It’s strange, I moved away from this small town and loved living in the larger city. More people, anonymity, and lots and lots of self-exploration. I never once decided that I was going to give up or give in and move back. The thought actually had never crossed my mind.
Why are Wiccan ceremonies held in a circle? Do I always have to draw a circle when I’m going to do something witchy?
Although we’ve all seen the popular horror movie trope of occultists drawing magical circles on the floor to protect themselves from demons and other nasties—a great example is the movie The Devil Rides Out, if you’re interested—the circle in Wiccan rituals demarcates sacred space and is meant to contain any energy you may raise inside it during your ritual. It can serve as a protection to keep out certain distractions or unwanted energies, but it’s not a demon-trapping device.
What Does It Mean?
The circle symbolizes different things to different Wiccans. Some say when they are inside the circle, they are “between the worlds,” meaning in a space between our material world and the otherworld or spirit realm. Other Wiccans believe the circle is a microcosm of the universe or cosmos, or the womb of the Wiccan goddess. And some believe more than one of these things.
I'm not sure that every coven unrelated to a specific tradition needs a "Book of Shadows." I probably wanted one for my coven because I have strange control issues. After finding a ritual structure that worked for our circle I wanted to get it all down on paper, and share it with everyone in our little group. For our group a BoS made perfect sense because we work the same way ritual to ritual.
A BoS is not necessarily a rigid, never-changing book of instructions, but it often contains ideas that consistently work. If the quarter calls I'm using "work" why would I want to change them every month or so? I also think there's real power in repeating a ritual structure over and over again. It takes the guess work out of ritual and creates an atmosphere that lets the mind and spirit quickly ease into ritual mode. When my coven's opening chant starts I'm in "work mode" and instantly push outside concerns away.
The other day a member of my coven offered to lead an upcoming ritual. I was extremely pleased by this development. Though my wife and I often function as the "High Priestess" and "High Priest" of our group we didn't start this endeavor with the idea that we would run every ritual. It's nice to just sit back sometimes and participate instead of having to stand forward and "lead."
I know that our group is kind of set up in a such a way that it often looks like I'm in charge. My wife and I started our coven, we selected our initial circle-mates, and I organized our week to week gatherings. As time went on we adopted a formal ritual structure, which I wrote.
Nine years ago we bought my grandmother's house. This place has been very important to me, it has always been a security blanket of sorts, even in my dreams. My cousin had purchased the house after my grandmother passed in 1988 and lived therefor 17 years. Then in 2005, he sold it to my husband and I. At that time, we lived outside of Baltimore, Maryland. We wanted this space so when we would drive the six hours northwest to my hometown, we can take our three beautiful kids someplace other than my mom's crowded house or hotel. This place would be perfect, not too large, enough room for us to spread out and the affordability to have the necessary creature comforts. Plus there is this beautiful large yard surrounded by woods - the very woods my father and I would explore for a few hours nearly every Sunday - where the kids can walk outside and run and explore without us having to drive to larger spaces or worry about who might be lurking around.
That first summer we cleaned and rearranged and started to renovate. It didn't seem as though the place had been touched since she passed.