Especially for Open Gatherings and Circles

By WinterSky

Remember, do only what you feel comfortable with. Do not allow others to intimidate you into "going along" with the group. If you feel uncomfortable, then do not participate in that part; stand or sit silently or exit the circle area appropriately. Also, be sure to check out Secrets of the Inner Circle for tips on getting acquainted with your pagan community.

Circle/Ritual Area: Preparation
When an area has been selected and is to be prepared for ritual, only the person or persons designated are allowed within that space. The area will be cleansed and a Sacred Space created for the circle. Please respect it by not stepping into or crossing over that area. When the area is ready for ritual an announcement will be made and you will be directed to the proper entrance of the area.

  1. Circle area. This area is usually chosen and marked off. Quarter candles or quarter altars are set up. The main altar is set up. A designated doorway is made for the circle. Some circle boundries are made and circles are cast with salt, flowers, candles, rocks, brooms, sticks, etc.
  2. Entrance to Circle (doorway). This will usually be to the East or North East area of the circle.
  3. Wait outside the Circle entrance until summoned to enter.
  4. At the entrance you may be asked, "How do you enter here?" For open circles, the answer is usually, "In Perfect Love and In Perfect Trust." For closed circles, a password is usually chosen and only given to members or those specially invited.
  5. Entering Circle. As you enter the circle area, you may be smudged or blessed. Watch others that go before you and follow suit, as long as it is comfortable to you. (See special notes at end of guidelines)
  6. Inside circle you will turn to the left and walk clockwise (deosil) within the circle area to the position you will be standing in, unless otherwise directed.
  7. Wait patiently while others continue to enter. You may wish to center and ground yourself at this time.
  8. During ritual, please remain silent unless the ritual provides for chanting and singing, or you are asked or offered to speak.
  9. During ritual feel the energy, add your energy to the group, and help to raise the energy.

A Basic Open Circle

  1. High Priest and/or High Priestess will cast circle. They will call the Quarters and Elements or motion to others to do so. The circle will be sealed. Then the God and Goddess will be invited to join.
  2. Specific ceremony/ritual follows. Relax, enjoy, share energy, listen, observe and learn. You can watch others and follow with greeting and blessings, such as: So Mote It Be, Blessed Be, chants, songs, etc. Follow along the best you can.
  3. A symbolic Great Rite will be done with the High Priest and High Priestess. Wine or other drink is blessed and offered/passed to all. Usually as the Chalice or drink is passed, a blessing of "May you never thirst" is said. It is suggested to save a tiny bit to offer back to the earth and/or nature's creatures as an offering. (See special notes at the end of guidelines.)
  4. Next the cake, bread or fruit is blessed and again passed to all. Usually as the food is passed a blessing of "May you never hunger" is said. Again a bit is saved and offered back to the earth and/or nature's creatures as an offering. (See special notes at the end of guidelines.)
  5. End of Ritual. High Priest and High Priestess bid thanks and farewell to the God and the Goddess, then thanks and farewell of the quarters and elements are said. The circle is then open.


Special Notes

Once you have entered the circle area, remember to always walk clockwise (known as deosil) unless otherwise specified. This is to keep the main flow of energy in the proper direction for the specified ritual. (There are certain times we go counterclockwise, known as widdershins and if this is in the ritual, you will probably be directed as such.)

Should you need to exit the circle, please do so quietly and swiftly in the proper direction. You will enter and exit at the same point in the circle. At the doorway a gatekeeper will open an exit area for you and then will re-close it after you.

Most rituals are done while standing, although if you need to sit down, please feel free to do so. You may bring a chair with you into the circle as you enter.

You may wish to bring your own chalice to drink from. If you do not desire to drink from the same chalice as others, please use your own or at least make the gesture to drink or pour a drop or two on the earth as an offering/blessing and pass it on. Remember that some of these gatherings have 40 to 200 attending and may drink from the same cup! You may also wish to ask exactly what is in the chalice before drinking. Some groups use water, juice, punch, nonalcoholic beverage, wine or other alcohol.

The food offerings passed are also something to consider if you have specific allergies. You may need to ask if the cake or breads have nuts in it, etc. Again, you may wish to only take a small piece and give it to Mother Earth as an offering.

Circles/Rituals are done in a Sacred Space, so... Please refrain from speaking or conversing within circle. Hold comments, suggestion and so forth until after circle/ritual is finished and circle is again open. Please remember to turn your cell phones off.

No smoking in circle.

You should check to see if you might bring items into circle such as flowers or other offerings, drums, rattles, etc. to join in ritual.

It is suggested to ask the ritual sponsor(s) if you may attend, or to announce you will be joining for an open circle. This insures space to accommodate everyone attending.

Ask ritual sponsor(s) if there is anything specific you need to know, bring or be aware of for the ritual, such as food to share for potluck, dress code, etc.

Most Pagan/Witch/Wiccan groups do not allow anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol to participate. Chanting, drumming and some herbs can altar consciousness. It is suggested that if you are on prescribed medication that can altar your awareness/ consciousness, please inform the person who is leading the ritual.

Please do not use cameras within the circle area unless asked to do so by the circle sponsors. Do not take pictures of anyone without their permission to do so!

Remember that there are many paths, beliefs, truths and ways. No one path or way is the "right" or "only" way. If you feel something is being done or said you do not agree with, do not blurt out loud or under your breath that it is "wrong/incorrect". If you must, please wait until the ritual is over. You can then ask the sponsor/leader of the ritual why they did or said things you did not agree with. Experiencing new ways and food for thought are always enlightening. We can all "Agree to Disagree".

We hope you have a pleasant and enlightening experience.
Blessed Be



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Last updated April 8, 2012

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