One who has achieved the highest levels of attainment in an esoteric tradition and who has demonstrated conscious and complete mastery of self and elements within the chosen path.  In many traditions, it is believed that Adepts serve as guides to influence the spiritual growth of mankind, for they are the most skilled in Esoteric Wisdom and in the meanings and teachings of life.


A command used to constrain a spirit to consistent visible appearance or truthful answers to ones questions.  The term comes from the Latin “adjurare,” meaning, “to swear.  An adjuration may call upon divine names or higher spirits to enforce the will of the user.  Compare Exorcism.


An affirmation is a statement designed to bring about positive change in oneself or one’s environment.  It should always be stated as if the desired outcome either has already occurred or is in the process of occurring, not as something that will come about in the future.


One of the four natural elements (see also Earth, Fire and Water)

Air is the element of inspiration, knowledge, wisdom, intellect, knowledge, etc.

Akashic Records

These records contain the entire life history of each individual Spirit, through all of its incarnations.  The term “Akasha,” in Sanskrit, means “brilliant,” “shining” or “luminous.”  It refers to the “ether,” or astral substance of pure spirit.  As the fifth element, the Akasha is referred as the “Quintessence.”


Ancestor to modern Chemistry, Alchemy was concerned with the processes of the transmutation and purification or distillation of the soul or spirit, as well as of physical materials and chemicals used to represent or symbolize spiritual transformation.  See Philosopher’s Stone.

Alexandrian Wicca

The tradition founded by Alex Sanders after he split from a beginning in the Gardnerian Wicca Tradition.


The table-like structure used to provide a base for all the implements required during a ritual, whether for Magick or for worship.  Different traditions have special rules for the size, shape and location of altars.  In some, they are in the center of the Sacred Circle, in others, at the North.


A Talisman intended to be worn as a pendant from a chain, cord, etc., hung around the neck.


A divine or semi-divine being who is able to work with humanity for a number of purposes.  A personification of the concept of holiness.  Angels, together with Saints, in a supposedly “monotheistic” religion, take the place of the multiple deities in Polytheistic traditions.


Touching another with a consecrated oil, water or wine, as part of a ceremonial welcoming or blessing.  Often, the liquid is applied by a finger, and a symbol is marked on one being anointed.  In Christian usage, anointing is typically done in the sign of the Cross, while Wiccans and other Pagans tend to use the Pentagram or other mystic symbols.  When the anointing is done with oil, it is also referred to as unction.


A modern tradition of Magick and religious practice based on the Norse pantheon and religion.

Ascended Master

A Saint, Adept or master who has attained a state of transcendental illumination, and has become a bodiless consciousness.  The Ascended Master teaches mankind from another plane using visions, dreams, etc., choosing the role of spiritual teacher rather than take the opportunity to be reincarnated in the material world.  Many legends speak of groups of such beings that band together to work for global enlightenment.  See Bodhisattva.  See Saint.


The process of bringing one’s life into balance with the Higher Self.


Sprinkling with consecrated water for the purpose of purification.

Astral Travel

Also known as Out-of-Body experience, Astral Travel occurs when one’s consciousness leaves the body and travels through space, time and other spiritual realms and levels.  Such travel may be done in human or animal form.   The sometimes tenuous connection between the spirit and the body during this experience is often referred to as the Silver Cord.


The “science of the celestial bodies,” Astrology may be considered to have been the first true science, and is a sort of transcendental metaphysics.  A form of divination based on the ancient adage, “As above, so below.”  An Astrologer uses planetary positions and alignments at the time of one’s birth to help foretell the future and to evaluate one’s potential strengths and weaknesses.  Astrology in the hands of a genuinely knowledgeable and experienced person can provide very good, clear and precise guidance as well as providing forewarning for potential pitfalls. 


The primary tool of the Witch, the Athame is traditionally a knife with a straight double blade and a black handle suitable for carving.  The Athame is used in salutes to gods, goddesses and the Ancient Ones, and for a variety of other purposes.  None of these purposes, interestingly enough, include the traditional function of a knife as a tool.  See Boline.  As a penetrating tool, the Athame represents the masculine aspect of divinity, just as the Chalice represents the feminine aspect.  The term, of unknown origin, was first seen in Medieval grimoires.


The energy field, or fluid, which emanating from and surrounding every being, whether human, animal, plant or mineral.  The brightness and color of an aura can provide useful tools for understanding a person, as well as diagnostic tools for healers.


A ritual intended to drive out an undesirable spirit, entity, energy, etc., inhabiting a particular place.  Compare Adjuration and Exorcism.


Referred to as the “God of the Knights Templar,” this emblem is much disputed by occult researchers.  Some truly believe this figure, usually shown seated, with the head of a goat, the breasts of a woman and the phallus of a man, was in fact worshipped by the Templars.  Others believe that this figure was wholly fabricated by those who wished to discredit the Templars in order to seize their lands and fortunes.  The fact that no representation of such a being was ever found to date prior to the trials of the Templars, together with the fact that it would be difficult to find a greater collection of symbols repugnant to Christian zealots in one place, lends much credence to the latter view.


A tool used since ancient times in all traditions to chase away evil spirits and to attract good ones.  The ringing of a bell at the beginning of a Pagan or Wiccan ritual, like the ringing of bells in a Christian church, hearkens back to ancient traditions of using bells for this purpose.


The Mid-Spring Sabbat (May 1)

This is the major fertility festival.  The Sun is approaching its peak in the sky, and the days are getting longer and warmer.  See Sabbat  for more information.


The broom of a Pagan or Witch.  The besom is used to sweep out evil and negativity, just as a conventional broom is used to sweep out dust and dirt.


See Runes.


From the Sanskrit, “Bodhi,” meaning Enlightenment, illumination or Transcendental understanding.  In Mahayana (Great Boat) Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is one who has taken a vow to sacrifice one’s own personal enlightenment to work for the enlightenment of others.  The Mahayana tradition teaches that all sentient beings are destined to achieve Nirvana or Samadhi.  See Ascended Master.


This is the traditional white-handled knife of a Pagan or Witch, and is used as a working tool, to cut and harvest herbs, etc.  See Athame.

Book of Shadows

A Witch’s most prized possession, the Book of Shadows, or Grimoire, contains the hand-written texts of his or her tradition’s rituals, along with spells, incantations, diagrams, etc. 

Burning Times

The period when Witches (and those accused of being Witches) were being burned at the stake in most of Europe. 


See Imbolq


Used both as a tool and a symbol.  The cauldron represents birth, death and rebirth, and is a symbol of the Goddess, especially in her forms as Mother and Crone.  Many ancient legends from Norse, Celtic and other traditions use the cauldron as an emblem of knowledge, inspiration and blessing.


The ancient tribal peoples of the British Isles.  Entire websites and huge volumes of books have been written about the Celts, at least parts of the information probably true.  They left behind a legacy of some of the most sophisticated and beautiful art of all time, along with tantalizing glimpses into a totally alien way of viewing the world and our place in it.  As long as there are humans, there will be those who are fascinated by these brilliant people.


The use of incense to attract the desired participants to a particular space and time.  The various gods and goddesses, along with Angels and the Ancient Ones, the rulers of the elements, are attracted through invocation and propitiation.


A meditation technique involving focus on one’s center of gravity, visualizing oneself as center of all time and space.  See Grounding.

Ceremonial Magick

Magick based heavily on well-planned rituals, ceremonies, etc.  For the Ceremonial Mage, success depends much on performing a very complex set of actions at the proper time and in the proper manner.  The ceremonies help the Mage to focus on the work at hand, enhancing the power of concentration and visualization.


Chinese for “breath” or “wind,” this term is used to refer to the vital force, or life energy, in all things.  Like the Hindu “Prana,” this energy is part of the underlying connection between humans, animals, plants, crystals, etc.  It is the healing energy used by Reiki practitioners and other energy healers.


The energy centers of the body that allow energy to be focused and routed through the body for healing and Magickal energy work.  While there are many Chakras, the seven primary ones are those which are aligned vertically in the body and which correspond roughly with the major nodes of the lymphatic system.  These include the Crown, Third Eye, Throat, Heart, Sacral, Spleen and Root Chakras.


As the cup used in Ritual Magick, the Chalice represents the element of Water, and as such, is frequently associated with healing, cleansing, scrying, etc.  It is the cup of the High Priestess.  It represents the Goddess, or the feminine aspect of Divinity, just as the Athame represents the masculine aspect.  It symbolizes the womb, the Cauldron, and the Holy Grail.


A talisman meant to be carried, or worn as jewelry.


The Sacred Space in which the gods and goddesses are invoked, rituals are performed, and in which Magickal works are accomplished.  The Circle creates a boundary between the mundane and Magickal worlds.  In creating this boundary, most Western traditions begin in the East, moving deosil around the Circle, calling in guardians, deities, angels, etc., to guard and protect the space.  Typically, the one forming the Circle uses one of the active tools (i.e., wand, staff, Athame or sword.)  Various signs and symbols may also be required.  Casting the Sacred Circle is sometimes known as “Erecting the Temple,” though this term can also have more secret and esoteric meanings depending on the tradition being followed.


Casting or drawing the Sacred Circle, setting the perimeter and establishing a boundary to protect the work being done therein.  This has been an integral part of Magickal practice for literally thousands of years, as seen in this excerpt of the Assyrian Surpu tablets, dating from approximately 4,200 BCE:

Ban! Ban!  Barrier that none may pass,

Barrier of the Gods, that none may break,

Barrier of Heaven and Earth than none can change,

Which no god may annul,

Nor god nor man can loose…


Literally, “Clear Hearing,” Clairaudience is the spiritual faculty giving the ability to hear beyond the physical to listen to things far distant in space, time or scale.  One who is truly clairaudient can listen the grass grow, and in so doing, hear a symphony.


Literally, “Clear Seeing,” Clairvoyance is the spiritual faculty allowing one to see things far distant in space, time or scale.  Often referred to as “distant sight,” it is one of the most useful tools of a Psychic practitioner. 

Cone of Power

When energy is raised inside a Sacred Circle, it is often focused to a point of power, in a cone, and this point of power is then visualized during a ritual and directed toward a specific goal or purpose.


A group of Witches, usually numbering no more than thirteen.  Traditionally, when a Coven grows, there will be those qualified to “hive” or leave to start their own groups.  At first, the new group will be supervised by the High Priestess and/or High Priest of the original Coven.  (This varies by tradition.)  Eventually (usually after a “year and a day,” the new Coven becomes completely autonomous, though it is not uncommon for close ties of love and trust to be maintained between old and new.

Craft Name

This is the Magickal name chosen by the Adept, Pagan or Wiccan to use within a Coven, Lodge or other Magickal order.  Inside the Sacred Circle, only this name is used.  During initiation, this is the name by which a Priest and Witch is introduced to the deities and elemental spirits.  This name can either describe an aspect of the person, a deity whose energy is considered desirable, or a variety of other possible ideas or symbols.  It can be the name of a stone, an animal, etc.


The third face of the Triple Goddess, the original Trinity.  The Crone represents death, rebirth, wisdom and justice.  Hers is the dark face of the Goddess, and she is the one in charge of discipline and enforcement of the Rule of Three.  Her time is late evening and night.  See also Maiden and Mother.

Cross Quarters

These are the four Great Sabbats:  (Samhain, Imbolq, Beltaine and Lammas.)

Crystal Ball

A sphere of glass or stone (usually one of the clear to translucent quartz stones) used for scrying.


For those aware of the world of Spirit, Death holds no fear or dread.  We live with the knowledge that our times on the physical plane are only learning experiences between stays in the Summerland, where we process, and come to understand, all the lessons learned in each incarnation.  We know that the Spirit is truly eternal, and that each Death is only another step toward our ultimate goal of unity with the Divine.


The ritual during which one consciously vows to honor the deities, spirits and traditions of Paganism or Wicca.  Various traditions have specific rituals within their own worship, however solitary practitioners may perform self-dedication as well.


Levels of Initiation.  While various groups and traditions have different degree structures, the most common has four stages with approximately a year and a day between them.  These are:

Dedicant – The stage prior to First-Degree initiation, when one has declared one’s intention to study and progress to the level of Priest and Witch.

First Degree – The formal initiation as a Priest and Witch of a particular coven.

Second Degree – The intermediate step between Priest and High Priest.  This is the lowest level at which one is deemed capable of beginning to teach others the arts of Witchcraft while still under the supervision of a High Priest or High Priestess.

Third Degree – The highest level of initiation, when one is acknowledged as worthy of serving as High Priest or High Priest and able to independently operate a coven.  See Inner Court and Outer Court.


Clockwise, or sunwise.  All movement inside a sacred circle is done Deosil, right up to the time of closing the quarters, to keep the flow of the energy vortex moving smoothly and consistently.  At closing, in some traditions, this energy field is canceled out by moving around the Circle Widdershins.

Dianic Wicca

This is a branch of Wicca that primarily honors the Goddess, with little or no attention given to male aspects of divinity.  While there are both gender-mixed, and even all-male Dianic groups, the majority of Dianic Covens are all-female.  See Minoan Tradition.


The generic term used to cover the collective arts by which esoteric knowledge is obtained.  These include scrying, astrology, palmistry, pendulum work, rune casting, the Tarot, geomancy, necromancy and a variety of other arts.  A Chinese system gaining in use and popularity is the I-Ching.  See Prophecy.


A member of the priestly caste of ancient Celtic England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.  The Druids were the wise men and women who worked as teachers, healers and advisors to Kings and common people alike.  Their teachings and traditions are alive and well even today, in spite of the best efforts of the Roman Empire and the Christian Church to stamp them out.


The use of drumming to raise energy for Magickal rites is as old as time and as new as the latest cutting edge music.  The best drummers, such as Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, have always been aware of the link between drumming and Magick.


One of the four natural elements (see also Air, Fire and Water)

Earth is the element of solidity, stability, courage and silence.


The trance-state or transcendence of self-awareness central to Shamanistic and Charismatic religious.  This state may be induced through ingestion of psychotropic (hallucinogenic) plants or chemicals, meditation, dance, chanting, drumming, or any of a number of other aids to ecstatic practice.  Those in an ecstatic state often make prophetic utterances, meaningless, of course, unless those listening can understand them.


Greek word for “image.”  An Eidolon is the pale reflection of a being that has gone from the physical to the Astral plane, a sort of “shadow” reflection.  This shadow is sometimes referred to as a “shade,” or “ghost.”  They generally decay gradually, and disappear, unless traumatic events, unresolved guilt, or other factors cause them to linger.  It is important to remember that this is not the actual soul, but rather a sort of “afterimage.”

Elder God

An ancient deity having little or no connection with things human.  In many myths of creation, there were deities instrumental in universal creation, but who had no part in the creation of mankind.  For example, Chronos in Greek myth, or the Aztec Ometecutii.  In some myths these deities were destroyed by their successors, while in others, they are simply exist remote from, and indifferent to, humanity.


One of the Primal building blocks of nature.  They are symbolic, rather than literal, but represent a higher truth.  In most Western traditions, these are the four natural elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water, plus the supernatural element, Spirit.  The five points of the star inside a Pentagram represent the five elements.  When the point is uppermost, it means that the Spirit rules the physical elements, as should be true in an evolved soul.  When the point is down, it indicates that the individual has allowed the physical to rule the spiritual.  To the Norse, Ice was also considered an element.  In Eastern traditions, wood and metal are listed among the elements.


One of the spirit beings that personify the elements.  In Western traditions, Gnomes are considered Earth elementals, while Fire elementals are Salamanders, Water elementals are Undines, and Air elementals are Sprites.  Spirit elementals are called Sprites.  Nature Elementals are the minor nature spirits such as those inhabiting or associated with trees (Dryads), Streams (Naiads), Mountains (Oreads), etc.  In many traditions, those of the realm of Faery are Nature Elementals. Some traditions teach that human souls evolved from elemental spirits.


The time which occurs twice each year when night and day are equal.  It is a time of balance and harmony.  They are the Vernal Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox.  See Solstice.


A working Circle, as opposed to one of the Sabbat celebrations.  The Sabbats are primarily intended to honor the God and Goddess and the mighty ones, while Esbats are done for the working of Magick.  See Sabbat.  Typically, Esbats are timed to coincide with either the New Moon or the Full Moon, according to the Magickal work to be done.


The teachings of Wicca give ethical behavior a paramount place.  The Wiccan Rede stands at the core of Wiccan Beliefs, simply stating, “And if it harm none, do what you will.”  It is difficult to conceive of true Wicca without ethics, since these ethical concepts stem from the very nature and structure of the Universe.  At the very core of the Universe, the power of primal creation, is nothing less than “Love and Wisdom.”  There can be no Wisdom without Ethics, no Love without Ethics, and no Ethics without Love and Wisdom.


The calling out of a spirit less powerful than oneself. A ritual designed to establish communication with, or to summon, a spiritual entity. It has been said that Evocation is an order, while Invocation is a request.


A form of Black Magick intended to sever the connection between an individual and the Divine.  Performed by a priest or priestess, this typically follows a ritual curse (malediction) being read, the tolling of a bell for the dead, and the extinguishing of a candle.  Thus, the connection of “Bell, Book and Candle” with the Dark Path.


A ritual intended to banish a connection with a being, force, spirit, entity, etc., perceived as being inside a person.  It is designed to sever the connection between the victim of the “possession” and the undesirable energy inhabiting him or her.  Compare Adjuration and Banishing.


One of the four natural elements (see also Earth, Air and Water)

Fire is the element of passion, strength and will.

First One

In some Native American traditions, the universe is believed to have come about when the First One, the Universal Consciousness, became aware of its loneliness, and shattered itself to bits so that all of the microscopic particles forming it could travel, change, interact, and finally return to a state of unity.  This legend bears a striking resemblance to the “Big Bang” of contemporary astrophysics, except for the belief in “intent,” rather than “accident.”  See Wakan.

Flying Ointment

A sort of cream or lotion used by a Witch to facilitate astral travel.  These mixtures may contain potent psychotropic agents, and hence are seldom used.  They are far too dangerous for experimentation.  Ingredients used have included Belladonna, henbane, Mandrake, Wormwood, etc.

Gardner, Gerald

A retired civil servant, Gerald Gardner was an initiated Witch who established the Gardnerian Tradition of Wicca.  It is safe to say that today’s Witches enjoy a greater level of safety and security because of his efforts.  In addition, he was responsible for providing a formal framework on which the religion of Wicca could be supported.  Using a blend of ancient ritual, borrowing from other writers, mystical schools and traditions, and adding original work, Gardner left a beautiful and powerful set of rituals and celebrations for today’s Witches to use and enjoy.

Gardnerian Wicca

The tradition founded by Gerald Gardner, with substantial help from a number of other sources.


A form of divination using earth signs for prediction of future events as well as reading of past events.


The term “God” is often used to describe any being evolved to a close contact with the cosmic Flame of Life, the spirit of divine unconditional love which was the primal stuff of creation.  More properly, the term should also include the spark of that Flame which exists in the Spirit of every being.  It has been said that “All the Gods are one God.  All the Goddesses are one Goddess.  And the Two are One.”  Thus, a Pantheist who truly understands that all existence is part of the Divine, is, perhaps, the only true Monotheist. 

Golden Chain

Every being is a link in a chain, going back to the primal beginning, through the Gods and Goddesses, the demigods and heroes, through the ordinary men and women, down to the lowest elementals inhabiting single grains of sand.  All who are part of the Golden Chain pass their learning and wisdom on down to those below them, insofar as these are capable of understanding.  This chain, linking us both to the Divine and the mundane, is the true recognition of our place in the Universe.

Green Man

One of the earliest archetypes of the Forest God image, the Green Man is often depicted as a face within tree branches and leaves.  Even Michelangelo was so enchanted by the primitive versions of the Green Man found all over Europe from as far back as 20,000 years, that he designed one of his own.  See Horned God.


The “Watchers.  These angels, according to old biblical records, were assigned to watch over mankind.  They got a little too close to their work, and mated with human women to produce the race of Nephilim.  They taught their children the arts of divination (especially Astrology), Magick and healing.  They were cast out of heaven for their “sins.”  Many researchers believe the Grigori and Lilith, rather than Adam and Eve, to be the true ancestors of today’s Witches and psychics.


Generally used to refer to any book of spells, the term is more properly applied to those medieval works such as “The Key of Solomon the King,” or “The Sworn Book of Honorius.”  See Book of Shadows.


A ritual, or part of a ritual, to help one drain off negative energy already present.  It implies sinking one’s roots deep into the earth, allowing stress and negativity to drain away.  When energy is raised in a Sacred Circle, it is important that it be focused, used, then returned to its source.  See Centering.

Hermetic Magick

The practice of Magick based on the alchemical and astrological doctrines, derived from Hebrew and Egyptian sources, passed on by Hermes Trismegistos, or “Hermes the Thrice Greatest.”  While there is doubt about the historical existence of Hermes Trismegistos, the volume of Magickal texts passed down in his name is massive.  Many of his rituals, however, are so complex as to be virtually impossible to be performed by any but the most dedicated Occultists.  Some scholars consider him to have been a legend of the god, Thoth.

Higher Self

The part of one’s spirit that is in direct contact with the divine.  It corresponds to Freud’s superego.  It communicates with the Conscious Self in dreams, meditation, etc.  It can be seen as a personification of the transcendental, or spiritual, self.  See Ascension and Inner Child.

Horned God

The God of Nature, one of the oldest of all masculine deity archetypes.  See Green Man.


The Chinese “Book of Changes,” this is an ancient text describing divination using patterns made by casting coins or yarrow stalks. 


An object intended to represent a god or spirit.  An idol is usually frequently blessed and consecrated in such a way that the being represented is requested to inhabit the representation, thus giving it divine or Magickal power.


The Midwinter Sabbat (February 2)

Also known as Candlemas, and celebrates the promise of Spring to come.  See Sabbat for more information.


An herb or aromatic blend of herbs designed to be burned for a variety of special purposes, especially for purification of a Sacred Space.  Incense comes in a variety of types, including sticks, cones, powders, and loose incense.  Powders and loose incense typically are burned on charcoal, while sticks and cones are self-propagating once ignited.


Generally, the term has two uses:

First, to refer to one who has approached occult studies through systematic training in the mysteries, either through a Coven or other (usually secret) organization.

Secondly, to describe one who has gained, through experience, a deep secret or inner knowledge.  Sometimes this one is referred to as “self initiated.”


In the Gardnerian tradition, the ritual in which one graduates from Outer Court to Inner Court.  It marks one’s formal transition from the mundane world to being a true priest and Witch of the Old Gods.  For solitary practitioners, this may refer to a profound and intense personal experience that validates and integrates one’s previous studies and growth.  See Degree.

Inner Child

Corresponding to Freud’s “Id,” this is the part of one’s spirit that is still innocent and child-like, with connections to primal energies and ancestral memories.  See Higher Self.

Inner Court

The rituals and worship only available to those who have been initiated into the First Degree or higher.  See Outer Court.


The calling forth of spirits and/or deities to aid in Magickal workings.  Often, it is calling forth an entity or deity already resident within the Mage. It is often said that an Invocation is a request, while an Evocation is an order.  It is important for the Mage or Witch to not overstep their powers and their stations.

Key of Solomon

Divided into two parts, the Greater Key and the Lesser Key of Solomon, these are manuscripts detailing the methods of making a wide range of charms, amulets and talismans for a variety of Magickal purposes. 

Knights Templar

An order of Knight/Priests who had the responsibility of protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land, as well as liberating important Christian holy sites from the Islamic invaders.  The Templars fell afoul of the King of France, who coveted the wealth and lands of the Templars.  They were accused of every crime the King could think of, (and he was quite imaginative) and the Pope, working with the King, made it possible for the entire order to be excommunicated.  Their leaders were tortured and many of them murdered.  See Baphomet.


Sanskrit for “fire snake,” or “serpent power,” this energy is described as waiting in coils at the base of the spine, to be called forth.  It revives and transforms the Chakras as it rises, enhancing both physical and psychic powers.


The Mid-Summer Sabbat (August 1)

Lammas (also known as Lugnasadh) is the first of three Harvest Festivals (Mabon and Samhain are the other two.)  The death and resurrection of the God are celebrated.  See the Sabbat Page for more information.

Ley Lines

The term, first used by Alfred Watkins, to denote lines of Earth energies.  It is widely believed that nearly all of the ancient megaliths are located on Ley Lines, allowing them to form a psychic “power grid.”  The most powerful of these ancient sites were built on points of intersection for two or more Ley Lines.  These lines in China were knows as “Dragon Tracks.”


A form of offering in which a liquid is poured on an idol, a symbolic figure of a deity, or on the ground.  This offering can contain some (usually soluble and biodegradable) solids when being poured on the ground.  Often in the form of bread and wine.


The first feminist!  Lilith, according to old versions of the Bible, was Adam’s first wife.  She was said to have been created from the earth, and given breath directly from God, just as was Adam.  She refused to be subservient to Adam, and when ordered by the angels to do so, she left.  God then made Eve, from Adam’s rib.  Legend has it that the angels who mated with human women did so with the children of Lilith, rather than those of Eve.  See Grigori and Nephilim.


The Midsummer Sabbat (~ June 21)

The Sun is at its Zenith, the highest point in the sky.  The Sun enters the sign of Cancer.  This is the longest day of the year.  See Sabbat for more information.


A ritual purification using water.  This includes the ritual bath taken by a Witch before entering a Sacred Circle, as well as the baptism of Christians and others.  Cleansing and purification, especially in a spiritual sense, are properties of Elemental Water.


The Autumn Equinox Sabbat (~ September 21)

This is the second and largest Harvest Festival, the “Thanksgiving Day” for Pagans.  Night and day are equal, and Autumn begins as the Sun moves into the sign of Libra.  See Sabbat for more information.


Spelled with a “k,” to distinguish it from stage magic, or sleight-of-hand, and often called “Real Magick.”  Aleister Crowley defined Magick as “the art of making changes in reality by acts of will and imagination.” Magick can be understood as the use of occult or esoteric energies to create change in oneself or the outer world.  There are a variety of ways in which this is done.  See Alchemy, Hermetic Magick, Ritual Magick and Ceremonial Magick

Magick Mirror

One of the tools for scrying.  Usually a black mirror, sometimes of glass, obsidian or onyx.  It may be either flat or concave, and is usually created with special rituals and materials.

Magickal Alphabets

Any of a group of “secret” alphabets used by Mages and others to keep records that could not be read by the untutored.  These include the Alphabet of Daggers, Celestial Writing characters, Enochian, Malachim, Theban and the Writing of the Magi.  While these alphabets were specifically intended for such uses, other alphabets such as Runes, Ogham, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Greek, Hebrew and Egyptian Heiroglyphs also were used to obscure meanings to all but the educated or initiated.

Magickal Name

See Craft Name.


The virginal face of the triple goddess.  The maiden has her images in the form of Artemis or Diana, and is the youngest of the three goddess aspects.  Also the name given to the High Priestess (in some traditions) or her second-in-command (in others.)  See also Mother and Crone.


The energy vehicle one may use when traveling through the Astral Plane.  It is often represented as star-shaped, made of interlocking pyramids of energy fields.

Minoan Tradition

This is an all-male branch of Wicca, concentrating on the Male Mysteries.  While not exclusively homosexual in their membership, Minoan Covens do sometimes practice forms of Sex Magick within their groups.  Compare Dianic Wicca.


This is the belief that there is only one deity in a given pantheon.  Many religious groups who claim to be monotheistic actually are not.  Still others claim to believe in only one god while the “holy writ” they claim to follow makes no such claims.  See Pantheism and Polytheism.

Moon Phases

As the Moon circles the Earth, it goes from the wholly illuminated disk of the Full Moon to the wholly shadowed disk of the New Moon or of an eclipse.  The regular pattern is New Moon, Waxing Crescent, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Waning Crescent, then back to the New Moon.


One of the three faces of the Goddess, the original Triune Deity.  She represents the bounty of Nature, the nurturing aspect of the planet and the ripening of grain.  She is the compassionate one.  Her time is mid-day.  See also Maiden and Crone.


A Mystic may be said to be one who has a spiritual awareness of the existence of inner and more evolved worlds, or planes of being, and who strives for conscious awareness of, and communication with, these worlds and their inhabitants.  For the Mystic, convictions based on inner vision, intuition and revelation are ranked equal to or above those based on mere physical observation.


A form of Magick involving the body or spirit of a dead person.  Generally a tool for summoning the spirits of the dead for purposes of divination.  However, embalming and other practices intended to give comfort to these spirits are forms of Necromancy.  The Catholic Mass for the dead and the Buddhist banquet for hungry ghosts are both designed to comfort the spirits of the departed.  When Necromancy (or any other form of Magick, for that matter) is performed by using the dead for one’s own purposes, without permission, it is considered to be both dangerous and immoral.


A generic term for all the nature-centered movements that are rapidly growing in momentum across the planet.  Most Neo-Pagan groups practice some sort of Nature and/or Goddess worship and/or Magick.  The lines between Neo-Pagan and “Old” Pagan are becoming blurred as scholars within the Neo-Pagan movement work to bring authentic traditions and symbolism into modern practice.


The children sired by the fallen angels, the Grigori, who mated with human women to produce half-human, half-angel offspring.  They taught their children the arts of Divination, Magick, Witchcraft, etc.  Many believe that the human women who mated with the angels were descendants of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, rather than those of Eve.


A Sanskrit term derived from “nir-va,” meaning “to blow out,” Nirvana refers to a state of complete peace, when one has achieved full liberation and freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth.  Often perceived as the ultimate goal of meditation and spiritual growth.  See Samadhi.


From the Latin, meaning “hidden.”  The term, “Occultism,” means “the science or study of hidden truth.”  During Medieval times, researchers, including the forerunners of modern science, used the term to include the search for the unknown.  Today, more properly, the term refers to the science of Universal Nature, or the study of our link to the Divine.


A method of communication and of Magick, the Ogham was a form of coded language that could be used for secret communication, divination and a multitude of other uses.


The Spring Equinox Sabbat (~ March 21)

The Sun has climbed over the Equator, and enters the sign of Aries.  Night and Day are of equal length.  The lesser of the two fertility festivals.  See Sabbat.

Outer Court

The set of rituals and observances that non-initiates and guests may observe or participate in.  See Inner Court.


A generic term covering all the earth-centered religions.  The term comes from the Latin, Pagani, referring to people of the fields.  The farmers were the last to accept the faith that the government was forcing on people, and as such, were able to hold on to the Old Ways far better than the urban population.


One of the oldest known forms of divination, Palmistry uses the lines in the palm of the hand (hence the name) to predict characteristics and life patterns for an individual.


The belief that divinity is in everything, and that everything is divine.  Pantheists are, in a sense, probably the only true monotheists.  Since they believe that all of creation is a single thing, then it follows that all gods and goddesses are parts of a greater whole.  See Monotheism and Polytheism.


From the Greek (Pan = all and Theon = gods.)  For those religions seeing the facets of the divine in plural deities, this is the list of all those deities together with their areas of responsibility.


One of the oldest known types of divination, the pendulum consists of a weight at the end of a flexible cord, chain, etc.  When held at one end, the weight will move in a variety of patterns in response to questions from the user.  A pendulum can be used for a wide range of answers, ranging from simple “yes-no-maybe” answers to a variety of surprisingly complex issues.  The pendulum is also used to help locate lost objects.  The weight may be any of a variety of materials, including wood, metal, crystals, gem stones, etc.  The other end (the one held by the user) may be plain or ornamented with a symbol appropriate to the use or significant to the user.


A five-pointed star used as a Magickal symbol, frequently drawn in the air.  When engraved on a disk or platter, it is known as a Pentacle.  Hebrew legend says that an Angel gave King Solomon a ring with a five-pointed star (called a Pentalpha) to allow him to subdue rebellious spirits.  In Tarot, the Pentacle represents the Element of Earth.  As talismans or altar pieces, they may be made of metal, clay, glass, wood, etc.

Philosopher’s Stone

Supposedly, the Magickal stone, or esoteric key, which would allow Alchemists to turn base metals into gold.  Many researchers, however, believe this endeavor to be a sort of code, referring instead to the search for spiritual purity and Magickal power.


German, from “polter,” meaning “a noise,” and “geist,” meaning “spirit” or “ghost.”  Thus, the term refers to a noisy spirit that makes noises, throws small objects, sets small fires, etc.  Generally, poltergeist activity seems to be centered around children about to enter, or in the midst of, the stresses of puberty.  As a rule, the poltergeist activity is more mischievous than dangerous, and very few injuries or instances of serious damage have been documented.


The belief in many, (or at least more than one) deity.  See Monotheism and Pantheism.  Polytheistic religions often envision special divine beings, such as Angels, Saints, etc., to have special jurisdiction over certain aspects of nature and life, while still claiming to be Monotheistic.


A state in which one’s own personality has been replaced by another, generally discarnate, being.  While this is sometimes invited, and even actively sought, it also can be totally involuntary.  Examples of deliberate possession include the Christian Charismatic’s speaking in tongues, a Witch’s “Drawing Down the Moon,” or a Psychic’s automatic writing.  In many traditions, one studies, meditates and prepares oneself for the assumption of god-forms.  Most forms of Shamanism, as well as Voudoun, rely heavily on the invited possession of the willing host by deities and spirits during Magickal rites.

Power Animal

During a Shaman’s Spirit Journey, or Vision Quest, he or she will often make a special connection with s creature of Magickal Power.  This being of pure spirit may assume the guise of a real or mythical creature, and its power is not necessarily reflected or defined by the size of the being represented.  A butterfly Power Animal may be as powerful, if not more so, than a saber-tooth tiger.  This being is often seen as the personification of one’s own inner power or special gifts, and the Shaman will often seek to bring it back from the Astral Plane to the Material Plane to assist in various Magickal workings and healings.  See Spirit Guide


The Sanskrit word for “breath,” Prana stands for the life force, a primordial energy, and it is involved in physical, mental and spiritual health and strength.  See Ch’i and Reiki.


This is the ability to see into the future via intuition or a “sending” from a guide or deity.  In some traditions, it is believed that every being contains in its own inner nature the complete pattern of the Macrocosm, the Divine Plan, and that some are able to attune themselves well enough so that they may sense patterns as they affect themselves or others.  Prophecy differs from Divination in that it does not involve or require tools or omens.


Also spelled Kabala, Qabbala, et al, this Hebrew word simply means “tradition,” but is sometimes translated as “collected teachings.”  It is both an exceedingly complex and extremely powerful tool for philosophers and occultists alike.


1.      These are the four lesser Sabbats: Vernal Equinox (Ostara), Summer Solstice (Litha), Autumnal Equinox (Mabon), and Winter Solstice (Yule).

2.      The four cardinal points of the compass, corresponding to the four natural elements (Earth, Fire, Air and Water.)  The correspondences vary from one tradition to another.  In the Gardnerian Tradition, East is Air, South is Fire, West is Water and North is Earth.


The fifth essence, or the “Pure Essence.”  See Spirit.


A type of psychic “energy exchange,” often at a subconscious level.  Conscious examples include the relationship between Priest and student, psychiatrist and patient, or hypnotist and subject.  One may also find oneself in rapport with Spirits or elementals, a state which frequently aids greatly in Magickal works.


Tools used from the earliest times to the present to drive away evil or oppressive spirits.  The rattle is virtually always the first Magickal tool used, since they are given to infants shortly after birth.


The one commandment, which for Wiccans takes the place of all those recognized by other religions:  “And it harm none, do what ye will.”  See also the Rule of Three.  While this sounds simple, it is not.  First, the concept of “harm none” makes no distinction between harming others and harming oneself.  Thus, even self-destructive behavior, which harms no one but us, still is considered unacceptable.  Second, there is no distinction between physical, intellectual or spiritual harm.  This is strikingly similar to the “Golden Rule,” which states that one should “Do unto others that which you would have done unto you.”  It has roots as far back as the Hippocratic Oath, sworn by physicians even in the present day, “First, harm none…” It is the foundation of the Wiccan ethical system.


A type of hands-on healing, with roots in Tibetan mysticism, which offers much to modern people.  This is one of the few healing modalities which does not use the practitioner’s own energy for healing.  Since Reiki uses the Universal Life Energy, (see Prana and Ch’i) which surrounds and is part of all living things, the practitioner can use it on himself or herself.


Derived from the Latin, meaning, “to return to flesh,” or “to become flesh again,” Reincarnation refers to the repetitive birth of a human Spirit into fleshly bodies again and again as it proceeds along its path toward ultimate communion with the Divine.  The migration of an evolving soul from body to body, age to age.


A religious rite or ceremony designed for a particular purpose, whether it be to honor one or more deities, to ask for blessings, to give thanks for blessings already received, to celebrate a Sabbat, or for any other special reason.  Rituals may often take the form of short plays, with dialog and actions symbolic of the deities and the occasions.

Ritual Magick

The use of rituals specifically designed to raise Magick power for a particular purpose or reason.  See Ceremonial Magick.


See Wand.

Rule of Three

This is the teaching that any act we perform will come back to us three-fold, whether it be for good or for ill.  With this belief, only an idiot would knowingly commit an evil act, realizing that the payback will be three times as bad as the action taken against an enemy.  See Rede


These are the symbols handed down to the Norse peoples by the god Odhinn (also known as Odin, Wodin, Wotan, etc.)  These symbols were used as an alphabet for the purposes of communication, but were also used for Magick and divination as well.  The Vitke, or Rune-master, often combines the individual runes for words of power into a single symbol, known as a bind-rune, to use as a charm or talisman.  The name comes from “Runa” in Old Norse, meaning “mist,” “mystery,” or “secret.”  The term “Rune” is also frequently used to refer to a poem, or the words to a song.


One of the eight spokes on the Wheel of the Year: Samhain, Yule, Imbolq (or Candlemas), Ostara, Beltaine, Litha, Lammas and Mabon.  The Sabbats are the major religious holidays for Pagans and Wiccans.  Circles held on these days are usually dedicated to rituals honoring the gods and the seasons.  See Esbat.


A person generally seen by others as holy, or more closely connected to the Divine than is usual.  A person of great spiritual development and enlightenment during their lifetime, and who is said to be capable of miraculous powers.  In the Roman Catholic Church, only the Church can determine the “sainthood” of a person, but only they hold this rather narrow view.  See Ascended Master.


A Sanskrit term, meaning “One with the Divine,” Samadhi is a state of being in which the meditation and the meditator are one.  This requires unwavering concentration, total involvement and complete stillness.  Compare Nirvana.


The Mid-Autumn Sabbat (October 31)

The earth grows cold and death roams the land.  The spirits of the dead are near, and the veils separating the worlds of the living and the dead are most easily parted.  This is the third and last harvest festival, when livestock were slaughtered because there would be no grain to keep them alive through the coming winter.   See Sabbat for more information.  It marks the beginning of the year for Witches.


The generic term which covers a variety of techniques to enhance one’s ability to see those things distant in either space or time.  Scrying techniques are based on using tools to gaze on or into to help focus the mind enough to look beyond the here and now.  Such a tool might include a speculum, such as a Magick Mirror, a bowl of water, a prism, or a crystal ball, etc.  Norse practitioners, as well as some modern Witches, use natural pools of water, wells, or even waterfalls.  Key to the success of any scrying activity is the ability to still one’s mind so that conscious thoughts and desires do not interfere with or distort the vision.  “Soft focus,” or letting the eyes focus within, rather than on, the images, is helpful.  See Divination.

Sex Magick

Sex Magick can use energy raised through cultivating, containing or redirecting sexual energy.  Sexual activity, especially in ritual settings, may be used to raise Magickal energy.  This can range from the earliest fertility celebrations, through the traditional Beltaine rituals, to some of the amazingly sophisticated and acrobatic rituals practiced by Tantric Yogis.  Some traditions lean more heavily on Sex Magick than others, though many others make at least symbolic use (i.e., Athame and Chalice).  See Minoan Tradition.


Even though this word comes from a Siberian dialect, it has come to be used in a more generic context to describe any of a type of Magickal practitioner (especially a healing adept) who works through the Spirit World to reach the spirit of one who is sick or injured to effect either spiritual or physical healing.  Typically, a Shaman uses Astral Travel and uses a variety of tools and techniques to induce visions and ecstatic states.


Personified as a radiant and beautiful Goddess, the Shekinah is a reflection of Binah, the Hebrew Great Mother.  In some traditions, she is the Holy Spirit of the Christian Trinity, with her feminine nature masked by the blindness of the patriarchy, which came to dominate that faith.


A seal or sign used to represent a name or word, compressed into a single glyph which can be held in the mind as a focus to meditation.  Bind Runes are an example of Sigils from the Norse tradition.  Modern Western Mages often use numerological symbolism to derive their sigils.  They are frequently found on Talismans.

Silver Cord

The connection between the soul or spirit and the physical body.  When one is traveling out of the physical body during Astral Travel, it is this cord of light energy which one follows back to the body when it is time to return.  There is a very real danger of becoming lost in the other world if the Silver Cord becomes too tenuous or is severed in one way or another.


The use of smoke to cleanse and purify a person or an area so that Magickal rites or healing work can be performed without hindrance from negative spirits.  In many Native American traditions, the primary herbs are sage and sweet grass.


The solstices are the opposites of the Equinoxes.  The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, while the Winter Solstice is the longest night.


The cloak in which a Spirit is housed during its Reincarnations.  While the Spirit is fully self-aware, it is part of, and in direct connection with, the Divine. The Soul is continually evolving until it achieves its final full awareness.

Soulless Beings

A term often used to refer to those whose spirits or souls are either entirely missing, or simply asleep and unaware.  In human terms, these are the sociopaths, who have no compassion, no empathy and no connection with either the Divine or with other beings.


Any light-reflecting, shiny or sparkly surface (liquid or solid) that can provide a focus for the attention of the one using the speculum for the purpose of scrying.


A verbalized (usually rhymed) incantation, giving direction or request to deities and/or elemental spirits to aid in achieving one’s Magickal purposes.  Spells aid in focusing one’s attention and visualization on the desired end, and help concentrate energy for the intended purpose of altering reality.  In many traditions, especially those of the old Norse or Finnish cultures, spells were meant to be sung or chanted.


The immortal element in all things, spirit is seen as the supernatural element that rules over the four natural Element.  In most Western traditions, it is seen as the fifth element, ruling over the other four.  Thus, the term “quintessence.”  Spirit, as distinct from the soul, is often referred to as an everlasting flame, which was never born and never dies.  The soul might be referred to as a garment worn by the spirit.  In Pythagorean mysticism, this Quintessence is the element that gives light, life and vitality to the other four.

Spirit Guide

A Spirit, either of an animal, a human or a deity that works with an individual for the purpose of protection and guidance.  These spirits have become (or have been created to be) allies or servants of a Shaman, Mage or Witch.  See Power Animal.

Spirit Helper

A Spirit acting as the ally or servant of a Mage or Shaman.  The Spirit Helper differs from a Spirit Guide in that it is subservient to, rather than a teacher and protector of, the human it serves.  A Spirit Helper may actually be created by the Mage or Shaman as a tool in working on the Astral Plane.  In other cases, the Spirit Helper may be a lesser spirit dominated by the will of the Master.  This has serious drawbacks and dangers, however.  For the Wiccan, the concept of “harm none” embodied in the Rede includes Spirits as well.  Compare Spirit Guide, and Power Animal.


One of the primary tools of the Witch, the Sword is used to mark and create the Sacred Space.  It is, in many traditions, the tool of the High Priestess, rather than of the High Priest, and is the tool of Elemental Air, or of the Planetary power of Mars.


A prohibited behavior.  Taboos generally refer to spiritual rules rather than physical or mundane ones, however this distinction tends to be quite blurred today.


An object meant to attract, channel or store energy in order to achieve a particular result or perform a specific function.  A talisman may be made of almost any material, i.e., wood, stone, metal, paper, clay, etc.  Typically, the talisman is ritually “charged” often under special conditions (astrological sign, planetary hour, etc.)  Some are said to be effective because of a spirit bound to them, others because of the beneficence of a deity, and others through the powers of the maker.  See Amulet.


A form of “cartomancy,” or divination based on cards.  The typical Tarot deck contains 78 cards, 22 of which make up the Major Arcana (cards which belong either to no suit, i.e. Strength or Judgment, or which belong to all four suits, i.e., The Wheel of Fortune or the Magician.)  There are a wide number of Tarot decks available, and many have differences between them.  Generally, however, the suits will represent the four elements, using symbols appropriate to the element.  Pentacles, for example, often represent the element of Earth.  A number of alternate decks have surfaced in recent years, using symbolism from other cultures and with different numbers of cards.  Aleister Crowley believed the Tarot to be a remnant of the Egyptian “Book of Thoth,” however the history of the Tarot cannot be proven prior to the late Middle Ages.


The use of Magick to make overt changes in the material world.

Third Eye

The organ of spiritual perception, in the center of the forehead, thought by some to be the Pineal Gland, which is connected to the visual cortex of the brain.  One of the higher Chakras.


When an Adept builds up a mental image, and then solidifies it in astral substance by the force of his or her will, the image so created is called a “Thought-Form.”  Once the image is made, the Adept may use it as a vehicle for the consciousness during Astral Travel.  When a group, such as a Coven, is highly cohesive, with balanced energy, a thought-form can be created to embody the group’s collective will.  These can be especially powerful tools for healing and Magick.


See the Rule of Three


A symbol that can represent either an individual or a group.  It usually serves to identify and unify a family or clan.  The Totem will more often than not represent an animal Spirit Guide, and is revered by its people.  The Totem Pole erected by northern Native American tribal groups would usually contain the individual totems of all family members, and be topped by the totem of the clan as a whole.  Totem animals may be real or mythical.  In some traditions, objects, rather than animals, are used.


A ceremonial anointing with oil, often used as a welcoming into a sacred space, or as the symbol of one’s quest for enlightenment.  It also is used in rites for the ill or dying, and is often connected with the symbolic “death” of initiation, required before a rebirth into a new life of higher dedication.


A Native American term for the force behind all Magick, and the spirit that gives a Shaman his or her visions and prophecies.  It is the unifying energy that unifies all existence, the stuff of primal creation, and closely connected to the First One.


One of the traditional tools of Witches and Mages.  The wand is used to focus and concentrate the powers of the user.  In some traditions, wands represent the element of Fire, as well as being a symbol of solar phallic forces.


One of the four natural elements (see also Earth, Air and Fire)

Water is generally seen as governing the emotions.  In the Gardnerian Tradition, Water is seen as the element of the Western Quarter, however other traditions assign different directions to the elements.  When one studies the area in which a given tradition first developed, it becomes easy to understand why the different elements were assigned their particular quarters.

Wheel of the Year

This is often represented as a wheel with eight spokes, one for each of the Sabbats.  It symbolizes the cycles of nature.


In Old English, the name “Wicca” was applied to a male Witch, and “Wicce” to a female Witch.  The name “Witch” applies equally to a male or female practitioner of the Arts Magickal.  As the name of an earth-centered religious practice, Wicca refers to a faith which honors both the Masculine and Feminine aspects of divinity, and celebrates the Sabbats set by the seasons and the turning of the wheel of the year, and the Esbats generally celebrated at each Full Moon.  By definition, all Wiccans are Witches, however not all Witches are Wiccans.  Wicca is a religion with a highly evolved ethical system, enhanced by a few key concepts. 

—First is the Rede, the single commandment of Wicca, governing behavior toward others and ourselves. 

—Second is the fact that most Wiccan traditions do not believe in paid clergy, and believe in keeping Covens down to the traditional small size of thirteen.  These two concepts help prevent a High Priestess or High Priest from being seduced by love of money or power.


Counterclockwise, or anti-sunwise.  See Deosil.


The practice of Magick.  Also known as the Craft of the Wise.


The Winter Solstice Sabbat (~ December 21)

This is the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere), and the first day of Winter.  The Sun enters the sign of Capricorn.  See Sabbat for more information.