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ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC  May 2012

ACADEMIC-STUDY-MAGIC May 2012

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Subject:

Is the direction of circumambulation affected by hemisphere?

From:

D G Mattichak jr <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Society for The Academic Study of Magic <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 9 May 2012 05:25:24 +0100

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text/plain

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Hi All;

I am part of a Facebook group called Witches of Melbourne (http://www.facebook.com/groups/witchesofmelbourne/) which has been a forum for discussing Witchcraft, Paganism and magick and recently a conversation came up that concerned the direction of circumambulation while casting a circle and its connection to the path of the sun through the sky in the Southern Hemisphere. In Australia it is common for witches to swap the elements that are attributed to the southern and northern quarters to reflect the sun's northern declination in the Southern Hemisphere and so they reverse the circumambulation that they make when they cast a circle.. The debate that developed brought up the question of which direction would be correct to circumambulate when casting a circle in the tropics where the declination of the sun doesn't follow the same regular path. One member explained it well:

"The issue with the 'apparent direction' of the Sun about the horizon becomes more prominent the further north of the Tropic of Capricorn you go. By the time the Equator is reached, the Sun spends half the time clockwise and half anticlockwise. Presumably one would need to cast the circle wither this way or that depending on the time of day and year, even though not much is really changing around you. This continues on into the northern hemisphere's tropical zone until you reach the Tropic of Cancer. There aren't a whole lot of Western European populations of the sort likley to be into Wicca, or neopaganism living in the northern tropics, but there may be an exception in Hawaii (just a couple of hundred kilometers south of the Tropic of Cancer), with its population of white Americans. Perhaps there are neopagans operating there. If so, they face the same issue our hypothetical practitioner just north of Rockhampton faces if they choose to celebrate the Summer Solstice at midday (except they'll have to switch from clockwise to counter-clockwise). If there are any neopagan groups there, perhaps we can ask them."

So I am putting the question to the list here to see what they think (and because I thought that it might also interest you). Should invoking circumambulation follow the sun or should it follow the traditional clockwise direction? What opinions have you got about swapping the elements attributed to the north and the south for the Southern Hemisphere?

David Mattichak

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