I’ve been spending a lot of time on my Book of Shadows/Grimoire lately and I’m just in love with it. I used to be so scared to mess my drawings up that I wouldn’t draw at all. This book has given me an excuse to draw and be proud of whatever I manage to create.
Setting up an altar dedicated to the elements is simple and effective! And what better way to show thanks for their presence in our lives than through your own personal shrine? The elements are a part of our everyday living, and assist heavily in our paths. Here are some simple additions you can incorporate into your own altar:
Earth: flowers, bones, sticks, herbs, leaves, crystals/stones of your choice 🌍
Air:incense sticks or cones, feathers, a wand, sage or palo santo 🌬
Fire:red, orange, or yellow candles (or any color!), a salt lamp or candle holder 🔥
Water:a chalice, bottle, or bowl of fresh water (or water collected from a lake/river/pond/ocean), shells, sea salt, something representative of the moon (to honor the tides) 💧
Spirit:a pentagram (drawn, molded, sewn, etc, or perhaps you have one that you’ve purchased), any object that is close to your heart and representative of you 🔮
(and don’t forget about figurines, small framed photos, or written notes of your choosing. personal touch is everything)!
It does not matter that we cannot see air physically - it is active, powerful, and, obviously, crucial to survival. In terms of magick, the element of air encourages newness, freedom, and visualization. Air is inspiring and imaginative, and all that must be done to connect with this element is take a deep breath - feel the freshness of air filling your lungs. Go outside and feel the gentle breeze against your face. Let these things remind you just how good it feels to be alive.
Air in Magick
Here is a mini guide to the use of air and its correspondences in witchcraft practices!
GODDESSES:Urania, Aradia, Nuit, Cardea.
Enlil, Shu, Thoth, Mercurym.
USAGE IN RITUALS: Freedom, knowledge, travelling, studying, wind magick, concentration
The air signs - Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius - are the “smart thinkers” of the bunch; the ones who are best at handling abstract reasoning, are naturally clever, and are skilled at being overall perceptive. They will handle issues with rationality, looking at all sides of the equation… Balance is important to the air signs, just as important as helping to make situations better. However, just as with the wind, the air signs can blow hot or cold - when off balance, air signs have a hard time coming back to full mind-body, usually focusing heavily on just one or the other (this is why meditation can be so beneficial for these signs). However, generally speaking, air signs are witty and full of thoughts, weaving through ideas as quickly as wind rustles the leaves of a tree.
Witchlings and Baby Witches, gather ‘round to learn how to cast a simple Circle. You may be wondering, “Why do we cast Circles?” and that can be easily answered! Most of the time, we cast Circles to create a sacred space where our spellwork and rituals can be conducted. There are other various reasons, but you can discover that with time, research, and practice. For this lesson, we are going to focus on creating that sacred space for you.
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE CASTING A CIRCLE
**Circles can be cast alone or with others. If you are participating with other witches, you may want to print them off a “script” of what will be said and done that way everyone can participate. Change “I” in the script to “we”, “me” to “us”, and so on and so forth.
**Circles can be cast indoors and outdoors. However, I do caution you not to cast Circles without getting the permission of the person who owns said space, home, property, etc.
**You can decorate and dress up for your Circle casting. Using the appropriate colors, plants, stones, and meaningful objects can aid in powering your Circle. This, however, is not necessary.
**Decide in advance what will be done in the Circle. Make a plan of what you want to do inside your circle, whether it worship, prayer, spellwork, or meditation. Don’t feel rushed and take your time.
**Music may be used to accompany the Circle casting and rituals. I typically choose songs that don’t have words. (I get distracted easily by music.)
**Feel free to customize these words and tailor them to fit your own practices. You can substitute “walls and floors” with “foliage, stones, and ground” if you are casting outside. Names for Gods and Goddesses may be used in place of “Lord and Lady.”
**There is no right way to cast a Circle. There are many traditions that different witches use. Find what you like, experiment and customize your circle casting ritual.
**NOTE** This is just one example of how to cast a Circle (one I used when I was just starting out.)
TOOLS FOR CASTING THE CIRCLE
Candles, incense, matches (or a lighter), representations of the four corners, decorations, an athame (ceremonial knife) or wand.
BASIC CIRCLE CASTING
1. Ground and center, and then lay out where your Circle will be cast. This doesn’t have to be physically marked, but I have seen people use cord, chalk, and candles. (Note: using lit candles can be dangerous. Please take precautions when doing this. We don’t want anyone or anything getting hurt.) I used to create a small altar at the direction North with representations of the four elements.
2. Light incense and candles, and make your announcement: The Circle is about to be cast and I freely stand within to greet my Lady and my Lord.
3. Take one candle in hand and begin walking the Circle. Here, we are acknowledging the Four Quarters (North, South, East, and West.) We will stop at each direction and call out the corresponding greeting found below. For this, we will walk deosil around our Circle. To move deosil is to move in a clockwise (or sunwise) direction. Once you have finished acknowledging the directions, return to North.
–North: I call upon Light and Earth at the North to illuminate and strengthen the Circle. –East: I call upon Light and Air at the East to illuminate and enliven the Circle. –South: I call upon Light and Fire at the South to illuminate and warm the Circle. –West: I call upon Light and Water at the South to illuminate and cleanse the Circle.
4. Return the candle to its rightful place and raise the athame or wand into your hand facing North. Call out: I draw this Circle in the Presence of the Lady and the Lord that They may aid and bless me in my work.
5. Lower the athame or wand and walk deosil once more around the Circle, envisioning a blue light shoot out from the Circle’s boundary. Call out: This is the boundary of the Circle, around me, through walls and floors, above me and below me as a sphere is the Circle cast and consecrated to the Lady and the Lord that They may work with and through Their child, (your name/Craft Name). This Circle is charged by the power of the Ancient Ones! Only love shall enter and leave.
Begin your ritual, spellcasting, meditation, or any other word you wish inside the Circle. Within it, you will be protected. However, a word of caution: if you are a witchling, make sure you do not over exert yourself inside the Circle. Casting any magic can make anyone grow weary or tired, so be aware of how much energy you are expending. Like any magic, it takes time and practice. When you have finished your work, you will open your Circle.
OPENING THE CIRCLE
6. Take the athame or wand in hand both hands facing North. Call out: Lord and Lady, I have been blessed by Your sharing this time with me; watching and guarding me; guiding me here and in all things. I came in love and I depart in love.
7. Raise the athame or wand high in the air in salute. Call out: Love is the Law and Love is the Bond. Merry did I meet, merry do I part, and merry will I meet again. The Circle is cleansed.
8. Kiss the flat of the blade or the tip of the wand. Here, we will bid farewell to the Quarters and move widdershins. Widdershins, which can be spelled withershins, widershins, widderschynnes, appears to come from German and Lowland Scottish. In German, widersinning means “against the senses”, that is “not the usual”, or “against the grain.” For our purposes, it means to move counter-clockwise. So, we will go from North to West, South, and East. As you move, this would be the time to blow out candles if they are how you laid out your Circle. Once you have finished saying goodbye to the Quarters, return North.
–Depart in peace, Elemental Earth. My blessings take with you! –Depart in peace, Elemental Water. My blessings take with you! –Depart in peace, Elemental Fire. My blessings take with you! –Depart in peace, Elemental Air. My blessings take with you!
9. Raise your arms into the air with athame or wand in hand. Call out: Beings and powers of the visible and invisible, depart in peace! You aid in my work, whisper in my mind, and bless me from the Otherworld. Let there ever be harmony between us. My blessings take with you. The Circle is cleared!
10. Take the athame or wand in hand, and move widdershins once more around the Circle, calling out: The Circle is open yet the Circle remains as its magical power is drawn back into me. The Circle has been cleared. My ritual has ended.
11. Place athame or wand aside, and take a seat on the floor (you may also lie on your back.) Close your eyes and focus on grounding excess energy by touching your palms to the floor. Let the magic in the room (or outdoors) disperse and settle. Take a few deep breaths, open your eyes, and begin cleaning up your space.
I hope all of you find this helpful. Again, Circle casting can be completely tailored and customized for your needs, and you don’t have to cast one this way. It is meant to be a resource for those just starting out. If you have any questions, you can reach me via ASK or by messaging me.