is nearly universal in Wicca.

In Wiccan thought the circle is deemed the most fit place the honor the Goddess and God, but it also has a second function: to contain and concentrate magical energy. This is a lesser function. Indeed, the circle isn't necessary for successful group or solitary magical workings.

In essence the magic circle is a non-physical, yet real, temple in which humans-Wiccans-walk with the Goddess and God. As such it is one of the hallmarks of Wiccan practice, but it isn't absolutely necessary for group workings.

Wiccans may conduct simple rituals while out walking in lonely hills or sitting on the beach, gazing into the water. They may commune with the Goddess and God as the Sun rises or the Moon sets. A group of Wiccans on a picnic or a trip to the countryside may suddenly decide to perform some kind of ritual. Without tools they may simply sit or stand in a circle and perform their working.

During all but spontaneous rituals, however, the magic circle is usually constructed, and it is within this sphere of energy that rites of worship and magic are performed.

The circle (sphere) of energy is the Wiccan temple.

Chapter 13 - Days Of Power: Sabbats And Esbats

Christians celebrate Christmas, Easter, and a host of other holy days. Orthodox Jews acknowledge Hanukkah, Passover, and other times with specific rituals and customs. Here in the United States, we bring pine trees into our homes at the end of December, dye eggs in spring, and pass out candy to children on October 31st. And all over the world, peoples of various faiths observe days of the year with religious and secular rites.

All religions have sacred calendars containing various days of power, or times associated with particular deities. Wiccans are no different. Most perform religious rituals at least 21 times a year: 13 Full Moon celebrations, usually Goddess-oriented; and 8 Sabbats, or solar festivals, related to the God. Some Wiccans meet with their covens for these rites, while others perform them alone.

First we'll discuss the Full Moon rituals.

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