Preparing and Casting the Circle
Though it sounds simple, preparing the circle for a ritual can be a long, laborious process with little thanks given by the people that come to the circle. The witch in charge of setting up the space for a circle must decide what they think is necessary and make adjustments on the fly for missing things. They must listen to the discussion on what will be done at that circle and find what is needed, often digging up scraps from here and there to get everything. The leaders of the circle in particular, will generally bring any special items that will be required, but the things that are more common fall to whomever is doing the ritual preparation.
If a witch works as a solitary, then she is responsible for everything. This, of course, is made simpler by the fact that she disturbs no one if she forgets something and has to go get it. Preparation for circle includes such things as vacuuming the carpet if the floor is carpeted and sweeping it if it is not, setting up the altar and cleaning out any items that were not cleaned out after the last circle, setting up the charcoal for the incense and lighting it just before circle so that it is hot when needed. She needs to check that there is a pitcher of juice or wine available if a feast is being done, that there is good ventilation and sufficient heat in the room, and that everyone is ready to go before the circle starts.
There should be enough time before a ritual starts for people to sit together in silence to attune to one another, allowing the mundane world to slip away and adjust to a sacred way of thinking. Shirking on this is shirking on the preparation of a ritual, as it is very important that a group work together as a coherent whole.
Once the preparations and meditations are done, it is time to cast the circle. This can be done in many different ways. Several are presented below to give the student a choice and different ways to do this. The actual techniques do not matter so much as the intent and desire. It is a way to trigger the mind into working in a different manner than it is accustomed to working. As a student becomes more practiced and able to cast stronger and better circles, they will notice the way their minds shift focus from mundane to the sacred as they create their space. They will also begin to experiment with different ways of casting a circle. When this happens, they have learned a critical step to becoming a witch.