On Circumambulance & Magick Circles

On Circambulance & Magick Circles

Reading through Demons and Spirits of the Land: Ancestral Lore & Practices by Claude Lecouteux, I came across the following passages:

From what we have seen, it is clear that taking possession of a piece of land is often included in a circumambulation, which is first and foremost a circumscription. In other words, this means that the notion of the circle, whether a perfect one or not, is of the highest importance.

The rites of circumambulation need to be read on two levels. They involve the protection of the circumscribed space against external forces- the land spirits whose ownership of the land predates that of the human settler- and also confirm the unique sacredness of a piece of land.

This sacredness can be based on the presence of a god or, as it was for the Christians, the presence of a saint or holy relic. It can also be based on the presence of a tamed spirit or that of a dead individual - often the first colonist, who has returned as a guardian spirit.

The circumambulation is one of the oldest forms of establishing ownership of a piece of land and has a value equivalent to that of a legal writ. We keep in mind, however, that in this older period law and religion were inseparable.

I am not overly familiar with the history of magical grimoire traditions and western ceremonial magick. I was wondering if perhaps this ancient practice / mindset would have influenced the casting of a magick circle? Any insights would be appreciated :slight_smile:


Very interesting. Making a Circle in ritual is largely part of the Solomonic tradition, as far as I have seen. I imagine the associations of Circles and other Geometric shapes with protection and such effects come from a Greek Philosophical background. But, I’m not too well read on that.

But, the Circle is largely used for protection in the Solomonic-style traditions, as far as I’ve seen. In Western traditional Astrological Magick, there is no usage of a Circle or other such ritual implements around the magician, as we are calling on very beneficent spirits, so there is no need for protective measures. I have never seen something like a Ritual Circle around the magician or other shapes like that used in a traditional astrological grimoire.

There are no banishing rites mentioned either or anything of that sort, but I believe the focus on banishing is largely from the Golden Dawn rather than any pre-modern tradition to begin with.

Names of God are also not mentioned or used much as far as I can see, and when they are, this tends to not be for protection.

So, usage of things such as the Circle around the magician seem to be mostly in the Solomonic tradition when dealing with evil or dangerous spirits. There is a usage of the shape of the Circle in the astrological magick tradition but this is not around the magician nor is it for protection.


Thank you @Dankquanicus

The circle has made its way into traditional and Alexandrian witchcraft, but I believe that is through the influence of Crowley and ceremonial magick.

I wasn’t aware that there were full-on astrological grimoires, as opposed to texts; would you mind naming some? Does Agrippa fall under this?


You mean mentioning some?

But yes, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy would fall under this. There is also Marsilio Ficino’s Three Books on Life. One important Medieval Source is ‘De Imaginibus’ by the great Harranian Sabian astrological magician Thabit Ibn Qurra. That is one source used by Agrippa. I am unware of the Arabic title, however. An interesting 17th Century text is John Heydon’s Theomagia, which is both an Astrological and Geomantic Grimoire as well as a guide to Geomancy (and it is rather extensive work, being more than 900 pages). Theomagia is generally less significant, however.
The Book of the Treasures of Alexander is another interesting Medieval Source. There are many more that I either have not read or can’t recall currently.

The greatest and most important grimoire on astrological magick is one I won’t mention here (sorry), partially at the request of the author, in fear that it would be abused (although, since you’d need the knowledge to be able to use it to begin with, this is unlikely). It is a source used extensively by Agrippa, as well as Marsilio Ficino, and was found among in manuscript form among the great Astrologers of the pre-modern era. If you are meant to find it, you will find it.

(This is directed generally).


Yes, apologies for the typo :see_no_evil:

Thank you for the extensive reply! Is the Arabic text perhaps the Picatrix?


I made mistakes. I used to use circles, but don’t anymore. I still banish before working and that gets rid of problems. Cleans your work space and gets your head into gear.
I don’t dismiss spiritual entities either. I’m Mr. Nice Guy.




Ref: Geosophia (Jake Stratton-Kent)



Ref: Geosophia (Jake Stratton-Kent)


Still offerings that are recommended today.


I typically set my altar facing North as I do Zelator and Neophyte related work, in the center of the room. Temple purification takes place after self purification, in which case water and smoke are sprayed in each direction with phrases said.

I then walk clockwise as I did with Temple Purification, until I am dizzy and south of my altar and kneel and breathe, and then go on with the ritual at hand.

Reverse circumambulation counterclockwise with temple purification and thrice circled each way.

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Id like to add something to the discussion, slightly off topic but not really. One of the most important parts of the solomonic circle is actually the magician himself.

When the magician stands in the center of the circle he becomes the dot in the center of the circle. He actually symbolizes the sun while standing in his circle. He symbolizes being the center of his universe and identifies with his own divinity for the authority to work solomonic Magick with the spirits.


Question on the magic circle … if one cannot visualize, but has rope, paper, colored pens/markers, duct tape, and a container of sea salt, what variations not he them of magic circles should be constructed for maximum protection? Solomoni is one thing, but there were pagans who used salt or rope as a circle. Or, those who can visualize, cut themselves a circle. The LBRP done is a circle.