A to Z – A Wiccan Glossary
ASPECTS: Forms, facets, or personas of Deity: for example, Brighid, Iseult,Eos, and Kore are all aspects of the Maiden, and the Maiden is an aspect of the Goddess
ATHAME: black handled, double edged dagger. Principally used to cast and dissolve the circle, for which purposes it is interchangeable with the magic sword. A tool of the “Element” of Fire in the Georgian Tradition and some others.
BELTANE: May Eve festival. One of the Ancient Celtic “Fire Festivals.” 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. Also the traditional Sabbath where the rule of the “Wheel of the Year” is returned to the Goddess. This Festival also marks the transition point of the threefold Goddess energies from those of Maiden to Mother.
BOOK OF SHADOWS: Traditionally hand copied book of rituals, recipes, training techniques, guidelines, and other materials deemed important to a Witch or a coven. Each tradition has it’s 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 can 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 4 Celtic “Fire Festivals. Commemorates the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden. Celebrates the first signs of Spring. Also called “Imbolc” (the old Celtic name). This is the seasonal change where the first signs of spring 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 threefold Goddess energies from those of Crone to Maiden.
CHARGE OF THE GODDESS: The Traditional words of the Goddess to her followers, or “hidden children”. Normally declaimed 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 “Silver Acorn Circle”.
CONE OF POWER: power raised in the circle by the Witches assembled, and sent out into the world to work magick, 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 13, but in fact most covens number considerably less. 3 is the minimum in the Georgian Tradition. In Middle English, “Covin” a group of confederates; In Old French “Covine” 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 to “real craft”. Not often used today among most Witches.
COYOTE ENERGY: trickster energies. Named for the American Indian Trickster, Coyote, who tricks man into learning what he needs to learn. Applies to one who constantly jokes and clowns. Also applies to the concept of “Holy Fool” in many traditions.
CROSS QUARTER DAYS: The modern name for the Celtic Fire Festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lammas.
Abracadabra- A word from the Jewish mystical tradition of Qabala. Its root is the name of the Gnostic deity Abraxas, meaning “hurt me not”. It is said to possess magickal powers, especially of protection from illness.
Adept- An individual who through serious study and accomplishments is highly prficient in a praticluar magickal way.
Alba– The Isle of Skye; Scotland
Alexandrian Tradition– A form of Garderian Wiccan practice developed by Alex and Maxine Sanders in Britain in the 1960s.
Alignment- Synchronization of mental and spiritual vibrations with a god, goddess, or astronomical body. Often the complete balance and centering of the chakras is called an alignment.
Altar- A small working area and shrine many pagans maintain, where they perform most of their ritual and spell work.
Amulet- An object charged with personal energies through ritual or meditation often used to ward off a certain force or person.
Aradia- The Italian goddess Diana’s daughter, said to be the origin of all witches. The book “Aradia, Gospel of the Witches” was written by Leland about Aradia and the practice of witchcraft
Arcana– The two halves of the tarot deck.The major arcana consists of 22 cards showing dominant occurrences in our lives.The minor arcana consists of 56 suit cards (commonly called the lesser arcana) that assists the major arcana cards,or shows smaller influences in our lives.
Archetype- Symbolic imagery seen in visions, dreams, meditation, and mind quests. Used to interpret the meaning of the vision thereby betting understanding and communicating with the subconscious.
Arthurian Tradition- A Welsh tradition of paganism based on the lore of King Arthur (the “Once and Future King”), Merlin the Magician, and Guinevere.
Asatru- Modern worship of the old Norse gods.
Aspecting- An advanced magical practice which is seen most commonly in a coven as opposed to solitary. The practitioner attempts to manifest an aspect of the Goddess or the God. This is seen in the pagan ritual of Drawing Down the Moon as well as in other pagan religions such as Vodou, where the priest often allows the deity to speak through his or her body.
Asperger- A bundle of fresh herbs either carrying dew or dowsed with spring water, used to sprinkle the water during ritual purification.
Astral Projection/Travel– The proccess of separating your astral body from your physical body to accomplish travel in the astral.
Attune- To bring different psyches into harmony.
DEOSIL: clockwise, or sunwise. Traditional direction for working “building” magick.
DRAWING DOWN THE MOON: Ritual invocation of the spirit of the Goddess into the body of the High Priestess by the High Priest.
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.
ESBAT: weekly or biweekly meeting of a coven. Traditionally held either on the full moon or the new moon.
FAMILIARS: Either a Witch’s 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, FIVEFOLD SALUTE: 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 8 kisses in all. It is only used within the Circle, but the words that go with it are the origin of “Blessed Be.”
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.
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.
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 3 harvests. This festival also marks the change of the Threefold Goddess energies from that of Mother to Crone.
PENTAGRAM: The five-pointed star. With a single point uppermost, it represents the human being. Inverted, with two points uppermost, it can have Satanist associations; but not necessarily. Some traditions of Wicca use the inverted pentagram to signify an initiate of the second degree.
QUARTERS: The North, East, South, and West parts of a magickal circle or other ritual area. (See also “Watchtowers”)
SABBAT: one of the Eight festivals or high holy days of Wicca.
SALAMANDER: an entity that dwells in the realm of Fire.
SAMHAIN: The festival of remembrance for the dead, held on the eve of Nov. 1st. It is the last of the three harvests. This festival also marks the transition of rulership of the “Wheel of the Year from that of the Goddess to that of the God.
SCRYING: divination, usually using such methods as crystal gazing, or divination via incense smoke, or water as opposed to tarot or other manipulative means.
SYLPH: an “entity” or “elemental” that dwells in the plane of Air or is associated with the AIR Element.
UNDINE: an “entity” or “elemental” that dwells in the plane of Water or is associated with the WATER Element.
WARLOCK: a term coined in the Burning Times . It was used to denote a traitor to the Craft, or one who had betrayed the followers of the Old Religion. It’s origin is Scottish. Because of the negative connotations, it is not used by most Wiccans today.
WICCA: the name most modern day Witches use for the Craft. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Wicce, meaning to bend or to shape. This is the root word from which we get wicker.
WIDDERSHINS: counter clock wise. Used for “tearing down” OR BANISHING magick.
WHITE HANDLED KNIFE: the working knife of a Witch. It is used to carve candles, and for fashioning the other tools. Traditionally, it can only be used in a circle.