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DICTIONARY OF TERMS
ŠEileen Holland, from The Wicca Handbook
www.open-sesame.com

 This is a list of words and terms that may be difficult to find in regular dictionaries.
Different traditions sometimes use the same word in different ways,
so I have given more than one definition for some entries.

Akashic Records
   
The astral record of everything that has ever been done.
amulet
   
Something that is worn for protection, usually jewelry.
ankh
   
Ancient Egyptian symbol of life. It looks like a cross with a loop at the top.
astral projection, AP
   
An altered state, often achieved via trance, in which the consciousness is freed from the physical body.
athame
   
Ceremonial knife used in magic and rituals. In Classical Wicca an athame is only used ritually and must have a black handle.
aura
   
The bio-energy field of a living creature.
banishing
   
A magical working performed to remove evil, threats, darkness, negativity or people embodying those qualities.
Book of Shadows
   
A witch's handwritten book of spells, rituals and magical information.
botanica
   
A Santerian shop that sells herbs, charms, candles, religious statues,  etc.
bruja/brujo
   
Spanish for witch. (j is pronounced like h)
the Burning Times
   
The historical period in Europe when Christians persecuted and tortured witches and alleged witches. Thousands were put to death, usually by hanging or burning at the stake.
chakra
   
Any one of the seven energy nodes of the human body.
chalice
   
A ceremonial goblet that represents the element of Water.
charm
   
A magical object, action, or incantation that effects magic, averts evil or danger.
Circle
   
A group, less formal than a coven, of witches who practice, worship, celebrate or study together.
clairvoyance
   
The psychic ability to know things beyond your immediate knowledge (also called ESP and the second sight).
coming out of the broom closet
   
Living openly as a witch.
consecration
   
A ceremony that dedicates a thing or place for sacred use.
corn spirit
   
The spirit of a grain crop, embodied in an entity, person or animal.
coven
   
An organized group of witches who practice, worship and/or celebrate together. Covens traditionally consist of no more than 13 members, and are lead by a High Priestess with High Priest.
Covenstead
   
A place where a coven of witches usually meets, often the home of the High Priest/ess.
the Craft
   
Witchcraft.
Croning
   
A ceremony held to mark a woman's transition from Mother to Crone, the final phase of a woman's life.
crystallomancy
   
Divination by crystals, usually a crystal ball.
dedicant
   
A new witch in the period of study and apprenticeship before initiation. The traditional period for this is a year and a day.
deosil
   
Clockwise.
divination
   
Any practice that reveals the future or unknown things. Tarot cards, runes and crystal balls are all means of divination.
eclectic
   
A witch who works with deities from or worships within more than one culture or mythological system.
Elder
    1.
A witch who has attained a position of respect in the Craft.
    2.
A coven member who has attained an advanced degree of initiation.
Esbat
    1.
Coven meetings held at the full moon.
    2.
A Lesser Sabbat, celebrating Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox or Winter Solstice.
evocation
   
Calling upon spirits, elementals or other entities.
faery
   
Alternative spelling for fairy, to distinguish it as a belief system.
familiar
   
An animal, usually a cat, with whom a witch establishes a special psychic/magical relationship. Familiars offer help, companionship, protection, and usually unconditional love as well.
Five-fold Bond
   
A ritual tie that links wrists, neck and ankles.
Fivefold Kiss
   
A ritual greeting of eight kisses between witches of opposite genders in Classical Wicca, on the feet, knees, pelvis, breast and lips.
flying ointment
   
A paste, usually containing herbs, that is applied to the skin to aid in astral projection.
folk magic
   
A culture's traditional magical practices.
Gardnerian
    1.
Of or relating to Gerald Gardner, who is credited with reviving Wicca in modern times.
    2.
Any formal Wiccan tradition that follows Gerald Gardner's system.
grimoire
   
Book of Shadows, a handwritten book of spells and magical information.
granny woman
   
A female shaman, usually of the Appalachian Mountain region of the U.S.
hex
    1.
n. A spell, usually negative; the evil eye; a curse.
    2.
v. To cast such a spell.
hedgewitch
   
A walker-between-worlds, a non-Wiccan witch with a shamanistic path.
Hidden Children
   
Witches, who must often keep their religion secret, are the hidden children of the Goddess.
High Priest/ess
   
A witch who has attained a tradition's highest degrees of initiation and leads a coven.
hoodoo
   
African-American folk magic tradition.
HP/HPS
   
High Priest/High Priestess.
I Ching; The Book of Changes
   
Chinese system of divination that uses yarrow stalks or coins inscribed with hexagrams.
incubus (pl. incubi)
   
A malevolent male entity that takes sexual possession of sleeping women.
invocation
   
Calling upon a god/dess, such as for help or to empower a spell.
juju
   
West African word for magick.
karma
   
That which accrues and is carried over from one lifetime to the next one. Karma can be positive or negative, according to what sort of lives you have led.
kitchen witch
   
A witch who mainly uses practical magic centering on the home, hearth and family.
kundalini
   
Dormant bio-energy resident in the base of the human spine, in the root chakra. Kundalini energy is released through yoga and other practices  for enlightenment, intelligence and spiritual insights.
mage, magus (pl. magi)
    1.
Someone who is adept at magic but not a witch.
    2.
In some Wiccan traditions, a male witch who has attained more than the first level of initiation.
magick
    1.
Ceremonial or ritual magic; high magick.
    2.
A spelling for magic used by some witches and other practitioners to distinguish it from the illusions and prestidigitation of stage magicians.
Maiden
    1.
The stage of a woman's life between menarche and motherhood or mentoring.
    2.
The assistant High Priestess in a traditional coven.
Matrix
   
I use this word to describe the Universe as the Goddess-web-of-life.
medicine bag
   
A Native American shaman's pouch, usually containing herbs, stones,  feathers, etc.
medium
   
A person who is able to channel spirits or other entities.
mojo
   
An African-American word for magic.
mojo bag
   
A small bag, usually containing charms or talismans, that is worn  around the neck for power, protection, etc.
necromancy
   
Divination via the spirits of the dead.
novice
   
Someone who has just begun studying the Craft.
OBE
   
Out-of-body experience; astral projection; lucid dreaming.
Ogham
   
Any ancient Celtic magical alphabet.
Old Soul
   
A person who has been reincarnated several times.
omen
   
Anything which may be interpreted as a sign, positive or negative, from the Universe.
oracle
   
A place or method for divination by means of deities, as interpreted by a priest/ess. Methods include the flight of birds, the sound of splashing water or rustling leaves. The most famous oracle of the ancient world was that of Apollo at Delphi.
orisha
   
Any deity in the Santerian religion.
Ouija board
   
A board printed with letters and simple words that is used for communicating with spirits. It is operated by two or more people touching a paten that moves around the board pointing to letters or words.
pentacle
    1.
A 5-pointed star inside a circle.
    2.
One of the suits of a Tarot deck.

pentagram
    1.
A pentacle that is written, printed or drawn.
    2.
A 5-pointed star inside a circle.
postulant; neophyte
  
A new member of a coven, someone who has not yet been initiated.
praņa
   
The Hindu word for bio-energy, the vital force shared by every living creature.
poppet
   
A humanoid figure that is used to represent someone for a spell or  other magical working.
psychometry
   
Drawing psychic impressions from objects while handling them.
psychopomp
   
A god/dess who guides souls to the Underworld or afterlife.
reincarnation
   
Transmigration of the soul; metempsychosis; rebirth in another body after death.
runes
    1.
The ancient Nordic alphabet, marked on stones or sticks and used for divination.
    2.
Magical chants or songs.
    3.
Any magical alphabet; the stones, cards or sticks on which it is printed.
Sabbats
   
The eight annual Wiccan festivals.
Sands of Time
   
Sand taken from between the paws of the Great Sphinx in Egypt, used to make spells and charms permanent.
Santeria
   
An Afro-Caribbean earth religion that joins Yoruban god/desses with Catholic saints.
scrying
   
Divination by means of gazing, such as into water, a dark mirror, a crystal ball or a bowl of black ink.
Seance
   
A gathering of people, usually seated around a table, for the purpose of communicating with spirits.
shaman
   
A priest and medicine man, usually of Native American or Siberian peoples. Shamanic practice includes magic, healing, shapeshifting, communication with ancestral spirits and divination.
shamanka, shamaness
   
Words sometimes used for female shamans.
shapeshifting/skinwalking
   
The shamanic practice, often aided by drugs, drumming and/or dance, of mentally assuming animal form.
sheikh/sheikha
   
Modern Egyptian Arabic words for magical adepts.
sigil
   
An occult or mystical sign, a paper talisman.
skyclad
   
Ritual nudity. Some Wiccan traditions insist on skyclad worship.
solitary; solitaire
   
A witch who practices alone, without a coven.
sorcerer/sorceress
    1.
(traditional) A person who practices black magic, usually by aid of malevolent spirits.
    2.
(modern) Term used by some magic-users to differentiate themselves from witches.
succubus (pl. succubi)
   
A malevolent female entity that takes sexual possession of sleeping men.
Strega; Stregheria
   
An Italian magical tradition.
Summerlands
   
The place where we rest after death, between incarnations.
synchronicity
   
A meaningful coincidence.
talisman
   
A magical object, usually one made or carved at an astrological moment suitable to its purpose.
Tantra
   
A Hindu path based on kundalini yoga and sex magic as ways to enlightenment.
the Tarot
   
An ancient system of cards used for divination.
telekinesis
   
The ability to move objects with your mind (also called psychokinesis,  PK). Telekinesis is a very rare gift that usually manifests accidentally when a person is angry or upset. It is most often seen in adolescents and fades with age.
third eye
   
The chakra in the middle of the forehead.
totem animal
   
An animal which represents a person, tribe or other group.
voodoo; Voudoun; Voudu
   
Afro-Caribbean faith with both right- and left-hand paths. Like witches they worship various god/desses, use magick as part of their religion, and are the subject of superstitions and misinformation.
warlock
   
An old term for a male witch that no one uses any more. Warlocks were men who pretended to be witches in order to penetrate covens and betray witches during the Burning Terms.
Wheel of the Year
   
The annual cycle of the sun, the moon, the seasons and the zodiac.
white witch
  
A witch on a right-hand path.
widdershins
   
Counter-clockwise
witch doctor
   
African shaman.
witch's ball; witch ball
    1.
A mass of dried entwined herbs blown about by the wind; any small tumbleweed.
    2.
A glass ball with a mottled surface that is hung in a window to thwart witches and trap their spells.
    3.
A fancy dress party attended by witches.
witch's bottle
   
A sealed bottle placed in the house or buried on the property for protection. There are many ways to make a witch's bottle. Some witches use the detritus of the year: broken pottery, rusted nails, junk mail, etc. Witches sometimes add something personal like their hair, nail clippings, urine, a bloody bandage or tampon. This sort of bottle is always buried, usually at Samhain (for the new year).
   
Another type is a bottle filled with salt and sugar, and/or herbs for blessings like protection, happiness, prosperity, and charms to avert specific threats. This type of bottle is secreted somewhere in the home.
witch's ladder
    1.
A type of knot magic in which charms are knotted or braided with specific magical intention into cords, making a powerful talisman.
    2.
A cord with 40 knots in it or a string of 40 beads, used as a meditation device or aid to concentration.
Witch Queen
   
A High Priestess whose coven has hived off two or more new covens.
wizard
   
Someone who practices magic but is not a witch.
wort; wortcraft
   
Herb; herbalism.
yin/yang
   
The opposite but balancing male and female principles. Yin is female (Moon) energy, negative and passive. Yang is male (Sun) energy, positive and active.
Yoni
   
The female genitalia as a sacred symbol of life, creation, fertility, sexuality, the Goddess, etc.