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A circle is a symbol of oneness, completion, perfection, the cosmos, eternity, and the sun. A feminine symbol, the circle appears in sacred art and architecture and plays an important role in various religious and magical Rituals. According to Pascal, God is a circle, in which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.

A magic circle demarcates a holy space which protects one from negative forces on the outside and facilitates communion with spirits and deities. Within the circle, one may ritually achieve transcendent levels of consciousness. Magic circles are constructed or drawn according to the instruction provided in magical texts and are purified and consecrated. If temporary, they are ritually dissembled. If permanent, their sacred power is periodically ritually renewed. To step outside the circle during a ritual, or even to cross the boundary with an arm or leg, is to invite magical disaster. (See Aleister Crowley)

In folk magic, circles drawn around the beds of the sick and of new mothers protect them against Demons.

In Wicca, all worship and magical rites are conducted within a circle, which provides a sacred and purified space and acts as a gateway to the gods. The circle symbolizes wholeness, the creation of the cosmos, the womb of Mother Earth, and the Wheel of Rebirth, which is the continuing cycle of the seasons in birth-death-rebirth.


  • Levi, Eliphas. The History of Magic. 1860. Reprint, York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 2001.


The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy Written byRosemary Ellen Guiley Copyright © 2006 by Visionary Living, Inc.

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