• Kate

Working with the Elements

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

When we are conducting ritual, ceremony, or working with energy it is always important to stay safe. We do this by calling in supportive and protective guardians to hold space for us, ensuring that only those pertaining to our highest good come through and have access to the work we are doing.

The practice of opening a safe, held, protected space is called "opening a circle" and we do this by calling in the 5 directions: 4 elemental and the one within ourselves.

We can go about this in a few different ways and it isn't so much about the process but more the intention so please don't be afraid that you won't get it right. Believe the circle is open and set and it will be.

Below are 2 methods to open an energetic circle. The first is a very simple process and the other is more elaborate that incorporates ritual tools including a closing practice for each.

Like with everything, work intuitively and do what feels right for your circumstances.

Simple Circle Opening

If you can be barefoot for this it would be preferable.

  • Stand in your sacred space, either indoors or outside. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath, allowing yourself to come to stillness and centre.

  • Draw up energy from the Earth, through your feet and feel it fill your body.

  • Draw down energy from the Sky through your crown | top of your head and feel it filling your body and merging with the Earth energy.

  • When you are connected to both, extend your index finger from dominant arm out from your body pointing down towards the ground.

  • Moving in an anticlockwise direction visualise yourself drawing an energetic circle on the ground around you and as you work chant an intention for your circle.

You may wish to use something like, "I cast this circle for protection, love, and compassion for my highest good and the highest good of all. I connect to my higher self, the elements, guides and guardians in love and light to hold, protect, and guide me as I work. And so it is."

  • Trace this energetic circle 3 times and repeat your intention thrice as you move.

  • When you are done spend a few moments allowing the energy to grow and strengthen.

  • If your circle is small you can energetically push it out to make it larger.

  • When ready, invite your guides, guardians and any other beings into the circle such as Archangels or Goddesses that you wish to work with. Remember that once your circle is cast, an energy cannot enter into it unless invited.

Well done! You have cast your first circle.

Simple Circle Closing

When you are finished working stand in the middle of your circle and say:

"Thank you guides, guardians, Elementals, (and anyone else you invited in) for working in this circle with me tonight. I am grateful for your guidance and your support. You are always welcome here. I close this circle and ask the energy to return to the Earth and Sky with love and light for the highest good of all. And so it is."

Open Circle with Ritual tools

  • A compass (an app on your phone will do)

  • A white candle that is able to be held (a tea light on a dish for example)

  • Matches

  • Sage, palo santo, essential oil, or a clearing spray to cleanse

  • A feather

  • A small dish of rock salt | earth, or a pine cone

  • A butter knife or athame, alternatively a piece of lava stone if you have it

  • A shell or cup of water

  • A tea light candle in a votif glass or on a small plate

** Make sure to have all items within reach before commencing **


Find a quiet uninterrupted space large enough for you to sit and place objects around you.


Using the compass find and/or mark each of the 4 directional points


Stand in the centre of the space so you are able to place the items around you. Turn and face each direction as you open your circle.


Place the feather and the knife at the eastern point and say:

“I open and call on the Guardians of the East Gate. I ask for clarity of thought and inspiration.”


Place the tea light candle at the northern point and say:

“I open and call on the Guardians of the North Gate. I ask for stamina to achieve my goals.”

Light the candle.


Place the shell or cup of water at the western point and say:

“I open and call on the Guardians of the West Gate. I ask for wisdom and compassion.”


Place the dish of salt or earth or the pine cone at the southern point and say:

“I open and call on the Guardians of the South Gate. I ask for good health and grounding.”

Great Spirit:

Using the candle in the holder/dish, stand in the centre and say: “I open and call in the Guardians of Great Spirit. I ask for intuitive guidance, support, love, and safety as I conduct my sacred work.”

Light the candle and take a moment to feel connected.

Step out of your circle and place the lit candle where you stood.

Recite: “As above, so below; As within, so without; As the Universe, so the Soul; And So It Is.”

Congratulations—you have cast a circle.

Close Circle with Ritual Tools

When you have completed your work within the circle it is important to pay respect to the guardians that held space and protected you along with the unseen friends and energy and that were surrounding you. When we cast a circle we are also calling in the natural elements, when we close the circle it is also a chance to thank Mother Earth for her support and show her our respect.

Closing circle moves in the opposite direction to how it is opened. We ended with Great Spirit and so that is where we begin.

Just as when you open, as you close you turn to face each gate and thank the guardians and welcome them back at any time. We also collect the natural items we used and place them as an offering to Mother Earth.


Great Spirit:

Stand facing the centre and say: "Thank you Great Spirit for providing me access to my higher self and intuition . I now close this gate; you are always welcome here."

Blow out the candle in the centre.


Stand facing the South gate and say: "Thank you Guardian of Earth for holding this space and keeping me grounded. I now close this gate; you are always welcome here."

Remove the ritual item and place it to the side.


Stand facing the West gate and say: "Thank you Guardian of Water for holding this space and helping me with wisdom and compassion. I now close this gate; you are always welcome here."

Remove the ritual item and place it to the side.


Stand facing the North gate and say: "Thank you Guardian of Fire for holding this space and giving me stamina and forward momentum . I now close this gate; you are always welcome here."

Blow out the candle and remove the ritual item and place it to the side.


Stand facing the East gate and say: "Thank you Guardian of Earth for holding this space and clarity of thought and inspiration. I now close this gate; you are always welcome here."

Remove the ritual item and place it to the side.

Spend a few moments feeling the energy dissipate and allowing yourself to centre. Gather up the natural elements used and place them as an offering to Mother Earth (either buried, on an outdoor altar or in a pot plant). Collect your ritual tools and place them on your altar with the intention that they be blessed and cleansed for their next use.

And Finally...

As you can see, working with the elements and opening a safe energetic circle can be as simple or as complicated as you desire. There is no specific tool that is required other than you and your intention. It is always nice to have specialised tools but is not a necessity and does not prohibit you from this work if you've not acquired them.

The key is to always remain safe. By using clauses and phrases as "for my highest good" and "in love and light" we are ensuring that only those beings and energies with pure intentions are allowed in.

When we open and close circle properly we are protecting ourselves and removing the possibility and fear that something unpleasant will attach itself to us and our work which I know can be a concern and stumbling block for some starting out.

I am an advocate of intuitive practice and developing your own ways (and that often we have this knowledge within us, just long forgotten) so I encourage you to do what feels right for you. Hopefully I've been able to provide you with some inspiration and guidance on the 2 different methods and given you some confidence to try this for yourself.

#elements #ritual #ceremony


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