The use of incantations is commonplace in the practice of Wicca and witchcraft. Though it is not a necessary tool within the Circle, chanting does have certain benefits which can facilitate the Magickal process. These incantations can be original creations by the practitioner, or one can stick to traditional verses. This decision is completely an individual one depending upon the devotee’s level of comfort.
Both within and outside of the Circle, chanting is defined as the employment of different tones, words, and rhymes for the purpose of memorization or maintaining focus. In daily life, incantations are utilized more often than many of us might think. For example, a cheer repeated by fans at a sporting event can be considered an incantation, as can a school, or company motto verbalized in unison communally or protesters on the picket. The intentions of these incantations vary, though for the most part it is a means for the collective to demonstrate their support or opposition to a given idea, individual, or the like.
In the Circle, the purpose of chanting is not so different. It is, like unstructured recitation, meant to promote focus as well as ensure that those within the Circle are on the same page and in unison. However, unlike other forms of incantation, mantras used within the Circle are also exercised to induce an altered state of consciousness.
An individual enters the Circle conscious. By continuously repeating the same words over and over, the conscious mind becomes sedated and allows the subconscious to surface. As the words of the incantation become embedded in the individual’s mind, they no longer need to concentrate on conscious thinking as this comes naturally. At this point in the chanting (though the time it takes may differ significantly from one individual to another), the subconscious is fully active. Wiccans and Occultists sometimes refer to this singular point as ‘crossing the guardian’ or ‘passing.’
If an individual in the Circle has passed this point and crossed the guardian, then they have achieved the first Magickal goal in the Circle. They have left their body and entered a wholly new realm – not one of materials and objects, but one of serenity and harmony. This is a large enough step to cover for one day, but after achieving this state the practitioner is able to progress and experiment with different methods. A select group of individuals are able to transcend the realms without the use of incantations, though most prefer the consistency and fruits of using mantras in the Circle.