Every philosophy and religion has its own language. In the following list you will find some of the most frequently used words and terms you will encounter during your studies of Wicca. Take a few moments to look them over. Once you understand the language, the veil of mystery begins to lift and the reasoning behind Wicca begins to make sense.
Altar: A small table usually placed in the center of a circle. The altar is where all obeisance is directed during ritual. The altar reflects the personality of the individual using it. The altar provides the backdrop for ritual, establishes the theme of the magickal work being done, and sets the mood for ceremony.
Amulet: A constructed object, usually made of stone or metal, that is engraved with runes or magickal symbols and used or worn as a charm for protection, love, or good luck.
Astral: Pertaining to the etheric world, the invisible world of spirit, which is close to the mundane world.
Athame: The Witch's double-edged knife, which is used to direct personal power during ritual. It is usually about 9 inches long, has a black handle, and is personally consecrated and charged by the Witch for use in religious and magickal rites. The athame is only used symbolically and never to let blood or cut material objects. It is one of the four sacred tools of the Witch and magician (the others being the pentagram, wand, and chalice).
Blessing: Benediction. The laying on of hands to confer personal power, energy, or good will to a person or material object.
Bolline: A small, white-handled knife used for cutting herbs and inscribing candles for magickal works.
Burning times: The period of time, from roughly the 14th to the 17th centuries, when Witches were persecuted for their beliefs. It is believed that some nine million people were put to death for practicing Witchcraft. It is very doubtful that all of these victims of the Church were actually Witches. Because the Witch hunts were very profitable (those accused were stripped of their property and belongings), it is more likely that greed was the culprit, rather than Witchcraft.
Censer: An incense burner or heatproof container for burning incense and magickal offerings. The censer is usually placed directly on the altar during magickal rites.
Chalice: A Witch's magickal cup. It represents the element of water during magickal rites. It is considered a sacred symbol of the Goddess. The chalice is used for blessing wine and other liquids during ceremonies and ritual acts. It is usually made of silver, or silver lined with gold to emphasize the divine union of opposites. One of the four sacred tools of the Witch and the magician (the others being the athame, the pentagram, and the wand).
Channeling: A New Age term for allowing an outside source or entity to temporarily inhabit one's body and speak through oneself to others.
Charm: To physically act upon an object or person to change its course of action.
Circle: A sphere of magickal energy created by the Witch or magician. The circle is usually marked on the floor physically, and then charged by projecting psychic energy onto its boundary. The circle is a barrier of protection and is used to contain energy raised during magickal rites.
Cleansing: A process by which the practitioner removes negative energies from objects, people, or places. Usually done before ritual or spiritual work.
Cone of power: An invisible, cone-shaped body of psychic energy raised during certain magickal rites and then directed toward an individual or to achieve a definite purpose. Witches will raise the cone of power to protect their land, heal sick friends, or create material abundance.
Conjuration: The act of summoning a spiritual force or energy source.
Conscious mind: The logical, thinking, rational part of our consciousness. The place in the brain that manipulates information and processes environmental stimuli received through hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and feeling.
Correspondences: Magickal links that work on the principle that like attracts like. For example, a love spell would be enhanced by using correspondences that emphasize the concept of love, such as hearts, flowers, pink candles, and rose quartz.
Coven: A group of Witches, usually led by a High Priestess and High Priest. The coven usually consists of 13 members, who meet on the night of the full moon to work magick and to celebrate the eight seasonal shifts.
Craft: Another term for Witchcraft, magickal practice, and Wiccan spirituality.
Crone: The third aspect of the Triple Goddess, denoting experience, wisdom, and the knowledge that comes with age.
Dedication: The act of committing oneself to the Wiccan God and Goddess and the Wiccan path of spirituality. Dedication, unlike initiation, can be performed by the individual and does not require the presence of an initiated priest or priestess.
Deocil: Clockwise, which is considered to be a positive direction. Most Witches walk deocil when they are within the bounds of their magick circles.
Divination: Fortune-telling using Tarot cards, dice, tea leaves, or Runes to predict the future.
Drawing Down the Moon: A ritual act whereby the High Priestess or Wiccan practitioner draws on the energy of the moon and the Goddess for empowerment.
Elemental: A deliberately formed and controlled thought-form of intelligent energy that is capable of performing menial tasks for its master.
Elements: Air, fire, water, earth. These are considered to be the four building blocks of life and can be used to enhance magickal works. Each element is assigned a direction within the bound of the Witch's magick circle: Earth-North; Air-East; Fire-South; Water-West.
Etheric world: The invisible world of spirit, which is close to the mundane world.
Evocation: The summoning and/or conjuring of a spiritual force. For example, the archangels are evoked to guard and protect the magickal circle, or an elemental might be evoked outside the circle to perform a task for the Witch or magickian.
Familiar: An elemental or a totem animal that has been programmed/ trained to be a magickal servant of the Witch. Once the animal has become a familiar it will have a special bond with its master. Spirit forces from the astral plane can also be summoned to act as familiars.
Gaia: A Greek goddess and popular term for the Earth Mother or Mother Earth.
Glamour: The act of casting a magickal spell on another individual using only personal power. Glamour is the art of fascination—making people see, believe, and do things they ordinarily wouldn't.
Green Man: The god who dwells deep within the forest.
Guardian: A higher spiritual force, such as an archangel, who is summoned forth during a ritual to guard and protect the perimeter of the magick circle from any unwanted outside forces or energies.
Incantation: The act of singing, chanting, or speaking formulaic words, phrases, or sounds to raise energy for manipulation during spellcasting and ritual magick.
Initiation: A formal spiritual act that transforms a dedicated individual and his or her view of reality.
Invocation: The act of calling down or summoning a higher spiritual force to add energy to a magickal work. The act of invocation psychically links the individual with the force to aid in the performance of psychic feats.
Linking: The process of using mental identification to communicate with spiritual forces, and/or with appropriate symbols in a magickal operation.
Libation: An offering of wine, water, or other fluid, which is poured on the ground in honor of the God and/or Goddess during or after ritual work.
Macrocosm: The world of reality or the universe that is around us all.
Maiden: The first of three aspects of the Triple Goddess. The maiden denotes youth, beauty, and virtue.
Microcosm: The world of reality that exists within us and everything that exists.
Magick: A system of concepts and methods for using the subtle forces of nature to help the individual alter reality.
Mighty Ones: The Guardians of the Quadrants, also called Archangels or Divine Emanations.
Mother: The second aspect of the Triple Goddess, denoting fertility, love, nurturing, and the protective qualities of motherhood. The Mother Goddess is the aspect most commonly used in ritual, especially because it corresponds to the full moon.
Mystery Tradition: A religious or magickal order (cult) that meets in secret and requires initiation for admission. The teachings of the order are meant to shed light on the mysteries of immortality and the laws concerning the human mind and its relationship to the body and the cosmos.
New Age: A spiritual trend, dating to the 1960s, that advocates the blending of metaphysical concepts and religious idealism. Key components include incorporating the Goddess into religious philosophy and viewing the earth as sacred.
Offering: A presentation of a gift, such as incense, candles, flowers, food, or drink, to a deity during a ritual. Also messages written on paper and burned in honor of a deity.
Old Ones: The many gods and goddesses worshiped in the Old Religions; gods that predate the Christian era.
Pagan: A follower of nature-based religion. Also a blanket word meaning a heathen, or anyone who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
Pan: The mischievous god of the woods, often associated with the fun-loving Dionysus. A horned nature god with the torso of a man and the legs and buttocks of a goat.
Pentacle: A talisman used for magickal operations, usually a round disk inscribed with a pentagram, which protects its user and creates a magickal effect.
Pentagram: The five-pointed star, the most powerful symbol of all ceremonial rites. It symbolizes man in control of the four Elements of nature (Air, Fire, Water, Earth). One of the four sacred tools of the Witch and magician (the others being the wand, athame, and chalice). The focal point of the magickal rite, usually placed at the center of the altar.
Philtre: Love potion or herbal aphrodisiac that has a magickal effect on anyone who drinks it.
Poppet: A doll made in a person's likeness. Usually stuffed with herbs, stones, moss, and items belonging to the individual it represents.
Priest: The male leader of a coven or Wiccan church, who has been properly trained and initiated into the Wiccan faith. The priest usually represents the God during ritual.
Priestess: The female leader of a coven or Wiccan church, who has been properly trained and initiated into the Wiccan faith. The priestess represents the Goddess during ritual and is considered to be the spiritual head of the coven or church.
Psychic Awareness: The sensitivity of the body and mind to subtle vibrations that emanate from the astral plane or from other human beings.
Quadrant: One of the four compass points located on the perimeter of a magick circle. Each quadrant marks a station for one of the elemental energies, guardians, or angelic forces that guard and protect the interior of the circle and those within it. Also called watchtower.
Ritual Bath: A bath meant to purify the body and mind before a magick or religious ritual. The practitioner places incense and a candle near the tub, to which salt water has been added. He or she then speaks a personal blessing before entering the water.
Runes: Characters from old Teutonic alphabets, usually etched onto stones or tiles. Used for divination and spiritual guidance.
Sabbat: Wiccan religious festival, celebrated eight times a year. The Sabbats occur on October 31 (Samhain, the Celtic New Year's Eve), December 21 (Yule), February 1 (Imbolc), March 21 (Ostara), April 30 (Beltane), June 21 (Litha), August 1 (Lughnasadh), and September 21 (Mabon).
Scry: To divine the future by gazing into a mirror, crystal ball, or dish filled with water.
Solitary: A Witch who practices and works magick alone.
Song-Spell: A lyrical chant or rhythmic song used to captivate and/or control a person, place, or thing for a specified length of time for the benefit of the Witch or magician casting it.
Spell: A period of time during which a person, place, or situation is held in a captive state for the benefit of a person working his or her will.
Talisman: An object that has been made, consecrated, and magickally charged in order to garner protection, attract money and success, or induce love and friendship. A talisman can be made from just about anything, because it is the act of consecration that makes it magickal.
Triple Goddess: A goddess who has three distinct aspects — maiden, mother, and crone—which correspond to the three phases of the moon.
Underworld: The realm that lies just below the surface of the earth. The place where everyone must face the Dweller of the Threshold in the final test of the soul as it progresses from one life to another.
Visualization: Forming mental images to enhance magickal work and spellcrafting. Also, the ability to recreate within the mind an image once seen; total recall.
Wand: The second and most valued of the four major working tools of the Witch (the others being the pentagram, athame, and chalice). It is symbolic of the Air element and is used for directing energy. The wand is phallic in shape and represents the will of the Witch or magician. It is usually the length of the bearer's arm from the tip of the middle finger to the inside of the elbow.
Warlock: A term used by the Catholic Church to denote male Witches. The term is rarely used in Wicca, as both male and female adherents are called Witches or Wiccans.
Webweaving: Networking with other magickal people to exchange information.
Wheel of the Year: Denotes the eight seasonal festivals (Sabbats). The wheel represents the never-ending cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. As the seasons change, the wheel turns.
Wicca: A current and more popular name for Witchcraft. A neo-Pagan religion that expresses a reverence for nature and a polytheistic view of deity and that practices simple ceremonies to achieve communion with the natural forces of Mother Earth.
Widdershins: Counterclockwise. A circle of sacred space is usually taken up/removed by walking in a widdershins manner. Opposite of deocil.
Working: A magickal act done to reach a certain state of mind or create a desired effect.
Wortcunning: Herbalist. The term is mostly used by folk healers and Witches who specialize in the secret healing and magickal properties of herbs and plants.
Zodiac: An invisible band in the sky within which the planets are thought to move. The zodiac has 12 places, or houses, in which the planets reside at different times.
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