Glossary of Magical Terms

What is Doesil: the Scottish folklore


By Morningbird

Deosil, deasil or deiseal is a term commonly used by witches to mean right, sunwise or clockwise. It is the opposite of widdershins. It is pronounced ˈdē-zəl.

Gaelic Roots

The term deasil features in Scottish folklore with similar words found in Welsh and and old Irish from the Proto Indo European root *deks- meaning right or South. Moving sunwise is historically considered lucky while walking widdershins is unlucky. Thus, if you need to walk around a building to get to the door, you should always walk sunwise, keeping the building to your right. A circle, drawn sunwise or deosil around a house, stable or other building using a burning brand or torch is said to protect it from fire and malicious magick.

Similar rituals might be performed for babies and mothers soon after birth to ensure the infants are not stolen by faeries or otherwise succumb to the myriad misfortunes that can fall upon a woman and child at this delicate time.

Deosil In Modern Witchcraft

Many modern magickal practitioners prefer to perform ceremonial movements in a sunwise motion, using doesil movement in a magical circle. In modern magickal parlance, deasil may refer to sunwise, clockwise or right, which is pretty much all the same thing in the Northern Hemisphere. Particularly, sunwise or doesil movements are preferred for setting up and casting the ritual circle and for ritual movements within it while movements may be reversed when closing the ritual and bringing down the circle.

In the same vein, doesil movements may be used for summoning or drawing spells and widdershins for releasing rituals or banishing spells. Doesil is the direction of progress, growth, and manifestation.

In the Southern Hemiphere, the sun travels from the East to the West through the North rather than the South, so their sunwise is actually counter-clockwise. Depending on the tradition, they may choose to reverse doesil and widdershins in their practice to match the movements of the sun, or they may follow the clock’s movement and retain the clockwise definition of deosil.

While modern practitioners of witchcraft seem to prefer to deosil spelling, deasil is more correct. Additional variations, also technically correct, include deasill, deasuil, deasoil, deasheal.

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Written by Morningbird & Witchipedia Team

I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years. As a founder and lead writer on Witchipedia, I’ve been publishing articles since 2006.

It is our mission to provide the most accurate Pagan, occult and magical information.

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