Now, this was a message sent to another user on this site, but, I spent so damn much time writing it, and I touched on so many different subjects, and my personal views on them, I decided to drop it into a blog post. Any identifying bits have been removed, but my answers to questions have been left, albeit slightly edited for relevance and content, to make it flow better.
You will find that, when I converse, I do not mind long winded, detailed explanation.
Now, me, personally, I do not cast a circle when I do my workings, the reason being that I have yet to find a force that can threaten me in this realm. Let me start with a bit of an anecdote that may seem disconnected, but it will lend insight.
I greatly disapprove of the act of summoning. I find it to be one of the most foolish and disrespectful things one can do to a spirit. First off, put yourself in the spirit's position. You're kicking back, chillin', just doin' your thing, maybe reading an Astral book, playing some Astral PS3, maybe getting your Astral groove thang on with an Astral hottie, making sweet Astral love. Then, suddenly, when you were in the middle of something you'd rather be doing, BAM! You find yourself in the middle of a salt pentagram, surrounded by candles, with some dipshit in a cloak waving a wand or athame at you, asking questions in a singsong voice.
What do you do? Well, if I am stronger than said individual, I break out of his feeble barriers, and royally f*** his shit up. If I am not, I ask the person why they want ME to do something they are fully capable of doing, I answer all the questions he has for me, and I go home with a chip on my shoulder, maybe to rile someone bigger and badder up to get even.
Now, how that relates to the topic of casting a circle...
If something were stronger than me, stronger than me enough so that I should be worried about it, stronger enough than me that I would need it's help in doing something that I couldn't, then my magical workings would come apart in the force of theirs, thus being a waste of energy that could be put to much better use. If they are NOT strong enough to break my circle, then my own personal defenses are more than sufficient to keep them from harming me. I will note here, though, that, for some reason, I seem to have intense natural protection, and I'm not sure why. Eruandil and Julica can verify this, and I believe InfamousBlackRaven as well, Eruandil's consort. This, however, why I never bother to cast a circle.
Does this mean I do not use circles in my workings? Absolutely not. I DO use circles, just not the same was as Wiccans do. I am pointedly not a Wiccan, thus out methods would differ intensely. I use a circle as a way to contain my workings into one focused area. For example, the last ritual I did (Midsummer of 2009, at the moment of dawn at Stonehenge (just because that seemed an auspicious time)) was on a riverbank. I had a young lady with me who was my assistant for the ritual, and between the two of us, we represented the Male and Female of the spirit/spark of life/what have you. There was a bowl of sand, a bowl of river water, five sticks of incense, and a small fire for the four physical elements. The fire was centered, I sat to the south of it, the sand was to my left, the water to my right, the incense in the sand to the north of the fire, and my tools between myself and the fire. It was a bloodworking ritual, so I'll stop there, as it isn't relevant, but we were all in the ring of stones. That was a boundary set not as a shell to keep energies ut, but as a boundary to keep our energies in.
The energies mingle, they mix, and they create an effect. I have found that their orientation and the symbol their position forms are of less importance than the use and skill at which they are implemented. After all, if all the energies are moving towards the same goal, are they not turned into one force?
That, and my symbol is not the five pointed pentagram, but the eight pointed octogram. In my personal practice, I break the element of Spirit into four sub elements, Good/Creation/Life, Evil/Destruction/Entropy, Order, and Chaos. Spirits can be any combination of these four elements of Spirit, and I prefer to define them down deeper than just the overview of 'Spirit.'
However, as far as I understand the Wiccan use of the Pentagram, yes, the human body can be represented. If I am not mistaken, following the lines of the Pentagram, starting at the top, it goes; Top=Spirit, Lower Right=Earth, Upper Left=Water, Upper Right=Air, Lower Left=Fire, and back to the top, Spirit. If you were to represent the pentagram, your head would be the element of spirit, or Will/Thought, and, depending on if you lay on your back or stomach, your different limbs would represent the other elements correspondingly. This would conceivably work, but to what end? Are you attempting to invoke Deity? That is something I would caution against.
It is, though, noteworthy that the human body is not necessarily durable enough to contain a God that didn't care to be entirely contained, and, really, what would be the purpose? Do you think that there would be a whole lot of room left in there for you? My question is, what do you expect to achieve via ritual?
Ritual magic is not as hardcore as people think it is. It's also not as hard. Now, remember, there is a difference between ritual and ceremonial magic. Ceremonial is tradition or religion specific, whereas Ritual is simply a set of actions designed to elicit an effect. What I do is ritual. I do little, if any, ceremonial magic, seeing as how I have eschewed religion and tradition entirely, electing to instead forge my own path through eternity.
A key to ritual magic is the manipulation of energy through the force of one's will. Magic is energy is energy is magic. If you can't move the energy, you can't make the magic. Start by focusing on yourself. Feel your own energy, feel it in you, visualize it. Then work on moving it about yourself. Become intimately familiar with it. See how it changes in you based on your emotions and environment. Know it as well as you know the look of your own hands, the smell of your own skin, the taste of your own teeth. Then work on perceiving the energies about you. Start small. The energies inherent in the world about you, in your walls, your bed, the air. Expand from there and open yourself to seeing other energies with your mind's eyes, then work on grasping ti with your will and bending it to your design. Don't think about doing it, just do it. Don't hope you can, know you can so thoroughly that the question doesn't even come up whether you can or not. Then, write your own rituals. Make your own practices. Or, if you are a part of a tradition, use this practice to augment and enhance your trad workings.
As for how you should cast a Wiccan circle, that I can't say. Sangraal wrote a damn good piece on it, and Lady Morgen and Oakthorne are both amazing resources on Wiccan magic, both of them being an Alexandrian High Priest/Priestess. Whether that sort of thing is oathbound or not, i don't know.
Anyhow. I've rambled, and I hope I've hit something in there somewhere that answers some question you may have had. By all means, if you have more questions, I am fully willing yo pontificate more on the matter. ;)
Now, a noteworthy addendum to this is thus; I know that there is a more religious reason behind the casting of a Wiccan circle, as such it has something to do with making a place for the God/Goddess to be, a secure place for ones magic, etc.., but this doesn't mesh with my own personal view of Eternity and Existence, as the notions I have of Deity don't really go for invoking or the like. That is why my view on circle casting (and it's importance, or lack thereof) is as it is. I have come up against, in my workings, defenses that were set in place by a will contrary to my own, and they crumbled before me and my workings, and my will was done.
This may seem to some to be what could be called OMG BLACK MAGIC, but, as in all things in life, there are times when wills will conflict, purposes will collide, and there WILL be confrontation. It was during one of these times that I felt a resistance, and then I felt it crush under my will. When later I confronted that individual, he noted that his circle had fallen. In the end, the matter had been decided, it was done, and while we had no reason to associate again, we held no great animosity. he told me he was going to do a thing, I told him that I would not let him, he said that I could *try* to stop him, and then I did. Things went as they were supposed to, and that was that. This is the main reason why I put little faith in circles, and why I feel as I feel about the ability of a stronger will to crush or destroy them.
Anyhow. I'm done pontificating for now. :)
Until again, be well.
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