Guardians of the Circle

The circle is Caer Sidi, the spiral or revolving castle 'whirling round without motion between three elements' - fire, air and water. It is the abode of the White Goddess, and houses the Cauldron of Cerridwen. It is a place of rest where the souls of priests, magicians, kings and chieftains go to await rebirth. It is also the fortress of the Sidhe, where the fairies dance and is the place where our world and the world of the gods meet. At Samhain, souls of the departed can be summoned forth from the Caer to answer questions of importance.

The Castle is entered from the northeast and is reached by dancing of the maze or treading the mill showing that we must balance all the elements within ourselves before we can enter the realm of the gods. The guardians of the circle are eight, corresponding to the cardinal directions, the elements and the seasons of the year. They are called by name after the circle is cast and bid farewell before the circle is broken. They are not summoned or dismissed, for it is we who visit them, not they us.

If you are familiar with other methods of ceremony that use elemental designations at the four quarters, you may notice that the Roebuck seems a bit different. Our quarters are based on the traditional four Airts, the Gaelic term for the four cardinal points. The spirits from these directions carry the traditional colors of red for east, white for south, grey or blue for west and black for north. These attributes are reflected both in the wheel of the year, the evolution of life, and the cycle of the day.

One can find in the wheel the fiery passion of youth at the dawn of the day and the Spring of life in the East. Here then is the flame of battle in a young man's heart, and the gentle warmth to be found in a young maiden's eyes. The fertility and vibrant strength of the noonday and summer's earth are to be found in the South, both with the steadfastness of the deep hills and the wild growth of the woods.

To the West we turn for the deep cup of wisdom, to be seen in the maturity of later adulthood, and autumn falls on the year, and the sun sinks into the ocean's depths, visible both in the British Isles, and in California. At last we come to the North, where winter's cold winds whip 'round us blowing away all illusions, allowing the ancient guardians of Air to teach us from an interminable collection of knowledge and lore.

So, then, our quarters are an outgrowth of the cycles to be seen around us, in every living thing. The Guardians are where they are not as consorts or because they belong together in the ancient tales, but because they represent the very properties of the elements we are working with at that place and time.

Links to Guardians