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Casting An Effective Sphere
When most Pagans think of preparing Sacred Space for ritual or communing with the Divine casting a circle is the first thing that comes to mind. Usually this is done by directing personal or divine energy in a circle with themselves or a group in the centre, guardians or watchtowers are invoked, rituals and spells follow, after which the circle is closed down, then cakes and ale to finish. What many Pagans don’t realise is the circle is actually a sphere and only appears to be a circle where it intersects with the ground.
Once they do understand many of the apparent inconsistencies, such as why the edge of the ‘circle’ is cast at least half a body length from the participants, and the cutting of a door as an entrance/exit takes place slightly in from the edge of where the circle is marked out on the ground, start to make sense. This can explain the difference in feeling between an indoor and an outdoor ritual, particularly when there are a lot of people in a small room. The confines of the room tend to be thought of as the ‘edges’ of the circle and the energies making up the sphere can be dissipated by the participants if they are not aware of its nature.
The Sacred Sphere exists as a very real thing on many levels including the physical plane. It can come as a great surprise to someone used to thinking of it as purely a psychological device, or existing on the Astral with no interaction with the physical when they suddenly find that it does have an effect in certain situations. The most common is when the circle is cast indoors and cuts through a device such as a computer or other electrical device.
One of my most vivid memories of what the effect this can have is when I was taking part in some filming for a TV documentary several years back. Although the presenter was considerate of what I and the Witch who I was working with were telling her about the nature of the energies we were using the technical people on the shoot were not and put several fully charged power packs on the edge of the circle. These were to power the lights and other items of equipment such as the sound recording gear. We did suggest they might like to move them, but the ‘techies’ were adamant that they could only go there. The Witch and I looked at each other, shrugged, powered up the Sphere, and got on with the ritual while being filmed by the crew and watched by the director. The ritual itself went very well, but the fun began when the director asked us to re-enact some of the elements of it for close ups of the actions and tools we were using and record some of the words and chanting more clearly.
The original power packs were running low, so the equipment was changed over to the fresh ones – which were completely drained. At first the person in charge of bringing them to the shoot was accused of bringing flat ones, but he had paperwork to show that the power packs had been checked when he got them and they had been fully charged. Telephoning the supplier confirmed this and eventually the crew had to go on a sixty mile round trip to get more! Needless to say for the rest of the shoot they kept the new ones well away from anything we were doing.
How did this happen? Informal experiments with the more technically minded of the Magickal community suggest that the energy used in magick is close enough to man-made electricity to interact with it producing effects such as draining batteries, and interfering with electronic devices. One Alexandrian Mage I know used to have his record player slowed down by his friend whenever he wanted him to contact him by ‘phone – it saved the friend a fortune in phone calls.
Bioplasmic Energy, Chi, Ki and Orgone are some of the names of this force and learning how to sense, raise, and focus it is the key to constructing a good Sacred Sphere. When I lived in Mexico City back in the 1970s there were many practicing magickal groups, and a lot of them used the same basic techniques to develop this ability. Raising the power was usually done by the student holding their hands slightly apart and vividly visualising a ball between their hands that they then breathed energy into by imagining it filling with energy each time they breathed out.
As they progressed in skill the ball could be felt by others, mainly as a temperature change or a tingling feeling if they passed their hands through the area occupied by the energy field. The real test was to form the container into a shape other than a ball, and then other trainees had to sense what this was either by feel or clairvoyant ability. Finally the practitioners made the shapes different colours, and empowered the energy formed with an emotion.
Once a degree of control was achieved they could progress to expanding this field while still keeping its palpability – their first sphere casting.
In most current Pagan systems ‘circle casting’ is done with the Atheme, wand, or finger, depending on the practitioner. Usually it is visualised as a wall but, if the energy is strong enough, then top and bottom edges will automatically be attracted to each other making it into a sphere. Now that you are aware that this happens you can program the intent into your own practice.
Once enclosed the area encompassed by the sphere can be dedicated as a meeting place between the mundane and sacred worlds. It is, in effect, a ‘pocket universe’ enabling the celebrants to tune it to the appropriate Divine and magickal energies. This tends to be done by the person casting the sphere, usually the person leading the group, using intent and visualisation. Sometimes the group as a whole does it after attuning to each other through chanting and/or meditation to synchronize the individuals into a group mind for the duration of the ritual. The latter is particularly true of Druid rituals I have attended at Stonehenge and other sacred sites.
By harmonising the group with the energy of the sphere the individuals can move around the edge more freely as any contact with the edge of the sphere tends to cause it to bend rather than dissipate. The energy tends to flow with and through the person rather than them acting as a grounding rod. It is also easer to sense and not run into in the first place
The Sacred Sphere has many functions, two of the main ones are to keep out unwanted energies and entities, and amplify and contain the power raised within it until such time as it is ready to be used for which it is intended. Its shape means that there is less chance of the power being drained away as the earth or floor within it is part of the sacred space too. When the Sphere is cast in an apartment it can be modified by the intent of the caster(s) to only go slightly through the ceiling or blend with the floor.
The amplifying ability of the sphere is something anyone using or in one should be aware of as it can act like a psychic pressure cooker. This is great for rituals and spellcraft but also explains why all disagreements should be left outside it or at least suspended for the duration of the Spheres’ casting. Even people unaware of a Sphere being cast can be strongly affected by it – which in itself is good evidence that the Sphere is working. I have known Pagans from many paths covertly cast one to encompass a nuisance neighbours’ house with the aim of having them move or choke on their own negativity, and very effective they have been too.
The most dramatic example of the effects of a ‘covert Sphere’ was the one I cast at my wedding. It took place in Cairns, in northern Australia when my wife and I went to see the Solar eclipse in 2002 as part of a tour group. None of the other members of the tour were Pagans or magickal folk but we all got on well together and they were the guests at our ceremony in the grounds of the hotel where we stayed. Needless to say I couldn’t cast a Sphere overtly in the ritual manner without freaking out a sizable portion of the guests, so I used the expanded ball of Ki method. As a result everyone agreed it was one of the best weddings they had been to and was ‘very moving’, nearly everyone shed a tear (including me) and it reminded them of all the positive events in their lives.
Hopefully this has given you some insights into the whys of creating sacred space, along with some tips to experiment with to make your casting even more effective. The more you understand the principles behind what you are doing, the better your practice will be and the more you will be in tune with your chosen path.
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