On casting circles

This is a personal presentation of a post I made in a forum in response to some ‘instruction’ on how circles feature within Druidry. It’s a little reactive, but I thought I’d share it out into the world. Maybe I’m wrong. I often am.

I’m not going to be put off by your gaslighting, and I do feel that you’re conflating ceremonial magic and druidry and in the doing of which you’re missing the point of the latter.

There are perfectly fine practices of mixed Druidry and, eg, Wicca. Philip Carr Gomm wrote on the subject in his work Druidcraft. I’m very much a ‘what works for the individual” druid and I’m not here to dissuade you from exploring all the paths in the wood, or from disagreeing with customarily held views. I think though there is a need for clarity when one decides to speak with authority.

Druidry is, to my mind, a celebratory exploration of the flow of spirit. In ritual gatherings, there is a construction of space within which reverence is expressed, peace emphasised and relationships enacted. Wicca is a more challenging practice, designed to wield the stream rather than bathe in it. The ritual space they construct is a working area, a doing place where energies are manipulated and directed.

These two places, though circular (spherical in Druidry, arguably conical in Wicca) may look the same, but they are not. The Wiccan circle is a barrier, holding elements within and preventing the entry of others from without. The Druid circle is more an invitation to share space in an ethereal cathedral. We call to the elements to come, and thank them for their visitation afterwards, we do not summon or banish.

Many Druids come to this path from ceremonial magic practice, and probably many Druids cross into more ‘practical’ practice. As I said; what works, works. But let’s speak about some wrong ways of crafting energetic barriers. The brain is a strange organ, interpreting external stimuli and creating a world from inexact data. We call this, reality. As such, what can be thought can be created.

Don’t think about elephants. Once one crafts a perfect barrier within the mind, that which is on the one side, is kept on that side. What is on the other, cannot be thought about, for to do so would be to make permeable the barrier and bring the thing through. Don’t. I can hear you. Almost see the grey bulk within the mist of your mind.

If you are working with the light and the dark, which bit do you keep on what side? Is the darkness you fear seeping through?

In terms, Druids are not light or dark workers. We are grey. Like elephants. All that is, is. Our circles are not defensive, but celebratory. The peace we extend is to all.

4 thoughts on “On casting circles

  1. Well stated.
    The way that our Grove has always looked at/explained this is that we are not ‘Casting’ a Sacred Space which is distinct and apart from the mundane world, we are recognising that we are holding our rituals in Spaces that are and always have been Sacred…wherever our feet touch the Earth. /|\

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  2. Yep, I’d agree with that. The only thing I’ll add is something I learned about circle casting when I was discovering Paganism about 20 years ago…. circles are indeed cast with a sphere in mind. It’s only a cone when gathering power to send out. Or that’s my (limited) understanding of it. But then I know at least one Druid who had cast a circle in a personal ceremony and was thankful for the protection it offered against something trying to get in!

    On the whole, I agree: Go with what works and that the difference in between the traditions is evident right there.

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