• Understanding the symbolism and power of ritual.
Wiccan Circles are cast in a clockwise direction or deosil and when the Circle is released or opened it is done in a counterclockwise direction or widdershins. The cast Circle is more like spheres than an actual circle. When the Circle is drawn with a physical line of chalk, salt, or other visible marking on the ground or floor, it is merely a reference point for those within the Circle. Ideally the Circle measures nine feet in diameter to symbolize the completion of the creative cycle. Three dimensional spheres incorporate more space than a two dimensional circle and for visualization purposes one can imagine that the circle is suspended, like a hoola hoop, within the center of the sphere, which extends above the ground or floor as well as below. The edge of the circle, which was marked with a physical reference point, represents the Physical or Material Realm however, beyond that reference line and to the actual edge of the sphere there exists a corridor of elemental energies, which are part of the Elemental Realm. This corridor is what is referred to
At the cardinal points (East, South, West, and North) of the physical circle are gateways to the corridor of elemental energy; they are known as the Elemental Portals, which are guarded by the Quarters. Beyond the Elemental Portals and the corridor of elemental energy lay the Watcher Portals or Gates, which give direct access to the Astral Realm. It is The Guardians of the Watchtowers or The Watchers function to guard these Portals. The Watchers not only guard the Portals, but also witness the Ritual being held within Circle. A bond between Wiccan and the Watchers is established at Initiation and is cultivated with each Circle casting so that any act of magick performed within Circle is aided, supported, and sometimes dispelled by the energies of the Astral Realm. It is with the purpose of honoring the Three Realms (Physical, Elemental, and Astral) that a Wiccan casts a Circle three times as is referenced by the line, “Cast the Circle thrice about – to keep all evil spirits out” in The Rede of the Wiccae or The Wiccan Rede.
The triangle that is created upon the altar by the positioning of the representations of the Goddess and God, whether it is with candles or statues or other physical representations, and the center altar candle, forms the gateway for manifestation, which is the primary reason that the pentacle is placed in the center of the altar. The energy that is evoked with the athame from the Elemental Realm through the Portals and that is evoked with the athame from the Astral through the altar is pulled into the Circle becoming a pool or well of energy that is then directed by the Wiccan within with their wand. The Circle is designed not only as a barrier to separate that which is within Circle from that which is outside of it, but to also contain the pool of energy, which is then raised by the Wiccan standing in that Circle into the Cone of Power that is directed towards the chosen target.