Morgan le Fay, Wicca, and Casting a Circle
magic that Morgan le Fay does in The
Circle Cast is based
on modern neo-pagan witchcraft, known as Wicca.
Wicca is eclectic, incorporating anything from Greek mythology to
Native American spirituality. But its core is a re-imagining of
traditional Celtic paganism.
catch is that no one really knows what traditional Celtic paganism
was. There are no surviving spellbooks. The pagan priests, known as
druids, considered it sacriligious to write rituals down. We only
know about Celtic mythology from the writings of Christian monks.
first step of a Wiccan ritual is casting a circle. The witch draws an
invisible circle around herself, which is meant to keep in any power
she invokes. Then she calls in the powers of the four elements —
earth, air, fire and water — to cleanse and empower the space. Then
“the circle is cast.”
title The Circle Cast is a metaphor for Morgan's first step into the world of magic. Morgan
may be the most powerful magical talent of her generation, but she
has to discover her powers, and how to use them.
Morgan's spirituality is based on Wicca, the religion of her people
is the traditional pre-Christian Irish religion. We know from Caesar
and other historical evidence that the ancient Irish worshipped a
goddess of war, the fearsome Morrígan. If a warrior was valiant in
battle, the Morrigan would send crows to eat his body, transporting
him, like the Valkyries, to a Valhalla of endless feasting and
the ancient British and Irish, pride was a virtue, not a sin, and
vengeance was an act of the highest nobility. In The
Morgan’s tragedy is that she holds to these old pagan virtues when
she has a chance to learn forgiveness, and a chance to learn to love.
But her tragedy is what makes her such an unforgettable character.
(I go into a little more depth about Morgan, Wicca and the Morrígan
on my blog.)
Who is Morgan le Fay?
Why is the story set in 500 AD?
Who is Alex Epstein?
The Circle Cast blog.
The YA Fantasy Guide interviews Alex
Praise for The Circle Cast