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"Wicca Terms"

A

AFTERWORLD - The world of the Dead, called Summerland in some Wiccan beliefs. A place to rest between lives.

AIR - One of the four Ancient Alchemical Guardian Elements, corresponds to the East Watchtower of a Circle.

ALBAN ELFED - Autumn Equinox Sabbat, one of the Eight Witches Sabbats of The Wheel of the Year. It is usually held on the first day of Autumn, normally 22nd September, aka Second Festival of Harvest.

ALTAR - A table or raised structure for use in rituals, usually within a Cast Circle, upon which are kept offerings, candles, incense and Magickal Tools. Exact use varies between differing Covens and Traditions.

AMULET - A protecting object, popular amongst many, can be jewellery or other items (stone, rabbits foot, etc)

ANIMISTIC - The belief that all forms of nature have a Divine Spirit within.

ANKH - An Ancient Egyptian symbol of Life and Knowledge, popular for use in healing and fertility rites.

ASTRAL PROJECTION - An out of body experience, achieved using meditation, relaxation and other means. Results in separation of the consciousness from the physical body, and an altered state of consciousness. Takes practice!

ASTROLOGY - The Ancient Occult Art of Stargazing to Divine the Future. Believed by many, pagans and others.

ATHAME - A Ritual Knife, usually

AURA - The coloured low level energy field that surrounds our physical body, visible to some.

AVATAR - An advanced soul, who chooses to return to the physical body, in order to teach the less evolved.

B

BALEFIRE - A sacred outdoor fire burnt as part of a Sabbat celebration, especially Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas and Alban Elfed. Dancing Deosil (sunwards) around the fire often takes place to invoke the deities etc.

BANE - A deadly herb with poisonous properties, such as henbane, wolfsbane and baneberries.

BANISHING - A ritual to remove negative influences from a person, place or object, or to release a conjured spirit.

BELL - Symbol of Goddess or of the motion of the elements, swinging back and forth (positive / negative). It is rung during rituals to either invoke the Goddess, or can be rung to mark the beginning or end of a ritual.

BELTANE - One of the Eight Witches Sabbats, usually celebrated on May Day, represents the death of Winter, the birth of Spring. and the rebirth of the Sun, symbol of the Horned God. Traditionally celebrated by Dancing around the Maypole (a phallic fertility symbol) and by the Celtic Beltane Bonfire, usually on top of a hill.

BESOM - A Straw Broom, used in certain ceremonies (Handfasting, Candlemas Sabbat, etc), and for Magickal cleansing, not as is suggested by Legend for flying upon! (Shame though, isn't it!)

BIDDY - A "doll" made from the last sheaf of the last harvest. Sometimes called CORN DOLLS. Represents the Mother Earth's fertility.

BINDING - A controlling spell, used to prevent negative things from happening, though the exact ethics of such a spell (and the possible breach of The Rede) are debated by many, some think it wrong, some think OK if the situation warrants it!

BIRTHSTONE - A gem or jewel associated with your birth month or astrological sign, purported to bring good luck!

BLACK MAGICK - (Also Black Arts) A term used to describe negative magick, performed with selfish or evil intent. Wiccan's take offence to being linked to Black Magick (or Arts) for our creed (The Rede) keeps us from using Magick to harm others, for if we do, we will receive it back threefold!

BLACK MASS - In Satanism, a perversion of the Catholic Mass. Absolutely nothing to do with Wicca or Witchcraft!

BOLLINE - Usually a white-handled knife, used opposite the Athame. It has a single edge and is used for more simple working actions such as cutting herbs or engraving candles.

BOOK OF SHADOWS - A secret diary of Magickal Spells, rituals, potions and learning kept by most Wiccan's.

BURNING TIMES - A term used to describe the portion of history when alleged Witches were tortured and executed for their beliefs. Estimates vary of up to 9 million people having died between the 15th and mid 18th century. Burning wasn't the only method used and witchcraft was not the only reason. It was Christian church's attempt to stop religions or beliefs that they didn't understand

C

CANDLE MAGICK - A form of sympathetic magick, using different coloured candles to represent people and objects at which spells are directed. Different colours have differing attributes, influences and emotions.

CANDLEMAS - One of the names for one of the Eight Witches Sabbats, aka Imbolc, Oimelc, Lupercus and Disting. Usually celebrated on 2nd Febuary, and is also the Feast of Pan. Traditionally a celebration of change, and rebirth.

CASTING - The act of casting a protective space for ritual of visual work. (Usually a circle is cast).

CAULDRON - A Cast Iron Pot used during Rituals, symbolically mixing the Four Ancient Elements and the Goddess Womb. Used for various purposes, including burning incense, holding charcoal or herbs and brewing potions.

CENSER - A heat proof container for incense burning or smouldering. It is the symbol for the element air.

CERUNNOS - The Ancient Celtic Horned God, of nature, hunting and fertility, consort of the Goddess.

CHAKRA - A name given to one of the special psychic energy points of the human body. The seven major ones are Root (base of the spine), Sacral (genital region), Solar Plexus (tummy), Heart (chest), Throat (neck), Head (Brow) and Crown (top of head). Usually represented by differing coloured Lotus flowers, useful for visualization.

CHALICE - A sacred cup or goblet used during rituals, commonly holding (consecrated) wine, water or fruit juice. It has similar meanings to the cauldron and represents the element water.

CHARGE OF THE GOD - Often used as part of the Wiccan Ritual of Drawing Down the Sun (God)

CHARGE OF THE GODDESS - Often used as part of the Wiccan Ritual of Drawing Down the Moon.

CHARGING - To infuse an object with your personal power. (Example: charging water.)

CHEIROMANCY - The act of reading palms (Palmistry).

CIRCLE - Sphere of magickal group of Wiccans, not part of a coven.

CONE OF POWER - Traditionally the spiral winding of power up to it's maximum when raised by a Coven (or individual) before it is released for Magickal Workings. Usually takes the shape of a Traditional Witches Hat!

CONSECRATION - The act, process or ceremony of cleansing and making something sacred for use in Rituals.

COVEN - An organised group of Witches, aka Circle, traditionally 13 in number (but can be any number), led by a Priestess, Priest or both and joined through initiation, who meet to work magick and perform rituals.

COVENSTEAD - The home of a coven.

COWAN - Can mean either a person not of Wiccan beliefs, trying to fake the beliefs (a derogatory word for a "fake pagan"; a fool who doesn't know what they are talking about) or someone not of a Coven (I think I prefer the second explanation myself!).

CRAFT, (THE) - Another name for Wiccan Religion or Witchcraft.

CRONE - The third aspect of the Triple Goddess, Hecate. Represents maturity, wisdom, spiritual peace and endings, latterly death. Corresponds to the Waning and dark phases of the Moon. Also used to represent those women whom have passed through the menopause.

CRONING - A ritual celebrating those who have come into "full wisdom" (50 + years). Females may be called Crones, males may be called Sages.

CROSS QUARTERS - The midpoints of the seasons, they are four of the Sabbats, or holidays, which fall between the Sabbats at the Quarters.

D

DEITY - A supreme or divine being, a God or Goddess, most Wiccan's have their own patron Deities, from the Pantheon of names that exist for them and their differing attributes. See The Glade of the Goddess and God.

DEOSIL - Sunwards or clockwise motion (in Northern Hemisphere, Anti-Clockwise in the Southern), thought to be positive. Widdershins is the opposite.

DIVINE POWER -- The life force of energy; ultimate source of all things (exists in the Goddess and the God in Wicca)

DRAWING DOWN THE MOON - The Ritual Invocation of the Goddess, usually performed on one of the Esbats. Involves drawing down the persona of the Goddess into the High Priestess.

DRAWING DOWN THE SUN - The Ritual Invocation of the Horned God, performed during some Rituals, usually Sabbat celebrations. Involves drawing down the persona of the God into the High Priest.

DRUIDS - Celtic pre-christian Priests, thought by some to have built Stonehenge. Nature worshippers, similar to Wiccan's, though with some differences. Worship in 'Glades', similar to Wiccan Covens.

E

EARTH - One of the Four Elements, symbolizing North / Winter

EARTH POWER -- Manifested Divine power found in natural things.

ECLECTIC -- A mixture of beliefs borrowed from traditions and theologies.

ELEMENTS -- The four essences that are the building blocks of the Universe. (Earth-North, Air-East, Fire-South, and Water-West) Everything that exists, or has the potential to exist, contain one or more of these energies. The four form the Primal Essences, or true "Power". Some consider there to exist a Fifth element, that of 'spirit,' 'self,' or 'soul' which is depicted as the 'centre' of the four and can be represented by the colours white or black. See our Guardians page for more details!

ENCHANTMENT - Another word for Magick, the act of bewitching or casting a spell upon someone.

ENERGY -- Natural vibration or power that we tap into or raise in our spells and rituals.

EQUINOX -- Happens twice a year when the sun is exactly over the Earth's middle (Equator). It produces one day of equal light and dark hours all over the world.

ESBAT -- Ritual occasions celebrating the full moon.

EVOCATION - Evoking a Deity, Spirit or Entity to attend upon or manifest itself before the Practitioner.

G

GOD -- The divine equal and counterpart to the Goddess. (often depicted as Green God of Summer (the Green man, Oak King, etc) and Horned God of Winter (the Stag King, Holly King, etc)). Seen as the Sun, without which we couldn't survive. His life is honoured through the passing of the seasons. The God's domains are untouched lands. The stars are his too. His symbols are the sword, horn, spears, wands, knife, arrow, and sickle.

GODDESS -- The divine equal and counterpart to the God. The Divine Universal Mother- the source of fertility, wisdom, and love. Depicted in 3 aspects - The Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. Her gift is life and She is all nature. (Mother Nature). Her life is honoured not only through respect of all living things, but also by using Esbats to celebrate, since one of her symbols in the moon. Other symbols include the cauldron, chalice, mirror, and five-petalled flower.

THE FOURTH FACE OF THE GODDESS -- That which is never seen, the unknown. Some say this is the source of her power.

GRIMOIRE- A magickal workbook with information on rituals, magickal properties of natural objects, and preparation of ritual tools.

GROUNDING - A Magickal Technique to re-attune with the mundane world around you, giving a feeling of connectedness.

H

HANDFASTING -- A Wiccan/Pagan/Gypsy wedding. Unlike a marriage "until death do you part", a handfasting will stop if the love stops.

THREE HANDFASTINGS

1) a year and a day

2) a lifetime

3) time and eternity

L

LADY -- A term of respect for a Priestess (one who leads a group of wiccans).

THE LADY = The Goddess.

LORD -- A term of respect for a Priest (one who leads a group of wiccans).

THE LORD = The God or Sun God.

M

MAGIC -- Slight of hand or illusions of the eyes (physical exercise as opposed to "psychic").

MAGICK -- The movement of natural energies to create needed change.

MEGALITH -- A huge prehistoric stone monument, can be solitary, arranged in a Circle or in Lines. (Example, Stonehenge, Arbor Low, etc)

N

NEOPAGAN -- Meaning "new" Pagan (a member of the newly formed religions based on old traditions) *NOTE*= All Wiccans are Pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan.

 

P

PAGAN -- General term for Magick-embracing religions.

PANTHEISTIC -- The belief that the divine is everywhere in everything, that Divine = Nature.

PASSAGE, RITES OF -- An exercise of significant transition.

Q

QUARTERS -- The four major Sabbats (holidays or seasonal marks) of the year.

R

REDE (THE WICCAN)-- Either the basic rule of 'And it Harm None, Do as Ye Will', or the full Rede Poem.

REINCARNATION - The doctrine of rebirth of the spirit or the process of repeated lives in the physical form, to allow the evolution of the soul. Pagans believe in reincarnation.

RITUAL -- Ceremony or festival.

S

SABBATS -- Wiccan festivals that are a time of rejoicing and celebration (no work should be done except in emergencies). There are 8 holy celebrations of Wicca all called Sabbats. They celebrate the astronomical occurrences of the Sun (God) and related daylight hours. [opposite of Esbat - Moon (Goddess) celebrations].

THE FOUR GREATER SABBATS

Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.

THE FOUR LESSER SABBATS

Mabon, Litha (Midsummer), Ostara, and Yule.

SIMPLE FEAST -- A ritual meal of sharing with the Goddess and God, also known as Cakes & Ale. Useful to help Ground oneself after Rituals.

SKY CLAD -- A term meaning clad only by the sky, or nude (for example, the state of undress while doing some rituals).

SOLSTICE -- Twice a year, midway between the equinox, there are two days, one of the longest light hours, the other of the longest dark hours. These occur on the 21st of their months.

SPELL -- A magickal ritual, prayer, or act wherein a person actively bends and gives directive to natural energies for a needed purpose.

STAFF -- A magickal tool made of well-seasoned hardwood, straight, and of the owner's height and up in length.

SUMMERLAND -- The Neopagan /Wiccan concept of 'heaven', a land where it is always summer and where the soul goes for a period of rest before reincarnation.

T

THREEFOLD -- This refers to something happening three times over its original intentions. In Wicca, we believe that if you do something with bad intentions, it will come back at you three times worse than you had intended for the original situation or person. Also known as the Threefold Law.

W

WARLOCK - Wiccan folk don't use this word for "Male Witch". It is an old English / Scottish word meaning untrustworthy or oath-breaker. A male Witch is usually referred to as a Witch!

WATCHTOWERS, (GUARDIANS OF THE) - They are used to call and protect the Elementals, each having their own special attributes.

North - Earth- stable, solid, dependable - Feminine - Green

East - Air - thought, intellect - Masculine - Yellow

South - Fire - change, passion, willpower - Masculine - Red

West - Water - emotions, purification - Feminine - Blue

Centre - Spirit - intuitiveness - Unisexed Soul - White

They are both visible/physical as well as non-visible/spiritual. They are invoked during rituals as protectors of our Circle of Power.

WICCA -- A contemporary Pagan belief that predates Christianity. Expresses reverence for Nature, uses Magick, and worships dual deities - both the Goddess (Mother or Lady) and the God (Sun or Lord). A follower of Wicca is a Wiccan. Wicca means "wise ones" and/or "to turn, bend and shape". Wiccan is often termed the new name for Witches, though for some there are differences between them!

WICCANING - The act of parents, promising to rear their children in the Wiccan culture. (also known as Paganing).

WICCA SCRIPTURE - Lessons learned by observing Nature.

WIDDERSHINS - Counter Sunwards (Anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, Clockwise in the Southern) motion around a circle to disperse or tear down negative energy (opposite of Deosil).

WITCH - Sometimes the name of a follower of Wicca (historically, a person who uses Magick).

WITCHCRAFT - The art, craft, and science used by witches, which is Magick. Especially, utilizing personal power with the energy of natural objects.

 

Information Adapted and Summarized from "A~Z of Wicca" by Gerina Dunwich.

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