Pagan Termonology

These are definations of the words and phrases commonly used in the
Witchcraft religion.

Adept: An individual who through serious study and accomplishments is
considered highly proficient in a particular magickal system. A person can
be adept at Egyptian magickal practices, but a total failure at practical
kitchen magick.

Akashic Records: In the early part of this century the famed psychic Edgar
Cayce brought to general society the thought form of Akashic records.
Supposedly, there is a giant data base somewhere that can be accessed for
information on subjects such as past lives, healing, and other
magickal/spiritual practices. This record system cannot be accessed by
material equipment, such as PC networking with a larger computer. In this
case, the mind of the psychic or Witch accesses the data through Universal

Altar: Any special, flat surface set aside exclusively for magickal workings
or religious acknowledgement.

Amulet: Usually considered an object of protection that has been charged to
deflect specific negative energies or thought forms. Amulets can be made of
feathers, plants, beads, etc. The horseshoe and the four-leaf clover are two
examples of amulets.

Ankh: An Egyptian hieroglyphic that is widely used as a symbol for life,
love, and reincarnation. It is depicted as a cross with a looped top.

Aradia: A champion Italian Goddess sworn to protect her people against the
aggression of masculine faith and its persecutors during the reign of
medievil terror. The original Aradia was a female Christ figure in Italy who
taught around 1353. She was imprisoned more than once, escaped several times
and eventually disappeared. The second Aradia you will hear about is
Leland's Aradia, a book detailing information from an Itailian Gypsy
Witch.The third Aradia is the daughter of Diana. She is considered the Queen
of the Witches.

Arcana: The two halves of a Tarot deck. The Major Arcana consists of 22
trumps depicting dominant occurrences in our lives. The Minor Arcana
consists of 56 cards (sometimes called the lesser Arcana) that assist in
fleshing out the trump situations, or indicate smaller occurrences in our

Astral: This word conjures lots of definations. To keep it simple, let's
describe it as another dimension of reality. Also referred to as

Astral Travel/ Projection: The process of separating your astral body from
your physical one to accomplish travel in the astral plane or dreamtime.

Athame: A cleansed and consecrated ceremonial knife used in ritual work by
Witches. The knife is never used for blood-letting, and rarely used (if at
all) for cutting anything on the material plane.

Balefire: You don't get to see too many of these today. In country settings
its function was both magickal and practical. Holidays at which you would
most likely see this type of celebration are Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnasadh
and Mabon.

Bane: Another word for bad, evil, destructive.

Banish: To magickally end something or exorcise unwanted entities. To rid
the presence of.

Bi-Location: This is an interesting practice. You use a type of astral
projection in everyday reality by retaining the capability to be aware of
your present surroundings. Synonymous terms are overlooking and mind-travel.

Bind: To magickally restrain something or someone.

Blood of the Moon: A woman's menstrual cycle. If this cycle occurs over a
full or New Moon, she is far more powerful during this time than any other
time of the month, as long as she acknowledges this strength within herself.
For too many years women have been told that they must regard their cycle
with an unkind eye, calling it a curse when actually it is a boon. Society
has so dictated this to them that they feel weak, tired and disoriented
because they are supposed to. Wrong. If a woman can rearrange her thinking
on this matter, the Blood of the Moon can pack a powerful wallop for her. If
a woman does feel spacy, she should try grounding.

Book of Shadows: A relatively new term for the collection of information in
book form for a Witch's reference. Much akin to a magickal cookbook. Another
name for this text would be grimoire.

Bolline: A curved, white handled knife used for practical magickal purposes
such as cutting. For instance, the knife can be used to harvest herbs, cut a
branch for a wand, inscribe candles, etc.

Burning Times: You will hear this often. It is in reference to a historical
time around 1000 CE through the 17th century when it is said that over nine
million people were tortured and burned by church and public officials on
the assumtion that they were the Christian version of Witches. This turned
into an extremely profitable venture, as all land and property was seized
from the accused individual and portions given to the accuser (in reward
fashion) and the remainder seized by the church officials. Historians
indicated that the majority of people tortured and murdered were women and

Cabala: Also seen as Kabbala(h) and Qabala. The ancient Hebrew magickal

Call: Invoking divine forces.

Chakras: Seven major energy vortexes found in the human body. Each is
usually associated with a color. These vortexes are: crown -- white;
forehead (third eye position) -- purple; throat -- blue; chest -- pink or
green; navel -- yellow; abdomen -- orange; groin -- red. Smaller vortexes
are located in the hands and feet, as well.

Charge, The Originally written in modern form by Doreen Valiente, it is a
story of the message from the Goddess to Her Children.

Channeling: This is a new age practice wherein you allow a disincarnate
entity to "borrow" your body to speak to others either through automatic
writing or verbally. Channeling does not have a very good track record
simply because it is difficult to prove and the information imparted is
usually not about things that can be "tested". Subjects normally involve
distant prophecy, what the after-life is like, the structure of other
dimensions, words of wisdom that everyone really needs to know before it is
too late, etc. Channeling is the new buzz-word for mediumship. The best
known and most accurate medium within our present century was the late Edgar
Cayce. Most bookstores will carry some of his material. Channeling is not
the same as contacting the dead for information and help.

Charms: Can either be an amulet or talisman that has been charmed by saying
an incantation over it and instilling it with energy for a specific task.

Cone of Power: Psychic energy raised and focused by either an individual or
group mind (coven) to achieve a definate purpose. The most interesting cone
of power raised in recent history was that of the Witches of England who
stood together, despite their differences, to turn Hitler back from the
shores of their beloved country.

Cleansing: The act of removing any negative energy, vibrations or images
from an object or place by utilizing positive, psychic energy.

Consecration: The act of blessing an object or place by instilling it with
positive energy.

Coven: A group of 13 or fewer Witches that work together in an organized
fashion for positive magickal endeavors or to perform religious ceremonies.
The covenstead is the meeting place of the Witches, and is often a fixed
building or place where the Witch can feel safe and at home.

Days of Power: Although usually referred to as Sabbats, there are other days
throughout the year that can be considered days of power. These days can be
triggered by astrological occurences, your birthday, a women's menstrual
cycle (also known as the Blood of the Moon), or your dedication/initiation

Dedication: Unlike the initiation ceremony that brings one into an order,
the dedication of a Witch is that process where the individual accepts the
Craft as their path, and vows to study and learn all that is necessary to
reach adeptship in a given tradition. In a dedication, you consciously
prepare yourself to accept something new into your life and stick with it,
regardless of the highs and lows this action may produce.

Deosil: Clockwise movement. Most rituals and ceremonies, even spells, call
for deosil movement at some point in their construction.

Divination: The art of using magickal tools and symbols to gather
information from the Collective Unconscious on the nature of people, places,
things, and events in the past, present and future.

Dowsing: The art/science of using a pendulum or stick to find the actual
location of a person, place, thing or element. Dowsing can also be used to
answer yes or no questions, and quite a science has developed by holding a
pendulum over a specially designed chart to answer specific questions on
life patterns.

Drawing Down the Moon: A ritual used during the Full Moon by Witches to
empower themselves and unite their essence with a particular deity, usually
the Goddess.

Earth Magick: A practical form of magick wherein the powers and forces of
Earth Mother are used to conduct magickal workings or celebrations. Usually
items associated with the Earth and nature hold a particular significance in
the ritual or spell.

Elder: Many Wiccan organizations have a group or board of Elders who oversee
the operations of the church and its variety of functions. These people have
usually gained their positions through a combination of their abilities
which may include education, experience, magickal adeptship and counseling.

Elements: Usually counted as four: Earth, Air, Water and Fire. However, many
Witches add Spirit or Akasha to this category, as well. Each element has a
direction within a magick circle or working: East = Air; South = Fire; West
= Water; North = Earth; Center = Spirit or Akasha.

Enchantment: A magickal object that must be kept absolutely secret and
hidden from all human eyes and affects a hidden aura. Enchantments must be
charmed first. Gems and magickal writing are good items to use for

Evocation: To call something out from within.

Familiar: An animal who has a spiritual bond with a Witch; often is the
family pet. Familiars can also be entities who are created to protect your
home from the astral.

Fascination: A mental effort to control another animal or person's mind. It
has been reffered to as "mind-bending". Although the technique of
fascination runs a borderline when considering humans, it should not be
totally trashed. Using it for a love spell would be unethical, and much like
committing psychological rape. But if you found yourself in an unsafe
situation where you (or friend or family member) are in real physical
danger, use all the tools and skills available to you.

Gaea/Gaia: Greek Goddess, now meaning Earth Mother or Mother Earth.
Environmental action groups use this term almost as much as we do, if not
more these days.

Green Man: Another name for the God, as in his kingdom of the forest.

Guardians: Ceremonial magicians use the Guardians of the Watchtowers or
Guardians of the Four Quarters. Some Witches use them, too. There are those
that see these guardians as lizards, dragons, etc. Or, some envision them as

Handfasting: A Wiccan or Pagan marriage ceremony.

Initiation: An experience that so transforms the individual that their
concept or personal and worldly reality has been altered. A dedication
ceremony should not be confused with an initiation.

Invocation: To bring something in from without.

Karma: The belief that one's thoughts and deeds can be either counted
against them or added to their spiritual path during several life times. In
Sanskrit it means "action". Follows the law of cause and effect.

Left-Hand Path: It is a term that points to those people who feel they are
justified in using magick for purposes that are not constructive to other
human beings. It is a reference that they are possibly a self-serving
individual. Conversely, the right-hand path is considered positive in

Macrocosm: The world around us.

Microcosm: The world within us.

Magick: The art and science of focusing your will and emotions to effect
change both in the world around you and the world within you. Magick is
neither good nor evil, positive nor negative. It is the use of power that
determines the path it will take.

Magick Circle: A circular boundry drawn in visionary blue flames or white
light that protects the Witch from outside forces while conducting ritual
magick. One must never step outside the circle while performing a ritual
unless the appropriate precautions have been taken to cut a door. Nor should
anyone step in during a ritual, unless they are following a pathway made for
them. The door is usually cut with the athame or wand. This circle should
never be left hanging after your ritual is over. This means that is must be
closed just as ceremoniously as it was opened. The magick circle is
considered the doorway between the worlds and allow us to move between the
two. Some Witches draw the circle in the physical, either permanently on the
floor or for temporary use with herbs, sand, salt, chalk or a nine-foot
cord. The circle is still cast with blue or white light by the High
Priestess/Priest or individual designated to do so. In some covens, the
person is in charge of a particular quarter and is responsible for preparing
the area before the coven members arrive. This includes cleaning the area,
cleansing, consecrating, and making sure all the necessary supplies have
been transported to the location.

Magickal Systems: Can refer to Traditions, denominations, sects, or
pantheons. It is a basic set of guidelines relating to specific Gods and
Goddesses or cultural traditions.

New Age: Usually refers to mixing metaphysical practices with a structured

Pagan/Neopagan: Follower of a nature-based religion. The term Neopagan means
"new Pagan".

Pantheon: A collection or group of Gods and Goddesses in a particular
religious or mythical structure. Examples are: Greek pantheon, Roman
pantheon, Egyptian pantheon, Teutonic pantheon, etc.

Pentacle: A circle surrounding a five-pointed, upright star (known as a
pentagram). Worn as a symbol of a Witch's belief and used in magickal
workings and ceremonies. Each point on the star has a specific meaning:
Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Pentacles are never worn inverted in the
Craft. Many Witches consider this blasphemy of their faith. However, an
inverted pentagram is used in some second degree initiations, not to
indicate evil, but to fulfill a function of growth.

Priestess: A female dedicated to both the service of her chosen deity(ies)
and humankind. A High Priestess is the feminine leader of a coven or Wiccan
organization and plays the role of Goddess in certain ceremonies. A solitary
Witch can be a Priestess by dedicating herself to a particular God or

Priest: A male dedicated to both the service of his chosen deity(ies) and
humankind. A High Priest is the male leader of a coven or Wiccan
organization and plays the role of the God in certain ceremonies. A solitary
Witch can be a Priest by dedicating himself to a particular God or Goddess.

Note: Neither male nor female has dominion over the other in the Craft. The
High Priest and High Priestess in a coven environment should work as a
balanced team.

Reincarnation: The belief that one has lived before in another lifetime.

Ritual: A focused mental/physical ceremony to either honor or thank one's
chosen pantheon, or to perform a specific magickal working or act.

Runes: A set of symbols that are used both in divination and magickal
workings. There are several types of runes with different origins. A few are
the Norse, Scandinavian and Germanic runes. Unlike the Tarot, they are an
integral part of a magickal system with its own pantheon, should you care to
use it. They can function as an alphabet and are used in vision questing,
dream recall and controlling your environment.

Scrying: A divination method using specific tools such as a bowl of inked
water, a mirror, crystal ball, etc., where the diviner "sees" either normal
visual pictures, mental visual pictures, or information without any pictures
at all!

Sigil: A magickally oriented seal, sign, glyph, or other device used in a
magickal working. The most powerful sigils are those that you create
yourself. Sigils can be used on letters, packages, clothing, on paper tucked
in your pocket, etc.

Skyfather: Assigning deification to the sky as the male entity. It is
shamanistic in its origin and is used by several Native American belief

Skyclad: In some traditions, for example the Alexandrian, it is the act of
celebrating or doing a magickal working in the nude. This should not be
misconstrued with sexual contact. There are many solitaries that prefer to
work skyclad, feeling that the absence of clothing leaves their energy
unhindered during the ceremony.

Spell: Extended mental and emotional energy spoken aloud, written, spoken to
oneself, drawn or even danced. To work, it should be clear, concise, focused
and emotional. The need must be present to bring any spell to a successful

Spiral: The sacred spiral plays an important part in magickal workings. It
is the symbol of "coming into being". A spiral dance celebrates the spiral

Talisman: An object that has been magickally charged in order to bring
something to the bearer. Such an item could be a gemstone to win a court
case, or a drawing to put in your pocket that will bring good luck.

Tarot Cards: A set of 78 cards which carry pictures and symbols used to
connect the diviner with the collective unconscious. No one knows the
specific origin of the cards, and there are many beautiful decks now on the
market. The cards can be used to determine the past, present and future of
an event or person and can become powerful tools in magickal workings and

Tarologist: One who is adept at the art and science of handling the Tarot.

Vision Questing: Using astral projection, bi-location, or dreamtime to
accomplish a specific goal. Also called pathworking.

Webweaving: Networking with other magickal people through conversation, in
writing, or by computer to gather information to mutually assist each party
in their studies and life goals.

Wheel of the Year: One full cycle of the seasonal year, beginning with the
Samhain celebration.

Widdershins: Counterclockwise motion used in some magickal workings or

Working: As in magickal working. The process of using magick to reach a
desired positive goal.

These words by no means encompass all the terminology of the Craft. Various
Traditions and covens have their own terminology that they do not share with
those outside their circle.

Source: To Ride A Silver Broomstick by Silver RavenWolf