Alexandrian: A practitioner of Wicca initiated from the priest line of Alex Sanders. This Tradition was the second to come after Gardnerian, stemming from the
Gardnerian tradition. The fundamental difference between the two regards secrecy. Gardner's approach was more like the Esoteric schools and Freemasonry, no
outsiders welcome. Alexandrians tend to host open rites sometimes just to allow family and friends to share. Alexandrians are also more adaptation and change
within ritual,training and structure, for example priesthood of the Alexandrian line are encouraged to add to their BOS.
Athame: Pronounced as a-thah-may (from the French manuscripts of Greater Key of Solomon), or a-dhaam (as Clann C pronounces it, from the Arabic/Moorish
word "al-dhamme", meaning blood letter) The "black handled knife" or ritual dagger carried upon a practioner. It is not used for any mundane work.
Blessed Be (BB): A blessings bestowed between Wiccans, sometimes used to close a prayer or even a letter.
Bolline: (Bow-leen) From the Greater Key of Solomon as well. The "White handled knife" which is used for any mundane work, cutting, scraping wax, etc.
BOS (Book of Shadows): A book where a practioner records their rituals, practices, poetry, stories, even training. Within a tradition, this is the book which hold
all of the practices of the tradition, and when a new Priest is made, traditionally they hand copy this book to use themselves. If a Priest hives off, it is this they use
to continue the line by initiating from it, training from it and celebrating from it. Sometimes it is called a grimoire but historically a grimoire was different, see below.
"The Burning Times" The period from around 1000CE through the 17th century when millions of people were burned and/or murdered by the church and public
officials for having been accused of practicing the church's descriptions of what witchcraft was.
Ceremonial Magic(k: A style of ritual or spellwork with complicated and precise timing, correspondences, and structure using more elaborate tools specifically
geared to help attune the energies of the rite and the subconscious of the practitioner. Practitioners of ceremonial magic often work with Kabbalah, the Angelic
hierarchies, Enochian magic, psychology, astronomy/astrology, etc. They work mainly with entities outside of the Earthly realms, angels, archangels, daemons,
devas, and the Divine. This is not a spirituality/religion in and of itself.
Ceremonial Witch: A person who combine both the practices of witchcraft and ceremonial magic, practicing the Old Ways, but with scientific precisions and
calcuations, psychology, etc. They most often use a combination of entities, leaning towards archetypal energies. They are more spiritually centered than most
ceremonial magicians, using an Earth/Nature-centered path with focus on the Divine within.
Charge of the Goddess (AKA "The Charge"): The poem by Doreen Valiente which outlines the idea of who the Goddess is meant to be to Wiccans, giving
them ideals and practices to follow, and the promises the Goddess makes in return.
Circle: #1. The energy cast by a practioner to be a vessel to contain the energies they raise, as well as a boundary against outside influences to their rite.
A single cast is generally the shape of a circle where a triple cast is actually a more ovoid style of 3 dimensional shape.
#2 .A ritual/gathering. IE "We have Circle Sat night".
#3. A group of practioners less formally tied together than a coven/grove, usually a training or study group where membership fluctuates.
Cone of Power: The act of focusing and raising energies directed towards a specific goal in order to enact change.
Coven: From the Laitn "convenire" (to agree, be of one mind or come together). A group of practioners working/training/celebrating together wthin the same
traditions/ritual structure under either Priesthood system, shared/rotating leader system.
Covenor: A single member of a coven, usually spoken as such by the leader of the group IE "My covenors study"
Covendom: Historically, is the 3 mile radius around a given covenstead, but since there are various covens of different trads who may be within 3 miles of each
other, this is often used interchangeably with covenstead. It can also be the radius around a given covenstead within a clan of covens, to delineate the distance
necessary between covens of the same clan (so there is no competition for members between a clans priesthood).
Covenstead: The actual physical location where a given coven would routinely meet for their training/ritual. Could be the priesthoods house, a grove of trees or
sacred land, even a UU church, etc
Cowan: A word taken from Freemasonry to mean a non-initiate, so someone who is not Craft. Think "muggle" from Harry Potter.
Deosil: Pronounced "je-shell", means clockwise or sunwise.
Drawing Down the Moon: A ritual used by a witch to empower him/herself with the essence of the Goddess. Some believe it to be the external invocation of that
power from without, some an evocation of power from within to the forefront, and some to do both at the same time.
Drawing In The Sun: The same type of ritual used by a witch to empower him/herself with the essence of the God.
Esbat: From the French word "esbatment" which meant "an amusement or diversion". First used by Margaret Murray to describe the gathering of witches. Now
Esbats are most often thought of as the rituals which celebrate the moon phases during a month, but some groups use this word to mean any witches gathering
that is not a Sabbat.
Gerald Gardner: (AKA "ole Gerald") The father of what is modern Wicca.
Gardnerian: - A practioner of Wicca initiated by a priest line coming directly from Gerald Gardner, who follows the ritual styling, Sabbat cycles, and basic
religious structure established by Gerald Gardner. See Wicca.
Grimoire: The book in which a practioner would write their spellwork, their correspondence tables relating to spellwork, their knowledge of herb craft, signs and
sigils, etc. More modernly it is used as a term interchangeably with BOS.
Grove: #1. An actual circling of trees where practioners (usually druids) may hold ritual.
#2. The name of a large body of otherwise unconnected practioners who meet less frequently than circles or covens, usually for festivals only.
#3. A group of people celebrating rituals of Druidism.
Handmaiden: The woman designated as a Priest/ess's assistant/helper, "go-for", or sometimes their right hand person who helps lead the group when the
Priest/ess are otherwise occupied with counseling, training, etc.
Heir Apparent: The person/people designated within a given coven to take leadership of that coven should originating Priesthood die or it become necessary for
originating Priesthood to step down.
High Priest/ High Priestess (HP or HPS): The leaders of a given ritual, and in most cases the leader of a coven of witches. In a degreed system this the status
given to Priesthood who have reached the rank of Elder within their own tradition, where the term Priest of Priestess would refer to any other member of a coven
who was trained to the ability to lead a ritual/coven, but not yet Elder.
Immanent Divinity: A Divine that is within everything in the Universe, a part of everything, living within us all. Not external to its creation.
Outer Court: Students training with a particular coven/Tradition system who have not yet been initiated into that system. Traditionally they do not participate in
rituals for a year and a day, when, if they have successfully completed all their training requirements, they are then initiated and welcomed into all the inner
Pagan - A broad term encompassing a great number of polytheistic and/or earth-based religions. Historically defined as a "country dweller" but in more recent
years came to be the term for any religion not Christian, Islam or Jewish.
Pantacle: The "pentacle" which the cakes of ceremony are placed on OR the cakes themselves.
Pantheism: The belief that the Divine is everywhere, in all things and that all things are also Divine.
Pantheon: The group of gods and goddess within a specific religion or mythical structure. IE the Greek pantheon includes Zeus, Athena, Apollo, etc.
Pentacle: The five pointed star within a circle. In Wicca, it is used usually only top point up, usually inscribed on a round flat disc used as an attribute of the
element of earth and symbol of protection in ritual. Point up, it is also the most recognizable symbol Wiccans and witches wear to denote their spirituality.
Pentagram: The five pointed star also known as a pentapha or "cross of Adam". This symbol was inscribed upon a ring which the Archangel Raphael gave to
King Solomon to subdue demons to aid in the building of his temple to God. Therefore it is used as a symbol of protection widely throughout many religions /
spiritualities. It is also a symbol that can be drawn continuously with no broken lines, thus it is a symbol of strength. Top point up it represents spirit's dominion
over the 4 elements or ones belief in the Divine having more importance than matter or the mundane. It is also the microcosm, five points representing the figure
of man or the 5 senses.
Inverted Pentagram: Eliphas Levi began the idea that this was a symbol for Satan because it indicated that the elements or matter had
dominion over spirit, a charecteristic of Satanism. The addition of a goats head and circle came from Anton LeVey for his Church of Satan
Polyamory: The practice of responsible non-monogamy where all partners are aware and accepting of their partners' lifestyle. In many cases all partners co-
habitat, creating a united family. The practice is not confined to Wicca and in fact most Wiccans do NOT adhere to it. (See Church of All Worlds sites for more
Polytheistic: Believing the Divine to be manifested under many different names / personas / archetypes / guises/myths.
Sabbats: Also known as Wheel of the Year or Eight Ritual Occasions. The 8 festival days each year celebrating the tides of the earth, seasons, and phases in
mythology of the god forms.
Sigil: A special sign which in and of itself hold a magical energy.
Skyclad: An English slang term for nudity. Some Wiccans practice ritual nudity and overtime this practice became known as skyclad.
Sympathetic Magic(k): Magic workings where the outcome is in someway personified by the working itself. IE using actual coins or paper money for spells of
increase or drawing a picture of the outcome to concentrate other workings upon.
Solitaries: Practitioners of Wicca, Paganism, etc who study and work alone, though they may also participate in open Pagan rites, Circles and Groves for
Sabbats and other festivals.
Three-fold Law: A law of return usually taught to new practitioners as a guideline to help them learn to self-govern their behaviour, which states whatever they
do will return upon them three-fold. The three-fold aspect came directly from the Celtic ideas that anything worthy of the gods was blessed in threes (being a
sacred number of the Goddess). Many practitioners of Wicca believe in a law of return but not that there is some magnification of three; and most degreed
systems teach this only in the beginning, expecting their students to develop a morality that guides them to do what they think is right, because its "right“ not
because they are afraid of some 3-fold ramification.
Tradition: The "denomination" of Paganism or Wicca a person follows, which defines the ideology, ritual practice, training, and even sometimes pantheon /
mythology of a given group. IE: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Seax Wicca, Celtic, etc.
Transcendent Divinity: A Divine that is external to all creation, no longer a part of it.
Warlock: #1. Derived from a Scottish term which defined an "oath breaker".Within Wicca it is not generally a term considered positive, and contrary to popular
belief most male witches do NOT use this term, or the term "wizard", to define themselves.
#2. From the old Icelandic/Norse word "Vardlokkr" meaning "One who sings up spirits.
Western Mystery Tradition: The term is most often used when describing Initiatory spiritualities which blend mystical esoteric knowledge (such as Kabbalah,
Theosophy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Freemasonry, Golden Dawn), with Paganism (most often Celtic, some Greek, some Egyptian), ancient philosophies,
medieval ideology, Jungian psychology, and science. There are many esoteric schools built upon Western Mystery style teachings such as: The Servants of the
Light, Builders of the Adytum, Aurum Solis, and Fraternity of the Hidden Light.
Wicca: The term given the modern rival of the "old ways" of European Paganism as stylized by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s, which was basically a Golden Dawn
/ Masonic ritual structure, embellished with Egyptian and other ancient ceremonial practices, worked together with the earth revering practices of the Celtic, Norse
and Italian (Stregherian) cultures. Wicca is ever changing and growing, so other ideas have since become a part of the spirituality as well: Jungian psychology,
work with the chakra systems as examples; and even popular culture like Robert Heinlein's book "Stranger in a Strange Land" has had influences. These
differences in ideas, ritual structure, pantheon etc have created the different Traditions that Wicca now has under its umbrella today.
Wiccan :A practioner of Wicca.
Wiccan Rede: (AKA The Rede) A poem written to outline some of the practices and codes of conducts Wiccans are asked to abide by. Usually shortened to 8
stanzas or just the following line. "And ye harm none do as ye will". More complicated than it seems, the concept of harming none can range in meaning from the
simple avoidance of purposely physically, mentally, emotionally harming someone, to wearing a mask to reduce the possibility of infecting someone with a virus
one could possibly be carrying.
Witch: A practitioner (male or female) of "the Old Ways", :witchcraft, such as herb craft, homeopathy, animal husbandry, etc. More modernly any practitioner of
magic (of any religion/spirituality). Historically defined as a "wise one".
Witchcraft: The art of using elements of the earth, the Divine and oneself to effect change within oneself, another or even in the cosmos in general. Such
applications might include such things as herbcraft, candle or color magic, poppets/effigies, signs/sigils, amulets/talismans/charms or cone of power.
|RavenHarte's List of Useful Terms
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|Copyright 2004 - 2019 RavenHarte
| Don't see a term you would like a definition for? Email RavenHarte@aol.com and ask about it.