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Glossary

Akasha   the spiritual ether (or Aether); the omnipresent fifth occult element which embraces the other four- earth, air, fire, and water; and from which they stem. This is the realm of "pattern" or causality, from which the realm the normally thought of "five senses manifests. Some define it is the "other" of the "two worlds" that the witch or magician walks between.  
Altar

An area or surface built or designed exclusively for magickal or religous workings and ritual.
Amulet

A natural object, often of stone or fossil used as a protection device to the holder.
Ankh
(Angk)
The most famous Egyptian hieroglyphic, the Ankh symbolizes life, love and reincarnation.  It is often worn around the neck and is shaped like a cross with a loop on top.
Arcana

Half of a tarot deck  which is divided into two aracanas:  the major arcana consisting of the 22 trumps of importance and the lesser arcana of 56 suit cards that help to divinate the trump cards to a lesser degree.
Astrology

The belief and study of the effects of the movements and placements of planets and other heavenly bodies have on the lives and behavior of human beings. 
Athame
(AH-tha-may)
The ritual knife often associated with the element of air and the direction of east, thought some traditions attribute it to fire and the south.  The handle is traditionally black or of natural wood. 
Auras   the distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source: an energy field that is held to emanate from a living being: the colors of the aura and their intensity reflect emotions, health and state of mind: a healthy aura radiates the colors of the rainbow: thin, weak, or broken auras signify illness, stress and other ailments.  
Balefire

A synonymous word of 'Bonfire', a balefire is a communal bonfire of the sabbats, most notably used at Beltane, Litha and Lughnassadh.
Also in some quarters know as the lost art or creating witcthfire
Bane

A negative force or energy.    Another word for bad, negative, or in opposition.
Banish

The removal of negative energy or force.  To rid the presence of unwanted entities
Bealtaine
(Bee-Al-tin-aye)
The old Irish word for 'Beltain'. 
Beltain
(Bell-tain)
A grand sabbat also known as Walpurgis night, May eve, Roodmas, celebrates the symbolic union and mating of the goddess and the god.  Often celebrated April 30 or May 1, the true occurrence is more often May 5-7th. A time of fertility and growth. A very important day to most Pagan paths. 
Besom
(Beh-som)
A witches broom used  to sweep a sacred area and in effect, purify the sacred space.  Legend comes from early fertility rites where besoms were 'ridden' over crops to enhance the coming bounty. 
Bind

Restraining one's self or someone, using magick.
Bolline
(Bowl-in)
A curved knife, often white hilted, used for the magickal gathering of herbs and other natural reagents.  Where as the athame is a religious knife, the bolline is it's practical working sister. 
Book of Shadows

A witches book of reference where all magickal date, information, times, aspects, formulas and spells are enscribed.  One of the most important tools as recorded happenings cannot be forgotten.   Also known as a grimoire.  
The Burning Times

A reference of time between approximately 1500 B.C.E.  and the 1600's where many millions of people were murdered by the Christian church simply because they were 'non-believers'.  Their possessions and assets seized at death, the Christian church often profited on the killings of witches. 
Candlemas   Festival held on Feb. 1. One of the 4 Celtic "Fire Festivals. Commemorates the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. Celebrates the first signs of Spring. Also called "Imbolc" (the old Celtic name). This is the seasonal change where the first signs of spring and the return of the sun are noted, i.e. the first sprouting of leaves, the sprouting of the Crocus flowers etc. In other words, it is the festival commemorating the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural year.This Festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Crone to Maiden.
Cardinal Points   North, South, East, and West, marked in the Georgian Tradition by candles of green, red, yellow, and blue, respectively. The Circle is drawn to connect these four points.   
Cauldron

Often replaced by the cup or chalice in ritual, this tool is used for making brews or magickal potions.  Its symbolizes the womb of the Goddess.   
Celtic
(Kel-tik)
Of or for the old subfamily of the Indo-European language family comprised of the peoples of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and some teutonic lands.
Censer
(Sens-or)
A ritual tool used for burning incense during spellwork or ritual.  
Chalice

A ritual tool used in libation, this feminine principle tool represents the element water and the west. 
Chakra

One of the seven major energy centers in the human body.  These are at the third eye, head, throat, chest, navel, abdomen and groin.
Spinning vortexes of energy located in the body from the base of the spine to the crown of the head: the "master programs" that govern our life, loves, learning and illumination: from the "root," controlling hunger and reproduction, to the "crown," influencing our spiritual selves, each chakra governs a specific area of body-mind-spirit; by using the chakra system, you can gain energy, improve health and reclaim wholeness.
Charge of the Goddess   The Traditional words of the Goddess to her followers, or "hidden children". Normally declaimed by the HPS at every coven Circle. 
Circle

Sacred space where all magickal rituals and workings are performed.   The circle not only protects the practitioner from outside energies but contains the working energies within. 

Can also be used to designate a particular group of Witches or Pagans such as "Silver Acorn Circle".
Cone of Powe   power raised in the circle by the Witches assembled, and sent out into the world to work magick, is usually visualized as being retained and built in the form of a "cone" prior to release. 
Consecration

Blessing an object (usually a ritual tool) to purify it and empowering it with positive energy. 
Coven
(Kuhv-en)
A group of witches who work and rite together utilizing the greater empowerment of the sum of its members, as opposed to the power of those members added individually.   Containing both male and female members, traditionally a coven has 13 members but may contain any number of members.
Covenstead   regular meeting place for a coven. Usually the home of the High Priestess or High Priest. 
Cowan   a non-Witch. Formerly used in a very derogatory manner. Still used in Masonic Ritual to indicate the non initiate and/or pretender to "real craft". Not often used today among most Witches. 
Cross Quarter dayes   The modern name for the Celtic Fire Festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas.   
Dedication

The acceptance of the craft (of any way), as one's path and religion, followed by intense study to gain the necessary knowledge and preparation to be adept at this tradition. 
Deity

Synonymous with a god, goddess or godhead.
Deosil
(Jesh-il)
The working act usually in ritual or song of moving or dancing  in a clockwise motion.   This is used for positive works and is also known as "Sunwise".
Divination

Any method used to foretell or inform of the future.  Many popular forms include Astrology, Runes, Tarot, tea leaves, the pendulum, scrying, meditation and many more.  A common practice in one form or another with Pagans of any path. 
Dowsing

A divination method using a pendulum or stick to answer questions similar to the popular "Ouija" board.  Some forms of this include water finding where a dowser uses a forked stick or the like to find water underground.
Drawing down
the moon


Used primarily during an esbat to draw down the powers of the moon into a female witch.  Very powerful when a sabbat and esbat conjuct. 
Drawing down
the sun


Used  to draw down the powers of the sun into a male witch.  Very powerful on  the Equinoxes and Solstices.
Dreams   on average, two out of eight hours are spent dreaming, during the third of our life we spend sleeping: the world of dreams is the world of the subconscious, a place of symbolism, archetypes, fantasy and hidden memories.  
Druid   a member of a pre-Christian priesthood.
Element

The primary elements are earth, air, fire, water and spirit.  Each of these 5 represents a point on the pentagram.   The elements and their directions are extremely important in Pagan ritual. 
Enochian   A school of magick with the purpose of spiritualization of the consciousness: a system of angel magick conveyed to John Dee through medium Edward Kelley in the 16th century.
Esbat
(Es-bat)
From the french word, esbattre, meaning to frolic, the esbat is the powerful ritual time of the full moon.  There are 13 esbats in a year, all known by moon names. 
Esoteric   inner teachings: of or relating to knowledge that is restricted to a small group: designed for or understood by the specially initiated.  
Evocation

The act of summoning the presence of spirits, dieties or elementals to your sacred space.
Familiar

Most commonly an animal, a familiar is a witch's working helper.   Often advantageous to ritual, they can also become a liability and much thought should be given to taking a familiar.
Fivefold Kiss   Fivefold Salute--The Witches' ritual salute, with kisses; (1) on each foot, (2) on each knee, (3) above the pubic hair, (4) on each breast, and (5) on the lips- really 8 kisses in all. It is only used within the Circle, but the words that go with it are the origin of "Blessed Be." 
God

The aspect of a masculine deity..
Goddess

The aspect of a feminine deity.
Gardnerians   Tradition of Witchcraft descended from the teachings of Gerald Gardner. 
Geomancy   a traditional Western method of divination based on intuitive contact with the subtle energies of the Earth: from the Greek words "Earth prophecy," the system is based on binary mathematics and patterns of cause and effect.
Gnomes   an "entity" or "elemental" that dwells in the plane of Earth or is associated with the EARTH Element. 
Graphology   the study of handwriting, especially for the purpose of character or personality analysis.  
Great Rite   The rite which is the main feature of the third degree initiation, and which is also laid down for certain festivals. It is sexual in nature, but may be `actual' (and private to the couples concerned) or symbolic, as the participants wish. 
Gypsy   Originating in India, these tribes of nomadic peoples were presumably forced out of their homeland and traveled westward to south and southwest Asia, Europe and North America: their skin color and colorful dress prompted fifteenth century observers to imagine them descendants of ancient Egyptians, later shortened to gypsies.   
Hallows   Name used by some traditions for Samhain, or Halloween 
Handfasting

A Pagan or Wiccan marriage ceremony which traditionally takes place at a specified period of time depending on one's tradition.
Herbalism

The magickal and medicinal art of using herbs for the practitioner's use or benefit.
Highpriest/ess   Technically speaking, a Witch who has received the 3rd. degree initiation. More usually, the male and female leaders of a coven. 
Holistic   relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of , treatment of, or dissection into parts: mind, body and environment of a single system.  
Imbolc
(Im-Bolc)
Observed on February 2nd, Imbolc is the early spring sabbat which honors the virgin goddess as the young bride of the returning sun god.
Initiation

The tranformation of ones ideals and values into the ideals and values of a particular path.  Please note one can be  in dedication but is not yet initiated whilst an initiated is always in dedication.
Invocation

The drawing of an aspect of a diety into one's self using magickal ritual.
Lammas   August 1st. Witch Festival. The Old Celtic name for this festival is Lughnassadh. It is the Festival of the First Fruits, and is the first of the 3 harvests. This festival also marks the change of the Threefold Goddess energies from that of Mother to Crone. 
Kabbalah   (Qabalah, Cabala)--based on the Jewish scripture, the Zohar, a system of mysticism and magick marked by belief in creation through emanation: the basis of gematria, a numerical method of interpreting words.  
Karma

Karma follows the law of cause an effect.   It is the belief that what one's actions do in this life, will carry over to the next life and lives to come.
Kundalini   the yogic life force that is held to lie coiled at the base of the spine until it is aroused and sent to the head to trigger enlightenment.
Libation

Drink or sometimes food, given to a deity, or spirit during magickal ritual.
Litha
(Lith-ah)
Also known as Midsummer, Litha is the summer solstice which honors the sun god at his peak power. 
Lughnassadh
(Loo-nuh-sa)
The Pagan first harvest, or harvest of corn.  Lughnassadh usually falls on August 1st.  It is the first of the harvests. 
Mabon
(May-bun)
The Pagan Thanksgiving, or second harvest.  Mabon falls on the autumnal equinox, when the light of the year shifts toward darkness.  It is a traditional time for feasting. 
Maiden   An appointment held by one of the women of the coven. She is virtually the assistant High Priestess. This term is also the descriptive term used to describe the first of the aspects of the Threefold Goddess Energies (Maiden, Mother, and Crone). It is traditionally associated with the Waxing Moon, and the period from Imbolc (Candlemas) to Beltane (May eve) where the energies are those of initiating, beginning, and creation. 
Magick

Aleister Crowley said it best:  "Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity to will"

the art of invoking change in accordance with one's will: the recognition that all things are connected, and the use of this web of universal energies to create change and manifest desires: folk magick is based on the everyday practices of various ethnic groups and tends to be nature oriented: ritual magic involves the performance of a structured magical act for a desired effect: ceremonial magic links the practitioner, through interaction with angelic and elemental beings, to the power and knowledge of Universal Forces.
Metaphysical   relating to the transcendent, or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses.  
Mythology   a popular belief or assumption that has grown up around someone or something, oftentimes dealing with gods, demigods, or legendary heroes of a particular people.
Nostradamus   French physician and astrologer who produced rhymed predictions of the future.
Occult   matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers, or some secret knowledge of them.
Ogham   the alphabetical system of fifth and sixth century Irish which is known principally from inscriptions cut on the edges of rough standing tombstones.
Old Religion   another name for the Craft. 
Oracle   a symbolic system to help one attune to their inner power: a person through whom a deity is believed to speak. 
Neo-Pagan

Applies to the various movements incepted since the 1950's, when the British anti-witchcraft laws were finally repealed.
Ostara
(Oh-star-ah)
Observed at the vernal equinox, Ostara represents life and balance. 
Pagan
(Pay-gun)
See separate page here
Paganing   Presentation of an infant to the Circle and to the Gods.   
Pagan Rede

Summed up as "An ye harm none, do what thou will". 
Palmistry   the art or practice of reading a person's character or future from the lines on the palms of the hand: the belief that the hands contain the map of our unconscious knowledge, or intuitions, resulting from the brain monitoring our environment.
Parapsychology   the branch of psychology that investigates psychic phenomenon such as telepathy, clairvoyance, or extrasensory perception: it is said that everyone has some innate psychic ability, and this: sixth sense” can be developed with practice: may include such subjects as channeling, automatic writing, telekinesis, clairaudience, prophecy, hypnosis, hauntings, reincarnation, and time travel.  
Pendulum

A divination device consisting of a string attached to a heavy object such as a crystal or the like.  Questions are divined by noting the motion of the pendulum during divination.  
Pentacle

A pentagram surrounded by a circle and fashioned usually into a pendant.   The pentacle is used in some covens to represent the element of earth.
Pentagram

Always seen with the apex (point) upwards, the pentagram is the five pointed star symbolizing western Paganism.   It represents the elements of earth, air, fire, water and spirit and also creative principle over all creation.
The five-pointed star. With a single point uppermost, it represents the human being. Inverted, with two points uppermost, it can have Satanist associations; but not necessarily. Some traditions of Wicca use the inverted pentagram to signify an initiate of the second degree. 
Polytheism

The belief in the existence of multiple deites or godheads, as opposed to monotheism, where only a single god or godhead is revered.
Psychic   related to telepathy or clairvoyance: lying outside the sphere of physical science or knowledge: immaterial, moral, or spiritual in origin or force.
Quarters   The North, East, South, and West parts of a magickal circle or other ritual area. (See also "Watchtowers") 
Rede   rule or law althought technically it means advice .
Reincarnation

The belief that we all return, after death, to the earth in the form of another human body.   A result of a major Pagan principle that energy never dies.
Reiki   a system of “hands-on” healing developed in Japan during the 1800's with its roots in Buddhism, reiki translates to “universal life force energy.”
Ritual

A mental ceremony using a prescribed set of rites and tools to perform magickal acts or workings.
Runes

Both an alphabet and a divination tool, runes are a set of symbols used similiarly to tarot, although they can be used in a much broader spectrum of divination.  
Sabbat
(Sabb-at)
One of the days of Power.   These are comprised of the eight solar festivals that celebrate the wheel of the year.  Please see our Sabbats page.
Salamander   An entity that dwells in the realm of Fire.  
Samhain
(Sow-in)
October 31, is the grand sabbat marking the beginning of winter and the Celtic new year.  It is also a time strongly believed where the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.  Please see our Samhain page.
Scrying

A form of divination using mirror and bowls where the user "sees" images, pictures of thoughts themselves. 
Shamanism   a religion originally practiced by indigenous people of far northern Europe and Siberia that is characterized by belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to the shamans.
Sidhe
(Shee)
The name generally applied to all the faery races of Ireland and Scotland.
Skyclad

Nudity in ritual is said to be done "skyclad".
Solitary

The practicing lone witch who worships without a coven.
Spell

A specific ritual designed to change one condition or thing.  Also known as spinning, weaving, casting and spellcraft. 
Summoner   The male officer of the coven who corresponds to the Maiden. He is the assistant High Priest. 
Sylph   an "entity" or "elemental" that dwells in the plane of Air or is associated with the AIR Element. 
Talisman

An object empowered to protect its wearer.  Note this differs from the amulet as it is empowered, not naturally protective as is the amulet.
Tantra   one of the later Hindu or Buddhist scriptures dealing especially with techniques and rituals including meditative and sexual practices.  
Tarot
(Tair-oh)
Divination using a set of 78 tarot cards which are laid out in such a fashion that the diviner interprets them to answer the question at hand.  
Tattwas   ancient Hindu symbols of the five elements: air, earth, fire, water, and ether.
Tetragrammaton   the four Hebrew letters usually transliterated YHWH or JHVH that form a biblical proper name of God.
Toa   the Eastern concept of the unconditional and unknowable source and guiding principle of all reality: the process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony.
Traditions   Any of the various "sects" of Wicca such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian, Seax, etc. 
Triple Goddess

The 3 aspects of  the mother goddess in one, maiden, mother and crone.   A symbol widely found throughout the civilized world.  The representation of the triple goddess is the waxing, full and waning moon.  )O(
Undine   an "entity" or "elemental" that dwells in the plane of Water or is associated with the WATER Element. 
Wand  

A rod or staff that is prepared so that it may be used for magickal or psychic purposes, usually to project some form of power. 

Wheel of the Year

The never ending seasonal shift throughout the 8 sabbats or days of power.   In Pagan mythos, the goddess turns the wheel bringing everything to season.  
Wicca
(Wik-uh)
Wicca represents an ancient religion of love for life and nature. Wicca is easily one of the most irrepressible religions in the world because it stimulates the intellect, promotes a simple, practical way of life and, most importantly, is emotionally satisfying.  Brought into the public eye in the 1950's by Gerald Gardner after the repeal of British anti-witchcraft laws, Wicca is now a strong, healthy and popular religion and movement. 
Widdershins
(Widd-er-shins)
The working act usually in ritual or song of moving or dancing  in a counter-clockwise motion.   This is used for banishing or negative works.   This is the opposite of deosil.
Witch

A general word for Pagans worlwide although traditionally those of Anglo-Celtic, Celtic or Teutonic tradtions. Who practice Witchcraft.
Yule
(Yool)
The winter solstice and the shortest day of the year, Yule is when the goddess gives birth to the god.  This is also the Norse New Year.  














 

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