We are taught that Casting a Circle is a basic step in the foundation of magic. I call bullshit on all rules. Do what your heart tells you to do. Here are some examples set by other amazing humans. It is my intention that the sheer variety of methods in this post inspires confidence in whatever seems best to you including deciding if the space even needs to be claimed by you or not.
Firstly, sacred spaces are not always circular, and various structures hold differing symbolism which can be applied to any ritual or spell. As for magic being used in a ritualistic format in the first place, it is by no means a necessity. In fact some spells are best performed in the presence of everyday atmospheres.
Much magic can occur completely naturally; magic is mimicking or imitating an action with the expectation that like produces like, or as a contagious substance with which the treatment of an object holding the contagious essence of the subject results in like treatment of the subject. The two clearly coalesce. As a scorned lover would throw away trinkets from one who has left them, and with those trinkets (hopefully) their feelings, so sympathetic and contagious magics are at work in our everyday lives.
You should NOT feel the need to abide by any particular methods of circle-casting or space claiming.
This is my personal method. I marinate penny sized white stones – basic chalky unpolished landscape stones from your local home improvement store – in a jar with Garlic Essential oil. It’s important to use a tightly sealed glass jar, these babies are POTENT and you don’t want them to stink up the room even when the jar is closed. I place them on boundary lines, corners of spaces – they are highly personally effective and can be collected an refreshed occasionally by placing them back in the jar for a while.
I’ve banished actual humans using this method – intending to block a specific person from crossing a boundary. From that day forward, this person would walk right up to the line but NEVER crossed it, much to the amazement of friends.
I’ve also used this method to respond to stressed behavior by my fur baby. He was scratching, anxious and constantly looking out the window and growling. I went outside with him and let him show me where he was growling. I placed fresh garlic stones in all corners to lay a boundary around the house, including throwing 3 stones into the woods off the back deck. He immediately calmed down and went inside to sleep. It definitely set a boundary well from something he was sensing that I wasn’t. Believe your animals; they are amazingly intuitive.
Most of my plants have a single garlic stone in their pot, on top of the soil. This claims their soil as “safe” and “sacred” AND gives them boundary energy to emanate into the room in which they reside, in their own amazing plant way.
Laying a knife
I also tend to place knives in areas to declare that area is energetically protected with offensive magic. My small red cedar tree friend, Ronan, has my athame in his possession, laying next to him on his planter. I have a machete on a ledge in my most magic room, and a small pocket knife sits on the sideboard of my bed.
Beating the bounds
is a way of raising energy and setting your territorial boundaries. One would take a sacred bough, branch, broom, cane, thyrsos, rattle, or scourge and walk the boundary of their sacred space, making a point of beating the space with their tools in the process. A less common and more raw method would be urinating the boundary, quite literally marking your territory.
Saining is a Scots word for blessing, protecting or consecrating and is an umbrella term for, essentially, liquid blessings, flung upon the participants with some sacred tool (again a bough, branch, wand or a staff) similar to how a common priest would bless a house with water.
Calling on guardians and guides
this goes by different names depending on the method, one Cornish method is swinging a bull-roar around a few times which makes a loud droning sound. This noise echoes across hills and valleys far off. Other methods, such as the blowing of bone-horns or the playing of reed pipes; I personally like to use tuning forks, or a small ceremonial bell I keep nearby as I telepathically declare thanks, welcome and intention.
Rough Music Making
Is actually used to chase unwanted or harmful things away from the space (or the village on a larger scale) by making a huge ruckus with whatever instruments are available, even one’s own voice.
are invitations to specific entities eating a meal at a table which has set on it a place for an “empty” chair, to be filled by the entity.
Bawming the Thorn
A kind way of setting space is bawming the area around it, otherwise stated as decorating or dressing the surrounding undergrowth or branches. Hanging flowers, ribbons and bells is a sweet way of creating the ambiance of a lively or gentile ritual.
Treading The Mill
is a term with a depth, but just on the surface it is often practiced as a space-claiming, energy raising dance.
is very common and just involves the burning of various plants or other materials to permeate the air with the intended energetic senses, generally for cleansing and protective purposes.