A lot of traditional witches do not cast a circle at all as this is not traditional witchcraft but some do cast a compass which is not a circle. It is very different.
Rituals in Traditional Craft are very different from those that are Wicca and ceremonial based in that they are not scripted, they are spontaneous and spoken from the heart. There is no circle casting and calling the elements as such but a compass-ring or round is traced widdershins with a stang or besom, and again there is not one way of doing this, it can differ from witch to witch, in fact, some witches don’t feel a need to do it after years of practice. The witch becomes the compass or the world tree. The witch becomes the centre point for spiritual work.
The Compass-Ring or rounds function is to create a space between this world and the underworld and unlike Wicca, we are not calling the spirits to join us, we are joining them! A traditional witch is almost very shamanistic in their workings. They travel to see the spirits, they contact the spirits, well sometimes the spirits contact them.
The Compass-Ring or Compass-Round is the witches working area for any crafting or power-working. It is not designed to protect but to enable a meeting place between this world and the unseen world and is a way of descending to the underworld, a reversal or a going left or below. The compass area occupies space in this world and the underworld where the powers that live in the land can be tapped into.
The ring is traced with the stang or besom in a widdershins motion as we are taking the left way road, then ghost or spirit roads are made by circling the ring with water. A watch fire is then made be it a candle or a bone-fire. There are no quarter callings as once we have established an acquaintance with the powers of the land and our ancestors we have their protection, however certain items can be placed at the cardinal points that are in harmony with the various directions depending on the type of workings involved.
The above is a very physical way to do it, however, it can also be created in an inner way. Such as imagining reaching down into the earth to meet the energy of the land and joining it with your own, then bringing it through your body to reach up through your crown to reach out to the energy’s above. I have written much about this such as the witch’s foot. And in grounding techniques.
Circles are not cast and used to any major extent, at least, not like Wicca, The traditional term for a drawn circle is Compass round and often enough, certain natural places will be best for working areas without any need to draw or make a circle. When compasses must be drawn, they are drawn in a traditional ritual which bears no similarity to a Wicca circle.