If there isn’t a magickal Circle meeting regularly in your area, and you’d like to start one, here are some tips: To get together a starting group, simply contact a bunch of magickal friends and invite them to a funding meeting party. Then expand your group slowly, meeting by meeting, by letting members invite friends, one at a time. Later on, if you feel you want to open your group to strangers, you can put notices up on bulletin boards at metaphysical shops, bookstores, co-ops, health food stores, etc. You can pass this book around to everyone for ideas.
A place to meet regularly could be members’ homes until your group outgrows it—as long as you have reasonable privacy and freedom. Rotate to avoid burnout and give everyone a chance to host a Circle. Our old St. Louis Nest in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s met every Friday night for Star Trek, and expanded to hold dinners, classes, work parties and discussion groups on other nights. Try and hold some Circles outdoors—especially at Full Moons if the weather is nice. When you grow big enough to require more space, try renting a meeting room at your local Oddfellows Lodge.
Work out your own programs for these meetings, whether singing and playing music, simple rituals, disseminating information, playing sensitivity games, or whatever the season or times of your lives suggest. Plan special bonding group activities, such as dinners, movies, parties, campouts, excursions, presentations, study groups, book discussions, special guests, and bardics (in which everyone brings music, poetry, stories, jokes, etc. to share in turn around the circle).
Don’t forget to pass around sign-up sheet for new people. Prepare a calendar of events. Arrange to contact absent members by phone or e-mail.
A Meeting Model
Here is a model for an introductory meeting of a magickal group, based on the Church of All Worlds Tradition:
People have been told in advance what to expect, and have been asked to bring munchies and drinks. After everyone arrives, they are assembled into a circle around a small altar, upon which are placed: Images of deities, a potted plant, a round mirror, a beautiful feather (on the East side), a candle (South), a chambered nautilus or other spiral seashell (West), and a crystal or fossil (North). There is also a large chalice of water and a bowl of crackers, cookies, bread, or fruit. In the course of the evening, some of these objects may be passed around the Circle, and people encouraged to say whatever comes to mind as they receive each.
After a few introductory remarks by the host/ess or leader on the symbolic significance of water-sharing (see page ??), the chalice is passed around deosil with ritual phrases such as “May you never thirst,” “Water shared is life shared,” and “Thou art God (or Goddess).” As the chalice passes from each person to the next, hands are joined. When it returns to the leader, the final drops are emptied into the potted plant.
This simple ritual can then be followed by many other forms of sharing For an introductory gathering, pass the shell, and as it comes to each person they tell the tale of how they came to be here. At other times the candle, crystal, feather, or other objects selected for their associations may be used, as people free-associate the thoughts that come to mind upon holding these objects,. Sharings may also be of books, thoughts, etc.
If there are healings or other Workings to be done, this is the time for them. People in need of healing may come into the center for a “laying-on-of hands.” You might have group foot or back rubs, or foot-washing. Or people may write down wishes on little pieces of paper which will be collected into a small cauldron and burned (use flash paper for this to get a really nifty effect!). Many possibilities may be inserted here.
After such working, the chalice may be refilled with wine, mead, fruit juice, or more water, and passed around again, along with the “snackraments.” Suitable phrases are such as “May you never hunger,” or “May you always have sufficiency.” Eating together stimulates conversation and camaraderie. Business is discussed, plans are made for the next meeting, donations are collected, etc. Finally, the mirror is passed around, and each person looks into it, saying, “Thou art God (or Goddess)” into their reflection. When it is time for the first people to leave, the circle is opened with a group hug. Ritual words of parting are said, and farewells are made.
Tailor your rituals to suit your own needs, bearing in mind that it is always the intent rather than the word which really counts. Put in your own ideas, and honor Spirit, the deities, etc. as you feel deep within your heart that they should be honored. There is no wrong way, as long as it feels right.
Wind in the Pipes
Welcome to a moon-filled night of strange and wondrous tales,
Of ancient kings and mystic rings and ships with painted sails.
Of how I came to be here and where I wish to go,
And all my deepest secrets which you will come to know.
Settle back and dream awhile and come along with me;
We will walk the ancient forest and sail the deep blue sea.
Oh lend your hearts for where I lead there’s much we have to see,
From what we are this moment to what we hope to be!