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According to Traditional lore, the original role of the Sword Circle was to provide physical security against mundane threats; while a ritual was being performed, members of Sword would be nearby, keeping a lookout against anyone who might seek to disrupt the proceedings - a real possibility in that time and place.  They were prepared to face and repel any interlopers by whatever means necessary - from reasoned discussion up to and including lethal force.

             With the founding of the Cascadian Sean Ciall community, the role of the Sword Circle has evolved.  While the Circle is still responsible for physical security during ritual, its role has become more participatory, and its responsibilities have extended into the realms of ritual and magick.  Members of this Sword Circle walk the path of the Magickal Warrior.

 During ritual, it is usually the Sword Circle which casts the circle, establishing and maintaining the boundaries of the ritual space.  Members of Sword also act as Blackguards (known elsewhere as “Door Warders” or “Gate Guardians”).  Within the context of the ritual itself, the Circle’s role is two-fold:  To contain and assist in concentrating and focusing the energies being raised, and to ensure that no external force - physical or magickal - disturbs or disrupts the course of the ritual.  Materially and magickally, members of Sword Circle place themselves between the greater Sean Ciall community and any external threat.

             This perspective is not merely metaphorical.  People who work with Sword Circle in ritual should be fully prepared to put themselves in actual danger.  For one thing, Sword Circle always works with real weapons in ritual; all blades are sharp, any other weapons are fully functional and potentially deadly.  For another, should a mundane threat to the participants in a ritual appear, it is Sword’s responsibility to respond and defend against it.  And finally, magickally, if any external force should attempt to disrupt or corrupt the ritual, Sword Circle is tasked with deflecting and repelling it.  These are serious responsibilities, and should not be entered into lightly or frivolously.  Discipline is an important element of working with Sword Circle, because in ritual every member must trust every other member with their physical well-being and, to an extent, with their life - as do all the other members of the Sean Ciall ritual community.

             Persons working with Sword Circle are expected to become familiar with both physical and magickal methods of self-defense.  Areas explored in Sword Circle meetings include martial techniques (swordsmanship, unarmed combat and other weapons), handgun use, physical fitness and conditioning, tactical theory, first aid, survival skills, wards, protective and defensive magicks, and other relevant subjects; regular attendance of Circle meetings will provide a minimal knowledge base, but it is recommended that members further their studies in both martial and magickal studies on their own.

             Those who wish to Dedicate to Initiation into this Circle will be assigned a specific year-long training regimen, both physical and magickal in curriculum, intended to help prepare them to meet the requirements for Initiation.  Completion of the regimen is self-motivated, but the Dedicant will be expected to periodically check in with the Circle leadership.  Once the preparation regimen and Initiation requirements are completed, a Dedicant can apply for Initiation.

"Essay (c)G.P."

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