This is your first spell of practical witchcraft! To cast it you will be using all your working tools.
To those familiar with Cabalistic sorcery, the magic circle is generally viewed as a means of defence against hostile spirit entities; to the witch, however, though it may serve this purpose in some of her spells, it has a far more important function usually. This is, in fact, to serve as a lens to focus the witch power she raises in her rituals. It is a sort of magical boiler tank in which the steam is compressed in order to channel it into some useful activity such as driving a piston rod. In this way the witches' circle can be compare very closely with the ground mandala, or dkyilhkhor, used in Indian and Tibetan magic. It has very ancient, pre-Celtic origins.
In Cabalistic magic the circle will usually consist of basically a double or triple concentric circle. In between the lines will be written Hebrew names, divine and angelic, which pertain to the nature of the operation. In the centre may often be traced geometrical figures, such as a square or a pentagram whose sides or number of points again correspond numerologically with the type of spell being cast.
To the practising witch, however, this is all mostly totally irrelevant and unnecessary. Quite apart from the theoretical over-complication, the practical details are much too demanding. Unless one is wealthy enough to possess a house or apartment with sufficient rooms to dedicate one entirely to magical practice, the full-painted floor circle with all its geometrical ramifications is generally quite out of the question.
No, as a witch, your basic requirement for many spells will simply be a triple circle drawn out on the floor or carpet in temporary masking tape if you want. This is advisable for group or coven workings, but when you are operating solo, you can dispense with even that, using an imaginary boundary line, but making quite sure you stick within it. Because of this it is wise to make the circle rims coincide with marks on the carpet or pieces of furniture, so you can maintain a correct visualization. Anyway, here is your method of casting your circle.
Clear a space on your den or living room floor sufficient to draw a nine-foot-diameter circle (eleven-foot for coven working). Now, pin one end of your cord down to the floor in roughly the centre of the room with a heavy object—a chair or table leg maybe—or have someone hold it down if you are working in company. Now, stretching the cord out tightly, take your Athame, and wrapping the cord around its handle at the first knot, the one four feet six inches from the pinned end, trace a nine-foot-diameter circle lightly on the floor with the knife point, keeping the cord taut and using the chair as a pivot.
You must do this in a clockwise direction (known as deosil to witches) always turning to the right. You must also begin your tracing operation standing in the east and end up back in the east. For this, you will need the aid of a small pocket direction-finding compass. As you trace the circle, use your witchly imagination to visualize that blue witch fire blasting down your Athame blade, like an oxyacetylene blowtorch, leaving a line of flickering violet-coloured flames in its wake. Listen to them hiss and crackle; you are surrounding yourself with a circle of magical light!
If you want to memorize the right colour of the fire, try igniting a few drops of methylated spirits or brandy in a saucer (careful though!) and observing the resultant flame.
Having drawn your first circle, you must now repeat the operation, shortening your cord by moving your Athame six inches down it to the second knot, the four-foot one, giving you a circle with an eight-foot diameter. Repeat the operation a third and final time, using the next knot down, the three-feet-six-inch one, which will give you your inner circle of seven-foot diameter.
This is your magic circle. You must now proceed to exorcise the ground inside it by sprinkling and censing to the four quarters—east, south, west and north—always travelling deosil, and using your fire and water exorcism.
Having got this far, you are now standing in a ritually purified witches' circle, and the lens for your witch power is in position. You can now proceed with the spell itself, such as one of the many outlined in the following pages.
Before finishing this chapter, however, I shall list a few of the ingredients and bits and pieces you will find useful in practising your craft; buy them new, without haggling over the price, of course; keep them apart from your everyday things; and before you use any of them in a spell, simply exorcise them with fire and water.
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