Casting a Circle
Even if you create a permanent physical circle within which to perform magick, you may still wish to cast a psychic circle around your sacred space prior to a ritual or spell. First, clear any unwanted energies from the space, using one of the techniques described earlier or one of your own design. Then invite everyone who will take part in the ritual or spell to enter the designated area.
To cast a circle, begin at the easternmost point of the space where you will be working. Move in a clockwise direction until you complete a circuit of the area and come back to the east, where you started. Make sure the circle is large enough to encompass everyone who will participate and everything that will be used in the spell or ritual.
Bring any magick tools or objects into the sacred space before you actually cast the circle. Bless and purify (by washing or smudging) items that will be used during the ritual. If you'll consume food or beverages inside the circle, bless them in advance.
An easy way to do this is to hold a wand or athame (ritual dagger) in your outstretched hand and walk slowly around the circle's circumference, while you envision drawing a wall of pure white light with the magick tool. (If you don't have a wand or athame, you can simply use your hand.) You should be inside the circle, with your tool or hand pointing outward. Another popular technique uses the four elements — earth, air, fire, and water — to cast the circle. Light a stick of incense (which represents air and fire) and walk around the circle, trailing fragrant smoke behind you. Next, sprinkle saltwater (signifying earth and water) around the perimeter.
You might like to cast a circle using materials that correspond to the season or your intention. For example, you could sprinkle cornmeal on the ground to draw a circle for a Lughnassad festival. At Yule, circle the sacred area with candles. If you are working a love spell, make your circle of rose petals.
Once a circle has been cast, no one should leave it. The circle brings the group's energy and magickal intention together, aligning them with higher powers. If a member leaves, it disrupts the dynamic that's been established. Occasionally, however, it happens that someone needs to go out of the circle. Instead of merely walking through the vibrational perimeter that's been created, thereby “breaking” the circle, use your hand or athame to “cut” a doorway in the circle. Pass through, then reseal the door by tracing the opening in reverse with your hand or athame.