The Circle

"He drew a circle that shut me out -- Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!" Edwin Markham, 1852-1940

The performers (who must be at least four in number) stand in a circle and directly underneath a public surveillance camera. Facing outwards with their backs to each other, the performers point up at the camera for a few seconds and then pass round the circle (in a clockwise fashion) the boards that identify who they are and the name of the play they are performing.

Then the performers turn and face each other. One performer produces a board that says "BLESSED BE, THOU SPIRITS OF WATER, EARTH AND ART," and then passes it round the circle in a clockwise direction. Once the board has come full circle, the performer who first passed it to the right holds up to the camera a bottle of water and a container of sea salt. This performer then adds three portions of salt to the water, stirs or swirls the mixture in a counter-clockwise direction, and then charges it with his or her power(s). Once charged, the mixture is sent round the circle in a clockwise direction, so that each performer is able to touch the mixture and charge it with their respective powers. Once it has come full circle, the mixture is used to purify (or "cast") the circle in which the performers are standing. Spilling some on the ground each time, the performer who performs this rite uses the salt-and-water mixture to indicate the East, the South, the West and the North.

The performers then pass around in a counter-clockwise direction a board that says, "SPIRITS OF EVIL, UNFRIENDLY BEINGS, BEGONE! LEAVE THIS PLACE, LEAVE THIS CIRCLE, SO THAT FREE PEOPLE MAY ENTER." Once this board has been handed around three times, it is put down; then the performers themselves dance round the circle in a counter-clockwise direction, all the while chanting "We banish you! We banish you! We banish you!"

[Written 20 December 2001 for the Surveillance Camera Players by Art Toad. Based upon Chapter 4 ("Creating Sacred Space") of Starhawk's The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, which was published by Harper & Row in 1979.]

Nuremberg, Germany, 23 May 2002: Bill mixes up the magic potion.

Barcelona, Spain, 7 October 2002: Standing in a circle, arms raised.

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