infinite-clock

Dissecting the Magic/Sacred circle

In many forms of witchcraft and throughout a majority of the mystery religions Sacred and Magic circles are an integral part of the meditation, rituals and general spiritual and energy workings involved in them. What makes them so sacred? What makes them so magical? It is because simply put, they can represent almost everything to do with our world and our lives. 

Why is that and what do the circle and its parts all represent? To answer these questions the easiest and simplest answer can be found in nature. 

It is common knowledge that we, as humans, tend to view things like life and time in a linear fashion (yet we represent our linear time with a circular, infinite shape *clock* but… that’s philosophy and I digress!) We see life as a line, beginning at birth and ending at death. And anything that happens thereafter is simply a continuation of that line on into infinity. 

In more religions around the world, however, a circle is a better representation of life and the world in general. Some view life as infinite, spiraling on and on through different cycles (reincarnation is one of these points of view but there are many others.) 

How does the circle relate to nature?

  • Age/ Stages of life
  • Day
  • Year/ Seasons
  • Elements

Age

It’s rather simple to correlate the aging of a person to the circle, as Pythagoras used a circle to split the aging of people into four equal quarters of twenty years. In “Magic Mirror” Cornelius Agrippa also broke the life cycle into four quarters, though he set each quarter at twenty one years. 

Now given circles with numbers representing ages on them, we can exchange those numbers for stages of life rather simply.

In non-linear thinking, the circle begins and ends at Birth (the top of the circle.) Instead of ending at death, like a line would in linear thinking. Instead, the top of the circle is not only represented but birth and death, but also by rebirth. This is the key to linear thinking. As the physical life ends, our spirit, our soul, the divine within us carries on and is (in some spheres of belief) thrown back into the physical world in some way or another. 

We go around the circle clockwise (the same way we tell time on a clock) and move from birth/ rebirth into youth and infancy, into childhood and development. Where we begin our journey of learning. 

At the bottom of the circle is middle age, where we begin the culminating of our lives and planting the seeds of future generations. This is the point in our lives when we (by most standards) reach the point of parenthood, and true adulthood. Being in the depth of our careers and some say the ‘prime’ of our lives. (Though I’m rather sure we all view the prime of our life at different stages, depending on our own experiences.)

On the left side of the circle is where we become elderly and begin looking toward the horizon of our lives. We’ve grown wise and wrinkled and pass on knowledge and look back over our lives and all things we have done and on toward the next stage.

Day

With the circle now connected to the life cycle of a person, let us turn to the cycles of the Earth, and let us start with a single day compared to the circle. Imagine the Sun at the center of the circle and the circle is the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. In doing so, the circle will now look like this. To make things easier, we now will use Cardinal Directions to help in the continuity of the circles. 

As we compare the circle to our lives, so we have to keep the correlation the same when we compare the circle to a single day. The North, where death, rebirth and birth are at now becomes midnight, the turning point in every night where the Sun begins its return to the horizon. 

Following the movement of the sun, we come into Dawn in the East, where our youth and childhood is. When compared to the single day, this is where the day is still new, it is the morning, the rise of the sun into the sky. As we grow around the circle, so too does the day grow around the circle.

And so we move into Noon, the middle of the day, in the South. As our lives are in their prime, at their peak, the day is also at its peak here.

From there we move into Dusk, as in our lives when age catches up to us and the light in us begins to fade, so too in this circle does the Sun begin to set. 

The circle continues into the depth of midnight and is reborn after midnight as the Sun begins to appear again the following day. Endless, continuous, infinite.

Year/ Seasons

From comparing the circle of a day to the circle of our own lives, it is easy to see how the comparisons will continue and how essential the sacred and magic circle is to almost everything to do with our lives. Now we will look at the circle in comparison to the seasons. 

In continuing the same themes, as the Sacred circle does, we can compare the North to death/rebirth/birth, Midnight, and also to Winter. They all share the same theme. Winter is the dark part of the year, and so like our lives, we begin in darkness and emerge into growing light. Winter is a time of death leading into Spring, the time of birth and rebirth for the for the world. 

Spring, (East) in full bloom, is the youth of the year. Everything is new and pretty, we are growing and learning. This is where our lives grow and where the day grows with the rising sun into Dawn.

To the South is Summer, which is the prime of the year, the brightness of Noon and the prime of our lives. We find hear the great joys of life, 

And so like our lives age, Summer turns to Fall in the West and we can see the world changing. Leaves begin to fade from green to brown and red, trees begin to ‘die’ and the world grows slowly colder and darker. As in our lives, the signs of an aging year and the seasons begin to become apparent. 

Again into the North and Winter where the world dies and slumbers waiting to be reborn once again. So the circle is once again, the center of the year and of the seasons. 

Elements

In many religions and in witchcraft the four directions are typically related to the four elements with Spirit at the center. In comparing this schism to the aforementioned day and year circles, we can clearly see the relationship they have. A circle representing the Earth’s path around the Sun and given the cardinal directions can overlay one where those same cardinal directions are given to the four elements.

With the Sun at the center, representing Spirit (as the Sun so often does in many religions around the world) we can then find the four elements around that circle. 

The four cardinal directions are most often associated with the four elements in this fashion

North-Earth

East-Air

South-Fire

West-Water

Understanding the Center

In the center of the circle is the Sun, Spirit, our essential self. If the circle represents us, then the center represents the divine within us. In comparing the circle to ourselves, to a single day, to the world, and to the elements, we can find connection between all these things. And this, this continuous and ever flowing circle that represents all things, we find the Sacredness and the Magic of the circle. 

When creating a magic circle or sacred circle, the space within represents the unity of all things and can be represented by you, by a candle, by an altar or any other thing that you feel holds that symbolism. We often thank the elements, acknowledge them and their associations in ritual and or rites. 

In most mystery religions we use sacred circles as opposed to temples or churches because, let’s face it, we don’t have them and often don’t even need them. It’s stereotypical and often misunderstood and misinterpreted, but nature, the world around us, truly is our church. 


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If anyone has any info they’d like to add to this post, send links to me, or reblog and add the info :) 

  /l\

M.G.

i sort of like the headcanon that godtiers brains are just totally saturated with their aspect and they have to get used to loads of new senses and feelings and instincts when they become gods 

like,

john suddenly being able to sense every movement and change in atmospherics, his head constantly full of wooshing white noise, always sensing when movement and progression is being prevented, sensing stagnation, feeling claustrophic when he cant feel the wind

rose having to deal with the constant sense of a sort of de ja vu but for things havent happened yet, tiny whispers and maddening glimpses, sometimes literal whispers, unnerving and from frightening otherworldy forces, constantly weighing and sifting and deciphering all possibilities and fortunes, the weight of the world on her shoulders. no wonder she tries to obfuscate her knowledge, slowing and stifling her mind with drink

daves head being full of the ticking of infinite clocks, some slowing, reversing, even stopping, especially when there are multiple versions of himself around. he has a nauseating sense of inevitability when something must be, and an unexplained dread when the timeline goes wrong, physically feeling the flow of time, feeling doomed selves like phantom limbs. so he puts on his headphones, turns his music up loud, trying to isolate one steady rhythm to ground himself in the chaos.

jade of course constantly being aware of space - movement, stillness, placement - to teleport like that she must be constantly aware of all points in space at any given time. she feels the weight and force and energy of everything. manipulating objects requires an implicit, instinctive and yet unbelievably scientific and mathematical grasp over the object. for every item she shrinks she feels as though she takes on the weight and mass she took from it. anything she creates or causes to grow saps her mental strength and energy and stretches her to exhausting levels. she can sense the enormity of reality, the universe, and how small she is despite her power.

jane feeling an echo of the wounds and sicknesses of those around her, grass growing under her feet, each time she heals she feels the pain of the wound. she is drained when she heals, having to pass her energy and life on to someone else. all absense of life is felt like an unbearable chill boring away at her soul, even a dead potplant can give the overpowering sense of loss and ruined potential.

jake feeling hope, but being absolutely wrecked by each pitfall. seeing the possibility in everything, but when it is denied it hurts like a punch in the gut, makes the world around him feel smaller until it seems like a sealed darkened box. overcoming and staying resilient almost feels like a feature of his being that is out of his control, others using his hope to find their strength, utilising him as a medium. he wants to act and fight but the light is blinding and confusing, the possibilties too great, he has to struggle to see a path so as not to become passive. sometimes it is just easier to hide from the light.

dirk’s tendancy toward a searching, burning destructive curiosity intensifies, a thirst to pull apart and understand everyone around him, but with no solution as to how to put them back together again. its a compulsion. he can feel peoples identities, their sense of selves, cracks and weak spots and insecurities and lies. he can feel how fragile people are, constantly aware of the one push they need that could destroy them. every person feels like a precarious pile of random objects, constantly teetering. some people have already collapsed and splintered and broken - himself included - and he feels that too, uncomfortable tears and splits and displacements, but as a Prince only feels capable of destroying, not healing.

roxy can sense lack and loss. she always has a peculiar feeling of detachment, like part of her is elsewhere, as she is constantly reaching out to find something, whatever it is thats missing. constantly yearning. she very much feels like a medium, like her body is out there somewhere, physically wandering and searching for what is needed. finding it and pulling it into reality takes her energy, similar to jade.sometimes after periods of searching it feels as if she herself will be lost in the void forever. perhaps a part of her always will be. she senses need and loss around her and is desperate to help but is forced to blindly grasp in pitch blackness until she allows herself to succumb and become one with nothingness.

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