The tree circle is nearly 4 years old. I find that odd to think about, because I know that there were other things in that yard before then. There was a swing set, and it was fenced, so the dog could run and the kids could play safely. The dog, the swing set and even most of the fence are gone, but the idea, the sense of safety, of sanctuary is still very much part of the personality of the space.
We started the planning of the circle not long after DH started his adult (as opposed to his teenage) studies and foray into Western Ceremonial Magic. Up until that point, I used our bedroom for my altar and working space (with the exception of anything that require large fires, actual outdoor doings, etc). But after DH had started working there, it took longer and longer for me to step into the proper psychic space. It bothered him greatly that he "threw me out" of space that I had been using, but I've come to the conclusion that it was more a case of pointing out the deficiencies of the space for what I had been using it for. I still have altars in the room, and I still use it for some ritualwork, but all of my more organic ritual and magic have moved outdoors.
We live in one of those suburbs "overrun" with deer. While we had our wolfhound, they never came in the yard. But I suppose the last generation of deer to "remember" the dog that was bigger than they were is now gone, and the last few years has seen more deer damage on our property. This year, with the seemingly wanton destruction in my tomato garden and apple tree, I declared war on the deer. (This war has not been without a few good points-the wonderful scene of DH, hair unbound, wearing nothing more than a pair of gym shorts and brandishing his Renn Faire Wizard prop staff while chasing a buck out of the yard is a picture I happily call to mind on a regular basis.)
We chase them. We yell at them. Most effective have been the rags, soaked in neem seed oil and tied to the garden fences and (soon) to the tree branches. The deer now know (at least this season) that we are not welcoming them. And yet...
I came home midday from a session with a client on Friday to see a pair of very small, spotted fauns reclining in the middle of the circle. They were clearly visible to the street and the neighbors dogs, and yet they looked perfectly relaxed and comfortable. Mama was nowhere to be seen, but it was clear that she had put them there and told them to "stay." There was no sense of fear from them as I walked towards them.
A safe place. Sanctuary.