Pagan & Magickal Terms and Definitions
Some terms listed on this page may seem like common-sense words; however, they're defined here as most often used in Wicca, Witchcraft, and general Paganism. Some terms have a different meaning in general society, other religions, and other sub-cultures.
Please keep this in mind when learning the terms as they're listed here.
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A - Absolute to Axis Mundi
Absolute: concentrated, highly aromatic mixture similar to essential oils.
Acolyte: a novice; person in training or apprenticeship.
Aisling: a dream vision.
Alchemy: an art-science hybrid that ultimately led to chemistry; concerned with the transmutation of matter, often involved attempts to convert base metals into gold or create a universal elixir.
Akasha: spirit; the fifth element; omnipresent spiritual power permeating the universe; the energy out of which the elements are formed. Generally associated with the life force.
Akashic Records: Location on the astral plane containing all souls' knowledge past, present, and future. Some practitioners access to review past lives, heal ancestral curses/wounds, and other magickal purposes, generally of a fact-finding or healing nature.
Altar: a surface, usually flat, that is set aside for magickal workings and/or communing with spirits; sometimes used as a focus for power. Some traditions use multiple altars devoted to specific purposes.
Amulet: an object which has been known to give protection to its carrier by dispelling or driving away negativity and other unsavory energies; objects used are generally found in nature such as stones. (see also Talisman)
Ancestors: spirits of deceased humans with whom you have strong bonds such as family members, friends, etc. Some traditions recognize only blood-relative ancestors, particularly on the subject of ancestral curses. Others recognize various other ancestors including the Mighty Dead.
Ancestor Veneration: also called "veneration of the dead," refers to honoring and respecting the deceased. Specific methods of doing so and why differs between cultures, religions, families, etc. (see also Ancestors)
Angels: divine beings known throughout many religions and cultures spanning to as far back as known recorded history. Generally known for their roles as messengers, protectors, and spiritual guides.
Animism: the belief that all objects have a spirit.
Animist: a person who believes all objects have a spirit.
Ankh: an ancient Egyptian symbol resembling a cross with a loop at the top. It symbolizes life and cosmic knowledge. Most Egyptian Gods and Goddess are shown carrying one. Also known as the crux ansata, the Ankh is used in modern craft for fertility and health.
Annoint: to rub, smear, or dab an oil, ointment, or potion onto an object or person as part of a religious or magickal practice as a means of imbuing with intended energies, status, or other specified purpose.
Anointing Oil: a skin-safe, scented oil, that is dabbed on the body (common locations are the pulse points and forehead) in order to purify an individual mentally and physically.
Archetype: universal pattern, symbol, or figure believed to be of primordial origins; typically used as a form of language between the conscious and subconscious minds. The most famous theories and discussions of the role and importance of archetypes were first proposed by psychologist Carl Jung.
Aromatherapy: form of alternative healing using essential oils, believed to contain the power of plants and that the medicinal properties of those plants can work through the olfactory system (sense of smell) as smell is shown to affect the conscious mind; may be used in a multitude of ways, such as candles, and incorporated into other modalities such as massage.
Asperger: a bundle of fresh herbs or other object used to sprinkle consecrated water around the circle to purify the space; also, the person using the herb bundle.
Asatru: the frequently recognized of the revival Heathenry religious movements.
Astral Plane: realm believed to be beyond space and time; considered by some as an alternative dimension running alongside the physical realm we currently inhabit where beings (including ourselves) can travel and interact in spirit or astrally; sometimes visited to perform magick that can affect change on the physical plane.
Astral Projection: also called astral traveling; the art of "leaving one's body" while in a trance state to visit other locations or realms astrally, or "in spirit." Traveling into the astral plane, generally understood as a parallel world unseen in our world of form. Studies have shown an individual successfully astral projecting can be seen and heard by a non-projecting individual on this plane, giving credit to this ability.
Athame (a-tha-may or ath-a-mey): Wiccan ritual knife; a double-edged knife (usually dull) used for directing energy. A tool representing the God and rarely used for cutting in Wicca.
Aura: a single or multi-colored light produced by heat energy and electromagnetic energy that emanates from all objects. Some believe the ability to physically see an aura can be developed and used to help in understanding a person's state of health and personality. Some schools of thought count several layers of auras, though only the one is currently backed by modern science.
Axis Mundi: also referred to as the World Tree, the cosmic axis on which all connected realms are centered.
B - Balefire to the Burning Times
Balefire: an outdoor ritual fire (or a sacred bonfire); most commonly used for Beltane, Midsummer, and Yule rituals and festivities.
Baneful: bad or harmful, possibly deadly; sometimes used to describe a bad omen; may be used to refer to malevolent magick.
Banishing: removing, pushing away, or expelling something or someone magickally; generally for removing negativity or unwanted spirits.
Banshee: also spelled Bean Sidhe; faerie of Irish folklore known for her wailing cry warning family members of an impending death.
Barrow: a burial mound; historically, the preferred method of Viking burial.
B.C.E.: Before Common Era; the non-religious version of BC (which stood for "before Christ") and referred to the era before the current era. Typically preferred by non-Christian academics and Pagans.
Besom: a magickally charged broom generally used to sweep away negative energies. Sometimes used for home protection by placing above a door or window. Also used in fertility rituals for its association as a phallic symbol. In Handfastings, the besom serves as a sort of designator between one phase of life and another; couples will step or leap from their lives as individuals into their new lives as married couples.
Binding: restraining, incapacitating, or otherwise restricting someone or something magickally; typically used as a form of protection magick.
Bioelectrical Energy: energy naturally created by muscular contraction available for use during magick; replenished by basic life necessities such as food, air, sunlight, etc.
Blessed be: phrase generally indicating blessings upon a person, object, etc. (example "blessed by thy feet'); frequently used at the end of prayers and the like similarly to "amen" from Christian-based practices. Some Wiccans and Pagans report using the phrase as a greeting or parting. (see also Merry Meet and Merry Part)
Blessing: act of conferring positive energy upon a person/place/animal/thing; a religious or spiritual practice.
Blot: in Heathenry, a formal ritual slaughter of livestock usually performed outdoors in honor of the Gods during very special occasions. The blood spilled may then be used in anointing and blessing of spaces and objects.
Blue Moon: the second full moon occurring in the same month. Originally referred to the third of four full moons occurring in one season.
Bodhran: a specific type of Celtic drum.
Boline: a white-handled knife (sometimes curved, somewhat like a hand-held scythe) used for inscribing, harvesting herbs, etc. In some traditions, the boline is separate from the white-handled knife and used exclusively in the garden.
Book Religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and some lesser known faiths. Called "book religions" because a holy book or text is central to the faith.
Book of Shadows (BoS): the spellbook, journal, diary, grimoire, and/or ritual guide used by an individual witch or coven. "Shadows" is used to mean past as in past experience and knowledge, like a permanent reminder of where you've been and can always return to. Generally includes spells, rituals, correspondences, etc. and may also include poems and other useful information.
Boundaries: the emotional, mental, and physical limits we set to protect ourselves; identifying our needs and limits and enforcing them is central to effective protection magick.
Brownie: house faerie in Scottish and British folklore who completes chores while inhabitants sleep; known to be mischievous at times.
Burin: a specific engraving tool used to mark names and symbols.
Burning Times, The: alternate term used for the inquisitions specifically dealing with rooting out witchcraft that occurred in several cultures spanning many generations; a period of turmoil in which there was Catholic and Protestant conflict. Millions were accused of and an estimated 30,000-300,000 were executed for being witches. Those executed were hung (most common), stoned, drowned, or burned. Few of the victims worshiped Pagan deities; many considered themselves to be good Christians - though some did practice old folk traditions that are common in modern Witchcraft as the term is used today. This period was riddled with prejudice, discrimination, sexism, ignorance, and mass hysteria; it was an attack primarily against women and non-Catholics, not the equivalent of modern Witches.
C - Cakes and Ale to Curse
Cakes and Ale: also called Cakes and Wine; a ritual meal generally shared with the Goddess and God within the Circle following ritual in Wiccan practice.
Calling the Quarters: verbal or symbolic acknowledgment of the Elements in a ritual environment. "Quarters" refers to the directions north, east, south, and west.
Casting a Circle: the creating of a magickal circle.
Cauldron: an iron pot of any size used to prepare ritual magick, herbs, infusions, etc. Sometimes used to burn incense or other items with magickal intention.
C.E.: Common Era; the non-religious version of AD (which stood for "anno Domini" meaning "in the year of the Lord") referring to the current era we're in. Typically preferred by non-Christian academics and Pagans.
Censer: an incense burner; tool in Wicca associated with the Element of Air.
Centering: process of balancing energy in one's body in order to better focus one's attention. The act of becoming focused and calm.
Ceremonial Magick: typically less religious and more philosophical and intellectual in nature; often focused on Western Mystery traditions; characterized by emphasis on prescribed sets of rituals, formulaic words, tools, symbols, etc. May be referred to as "high magick" which was a classist term used to differentiate the ceremonial magick of the elite classes from the folk magick of peasants.
Chakra: energy centers in the body. Most Wiccans and Witches work with the seven major chakras to help enhance health, create and maintain physical, mental, and emotional balance, and for use in magick.
Chalice: ritual drinking cup, typically used to symbolize the Goddess and share blessed beverages.
Channeling: when a person opens themselves up to allow the energy or spirit of another entity, such as that of a deity or ancestor. May be used to refer to when a person allows an entity to control their body (see also Invocation and Medium). In magickal practice, can refer simply to the tapping into and using/moving energies besides your own (example: channeling earth energy to charge an amulet).
Chaplet: a crown or wreath made of flowers and herbs to be worn upon the head; in Christianity, also refers to the 55-beaded prayer beads for purposes similar to the more well-known rosary.
Charge (noun): poems considered to be the words of the gods, the most famous of which was the "Charge of the Goddess" by Doreen Valiente. Often considered a liturgy of sorts within Wicca and related paths.
Charge (verb): to fill or infuse an object with personal power. Generally involves strong visualization skills.
Charm: another term for a protective object (see also Amulet, Talisman, and Charm Bag); also refers to a set of rhyming words as part of a spell.
Charm Bag: a pouch filled with magickal items such as stones, herbs, sigils, etc. with a specific intention; typically carried such as in a pocket or back pack.
Circle: the sacred space where all ritual and most magick is performed; contains raised energy and provides protection for the Witch, created by their energy and released by drawing back the energy. Methods of casting and closing as well as etiquette and usage often differ between traditions. Also refers to a small group or gathering of Witches and/or Wiccans that is less formal than a Coven, typically for the purpose of studying together.
Clairaudience: psychic term translates to "clear hearing" used in reference to hearing that which is unspoken or unheard physically; sometimes used in reference to telepathy.
Clairvoyance: psychic term translates to "clear seeing" used in reference to seeing images and pictures not physically present; may involve premonitions. Those with strong clairvoyant skills in the past were once referred to as a "seer."
Clan: any number of covens who have agreed to follow the same kinds of rules, which spring from one central governing source.
Cleansing: the act of removing or neutralizing energy in a space, object, or person.
Coelbrini: divination sticks.
Common Stones: any stone of any size, shape, color, or cultural worth found anywhere; may or may not be precious or semi-precious. Typically left in their uncut and unpolished natural state. (see more)
Compass Round: similar to the Wiccan circle; magickal working space used in Traditional Witchcraft. (see also Circle)
Cone of Power: energy or power that is raised and directed by more than one person (such as a coven) for specific goals. Today, groups working from different geological locations may create a cone of power stretching a large distance by crafting individual cones to send to a central point. Believed to be the symbolic reference the conical witch hat represents.
Conscious Mind: the part of the mind working when we are awake and focusing on everyday activities. Typically associated with the analytical, logical, rational, and materially-based side of our consciousness. What we are aware of and focusing our attention on is what is conscious to us.
Consecrate: to make or declare something (such as a ritual tool or space) as sacred and formally dedicate it to a specific magickal purpose.
Corn Dolly: sometimes referred to as a grain dolly; an often human-shaped doll created by braiding dried straw or stalks of grain; represents Earth's fertility and associated with the Goddess in Wicca. Sometimes created and used for similar purposes as a poppet.
Correspondences: lists of associations for classification purposes consisting of materials used in magick to heighten energy which refer to a specific goal. Example: element of Earth correspondences include structure, finance, wealth, security, plants, stones, foundation, soil, planet Earth, etc. Some correspondences are universally shared, such as a medicinal property of an herb that centuries of use and scientific study can confirm, whereas other correspondences are individually unique such as what a particular dream symbol represents to the dreamer based on their personal life experiences and associations.
Coven: a group of Witches; can be all male, all female, or a mix of both. The traditional number of coven members is 13, however, the exact number of members and the purposes of the coven typically differ between traditions. Differentiated from other Witch group types in that covens function as a sort of family unit for the purpose of magickal practice and/or worship with structured set of rules, traditions, training, and hierarchy. Within Wicca, coven entry is by initiation only and following required training (usually up to a year and a day in length) into the particular coven's tradition.
Cowan: a non-Witch; sometimes also used to refer to anyone who is not initiated into a Witches' coven. This term originated from freemasonry in reference to non-Masons.
Covenstead: an area of power or energy where a coven meets.
Craft, the: another term for Modern Witchcraft; may be used to denote a specific Witchcraft tradition or practice as opposed to Witchcraft in general.
Crone: one of the three aspects of Wiccan Trinity; the Goddess in her wiser, more experienced, and elder aspect. May also be used to refer to a post-menopausal woman.
Crystallomancy: form of divination using crystals.
Cunning Folk: the early magickal practitioners or folk healers of the British Isles; practices included medicine, folk magick, divination, midwifery, etc. Were also known to detect and reverse baneful magick. These were the magickal practices mistaken for the wicce and wicca (female and male witches, respectively), ultimately resulting in the use of the terms "Wicca" and "Witchcraft" to describe the practices of modern Wiccans and Witches.
Curse: a concentration of negative or destructive energy directed for the purpose of causing long-term or permanent harm against something or someone magickally; may involve inducing bad luck, sickness, or injury upon the target.
D - Dabbler to Drawing Down the Moon
Dabbler: refers to a person who, without proper training and/or education, decides to practice any form of magick; generally considered as harmless in most cases, but can cause ill effects (typically in the dabbler's own life) due to the lack of required knowledge, awareness, and/or skill depending upon the specifics dabbled in.
Daily Devotions: the practice of acknowledging the deity in one's life at least once a day. Method of devotions may differ based on tradition or individual preferences.
Dedicant: an apprentice Witch or solitary choosing to dedicate a major part of his or her life to learning, studying, practicing, and living their path.
Degree: ranks used within initiatory Witchcraft paths. Traditionally, Wicca covens used a 3 degree hierarchy with the first degree as new initiates still learning, second degree as those capable of leading rituals and teaching, and the third degree as those ready and capable of forming their own covens.
Deity (or Divinity): one's understanding of a divine spiritual form; "highest" of those considered higher powers than humans; a Goddess or God; "deities" is a generic term encompassing all gods and goddesses regardless of cultural or religious origin. May also be referred to as "the Divine" or "the Gods."
Dendromancy: tree-gazing; divination by leaves and branches of trees using open-ended questions.
Deosil (jezz-il): sun-wise movement (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere); movement associated with positive (in terms of building, increasing, etc.) magick in Wiccan traditions. [Note: A misspelling of the word "deasil".]
Dirk: dagger used by Scottish Highlanders; magickal knife in Scottish Witchcraft, similar to the Wiccan athame.
Discarnate: as opposed to incarnate; spirit or entity not contained within a physical form; typically used in reference to ghosts and angels.
Divination: the art of seeing the unknown through the use of various instruments and methods; bringing that which is unconscious or subconscious to light through use of tools such as pendulums, tarot cards, and scrying or observing the natural world. Typically involves interpreting patterns and/or symbols. Typically used to assist in making informed decision on how to best move forward toward desired outcomes.
Divine Power: unmanifested, pure energy that exists within deity; life force, ultimate source of all things. Believed by Wiccans and Witches to reside in all things and is what makes magick possible.
Downline: term used in initiation-based Witchcraft traditions to denote initiates of initiated Witches.
Dowsing: form of divination using either rods or a pendulum; originally used as a method of locating underground water sources, has been adapted for other divinatory uses.
Drawing Down the Moon: invoking the spirit of the Goddess into the High Priestess; generally performed during Full Moon esbats. Similar to possession, this ritual involves the willing surrender of one's consciousness to allow a higher power to speak and move through them.
E - Earth Magick to Evocation/Evoke
Earth Magick: a practical form of magick which involves drawing energy from Mother Earth.
Earth Power: energy which exists within stones, herbs, flames, wind, and other natural objects; manifested divine power within this realm we currently reside.
Eclipse: when one heavenly body obscures another for a short period of time, creating a temporary veil or shadow. Ex: Solar Eclipse - the moon blocks light from the sun by moving in front of the earth's view of the sun. Believed to have an influence on different energies of people, places, animals, and objects.
Elder: a degreed and respected Witch in the coven; teacher. Some elders today choose to avoid associations with specific traditions and covens and follow a solitary path instead; however, such elders are often leaders, motivators, mediators, and counselors within the community as a whole.
Elementals: spirit-creatures of the elements. Ex: Undines=Water, Salamanders=Fire, Gnomes=Earth, Sylphs=Air
Elements, the: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit; the essential, non-physical energies of the universe, frequently referred to as "the building blocks of the universe." The Elements are considered in some traditions as the keystone of the faith, and are frequently used or "tapped into" within Modern Witchcraft practices for effective magick.
Elfame: the Scottish faerie realm.
Emotional Vampire: someone who feeds on the emotional energy and attention of others, may be referred to as emo-vamp; emotionally needy people typically identified by the never-ending cycles of drama surrounding their lives and constant demand for attention and affection from others.
Empath: individual who can tune into the emotions of another person or place; a form of psyhcic ability in which a person can feel or sense what others are feeling or experiencing.
Empower: to infuse an object with energy, sometimes used interchangeably with "charge," though empowering is thought by some to not require a specific intention.
Enchantment: another term for a spell or magickal act.
Energy: general term for power that exists within all natural objects and beings; can be broken down into microscopic scales with further research ongoing within quantum physics and related sciences. What is used and manipulated in magick and spellwork; also referred to as mana, chi, ki, and vibration.
Ephemeris: used in astrology; collection of tables listing the positions of our solar system's sun, planets, Earth's moon, and other known bodies considered of significance.
Equinox: term used to refer to the two fixed points in the year, autumn and spring; when night and day are equal.
Esbat: a lunar celebration honoring the Goddess. Most commonly full moons, although new and dark moons are also observed in some traditions. May also be used to refer to any ritual gathering of Witches or celebration scheduled between Sabbats.
Essential Oils: sometimes considered "the blood of plants," scented liquid distilled from plants believed to contain the energy and magickal properties of the plants; sometimes referred to as volatile oils and ethereals and used in perfumes, food flavorings, medicine, aromatherapy, and for other alternative medicine and magickal purposes.
Ether: another term for spirit; generally used in reference to the etheric or spirit body.
Evil Eye: a glance believed capable of causing physical harm (to include death) to others.
Evocation or Evoke: act of calling upon spirits; used in ritual to invite entities, elementals, deities, etc. into the ritual space. Often confused with the term "invocation" or "invoke."
Exorcism: the act, usually in ritual form, of removing negative energy or entities from a place, object, or person; the methods, rules, and ethics for conducting exorcisms differs greatly between religious groups. Given the harm that some methods and religious beliefs surrounding this topic involve, exorcisms should be cautioned as an extreme last resort always.
F - Faeries to Frith
Faeries: some refer to them as The Wee Folk; the word "fairy" is a synonym for "brownie." Many Earth elementals are called faeries or the fey. A deeper study is required for better understanding.
Familiar: a witch's pet that has the ability to communicate--usually telepathically--with its owner. More specifically, the familiar is an assistant or partner in magickal and spiritual workings. Traditionally, familiars were spirits who took animal form; however, many Witches today will refer to any of their flesh-and-blood animal loved ones as their familiars regardless of the traditional meaning of the term.
Fetch: from folklore, the part of the Witch's soul associated with the Underworld; allegedly sent out separately from the Witch to conduct magick, usually in the shape of an animal.
Fey: spiritual beings; faeries, divas, etc.
Folk Magick: practice of magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with natural tools and objects, most often in a non-religious framework. May refer specifically to old folk traditions and customs. Sometimes used to refer to a style of Witchcraft and/or spellcasting that does not follow formal and ceremonial approaches to spells and rituals; more loose in form, though still containing the necessary aspects required for effective magick. May be referred to as "low magick" which was a classist term used to differentiate the folk magick of peasants from the ceremonial magick of the elite classes.
Folkish: racist branches of Heathenry identified by overtly white supremacist and separatist views. Often, Folkish groups will be cult-like in their proselytizing and refusal to tolerate opposing outside ideas. Not to be confused with other, inclusive Heathenry traditions and groups.
Flying Ointment: the balm of toxic herbs believed to have created the delusions of Witches flying through the sky and other allegations; non-toxic enthogenic herbs are used today by some Witches to facilitate astral traveling or hedge-crossing.
Frith: in Modern Heathenry, understood as meaning "peace" and "sanctuary" where open disagreements and controversies can take place while maintaining order and respect and inclusiveness to the voices of all.
G - Garden Witch to Grove
Garden Witch: term generally used in reference to a practitioner focused on herbal and plant magick as well as other natural and earth magick; applies magickal practice and thinking to their gardening.
Gardnerian: the style or tradition of Witchcraft started by Gerald Gardner; one of the British Traditional Witchcraft traditions.
Gemstones: stones considered as precious or semiprecious; term typically used when such a stone has been cut and/or polished. (see also Crystals and Common Stones)
Genius Loci: also known as the spirits of place; known to guard the land on which they reside.
Geomancy: the study of Earth's energy; Earth divination.
Glamour: changing the appearance of someone or something magickally.
God: In Wicca, title for the male divinity; exact understanding differs between tradition and Witch; associated with that which is more animal- or woodland-based and often depicted as horned; also associated with the sun, wild animals, forests, deserts, death, and resurrection.
Goddess: In Wicca, title for the female divinity; exact understanding differs between tradition and Witch; considered as the creatress of all things and associated with the earth, seas, moon, and universe simultaneously; also frequently associated with fertility, wisdom, love, compassion, healing, and power and empowerment.
Godspouse: term generally found in Heathen communities; individuals possessing strong, deep, and intimate relationship with the deities they work with. Unlike similar concepts, such as Christian nuns, godspouses aren't necessarily romantically or sexually celibate. The subject of godspouses is controversial and sometimes rejected even in the Heathen communities in which the practice is found.
Great Rite, the: ritual union of Goddess and God invoked into a priestess and priest. The sexual act is preferred to be between married couples; today, more commonly performed symbolically using the chalice and athame.
Green Magick: term generally used to refer to magick focused on plants, herbs, and other natural magick (see also Earth Magick); although popularly used today, the "green" denotation is seen as a carry over from the formally used racist-based ideology that coined the terms "white magick" and "black magick" and may be equally eschewed by some anti-racist practitioners today.
Grounding: sending excessive energy generated during ritual into the earth; helps to provide equilibrium and often used in conjunction with centering.
Gnomes: Earth spirits.
Grimoire: a book of magickal information; includes observations, correspondences, rituals, spells, entities. Contents differ depending upon tradition; some use the term "grimoire" in place of Book of Shadows.
Grove: a small grouping of trees such as a small wood or orchard; in Druidism, similar to a Wiccan coven.
H - Hagstone to Housel
Hagstone: another name for holey stones.
Hall of Records: location within the Akashic records where the Book of Lives are held; where information on past, present, and future lives is stored.
Hallow: to make sacred or purify for ritual use (see also Consecrate)
Handfasting: a Pagan wedding; many follow the year-and-a-day tradition and renew it every year and a day if so desired.
Handparting: the breaking up or divorce of a handfasted couple. Generally performed at the end of the year-and-a-day period excepting dire circumstances.
Hedge-crossing: another term for astral traveling used in Traditional Witchcraft; specifically for referring to a Witch leaving their physical body to travel to the Otherworld in spirit form.
Hedgewitch: generally considered a Witch who follows a shamanistic path; identified by a preference for practicing alone according to their personal style of belief and Witchcraft.
Herb: any plant used in ritual; may refer to a whole plant, petals, roots, leaves, etc.
Herbalism: the art of using herbs both magickally and medically.
Hex: temporary or short-term harm against something or someone magickally; typically used in protection magick; sometimes used for justice when all mundane matters have been exhausted.
Hex Signs: from Pennsylvania-Dutch; bright and colorful art consisting of magickal symbols and considered as controversial by some.
High Priest: typically the male leader of a coven; knowledgeable & proficient with many years of experience; possesses strong leadership skills and has gone through several initiations.
High Priestess: typically the female leader of a coven; knowledgeable & proficient with many years of experience; possesses strong leadership skills and has gone through several initiations.
Higher Self: also called the god-self or true self; the overall spiritual self that reincarnates over multiple lives and to which there is generally a veil or division preventing complete awareness beyond our current incarnation; believed to be aligned with our True Will. Some practitioners tap into their or others' Higher Selves for the purpose of identifying and tapping into that True Will or to facilitate communication for divination and healing purposes.
Holey Stones: rocks with naturally occurring hole through their centers; known for protection and luck; believed that peering through the hole provides the ability to see creatures of other realms.
Holy Water: blessed, purified water used in ritual.
Horoscope: predictions made using astrological systems. Usually encountered as a very broad sweeping prediction (example: predicting events of the month based on the sun sign alone), which are often either vague and unhelpful or specific but not applicable to all. Horoscopes tailored to the individual offer far more insight, applicability, and accuracy.
Housel: ritual for giving offerings to spirits for the purpose of thanksgiving, communion, and blessings.
I - I Ching to Invocation/Invoke
I Ching: a Chinese form of divination through the use of hexagrams.
Incarnate: a spirit with a physical body.
Incense: herbs, oils, or other aromatic items which are burned - usually in the censer - to scent, cleanse, purify, or add intention to the air during ritual and magick.
Infusion: may also be referred to as a potion; an herbal tea made with specific magickal intentions by steeping one or more dried herbs in hot water.
Initiation: process of introducing or admitting an individual into a group, interest, skill, or religion; literally "to begin." Unlike dedications--which promise devotion for a set intention for a specific amount of time--initiations are considered permanent; a sort of life-long vow to one's Gods. Although typically discussed in terms of ritual initiations, some initiation types occur spontaneously.
Intent: goal or purpose of a magickal working; the Will of an individual or group.
Intuition: what is generally referred to as instincts, hunches, gut feelings, etc. for when you "just know" something; although frequently used as an alternative term for psychic abilities, modern scientific studies into instincts suggests intuition has a genetic, non-psychic basis that is carried on generation to generation.
Invocation or Invoke: Calling upon an entity to come into an individual's body, similar to the practice of drawing down. Often confused with the term "Evocation" or "Evoke."
J - Journey
Journey: a shamanic practice of traveling between the worlds to seek aide from guides, animal spirits, and other entities for answers, advice, and guidance. Sometimes used by Witches to perform magick in or through the otherworld or to enhance magick performed outside of journey or meditation.
K - Kahuna to Kith
Kahuna: Hawaiian shaman or wise man; practitioner within Hawaiian magickal system; considered an expert, fulfills role as philosopher and scientist as well as magickal practitioner and priest or priestess.
Karma: law of cause and effect that applies to all of our actions in life; the belief that what we do in this life will determine how our next life will start out. Though not a Wiccan concept, some Wiccans agree with this idea. Often confused with the idea that "what goes around comes around" in this lifetime, in which case is sometimes referred to as instant Karma. The misinterpretation of the Law of Three is believed to a be directly influenced by the concept of Karma.
Kerfan: another term for the white-handled knife as opposed to boline. More likely to be used in traditions where the boline is for garden-use only.
Kin: generally used to refer to blood relatives.
Kindred: in Heathenry, used to describe a group of Heathens; similar to Wiccan covens.
Kith: in Heathenry, individuals related by oath as opposed to blood.
L - Labrys to Lore
Labrys: a double-headed ax; used in some traditions to symbolize the Goddess.
Lady: title of honor given to the Goddess; traditionally used in reference to a High Priestess who acts as an incarnate representative of the Goddess. Commonly used by females within eclectic and solitary traditions who break from tradition.
Land Wights: nature spirits inhabiting plants, rocks, and other natural objects.
Law of Return: Wiccan concept that what we send out comes back to us; related to the Three-Fold Law with the exception that the consequences of our actions are not magnified.
Law of Three: also called the "Three-fold Law"; Wiccan concept that our actions are built up so that energies returned are three-fold what they were sent out. The origins of this belief wasn't this Karmic interpretation, however. Rather, that whatever the Witch receives should be returned times three (ex: return generosity three-fold; return judgment three-fold).
Libation: an offering for spirits; symbolic sacrifice to the deities. Common libations today are portions of the cakes and ale used in ritual that are then placed outside.
Lineage: in initiatory traditions, refers to the "family tree" of Witches tracing back to the founder of a particular tradition. For example, an initiated Gardnerian Witch can trace their lineage back starting with who initiated them all the way to back Gerald Gardner.
Lodge: term used by some ceremonial magicians as well as Freemasons; refers to the building, temple, or group.
Lord: title of honor given to the God; sometimes used traditionally in reference to a High Priest. Occasionally used by males within eclectic and solitary traditions who are breaking from tradition.
Lore: knowledge and teachings passed from generation to generation; of great importance within some paths, such as Traditional Witchcraft and Heathenry in which lore is one of the primary sources of knowledge and inspiration for religious, spiritual, and magickal understanding and practice.
M - Maiden to Myne
Maiden: one aspect of Wiccan Trinity; the Goddess in her youthful aspect. Associated with virginity, new learning, inexperienced archetypes. Sometimes used to delineate a pre-menstrual girl or a young woman who has not yet born children (alternatively, a young woman who has not reared children whether born of her womb or not).
Magician: a name for a magickal practitioner; may or may not be associated with a specific religious path.
Magick: the movement of natural energies--including Personal Power--to create needed change. Frequently spelled with a "k" to differentiate magickal practices from slight-of-hand stage magic and fictional magic; some practitioners prefer to drop off the k, keeping the same "magic" spelling regardless of context.
Magick Circle, the: see Circle
Magickal Voice: term sometimes used to refer to the strong quality and tone of voice used when confident, certain, and/or in a position of authority, which is ideal for use in magick and ritual; although ideally used when speaking loudly, can be done as a strong whisper when quiet is required to prevent the sound from carrying to ears that aren't meant to hear.
Magister: the masculine leader of a coven in Traditional Witchcraft.
Magistra: the feminine leader of a coven in Traditional Witchcraft; sometimes referred to instead as Maiden.
Man in Black: term used for the Witch Father in Traditional Witchcraft; typically used in reference to the Sabbath.
Mantra: sacred sounds, words, or phrases, often repeated in meditation or magick; alternatively, some modern practitioners may use a mantra as a sort of affirmation. Generally used to alter consciousness, as a focal point for meditations, or as a prayer to higher beings; may also be used as part of a spell or ritual by magickal practitioners for raising energy.
Medicine Man: this term is generally used among North American native cultures referring to individuals believed to have magickal healing powers. Also see Shaman and Shamanism below.
Medium: someone who practices mediumship; a psychic conduit. May also be referred to as a channel (see Channeling).
Mediumship: practice of mediating communication between spirits of the dead and the living; necromatic practice focused on communication. Popularly associated with seances. May sometimes involve spirits other than those of the dead.
Meditation: entering of one's inner self for clarity and information; typically involves reflection, contemplation, and turning inward. May be guided visualizations with intent. Meditation within Witchcraft traditions often resemble shamanic journeys as opposed to other meditation techniques used for relaxation, breathing, and health benefits by non-Witches.
Megalith: a large stone monument; sometimes believed to have been or currently used for magickal or ritual purposes. Ex: Stonehenge.
Menhir: a standing stone engraved with symbols, often used to mark the covenstead.
Mentor: an elder or magickal peer that offers advice or guidance; a teacher of Wicca and/or Witchcraft.
Merry Meet: greeting generally used in Wiccan and Pagan communities; equivalent to "hello."
Merry Part: parting generally used in Wiccan and Pagan communities; equivalent to "goodbye." Sometimes extended as "merry part until we merry meet again."
Midworld: one of three of the main realms traversed by Witches; this physical realm on which we live in the flesh and shared with the Fair Folk. Also known as the Middle World.
Mighty Dead: the group of ancestors specific to deceased Witches and other magickal practitioners.
Mighty Ones: term sometimes used to refer to divine beings, such as deities.
Mother: one of three aspects of the Wiccan Trinity; the Goddess in her motherly aspect. Associated with compassion, comfort, experience, teaching, guidance, etc. Sometimes used to referred to a woman who has birthed or reared children.
Myne: in Heathenry, a toast of remembrance.
N - Natural Magick to Numerology
Natural Magick: another term for Earth Magick, magick that is drawn from the energies of the Earth, natural objects, the Elements, etc.
Necromancy: art of working with the spirits of the dead; typically defined as a practice focused on spirit communication, however, necromatic practices go beyond communication alone. May involve mediumship, spellwork, veneration, etc.
Neo-Pagan: "new Pagan"; Pagan religions or practices which are modern but modeled from ancient Pagan systems or traditions; some Pagans today dislike the term. First coined by Oberon Zell to differentiate from other uses of the term "Pagan."
Numerology: divination systems using numbers; various types and forms exist today.
O - Occult to Otherworld
Occult: "hidden" or "hidden from public knowledge"; sometimes used for anything not widely understood and usually feared by the general populace. Sometimes used in reference to non-mainstream things that were once secret or obscure, but are more widely available to the public today.
Old Ones, The: all of the Gods of the many pantheons worshiped or acknowledge by ancient cultures and civilizations predating the Gods of modern and monotheistic faiths.
Omen: a sign, most often of the future; sometimes referred to a sign taken as advice to a current situation.
Orthodox: generally refers to beliefs which people tend to think of as older than "newer" less traditional beliefs. Within Paganism, those beliefs and practices which are supposedly older than "New Age" beliefs. Well established traditions, beliefs, and behaviors considered to be right, true, and normal. Some orthodox approaches are thought to be outdated or in need of change by those of non-orthodox beliefs, whereas others value the integrity of orthodox traditions.
Otherworld: spiritual world invisible to human eyes accessed by magickal practitioners; general term for the three worlds connected by the World Tree; made up of the Upper, Middle, and Lower world.
P - Pagan to Psychometry
Pagan: formally meant "country dweller" and was used in the same way the terms hick, redneck, or hillbilly are today; often used today to refer to those not of Christian faith. An umbrella term encompassing various religions and spiritual practices and often defined differently among them; followers of polytheistic and non-Christian religions.
Pathworking: form of guided meditation that involves a journey to discover knowledge. Might also be referred to as guided meditation.
Pentacle: a five-pointed star within a circle; worn for protection; widely used by--but not limited to--Wiccans as a sign of faith. (see more) As a Wiccan ritual tool, usually a circular piece of wood, clay, or metal with a pentagram inscribed or painted upon it used to represent the Element of Earth; objects may be placed upon the pentacle during charging or consecration.
Pentagram: a five-pointed star; long used for protection and representing the human body. Various cultures and religions have used the pentagram for various uses. Ex: early Christianity used the pentagram as a symbol of the five wounds Christ received during his crucifixion.
Pendulum: a crystal or other object attached to a chain or string for divination purposes. (see more)
Perfect Love and Perfect Trust: frequently used as a passphrase within initiatory traditions. Some teachings include these as components of successful magick and a requirement for establishing relationships with deities and other entities.
Personal Power: the energy which is yours, energy sustaining your body; generated and restored through food, rest, etc., exerted in physical, mental, and emotional tasks both consciously and automatically by biological processes. Consciously utilized and directed for magick.
Polarity: concept of equal, opposite energies. The Yin-Yang symbol is often referenced as an example of this concept.
Poppet: commonly mistaken for "Voodoo Dolls" thanks to mainstream entertainment; dolls used to represent the target of a magickal working; typically used in healing and protection magick, though can be used for any magickal working involving intentions toward a human (including oneself).
Prana: life energy.
Prayer: act of focusing one's attention on deity and engaging in communication; most often used in times of need and/or gratitude. May also be directed toward other entities such as ancestors, the Mighty Dead, angels, the Elements, Saints, etc.
Priest/Priestess: each Wicca is his/her own priest/priestess, needing no "middle-man" and interpreting deity and life on their own; usually seek guidance from a High Priest/Priestess or elder. A practicing member of a coven, mystery cult, or other tradition.
Projective Hand: dominant hand; generally used to send energy from the body in magick.
Psychic Attack: negative energy sent toward another to cause harm; hex, curse; may or may not be intentional. (see more)
Psychic Awareness: may refer to the extent to which information received psychically is conscious; also used in reference to the strength of a particular psychic sense/skill or general psychic ability.
Psychic Detox: method of cleansing the body of psychic energy buildup; may be referred to as simply a psychic cleansing.
Psychic Protection: refers to actively protecting from thoughts, feelings, and psychic energies both from the environment and people around you and that which is intention directed at you.
Psychic Mind: the subconscious mind; part of the mind that receives psychic impulses; at work when asleep, dreaming, and meditating. Sometimes also referred to as Deep Consciousness, the unconscious mind holds information and experiences that we aren't aware of consciously, which can be tapped into via the subconscious. Witches and other magickal practitioners also use the psychic mind as part of working magick as the same state of mind--or brain wave activities--are typically involved in magick and utilizing psychic skills as are found in dream stages.
Psychic Shield: term for a type of psychic protection; constructed for protection against magick and psychic attack.
Psychic Vampires: people who can take the energy of others, typically because their own energy levels are naturally lower than others; may be referred to as psy-vamps; acts of psychic vampirism may be intentional or unintentional and invited or uninvited.
Psychism: refers to psychic powers/abilities; act of being consciously psychic.
Pyschometry: the psychic practice of reading an object or place through touch; thought to be related to empathy.
Q - Qabalah to Quarters of the Moon
Qabalah: also spelled Cabbala and Kabbalah; form of Hebrew mysticism involving the Tree of Life as a path to salvation. Theories and practices are sometimes borrowed from the Qabalah and incorporated into non-Hebrew paths for magickal and mystical works, which is problematic when such practitioners continue to erroneously refer to the outside practice as Qabalah.
Quarters: another name for the four cardinal directions--north, east, south, & west. (See also: Watchtowers, the) Generally linked to the Elements in many Wiccan and Pagan traditions today.
Quarters of the Moon: astronomical measurements of the moon's cycle as it journeys around the Earth; waxing, full, waning, and new.
R - Receptive Hand to Runes
Receptive Hand: opposite of the projective hand; generally used to receive energy or sense information in the body in magick.
Redcap: malevolent faeries known for throwing rocks at humans' heads, sometimes spreading around any resulting blood.
Regin: in Heathenry, a reference to Gods and Goddesses.
Reincarnation: the belief that souls of living things return to the earth plane in another body after death (rebirth); a common belief in Paganism; some believe that there is a break between incarnations where the soul rests in the Summerland or remains on the earthly plane such as in spirit guides and ghosts.
Rite: sometimes used to denote the entirety of the ritual, more accurately refers to a particular piece or action within a larger ritual or as part of a regular spiritual practice. For example, the practice of cakes and ale in Wiccan ritual is a rite.
Rites of Passage: rituals marking a major life change. Examples may include weddings, coming of age, naming ceremonies, graduations, transitions into parenthood, etc.
Ritual: a religious ceremony known for producing a specific stage of consciousness and connecting with nature by using a series of objects, movements, and/or words; often includes magickal workings in Wicca and Witchcraft traditions.
Ritual Consciousness: specific, alternate state of awareness that aids in the successful practice of magick. Tools and skills--such as candles and visualization--are often used to help trigger this mindset in magickal practitioners.
Runes: Nordic or Germanic pictographs or alphabet often used for divination; stick-like figures used in magick and divination; usually inscribed on stones or flat sticks. Symbols used in magick.
S - Sabbat to Sympathetic Magick
Sabbat: term for Wiccan holidays adopted by other Pagan and Witchcraft paths. In Wiccan tradition, Sabbats are solar festivals that usually honor the God and the changing of the seasons or Wheel of the Year. Eight sabbats are celebrated in a Wiccan year.
Sabbath: from folklore, term for the nocturnal meeting of Witches and spirits in the Otherworld.
Sacred Space: as the name suggests, any space which is considered sacred or religiously/spiritually special; typically set aside for specific religious, spiritual, or magickal workings. Can be used to refer to permanent structures, such as churches, or temporary such as a clearing in the woods used for a ritual. The rite of casting a magickal circle is often used to turn a space into sacred space.
Sacred Spiral: a Wiccan symbol that represents "coming into being" - death and rebirth and the cycle of life.
Sands of Time: the sand taken from the paws of the Great Sphinx in Egypt.
Scrying: gazing at an object for the purpose of divination; typically involves crystals, flames, water, mirrors, etc.
Scrying Mirror: a mirror painted black on one side - usually with paint or soot - used for divination purposes. Mirrors made of Obsidian are commonly used today, although silver-backed mirrors were traditional in times past.
Shaman: a spiritual healer; a walker between the worlds. Performs rituals and provides healing and guidance while bringing information to the surface to help individuals and communities. Sometimes called a "medicine man" or "witch doctor," modernly recognized as community servants providing the role of counselor/therapist, healer, priests, etc.
Shamanism: the practice of shamans; usually ritualistic or magickal. Not specific to a religion, shamanic practitioners may or may not be religious, and will differ greatly generally based on geography and/or ancestral lineages.
Shapeshifting: the magickal shifting from human form to animal form.
Shields: spiritual barriers erected around one's self or one's space.
Sidereal: term used in astrology; star time as opposed to "clock" time; timeframe calculated by the positions of planets and stars in a chart or horoscope.
Sigil: a type of symbol; a magickally oriented seal, sign, glyph (sculptured symbol or character) or other device used in magickal workings. The most powerful ones are those that the individual makes themselves; can be used on letters, packages, clothing, paper, or tucked in one's pocket.
Simple Feast, The: meal shared in honor of the Goddess and God, usually in a ritual setting.
Skyclad: performing ritual in the nude (clad only by the sky). It is not a necessary practice to perform magick, though it is considered a sign of being truly free in Wicca.
Smoke Cleansing: A space cleansing practice using incense or lit herbal bundles. The smoke is believed to clear the space of negative energy; some studies have shown that the smoke of some herbs used in this practice are capable of cleansing some pollutants within the air for a limited amount of time.
Smudging: This is a practice specific to the indigenous cultures of North and Central America. The term is often used incorrectly within Pagan and Wiccan literature when referring to the practice of smoke cleansing.
Solitaire or Solitary: a witch who practices alone and is not or no longer associated with a specific Tradition, coven, or group.
Solstice: term used to refer to the two fixed points of the year marking midwinter and midsummer, the points when the night is longest and when the day is longest, respectively.
So Mote It Be: a closing phrase meaning "so shall it be." Often used in spells and magickal workings as a way of reaffirming one's Will and that their Will will come to pass. The term "mote" itself means "may" or "must."
Spae: divinatory magick.
Spell: casting of, changing, or working with energy to obtain a specific purpose; can be non-religious and often accompanied by spoken words and other tools.
Spell Begging: when a person employs nagging, begging, and/or pleading to get someone else to provide them with a magickal spell or--more typically--to cast a spell for them; spell beggars are typically identified by their expressed fear of or reluctance (laziness) to study, learn, and practice magick and energy work for themselves, especially when the same person shrugs off any suggestion to resolve their problems in readily available and easily attainable non-magickal, mundane ways.
Spellcraft: art of crafting or creating and performing magickal spells; involves the knowledge and wisdom of knowing when, how, and whether or not to perform a particular spell or ritual.
Stalli: in Heathenry, an indoor altar.
Stang: central tool used in Traditional Witchcraft; a forked staff used for multiple purposes, primarily as an altar.
Strix: term used for Witches in Greek tradition.
Summerland: term originating from the Theosophical Society; the place where the soul goes between incarnations; believed by some to refer to Sumeria where many beliefs and traditions may have originated. Some descriptions are similar to Christian beliefs of Heaven, where we meet with our loved ones who died before us, only the Summerland is more of a stop along the way in a much longer journey rather than a permanent place.
Sword: ritual tool similar in function to the athame, most often used for circle casting; traditionally used within covens with a single sword belonging to the coven.
Sympathetic Magick: form of magick generally used within rituals to physically imitate or act out the intended magickal results (ex: tying two poppets together for the purpose of bringing the two people represented closer together physically, emotionally, or romantically). Operates under the idea of "like attracts like."
T - Talisman to the True Will
Talisman: an object infused or charged with energy in order to attract a specific energy such as love, protection, or money by wearing or carrying the object.
Telepathy: communication using only the mind typically via thoughts or visualizations.
Third-Eye: the psychic eye located in the middle of the forehead; the Chakra associated with inner vision, telepathic communication, and awareness.
Thought-form: created by the mind; vibrational patterns that came together to form a spirit-like creature, object, etc.
Three-Fold Law: whatever one sends out, they will get back times three - send out good, get good in return; send out bad, get bad in return.
Thurible: shallow, three-legged dish used as a censer.
Tools: includes physical objects and internal processes (ex: athame, wand, visualization, meditation, natural objects, etc.); specific tools and their uses and associates differ between paths and traditions.
Totem: an object, animal, or plant serving as an emblem or identification of a family, tribe, clan, etc. with specific beliefs differing among cultures; concept adapted by magickal practitioners to refer to animal allies and animal spirit guides in magickal and spiritual work.
Tradition: organized, specific sub-groups or denominations of Wicca; also used to describe practices that have been passed down generations. Within Wicca, members of a tradition require formal initiation into the tradition in accordance with the tradition's rules and expectations.
Traditional Witchcraft: folklore inspired, non-Wiccan Witchcraft focused on magick, connecting with nature, and working with spirits in all realms. Practitioners may or may not consider their path as religious.
Treading the Mill: ritual in Traditional Witchcraft used to alter consciousness and raise magickal energy by circling around a central object (typically the stang).
Tree of Life: the diagram of the spheres and paths mapping the spiritual evolution of creation as used in Qabalah; sometimes borrowed and adapted by other magickal practitioners outside of the Kabbalistic framework.
Tribal: an inclusive form of Heathenry for which membership is based on personal skills, record, and reputation alone; generally restricted to local groups only.
Trilithon: also called trilith; intentional grouping of stones or posts involving two pillars with a third across the top to create an archway (ex: Stonehenge is made up of multiple such archways).
Triple Goddess, The: predominately used in reference to the three main aspects of the Goddess in Wicca; maiden, mother, crone. May also refer to the many tri-aspected goddesses, such as Hecate, the Fates, the Norns, etc.
Troth: an inclusive American-based Asatru organization promoting universalist Heathenry values.
True Will: divine or life purpose; the reason behind your current incarnation on Earth. Life is believed to run more smoothly (in terms of progression, not necessarily peace and relaxation if that isn't the True Will of this lifetime) and magick more effective when we act in accordance to our True Will.
U - Uncrossing to Upperworld
Uncrossing: typically used for spiritual matters, involves the removal of "roadblocks" or obstacles in one's life.
Underworld: one of three of the main realms traversed by Witches; the lower realm where ancestors are believed to reside; typically associated with emotions and riddle-like messages. Also referred to as the Lower World.
Universalist: in Heathenry, the most inclusive sect that maintains all humans--no matter ethnicity or ancestry--are free to worship European Gods.
Upline: term used to refer to those who initiated a particular Witch; generally the following of the lineage of a particular initiated Witch.
Upperworld: one of three of the main realms traversed by Witches; upper realm where gods are believed to reside; typically associated with powers of the mind and straight-forward, rational messages.
V - Vanatu to Visualization
Vanatu: Norse revival religion focused on the devotion and worship of the Vanir (as opposed to the Gods of Asgard).
Virtue: magickal powers within natural objects; includes plants, stones, animals, planets, etc.
Visualization: the forming of mental images or pictures with the conscious mind; seeing with the inner eye or "mind's eye." Visualization is a foundation skill in both psychic development and magickal practice used for applying intent to energy raised.
W - Wand to Witches' Pyramid
Wand: in Wicca, tool used for evocations and invocations; used in place of the athame by some traditions and other paths.
Waning Moon: the phase of the moon after the Full Moon and before the New Moon; when the moon appears to be shrinking.
Warding: creating barriers and protective measures on a magickal or spiritual level. Methods differ between traditions and magickal practitioners.
Warlock: from Anglo-Saxon "waer-loga" a person who has broken their oath, specifically the oaths of the church; oath-breaker. From Old Norse "vardlokkur" a spirit singer (shaman). Synonymous in some traditions with "warrick." Like the term "witch" is being claimed for those who practice magick, this term is being claimed as a positive term for male witches. Some Witches still use this term in a derogatory or negative sense toward people - usually male - because of rumor that oaths broken referred to coven oaths.
Watchers: from folklore, group of fallen angels credited with teaching humanity sorcery, herbalism, astrology, and some forms of divination.
Watchtowers, The: another name for the four elements in some traditions; earth, air, fire, water. Sometimes used in reference to the spirits of the four directions--north, east, south, west--regardless of Elemental association. May also be in reference to the Archangels Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel in similar fashion. As the Watchtowers, the spirits serve as protection within a magickal working.
Waxing Moon: the phase of the moon after the New Moon and before the Full Moon; when the moon appears to be growing.
Wheel of the Year, the: from Wicca, the Wiccan calendar made up of the sabbats and esbats; ends and begins with Samhain (sow-en). Adopted by other Pagan and Witchcraft paths as a system of seasonal ritual celebrations typically involving the same eight sabbats.
Wicca: first spelled "Wica," taken from the root words "wicca" and "wicce" meaning "witch." An initiatory modern Pagan religion and subset of Modern Witchcraft started by Gerald Gardner. Wicca draws from and is influenced by several spiritual and magickal roots including folklore, ancient traditions including various shamanic practices and beliefs, the earliest known expressions of reverence of nature, initiatory traditions and magical societies, and others. Followers of Wicca are also Witches, though not all Witches are Wiccan.
Wiccaning: the blessing of a child; a similar concept to baptism. Wiccanings generally do not devote a child to Wicca, allowing the children to choose a religious or spiritual path for themselves as they grow and experience the world.
Wiccan Rede: "An it harm none, do as ye will!" A guideline to remind Wiccans to remain conscious and aware of the consequences and effects of every word, action, and thought; sometimes may be found with additions because of a confusion between the Credo and the Rede.
Wiccan Triad: see Triple Goddess, The
Wiccan Trinity: see Triple Goddess, The
Widdershins: counter-sunwise movement (counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere); generally associated with negative (as in aggressive, banishing, binding, cleansing, etc.) magick.
Wild Hunt, the: from European folklore with alleged pre-Christian roots. A "ghostly" hunt in which a leader and their hunting party go on a hunt for souls on cold, stormy nights typically in forests or the sky; the party is said to be made up of either ghosts, the fae, or gods. The imagery, reenactments, guided meditations, etc. are sometimes found within modern Paganism, generally as a way to ritualize life-death cycles. Exact uses and beliefs surrounding the Wild Hunt today differ among specific Pagan paths and individuals.
Will: generally considered our highest or purest intentions. Used loosely, our will is what we want. However, many Witchcraft paths focus more on Will as in the wants or purpose of our higher selves; the intent which is in alignment with the collective (working with the Universe rather than in opposition to the reality of it)
Witch: derived from "wicca" and "wicce"; a practitioner of witchcraft. The term itself has held negative connotations in various languages and cultures. Only in recent decades has the term in English been successfully claimed as a positive term as a result of confusing the cunning folk for the wicca and wicce.
Witch Bottle: practice started as a means to fight against and protect from malevolent and malicious Witches, later adopted by Modern Witches as a protective and anti-hexing charm; a bottle filled with sharp objects such as pins, shattered glass, and nails, urine; hair, fingernails, or blood may be included to program the bottles to know who to protect.
Witch Father: term for the God in Traditional Witchcraft.
Witch Mother: term for the Goddess in Traditional Witchcraft.
Witch War: term generally used within Wicca and Witchcraft communities for when controversy or disagreement over a particular individual, coven, or tradition elevates beyond criticism into attack. This typically occurs more mundanely and is comparable to large-scale bullying and/or cancel culture. May also involve the use of magickal attacks--typically in the form of bindings and the like--though this depends more on the individuals involved and their personal ethics and magickal styles.
Witchcraft: craft of the witch; craft of magick. Many Wiccans use this term to describe their religion as Wicca was originally introduced to the world as the Religion of Witchcraft. Other Modern Witchcraft paths have either moved on away from or inspired by Wicca since that time. Prior to the confusion of the cunning folk for the wicca and wicce, witchcraft referred to supernatural acts of evil against others and the community, such as poisoning crops.
Witches' Pyramid, the: philosophical principle that breaks down the major components of effective magickal practice. (see more)
Wyrd: magickal web of life where everything in the Universe is energetically interconnected; the basis of natural and sympathetic magick.
Y - Yang to Yin-Yang
Yang: male, day, light, hot, spirals outward, God, summer; equal and opposite of Yin.
Yin: female, night, dark, cold, spirals inward, Goddess, winter; equal and opposite of Yang.
Yin-Yang: a symbol often used to express polarity and equality; reinforces the idea that one cannot exist without the other (Yin contains Yang; Yang contains Yin).
Z - Zen
Zen: modernly used to refer to a state of calm and relaxation; from Buddhist traditions, the basic principal that nirvana (spiritual perfection) is attained when all things are reduced to nothing; a state of calm attentiveness or mindfulness when one lets go of conscious effort and allows their actions be guided by intuition instead; allowing mind and body to be one.
Compiled and Written by © 2003-2020 Evylyn Rose