Cast the circle thrice about, to keep unwelcomed spirits out.

I'm doing this analysis entirely apart from the book.

First of all, this sentence can be exactly what it means. Circles can be an important part of ritual magic practice. They are often recommended to be cast before a spell. I'm writing this entirely from memory so take it with a grain of salt or anything else you like. ;)

The purpose of a circle: Circles can create protection from negative energies or spirits, as stated in the line. Circles are also cleansed when they are cast to rid the spot of pre-existing negative vibes. This spiritually cleans the spot so that a spell starts with a fresh slate, or the same just for meditation, etc. While the circle is cast, the chosen spot, inside or outside, is sacred.

How to cast a circle: There are probably a large variety of ways to do this, so I won't bother to specify things to say or even pretend that this IS the way to do it. I'm not saying it is, but again this is what I remember. :) Variety is the spice of life, so take from it what you will.

Circles are generally recommended to be 9 feet in diameter. The perimeter can be marked if you like, with stones, crystals, or herbs. Do whatever seems right. (Note that different herbs have different properties, so depending on the nature of what your circle is for, specific herbs can aid you. I recommend Scott Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. For protection from spirits, salt is a catch-all.) At large, I've heard that casting a circle is largely a spiritual thing that can be done with an athame or your power finger/hand. Focus on drawing your energy and visualize it creating a circle drawn by your hand. Drawing this three times is recommended. You may also want to align yourself with the directions, North, East, South and West.
The next part, to be honest, I'm not sure if it comes before drawing the circle or after. This is the part of sweeping out any stray energies. You can use an actual broom to do this, and visualize the energies being swept away so that your circle is clean and blank, ready to be powered by your own energy and intentions. What you do with the circle afterward is up to you.

For more ideas about spell casting, check out my post "Spells That Rhyme".

The number Three.This is what I really want to analyze. Three is EVERYWHERE especially in religions. The Triple Goddess, either a trio of goddesses or one goddess that is recognized in phases: the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. They represent a cycle of life. The waxing phase of the moon corresponds with the Maiden. When the moon is full, it is the Mother. When the moon is waning, it is the Crone.

Three is even important in Christianity. The Holy Trinity is the best example in my opinion: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Notice how similar this is to the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, but masculine?

The triangle, the three-pointed and three-sided geometric figure, is considered the strongest geometric shape for construction. Unlike a square, a triangle is very hard to distort. It's so simple, but so strong. I'm sure you can think of many other things that are related to three.

There is also the superstition that things, especially bad things, come in threes. (I hear this one very often. It was especially kicking around the internet when Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, and Farrah Fawcett died within 3 days of each other in 2009.) There are many other superstitions that involve threes. Hearing three knocks can foretell death.

You don't have to take my word for it, though. You can look it up yourself. ;)
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