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How to Call the Corners & Cast a Circle for a Wiccan Wedding Ceremony

Published Wednesday, Aug. 9th, 2023

A woman holds up her hands while facing the rising sun, to call the corners and cast a magic circle for a Pagan wedding ritual. She wears a wreath of flowers in her hair and a flower-print dress. She is standing in a small field or opening in the forest, full of flowers, with trees along the horizon.

Cast a circle of protection and blessings around your Wiccan wedding altar with quarter calls



Many Wiccans, witches, and other practitioners of magick cast a sacred circle around ceremonial spaces before officiating a marriage rite or a handfasting ritual. 


This is often done by ‘calling the corners’ – a practice that involves chanting, reciting lines of verse (spellwork), lighting candles or incense, and placing symbolic objects in a circle around the wedding altar.


Related: Pagan Wedding Altars : An Illustrated Look at a Year and a Day Altar


This simple but powerful practice is performed to cleanse the space of negative influences, to set intention and focus, and to ask for the help and blessings of the spirit world. 


There are several ways to call the corners, also known as ‘calling the four directions,’ ‘calling the quarters,’ or ‘calling the elements.’ All of these names refer to the same thing – calling upon the spirits and gods of the natural world to ask for their presence, aid, and blessing in ritual. 



Close up of a Pagan wedding altar with violets, runes, red candle magic, and other elements

Color magic and ritual herbs and flowers can also be used when casting the circle or preparing the wedding altar. Above, many elements have been added to the wedding altar: a crimson red candle conjures blessings of health and passion; violets on an altar attract lasting love and happiness; a feather asks for the blessings of air elementals, and the carved Berkano or 'B' rune symbolizes the earth element and calls for new beginnings and renewal.


What do the four corners or four directions represent in Wicca? 


The four corners, or four directions, are east, south, west, and north. These directions correspond with certain elements, spirits (or elementals), colors, energies, and outcomes – and are often called in this order. 


East: Symbolizes the sunrise, new beginnings, the air element, wind and breath, the mind and intellect, curiosity and exploration, Hagalaz or H rune (Norse), the color yellow. 


Physical symbols for the circle or altar: Feathers, incense, ribbons, windchimes


South: Symbolizes midday, vitality and vibrance, the fire element, light and passion, the heart and desires, love and excitement, Dagaz or D rune (Norse), the color red.


Physical symbols for the circle or altar: Fire, candles, electric lights


West: Symbolizes the sunset, rest and reflection, the water element, emotions and intuition, spiritual depths and introspection, Berkano or B rune and Laguz or L rune (Norse), the color blue. 


Physical symbols for the circle or altar: Cups or bowls of water, sea shells or river glass


North: Symbolizes grounding, homecoming and balance, the earth element, the physical body and its place in the natural world, Jera or Y rune (Norse), the color green


Physical symbols for the circle or altar: Stones, sand, soil, leaves and branches, fruit, herbs, flowers


Related: Norse Runes for Wedding Altars, Rings, and Invitations - The Full Elder Futhark Alphabet



Close up of colorful ribbons and butterflies on a tree in the sunlight

Colorful ribbons like these can be placed at the eastern cardinal point when casting a circle, as a symbol of the air element. During the ceremony, these types of ribbons can also be used in the handfasting ritual to bind the partner's wrists. 



When and How to Cast a Circle for a Wiccan Wedding


This practice is done before the rest of the marriage rite or handfasting ritual begins and prepares the space for what follows. It can be done before guests arrive (for a low-key Wiccan or Interfaith ceremony), or incorporated into the start of the wedding ceremony. 


Officiants may write their own invocations for calling the corners, or they might use traditional verses written by their local coven or collective. In general, the directions are called in order of east, south, west, and north. 



Close up photo of a wiccan altar arranged in the grass outdoors, with lavender, a mirror, candles, and other elements for the handfasting ceremony and sacred circle

Photo: Ksenia Yakovleva / Unsplash

This small altar holds several elements that can be used when casting a circle or performing a handfasting rite: Lavender welcomes good luck and devotion, and is used in casting a circle for blessings of lasting love and friendship; black candles are used to banish negative energy; white candles are often used to summon spirits and promote harmony and gratitude; and these carved rune stones (Dagaz, Ansuz, and others) are used in spellwork for new beginnings, prosperity, divine insight, and more. Consider the elements and spirits you wish to invite to your own ceremony when casting the circle. 



To cast the circle: 


Officiants can walk along the circle, pausing at each cardinal point to recite a line of verse. Alternatively, officiants may simply turn to face each direction while reciting the verse from their place at the wedding altar. In some Wiccan traditions, an officiant will ask guests to stand in a circle around the couple to be married while holding hands as the corners are called.


Physical symbols and elements, such as candles, incense, water, herbs, and flowers, may also be incorporated while calling to their corresponding directions. For example, guests may be asked to stand in a circle, with one guest at each cardinal point holding incense, a candle, a glass of water, or flowers. Or the officiant may place incense, a lit candle, seashells, and herbs, on the wedding altar at each directional point. Physical symbols may also be placed around the ceremonial space on small tables, at the base of trees, or in other ways.


We’ve included a few examples of what to say below.


Related: Magical Herbs for Your Wedding Ceremony, Handfasting, or Vow Renewal



Outdoor wedding ceremony in the woods with white chairs arranged in a half circle around a wedding arch

For a low-key Wiccan wedding or interfaith ceremony, the officiant can call the corners and cast a sacred circle before the ceremony begins to keep magical elements private. Chairs can be arranged so that wedding guests surround the couple in a circle or half circle, honoring the energy of the circle.



Magick Variations: What to Say to Call the Corners


Below are three variations of what to say to call the corners (sometimes referred to as a ‘quarter call’). Wedding officiants can use these verses as they’re written, or personalize them to better fit the ceremony. Some officiants include calls to ancestors, other witches in their lineage, to the Goddess, or to other gods and spirits by name.  


  • Need a full officiant script that calls the corners? Try: 

A Modern Wiccan Handfasting Ceremony and Script 



A simple call: 


“I call upon the spirits of the East, and ask you to bless this circle.


I call upon the spirits of the South, and ask you to bless this circle. 


I call upon the spirits of the West, and ask you to bless this circle.


I call upon the spirits of the North, and ask you to bless this circle.”



A rhyming call: 


“I call upon the East, winged beasts of air and life in breath, 


I call upon the South, the flame of hearth and heart and mouth,
I call upon the West, of sacred rest and currents wide and vast, 


I call upon the North, quiet bounty and eternal earthly source, 


Spirits of the Corners, I call to you, to bless this circle, this loving pair, and the magic we now do.”


A call to the Elements:


“Spirits of Air, I call to thee, and ask for your guidance.


Spirits of Fire, I call to thee, and ask for your protection.


Spirits of Water, I call to thee, and ask for your wisdom.


Spirits of Earth, I call to thee, and ask for your blessing and care.”



A small group of wiccans gather outside for ritual

Choose close friends, relatives, or beloved members of your coven to stand at the cardinal points as you call the corners and cast a circle for your handfasting or vow renewal ritual. This is a meaningful way to involve loved ones in your ceremony!


Ask a friend or relative to officiate your ceremony: 


A loved one can serve as your wedding officiant for a truly personal and intimate ceremony. American Marriage Ministries provides free ordination for people of all beliefs and backgrounds, including Pagans, Animists, Pantheists, Non-denominational ministers, and others, so that they can perform marriage in their communities. Learn more about our guiding tenets here. 




Read next: 



Read all Pagan Wedding Articles


Read all Pagan Wedding Ceremony Scripts



Candles, flowers, and other elements on a wiccan wedding altar

Wiccan wedding vows to cast a spell of lasting love and devotion. Read the full article here. 



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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