How to Cast A Circle for Dedication and Consecration - Witchcraft
The Path and the Craft
Casting a Circle for Dedication and Consecration
Alrighty then! If you're anything like me, and if you're following this blog, you've been indulging in some witchy acquisition lately. Maybe you've shopped online to collect the tools that appeal to you, or visited you local occult shop. Maybe you've wandered the woods looking for the perfect branch to make into your own wand. I should hope you at least have some candles lying around! So what's next? Well, I've mentioned casting a circle several times. The circle is a witch's sacred space, our version of a church or temple. Inside that circle is where we do most of our rituals and spell-casting. But first things first, and I'm about to get a little deep here so if you need to make some tea or something, now's the time.
The "Circle," Explained
Why do witches cast a circle? Well, we call it a circle, but every witch knows that it's more like a sphere or bubble. The "circle" is simply where the bubble intersects the ground. It stretches above us, it reaches below us, it protects those within from whatever negative energies may be with-out. The circle is completely temporary, but also eternal. Like the shape itself, there is no beginning and no end. When a ritual is complete, we don't destroy our circle, we simply open or release it. Time spent inside the circle is both eternal and non-existent. If you understand the concept behind Hedge Witchery, that hedges are edges and edges hold power, you can understand that the witch's circle is the ultimate edge: It exists somehow between past and present; reality and imagination; this world and the next. In fact, whatever "between" state you can think of, a circle of power fits the bill.
Okay, let's shake off the philosophy and get down to business. The next big step in your witchy adventure is to cast a circle to cleanse and consecrate your tools of the Craft. A witch should keep his or her tools cleansed of negative psychic energy. They should also be dedicated to your use in the service of your Craft and possibly Spirit (in whatever form is right for you). Once that cleansing and dedication is done, your tools should be kept separate from mundane influences. They should have their own special place. In fact, anything you plan to use in witchcraft is best kept separate from the mundane, everyday stuff that everyone and their dog can get their hands (and energies) on. You will also want to cleanse your tools regularly to keep them "clean" in this sense. A special drawer or chest is great. At the least, keep them wrapped in cloth (preferably black, as it negates random energy), and out of sight.
NOTE: There are as many ways to cast a circle as there are witches. If you try one way and something doesn't feel right to you, or doesn't work for your situation, don't worry about making changes!
What You Need to Cast a Circle
1. A clear spot on the ground
It seems obvious, but make sure you have enough space for whoever or whatever needs to be in the circle with you. It doesn't matter if you're in your own room or out in the middle of the woods, make sure you won't be unexpectedly stumbling over something when you're doing your magickal work.
2. Elemental representations and outlining the circle
Some traditions insist on candles of specific colors (which is nice if you're working at night!). You may prefer other things that represent the elements. Whatever you choose to represent Earth, Air, Fire and Water (and Spirit), be sure that the items are not going to need your constant attention. Having to re-light a candle over and over is not conducive to concentrating on your ritual.
For the circle itself, it can exist only in your mind (and therefore on the astral plane), or you can do something to physically outline the space. Again, candles are a convenient choice if it's dark. From the time I cast my first official circle, I have kept a ball of hemp twine measured so that the circle it outlines is nine feet in diameter. Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't. If you're out in nature, you can lightly etch the outline into the ground with an athame or a ritual sword or a simple stick.
3. Got compass?
After very little experience, a witch tends to know instinctively which way north is. For now, figure it out in advance. You don't want to be desperately searching for the North Star on a cloudy night at the last second.
4. Tools, time, and intention
Once you get some practice in, casting a circle takes exactly as long as you want it to. Until then, give yourself at least an hour from "getting ready" to "all done." You most likely won't need that much time, but you don't want to be disturbed once you begin. Know your intention: what the circle is being cast for. For this first time, you will spiritually cleanse and consecrate your basic tools.
5.What you need for this ritual
Sage smudge or purifying incense and an appropriate burner or holder (don't forget matches!). Clean water from the most natural source you can find. A good handful of salt (again, as natural as possible; sea salt is nice, kosher will do, table salt is okay in a pinch but it should not be iodized). A fan or feather to guide air (special feathers are available for sale, or you might get lucky and find the perfect one. I have quite a collection).
About that salt and water . . . obviously you can't have it just spilling around everywhere. An appropriate receptacle is best. Many witches like to have a cauldron. There are little altar-sized ones in most occult shops. (Many witches prefer to use their cauldron to hold fire in the form of incense or burning coals and that's fine, but make sure it's fireproof!) A bowl will do, as long as it isn't plastic. Natural is always best. You can also use a chalice or wine glass. Whatever you choose to hold water in your ritual space, it should be something that you keep only for that purpose. Same goes with your dish or bowl for salt.
You also need your tools. Make sure they are clean in the mundane sense before bringing them into your circle and ritual space. Scrape the goop from the price tag off (a little WD40 works wonders), give them a good washing off or wiping down, whatever seems right for the tool in question.
A note about blades: a lot of people don't realize this quickly enough, but metal of any kind can rust. Even high-quality stainless steel! Where I live, at the edge of a rainforest, entire (totally hilarious) essays have been written on the value of WD40. If your bladed tools are going to be kept out of sight and unused for any length of time, get a good oil or lubricant to wipe them down with to keep them from rusting. My athame's sheath is a greasy little paradise for the blade, and out here it needs to be. Most won't have to go so far, but better safe than sorry.
Okay, so you've got what you need for the circle (a clear spot, an idea of where North is, elemental representations, a circle outline if you choose, the sage/incense, feather, salt, water and appropriate receptacles, your tools). Last but not least:
6. YOU: Preparing yourself.
You are the most important tool in the Craft. The shiny toys and pretty objects are nice to have, especially when you're just beginning to learn, but not a single one of them is strictly necessary. On the few occasions that I've actually taken new witches under my wing and trained them personally, after about six months of practice I have played evil stepmother and taken all their stuff away!
But I have reasons. A witch needs to know that magick can happen any time, anywhere, and that he or she can make it happen without any fancy shmancy wands to wave around. But that's for later. Also later, and I strongly recommend that you actually be practicing the Craft in a hands-on way for at least a year and a day, you may be performing a ritual similar to this to dedicate yourself to the Craft and its service.
Getting grounded, in the good way. For now, you just need to be prepared for one little circle, but you should take this seriously. If you can take a full day to clear your mind and indulge in connecting with nature in some way, do it!
Take a hike or a walk in a park, savor every little gift that nature offers your mind and heart. Flowers, bird song, a pretty leaf. Connect with nature. Stop somewhere quiet and alone and feel for the connection between you as a living, breathing creature and every other aspect of nature. There are other living, breathing things. Animals and plants (which breathe in their own way). Microbes and other microorganisms. Spread your hand out over a rock and feel it. Is it warm from the sun? Cool from the air? Are things living under it? What else has touched this one rock as it has been "nothing but a stupid rock" for eternity? Did a deer pass and nibble grass right next to it? Did a snake or lizard drowse there in the sun? Rain, snow, sleet . . . starlight. That one dumb rock has been a part of this earth and this plane of existence infinitely longer than you or I will ever be. It may be crushed into gravel someday, but it will go on, essentially, as rock. There is tremendous value in this for a witch. That simple, essential understanding that we are connected every single day with aspects of this world that stretch back through the millennia and will go on for millennia without us is crucial to understanding how the Craft truly works.
If you can't take a day, take an hour or as long as you can. Try to connect with nature on some level. If the most you can do is visit the local pet store and stare at some guppies, do that. Or hang out with your cat. At the very least, before the ritual, take a good half-hour to simply sit and be. Imagine that you are in nature, know that nothing around you will harm you because you are part of it, and let yourself simply be. Don't think of what's to come or what has passed. If a sneaky thought gets in there to pester you, just acknowledge it and gently shoo it on its way. (For instance: Oh yeah, I gotta pick up sugar on the way home, thanks for reminding me. Later!) Try to keep your mind only on present sensation, only on this moment in time when you and nature commune.
Food! Many witches fast (don't eat for a day or so) before ritual. It does help with magick at times. For a simple circle like this, I'm not going to instruct you to do that. I do have some general advice. It's best to not eat too soon before ritual, but you don't want to be starving either. A noisy tummy during a sacred time is just uncool. Eat early, stay hydrated, and do what your body needs to do to be ready for time away from modern conveniences.
After a circle, I get the major munchies as most witches do. It's our natural response to having been part of the way out of this reality. Our body's instinct is to ground itself in some way, to reconnect with this plane, and eating something healthy and nourishing (or half a pack of Double-Stuf Oreos and a glass of milk), is one of the most convenient ways of doing that.* There's a reason witches often throw a party after a group ritual: We need to get back in touch with mundane reality but are usually still a little high on Spirit. Party=Good.
Have some munchables on hand for when your done!
Clothing. Many witches prefer to perform rituals skyclad (that's Crafty lingo for "buck naked"). Most of the time, I find this inconvenient. You want to be clean (a nice bath with herbs/oils/salt for cleansing of body and spirit is a great idea), and you want to be comfortable. I recommend natural fabrics, such as cotton, and bare feet if possible. It doesn't matter if you're nude or in fancy robes, you don't want to be fussing with your outfit or freezing your *ss off.
Grounding again, and Centering. Just before you begin your circle-casting, take a few moments to "ground and center." Recall your time from earlier with nature, and the feeling you had. Feel your connection again to the earth and all its wild and wonderful things. Many witches will imagine that their feet are like the roots of a tree, reaching down into the earth for spiritual strength and nourishment.
Now, center. Focus on your body, your living spirit inside yourself. Grounding is about reaching out, centering is about settling in. One of the best visualizations for this is to imagine yourself as a piece of paper or cloth being folded in, so that your concentration is brought to the center of yourself and your lifeforce. Between the base of your ribcage and your belly button is the chakra of strength, the center of your energy. Imagine light and warmth there, ready to be tapped into and sustain you. You are aiming for a sense of stillness inside, a place of balance in your heart and mind. A witch is part of the world, but he is, at all times, himself.
Ready? Let's begin.
ALWAYS READ THROUGH RITUAL INSTRUCTIONS A FEW TIMES BEFORE YOU BEGIN, MAKING SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED AND THE SPACE TO CARRY OUT THE RITUAL.
This is important: Make sure you have EVERYTHING YOU NEED and that it GOES INTO THE CIRCLE WITH YOU. There is a way to open a doorway to leave your circle if there's an emergency, and I'll footnote that ** (see? footnote!), but you really don't want to be opening and closing doorways once your ritual begins. It depletes the energy and your concentration. Get you sh*t together. Putting it all in one basket or tote bag is a good way to make sure you have everything and remember to take it with you.
There are effectively two basic types of circle. One is more for protection, designed to keep bad stuff out. The other is for invocation and/or evocation, used for this type of ritual. We will be welcoming the energies we call upon into our circle, not asking them to stand guard outside.
What I'm about to take you through, step by step, is a basic circle-casting and cleansing ritual. As you've probably figured out, getting a bunch of witches to agree on anything is like herding cats. Every witch has her own opinion and practice. Always be open to advice, but take any advice with a grain of salt and measure it against what you feel is right. Yes, that includes my advice.
Clear the space and cast the circle
Clear the space, physically and energetically. We already talked about making sure you have a clear spot physically. Witches often use a besom (broom) to sweep outward, in a symbolic and energetic gesture to dispel negative energy, to clear the space psychically. A branch with some leaves on it will do. You can even, very consciously and with concentration, "wave" the negativity away. What is important is the intention. You are clearing any psychic energy left behind, making room for your magick.
Another way to cleanse negativity from a ritual area is with sage smudge or purification incense. Light the sage or incense, then blow it out gently so that it's smoking. Move clockwise, and encourage the smoke to fill the space (lightly! you don't want to be choking on smoke) and drift away, carrying negativity out of the sacred space.
Begin in the north and move clockwise.
The witchy word for clockwise is deosil. Pronunciation is often mangled, even by the "experts." I pronounce it JEZ'l, the "z" very soft, almost an "s." (Heck, my besom's name is Jess.)
Outline your circle in whatever way you have chosen as you go. You may want to light a circle of candles, or lay down a piece of natural (i.e. cotton, not nylon) twine or yarn. You may lightly carve the shape into the earth or simply imagine it there. Later, for more protective circles, you may choose to sprinkle ritually blessed water and/or salt as you go. Whatever you choose, for this first time and many times to come, I strongly suggest you actually walk the circle as you cast it.
It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be nine feet of anything (that's my preference that dates back to my teachers and theirs before them and so on). It simply has to be your circle, placed with concentration and intention. When casting a circle I often use the simple spoken charm: "By the powers of Earth, Air, Fire and Water I consecrate this space beyond space, this time beyond time. Only what I allow may enter, everything else must leave." I will repeat it as often as necessary until the circle is cast, sometimes walking the outline three times. (The number 3 is big in the Craft. We do lots of things in threes. Once or thrice, but never twice.) At the end I will say, "As I will it, so mote it be." Then I watch the circle (in my mind, but only sort of), settle in and become. It's impossible to explain, and everyone visualizes it their own way. You'll figure out how it works for you.
While I enjoy ritual and find it valuable, I'm not huge on ceremonial practice, so I don't use a lot of words or fancy rhymes. For a private circle, the charm I just gave you is whispered with all my concentration as I visualize the sphere forming around me, getting stronger, settling into what I think of as the otherspace between this reality and whatever is beyond. And since I'm within the circle, I'm in now the otherspace too, along with whatever I have enclosed there with me.
Evoke the elements
Again, start in the North and move deosil.
North is the direction of the element Earth. For this ritual, this is where your bowl of salt goes. Whatever elemental representation you may be using besides that, this is the spot to put it in. I like to kneel for this. Standing is fine, sitting is okay too. You want your concentration to be on the evocation, not on whether your butt is comfy.
Imagine the earth beneath you (it's there, even if you're in a condo on the 17th floor). Imagine the vastness of it, and the warmth and coolness of it. It's fire at the center, it's ice on the highest peaks. Some witches like to imagine the bones of their ancestors resting within the earth. I like to picture the roots of every grass and tree reaching out in a great web of life. I will say something like, "Element of Earth, come to me. Be with me in this sacred space for the cleansing and blessing of my tools. Enter here and guide me, help me in my magickal work this night. Hail and welcome!"
Of course, you might be casting during the day, but you get the gist. What's important is that in those few words, I have done three things (notice that number again?): I have evoked the element, I have stated my intention, and I have asked for the element's assistance.
Imagine the essence of Earth being with you, settling into the northern "corner" of the circle (maybe after a short tour of the space). Some witches like to continue to visualize trees and rocks and fields and other Earthy things. Some have particular scents that they associate with Earth, such as freshly mown grass or hay or fresh herbs. They may only imagine those scents, or pour a few drops of scented oil, or simple olive oil, onto the ground or a stone or into a special bowl or dish.
Give yourself a few moments to feel the presence of the element with you, around you, settling in. Now is the time to light that candle if it's your elemental representation. When the burning match touches the wick (I really prefer matches to lighters, any kind of tech in a circle is extra random energy), imagine the match lighting the wick as a spark bringing the energy of earth to life within your circle. If your representation is a simple stone, hold it in your hand or touch it and imagine it as the creature of the Earth that it is, carrying all that wonderful earthy stuff with it. Set your representation in its spot. See it as the sacred thing that it is.
Say Thank You! Always thank the elements and anything else you evoke or invoke for showing up. It's just polite, but it also continues the link between you and what you have called upon in a good way. The last thing you want is an element or Spirit feeling like you are just plain ungrateful. A simple, "Thank you for being with me tonight" will do.
Okay? Done with North? Move to the East.
I doubt I have to spell all of this out for you. Your feather or fan goes in the East, to symbolize air. Light your sage smudge or incense in the South. Place your bowl or chalice of water in the West. Each time, take the time. Evoke the element, give it all the concentration and visualization you can muster. Speak your intention (to cleanse and bless your tools). Ask for the element's assistance. Say Thank You! When you're done with the last "corner," return to North briefly to complete the circle. North is your touchstone, the beginning and end of casting. You may want to say, "The Elements are present, this circle is complete," and literally touch your northern representation as a way of making this completion physical.
When all the elements are present and accounted for and settled in nicely, you will (if it is part of your practice and for most it is) invoke Spirit.
When it comes to magick, there is a fine line between evocation and invocation, and witches cross it all the time. For general purposes, Evocation is Easy. Invocation is more In-depth. We evoke elements by imagining them. As a witch grows more confident and powerful, she will likely experience more physical manifestations of these elements. For instance, a gentle breeze may come along when evoking air (at this point, in my opinion, it has become invocation).
Invoking Spirit is a little different from evoking the elements because Spirit is in a particular form, as a deity. It may be god and goddess (from a particular pantheon or just more general ideas). It may be the Judeo-Christian idea of God. It may be angels or other spirits that are experienced by the witch as actual entities. Some people think of it as the Spirit of Love. This isn't just an idea anymore, it isn't a feeling or memory, we're talking about Spirit here, in whatever form that takes for you.
No matter what your idea of Spirit is, invoking it is about the same as evoking the elements. For general workings such as this, I will hold out a welcoming hand as I travel (deosil as always) around the circle and ask for Spirit to be with me. It's the same idea, virtually the same spoken sentiment. I recommend something like "Spirit, come to me. Enter this circle, guide me and protect me as I cleanse and bless the tools of my Craft. Help me in my work, and to appreciate your presence in my life, now and always. Hail and Welcome!"
Note: Invocation, Intention, and Request are all a part of that simple call. Sure, you can use much fancier words. You can ask for a particular deity. Whatever you actually say, make those three things part of your request as you travel around the circle and welcome Spirit in.
At the center of your circle, thank Spirit for being here. This is the moment when your sacred space is complete. You may want to light a candle (purple is often used for Spirit) at the center of the circle, or place a special stone or pentacle there.
Anchoring the circle
Many witches have a sword or athame that is stuck into or rested on the ground to "anchor" the circle. It can also be that stone or pentacle mentioned above. You can even use your bare hand and just set it on the ground to anchor. Some witches ignore this step altogether, but I find it very helpful if I'm going to be using the circle for more than a few minutes. The most beautiful anchoring I have seen was by that witch I mentioned a couple of blogs back, who used an exacto knife for her athame and was trained intensively in ceremonial magick. Gesturing with her athame first left and then right; then pointing it at herself and then out of the circle; then finally straight up before slamming that little exacto knife into the ground (or resting it on a tiled floor), she spoke this incantation: As before, so forever; as within, so without; as above, so below!
Much as I tend to glance askance at seriously ceremonial magick, I loved that little piece of ritual and have used it ever since.
Charge the items you will use for the cleansing and blessing
In the North once again, lift your bowl of salt and concentrate on Earth's presence as you say, "Element of the North, bless this creature of Earth, cleanse it of all negativity, and consecrate it to my use in the service of magick (and Spirit)." Give it a moment. Visualize the salt being lit from within with the energy of magick and Spirit. When it feels done, say thank you to Earth, and set the salt down.***
Move to the East, and . . . oh come on, you've got this! "Element of the ________, bless this creature of ________, cleanse it of all negativity, and consecrate it to my use in the service of magick and Spirit." Don't forget to visualize!
(Psst! Visualizing, the power of your own mind, is when the magick actually "happens." As you grow more confident with practice, you will do this automatically and experience the results without trying so hard, but for now . . . concentrate!)
Cleansing, Blessing, and Consecrating your Tools
You can take each of your Crafty tools around the circle individually, or take them in a group this time since they are part of your starter kit, so to speak.
In the North, sprinkle the item with blessed salt or if your salt dish is big enough, give it a good roll in that. Ask North/Earth to cleanse the item, banishing all negativity. Ask the element to bless the item, imbuing it with magick. Ask for the element's help in dedicating the item to you, to be used in your Craft, and in the service of Magick (and Spirit, if you are okay with that).
Move on to East. Move Air over the tool with the feather or fan, or blow gently over it. Again, ask the element to assist you with:
- - cleansing negativity;
- - blessing the item (to charge or imbue it with magickal energy);
- - dedicating the item to you and your Craft.
Use the smoke in South the same way, basically bathing the item in smoke. In the west, you can give your tools a good dip or sprinkle water on them.
At the center of the circle, present the items in whatever way feels right to you (some witches raise them up, some spread them out on the ground), ask Spirit to cleanse, bless, and dedicate the items.
Be sure to visualize! Feel for the energy of each of the elements and Spirit as they enter the items to do as you ask.
Take your time, visualize, and make sure to say Thank You!
By the time you're done with all this, you will probably start to feel a little drained. As I have said, magick can be hard work. It takes a lot of personal energy, much more than imagining a few pretty images and walking around a circle can really account for. If you're doing this right, proceeding at all times with concentration and intention, you are either going to end up wiped out . . . or totally jazzed. Or wiped out and then totally jazzed, or maybe the other way around, or a weird combo platter. Whenever you need a little extra energy, take a moment to ground and center, drawing on the earth and that strength at your own core. It's okay to rest for a moment. In fact, it's better to take a short break within the circle every now and then to rest and refocus, than to start just going through the motions because you're tapped out.
Wrapping Things Up and Closing Them Down
Done with all your cleansing and consecrating, wrap your tools safely in a cloth or place them in your basket or bag if you are leaving the space. This is to protect them from outside energies when the circle is released and you take them out into the mundane world.
When I'm done with the actual work inside a circle, I often will just sit or lie on my back for a while and simply be. It's partly resting, partly recharging. It's taking a moment to commune with the elements and Spirit. (I have been known to doze off after a heavy-duty working. You might want to avoid that!)
When you're done, you need to thank and release Spirit, the elements, and the circle itself. I do everything in reverse order except for the anchor, and move widdershins, or counter-clockwise, during a release.
At the center: "Thank you, Spirit, for being here and helping me with my work. Go if you must, stay if you will, you are welcome in my life now and always."
Take the moment to visualize Spirit departing. Feel your gratitude, don't just speak it or think it. Acknowledge that Spirit is part of your life, in whatever form that takes for you.
Do the same with each element, in reverse order, moving around the circle widdershins.
Now you want to open or release the circle itself. If you have candles or twine, move widdershins around the circle and blow them out or pick the twine up. At the very least, walk around the inside of circle with your hand out, imagining the leftover energy that you put into casting the circle (if there is any!) returning to you. Make sure you do all of this with concentration and intention. (This is where having taken a few minutes to rest after the work comes in handy.)
With the physical marks of the circle removed, I will usually take another thoughtful circuit. In my mind, this makes three, which is important to me and feels like completion. On a practical note, I am also taking a good look around to see if there's anything I've missed.
Back at the center, at your anchor, take a last moment to prepare yourself. Releasing a circle, for some, can be a little harsh. All the psychic energy of the outside world can come rushing in and you suddenly remember that sugar you need to pick up on the way home, or that you really should walk the dog. So savor that last moment in the otherspace, then either lift your anchor if you're using one and/or gesture counterclockwise around the circle in a good long sweep, imagining that you are drawing it into your hand and releasing it like a bird up into the air as you say, "This circle is open, but never broken."
When several witches have gathered together to do a ritual, they often use this parting that I will now say to you: "Merry we meet, merry we part, and merry may we meet again!"
Make sure you do any practical, physical clean-up you should. If you spilled salt all over, go get the dustbuster. If you're out in the woods, please be sure to clean up or bury any spilled wax or oils or anything else that wild animals might nibble on and get sick from. Always leave your ritual area as nice as, or nicer than, you found it.
Now go eat something!
Blessings now and always,
* Try to eat right. A lot of witches find that caring for themselves in a mindful way is very beneficial to their magick. They eat healthy, organic foods; and often abstain from any kind of drugs or alcohol, especially before ritual. Many, many witches and Pagans are vegetarian or vegan. I'm neither, and I'm a junk food junkie, but I'm also blessed with the type of genetics that keep me skinny no matter what I eat. That's not the point. This is a "do as I say, not as I do" moment: take care of yourself. Try to eat mindfully, to do all things in ways that are good for you and this planet we share, our true Mother, the Earth.
** Emergency doorways. Look, if the place catches fire, SCRAM. Don't even worry about it. If you have to leave for some reason that was totally unforeseeable (or you spaced the matches), once the circle is cast there is a way out. It's referred to as "cutting a door" and is usually performed with an athame, but your hand will do. Visualizing the circle (sphere!) around you, slide your hand through near the ground and move it up, over and down to "cut" a doorway just big enough for you. Step through, smooth it over behind you. Your psychic energy and concentration are what hold the circle part-way in this reality, so move quickly and keep the circle in mind at all times. When you come back, cut the doorway again, step though, smooth it over. I have developed a little trick, after decades of being a witch, of making one vertical slice upward, then drawing an edge back as if it is a curtain. I have seen other witches develop similar routines. In large group rituals there is sometimes a branch or sword that is moved out of the way and replaced to symbolize this doorway being opened and closed. The important thing is attention to what you are doing, and concentration on the circle remaining in place as you go.
*** Uh, what's with that "creature" thing? Referring to an inanimate object as a "creature" of earth, air, etc., goes back to antiquity. It seems to be a short form of saying "this thing created of earth." (Or air or whatever.) If you want to just say that instead of "creature," I won't object. I'm giving you the most commonly used terms from my own experience. Do what works for you.