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glossary page1


Basic Glossary


Below is a basic list of terms and what they mean within a Pagan context. Feel free to suggest new words and definitions on the message boards as this is by no means a complete listing.
Sabbat names and dates will vary widely based on the tradition. For example, Imbolc or Candle mass is celebrated on February 1,2 or 6&7 depending on the tradition.




Altar
A magickal or religious work space, usually a table or large shelf, for holding working tools and symbols or giving offerings.

Athame
A ritual tool used for projection of energy. Typically double edged with a black handle and, in Wicca, has a set of symbols carved on handle indicating the persons degree and position. Used mainly symbolically in circle as opposed to the Boline that is used mainly outside the circle.

Balefire
A ritual bonfire used most notably at Beltain.

Beltain or Bealtaine
Beltain or May day occurs at the beginning of May and celebrates the coming together of the Goddess and the young God. One of the four Major Sabbats which include Lughnasadh, Samhain and Imbolc.

Besom
A Witch's broom, used for cleansing ritual space and symbolic Magick.

Boline
A magical working knife used to harvest plants and prepare items for rituals and such.

Book of Shadows
A personal or group book containing rituals, spells, journals, recipes and records of a specific tradition or path.

Chakra
A centre of metaphysical energy residing in the human body. The human body contains 7 distinct Chakras. From top to bottom they are Sahasrara
(crown), Ajna (third eye), Vishuddha (throat), Anahata (heart), Manipura (solar plexus), Swadhisthana (sacral) and Muladhara (base or root).

Coven
A close group of Wiccans or Witches with a maximum number of Thirteen members.

Craft Name or Magickal Name
A secondary name chosen by Wiccans and some other Pagans as a symbol of who they have/will become. Also used for protection and privacy.

Dedication
A ritual were a person/s dedicates themselves to a specific path. I.E. Wicca, Druidism etc.

Deosil
Clockwise direction.

Divination
The art of seeing into the future. I.E. Tarot, Runes, I-Ching, Astrology, Scrying etc.

Element
The four elements of nature. Air, Fire, Water and Earth. When all four are in balance a fifth comes into being: Spirit (love).

Esbat
A regular gathering usually on the Full Moon.

Evoke, Evocation
To call forth an element, spirit or Deity before you. This is the external version of invoke.

Handfasting
A form of Wedding ceremony lasting for at least a year and a day.

Heathen
Meaning 'of the hearth' Many Nordic paths use this to describe themselves instead of Pagan.

Herbalism
The medicinal and magical study of plants. Also known as Wortcunning.

Imbolc
One of the eight Sabbats, celebrating the returning light and the strengthening of the God. On or around February 2nd.

Initiation
A ritual where one is pleading to a specific group and tradition within a particular path.

Invoke
To call up within, a spirit, Deity or elemental energy. This is the internal version of evoke.

Karma
The total compilation of all a person's past lives and actions that result in the present condition of that person.

Litha or Mid Summer
One of the eight Sabbats. Litha is the summer solstice which honours the Sun God at his peak power.

Lughnasadh
One of the eight Sabbats. Marks the first harvest and is also known as Lugh's Day. Usually at the beginning of August.

Mabon
One of the eight Sabbats. Marks the second harvest that falls on the Fall Equinox.

Magic
The art of illusion and slight of hand. Also called 'stage magic'.

Magick
"The science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will" -Aleister Crowley
"The art of probability enhancement" -Anodea Judith
It is spelled with a 'k' so as to tell the difference between it and stage magic and illusion.

Neo-Pagan
Any of the Earth centred faiths or beliefs that came into being from the 1940's and on.

Ostara
One of the eight Sabbats. Celebrates the coming of age of the God and Goddess. Celebrated on the Spring Equinox.

Pagan
In a broad sense it is any religion that is not one of the book religions (Jewish, Christian, Muslim Etc.). Mainly referring to beliefs that are Earth centred and hold that all life is interconnected.

Path
Ones path is the broad category that one follows, such as Druid, Wiccan, Shaman etc. As opposed to ones tradition.

Pentacle
A five pointed star contained in a circle representing Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit.

Polytheism
The belief in multiple Goddesses/Gods.

Reincarnation
The belief that when we die we are reborn as a new person based on our Karma.

Ritual
Any customary observance or practice, usually of a religious nature.

Runes
Any number of ancient alphabets used for foretelling and writing. The most notable is the FUThARK called that because those are the first six letters.

Sabbat
One of eight festivals broken down to two sets. The Major Sabbats or Cross Quarter Sabbats include Beltain, Lughnasadh, Samhain and Imbolc. The Minor Sabbats or Equinoxes and Solstices include Yule, Ostara, Litha and Mabon.

Samhain
(Pronounced Sow-in) One of the eight Sabbats. The final Harvest Festival held on October 31. It is viewed by many Pagans as the start of the New Year. This is also when it is said that the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and the dead from the past year cross over.

Skyclad
"To be clad only by the sky." Ritual nudity. Used by many British Wiccan traditions and quite a few Pagan Traditions as well.

Stregheria or Strega
Italian Witchcraft based on the book Aradia or Gospel of the Witches by C. G. Leland.

Tradition
This is the specific branch that one follows, such as Alexandrian Wicca, Reclaiming, OBOD, Strega etc.

Transmigration
The belief that when we die we are reborn as any number of animals or as a person based on the Karma we have accumulated over our lives.

Wheel of the Year
The repeating cycles of the Sabbats and nature.

Wicca
A Neo-Pagan path founded in the 1940's. The first tradition being Gardnerian named for its founder, Gerald Gardner. Many traditions now exist including, but not limited to, Alexandrian, Seax, Dianic Etc.

Widdershins
To move counter clockwise.

Witch
A general term for those who use Magick and/or herbalism.

Wort
An older term for herb.

Yule
One of the eight Sabbats. Celebrated on the winter solstice. Viewed as the day when the God is reborn from the Goddess. Most Heathens regard this as the beginning of the New Year.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Reading List March 25, 2009 2:18 PM Logan S.
glossary page1 November 27, 2013 10:29 AM Logan S.
About The Edmonton Pagan Meetup Group November 27, 2013 10:28 AM Logan S.

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