Glossary of Terms Commonly Used in Wicca/Witchcraft
- An individual who through serious study and accomplishments is considered highly proficient in a particular magickal system. A person can be adept at Egyptian magickal practices, but lacking at practical kitchen magick.
- The use of the stars for divination.
- Sometimes known as the fifth element, Akasha is actually the omnipresent spiritual power that permeates the universe. It is the energy out of which the Elements formed.
- Akashic records:
- In the early part of this century the famed psychic Edgar Cayce brought to general society the thought form of Akashic records. It is believed that these records can be accessed for information on subjects such as past lives, healing, and other magickal/spiritual practices. This record system cannot be accessed by material equipment, only by the mind of the psychic or Witch through Universal connections.
- Any table or raised structure on which, during rituals and spell castings, candles and incense are burned, tools of magick are kept, and offerings of any kind are made to the Goddess and/or the God. The arrangement of altars varies from Witch to Witch and coven to coven; however, the usual items found on most Wiccan altars include candles, a pentacle, chalice, salt, incense, bell, athame, and a Goddess and/or God symbol. Nearly any piece of furniture with a flat surface can be used as an altar, and with a little imagination, outdoor altars can be easily made out of such things as garden benches, tree stumps, and large stones with flat tops.
- Feminine elements, generally hidden in men or male-oriented women.
- Male element, generally hidden in women or feminine-oriented men.
- A consecrated object (usually a small, colored stone, or a piece of metal inscribed with runes or other magickal symbols) that possesses the power to draw love or good luck, among other things. Amulets are also used to protect against threatening influences, evil, and misfortune.
- Fundamental elements of the Collective Unconscious which determine our patterns of thinking and behavior, but which can never be directly defined, only approximately, through symbols.
- Astral Projection:
- The act of separating the consciousness from the physical body and moving about the Astral Plane at will.
- The use of the stars for divination.
- The use of the stars for divination.
- A ritual knife with a double-edged blade and often with a black handle, used by Witches (and other practitioners of the magickal arts) to cast magick circles and to store and direct energy during rituals. It is never used for actual cutting, and is a personal tool.
- The force-field which surrounds the human body, generally described as a minimum of seven layers. The aura is visible to sensitive persons and special photographic equipment. The colors in the aura, its size and ‘structure’ can show much about that person’s health, emotional state and spiritual development.
- A fire lit for magical purposes, usually outdoors. Balefires are traditional on Yule, Beltane and Midsummer.
- That which destroys life: poisonous, dangerous, destructive, evil. The term also includes negative habits as well as threats of all kinds.
- A Wiccan/Pagan festival celebrated on November 1st (traditions vary). Beltane celebrates the symbolic union, mating or marriage of the Goddess and God, and links in with the approaching summer months.
- A Witches broom.
- The white-handled knife, used in magic and pagan ritual for practical purposes such as cutting herbs.
- Book of Shadows:
- A Wiccan/Pagan book of rituals, spells and magickal lore. Once hand copied upon initiation, the B.O.S. can now be found kept on computer disk, photocopied or typed. No “one true” Book of Shadows exists; all are relevant to their respective users.
- Burning Times, The:
- A term used for the period of persecution of witches (actual or alleged) which reached its height in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However the death, by flame, drowning or hanging, these atrocities continued until countless thousands were dead. Unfortunately persecution has continued even into the 21st century.
- Another name for Imbolc.
- A heat-proof container in which incense is smouldered. An incense burner. It symbolizes the element of Air.
- Charge, To:
- To infuse an object with personal power. “Charging” is an act of magick.
- The divination by examination of the hand.
- Circle, Magick:
- The protected area in which a Witch practices Magick and his/her religion. Often nine feet in diameter, this circle acts to keep magickal energies inside until released by those within the circle and to keep outside unwanted energies.
- Corn Dolly:
- A figure. often human-shaped, created by plaiting dried wheat or other grains. It represented the fertility of the Earth and the Goddess in early European agricultural rituals and is still used today. Corn dollies aren’t made from cobs or husks; corn originally referred to any grain other than maize and still does in most English-speaking countries.
- Cone of Power:
- The collective psychic charge built up by an individual or group at work. Visualized as a cone whose base is the Magick Circle with the apex above the center of the Circle.
- An organized group of Witches that meets and works together on a regular basis.
- A coven’s normal place of meeting.
- Craft of the Wise. One way of referring to the religion and practice of Witchcraft, an idiomatic expression. It’s like street slang, ie: “Are you into the Craft?” ,”I practice the Craft.” etc.
- A conscious direction of negative energy toward a person, place or thing. Because of the law of Karma, many people, including myself, will not practice negative magick. Contrary to popular belief. curses are rare and usually have no effect. Also known as psychic attack.
- Sunwise, the direction of the Sun’s apparent motion in the sky. In magick and religion, deosil movement is symbolic of life and positive energies.
- The magickal art of discovering the unknown through interpretation of seemingly random patterns or symbols, including the use of tools such as clouds, tarot cards, flames and smoke. Divination contacts the Psychic mind by tricking or drowsing the Conscious mind through ritual and by observing or manipulating tools. Many practitioners of Natural magick perform divination before a ritual to gain a true insight into the condition. 1: the art or practice of discovery of hidden knowlege through augery. 2: unusual insight or intuitive perception.
- Divine Power:
- The unmanifested, pure energy that exists within the Goddess and God. The life force, the ultimate source of all things.
- Drawing Down the Moon:
- Invocation of the Goddess aspect into a Witch for ritual purposes. To take on the qualities of the Goddess.
- Drawing Down the Sun:
- Invocation of the God aspect into a Witch for ritual purposes. To take on the qualities of the God.
- Earth Power:
- The energy that exists within stones, herbs, flames, wind, streams and other natural objects. In magick, Earth power is combined with personal power.
- A non-human, non-material entity of the nature of one of the elements (see below). The term is also used for a human thought-form which, spontaneously by strong emotion or deliberately by mental effort, is split off from its human originator and acquires temporary quasi-independent existence, for a purpose designed by the originator. ‘Created elementals’ of the latter kind can be given healing work to do.
- Elements, The:
- Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. These are the energies of our planet. Everything that exists (or that has the potential to exist) contains one or more of these energies. The elements hum within ourselves and are also in the world. The can be utilized to cause change through magick. The four elements are formed from the primal universal power–Akasha.
- A general term for the currently unmeasurable (but real) power that exists within all natural objects and beings- – including our own bodies. The ancient Hawaiians knew it as “mana” and it has been given many other names. This energy ultimately stems from the divine source of all that exists. It is the powerhouse, the fuel, of all forms of Magick.
- A Wiccan/Pagan ritual other than one of the eight seasonal festivals, or Sabbats, often occuring on the Full Moon.
- Calling up spirits or other non-physical entities, either to visible appearance or invisible attendance.
- An animal, physical or astral, kept by a Witch for the psychic help it can give (cats, dogs, horses, dragons are just examples). Their human partners are careful to give them psychic protection in return.
- Five-fold Kiss (Five-fold Salute):
- The witches’ ritual salute with kisses, on each foot, on each knee, on the lower abdomen, on each breast and on the lips, eight kisses in all. Normally used only within the ritual Circle.
- The element of fire or any fire elemental.
- The divination by means of configurations of earth or by means of figures derived from even or odd numbers.
- Great Rite:
- In Wicca, the major ritual combining the male-female energy polarity. Normally enacted in a symbolic manner.
- The process of shutting down Psychic awareness and reorienting the Conscious mind to the material world.
- A Wiccan wedding ritual.
- Hereditary Witch:
- A Witch who comes from a continuous family tradition and practice of the Craft.
- High Priest, High Priestess:
- 1) The male and/or female leader of a coven. 2) Any second-degree or third-degree Witch (depending upon tradition).
- The divination by water or other liquid (as by visions seen there in or the ebb and flow of tides).
- Imbolg, Imbolc:
- One of the eight major holidays or Sabbats. Celebrating early spring and the first stirrings of new life on or about August 1st.
- One who is new to the ways of the Craft, or a coven, also someone who is studying to become a High Priest or High Priestess. Several traditions have Degree requirements for advancement.
- The invitation of a non-corporeal entity of a higher order of being than oneself.
- The universal/ spiritual law of “cause and effect” where each person takes responsibility for his/her own actions.
- One of the eight major holidays, or Sabbats. The first of three harvest festivals, it is celebrated around or about February 1st or 2nd.
- One of the eight major holidays, or Sabbats, Mabon is celebrated on the Spring equinox (on or about September 21), and its main celebration is of the second harvest festival.
- The movement of natural energies to create needed change. Magick is the practice of rousing and building up this energy; giving it purpose through visualization, and releasing it to manifest the practitioner’s need. Magick is a natural, not supernatural, process, though it is little understood.
- Magickal Voice, The:
- That which is used in pronouncing words during a Spell. This is a strong, sure voice, free of doubt and insecurity. In some cases, the magickal voice may also be a forced, powerful whisper.
- Merry meet, Merry part, Merry meet again:
- Common greeting among Witches, used in and out of the ritual setting recognizing relationships continue in past, present and future.
- One of the eight major holidays, or Sabbats. Midsummer is celebrated on the summer solstice (on or about December 21 -31) and celebrates the height of the God’s power.
- Natural Magick:
- The practice of using personal power in conjunction with earth power to cause needed change. Natural Magick is a positive, loving, transformative process.
- Need, The:
- The purpose of a Spell or Ritual; a vacuum or unhappy condition in the practitioner’s life. The need may be love, health, peace, the banishment of harmful habits or thoughts, or one of many other changes.
- One of the eight major holidays, or Sabbats. Celebrated on the spring equinox (on or about September), its central theme is of fertility and the celebration of returning life.
- Paganism, Neo-Paganism:
- From Latin paganus, “peasant” or “country dweller.” Of or pertaining to indigenous folk religions and peoples.
- A tool of magick, consisting of a disc inscribed with a five pointed star.
- A five pointed star, the pentagram is rich in symbolism: it represents the 4 elements and spirit. It has been used in magick, usually for protection, for at least 2,000 years. Today it is often also frequently associated with Wicca. Through misinformation or the transmission of outright lies, the pentagram is sometimes believed to be a symbol of Satanism. It has never possessed this symbolism, and still doesn’t, save in the minds of those that would twist and pervert its true meaning for their own benefit.
- Personal Power:
- The energy that sustains our bodies. We first absorb it from our biological mother within the womb, and later from food, water, sunlight and other natural objects and sources. We release personal power during physical movement, exercise, sex, conception, childbirth, emotion, thought and Magick.
- Projective Hand:
- The useful or talented hand, usually the one used for writing, through which personal power is sent from the body during magick.
- Psychic Awareness:
- The human state in which information from the psychic mind is available to the conscious mind.
- The psychic reading of a material object, its associations and history, by handling it.
- The art of divination through the use of fire.
- Receptive Hand:
- The opposite of the projective hand, through which outside energies are absorbed into the body during magick.
- Ceremony. A specific form of movement, manipulation of objects and/or inner processes designed to produce specific results. In religion, ritual is geared toward union with the divine. In magick, it’s a series of simple actions (both external and internal) that allow the practitioner to move energy toward the need.
- The eight major holidays celebrated by Witches. They include: Imbolc (August 1); Ostara (September 21); Beltaine (November 1); Midsummer (December 21); Lughnasadh (February 1); Mabon (March 21); Samhain (May 1); Yule June 21). These dates differ slightly according to traditions and the solar calendar.
- Halloween; one of the eight major holidays, or Sabbats.
- The process of gazing at or into an object (a pool of water, flames, reflections) to still the conscious mind and to contact the psychic mind, to create psychic awareness.
- Skyclad, Starclad:
- Term used by Witches to designate the practice of ritual in the nude. Some traditions believe that Magick working is less hampered when the practitioner is skyclad.
- So Mote It Be:
- An affirmation that ends many chants and magickal rhymes. This has been in common usage for many years. A transliteration might be: “So must it be.”
- A magickal ritual usually involving spoken words.
- An object, similar to an Amulet but more specific and often constructive than merely protective. It is designed by an individual for a particular purpose, making the maximum use of appropriate symbols.
- Often a ritual meeting place which is used for no other purpose. This is not necessary since a Magick Circle may be cast anywhere.
- The various ‘versions’ of Paganism or Witchcraft where the rituals and teachings are passed on from teacher to student. Some of the traditions are: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Stregian, Wittan, Faerie, Dianic, just to name a few.
- The traditional name for a Water Elemental.
- The process of forming mental images. Magickal visualization consists of forming images of the practitioner’s need during ritual. Visualization is also used to direct personal power and other forms of energy for various purposes during magick.
- A derogatory term literally translated as “Oath Breaker.” Generally designates one who has ‘fallen away’ from the Craft and it’s beliefs.
- A commonly used name for the Craft. It is derived from the Old English wiccian, meaning ‘to practice witchcraft’.
- In an counter-sunwise direction. Used often in banishing or ending the ritual.
- A general term for a practitioner of the Craft. Many Pagans, however, do not consider themselves to be ‘Witches.’ We refer to each other as wen as to ourselves as this. A magical shaper of reality…. A trained and initiated practitioner of Witchcraft. In medieval and renaissance times, Witches specialized in herbalism and midwifery, and were mostly women. Modern Witches may be both men and women, and workings are directed primarily toward healing, both of people and the Earth.
- Witch Ball:
- A hollow sphere of plain or striated glass hung in cottage windows in the 18th century to ward off evil spirits but later often posted on top of a vase or suspended by a cord (as from the mantel piece or rafters) for a decorative effect. (Forerunner of the current christmas tree ornament.)
- Witch’s Rede:
- The single most common ethical statement acknowledged by witches is the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do as you will.” (ie: As long as no harm is done, follow your true spiritual path).
- Currently, the major faction of the Neo-Pagan religious movement. Organized in autonomous covens [or solitary practitioners]. Various denominations, known as traditions, include: Gardnerians, Alexandrians & Georgians (named after their late founders); Dianics (mostly all women, worshipping the Goddess exclusively); Faeries (mostly all men); Shamanics, who seek to function in the original tribal medicine way; various ethnic traditions, such as Welsh, Celtic, Norse, Saxon, Strega, etc.; and Eclectics, who assimilate whatever they find useful or appropriate.
X, Y, Z
- One of the eight major holidays, or Sabbats. Celebrated on the winter solstice (on or about December 21), its central theme is the welcoming of the new-born sun.
- Yule Log:
- A log burned with traditional ceremonies during the medieval celebrations of Christmas, perhaps a survival of an ancient pagan festival of the winter solstice, in which fire represented the sun. among all other traditions.