Cutting and Using a Circle

sparking circle
Cutting a Circle.  A reason this is one of the most cliche metaphysical tactics is that it works .  At it's most basic, a person who cuts a circle declares territory to the universeThe owner of a circle gets to decide the rules inside it.   People who don't know what they are doing declare few or no rules. Some people don't even properly declare the territory.
There are common rules to make circle cutting more idiot safe:
  1. Commonly a circle needs to be drawn physically.  This ensures that the focus of the person cutting it was steady enough to clearly demark the lines.
  2. Cliche beliefs that circles keep out bad things and are barriers help people tap into conceptual momentum in case they don't do a good job.
  3. The belief that circle are a cure all that keep you safe has built some serious power.
However, remember to return to the fundamentals.   To cast a circle you need to declare territory as somehow special or separate from what it was before and then declare the rules of the territory.  You are choosing this space in this reality and others touching it.  You are choosing what to include and what to deny.

Hardcore Ritual Circle
If I was going to cut a circle hardcore I would actually take some cornnmeal and physically draw a circle.  If I'm doing the ritual outside I will pour a little water on the ground in front of the cornmeal and then pour the cornmeal over the water.  This way the cornmeal won't blow away in the wind.  I can't tell you how annoyed I am when Movies/TV shows have the circle broken by a bit of wind because people didn't do some basic thinking ahead.  


After I lay the cornmeal I will get out an Athame.  Athames are ritual knives.  I believe that any knife with a good point will work, but everything gets more focused toward a purpose the more it is used.  Using the Athame to cut the circle at the edge of the boundary, I walk the circle once counterclockwise to release anything that might have been there before.  Next I walk the circle clockwise 3 times focusing on the circle being cut deeper and deeper into reality.

After my circle is cut I will usually ground into my circle and, by pushing off of reality around me, pull the circle deeper into shadow.  I do this because reality is more intense down there, so spells we do have more effect "up here."  When I've done a good job, we can be in full daylight and have things right outside the circle seem hazy and out of focus.   One of my favored amusements is to "forget" to lift the circle back up before breaking the circle.  It's a ton of fun to watch 20 people in the circle with you complaining about how bright the light just got and how they have to pop their ears.  ^_^
Normal Circles
In truth I rarely physically draw my circles.  Usually I will cut a circle three times using an Astral Athame (I'll cover that in another article) before drawing it deeper as I explained above.  For most rituals this is PLENTY.

Fast and Dirty Circle
My favorite way to cut a fast circle is to snap my fingers or clap my hands with power.  This means I focus "energy" into my hand(s), which builds astral, and then I snap/clap while KNOWING that the energy is expanding out in a spherical wavefront pushing normal reality out of the way ahead of it.  Depending on how much energy and how fast and far I push it the circle grows like a bubble filling up.  There comes a point where the internal pressure is balanced by the outer pressure... AKA the wave front stops and forms an edge.  Kind of like the debris/water line where a wave pushes into the shore.  

Letting People into and out of a circle
The common way people do this is to literally cut a doorway or a slash in the circle and let people through and then close it when people get through.  I've done this, but it gets annoying having to open and close a circle 30 times over the course of a ritual.  I've tried more automated entry ways.  First I'll create an entryway with actual stairs (remember, I tend to lower my circle into lower realities).  Another favored image I use is a Vagina.  Yes, a Vagina.  I cut a slit and image it as a Vaginal opening allowing things we want to pass, while things we don't want to enter or exit stay where they are.   If the idea of creating and walking through a huge Vagina bothers you, then another image to use could be walk in hanging refrigerator slats.  A few rows of those are pretty effective too.  The basic idea is a protected entryway that people can enter and exit through without screwing up the circle.   If everyone will just stay inside the circle GREAT, but it's easier to learn these techniques than to have to fight to maintain your focus when you're annoyed at people entering and exiting the circle.

After the circle has been Cut
By declaring my ownership over the space, I can then declare rules in the space.  Physical reality has a LOT of momentum and my decisions rarely can effect it without major effort; however, anything that isn't physical I have a lot of control over.   I can declare a boundary and watch people who are perfectly capable of walking through it shy away because sub-consciously they know they are safer or have more control outside the boundry.

Circle cutting has a solid effect.  You get 5 practiced mages in a room together to watch one cut a circle using will and the other four will be able to declare the boundries pretty darn accurately without discussing it on their own.  In fact, those practiced mages will be able to tell you how strong and deep the circle is as well as what essential rules the circle has.   I have yet to see mages consistantly be able to help draw a solid deep circle by sharing a ritual together.  Everything I've seen so far tends to be "you do it and we'll watch."   Most mages in a circle will help reinforce a barrier with barriers of their own.   If the ritual declares the intents of the circle out loud you get a pretty cool shared effect from this.   Kind of like having 15 different people help dig a hole.  It's gonna be a lot bigger and deeper than if only one person digs that hole.

Closing the circle.  
Why close a circle? If they do so much good why not simply leave them open?   Because circles amplify your thoughts.  If you are in a circle you can choose the rules; however, nothing prevents you and others with ownership of the circle from redeclaring them.  
A ritual is a conscious effort of magic and you are probably going to focus your thoughts toward the effort.  After the ritual you probably will NOT keep control of your thoughts anymore.  Whatever wandering whim you hold will be amplified and you'll experience it with greater intensity.  It's fun when you're hanging out and enjoying the empathic/telepathic connection with other persons, but crappy when you have a bad fight with your girlfriend and contemplate what it would be like to break up.

Additionally, if you leave a circle up, people will usually end up walking through the edges of the circle. When persons walk through the barriers of a circle without remembering that the barrier is actually a barrier, they weaken the thought power of the barrier actually being there until there is no barrier... merely a nice easy place to manifest if you're non-corporial.  The persons walking through didn't "break" the circle.  They merely changed the rules and "edges" of it.  If you've drawn the circle it barrier aspect will stick around a lot longer, but it can still be weakened.  
Just like a dock that isn't routinely dredged can become a normal beach, a circle over time and normal life goes from being a dug well and more into a watering hole.   Luckily for most of us we tend to dig rather small wells which after a short amount of time of neglect end up completely going away.  

However, as you get better and better at magic there is more of a chance that one of these days you'll cut a circle and have it strong enough to stick around...   Oh the havok you can cause.

Speaking of havok.   For the vicious fun of it, try cutting circles around homes and businesses.  You're basically sticking high-octane in the engine of their lives.  If they are manifesting success and keeping their thoughts on it they will experience it much more quickly and "magically".  If not... well...  Maybe a fast failure is easier than a slow delayed one.
Cutting a circle and staying outside it 
If I'm silly enough to try and work with something I'm not sure I can trust (not a good idea), I will use a multi-layered circle.   I'll literally draw a full Pentacle onto the ground and then put a circle inside the center of the pentacle.  The Pentacle is a pretty solid structure and will strengthen both circles.  To make it easier to summon and maintain, I'll also put a summoning circle inside of the center circle (3rd layer).  This one is a circle with a triangle in it (balanced body, mind & spirit).   Let me put it this way... I rarely have needed to do this.  If you're doing the kind of stuff that needs this level of safety consistently you're either damn good or screwing around with stuff you shouldn't be.
Good Manifesting,
Power Before Wisdom

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