Adept: A person that has become highly proficient in a particular magickal art(s) through dedication, much study, and practice.
Akasha: What some deem the fifth Element, Spirit. It is the ever-present spiritual energy inherent in all parts of the universe. It occupies the top point of the Pentacle and is considered the center of the Cardinal directions and their reference Elements.
Akashic Records: The popular psychic, Edgar Cayce, derived the thought of the Akashic records, and delivered the notion to society. Allegedly, there is a vast collection of information somewhere that can be accessed for information such as magickal workings, past lives, healing abilities, ect. The records are accessed through using the mind to "tap into" universal energies, and the information is attained from there.
Altar: An area or surface built or designed exclusively for magickal or religious workings and ritual.
Amulet: A magickally enhance object designed to deflect specific types of energy, usually negative.
Ankh: 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.
Astral Projection: The process of separating your astral body from your material body allowing motion through astral (non-physical) planes.
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: 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.
Balefire: A synonymous word of 'Bonfire', a balefire is a communal bonfire of the Sabbats, most notably used at Beltane, Litha and Lughnasadh.
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.
Besom: 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: 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 witch's 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.
Burning Times, The: 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.
Cardinal Directions: The four familiar directions of the compass and their relative Elements. Many Crafters utilize the Cardinal directions to attune with the elements of the universe. The directions and their reference Elements are:
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: 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 conjunct.
Drawing down the Sun: Used to draw down the powers of the sun into a male witch. Very powerful on the Equinoxes and Solstices.
Earth Mother: The identification as the Earth being the bringer of life, hence the idea of “Mother Earth.”
Earth Religion: “A religion wherein the worshipper strives to be in harmony with the Earth and with all life-forms. These religions are opposed to the Christian view that the world is a resource to be subdued and exploited; or that humans have the right to dominate and/or subjugate other life-forms.”
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.
Esbat: 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.
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.
Gaia: The Greek Goddess, the protective spirit of the Earth. Often used in environmental activist campaigns.
God: The aspect of a masculine deity.
Goddess: The aspect of a feminine deity.
Guardians of the Four Quarters (Watchtowers): Astral entities associated with the Elements of the four Cardinal Directions. The Guardians are used by Ceremonial Magicians and many Wiccans to watch over a ritual and provide protection at the Four Quarters of the Magick Circle.
Guardian Spirits: Spirits that are present in our lives, and serve as protectors of our person and spirit. It is believed that everyone has Guardian Spirits, though very few are aware of the role they play.
Handfasting: A Pagan or Wiccan marriage ceremony which traditionally takes place at a specified period of time depending on one's tradition.
Heathen: This word is roughly synonymous with “Pagan” and literally means a dweller on the heath.
Herbalism: The magickal and medicinal art of using herbs for the practitioner's use or benefit.
Horned God, The: “The Horned God is an ancient symbol predating Juadaism (and therefore Christianity.) The Horned God has NOTHING in common with ‘Satan’ (a Judaeo-Christian Deity) except for his ‘horns’. Actually the horns are antlers, not little pointy things.”
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.
Karma: Karma follows the law of cause and effect. It is the belief that what one's actions do in this lifetime, will carry over to the next life and lives to come.
Labrys: An ancient Crete symbolization of the Goddess through a double-headed ax, portraying the “crescent moon” shapes in the blades. Still used by some Wiccans as a ritual tool.
Libation: Drink or sometimes food, given to a deity, or spirit during ritual.
Magick: The use of energy and a person’s own will and intent to cause change. It has a “k” added to the end to establish it as spiritually unique and to distinguish it as separate from magic tricks.
Magick Circle: A spherical boundary of energy used to protect the magick person from outside influences that may disrupt the ritual. Some also use a physical boundary to assist in the establishing and maintaining of the sphere. Wiccans and Ceremonial Magicians use Magick Circles all the time, while Tradcrafters use them not at all.
Magick Knife: See Athame.
Nature-based Religion: See Earth Religion
Neo-Pagan: Applies to the various movements incepted since the 1950's, when the British anti-witchcraft laws were finally repealed.
Neo-Paganism: “A modern Earth Religion which adapts aspects of the pre-Christian Pagan religions; (most often from the ancient Norse traditions) and couples these practices with additions from contemporary religious thinkers.
Occult: That which is hidden behind appearances and part of what is mystical. Often used to refer to the use of nature to develop psychic skills and the use of ancient philosophies to find greater enlightenment and further one’s spiritual growth.
Pagan: One who follows or practices an earth-based or nature-based religion. A pagan is not always wiccan, but a wiccan is always pagan.
Paganism: This is a broad, general term for nature-centered, polytheistic religions.
Pagan Rede/Wiccan Rede: Summed up as "An ye harm none, do what thou will".
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.
Polarity: The notion of equal and opposite energies. Polarity implies balance: Good/Evil, Light/Dark, Positive/Negative, Sun/Moon, Hot/Cold, etc. (An excellent example is the Yin Yang symbol.)
Polytheism: The belief in the existence of multiple deites or godheads, as opposed to monotheism, where only a single god or godhead is revered. Priest/Priestess: A person (term depends on gender) dedicated to the service of a chosen deity or group of deities, and helping mankind. Note: Neither gender has a dominating position in Paganism.
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.
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: One of the days of Power. These are comprised of the eight solar festivals that celebrate the wheel of the year.
Satanism: "Based on being a perversion of the Judaeo-Christian religion, Satanism is NOT a pagan religion. If anything, it is a 'reverse Christianity'. Satanists believe in the existence of the Judaeo-Christian deities, Yaweh, as well as his great adversary Satan. (Pagans do not acknowledge either.)"
Scrying: A form of divination using mirror and bowls where the user "sees" images, pictures of thoughts themselves.
Secret Society: "Secret Societies are organizations which have an elect membership, and strive to keep either themselves or their tenants from public scrutiny. Rosicrucians are one such order."
Shaman: A person (male or female) that possesses knowledge of the subtle energies of the world. Many Shaman were considered "Wise Men" (or Women) within their cultures. Their understanding of the subtle energies allowed them to perform magick.
Shamanism: The act of practicing Shamanistic abilities. Some times a religious practices, sometimes magickal, and at times both.
Sidhe: The name generally applied to all the faery races of Ireland and Scotland.
Sigil: A magickal seal or sign that is used during a magickal work. They can be used to transfer, carry, or magnify energy, and have a large variety of applications.
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.
Spirit: A non-physical entity possessing thought, will, and life. Spirits are not supernatural, for they occur naturally within nature.
Talisman: An object consecrated with energy in order for it to serve a specific purpose or intent. The object helps to bring positive changes to the person it belongs to or to their environment.
Tarologist: One who is accomplished at handling the Tarot.
Tarot: 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.
Tradcraft: "This word is used to differentiate between the practices of traditional / hereditary witchcrafters and the practices of Wiccans."
Tradition: Can be thought of as "denomination" of Paganism, the path one follows. Tradition does no imply a recognized religion, for there are many more personal religions than there are recognized religions. Some of the ‘trads’ of Wicca are:
Warlock: Often used to mean a male Witch, but this is incorrect. The word actually comes from the Old English, and means "oath breaker". It refers to the Inquisitors' early tactic against Witch covens, where a deep-cover agent was sent to infiltrate a coven, and upon being initiated was to betray the coven members. Unfortunately for the agent, the Inquisitors usually tortured ALL initiated members of the coven, which included the agent.
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: Wicca represents an ancient religion of love for life and nature. Wicca 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.
Wiccan: Someone who follows the religion of Wicca. Wicca is a nature-based religion based on pre-Christian beliefs that honors the earth as sacred and sees deity as both male and female, God and Goddess. Wicca was founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s.
Widdershins: 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 worldwide although traditionally those of Anglo-Celtic, Celtic or Teutonic traditions. (Both men and women are called Witches)
Witchcraft: The art of performing rituals, casting spells and doing other magickal work. Often part of various Pagan beliefs, it is not a particular belief or religion in itself. Witchcraft does not involve the summoning of demons or worshiping Satan.