Deosil: Clockwise, or the direction in which the shadow on a sundial moves as the Sun "moves" across the sky. In northern hemisphere magic, deosil movement is symbolic of life, positive energies, good. It is much used in spells and rituals: i.e., "walk deosil around the Circle of Stones." Some Wiccan groups below the equator, notably in Australia, have switched from deosil to Widdershins motions in their rituals. See also Widdershins.
Divination: The magical art of discovering the unknown by interpreting random patterns or symbols. Tools such as clouds, tarot cards, flames, or smoke are used. Divination contacts the Psychic Mind by tricking or drowsing the Consciousness Mind through Ritual, and by observing or manipulating tools. Divination isn't necessary for those who can easily attain communication with the psychic mind, although they may practice it.
Elements, The: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. These four essences are the building blocks of the universe. Everything that exists (or that has potential to exist) contains one or more of these energies. The elements hum within ourselves and are also "at large" in the world. They can be utilized to cause change through Magic. The four elements formed from the primal essence or power-Akasha.
Esbat: A Wiccan ritual usually occurring on the Full Moon and dedicated to the Goddess in Her lunar aspect.
Evocation: Calling up spirits or other nonphysical entities to either visible appearance or invisible attendance. This isn't a Wiccan practice. Compare with Invocation.
Folk Magic: The practice of projecting Personal Power, as well as the energies within natural objects such as herbs and crystals, to bring about needed change.
Imbolc: A Wiccan Sabbat celebrated on February 2md, also known as Candlemas, Lupercalia, Feast of Pan, Feast of Torches, Feast of the Waxing Light, Oimelc, Brigit's Day and many other names. Imbolc celebrates the first stirrings of spring and recovery of the Goddess from giving birth to the Sun (the God) at Yule.
Initiation: A process whereby an individual is introduced or admitted into a group, interest, skill, or religion. It is often undergone by a candidate of Wicca. Initiations may be ritual occasions but can also occur spontaneously.
Invocation: An appeal or petition to a higher power (or powers), such as the Goddess and God. A prayer. Invocation is actually a method of establishing conscious ties with those aspects of the Goddess and God that dwell within us. In essence, then, we seemingly cause them to appear, or make themselves known, by becoming aware of them.
Labrys: A double-headed axe which symbolized the Goddess in ancient Crete, and still used by some Wiccans for this same purpose. The two axe-heads represent the Goddess in Her Lunar aspect.
Lughnasadh: A Wiccan Sabbat celebrated on August 1st, also known as August Eve, Lammas, Feast of Bread. Lughnasadh marks the first harvest, when the fruits of the Earth are cut and stored for the dark winter months, and the God mysteriously weakens as the days grow shorter.
Mabon: A Wiccan Sabbat occurring on or around September 21st, the Autumnal Equinox, Mabon is a celebration of the second harvest, when nature prepares for winter. Mabon is a vestige of ancient harvest festivals which, in some form or another, were once nearly universal among peoples of the Earth, and still exists in the United States under the guise of the Thanks-giving holiday.
Magic: The projection of natural energies (such as Personal Power) to create needed change. Energy exists within all things: ourselves, plants, stones, colors, sounds, movements. Magic is the process of rousing this energy, giving it purpose, and releasing it. Magic is a natural, not supernatural, practice, but is little understood.
Magic Circle, The: A sphere constructed of Personal Power in which Wiccan rituals are usually enacted. The term refers to the circle that marks the sphere's penetration of the ground, for the sphere extends both above and below the surface of the ground. It is created through Visualization and Magic.
Meditation: Reflection, contemplation-turning inward toward the self, or outward toward Deity or nature. A quiet time in which the practitioner may either dwell upon particular thoughts or symbols or allow them to come unbidden.
Midsummer: The Summer Solstice, usually occurring on or near June 21st. One of the Wiccan festivals, and an excellent night for Magic. Midsummer marks the time of the year when the Sun (the God) is symbolically at the height of its powers. The longest day of the year.
Old Ones, The: A Wiccan term sometimes used to encompass all aspects of the Goddess and God.
Ostara: Occurs around March 21st, at the Spring Equinox. Ostara marks the beginning of true, astronomical spring, when snow and ice make way for green. As such, Ostara is a Fire and fertility Sabbat, celebrating the return of the Sun, the God, and the fertility of the Earth (the Goddess).
Pagan: From the Latinpaganus, meaning "country dweller." Today it is used as a general term for followers of Wicca and other magical and polytheistic religions. It is also used to refer to pre-Christian religious and magical systems. Naturally, Christians have their own negative definition of this word.
Pentacle: A ritual object (usually a circular piece of wood, metal, clay, etc.) Upon which a five-pointed star (Pentagram) is inscribed, painted, or engraved. It represents the Element of Earth. The words "pentagram" and "pentacle" are not interchangeable, though they may understandably cause confusion.
Pentagram: The basic interlaced five-pointed star, visualized with one point upward. The pentagram represents the five senses, the Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Akasha), the hand, and the human body. It is a protective symbol known to have been is use since the days of old Babylon. Today it is frequently associated with Wicca. A symbol of power.
Personal Power: That energy which sustains our bodies. It originates within the Goddess and God. We first absorb it from our biological mother within the womb, and later from food, water, the Moon and Sun, and other natural objects. We release it during movement, exercise, sex, conception, and childbirth. Magic is a movement of personal power for a specific goal.
Psychic Mind: The subconscious, or unconscious mind, in which we receive psychic impres-sions. The psychic mind is at work when we sleep, dream, and meditate. It is our direct link with the Divine, and with the larger, nonphysical world around us. Other related terms: Divination is a ritual process which utilizes the Conscious Mind to contact the psychic mind. Intuition is a term used to describe psychic information that unexpectedly reaches the conscious mind.
Psychism: The act of being consciously psychic, in which the Psychic Mind and Conscious Mind are linked and working in harmony. Also known as psychic awareness. Ritual Consciousness is a form of psychism.
Ritual: Ceremony. A specific form of movement, a manipulation of objects or inner processes designed to produce desired effects. In religion ritual is geared toward union with the Divine. In Magic it produces a specific state of consciousness that allows the magician to move energy toward needed goals. A Spell is a magical ritual.
Ritual Consciousness: A specific, alternate state of awareness necessary to the successful practice of magic. The magician achieves this consciousness through the use of Visualization and Ritual. It is an attunement of the Conscious Mind with the Psychic Mind, a state in which the magician senses energies, gives them purpose and releases them toward the magical goal. It is a heightening of the senses, an expanded awareness of the non-physical world, a linking with nature and with the forces behind all conceptions of Deity.
Runes: Stick-like figures, some of which are remnants of old Teutonic alphabets. Others are pictographs. These symbols are once again widely being used in Magic and Divination.
Sabbat: A Wiccan festival. See Beltane, Imbolc, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Midsummer, Ostara, Samhain and Yule for descriptions.
Samhain: A Wiccan Sabbat celebrated on October 31st, also known as November Eve, Hallowmass, Halloween, Feast of Souls, Feast of the Dead, Feast of Apples. Samhain marks the symbolic death of the Sun God and His passing into the "land of the young," where He awaits rebirth of the Mother Goddess at Yule. This Celtic word is pronounced by Wiccans as "SOW-wen" (the "sow" sounds like the first three letters in sour); "SEW-wen"; "SAHM-hain"; "SAHM-ain"; "SAV-een" and other ways. The first pronunciation seems to be the one preferred by most Wiccans.
Scry, To: To gaze at or into an object (a quartz crystal sphere, pool of water, reflections, a candle flame) to still the Conscious Mind in order to contact the Psychic Mind. This practice allows the scryer to become aware of events prior to their actual occurrence, as well as to perceive past or present events through other than the five senses. A form of Divination.
Simple Feast, The: A Ritual meal shared with the Goddess and God.
Spell: A magical Ritual, usually nonreligious in nature and often accompanied by spoken words.
Spirits of the Stones, The: The elemental energies naturally inherent with the four directions of the Earth. They are personified within the Standing Stones Tradition as the "Spirits of the Stones" and in other Wiccan traditions as the "Lords of the Watchtowers." They are linked with the Elements.
Talisman: An object charged with Personal Power to attract a specific force or energy to its bearer.
Tradition, Wiccan: An organized, structured, specific Wiccan subgroup, which is usually initiatory, often with unique ritual practices. Many traditions have their own Books of Shadows, and usually recognize members of other traditions as Wiccan. Most traditions are composed of a number of Covens as well as solitary practitioners.
Visualization: The process of forming mental images. Magical visualization consists of forming images of needed goals during Ritual. Visualization is also used to direct Personal Power and natural energies for various purposes during Magic, including Charging and forming the Magic Circle. It is a function of the Conscious Mind.
White-Handled Knife: A normal cutting knife with a sharp blade and white handle. It is used within Wicca to cut herbs and fruits, to slice bread during The Simple Feast, and for other functions-but never for sacrifice. Sometimes called the bowline. Compare with Athame.
Wicca: A contemporary Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence of nature. Some of its major identifying motifs are reverence for the Goddess and the God; acceptance of reincarnation and magic; ritual observance of astronomical and agricultural phenomena; and the creation and use of spheroid temples for ritual purposes.
Widdershins: Anti-clockwise motion, usually used in the Northern Hemisphere for negative magical purposes, or for dispersing negative energies or conditions such as disease. Southern Hemisphere Wiccans may use widdershins motions for exactly the opposite purposes; namely, for positive ends. In either case, widdershins and deosil motions are symbolic; only strict, close-minded traditionalists believe that accidentally walking around the altar backwards, for instance, will raise negativity. Their use in Wicca stems from ancient European rituals practiced by peoples who watched and reverenced the Sun and Moon in their daily revolutions. Widdershins motions, within ritual contexts, are still shunned by the majority of Wiccans, though some use it while, for instance, dispersing the Magic Circle at the end of a rite.
Witch: In ancient times, a practitioner of the remnants of pre-Christian folk magic, particularly that kind relating to herbs, stones, wells, rivers, and stones. One who practiced Witchcraft. Later, this term's meaning was deliberately altered to denote a demented, dangerous, supernatural being who practiced destructive magic-a threat to Christianity. This change in meaning was a political, monetary, and sexist move on the part of organized religion-not a change in the practices of Witches. This later, erroneous meaning is still accepted by many non-Witches. It is also used by some members of Wicca to describe themselves.
Witchcraft: The craft of the Witch-Magic, especially magic utilizing Personal Power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors, and other natural objects. (See Folk Magic.) By just using this definition, Witchcraft isn't a religion. However, some followers of Wicca use this word to denote their religion. Yes, it is a bit confusing.
Yule: A Wiccan Sabbat celebrated on or about December 21st, marking the rebirth of the God from the Goddess. A time of joy and celebration during the miseries of winter. Yule occurs at the Winter Solstice.
Many books on Wicca and folk magic have been written. Many of them are good, but the vast majority are poor. I've grouped recommended books into sections according to their main points of interest, and have added short notes describing the books's contents.
Be aware that just because a book is included here doesn't mean that I, Wiccans, or folk magicians agree with everything within it. Remember-read discriminatingly.
Though many of these books are out of print, they can still be found in used book stores and libraries, and some are being reprinted.
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