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Glossary Of Wiccan Pagan Terms

by Raven and Crone

ALTAR - Special flat surface set aside for religious acknowledgement or magickal workings. Generally of an all natural material, ie. stone or a wooden table built with out metal fasteners.

ARADIA - Daughter of the Sun, Lucifer, and the Moon, Diana, and a name for the Goddess used by Italian Witches or Strega, commonly used in many Wiccan traditions today.
ALEXANDERIAN - That tradition of Witchcraft descended from the teachings of Alex Sanders.

ATHAME - black handled, double edged knife. Principally used to cast and dissolve the circle, for which purposes it is interchangeable with the sword, the wand or besom. Considered to be a tool of the Element Fire in many traditions.
AVONIAN WICA - Tradition initiated by Avon Maser. Primary deities are Mother Earth, Father Sun and Daughter Moon. Based in belief in an ecological pattern of technology to achieve advancement of Human race.

BANISH - To exorcise unwanted energies and/or entities. To rid the presence of same.
BESOM - Some traditions see the besom or broom as others use the athame or wand. It is often used to sweep physical debris and meta-physical negativity from a place to serve as sacred space, ie. casted circle.

BELTANE - May Eve festival. One of the Ancient Celtic Fire Festivals. Bel, meaning the god Baal, and tane meaning fire, literally translates to Baal's Fire. On this night, the cattle were driven between two bonfires to protect them from disease. Couples wishing for fertility would jump the fires on Beltane night. This Festival also marks the transition point of the triple Goddess energies from those of Maiden to Mother.



BOOK OF SHADOWS - Traditionally hand copied book of rituals, recipes , guidelines, and other materials deemed important to a Witch or a coven. Each tradition has its own standard version of the Book and each Witch's book will be different as he or she adds to it with time from many different sources. Only another Witch should be allow to see your book of shadows. Also, traditionally, it may never leave your hands or possession until death, when it should be destroyed, or in some traditions returned to the coven to be disposed of.

BURNING TIMES - a term used by some Witches for the period of persecution in the Middle Ages and later. It is in fact a misnomer in some places, as Witches were only burned in Scotland, and on the continent of Europe. In England and the U.S., they were hanged.

CANDLEMAS - Festival held on Feb. 1. One of the four Celtic Fire Festivals. Commemorates the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. Celebrates the first signs of Spring. Also called Imbolg or Imbloc (the old Celtic name). This is the seasonal change where the first signs of sring and the return of the sun are noted, i.e. the first sprouting of leaves, the sprouting of the Crocus flowers etc. In other words, it is the festival commemorating the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural year.This Festival also marks the transition point of the triple Goddess energies from those of Crone to Maiden.

CARDINAL POINTS - North, South, East, and West.

CAULDRON - Three legged cooking vessel, considered by some traditions to be a one of the tools of the Witch. May be used as a vessel to prepare brews and potions, as well as a censer. Placed in circle or on an altar to represent the womb of the goddess.

CHALICE - one of the tools of the Witch. Placed on the altar to represent the element of Water.

CHARGE OF THE GODDESS - The Traditional words of the Goddess to her followers. Originally written by Doreen Valiente, it is a story of the message from the Goddess to her children. Normally declared by the HPS at every coven Circle.

CIRCLE - the area in which the magickal worship and spells takes place. Can also be used to designate a particular group of Witches or Pagans such as Dark Moon Circle.

CONE OF POWER - power raised in the circle by the Witches assembled, and sent out into the world to work magic, is usually visualized as being retained and built in the form of a cone prior to release.

COVEN - an organized group of Witches, led by a High priestess and/or a High Priest who meet regularly for worship and fellowship. The traditional membership is considered to be 13, but many covens number considerably less. In Middle English, the word Covin means a group of confederates; In Old French Covine is defined as a band or group with a single purpose; Latin Com - together, Venire-to come or move.

COVENSTEAD - regular meeting place for a coven. Usually the home of the High Priestess or High Priest.

COWAN - a non-Witch. Formerly used in a very derogatory manner. Still used in Masonic Ritual to indicate the non initiate and/or pretender. Not often used today among most Witches.

CROSS QUARTERS - The modern name for the Celtic Fire Festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas.
DARK PATH See LEFT HAND PATH DAYS OF POWER - See SABBATS DEGREE - Levels of attainment, many traditions have three degrees or levels of adeptness.

DEOSIL - clockwise or anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Traditional direction for working building magic.

DRAWING DOWN THE MOON - Ritual invocation of the spirit of the Goddess into the body of the High Priestess by the High Priest.

DIANIC - Tradition initiated by An For freedom. Members are both male and female, but focuses on Feminine leadership.

DIVINATION - magical method of exploration or inquiry into a situation via such methods as Tarot cards, rune stones, I-Ching, etc.

EARTH MAGICK - Practical form of magic whereas the powers and forces of Mother Earth are used to conduct magickal workings or celebrations.

ELDER - Individuals who through their wisdom, age, experience, education, counseling, as well as other areas have overseen the teachings of the Craft, and protected them with their all. Seldom one under the age of thirty-five.

ELEMENTS - Earth, air, fire, and water, plus spirit, which includes them all. These are regarded as realms or categories of nature both material and non-material and are not to be confused with the physicists table of elements, which the modern witch, of course, accepts.
EQUINOX - Either of the two times a year when the sun crosses the equator and the length of day and night are approximately the same. Spring Equinox approximately March 21st-22nd, Fall Equinox September 21st-22nd.

ESBAT - meeting of a witches, Traditionally held either on the full moon or the new moon.

FAMILIARS - Either a Witches pet animal which has been trained to be a magickal helper, or an artificially created elemental which performs the same functions as the animal friend.

FIVEFOLD KISS - The Witches' ritual salute, with kisses; 1: on each foot, 2: on each knee, 3: above the pubic hair, 4: on each breast, and 5: on the lips, really eight kisses in all. It is only used within the Circle, but the words that go with it are the origin of Blessed Be.

GARDNERIAN - A tradition of Witchcraft descended from the teachings of Gerald Gardner.

GNOMES - an entity or elemental that dwells in the plane of Earth or is associated with the EARTH Element.

GREAT RITE - The rite which is the main feature of the third degree initiation, and which is also laid down for certain festivals. It is sexual in nature, but may be actual and private to the couples concerned or symbolic, as the participants wish.

GREEN MAN - One of the many faces - aspects of the God.
HALLOWS - name used by some traditions for Samhain, or Halloween

HANDFASTING - Wiccan equivalent of a wedding. It can be made legal if the Priestess and/or Priest are registered as clergy with the local authorities, or it may only be considered binding within the coven.

HEATHEN - One who dances on the Heath. Another word for Pagan.

HIGH PRIESTESS - Technically speaking, a Witch who has received the third degree initiation. More usually, the male and female leaders of a coven.

IMBOLC - Celtic name for Candlemas.
INVOCATION - The ritual calling-in of an entity or energies higher than human, either for communication with the caller through a medium or by visible manifestation or else to enter into a human body as in the Drawing Down the Moon. In some traditions, a Prayer.
JACK IN THE GREEN - One of the many faces/aspects of the God.

JOHN BARLEYCORN - One of the many faces/aspects of the God.

LAMMAS - August 1st. Witch Festival. The Old Celtic name for this festival is Lughnassadh. It is the Festival of the First Fruits, and is the first of the three harvests. This festival also marks the change of the Triple Goddess energies from that of Mother to Crone.

LEFT HAND PATH - Path less traveled, denotes that which is against Nature and Human Kind. Also known as the DARK PATH.

MAIDEN - An appointment held by one of the women of the coven. She acts as the assistant High Priestess. This term is also the descriptive term used to describe the first of the aspects of the Triple Goddess, Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Traditionally associated with the Waxing Moon, and the period from Imbolc - Candlemas till Beltane - May Eve, where the energies are those of initiating, beginning, and creation.

MOON TIME - Also known as that time of the month, a woman's menstrual cycle.

MAIDEN, MOTHER, CRONE - The three aspects of the Triple Goddess.

NEO - PAGAN - Meaning New Pagan, New Age jargen.

OLD RELIGION - One of many names for the religion of Wica.

OLD PATH - One of many names for the religion of Wica.
OLD WAYS - One of many names for the religion of Wica.

PAGAN - One who is not Christian, Islamic or Jewish. From the latin, PAGANI or PAGANUS meaning country dweller or bumpkin.

PAGANING - Presentation of an infant to the Circle and to the Gods. Similar in aspect to the Christian Christening.

PENTACLE - An altar upon an altar, usually a disc shaped talisman; which can be fashioned from wood, Beeswax, stone or, more commonly in today's world, metal, which may or may not have inscribed upon it the five pointed star of the Pentagram, as well as other mystical symbols. Among the witch's working tools, it is this disc which represents the earth element.
PENTAGRAM - The five-pointed star, often said to represent the five elements of life, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. With a single point uppermost, it represents the human being. Inverted, with two points uppermost, it is said to have Satanist associations; but not necessarily. Some traditions of Wicca use the inverted pentagram to signify an initiate of the second degree, and take offense at such usage.

QUARTERS - The North, East, South, and West parts of a magickal circle or other ritual area. Refer also to Watchtowers

REDE - rule or law. sabbath - one of the Eight festivals or high holidays of Wica.

SAMHAIN - The festival of remembrance for the dead, held on October 31st. It is the last of the three harvests.This festival also marks the transition of ruler ship of the Wheel of the Year from that of the Goddess to that of the God.

SCRYING - A form of divination intelling self hypnosis to achieve a trance state, in which joins the conscious with the sub-conscious to discern useful information. Usually done by using such methods as gazing into crystal balls, black glass or polished bronze mirrors, hearth fires, candle flames, smoke or a bowl filled water as opposed to tarot or other means that may be manipulated.

SEAX - WICA - Tradition founded by Raymond Buckland, promotes Saxon traditions.

SOLSTICE - Either of the two times a year when the sun reaches an extreme northward or southward motion. Summer Solstice approximately June 21st-22nd, Winter approximately December 21st-22nd.

SPELL - The structured and focused direction of psychic energies toward the accomplishment of a goal. Sometimes uttered in rhyme or the form of a prayer to a specific deity.

SUMMONER - The male officer of the coven who corresponds to the Maiden. This person acts as the assistant High Priest.

TRADITIONS - any of the various sects of Wicca such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Georgian, Seax, etc.


WAND - A rod or staff that is prepared so that it may be used for magickal or psychic purposes, usually to project some form of power. One of the Witches tools, representing Air. Though elemental affiliation may vary from one tradition to the next.

WARLOCK - Seventeenth century Scotland. Bad Scottish pronunciation of the Old English words waer logga, denoting a traitor to the Craft, meaning oath breaker, or betrayer of the faith. Because of these negative connotations, it is not used by Wiccans today.

WATCH TOWERS - Originally from Ceremonial Magic, has now incorporated into many Traditions of Wicca, these are the four elemental directions or quarters corresponding to the appropriate points on the compass called to protect the Circle during its establishment. Each of them have a correspondence between the compass point, an element, and color associated with them, varying amongst different traditions

WICA - Old English name for the form of worship practiced by heathens.

WICCA - the name most modern day Witches use for the Craft. It is, in actuality, the Old English word for male witch, the feminine being wicce. The Old English word, Wiccain meant to bend or to shape. This is the root word from which we get wicker.

WICCE - Old English, Female Witch.

WIDDERSHINS - counter clock wise or clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Used for tearing down OR BANISHING magic.

WHITE HANDLED KNIFE - the working knife of a Witch. It is used to carve candles, and for fashioning the other tools. In many traditions, it can only be used in Circle.

This article was published on Tuesday 01 May, 2012.
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