Casting and Banishing a Circle
Read through this and see what you like. Take out what you don't like and replace it with something that you do. Magic that isn't personalized is useless.
Next, the actual circle. Using either your forefinger (usually what I do, and they're always with you, unless you've lost them somehow.), a wand, or some other kind of projective tool, trace a circular area around you. You can do this by either standing in the middle and rotating, walking around the area with the tool pointing down (or up, if you wish), or by physically tracing a circle on the ground. As you do so, imagine the circle in your mind's eye. Some see it as a circle of light blue flame or light that is projected forth from their finger/wand/whatever. Others like to use earth tones or white. Choose a color and stick to it; don't change the color of the circle you cast for different sorts of spells. When you visualize, really *project* your energies into it! You're trying to form a solid shape on the Astral, so it ought to be done with conviction. And yes, when you're a big, powerful Magus, you *can* probably do without the actual physical actions of tracing the circle and can probably just will it to be there and have it appear around you. However, for now, let's just stick with the basics, shall we? Although there are those who would disagree with me, I don't think that it really matters which direction you face when you start and finish the circle, nor will it ruin everything if your circle isn't perfectly round.
Once you have a circle around you, it should help to keep in the energies that you want and keep out the energies that you don't. In theory, you should be able to do the spell now. However, it is traditional to invite certain spirits and gods to watch your spell and help, if they so desire. Again, any way in which you do this is just fine, but I would highly recommend that you be, at all times, polite and courteous when dealing with anyone you invite to your circle. If you, like me, believe that the spirits have a choice as to whether to come or not, use the following analogy: YouUre throwing a party. A bunch of guests show up. If you treat them well, they'll try to make the party better, if they can. They might also bring friends next time. If youUre a bad host, either the guests are likely to leave. If you consistently prove yourself to be in the habit of inviting guests to a gathering and consistently abuse them, in one way or another, the guests you invite will stop showing up. If you believe that they don't have a choice whether to come or not, consider how obnoxious it would be if you had to show up to a ceremony held by a bunch of little critters who were, in terms of evolution, lifespan and power, worms. Then imagine them yelling at you, ordering you around and showing you not one ounce of respect. . . .Yeah, I agree. Anyway, to call spirits to the circle, all you have to do is ask them. Usually, I face each of the four directions individually and call at each one the elementals usually associated with them. In case you hadn't picked it up elsewhere, East is related to the Air, South to Fire, West to Water, and North to Earth. I don't think that it matters to much which direction you face when you call whichever Elementals, but I think that you ought to face a different direction for each one. I think that the associations that are made with the various element to the cardinal directions are purely man-made, but it doesn't seem to hurt. Contact me later and I'll tell you the really advanced evocation of the elements. After you've invited in the elements, that's the time to invite in any other spirits, totem, ancestors (specific or otherwise), or God-names.
Again the way that you do so is by saying a sort of prayer to said entities. When you do so, don't say them to yourself. Call out to the spirits that you want to call. Some people make some sort of gesture when they send out the call. While I have found this to help, again, it isn't essential. If you still think that you need one, then draw a pentagram in the air in the direction from which you'd like to call the spirit, while visualizing light, or flame, or whatever of whatever color seems appropriate. If you only believe in one G/god, it might be a good idea to to ask for hir help in the spell, and for protection and all that. If you believe in more than one, or more than one manifestation of a "single" entity, you can, and some would say should, ask for their/hir guidance, strength, etc. As with the purification process, make sure that the gods that you invite/invoke for the spell are appropriate. Ares tends to make love spells potent, but unpredictable, short, and often violent in one way or another. It's just not such a hot idea to ask for help from Coyote when you need help with studying for a test. Lastly, no offense to any Christians or Jews reading this, but their God really doesn't seem to offer a lot of help when it comes to weather magick, or anything that benefits the recipient more than is absolutely necessary. Still, Ares can help you become more assertive (a quality that is essential to working our arts), as well as being stronger in mind, body, and spirit. Coyote is great for getting results if you don't care how you get them, and good ole' Yahweh is a great being to have in your corner when the chips are low. Try it out; see for yourself what works.
Once you've invited everyone, work your spell. When that's done, tell all of the spirits that you've called (individually or in groups, like "All spirits of Fire...all spirits of Air...etc." if you can) that the spell is over. Offer them your thanks and blessings, and a gift, if you like. Wine or juice poured outside specially for them is usually appreciated, as is incense of the appropriate variety. Don't give the spirits left-over juice that you're trying to get rid of, or offer them the food that you're feeding to your dog. Make it a nice gift. Remember my rant about etiquette. It doesn't have to be anything major. Let your intuition guide you. However, do not leave the circle yet. If you're going to leave the spirits a gift, do it later. First, tell them that they can leave if they like. If you're into the ceremonial style, tell them all to go away really fast. They call that a banishing. If you're one of us down-to-earth Pagans, tell them nicely that they can leave if they like. I like to tell them that they can stay if they like, or go if they must. However, sometimes it's wiser to just ask them to leave peacefully. Ask yourself if you'd mind it if the given spirit starts to hang around the area. Act accordingly. Finally, when it's just you and any spirits that want to stay, if any, break the circle by either retracing it in the direction opposite of the direction in which you originally drew it and feel the energy flowing through you into the ground and see the circle diminishing in your mind etc. Or you could just wave your hands in the air, tearing it apart ethereally.
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