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Glossary of terms

This is where I keep all my "What does that mean?" stuff. A lot of it has become second nature, some of it I still need to refer to, the list will continue to grow.........




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 - A surface, usually flat, that is set aside exclusively for magickal workings and is used as a focus of power.


Amulet - A magickally charged object usually used as protection


Anointing Oil - A skin-safe, scented oil that is dabbed on the body (at chosen pulse points or on the forehead) in order to purify and individual mentally and spiritually.


ARADIA- Daughter of the Goddess Diana, and a name for the Goddess used by Italian Witches or Strega, commonly used in many Wiccan traditions today. 


ASPECTING- Any advanced magickal activity in which a practitioner manifests a particular aspect of the Goddess or God, in thought,  feelings, behavior, appearance, etc.;  Often as a direct result of a "Drawing Down".  Often a minor variation of this phenomena occurs with the selection of a "Magical Name", of Craft Name. 


ASPECTS- Forms, facets, or personas of Deity:  for example, Brighid,  Iseult, Eos, and Kore are all aspects of the Maiden, and the Maiden  is an aspect of the Goddess. 


Asperger - A bundle of herbs used to sprinkle water for purification


Astral plane The non-physical, spiritual plane


Astral projection - The act of separating the consciousness from the physical body and moving it at will


ATHAME- (Ah-THAM-ee, or Ath-a-may) A double-bladed, black-handled knife used much like a wand, to direct energy. It is not used to cut anything on the physical plane. Principally used to cast and dissolve the circle, for which purposes it is interchangeable with the magic sword. A tool of the 
"Element" of Fire in the Georgian Tradition and some others. 




Balefire - A fire, usually outdoors, lit for magickal purposes.


Bane - That which destroys life


Banish - To send off


Behooves - To be necessary or proper for: '"It behooves you at least to try".


BELTANE- (Bel-tuhn-uh or Bell- tane) Celebrating the marriage of the Goddess and God. November 1st. One of the Ancient Celtic "Fire Festivals." on this night, the cattle were driven between  two bonfires to protect them from disease. Couples wishing  for fertility would " jump the fires" on Beltane night. Also  the traditional Sabat where the rule of the "Wheel of the Year" is returned to the Goddess.  This Festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Maiden to Mother. 


Besom - A Witch's broom usually made from birch and willow used to purify spaces.


Blue Moon - When there are two Full Moons in one calendar month, the second is called a Blue Moon.


Boline - A white-handled knife used to do work in the physical realm such as harvest herbs, inscribe candles and trim wicks, and for fashioning the other tools. It is the working knife of a Witch. (Traditionally, it can only be used in a Circle). 


BOOK OF SHADOWS- A BOS is a workbook for Witches. Sometimes referred to as a Grimoire. Traditionally hand copied book of rituals,  recipes, training techniques, guidelines, and other materials deemed important to a Witch or a coven. Each tradition has it's own standard version of the Book and each Witch's book will be different as he or she adds to it with time from many different sources. Only another Witch should see  your book of shadows, although with the internet and many Witches choosing to store electronically this is tradition is not always kept. Many Witches (including myself) will keep 2 copies, 1 digital and one manual. Also, traditionally, it may never leave your hands or possession until death, when it should be destroyed, or (in some traditions) returned to the coven to be disposed of or passed on to a new custodian.


BURNING TIMES- a term used by some Witches for the period of persecution in the Middle Ages and later. It is in fact a misnomer in some places, as Witches were only burned in Scotland, and on the continent of Europe. In England and the U.S., they were hanged. 




Calling the Quarters - Verbal or symbolic acknowledgment of the Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire Water) in a ritual environment


CANDLEMAS- "Festival of Lights" held on August. 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. 


Casting a Circle - Creating a mental magickal sphere that encircles one’s ritual/working space.  The circle enhances one's ability to focus, raise power, and contain that power until the person directing the ritual is ready to release the energy.  


Cauldron - A cast-iron, three-legged pot used to make brews, hold fires, burn incense, holds candles. Represents the Self and is a point of transformation.


Centering - A meditation exercise designed to produce feelings of total calm and oneness with the universe.  As its name suggests, it’s aligning the body and its Chakras for maximum energy flow. It should be preceded by grounding.


Censer – an incense holder/burner.


Chakras – Seven  major points of energy in the body. Each is usually associated with a color. These vortexes are: crown - white; forehead (third eye position) - purple; throat - blue; chest - pink or green; navel - yellow; abdomen - orange; groin - red. Smaller vortexes are located in the hands and feet, as well.

 It one of the tools of the Witch. Placed on the altar to represent the element of Water.  A blessed cup used in ritual to hold the drink or saltwater. It represents the Goddess.  It is a symbol of potential and is also used in the symbolic Great Rite.


Charge, to - To infuse an object with power.
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. 
Actually a sphere, constructed during ritual or spell working to contain energy and keep out negative energy. It is the area in which the magickal worship and spells takes place. Can also be used to designate a particular group of Witches or Pagans such as "Earthwise Circle". 


Clan - Any number of covens who have agreed to follow the same kinds of rules, which spring from one central governing source.  A clan has a single leader, and within the democratic clan governing system he or she had the power to veto proposals or actions of the group.


Cleansing - The act of removing any negative energy, vibrations or images from an object or place by utilizing positive, psychic energy.

CONE OF POWER- 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- The ritual of purifying items and/or self to be used in the circle.

Correspondence - An item that has a magickal association.  Correspondences include:  days, planets, moon phases, herbs, oils, colors, gemstones, Zodiac signs, hours, etc.
COVEN- an organized group of Witches
of the same Tradition who work together within the Craft.  Led by a High priestess and/or a High Priest who meet regularly for worship and fellowship. The traditional membership is 13, but in fact most covens number considerably less. 3 is the minimum in the Georgian Tradition. In Middle English, "Covin" a group of confederates;  In Old French "Covine" a band or group with a single purpose; Latin "Com"-together, "Venire"-to come or move. 
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. 

Craft, the - Witchcraft, Wicca.


Crescent Moon - Sacred symbol of the Goddess.  Used for Sabbats, women's healings and invocations.


CROSS QUARTER DAYS- The modern name for the Celtic Fire Festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas. 


Crystal ball - A ball is made of quartz (you can tell if it is true quartz by its cold feel and the inclusion of irregularities). It is used for divination.


Curse - Purposely directing negative energy at someone. Wiccans do not do this, as it goes against the rules of three.




Dedication - The dedication of a Witch is a ritual where the individual accepts the Craft as their path in life and is "reborn" as a child of the Goddess and God.


Deity – The form(s) The All takes.
(pronounced Jess-el) sunwise (or "anti-clockwise" here in the Southern Hemisphere). Traditional direction for working "building" magick. 


Devas - are energies, or spirit forms, that create patterns of reality on higher levels of existence. Anything created naturally or by humans has a deva.
To foretell events of the future, or recount the distant past, or clarify the now, or a magical method of exploration or inquiry into a situation by using tools or actions such as Tarot cards, dreams, runes, astrology,  pendulums, meditation, I-Ching etc.


Divine Power - The energy and life force of the Goddess and God.


DRAWING  DOWN THE MOON- Ritual invocation of the spirit of  the Goddess into the body of the High Priestess by the High Priest, or to connect with the Goddess by drawing her spirit into you.




Earth Power - Energy that exists within nature and all on Earth.


Eclipse - When one heavenly body obscures another for a short period of time, creating a temporary veil or shadow.


ELEMENTS- Earth, air, fire, and water, plus spirit/self/Aksha (which includes them all). These are regarded as realms or  categories of nature (both material and non-material) and are not to be confused with the physicists table of  elements, which the modern witch, of course, accepts. 


Empowering - Also called "charging".  This means to fill an object with divine energy for a specific magickal purpose or manifestation.


Equal-armed Cross (the original Celtic Cross) - A cross symbol with equally sized arms representing the elements.

ESBAT- Monthly or bimonthly meeting of a coven. Traditionally held either on the full moon or the new moon. 


Evoke - To call upon the spirits or deities.


Exoteric - Exoteric knowledge is knowledge that is publicly available, in contrast with esoteric knowledge, which is kept from everyone except the initiated




FAMILIARS- Either a Witch's pet animal which has been trained  to be a magickal helper, or an artificially created "elemental"  which performs the same functions as the animal friend. 
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."




GARDNERIANS- Tradition of Witchcraft descended from the teachings of Gerald Gardner. 
GNOMES- an "entity" or "elemental" that dwells in the plane of Earth or is associated with the EARTH Element. 


God/Goddess - Blanket titles for the universal male & female energy celebrated by the Witches.  Together, their combined power equals "The All".
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 (such as lowering of the athame into the chalice), as the participants wish. 

Grimoire - Pronounced Grim-wah. A magickal workbook (Also called Book of Shadows, and sometimes a book of light), that contains rituals, magickal meanings of objects, etc.


Grounding - A meditation exercise that allows one to draw or send energy into the Earth.




HALLOWS- name used by some traditions for Samhain, or Halloween 
HANDFASTING- Wiccan (or Pagan or Gypsy) equivalent of a wedding. It can be made legal if the Priestess and/or Priest are registered as clergy with the local authorities, or it may only be considered binding within the coven. 


Hex - Curse
HIGH PRIEST/ESS- Technically speaking, a Witch who has received the 3rd. degree initiation. More usually, the male and female leaders of a coven.


Holy Water - Blessed, purified water for use in ritual.  Salt or an herb may be added to the water as part of its ritual purification process.




IMBOLC- Celtic name for Candlemas - see Candlemas 


Initiation - The process by which a Witch is admitted into a coven.


Infusion - A liquid produced by soaking herbs in hot water
INVOCATION- The ritual "calling-in" of an entity (or energies) higher than human, either for communication with the caller through a medium or by visible manifestation or else to enter into a human body as in the Drawing Down the Moon. In some traditions, a Prayer. 




LAMMAS- February 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. 


Lady - Title of honor for the Goddess.


Lord - Title of honor for the God.



Mabon - The Sabbat held on the Autumn Equinox (around Sept. 21) to celebrate the end of harvest.


Magick - The act of focusing the energies of the Universe to effect needed change on the mundane plane; reflection; contemplation. Spelled with a "k" on the end to differentiate with magician style "trick" magic.


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, & the period from Imbolc (Candlemas) to Beltane (May eve) where the energies are those of  initiating, beginning, & creation. 


Meditation - Mental, stress-relieving exercise used to draw body, mind, and spirit into one.


Midsummer - A Sabbat held on the Summer Solstice (around June 21) that celebrates the longest day of the year.


Moon Void of Course - An astrological term for when the  Moon leaves one aspect but has not yet entered the next sign. This stage lasts from a few hours to a few days. It is best to avoid any magick workings during this period (you will have trouble drawing energy and will be force to use your own) as well as avoiding making major decisions or planning important events.


Mundane Plane – The physical plane on which we exist



Old Ones, the - The ancient ones, Goddess and God

OLD RELIGION- another name for the Craft. 


Ostra - A Sabbat of marking the Spring Equinox (around March 21) and the return of the Sun and the fertility of the Earth.




Pagan - Originally meaning country dweller, than heathen, the modern definition is one who practices a polytheistic, nature-based, magick-embracing religion.

PAGANING- Presentation of an infant to the Circle and to the Gods. 


Pendulum- A divination device consisting of a string attached to a heavy object whose movement determines the answer
The prime magickal symbol of The Craft. A five-point star within a circle with each point representing an element and the fifth representing the Self or Aksha. It is a symbol of protection and power. Often a disc shaped talisman; in particular, the metal disc which represents the earth element among the witch's  working tools.  Often has the same meaning as "pentagram" any many use these two words interchangeably.
PENTAGRAM- 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. 


Personal Power - The energy you raise within yourself.


Phases of the Moon - The stages of the Moon (new, waxing, full, waning) as it journeys around Earth. One complete orbit of the Moon around the Earth is called a lunar cycle and takes 28 days There are 13 lunar cycles per year.


Planetary Hour - Also called a magickal hour.  Divisions of night and day that are guided by astrological influences and the energies of the various planets.


Projective Hand - Your dominate hand. This is the hand you use to send out and direct energy.



QUARTERS- The North, East, South, and West parts of a magickal circle or other ritual area. (See also "Watchtowers") 


Quarters of the Moon - Astronomical measurement of the Moon's cycle as it journeys around the Earth.  The first and second quarters encompass the stages from New to Full Moon, while the third and fourth quarters represent the journey back from Full to New.




Receptive hand - Your less dominate hand (if you are right handed, it would be your left hand). This is the hand that energy will flow in through. This is the hand that will sense energy.


Reincarnation - The doctrine of rebirth to allow the evolution of the soul.


Retrograde - When a planet, from the viewpoint of Earth, appears to be moving backward through space. When Mercury goes retrograde, it is a time for difficulty with communication, travel and electronics.


Ritual - A ceremony to mark the Sabbats, Esbats, dedications or for magickal workings and to unite with the Deities.


Runes - Stones, bones or wood pieces marked with magickal symbols. Used in divination
REDE- rule or law. 



SABBAT- A Witchcraft ceremony of honor acknowledging the eight segments of the Wiccan year and the cycle of the seasons.  There are eight Sabbats: Yule, Imbolc, Ostra, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasad, Mabon and Samhain.


Sacred Space – A cleansed and consecrated area used for ritual/magickal proposes. A sacred space can be created anywhere, if done properly. (See also casting a circle).
SALAMANDER- an entity that dwells in the realm of Fire. 
SAMHAIN- (Pronounced
Sow-en) The festival of remembrance for the dead, held on the eve April 30th. It is the last of the three harvests.  This festival also marks the transition of rulership of the "Wheel of the Year from that of the Goddess to that of the  God. 
SCRYING- divination, usually using such methods as crystal gazing, or divination via incense smoke, or water as opposed to tarot or other manipulative means. 


Scrying Mirror - A mirror used for divination purposes that is painted black.


Sigil --  A type of symbol. A magickally oriented seal, sign, glyph (sculptured character or symbol) or other device used in a magickal working. The most powerful sigils are those that you create yourself.


Solstice – Marks the longest day (Summer Solstice) and the longest night (Winter Solstice).


"So Mote It Be" – A popular Witch expression meaning “As I will, so it will be.”

SPELL- a prayer, or verbal direction of magickal energies toward the accomplishment of some goal. The act that may use a variety of aids (herbs, string, candles, etc.) to help the a Witch focus energy on his or her desire. 
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 that has been magickally charged and is then carried or kept near the person it was made for.


Tarot cards - A set of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana, which carry pictures and symbols used for divination.  No one knows the specific origin of the cards.

An organized, structured, specific Wiccan subgroup. Any of the various "sects" of Wicca such as  Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian, Seax, etc. 

The All -- The energy-force that "runs" the universe. Many Wiccans believe that our “All” is the same as other religions’ Gods.


Tuathail  - Another term for Widdershins




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 or direct a cone of some form of power, or channel energy,  or to invoke the deities.


Waning Moon – The phase of the moon between Full Moon and New Moon. This is the  time for performing banishing magick.

WARLOCK- a term coined in the Burning Times . It was used to  denote a traitor to the Craft, or one who had betrayed the followers of the Old Religion. It's origin is Scottish.  Because of the negative connotations, it is not used by most  Wiccans today, as a male Witch is also called a Witch.
WATCH TOWERS- Originally from the Enochian branch of  Ceremonial Magick, now incorporated into many "Traditions"  of Wicca, these are the four elemental "directions" or "quarters" (corresponding to the appropriate points on the compass) called to protect the Circle during its establishment. Each of them have a correspondence between the compass point, an element, and (varying amongst different traditions) colour associated with them. 

Waxing Moon – The phase of the moon from New Moon to Full Moon (Or getting "fuller"). This is the time for magick that involves growth and increase.


Wheel of the Year -- One full cycle of the Wiccan year, divided into eight seasons celebrated with the Sabbats.

WICCA- the name most modern day Witches use for the Craft. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Wicce, meaning to bend or to shape. This is the root word from which we get wicker.  Often reffered to as a contemporary pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence for nature and celebration of the Goddess and God. It is thought that this term was originally coined by Selena Fox of the Circle Sanctuary in an effort to describe the modern religion of Witchcraft (as begun by Gerald Gardner in England in the 1950's).


Wiccaning - The dedicating of a child to the Goddess and God. Note: This does not make the child a Witch
WIDDERSHINS- Against the sun (or "Clock wise" here in the Southern hemisphere). Used for "tearing  down" or "Banishing" magick. 


Witchcraft – The practice of Wicca, including spell work.


WIZARD - The old English meaning is "One who is wise". The term today generally means "practitioner of magick", usually (but not always) male, and different from Witches. Wizards usually act/practice alone.






Yule - A Sabbat marking the Winter Solstice (June. 21) celebrating the rebirth of the God.


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