No goddess fascinates me more than Circe! Her mysterious story, all the different versions of her myth… everything about her intrigues me so much! In recent years Circe gained a renewed popularity and many witches worship her. Let’s learn more about Circe, the first witch!
- Who is Circe?
- Origins and myth of Circe
- What is Circe a goddess of?
- How do you know that Circe is calling you?
- What are Circe’s symbols?
- My favorite books about Circe
- My favorite ritual with Circe
- Circe’s artwork
Who is Circe?
Circe was a sorceress with many and extraordinary powers who lived on the island of Eea, later identified by some authors with Circeo on the west coast of Italy. She transformed her enemies and all those who offended her into animals.
Homer calls her a goddess and describes her home in Eea, the island of Alba, as a beautiful palace that stood in the middle of a dense forest; all around the house lions and wolves, victims of Circe’s magical arts, terrified visitors.
The Homeric Circe is rich in the charm of ambiguities: a terrible goddess, a woman with a clear voice, a sorceress with many drugs. Odysseus divides his companions into two groups and sends one out to explore, but they fall victim to Circe’s spells that transform them into pigs.
Odysseus goes to their rescue and in the forest, he meets the god Hermes, who makes him immune to magic. Thus, he can penetrate the sorceress’s house and render it harmless. The episode constitutes the widest concession to the magical world found in Homer: in fact, magic is generally not present in epic tales, as it is an archaic element.
It is also important to note that magic in Greek myth is exclusively used by women. There is therefore a fairly clear division of roles: the man is a soothsayer and a prophet, while the woman is a sorceress.
Origins and myth of Circe
When we meet Circe in the pages of the Odyssey, we encounter an archetype in transformation. An archetype that emerges from the wild world of an archaic divine female, whose symbols she guards and passes on; and as in all transitional figures, its specific figure is an ambivalence to be explored through its contradictions.
Of the primitive nature of goddess, priestess, and shaman, Circe retains the typical characteristics: dominion over animals and vegetation, pharmaceutical knowledge, the art of magical weaving, the power to transform.
Circe is an adept of Hecate, who is a teacher of magic and a lunar patroness of the dark arts: a divinity linked to cyclicality, fertility, the sphere of generation. The goddess who traces the dynamic becoming of the moon in her recurring epiphanies, in the incessant succession of birth, growth, and decline, and is a virgin, wife and mother, an old man.
Yet, when the Hellenic universe erupts into the Mediterranean cultural scenario, Circe is swallowed up in the dynasty of Helios, the Sun, who appropriates the ancient functions by incorporating it not without contradictions into the embrace of the new solar religion.
Helios, then Apollo, proclaims his power over the most ancient female divinities, but his still remains adoptive paternity: in Circe’s nature, distant, forgotten inheritances continue to prevail, shadows that eclipse the dazzling brightness of the sun.
She lives surrounded by the primordial element of life, water, in the solitude of an island that is also a virtual omphalos, a center from which to observe the world, on the edge of known geography.
A remote and inaccessible existence, his incubation of magical and herbal knowledge. In this enchanted place, driven by dark forces, the Hero is guided by the female soul towards a deeper understanding of existence. His island is an afterlife: it is necessary to pass through the lands of the dead if you are looking for immortality. And on that island, if you are lucky enough to find it, you die and then rise again.
Circe weaves a large canvas: this is how Ulysses’ companions find it when they cross the threshold of his home. Order the threads of chaos, weave destinies in the ancient work of creation. Around her, in the temple of an ancient mother goddess or a “lady of the beasts”, wild animals roam, tamed like dogs, subject to the magical song of their mistress.
Among his attributes he possesses a fairy wand, an instrument of power, an ancient prerogative of the gods; but its greatest magic is the metamorphosis it is able to carry out on human nature, the alchemical knowledge exercised on the matter.
It can degrade man into an animal, as in the spell she performs on Ulysses’ companions, which she transforms into pigs: icons of a regression to a lower state, but also animals sacred to the underworld deities.
It is an act in which we can symbolically read the revenge of the woman’s power over the male sphere which imposes her dominion through rationality, and which here, by way of retaliation, is brought back to an overturned scheme of sordid bestiality; a punishment which, however, is also the recovery of a lost familiarity with nature. But if she wants, Circe can also raise the human being to a higher level of consciousness.
Homer never defines her as a sorceress, always a goddess: however, in the Odyssey, she already appears partly stripped of the ancient attributes of a salutary divinity, of which only the destructive aspects seem to prevail. The knowledge of herbs and green magic cloaks her with a terrible and dangerous power: the filters that she mixes and composes with skilled art are not medicines but are fatal concoctions, sad poisons.
Her action, in the Hellenic sentiment, is already the action of a witch. The goddess that Homer also called “polyphàrmakos – meaning someone who masters remedies, potions, drugs, and poisons”, an expert in remedies, soon became the poisoner, the enchantress. Ancient drugs have turned into poisonous filters, deadly drinks. In the practice of her liturgies, Circe practices the rites of the sung herbs: preparing the spell, she minces the malignant herbs and extracts the harmful juices, impregnating them with infernal formulas, and meanwhile she murmurs enchanted chants, mysterious tangles of words.
The figure of Circe, already distorted by Greek culture compared to the splendor of her nature as a Mediterranean goddess, retains the last glimpses of an ancient and suffocated universe but remains a very important transitional icon, which will constitute a fundamental reference for the following symbolic elaborations throughout the western world. While keeping alive the link between the ancient cultural substratum and the imagination of the wise woman, the most ambiguous and enigmatic aspects will eventually prevail in Circe.
The luminous archetype will suffer the attacks of a progressive debasement: philosophical, physical, iconic, and the youth and the charm of the enchanting sorceress will give way to the undoing of old age: a transfiguration imposed by the weight of moral judgment, rather than by the natural succession of a new season of life.
Circe was first a goddess, then a sorceress. But, in the gaze of history, she was certainly the first witch.
What is Circe a goddess of?
Circe is a goddess of witchcraft. She is also considered a goddess of fertility and generation.
How do you know that Circe is calling you?
- You feel the urge to get out in nature
- You feel you need to try new spells and rituals
- You feel attracted to your wand
- You sense the creative and transformative energy of magic around you
Best ways to connect with Circe
Invite her to a harvesting ceremony
If when go harvesting you consider that moment sacred and you want to take things to the other level, you just have to invite Circe to join you. She loved harvesting greens, plants, and herbs and can definitely become part of this important part of your craft.
Create potions in her name
If you are into magic and want to connect with Circe even more, you should give potions a try. Love potions, money potions, luck potions… it really doesn’t matter as long as you truly want what you create the potion for!
Unleash your potential and your feminine energy with her help
Don’t be afraid of being yourself despite people wanting you to let you down and making you feel you are less than that! Believe in yourself, in your power, in your energy, and even your feminine potential asking her for help to reveal all of it to the world. Ask her to be your guide if in need and she will join your quest for true freedom.
How do you honor Circe?
Circe is believed to honor the sun herself as her father was Elius, god of the sun and the heat. A few sun salutations can definitely help you honor Circe and let her feel loved and respected, by showing respect to her father.
Circe was a follower of Hecate and a witch. Practicing witchcraft is the best way to honor her, becoming a follower yourself of ancient heritage.
Spend time outside
Circe enjoyed nature and use it as the main source of her craft. Just go outside and spend some time there connecting with the elements.
Plant some seeds
Circe was a green witch! She used herbs and created poisons all her life. Planting some seeds is another wonderful way to honor her. Not only you are going to have some fresh herbs for your next spells and rituals, but you are going to honor generation too, and Circe is the goddess of the generating process as well.
Bring a picture of Circe on your altar
You can honor her by bringing a picture or a statue of Circe. You can even write a few lines dedicated to her and her magic and history.
Braid your hair!
Braid your hair to honor the paths of her craft of creation, transformation, and destruction, all in one!
What are Circe’s favorite offerings?
Once, pigs were sacrificed in her name, but you can also offer to her something like a picture or a little statue representing pigs, the animal she chose to transform all visitors to her island into.
Use an image of this root coming from the magical realm of Odyssey.
You can offer her some fresh mandrake as she liked this herb very much.
Simply create something witchy and dedicate it to her to let her feel your connection with her and with the energy of magic and the universe.
Offer your wand to her to let yourself be her vessel to practice magic and master your craft.
Prayer for Circe
“Circe, witchcraft is within you,
Let me be part of your essence,
Show me nature’s blessings
Show me the lessons I need to learn
Show me the way to master my craft
So be it “
What are Circe’s symbols?
Circe used a wand to turn men into pigs and that’s why a wand can often be seen as a symbol representing her and her magic. It’s nothing too fancy. No need to buy an expensive perfectly crafted wand to honor her. A simple piece of wood taken from a branch of a tree is just great as she used nature for her craft.
Circe was considered to be the queen of braids as she could create and destroy while also transforming and shaping things as she liked. Braids are great for representing her.
This is the root that Circe used to turn her human love into a God. It represents Circe’s ability to transform things and people.
My favorite books about Circe
Circe by Madelaine Miller
If you love retellings and are in love with Circe and her fascinated story you definitely cannot miss this book! Madelaine Miller, the same author of The Song of Achilles, knows what she’s talking about and will give you an in-depth subversive vision of this mysterious goddess.
The Odyssey by Homer
Of course, you cannot miss this one if you are into Circe and want to know her story from the source! Plus, the entire work is absolutely stunning and a classic we should all read at least once in a lifetime!
My favorite ritual with Circe
This ritual should be performed on a night of a full moon. With it, you will have the chance to boost your magic and connect with the inner Circe, the dark mysterious witch inside of yourself that you need to accept and unveil to let magic work and manifest.
You should gather all herbs and ingredients required for the next spell you want to cast so Circe can support you and boost your magic, unveiling your inner witch.
- 1 white candle
- A picture of Circe
- All ingredients and tools required for the spell you would like to cast.
Light up the white candle near the picture of Circe and say these words:
“Circe, may your energy guide me
May you inspire me to cast this spell
May you unveil the witch within me
I will follow your lead
May I be untamed.
May I be unapologetic.
May I be the witch I am destined to be.”
Circe is mostly represented as a sensual dark woman. She often has a wand in her hand, the main tool she used to transform people, but in some paintings, she also holds a cup filled with potions or poisons.
She has a mysterious intriguing look but also seems to be mastering her beauty and her power.
John William Waterhouse is the artist who created different works about Circe exploring these features and her most iconic moments of her story.
Do you want to boost your psychic abilities, but don’t know where to start? I can help you with my spell casting service! If you want to know more about your craft and what’s coming to your witchy life you can order a tarot reading instead!