Welcome to PODSnet's glossary of Magickal and Occult terms. Here you will find terms often used in the Pagan, Heathen, magickal and occult communities that may confuse a newcomer. This glossary is a wonderful place to get started if you have little knowledge of our community. If by chance you have a term you don't see, please visit our forum and ask the community at large. We will be glad to answer your question and add the definition to our glossary.
Someone who is considered highly proficient in a particular magical system or are after serious study and accomplishments.
A masculine element, cool and dry. The color is yellow and its direction is east. Air is associated with communication, education, the intellect, wind and sound. Air is the breath of life. It is linked to creativity, divination, meditation and awareness.
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.
A formula-based system of magic. A theosophical approach to spiritual enlightenment by means of symbolically creating chemical experiments in the physical plane. The imbuing of mystical properties into normal devices without using personal energi
A Wiccan denomination founded in England in the 1960s by Alex Sanders.
A special flat surface or place set aside for magical workings and/or religious observance. An altar holds rituals and tools for magic and religious purposes.
A magically charged object that deflects specific (usually negative) energies. Generally, an amulet has a protective objective. It differs from a talisman, which is an object that is charged with power to attract a specific force or energy to its bearer.
The ancient Egyptian symbol that represents life, love and reincarnation. The symbol is described as a cross with a loop at the top, and may represent a mirror.
Daughter of the Goddess Diana, and a name for the Goddess used by Italian Witches or Strega, commonly used in many Wiccan traditions today.
The two halves of the Tarot deck. The Major Arcane consist of 22 cards that depict dominant occurrences in life. The Minor Arcane consists of 6 suite cards that depict smaller factors.
The manipulation of essential oils for therapeutic, cosmetic, magickal and spiritual purposes.
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.
Forms, facets or personas of deity. Examples include: Brighid, Eos and Kore, which are aspects of the Maiden, and the Maiden is an aspect of the Goddess.
A bundle of fresh herbs. Also, a perforated object used to sprinkle water during or preceding ritual for purifactory purposes.
Sprinkling with liquid in order to effect spiritual and magical cleansing. This is the most popular method of liquid-based space cleaning.
Another dimension of reality.
The process of separating ones astral (psychic) from ones physical body in order to travel to the Astral Plane.
A cleansed and consecrated Wiccan ritual knife. An athame usually has a double-edged blade and a black handle. An athame is used to cast and dissolve the Magic Circle; in this, it is interchangeable with the magic sword. It is never used to cut anything in the physical plane. It is used to direct personal power during ritual workings. An athame seldom (if ever) is used for actual, physical cutting. It is correct to term an athame a “magic knife.” In some traditions, the athame is considered a tool of the element of Fire. An athame differs from a White-Handled Knife (bolline), which is a normal cutting knife with a sharp blade and a white handle, and is used to cut herbs and slice the bread for the Simple Feast. As far as pronunciation goes, I say “ATH-ah-may.” Other traditions say “ah-THAW-may;” many Wiccans, particularly those practicing along American East-Coast say “Ah-THAM-ee” (to rhyme with “whammy” – I don’t like this at all).
A fire – usually an outdoor bonfire – lit for magical purposes. Balefires are traditional on Yule, Beltane and Midsummer.
That which destroys life, which is poisonous, destructive and dangerous. A fate or fated connection that will lead inevitably to the destruction of the named person or object.
To magically end something or to send away
A ritual used to rid oneself of unwanted thoughts, feelings, entities or influences. A rite used to dismiss any entities called to participate in a magical working or ceremony. A rite used to mark off sections in a particularly long ceremony.
A ritual instrument that unleashes vibrations, which have powerful effects in evoking good energies, halting storms and warding off evil spirits and spells. The bell is a feminine symbol, and so may be used to invoke the Goddess in ritual.
A Wiccan festival celebrated on April 30 or May 1 – traditions vary (I celebrate it on May 1, in part because I was born on Beltane - smile). Also known as May Day, Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. He and the Goddess fall in love, and unite as they lie among the grasses and flower blossoms. The Goddess becomes pregnant of the God. In this sabbat, rule of the Wheel of the Year is returned to the Goddess. The festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of the Maiden to the mother. Maypoles are sometimes used during Beltane rituals, but the cauldron is a more common focal point of ceremony, as it represents the Goddess. The May pole, of course, represents the God.
May Eve festival. 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 Sabbath 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.
An essential oil that is particularly good for depression and in helping the body to fight infections.
A broom used for magic and ritual, not for actual floor sweeping. The broom is a tool sacred to both the Goddess and God. One may begin a ritual by sweeping the area lightly with the broom, after which the alter is set up, the tools arranged and the ritual begun. The sweeping is not so much a physical cleansing, in fact, the broom bristles need not even touch the ground. Instead, the magical practitioner visualizes sweeping out the astral buildup that occurs where humans live, which purifies the area to enable smoother ritual workings. As with all magical tools, reserve the besom only for magic and ritual.
To magically restrain someone or something
Herbs containing a range of chemicals that have a bitter taste. Some are useful as appetite stimulants, others as anti-inflammatories or relaxants.
Magic which, either as a means of building power or as a goal, intentionally harms another being. A magical ideology that states that the practitioner and her or his pursuit of pure knowledge and/or physical well-being are more important than any other concerns, ethical or theological.
Magic which involves the use of blood, from the mage or from a sacrifice as a focus of power
A woman’s menstrual cycle. Her time of greatest energy or power is during the peak of her ovulation.
The White-Handled Knife, used in magic and ritual for practical purposes, such as cutting herbs or fruit, or slicing the bread for the Simple Feast. Compare with Athame, which is the blade used for directing personal power during ritual workings.
A personal Wiccan book of rituals, recipes, spells, techniques and magical lore. Once, a newly initiated witch would hand-copy a Book of Shadows. Some covens now type or photocopy the Book of Shadows. Note that no “true” Book of Shadows exists; each is relevant to its respective user, although each tradition has a “standard” version of the Book. Only another Witch may see ones Book of Shadows. Traditionally, it never should leave ones possession until death, at which time it should be destroyed. The term Book of Shadows was coined by Aleister Crowley.
A Wiccan tradition based upon the works of Gerald Gardner and Anglo-Saxon and Celtic lore. The theoretical coven-oriented form of witchcraft practiced in the British Isles before the coming of Gardner.
A misnomer used to refer to the period of persecution during the Middle Ages and later. Witches were only burned in Scotland and continental Europe. In England and the U.S., they were hanged. It is said that over nine million people, mostly women and children, were killed and tortured because they were accused of being witches. Many of these people were not even pagan.
The Wiccan communion that consists of a natural beverage and cake offered to each participant of a ritual. Cakes and Ale are used as a thanksgiving and as a means of grounding.
A Scottish denomination of witchcraft.
To invoke or evoke. An invocation or evocation.
See Imbolc. The festival held on February 1, also known as Imbolc.
North, south, East and West, marked by the colors of green, red, yellow and blue, respectively. The Circle is drawn to connect these four points.
Representing the womb of the Goddess, a cauldron is a fireproof pot – ideally iron – that is used to cook, burn, scry or hold things that are used in magic or ritual. The cauldron is symbolic of the element of Water, reincarnation and inspiration. It often is the focal point of ritual
A form of Wicca incorporating a generic Celtic pantheon and some Gardnerian ritual.
A heat-proof container in which incense is smoldered or burned. A censer symbolizes the element of Air.
Placing oneself in rapport with the center of one’s magical universe, which is also the center of one’s magical being. Thus, one promotes detachment from unbalanced passion, and forges a link to the energies of the universe.
Involving rather complex, high-liturgical rituals and elaborate tools, apparel and decorations. Ceremonial denotes these things specifically associated with an occasion or specific time and place, and the arrangement in which the ritual is conducted.
Originally, magical practice that is ceremonial in nature and purpose. Today it means ritual magic.
The seven major energy vortices or focal points found in the human body (aura). Also denotes smaller, similar vortices elsewhere on the body.
One of the tools of the Witch, a chalice is placed on the altar to represent the element of Water. A chalice may be a cup or decorative mug that also represents the Goddess. A chalice is used to drink wine, or ale during ritual. One also is used in performing the Symbolic Great Rite – a symbolic unification of the Goddess and God, in which an athame is lowered into a chalice
An essential oil used in aromatherapy to calm nerves.
Moving one’s astral self aside to allow another entity partial or complete control over one’s body.
(1) To infuse an item with your will, energy and intent. Or allow an item to be charged with the natural energy of the universe. Charging is an act of magick
(2) A sacred trust. A responsibility owed to a person. My student is my charge.
(3) A prayer of invocation Example: The Charge of a Goddess.
(4) An order or a command issued by a diety or a respected high priestess or priest.
The traditional words of the Goddess to her followers. It is normally declaimed by the High Priestess at every coven Circle.
An object that is charged and instilled for a specific task.
A cord. Traditionally used in symbolic binding rituals. It may be a single, red braided cord, or three cords braided together in the colors of red, black and white. The traditional Wiccan belt is a silk cord, nine feet long
See Magic Circle.
See Magic Circle. This is the area in which the magical worship and spells occur.
Removing any negative energy, vibrations or images from a person, place or object.
Power or psychic energy raised in the circle by the Witch (or the Witches assembled) and sent out into the world to achieve a purpose or goal. The Cone of Power usually is visualized as being retained and built in a conical form prior to release.
The analytical, materially based, rational part of our consciousness. This is the mind at work when we theorize, compute or come to terms with ideas. Compare with psychic mind, which is the subconscious or unconscious mind, and which is at work when we meditate, sleep and dream.
Dedication of an object to a spirit or deity, enabling it to serve as a conduit for energy or blessings. Blessing of an object or place by instilling it with positive energy.
An organized group of Witches, usually initiatory, which is headed by one or two leaders, and which practices magic and performs ritual together. A coven traditionally consists of 13 members, but most are considerably smaller. The group meets regularly for worship and fellowship, and is led by a High Priestess and/or a High Priest.
The regular meeting place for a coven, which usually is the home of the High Priestess or High Priest.
A non-Witch. This term has been used in a derogatory manner to indicate a non-initiate or pretender to “real craft.” The term has generally fallen out of usage.
Wicca, witchcraft or folk magic.
The modern name for the Celtic Fire Festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas.
A quartz crystal (or glass) magickal tool that is used in contemplative divination. The crystal represents the Goddess, as do all circles. The crystal may be used to receive messages from the Gods, to call up images of the Goddess, to store energy raised during ritual or to see past lives. The crystals do not have to be perfectly clear, in fact some practitioners prefer ones that have natural distortions within them or natural colors which aide them in their scrying
A cauldron on a stem that symbolizes the Goddess and fertility. The cup is related to the element of Water, and can be made of nearly any substance: silver, gold, brass, earthenware, alabaster, crystal or other materials.
A religious or philosophical source of inspiration and control, possessed of an independent personality, which may or may not be an archetype. A god or goddess (usually The Goddess and/or the God) that the magical practitioner chooses to honor or call upon.
Clockwise or sunwise. The direction of the sun’s apparent motion in the sky. Deosil is the traditional direction for working “building” magic. In magic in the Northern Hemisphere, deosil movement is symbolic of life, positive energies and “good.” It is much used in rituals and spells. Some Wiccans below the equator have changed from deosil to widdershins movements in their rituals, as the sun “moves” in an apparent counterclockwise motion from this vantage point.
One of several neo-pagan traditions whose main (and sometimes only) focus is a goddess figure.
The magical art of inquiring or discovering the unknown by interpreting symbols or random patterns or through the use of tarot cards, rune stones, tea leaves, clouds, smoke, flame, the I-Ching and other tools. Divination contacts the psychic mind by drowsing the conscious mind through ritual and observation, or through manipulation of tools. Divination is not necessary for those who easily can attain communication with the psychic mind, though they may practice it.
Tarot cards, runes, pendulums and the I-Ching all are used as means of looking into the future, performing magic and to aid in decision making.
The un-manifested, pure energy that exists within the Goddess and God. The life force, the ultimate source of all things. Compare with Earth Power and Personal Power.
The art of using a pendulum or stick to find the location of a person, place or object. This technique an be used to answer yes or no questions.
A ritual invocation of the spirit of the Goddess into the body of the solitary Witch or into the body of the High Priestess by the High Priest. This empowers the practitioner with the power of a lunar goddess.
Not a sedative sleep aid, but a concoction designed to promote dreaming.
In Greek lore, a wood nymph or spirit of the woods.
A feminine element, cold and moist. The color of this element is green, and its direction is north. Earth is associated with beauty, growth, abundance, nurturing, healing, stability and the bounty of the planet. This element also represents wisdom and prosperity. Earth is a very stable energy that builds slowly with its fibers tightly woven; but even though its energy is stable, it has unpredictable moments in which it unleashes its power.
A form of magic wherein the powers and energies of Mother Earth are used in magical workings and rituals.
The energy that exists within herbs, stones, flames, wind and other natural objects. It is manifested Divine Power, and can be used during magic to create needed change. Compare with Personal Power.
A witch who uses no tradition or teaching of the craft save for a combination of teachings and traditions researched by them for their own use.
A group of experienced individuals who oversee the operation of a church or coven.
Any system that attempts to explain all matter as a mixture of basic component parts.
Earth, Air, Fire and Water (plus Spirit, or Akasha for elemental magic). The essences that form the building blocks of the universe. Elements are regarded as realms or categories of nature – material and non-material – and are not to be confused with the Physicists Table of Elements, which the Smart Witch, of course, accepts. Everything that exists or that has the potential to exist contains one or more of these elements, each of which has specific energies and associations. The elements hum within everyone, and also are “at large” throughout the world. Elements can be used to cause change through magic. The four elements are formed from the primal essence or power: Akasha.
Either of the two times each year (around March 21 and September 23) when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are everywhere of equal length.
Either of the two times each year (around March 21 and September 23) when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are everywhere of equal length.
A Wiccan ritual, usually occurring on the full moon. Esbats may be held weekly or biweekly at the meeting of a coven, and on the new moon as well.
Volatile liquids extracted by various methods – usually steam distillation – from aromatic botanicals.
The calling up of an archetype, deity or spirit, either to visible appearance or invisible attendance. Work with external entities, either naturally occurring or manufactured. To call an entity into existence, whether within or without one’s own body, where the caller is in a position of equal or superior power t the caller. Compare with invocation.
A category of Spirits that includes devas, flower fairies and Fairy Folk. They are considered to be beautiful, seductive and temperamental. Also spelled faerie or faery; a mythical being of folklore and romance usually having magic powers and dwelling on earth in close relationship with humans. It can appear as a dwarf creature typically having green clothes and hair, living underground or in stone heaps, and characteristically exercising magic powers to benevolent ends; as a diminutive sprite commonly in the shape of a delicate, beautiful, ageless winged woman dressed in diaphanous white clothing, inhabiting fairyland, but making usually well-intentioned intervention in personal human affairs; or as a tiny, mischievous, and protective creature generally associated with a household hearth.
An animal or spiritual ally who has a bond with the practitioner, and who aids the practitioner in magical workings. A Witch’s pet animal, which has been trained to be a magical helper, or an artificially created elemental, which performs the same functions as the animal friend.
A masculine element, hot and dry. The color of fire is red, and its direction is south. Fire represents the passion and desire burning inside everyone. Fire is the most physical of elements; it is linked to courage and transformation. Fire is the element of change, and the spark of spirit within each person. This element can burn both fast and furious, or it can just lie and smolder until the right moment.
The Witches’ ritual salute, with, actually eight kisses as follows: (1) on each foot, (2) on each knee, (3) above the pubic hair, (4) on each breast and (5) on the lips. The fivefold kiss is used only within the Circle, but the words that go with it are the origin of “Blessed Be.”
An eclectic collection of herbalism, faith healing, curses and hexes, candle magic and so on that has thrived in rural areas that still practice old religions or forms of them.
An essential oil extracted from the gum resin of the Boswellia Thurifera tree. This oil is calming and deepens the breathing. It can aid in producing a contemplative state during meditation.
A moon phase in which the full face of the moon is visible (the moon is round).
A tradition of Witchcraft descended from the teachings of Gerald Gardner in the 1950s.
An essential oil that is relaxing in small quantities and makes a good massage oil.
An entity or elemental that dwells in the plane of Earth and is associated with the Earth Element. In Greek lore, an earth elemental holding secrets of metallurgy and the treasures of the earth. Usually appearing in the form of a short, squat human-like creature with gnarled, leathery skin.
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a magical order that began in the late 19th century. It is dedicated to Hermetic Magic.
The rite that is the main feature of the third degree initiation, and which also is laid down for certain festivals. This rite is sexual in nature and may be “actual” (private to the couples concerned) or symbolic.
Magic that is very Earth oriented, where the practitioner attempts to attune herself or himself to the needs of nature and tries to fulfill those needs.
Another name for the God; referring to his aspect of Lord of the Woodlands.
A magical workbook or text containing ritual information, formulas, magical properties of natural objects and preparation of ritual equipment. Many grimoires include “catalogs of spirits.” Grimoires first appeared in the 16th and 17th centuries, although it is thought that they may in fact be far older works, as they contain traces of Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Sumerian and late-Egyptian rites. The most famous of the old grimoires is arguably The Key of Solomon.
Making a connection to any element, but especially to Earth, through which energy may be given or taken.
The angels or creatures that protect the four corners (the elements).
A name used by some traditions for Samhain (Halloween).
A pagan, Wiccan or Gypsy wedding ceremony. The wedding may be legal if the Priestess or Priest are registered as clergy (or in some states, as Notaries) with local or state authorities, or it may be considered binding only within the coven.
A useful plant, which is valued for its medicinal, aromatic or savory qualities. A plant of which the leaves, or stems and leaves, are used for food or medicine, or for their scent or flavor.
One who, before formal training, exhibits magical talents, which were likewise exhibited by their ancestors. One who follows a tradition of witchcraft that has been transmitted from generation to generation within that person’s family.
A Witch who has received the third degree initiation, or, more usually, the male and female leaders of a coven.
Used for cleansing and purification, in healing spells and to cleanse and consecrate ritual tools and magical items. This is not necessarily church-blessed water; it may be specially charged rainwater or spring water to which salt has been added. Holy Water sometimes has been herb infused.
A Wiccan festival celebrated on February 2 also known as Candlemas, Oimelc, Brigit’s Day, Feast of Pan, Feast of Torches and Feast of the Waxing Light). Imbolc celebrates the first stirrings of spring and the recovery of the Goddess from giving birth to the sun (the God) at Yule. Imbolc is a sabbat of purification, a festival of light and fertility. It is a traditional time for initiation into a coven and for self-dedication rituals.
The spoken part of a spell. A verse that is by nature of its sound and tone possessed of power.
The process by which one medium or power is encouraged to permeate another. The most common are botanicals infused in oil or water.
A profound spiritual experience that sets one on the path to enlightenment. A ceremony by which such an event is celebrated, and/or one becomes a member of a particular magical or religious group. A system of degrees achieved through different levels of spiritual learning within a coven setting. The process whereby an individual is introduced or admitted into a group, skill, interest or religion. Initiations may be ritual occasions, but also may occur spontaneously.
An appeal or petition to a higher power or powers, such as the Goddess and God. A prayer. This is the ritual calling-in of an archetype, spirit, deity or energies higher than human, for communication with the caller through a medium or by visible manifestation. It also may be a request or prayer to enter the body of the human, as in the Drawing down the Moon. Invocation is a method of establishing conscious ties with those aspects of the Goddess and God that dwell within us. In essence, we seemingly cause them to appear or make themselves known by becoming aware of them
A practitioner of the old Hawaiian philosophical, scientific and magical system.
A belief system that is similar to the saying, “what goes around, comes around.” Karma can be either “good” or “bad.” What one does in one life will determine whether they are rewarded or punished in the next life.
A double-headed axe that symbolized the Goddess in ancient Crete. A labrys is used by some modern Wiccans for the same purpose. It may be leaned against the left side of the altar or placed atop the altar.
See Lughnassadh. This is the August 1 Festival of the First Fruits, and marks the change of the Threefold Goddess energies from that of Mother to Crone.
An essential oil that is known for its ability to heal burns and wounds. It is an excellent relaxant.
A variation of the Law of Return, believed by some, which holds that the return is threefold for any action one takes.
Magnetite. Magnetic iron ore. The lodestone represents the magical bridge between the realms of stone and iron. Lodestones attract and draw good fortune – wealth, love and success. They are used in healing rituals to draw pain from the body.
Celebrated on August 1, Lughnasadh is the time of the first harvest, when the God loses his strength as the sun rises farther in the south each day and the nights grow longer. The Goddess watches in sorrow and joy as the God begins to die, yet lives inside her as her child. Lughnasadh is also known as August Eve, Feast of the Bread, Lammas and Harvest Home.
The autumn equinox, on or about September 21, is the completion of the harvest begun at Lughnasadh. Day and night are equal on this day, and nature is preparing for winter, as the God prepares to leave his physical body and begin his journey into the unseen toward renewal and rebirth of the Goddess.
The world around us.
The manipulation of Earth’s naturally occurring powers in an attempt to provide the spell caster with the success and happiness she or he desires. The movement of natural energies – such as personal power – to create needed change. Energy exists within all things, and magic is the process of building up or rousing this energy, giving it purpose and releasing it. Magick is a natural – not supernatural – practice, although it is little understood. Magick is spelled with a "k" intentionally to separate it from stage magic which is not supernatural or spiritual in nature. However in modern times aggressive auto correcting spell checkers eradicate the "k" without mercy.
A sphere constructed of personal power, in which magical rituals usually are enacted. The Magic Circle extends above the ground and penetrates below it. It is created through visualization and magic.
See athame. This is a knife that is used to direct the energy raised during rites and spells. It is not used for cutting purposes.
Specific and deliberate attempt to harness and manipulate the energy following a formula or direction. A conscious, formalized attempt to manipulate magic power and energy in order to achieve personal goals.
The descriptive term for 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 creating. Maiden may also be an appointment held by one of the women of a coven. She is virtually the assistant High Priestess.
A practice that is committed to the use of whole, un-extracted herbs, in the belief that the active principles are safer if they are not taken in isolation from other naturally occurring organic substances. Herbs may be recommended to redress deep-seated nutritional or biochemical deficiencies.
Contemplation, reflection, turning inward toward the self, or outward toward deity or nature. Meditation is a quiet time in which the practitioner may dwell upon particular thoughts or symbols, or may allow them to come unbidden.
A massive stone monument or structure. Stonehenge is probably the best-known example of megalithic construction.
The essential oil from the lemon balm plant. Its soothing properties can disperse depression.
A standing stone, which may have been lifted by early peoples for religious, magical or spiritual reasons.
The world within us.
The summer solstice (on or about June 21). Midsummer is also known as Litha, and arrives when the powers of nature reach their highest point. The earth is awash in the fertility of the Goddess and God. The sun is symbolically at the height of its powers, and so to is the God. Midsummer is a classic time for magic of all kinds. A fire is lit to represent the sun, which is celebrated on this time of the longest daylight hours. A fire will also serve to encourage purification, fertility, health and love.
Deities, presences or beings that often are invoked during rites to witness or guard the ceremonies. The Mighty Ones are thought to be spiritually evolved beings or spiritual entities created and charged by the Goddess and God to protect the Earth and to watch over the four directions.
Rocks, crystals and gemstones.
Literally, a new-pagan. A member, follower or sympathizer of one of the newly-formed or re-discovered Earth-based religions spreading throughout the world. All Wiccans are pagan, but not all pagans are Wiccan.
An essential oil that comes from the bitter orange tree. It induces calm in cases of anxiety and nervous tension. It also can encourage sleep.
The mixing of metaphysical practices within a structured religion.
A phase of the moon in which none of the moon’s face is visible. When the moon is dark.
In Mediterranean mythology, a nature spirit, usually in the form of a human-like female. Nymphs include Oreads (spirits of mountains and grottoes), Napaeae, Auloniads, Hylaeorae, Alsaeds (spirits of woods and valleys), Dryads and Hamadryads.
A writing system and sign language used by the ancient Celts, dating from the third or fourth century, CE. Each character represents a species of tree considered holy.
The Old Ones is a Wiccan term often used to encompass all aspects of the Goddess and God.
Another name for the Craft.
Occurring at the spring equinox, around March 21, Ostara marks the beginning of true, astronomical spring. As such, it is a fire and fertility festival, celebrating the return of the sun, the God and the fertility of the Earth (the Goddess). On Ostara, the hours of day and night are equal. The Goddess blankets the Earth with fertility, and the God grows to maturity; together they impel the wild creatures of the Earth to reproduce. Ostara is a time of beginnings, of action, of planting spells and of tending ritual gardens.
A follower of a nature-based religion. It is important to remember that all Wiccans are pagan, but not all pagans are Wiccans. There is a variety of pagan religions; Wicca is just one of them.
Presentation of an infant to the Circle and to the gods.
The deities observed by a particular cultural group.
A Scottish Wiccan tradition made for solitary practitioners.
Usually a flat, disc-shaped piece of gold, silver, brass, wax, wood or clay that has been inscribed with symbols. The most common – in fact the only necessary – symbol is the pentagram. The pentacle may be an instrument of protection or a tool used to evoke spirits. It represents the element of Earth, and is a convenient tool upon which to place amulets, charms or other objects to be ritually consecrated. Pentacles may be hung over doors to act as protective devices.
The five-pointed star that has been used for millennia in magic. With a single point uppermost, the pentagram represents the human being. Inverted, with two points uppermost, it can have Satanist associations, but not necessarily. Some traditions of Wicca, for instance, use the inverted pentagram to signify an initiate of the second degree.
A system of hourly division associated with planetary energies.
The North, East, South and West parts of a magical circle or other ritual area.
Rule or law.
A belief system that one’s soul lives many life times in order to grow and learn.
Ritual. An elaborate and focused ceremonial celebration, organized for a specific purpose.
A proscribed set of activities used as part of a ceremony, as worship, or as a part of magical operations. Ritual involves rather complex, high-liturgical rituals and elaborate tools, apparel and decorations. It may involve a proscribed series of rites. A ritual may be a ceremony in which the Goddess and God are honored, a sabbat is celebrated or energy is focused toward a specific goal.
An essential oil that comes from the damascene, centifolia and gallica varieties of rose. Aromatherapists value it for tension in women, particularly for post-natal depression and the stress from the breakup of a relationship.
A set of symbols that are used for divination and magical purposes. Runes from different origins – Germanic and Anglo-Saxon – have different symbols and meanings.
One of the eight festivals or high holy days of Wicca. Sabbats are holiday-like celebrations that mark a season, time of planting or time of harvest. By observing the sabbats, magical practitioners attune themselves to the Earth and to the deities. They reaffirm their earth roots.
An entity that dwells in the realm of Fire.
On October 31, the God is bid (temporarily) farewell as he readies to be reborn of the Goddess at Yule. Samhain is a time of reflection, of looking back over the past year, of coming to terms with death. Many believe that on this night, the separation between the physical and spiritual realities is thin. This is a time of remembering ones ancestors, and all those that have gone before. On Samhain, which also is known as November Eve, Feast of the Dead, All Hallows and Feast of Apples, the wheel of the year is complete, and rulership of the Wheel of the Year has transitioned from that of the Goddess to that of the God.
This heavy, luxurious essential oil is useful for tension and anxiety. It has a folk reputation as a sexual stimulant.
Divination, usually using such methods as crystal gazing, or divination via incense smoke, water, cracked ice or ink in water, versus Tarot, runes or other manipulative means.
A denomination of Wicca founded in 1973 by Raymond Buckland, designed primarily for solitary practitioners.
A practitioner of shamanism who also fills the role of a healer, priest and/or sage for her or his society.
A theosophy and magical practice involving travel to other worlds and communication with otherworldly beings through a trance-like state. In many cultures, this is brought on by ecstatic dance or psychoactive drugs. Shamanism also is typified by a belief that every being (living and sometimes unloving) has a spirit, which is expressed as an archetype (totem) in the other worlds.
A sacred place that holds a collection of objects representing a deity.
A magically oriented seal, sign or glyph that is used in magical workings or rituals.
A ritual meal shared with the Goddess and God. It is usually done with cakes and ale.
The act of working magic or performing rituals in the nude.
A Witch who works or practices alone, without a coven.
The time of the sun’s passing a solstice, which occurs about June 21 to begin summer in the northern hemisphere, and about December 21 to begin winter.
The extension of mental and emotional energy in order to accomplish a specific goal. A magical ritual, direction or prayer – although it is usually non-religious in nature – often accompanied by spoken words toward the accomplishment of some purpose. A spell may be written, spoken or drawn. A spell will open a path for one to take in order to reach the goal