Can you be a 'proper' Pagan if......
You don't cast a circle?
When I hear the word 'cast', I think of solid, inflexible shapes. You know, like the kind of cast you get if you break a limb, or the sort of solid mold that something else is made in - like jewelry or statues. Or I think of the phrase 'cast in stone', meaning permanent. So when I hear that word about a circle, in a pagan context, I think, 'can't be done', a pagan circle isn't permanent or inflexible or even solid. Good ol' Collins dictionary starts its definitions or 'cast' with "to throw or expel with violence or force" but then goes on to give another 46 alternative meanings. Now that is more like paganism to me, 47 choices of meaning for the same 4-letter word! The intention of the phrase 'cast a circle' is: to create sacred space, with boundaries, using ritual techniques. Why? Well, it is a container for power or energy raised magically. It is a boundary between this realm and the unseen realms, to keep unwanted powers from interfering with the work going on within the circle. It helps define a change in your state of mind from ordinary day-to-day, to more spiritual matters. This last, is the most important, to my way of thinking, to the ordinary pagan who is not intent on spell casting or high magic. Casting a circle is a signal to both your conscious and your subconscious mind, that you are making a deliberate shift in your outlook for a space of time and are going to focus on higher/deeper things. This process doesn't need to involve any paraphenalia at all, you donÕt need to trace out space, use elemental or directional correspondences, or go through any complicated ritual or set of words. These things do help a great deal as signals, but, if you have never thought about ritual before, donÕt start with something elaborate. Simply sit or stand and tell yourself you are now going to worship/pray/meditate or whatever. Tell yourself that there is a boundary around yourself (at whatever distance feels comfortable or practical to you), and that within it is your sacred space. It is rather surprising what a difference you will find in your meditation/contemplation or whatever, if you start with that simple step. When you have finished, make sure that you tell yourself you are returning to ordinary space. Clearly one wouldn't need or want to cast a circle every time one was inspired to think about the deeper nature of things, but doing so, however simply, does help focus the mind. But of course you can be a 'proper' pagan, even if you don't!
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