Set Up Ritual Area -If you are luck enough to have a ritual room, make sure it is clean and neat. If you are like me, I have to use my living room so I move the furniture back (out of the way) Cover the large pieces (china hutch, book cases, computers) to cut down on distractions. Vacuum the carpet. I usually burn some cleansing incense (usually Sage) to make sure the area is clear of negativity. Then I set up my altar.
Ritual Bath - Many modern Wiccans take Ritual Showers ;-). Same principle. A shower to calm the spirit and clean the aura. I use non-iodized salt dissolved in a cup that I pour over myself. This is a substitute to swimming in the ocean. It makes me feel closer to the Mother. I also chant softly to myself during my shower. A simple chant such as Air I Am. (see Chants page)
Procession - If you are solitary this is kind of impossible. ;-) I often have several people present for circle, so we line up (Male/Female) for the anointing and welcome. It makes it a bit more orderly.
Anointing/Welcome - The HPS and HP anoint the opposite sex as they enter the circle with an appropriate oil and a kiss. This is the time when the challenge is issued if you use the challenge. (The challenge is a question that is answered: "In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust") You may also be asked from whence you hail (or something like that) you should answer "I am (Craft Name) from (Your circle/group) or a solitary (if you have no group). You may also state your degree if you are initiated/degreed from a group.
and Center - Take a few minutes to settle yourself and others(if
present). Let go of the cares of the day, the frustration of the
job or home, the anger at the dog for chewing your shoes. ;-)
Feel the calm of the Mother. (This should take about 2-5 minutes
or longer if needed)
Cleanse Water, Salt, Incense, Fire - Cleanse the Water and Incense of any negative forces that may have come to reside in them. Many believe that Fire and Salt are self cleaning, so a blessing upon the spirit within them would be appropriate.
Cast Circle - Using a wand, athame, or sword, (which ever is available and most comfortable) cast your circle. If you are indoors for convenience, I cast to the walls of the room. Out doors, try to find a natural boundary for the others in the circle to visualize.
Purify Participants (Cense and Aspurge) - I cast the circle with the salt/water and incense/fire so that it is cast 3 times. Then the HP and HPS Cense and Aspurge the others in the circle. The HP will do the HPS.
Call Elementals - I start in the East, then go South, then West, then North, and Salute the East to complete the circle. I call the Elementals to the edge of the circle, not into it. As elementals can cause a lot of mischief, I feel safer with them outside the circle. ;-)
Invite Lord and Lady - Always invite the Deities. Never demand. They don't like it. They also like lots of beautiful words and rhymes. Mine are not long, or especially beautiful, but I do the best I can. Also it is not a good idea to point a knife or sword at deity.
Magick work - This is the time when the main work of the circle is done. You should always have a reason for making a circle, even if it is just to honor the Deity.
Cakes and Ale - "As the Athame is to the Male, The Cup is to the Female, so joined the greatest magick is begun." I sprinkle a bit of the Wine (or juice, what ever we are using that night) on the "cakes". I often use the mini-muffins. They are easy and portion controlled . This is also a time for announcements, teaching, acknowledgements etc.
Thank Lord and Lady - Thank Deity, and invite to stay or go as they will. Most often they will leave, but once in a while they may stay. That makes a very magickal time in your home.
Dismiss Elementals - Tell the Elemental to go home! You don't want elementals running around causing mischief. (I forgot this once and had plumbing problems, the AC broke, the Oven broke, and a tread on the stairs fell off!. I never forgot to send them home again!)
Drop Circle - If you have a permanent space, you can leave the circle to dissipate, I prefer to push the energy of the circle into the earth and out to the edge of our property to re-enforce the wards. But this is a personal preference.
Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again - Time for food, friendship & lots of huggs!