Welcome and Bright Greetings. I decided to do this page after getting numerous e-mails from novices asking me for help. It's just a very basic listing of terms used in the craft such as tools, seasons, and such......
Abracadabra: A Kabbalistic charm and a magical word, used in certain Gnostic writings, possibly derived from the initials of the Hebraic words Ab, Ben and ruach a Cadesch ("Father, Son and Holy Ghost"). It could also be related to the Greek word abraxas. It often appeared on amulets, and it was first mentioned by the 3rd-century physician Quintus Severus Sammondicus. The word is often used by magicians and conjurors.
Abraxas: A mystical word, possibly of Gnostic or Kabbalistic origins, which expresses gematrically the number 365 and is linked with the solar cycle. The word is also associated with the supreme Gnostic deity, represented by the image of a man with the head of a cock and serpents for feet, holding a shield and whip. The image is often found on gems or stones for use in amulets.
Adept: A person who is "skilled", particularly proficient or thoroughly clever in occult wisdom and/or Magickal powers, as a result of the study of various mystical techniques and philosophies. An initiate that has willfully achieved the highest attainment in the mastery of the occult sciences and powers.
Alchemy: The word is derived from the Arabian phrase "al-kimia," which refers to the preparation of the Stone or Elixir by the Egyptians. The Arabic root "kimia" comes from the Coptic "khem" that alluded to the fertile black soil of the Nile delta. Esoterically and hieroglyphically, the word refers to the dark mystery of the primordial or First Matter (the Khem), the One Thing through which all creation manifests. Alchemy, then, is the Great Work of nature that perfects this chaotic matter, whether it be expressed as the metals, the cosmos, or the substance of our souls. (See our Alchemy page for many associations with Earth, Fire, Air, Water, etc.)
Amulet: An object endowed with Magickal powers, especially for averting evil from, or bringing good to, it's owner. Amulets are always natural, not man-made like talismans. For example, a bear's claw, rabbit's foot, Odin Stone, or four-leaf clover.
Animism: Animists believe that every natural object, both living and nonliving has a spirit or life force, and are endowed with reason and volition identical with that of man. The animist sees movement in streams, trees, wind, rocks, and other objects, which they believe to be inhabited by spirits. Movement is, therefore, argued life. It is distinctly at the root of magical belief and practice.
Arcana: The two halves of a Tarot Deck. The Major Arcana contains 22 cards pointing to dominant occurences in our lives, while the Minor Arcana (also known as the Lesser Arcana) contains 56 cards that point out the smaller occurences in our lives. (See below)
Arcanum: The term means anything hidden, the plural "arcana" being applied to all the esoteric wisdom of occult lore, the knowledge that makes the magician "master of gold and light".
Ascendant: The degree of the zodiac which is nearest the eastern horizon at the time of birth. This degree was originally called the "horoscopos" in Greek astrology, from which the modern word horoscope is derived. (See horoscope)
Astrology: A form of divination based on the theory that the movements of the celestial bodies such as the stars, the planets, the Sun, and the Moon influence human affairs and determine the course of events. (See Zodiac)
Athame: (pronounced "a-tham-ay") An elongated knife-like tool usually containing a steel or iron blade. This is a very personal tool to each practitioner, and it can have a wide variety of handles. (Some etch their Witch name into the handle or etch Runes or other Magickal meanings) The Athame is used to open the Circle, and to perform Magickal rites. The Sword is the coven version of the athame. It is the symbol of the coven's protection, and used for opening circles and directing energy.
Aura: The electrical magnetic energy that emanates from the human body. (Sometimes referred to by other religions as the Odic Force, Gloria, Ring of Flames, or Halo) If this confuses you see my description of energy force on our "About Us Page" for a simple break down explanation. Auras are used by practitioners in many ways, and there is a form of healing called Auric Healing.
Bell: The bell is used for calling spirits, or calling the coven to attention. It is often rung three times after each quarter is called.
Bolline or Boleen: A knife used for everyday, mundane preparation and cutting. (Such as harvesting and chopping herbs, carving symbols in candles, and such)
BOS: (Book of Shadows, also known as a Grimoire) A collection of information such as herbs, oils, spells, research information, Rede, formulas, drawings, (or anything one wishes to commit to permanent keeping) that is placed in book form for a practitioner's reference. Our site contains an online Book of Shadows Page showing short references from both of our BOS's. (To include both in entirity would inhibit a browser loading the page)
Broom: In ancient times the broom was laid across the threshold to protect those within from negativity. The broom is used for protection and purification, and you should not use it for any other purpose than ritual work such as cleansing. Wiccans often use the "broom leap" in their handfastings.
Brothers of the Shadow: Also called the Dark Brothers or the Grey Brothers, terms used in occultism to denote those men and women who consciously choose to follow the practices of black magic, in what is called the "Left-hand Path or the Path of Shadows" Their work is contrary to the work of white magicians, sometimes called 'Sons of Light', who are claimed to follow the pathway of evolution, self-perfection and self-sacrifice.
Burning Times: A very terrible era in history from about 1000 C.E. through the 17th century, during which (it is estimated) over nine million people were singled out, judged, tortured, drowned, and burned on the assumption that they were "Witches", therefore...evil. A sad fact is these people were the innocent victims of ignorance, fear and predjudice. Many were women and children. Never Again the Burning Times!
Caduceus: The name given to a number of different symbolic wands, first appearing in ancient Mesopotamian cultures around 2600 B.E, consisting of two serpents or basilisks twisted around a rod. In Graeco-Roman mythology it was the white wand carried by Roman heralds suing for peace and the wand of Mercury (herald of the gods). Some occultists claim that the two entwined serpents symbolize the healing snakes of the demi-god Aesculapius, and the symbol has been widely adopted as a symbol of the medical profession (a form of the caduceus is used in the badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps). In Hindu and Buddhist esoteric teachings the caduceus represents the two spiritual energies or healing forces which run up and down the human spine. For Freemasons the caduceus represents the harmony and balance between negative and positive forces, the fixed and the inconstant, the continuity of life and the decay of life.
Call: To Invoke a divine force such as a God or Goddess.
Cauldron The cauldron is used for blending herbs, oils, brews, and making all types of concoctions. Some use it in fertility rituals.
Censer: A censer is basically a ritual incense burner, and it represents the element of Air. It's position on the altar varies according to belief. Some place sand in it's bottom and then a self-igniting charcoal is placed on top of the sand. The incense (loose, stick, or cone) is then lit on the charcoal.
Ceroscopy: A form of divination using melted wax, which is poured onto cold water to congeal. The diviner foretells the future from the various shapes of the hardened wax. Another method is by observing the bubbles formed at the time the melted wax is poured into the water.
Chalice: The chalice (or Cup) can hold the ritual holy water, or a ritual beverage such as herbal wine. The chalice is considered the sacred well, and it represents the Goddess's connection to the living waters. It is usually positioned on the left side of the Altar.
Channeling: Tapping into the collective consciousness in order to obtain information.
Charge of the Goddess: The message of the Goddess (Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Ceridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and many others) to her "children" or followers. Example: "Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the Moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me who is Queen of all the Wise. You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be naked in your rites. Sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My presence, for Mine is the ectasy of the spirit, and Mine also is joy on earth. For My law is love unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens the door of youth, and Mine is the cup of wine of life that is the Cauldron of (Goddess Name Here) that is the holy grail of immortality. I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before. Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the mother of all things, and My love is poured upon the Earth."
Cheiromancy: A very ancient divinatory technique, formerly called cheiromancy or chiromancy, but now called Palmistry. It consists of divination and also character interpretation by studying the crease lines and bumps on the palms and fingers.
Circle: An area in which to engage in Magickal workings. The demensions of the Circle depend entirely on who is drawing it and for what purpose. (In ceremonial Magick, where the Mage is conjuring entities, the exactness of the Circle and everything within it is very critical) A Coven Circle is often nine feet in diameter, and an individual's Circle about five feet in diameter. The drawing of the Circle is always started and ended in the East.
Cleansing: The act of removing negative energy. Objects such as tools, candles, herbs and such must be cleansed before any Magick working. The same applies for any place such as a circle, altar, home, etc. Cleansing can be used in just about any aspect you can think of. Cleansing is accomplished by using positive energy.
Conjure: The practice of raising or evoking spirits, demons and storms by means of carefully formulated rituals.
Cord: A cord can be used for cord Magick, and is usally a braided cord six to nine feet long. Depending upon the religion, it can be made in the "colors of the degrees" or skills the Witch has attained.
Coven: A group of practitioners who work together for Magickal purposes or religous rites. The traditional coven size is 12-13, but it can vary. A coven is a small, close-knit group who share a great deal and know one another well with exception to initiates.
Cowan: A non-Witch or not of the Craft.
Crossing the Bridge: A ritual performed by the coven in honor of a Witch who has passed to the Otherworld.
Dabbler: One who attempts to use the craft without serious intent or study. Someone who "dabbles" in the Magick arts in order to attain selfish goals, purport to be someone they aren't, or "impress" people. I am not referring to novices seeking true knowledge, for these dabblers do more damage to our image than imaginable. Example: Ever seen a news story where someone has desecrated a cemetary using the right-side-up Pentagram or a Pentacle? Most times it's unsupervised kids or teens seeking the attention of the community and media. My friend Puzuzu has a graphic on his website: "Death to Dabblers"...I don't wish them harm, but I do wish them wisdom.
Divination: The art of foretelling past, present, or future events, or discovering things secret or obscure by the aid or the use of Magickal powers. This may include Scrying Mirrors, Tarot, I Ching, Runes, Astrology, Pendulums, Channeling, Dreams, Visions, Crystals, Numerology, Palmistry (Cheiromancy), Tea Leaf Reading, Saxon Wands, and various other avenues.
Dowsing: An ancient form of divination using a forked stick, bent wire, or pendulum to locate people, objects and substances. The technique can be used to find underground water, minerals, oil, pipes and cables; it is also used to locate lost objects, missing persons and murder victims, and to diagnose illnesses.
Drawing Down: To call upon the diety of choice to aid and add power to a Magickal working. Usually accomplished using an Athame or Wand. Not to be confused with "Drawing Down the Moon", which is a Wiccan ritual that is much more involved. (In that ritual the Goddess becomes incarnate in the High Priestess or practitioner)
Druids: Members of the ancient pre-Christian Celtic priestcraft of Britain and Gaul, a secret order about which almost nothing is known. The term 'druid' means 'knowing the oak tree' in Gaelic; the oak tree was sacred to the Celts. The Romans tell us that the Druids were magicians, but the nature of their magic is unknown. The Romans also tell us that they believed in the transmigration of souls (which may have been reincarnation). They are said to have conducted their cult practices in sacred oak groves, where one of their chief rites was harvesting mistletoe using a golden sickle.
Eclectic: A form of Magickal practice that is tailored to suit individual need and follows many paths in the craft. Many practitioners such as myself are not comfortable or content with adhering to one system, such as Wicca, Gardnerian, etc. We use Magick from various walks combined together.
Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water...some add Spiritus to this category. Each element has a direction within the Magickal Circle or Pentgram: Center is Spirit (Spiritus), East is Air, South is Fire, West is Water, North is Earth. You can check additional information regarding elements on either our Alchemy Page or our BOS Page.
Esbats: Special periods used specifically for working Magick, usually the days and nights of the Full and New Moons. This term is also used to denote the regular meetings of Witches.
Familiar: An animal who has a spiritual bond with a practitioner, such as a cat, fox, owl, wolf, crow, etc. (Mine is a wild fox who loves to sit and listen to me nightly) In olden days familiars were also spirits attendant to witches or magicians.
Fetish: An object believed to embody a spirit and exert magical powers, or an object representing spirits that is used to create a bond between the human and supernatural world. Fetishes are dolls, carved images, stones, animal teeth, claws, or bones. They are often worn on the body to impart their magical powers, such as for protection, luck, love, curing, warding off evil, money, good hunting, gambling, or curses on enemies.
Handfasting: Handfasting is the Wiccan name for the marriage ceremony and celebration. Unlike the Christian "Till death due us part" the Handfasting ritual promise states "For so long as love shall last", or a ceremony the couple write themselves.
Grand Grimoire: The name given to a collection of invocations, spells and elementary magic, supposedly from the pen of King Solomon. (See King Solomon)
Herbalist: A qualified person educated in the structure, usage, and application of herbes. Levels of competency differ from country to country. In France herbalists are often medical doctors...In Britian they train herbal practitioners...In Germany they must qualify as Heilpraktiker (licensed naturopathic healers)...In Australia they are classified as Health Care Professionals...In the USA, well...sigh...in some states it is still illegal to prescribe herbal remedies thanks to the USFDA and pharmaceutical lobbies.
HooDoo:Not to be confused with VooDoo. HooDoo workers are known as: root doctors or root workers, conjurers, conjure doctors, two-headed doctors, a two-head woman, or a two-head man. I'm going to quote Lucky Mojo's Catherine Yronwood: "The origin of the word 'HooDoo' is not known. It is probably African. Some writers have said that hoodoo is a corruption of Voodoo, but that seems unlikely, as the word hoodoo co-exists with the word Voodoo in the state of Louisiana, and the two terms refer to different things entirely. In other parts of the South, the word Voodoo is not encountered at all, and the terms Hoodoo, rootwork, conjure and witchcraft are variously applied to the system of African-American folk-magic".
Horoscope: The element in astrology which interprets the character and destiny of a person according to the position of the planets at the time of the person's birth. The horoscope uses two main considerations: the circle of the 12 signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Lee, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) as they are crossed by the Sun, Moon and other planets at different periods; and a circle of 12 "houses" around which the circle of the zodiac turns.
Houses: In astrology the traditional horoscope is divided into twelve arcs, which are symbolically presented as being equal either in a spatial system or in a time system. This division is superimposed upon the projected celestial sphere, with the symbolic horizon line (usually) marking the cusps of the first and seventh houses (the east point and west point, respectively). The tenth house cusp marks the symbolic zenith, called the Medium coeli, while the fourth house cusp marks the symbolic nadir, called the Imutn coeli.
Illuminati: Persons claiming to have superhuman knowledge; those who claim to posses the "light" of knowledge directly from a higher source, or due to a wider measure of human wisdom. Illuminism is applied to the process of direct spiritual and esoteric enlightenment by means of revelation from a higher source or the inspiration of human reason. It is associated with various occult sects and secret orders, including the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons.
Kabbalah, Cabbala: Kabbalah started as medieval Jewish mysticism marked by the belief in creation through emanation, and a cosmic duality. It is an esoteric docterine involving intense and sometimes life-long studies. It has been called the most powerful system of Magick in the history of humankind. Kabbalah is a system of Magickal correspondences that covers the entire span of the created universe.
Karma: An operating law within the Universe in which all your actions, be they thought or deed, come back upon you...usually multiplied "in kind". (That means send out good, and good comes back multiplied...send out evil and evil returns multiplied) Any practitioner working in "White Magick" firmly believes in Karma, or some form of this concept. A prime example is the Wiccan Rede: "An' Harm ye none, do as you will."
King Solomon: The legendary king of Israel, King David's son and successor, who's reign became known as Israel’s golden age. He sustained alliances by taking wives from the family of every ruler willing to sign a treaty. (He even kept mighty Egypt out of Israel by marrying an Egyptian princess, daughter of a Pharaoh). By loving so many foreign women and allowing them to continue their own forms of worship corrupting the Holy City with their exotic rituals and gods, Solomon not only tolerated this paganism but also participated in it himself. Some even say that he became a skilled sorcerer. According to one of the many legends about him, Solomon used pagan Magic to imprison 72 rebellious evil kings into a brass vessel, throwing it then into a deep lake, where they were supposed to stay until the end of time. In an attempt to find great treasure, the Babylonians rescued the vessel and broke it open, allowing the demons to escape. These devils became known as the 72 spirits of Solomon. One of our important herbs is named after him: Solomon's Seal.
Magick: Drawing upon natural and supernatural forces, energy, and will in order to manipulate change in time, space and matter. (thats my definition) Aleister Crowley defined Magick as: "The art or science of causing change to occur in conformity with Will."
Magic Square: A magic square is a square array of numbers with the property that the sum of each row, each column, and each diagonal is the same. Magic squares have been found in ancient writings from many parts of the world, and in some cultures they were thought to possess magical or supernatural powers.
Malleus Maleficarum: The title of the most important of the late-medieval theological texts against witchcraft, first printed in Latin, in 1486. Filled with detailed descriptions, definitions and legal codification, it quickly became the most authoritative study of witchcraft and methods of detecting it, and was frequently reprinted, becoming the virtual handbook for "witch-hunters". The authors of the Malleus Maleficarum were the Dominican friars Jakob Sprenger, and Heinrich Kramer. The book served as a guide to the Holy Inquisition for more than a century, with its explicit instructions on how suspected witches were to be discovered, tortured, forced into confession, tried, and executed. It directed, by procedures outlined, that the accused would eventually be found guilty, regardless of the evidence.
Moon Void-of-Course: Luna makes a loop around Earth about every 28 days, moving through each of the astrological signs in two and a half days. As she passes through the 30° of each sign she "visits" with the planets in numerical order by forming angles or aspects with them. She eventually reaches the planet that's in the highest degree of any sign, and forms what will be her final aspect before leaving the sign. From this point until she actually enters the new sign she is referred to as void-of-course, or void.
Necromancy: The art or practice of conjuring spirits for the purpose of Magickally revealing information. Necromancer is also used as a term for a Sorcerer or Sorceress.
Numerology: A system of divination based on the concept that the universe is mathematically constructed, and all things can be expressed in numbers, which correspond to vibrations. Because all letters, words, names, birth-dates and so on can be expressed in numbers, which in turn are ascribed complex religious and mystical meanings, a person's life, personality and destiny can be determined.
Oracle: A method of divination and prophecy in which gods or spirits are consulted, usually through a human medium. In ancient Greece, the voices or mediums of the oracles were sybils, women priests, who lived in caves regarded as the shrines of deities.
Pendulum: A tool used to focus to gain answers. It is often helpful to overcome outside influences and conscious mind distortion. It's usually a weight made of natural mineral attached to a small chain about nine inches long. The chain may be of any material except animal products. The preferred material is a metal such as gold, silver, brass, or copper...aluminum is not recommended due to it's ability to interfere in the electrical fields. An "answer card" is placed before you, and then the pendulum is held over it. The mind is cleared and focused on the question, then one waits for the weight to swing toward the answer...never move it yourself.
Pentagram: A five pointed star symbol hailing from ancient times, such as the one below. (See our Pentgram Page in the Cauldron) The five points of the upright Pentagram are: The top point, which represents the element of Spiritus and God/Goddess or the ethereal. The top left point of the Pentagram represents Mother Earth and is the grounding element. The top right point of the Pentagram represents Air which is the reasoning element. The bottom left point in the Pentagram represents Fire which is the feeling, passionate elemental. The bottom right point represents the element of Water and it represents emotion within reason. If it is encircled it is then changed into a Pentacle.
Precognition: Perception of future events in various manners such as ESP and dreams. In precognitive dreams the dreamer experiences an event, in whole or in part, before it occurs. Some experiences of De'ja Vu can be explained by precognitive dreams. Precognitive dreams differ from prophetic dreams, in that prophetic dreams predict the future, but the events predicted relate to important areas of life.
Premonition: A warning of an impending event, experienced as a feeling of foreboding, anxiety, or intuitive sense of dread. Premonitions tend to occur before disasters, accidents and deaths. I had one that saved my father's life when I was seventeen.
Prophecy: A divinely-inspired vision or revelation of the future, usually of important events on a grand scale. The prediction or foretelling of what is to come. A prophet, or soothsayer, is a person who, by divine inspiration, declares to the world the divine will or judgments; a person who foretells the course or nature of future events. Examples: Jesus, Mohammed, Nostradamus, the Oracles of ancient Greece and Rome.
Quintessence: In occultism, this is the luminous fifth element (invisible to ordinary sight) or essence, which was seen as binding together in union or pact the other four elements (earth, air, fire, water). (See our Alchemy Page)
Retrograde: When a planet moves across the sky, they occasionally appear to move backward as seen from Earth, and this is said to be retrograde. (When it moves forward again this is called "direct") This term is most often used in astrology.
Rites of Passage: A Rite of Passage is the transition from one state of life to another. (Birth, marriage, and death are examples) In the craft the most important Rite of Passage is Initiation (or self-Initiation), where one goes throught the steps of: separation, cleansing, symbolic death, new knowledge, and rebirth.
Rosicrucians: The Order of the Rosy Cross, or Rosicrucians, is a worldwide esoteric society and fraternity officially called the Ancient Mystic Order of Rosae Crucis (AMORC), whose official emblem is a cross with a single rose in the center. The order operates on lodge system and teaches metaphysical-scientific philosophy of "practical arts and sciences". The AMORC is an international fraternal order that operates through a system of lodges and fosters the Rosicrucian philosophy of developing humankind's highest potentialities and psychic powers. As in Theosophy, such perfection comes only after various reincarnations, each devoted to achieving a greater oneness with the Supreme Being. Rosicrucians claim influence on Freemasonry, especially since the eighteenth Masonic degree is the Sovereign Prince Rose Croix of Heredom.
Runes: Ancient Norse and Germanic symbols which were ascribed magical properties and used for charms, casting, and inscriptions. Usually found on stone, wood, metal, or bone. In the late nineteenth century German occultists revived interest in runes, which unfortunately became associated with Teutonic racial superiority. The Nazi swastika is the runic symbol for Thor's hammer, but also a symbol of the Earth Mother. The runic S symbol was used by the SS, the Nazi secret police. (See my grimoire on our BOS page)
Sabbats: The main sabbats are: Yule, Imbolic (Candlemas), Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, Mabon, and Samhain. (See the Following...)
**Yule: (from the Anglo-Saxon "Yula", which means "wheel of the year") symbolizes the Winter Solstice (the longest night and shortest day). On this darkest of nights, the Goddess becomes the Great Mother and once again gives birth to the new Sun King. The burning of Yule log is an important tradition, and it should be of an Ash tree if possible. It should be lit on the eve of the solstice, and kept burning for twelve hours for good luck. Many plants symbolizing fertility and everlasting life are used at this time, such as Holly, Mistletoe, Ivy, and Evergreens.
**Imbolic (Candlemas): Imbolc means "in the belly" (of the Mother). Imbolic is considered the beginning of new life, and is used for performing rites of spiritual cleansing and purification. It is also called the "Pagan Festival of Lights". Many place a lighted candle in every window of the house on Candlemas Eve (February 1st), allowing them to continue burning until sunrise. Some Covens hold candle-making parties to make and bless all the candles they'll be using for the coming year on this day.
**Ostara: (Spring Equinox or Vernal Equinox) Ostara is considered the beginning of Spring. Ostara marks the day when night and day are equal and balanced. Ostara is a time to rejoice, dance, and celebrate because Winter has passed and life begins anew. It is the festival of fertility of the Earth, the crops, the plants and trees.
**Beltane (MayDay): Beltane comes from the Scottish-Gaelic "Bealtuinn", meaning "Bel-fire", the fire of the Celtic god of light. Beltane is the beginning of summer, and is used in many religions for human sexuality and fertility rites. In olden times the Druids would kindle the great Bel-fires which were considered to have healing properties, and sky-clad Witches would jump through the flames to ensure protection.
**Midsummer (Midsummer's Eve, Litha): Midsummer is the time of the Summer Solstice, and the Sun God is at the height of it's power. We experience the longest day and shortest night of the year at this time. Many decorate their homes with Rue, Roses, St. John's Wort, Vervain, or Trefoil, and some incorporate a "Wicker Man" into their seasonal celebrations. The Goddess is also at the height of her powers during the longest day of the year, and fires representing the Sun are lit to rouse love, purification, health and fertility. It is also the traditional month for handfastings and weddings.
**Lammas (Lugnasadh): Lugnasadh was named in honor of the Celtic god Lugh, a name which means "light" or "shining". Lammas marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Lughnasadh is the first of the three harvest Sabbats (Mabon and Samhain being the other two). This sabbat is also known as the "celebration of bread".
**Mabon: Mabon was named after a Welsh fertility God (Mabon means "great son" and refers to the Son of the Great Mother), and it marks the Autumn Equinox. The God nears his death and the Goddess prepares for his rebirth. Many celebrate the bounty of the harvest with wine festivals.
**Samhain (Hallows Eve): The Celts named it Samhain (pronounced "sow-in"), which means "summer's end", and many know it as Halloween. It is the ending of the old year leading to the beginning of the new. It is sometimes called "THE Great Sabbat", for it is a night to ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld, and of loved ones who have passed over.
Scrying: A form of divination using either a clear, reflective surface or fire to gaze into while letting your mind "go blank" in order to allow visions of past, present, or future to reveal themselves.
Shaman: The word Shaman comes from the Siberian tribal language of Tungus (of the Ural-Altaic peoples of the arctic and central Asian regions). The term is used for a guide/healer who works on the psychological level. The Shaman will go on "a journey" for the benefit of one who is ill. Depending on the culture: Shamans will direct injured parties to a healing space, direct sacrifices, seek out new knowledge, and accompany the spirits of the dead on their journey to the afterlife.
Solitary: A practitioner that belongs to no group or coven, and chooses to practice Magick alone.
Sorcery: A very ancient form of magick, designed to produce some desired effect, such as rituals for successful hunting or harvest; a process of casting enchantments to alter natural events.This simple Magick involves practices such as tying and untying knots, blood sacrifices, or sticking pins in wax images or little dolls such as poppets. It is also called sympathetic magic. A male that performs sorcery is called sorcerer; a female, sorceress.
Spell: A Magick formula, incantation, or controlling influence. There are two ways through which practitioners bring cosmic energy into manisfestation: rituals and spells. Rituals can "invoke" or "evoke" a force to manifest, but spells work differently. Spells attempt to secure the power and aid of a God/dess through knowledge and use of Magickal correspondences such as tools, herbs, candles, oils, etc., and the Witch must extend mental and emotional energy through thought, drawing, deed, or written word.
Sympathetic Magick: A type of Magick where any action inflicted upon a representation of a person, animal or thing, it is simultaneously experienced by the real person, animal or thing. Example: A voodoo doll.
Talisman: An object endowed with Magickal powers, especially for averting evil from, or bringing good to, it's owner. Talismans are always man-made. "The Golden Dawn" describes a talisman as "a Magickal figure charged with the Force which it is intended to represent."
Tarot: Cards consisting of a set of seventy-eight cards that have pictures and symbols that can be used to determine the past, present and future of an event or person. Also called "The Book of Thoth".
Thurible: A container used for holding and burning incense.
Unctions: The name given by occultists to various anointing oils used in ceremonial magic; the act of anointing as part of a religious, ceremonial, or healing ritual. In literature the word is used for the flying salve used by witches as a body oil to enable them to fly to the sabbat.
VooDoo: (Also called Vodou, Vodoun or Vodun) A religious system with followers predominantly from Haiti, and other countries to which Haitians have immigrated. VooDoo combines features of African religion with the Roman Catholicism of the European settlers. The voodoo religion involves belief in a supreme god (bon dieu) and a host of spirits called loa. Most voodoo practices involve the loa, which are often identified with Catholic saints. These spirits are closely related to African gods and may represent natural phenomena such as fire, water, or wind or dead persons, including eminent ancestors. They consist of two main groups: the rada, often mild and helping, and the petro, which may be dangerous and harmful.
Wand: The wand is a symbol of the God/dess, and it is used by many in ritual as a tool of Air. Some use it as a symbol of Earth when it is made of wood. Wiccans often use a wand that is the equal of the measure of their forearm from fingertip to elbow, and it must be cut from a tree that is sacred to their belief. Some believe that the wand must be gifted from the tree and only fallen branches are appropriate for Magickal use, and others take a branch from the tree itself and thank the tree and Mother Earth for the gift. Many types of wands are available, and in modern times they can be found made of crystal, gemstones, or glass. The Staff is the larger version of the wand, and it is used in covens for calling meetings to order.
Warlock: A term Hollywood helped gain popularity in the public eye. It is an insult to the majority of male Witches! The word represents Old English wærloga, 'traitor', 'the one that breaks faith', literally: 'oath liar', or oath breaker. The term was used to describe men who pretended to be witches in order to penetrate covens and betray them during the Burning Times. A term often used by dabblers or the ignorant.
Wheel of the Year: One full circle of the seasonal year, beginning with Samhain. (See Sabbats)
Wicca: Wicca started out from the Early English (Saxon) term for Witch, and it was derived from a German root word meaning "to twist or to bend." The neopagan nature religious practice having it's roots in pre-Christian western Europe and undergoing a 20th century revival, especially in the United States and Great Britain. Wiccans speak of the year as a wheel; their calendar is a circle, signifying that the cycle of seasons turns endlessly. Almost evenly spaced around the Wiccan Wheel of the Year are the eight Wiccan sabbats. The sabbat cycle is a retelling and celebration of the age-old story of the Great Goddess and her son and consort, the Horned God. The coincidence of these festivals to Christian holidays, and the similarities between Wiccan and Christian symbols, say many anthropologists, are not accidental, but prove the pre-existence of the pagan beliefs. For Christian authorities contending with older religions during Europe's Dark Ages, converting established holidays by giving them new Christian meanings eased the acceptance of the new faith.
Wiccaning: This is the Wiccan name for the Birth Rite ceremony, where the child's name is announced, the asking of blessings and protection for the child, and the child is welcomed into the fold.
Wildcrafter: One who identifies, gathers, and uses herbs from the wild. Any Wildcrafter worth his or her salt also protects and ensures the propagation and continuation of all plants.
Witchcraft: A religion consisting of Pagan, NeoPagan, and non-Pagan practitioners consisting of various "systems" such as Ceremonial, Gardnerian, Huson, Saxon, Alexandrian, Gaelic, Wiccan, Kabbalist, Eclectic, this list could go on and on...
Wizard: One skilled in wizardry. A magician or sorcerer. One often adept in the black arts. The word is derived from "wise", and still means a very clever and/or skillful person.
Working: The process of using Magick to attain a desired goal.
Zodiac: In astronomy, the zone of the sky that includes about 8° on either side of the ecliptic. The apparent paths of the Sun, Moon, and the major planets all fall within this zone. The zodiac is divided into 12 equal parts of 30° each, each part being named for a constellation, each of which is represented by a "sign". The names of the zodiacal signs are: Aries, the Ram; Taurus, the Bull; Gemini, the Twins; Cancer, the Crab; Leo, the Lion; Virgo, the Virgin; Libra, the Balance; Scorpio, the Scorpion; Sagittarius, the Archer; Capricornus, the Goat; Aquarius, the Water Bearer; and Pisces, the Fishes.
And as always...More Coming...
"The Complete Book of Witchcraft" by Raymond Buckland