Magic circles are an important tool for magic practice and Neopagan worship. However, we only have two major models for how circles can be set up. First, we have the occultist’s circle, which tends to rely on the power of the Judeo-Christian God. Then, we have its derivative, the Wiccan circle, which has spread to many other branches of Neopagan practice. While the Wiccan circle is fine and dandy all on its own, it’s not optimal for all practices. Spirit work, for example, tends to need a circle with a stronger oomph, and it is good to consider standing outside the circle into which you summon a spirit for the first time.
That’s not to say that people haven’t been making other circles. Circle of Eight, for example, has people thinking about and altering the Wicca-based circles. There is a wide world of publishers out there beyond the reach of my paycheck. However, here in broke witch land, there doesn’t seem to be much interfaith discussion or trading of notes regarding this very central construct to our communities.
The following circle is meant to be lightweight, beginner-friendly, and available for people with a wide variety of faiths (or lack thereof) to use. You will only need to buy a rope, whipping, and some baking powder, so it’s fairly cheap as well. As always, you should have a basic understanding of grounding, cleansing, and visualization before starting to work with magic. You will also need to know where your magic comes from. Everyone has their own answer: God, other deities, the earth, other planets, your Will, etc. I will refer to this as your Source in the spirit of being as neutral as possible.
Find your height, multiply by three, and get a rope of that length. For example, I am 5’ 4” tall, I need a rope 16’ long. The rope should be heavy enough not to be moved easily, ½” thick should do. Natural fiber is preferable; your local hardware store should have options.
Before consecrating, whip (option 2) or burn the end of your rope to keep from fraying. To consecrate, prepare a bucket of cold water with ⅓ cup of baking soda. Wash the rope in this as you repeat a prayer that you feel good about. The point is not to soak the rope or wash the physical item, but to cleanse the energy of the tool. Hang dry at room temperature.
Use of your ritual items for anything other than ritual will lessen their power, and you will have to re-consecrate or outright replace them before ritual use. Remember to care for your equipment properly.
- Before casting, cleanse or banish your space.
- Lay the rope out in a circle and tie the ends together in a square knot.
- Take a moment to empower the circle with your source: prayer or invocation work well, but also make sure to visualize a sphere or cylinder of energy arising from the rope. It must be a closed, 3-dimensional shape.
- Do your work.
- Make sure you have thanked and said goodbye to any powers you called while working.
- Untie the knot.
- Make sure to wind your rope up for proper storage.
- Ground yourself.
I want to be completely clear that I did not invent the rope circle. It’s one of those techniques that appears here and there in the writing, and if I could remember where I originally found it I would put a link here. My work has been to cross the t’s, dot the i’s, provide links, and give a modular context for the technique.
Please feel free comment with any complaints you have about the circles you have seen, or with the variants you’ve created.