Protective Circle of the Sun

When we think about magic circles, many of us envision these, which makes sense because they seem to be the origin of most circles used today. However, for many people the Abrahamic aspects of these can make them unusable.

The circles are made of two simple parts: sacred geometry and names of power. Names of power are the aspect from which the rest of the circle is derived. Traditionally, the names of power are taken, some say appropriated, from Jewish mysticism and filtered through a thin veneer of Catholicism. Truly, the question is what one calls upon to power the circle.

Reading the texts, we find that planets are important over and over again. You must select the day and the hour of the planet most appropriate for your work, according to the tomes. Each day of the week has one of seven planets ruling it, and we switch planets every hour. Keep in mind that this idea comes from a time and place where saying, “The earth rotates around the sun,” could get you placed under house arrest as a heretic. Now, you can use the small flat rock in your pocket to pull up a window to the stars.

Additionally, many of us are much more comfortable calling on the power of nature. Whether you view them as deities, large energetic bodies, or just ideas that have grown strong with the weight of human history: planets make a lot more sense for a general purpose circle than the Abrahamic God does.

Of all the heavenly bodies, the Sun is the easiest place to start. Even children can understand its movements once a few basic concepts are explained, and you can measure its efficacy by asking yourself how cold and dark it is outside.

So now we know what the names of power refer to, but what names will we use? The answer is math. One of the reasons why Hebrew is considered such a powerful language, aside from being the language of Genesis, is because each letter also has a numerical value. So instead of searching for or creating a replacement language, the power of numbers should suffice.

The number which best represents the relationship between the earth and the sun is 365. The property of this number which makes it unique and places it in the universe is that it can be described as the sum of consecutive squares not one, but twice. So we have two overlapping sets of numbers with which to describe the connection between earth and sun: {365, 10, 11, 12} and {365, 13, 14}.

The next thing to consider is sacred geometry. Ultimately, we want shapes inscribed on the circle. You can be very elaborate, but I prefer my tools to look simple. About 12 tries later, I get this:

suncircle

Obviously, the timing and direction of the circle matter, but in a much more updated fashion. If you cannot see the sun due to nighttime or cloud cover, the circle will not be effective. In warmer seasons the circle will be more effective. In colder seasons, less. The point of the 365 should always point toward the sun. Sunrise is the best time; sunset should be avoided. Similarly, the transition from warm to cold season is a bad time for this circle. In the Northeast USA, the time between mid-fall and the winter solstice is an especially bad time.

In the old texts, any spirit listed was also ruled by a planet. Prescriptive lists of spirits are a thing of the past, but the pattern remains the same. If you power your circles with heavenly bodies, you should find the heavenly body most like the spirit you wish to summon to power the circle. You should then plan your work on a day when that body’s influence is strong. More likely, you would keep an eye on the skies, and work based on what heavenly bodies are strongest at the time you want to do the work.

Finally, you will need a pair of magic incantations to activate and deactivate the circle. I’ve got a personal favorite for activation and another for deactivating, but this is a bit of a personal touch, since incantation style varies so much from person to person. Also, my deactivating chant is particular to Goddess-centered spirituality and won’t work for everyone.

To summarize, a wide range of circles are easily designed if one understands the basic principles and applies them. Choose a power source, find some relevant mathematics, use the math to design some shapes, and test the circle rigorously to find weaknesses.

The next question, now that we have a circle, is materials and usage. A 9’ circle drawn with an engraved sword is expensive in terms of time, space, and materials. Not everyone has the ability to even perform such an act.

For a larger, quick method, you will need:

  • Chalk
  • A floor you can write on, wood seems to do best

To Cast

  • Cleanse or banish your space.
  • Draw the circle on the floor.
  • Take a moment to empower the circle with the incantation you selected.
  • Visualize a sphere arising from the drawing.

To Decast

  • Make sure you have thanked and said goodbye to any powers you called while working.
  • Pull in the energy in with with second incantation you selected.
  • Erase the circle completely.
  • Ground yourself.

The second method is firmer, slower, and designed specifically for spirit work.

You will need

  • A 1 ½’ square of cloth, preferably canvas, with hemmed edges.
  • Fabric paint
  • A brush
  • An item bearing the sigil of the spirit you want to work with
  • Censer
  • Charcoal
  • Incense (frankincense is preferable)
  • Tongs
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A lighter, preferably the long kind used for grilling
  • A well ventilated area

To Prepare the Cloth

  • Hem the edges
  • Light the incense
  • Pass the cloth through the smoke to cleanse it
  • Recite the prayer/blessing of the sun over the paint and brush
  • Paint the circle onto the cloth
  • Dry according to paint directions

To Cast

  • Cleanse or banish your space.
  • Lay the cloth on a flat surface
  • Lay the item bearing the sigil in the middle of the circle.
  • Take a moment to empower the circle with the prayer you selected.
  • Visualize a sphere arising from the drawing.
  • Summon the spirit by your usual method.

To Decast

  • Banish or devoke the spirit you were working with.
  • Take down the circle with the second incantation you selected.
  • Ground yourself.

These methods can be applied to various circles, not just the one I designed here. It is entirely possible to construct the circle using only visualization. However, when doing something heavier, there is benefit in having tools to do some of the lifting. To speak metaphorically, even something as simple as a handcart can triple your carrying capacity.

More importantly, this is what magic looks like when you make room for people to have their own interpretations of it. The individual using this circle may believe in deity or not, may believe in energy or not, may have guardian spirits or not. There are very few wrong ways to use this. All that matters is that they do choose to bring their personal spin to the template. It is a construct that grows more powerful as it becomes personalized and adapted.

This is is the future of magic and paganism: an interfaith approach to techniques. It requires a constant study of the concept of accessibility, an admittance to constant imperfection. However, to do any less is irresponsible if you want to create a space that can be shared by a variety of people. Perhaps this is because I am queer, and queers can’t agree on anything, but as magic becomes popular with my peers I hate to see any of them left out due to a difference in personal beliefs, money, ability, time, or other constraints.

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