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Calling The Quarters

Before reading this, you should have read Opening the Circle, and be comfortable with Banishing.

Having Cast your Circle, you now have a Sacred Space in which to perform your Working.  You cleansed then defined this space when you cast the Circle earlier.  By doing this, you changed the area from mundane, to Sacred.  Sacred Space allows you to work outside the physical plane.  The area within the Cast Circle is now part of the Spiritual Plane.

The Circle serves two purposes.  It holds any energy that you may raise in ritual so that you can tap into it and direct it.  It also protects you and everyone within it, from whatever forces may be encountered in the Spiritual plane.  The Spiritual plane is an area of the super natural.  Super means above, so this Spiritual plane is above the natural plane.  It is not unnatural, it is super natural.

This plane contains energies and essences that are above the natural, and some can be harmful if you don’t know how to handle them.  Some form of protection is wise to have. This is why we call the Quarters, or Elements to our Circle.

The Elements

The four Elements protect the Sacred Space and anything within it.  Now this may seem dramatic to some, frightening to others, but as a Witch, you will be working with things you may not be able to see, but can feel.  Some of these things may not wish to cooperate, and may lash out at the source of the inconvenience.

The Quarters are called to balance and protect the Circle.  They form a barrier between you, and the forces you will be working with.  An archetype of each of the Elements, know as an Elemental, is called to the four cardinal points around the Circle.  Typically, I start in the East, and call Air, Fire in the South, Water in the West, and Earth in the North.  Different Traditions use different elements for each direction, and some may start calling at a different direction.

These are the traditional elements for each of the Quarters.  The reason for this is because of where Witchcraft comes from.  A lot of our traditions are based in Celtic spirituality. The Celts came from the east, and settled in the British Isles.  If you were in Britton, you would find that in the north is the mountainous region of Scotland - Earth.  To the west is the ocean - Water.  The farther south you go, the warmer it gets - Fire.  That leaves Air in the east.


We start calling in the East because that is the direction from which the sun rises.  The day starts in the east, and because everything we do has sympathetic significance, that is the direction we start in.  Air is the Element of thought and intelligence.  All things mental come from here.  Creativity, invention, and inspiration are attributes of Air.

In the South we find Fire.  Fire transforms.  First it destroys the old, but in doing so, it makes room for new growth.  Fire shows us that you must get rid of the old, so that you will have room for something new.  Anger, passion, love, and transformation are attributed to Fire.

To the West, we find Water.  Water is the mother of us all.  In the womb, it nurtures us.  Water represents all things that flow.  Emotion is the most common thing attributed to Water, but meditation, introspection, and dreams are also the realm of Water.

In the North comes Earth.  Earth is the foundation.  It is what we build upon.  It is also where we send excess energy that we do not wish to keep.  Earth gives us foundation, grounding, wisdom, and prosperity.

 Between them, these four Elements balance the Circle.  Everything needed in the ritual is contained within the Elements.  These elements also have the strength to guard the Circle and protect it from harm.

What are Elementals?

When you call the Quarters, you are calling out to the Elemental planes for each.  You are making contact with an entity called an Elemental, and you are Invoking it to your Circle.  An Invocation is a summoning.  You are commanding the presence of the entity you contact.  It is imperative that you understand that you must maintain control over each of the Elementals you Invoke.

Elementals are not evil, or malevolent, they simply follow their nature.  It is you, who must command them to do anything outside their nature.  It is not in their nature to stand guard.  Elementals prefer to roam around stirring things up.  An uncontrolled Elemental will take advantage of situations it finds. 

A Fire Elemental might cause oil in a frying pan to spatter onto the heating element or flame of a stove, causing a fire.  A Water Elemental might cause a leaky pipe to burst, allowing the water to flow.  An Air Elemental might rearrange loose paperwork on a desk, or spread it around the house.  An Earth Elemental might encourage your house to settle more quickly than it might otherwise.

These are just some of the obvious things an uncontrolled Elemental can do.  I brought them up so that you would understand how important it is that you maintain control of, and properly Banish the Elementals you Invoke into your Circle.  I have seen far too many Witches say, “Go if you must, stay if you will” when Banishing the Quarters.  All they are doing, is giving the elementals permission to do whatever the Elementals wish to do.

Calling the Elements

When first starting out, it’s best to take each Elemental individually, and get familiar with its nature.  This way you can learn what to expect from them.  Get to know each of the Elementals in turn.  The unknown frightens us.  Once you become familiar with the Elementals, you will find their presence comforting and reassuring. 

Starting with East, to Invoke Air, face the East.  As with everything else, words help you to focus, but they are less important than your intent.  You can call an Elemental without words.  Close your eyes, and visualize what you wish to Invoke.  Feel a slight breeze against your skin.  Let your mind move to the plane of Air, and see what it looks like.

To Invoke an Elemental, is easy.  It can be done without even trying.  Controlling the Elemental takes effort.  I cannot tell you what the Plane of Air will look like to you, we each see it differently.  You will need to rely on your instinct to tell you when your mind moves to the correct Elemental plane. 

Once you have achieved this, you will start to see shapes moving around the plane. Single one out, and call it to you.  Now here is the tricky part.  You must know that you can control it, and that it will do what you tell it to.  Some feel squeamish about this, that it’s not right to command the will of another.  For a sentient being, it is not right, but these are not intelligent, thinking beings.  These are raw Elemental forces, and they must be controlled.

Once you have found an Elemental on its own plane, and singled it out, command it to come to your Sacred Space.  Mentally point out the place at the East in your Circle where you want it to stand.  Then tell it to guard that direction.  Once the Elemental recognizes that you have authority over it, it will obey. 

This is why you must know that you can control the Elemental.  If you hesitate, or you are unsure of your ability, the Elemental will slip your control and do what it wants.  Elementals are not tricky or deceptive.  If it seems to be under your control, it is.  Just be aware of the Elemental at all times, and throughout the ritual. 

Once you have positioned the Elemental at your Circle, you can go on to the next.  As I said, it’s best to work with each Elemental individually for a time before trying to work with all of them at once.  This helps you feel comfortable with the Elemental energy.  When you can tell an Elemental by how it feels, you are ready to Invoke them together.

When you call the Quarters, you start in the East, and Invoke Air. Once that Elemental is where you want it to be at your Circle, you move to the South, and Invoke Fire.  Placing Fire where you want it, you then move on to Water in the West, and then finally to Earth in the North.

Having successfully Invoked all four Elementals, your Circle is complete.  When you have all four Elements at your Circle, you will feel a difference.  Again, I can’t really tell you what that difference is, its description is elusive, but you will feel it.  In fact you will feel it any time you are in a fully cast Circle.  You’ll know if you attend a ritual if those running it are truly Invoking, or just going through the motions.

This also means that others who attend your rituals will know if you are truly Invoking the Elements, or just going through the motions.  When the East is called, you will feel a breeze.  If you are outside, the breeze may ruffle the leaves on the trees nearby.  When South is called, there will be a perceptible change in the temperature.  When the West is Invoked, you may feel a pressure around you as if you are floating in a pool, or lake.  When the North is Invoked, there is a stability, a concreteness to the Circle that wasn’t there before.

When you place the Elementals around your Circle, you want them to guard.  Some Witches have gotten into the habit of telling the Elementals to “guard and watch” the ritual.  You want them to guard and protect the ritual.  An easy way to remember this, is that to guard, something must face out from the Circle, to watch it must face into the Circle.  It’s impossible to face two directions at once. 

This is where most Witches lose control of the Elementals.  They give unclear, or contradictory orders to them.  You must be clear in your intent at all times, just as you will be when working magick.  Your intent is the key to being a successful Witch.

The standard words to call the Quarters will be something to the effect of:

All hail the Watchtower of the (East, South, West, North).

The Element of (Air, Fire, Water, Earth)

I do summon and call you forth

To guard and protect this Circle.

(When you feel the Elemental answer the call say)

Be here…Now

(Draw a Pentagram in the air toward the direction you’ve just called, and light the Quarter Candle)

As I said, the words are only to help you focus.  Your intent is what the Elementals will answer to.  Intent requires no words, so they really are not necessary.  However you call the Quarters will be what works best for you. 

If you are going to use words to focus your intent, use the same words for each of the Quarters.  Again, once Invoking becomes second nature to you, you won’t have to think about the words, they will just come naturally.  It’s when all the setup becomes second nature that you can focus on the reason for the ritual, instead of the ritual itself.

The same is true of controlling the Elementals.  It becomes easier with practice, and will get to the point where you can maintain control with very little effort. 

Working with Elementals can be intimidating at first, but as long as you take what you are doing seriously, you will find that it is not that hard.  Working with the Elements is a critical part of worshipping and working with magick.  It is a critical part of this Path.

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