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Pagan Glossary A-E

Put together By: Lirica  The following information below was taken from the following books/authors: "Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner", "Living Wicca: A Further Guide For The Solitary Practitioner", "Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs", "The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews", "Spell Crafts: Creating Magical Objects", "Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic", & "Earth, Air, Fire, & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic" all these books are by: Scott Cunningham. -- "The Wiccan Garden" By: Gerina Dunwich. -- "The Witches Bible" By: Janet & Stewart Farrar.


      Botanicals which can induce the fatal and premature expulsion of an embryo or fetus from the womb. Angelica, juniper, mayapple, pennyroyal, rue, and tansy are examples of abortifacient herbs.


      The fifth element, the omnipresent spiritual power that permeates the universe. It is the energy out of which the Elements formed.

    Akashic Records:

      The ‘recordings’ left in the Akasha by every event. Advanced occultists develop the gift of retrieving past events by ‘reading the Akashic records’.


      Witches initiated by (or stemming from those initiated by) Alex and Maxine Sanders. An offshoot of Gardnerian witchcraft, though founded independently.


      Botanicals which tend to favorably alter a condition and restore normal health. Alteratives are frequently combined with aromatics, bitter tonics, and demulcents: agrimony, American mandrake, American spikenard, bittersweet, black cohosh root, bloodroot, blue flag root, blue nettle root, dock, horseheal root, mayapple, pipsessewa, scabwort root, and speedwell.


      An object worn, carried or placed to guard against negativity or other vibrations. A protective object.


      A substance, such as camphor, that reduces sexual desires.


      The buried feminine elements in a man's psyche.


      The buried masculine elements in a woman's psyche.


      The crux ansata or looped cross, Egyptian hieroglyph for ‘life.’ Widely used as an occult symbol of the Life Principle.


      Any plant that lives and grows for only one year or growing season, during which the life cycle (the germination of the seed through flowering and death) is completed. The following plants are classified as annuals: anise, basil, blessed thistle, borage, chervil, chickweed, cleavers, common groundsel, cornflower, cotton, eyebright, fenugreek, flax, fumitory, herb Mercury, herb Robert, horseweed, Indian tobacco, jimsonweed, knotweed, larkspur, marijuana, milk thistle, oats, pansy, plantains, prickly poppy, psyllium, pumpkin, red poppy, safflower, Shepherd's purse, smartweed, star thistle, summer savory, white mustard, and wild thyme.


      Botanicals that are smoked or taken internally to relieve bronchial asthma: California gum plant leaves, daisy, nettle, red clover (ground blossoms), and yerba santa.


      Botanicals which destroy the microorganisms responsible for causing infection: blue gentian extract, costmary, dead nettle, dogwood bark, Egyptian onion, elder, eucalyptus leaves and oil, garlic, horseheal root, horseradish, indigo broom oak bark, plantain, scabwort root, smooth sumac bark, violet, and Witch hazel.


      Botanicals which prevent or relieve involuntary muscle spasms and cramps such as charley horses, epilepsy, and menstrual pain: blue cohosh, cajeput, passion vine, and Roman chamomile.


      Plants that are said to stimulate the sex organs and intensify sexual desire in men and women: elder, ginger, ginseng, hazel, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemon verbena, lovage, mandrake root, serpentaria root, sundew, and yohimbe.


      Widely used Wiccan name for the Goddess, derived from the Tuscan witches’ usage as recorded in C.G. Leland’s Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches.

    Arcana, Major & Minor:

      The seventy-eight cards of the Tarot (q.v.) deck. The Major Arcana are the twenty-two ‘trumps’; the Minor Arcana are the fourteen cards of each of the four suits. The word Arcana means ‘mysteries’ (literally ‘closed things’).


      Fundamental elements of the Collective Unconscious which determine our patterns of thinking and behavior, but which can never be directly defined - only approximately, through symbols.


      A Welsh Goddess-name much used by Witches. The name means ‘Silver Wheel,’ referring to the circumpolar stars - also known as Caer Arianrhod (the Castle of Arianrhod), symbolic of the resting-place of souls between incarnations.


      Fragrant herbs used in potpourris, sachets, oils, scented candles, perfumes, etc. The following herbs are classified as aromatics: acacia flowers, angelica root, anise seed, bugle, burdock, calamus root, caraway, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, clove, coriander, honeysuckle, lavender, lemon verbena, lilac blossoms, mace, mint leaves, nutmeg, orange blossoms and leaves, orris root, rosemary, rose petals, southernwood, saint John's wort, sweet pea, violet, and wintergreen.


      A bundle of fresh herbs or a perforated object used to sprinkle water during or preceding Ritual, for purificatory purposes.

    Astral Body:

      The psychic ‘double’ of the physical body, consisting of substance more tenuous than matter, but grosser than mind or spirit.

    Astral Plane:

      The level of reality intermediate between the physical and the mental. It is the level of the emotion and instincts.

    Astral Projection:

      The practice of separating the consciousness from the physical body so that the former may move about unhindered by time, space or gravity.


      Botanicals which cause contraction of the skin tissue: agrimony, alder bark, alum root, avens, bayberry (bark and roots), bearberry leaves, black adler bark, blackberry root, black birch leaves, black cohosh, bugle, costmary, dead nettle, dock, dogwood bark, eucalyptus oil, European birch bark, fluxweed, goldenrod, hawthorn berries, hepatica, hollyberries and leaves, horseheal root, Jacob's ladder, manzanita leaves and fruits, oak bark, periwinkle, pipsissewa, potentilla, scabwort root, Shepherd's purse, smooth sumac seed heads, southernwood, saint John's wort, sweet fern, trailing arbutus, wax myrtle, white birch bark, wintergreen, Witch hazel, and yarrow.


      A Wiccan Ritual knife. It may possess a double-edged blade and a blackhandle. The athame is used to direct Personal Power during ritual workings. It is seldom used for actual, physical cutting. The term is of obscure origin; has many variant spellings among Wiccans, and an even greater variety of pronunciations. British and American East Coast Wiccans may pronounce it as “Ah-THAM-ee” (to rhyme with “whammy”); I was first taught to say “ATH-ah-may” and, later, “Ah-THAW-may.”


      The force-field which surrounds the human body, the inner bands at least of which are Etheric (q.v.) in substance. The aura is visible to sensitives, who can learn from its colour, size and structure much about the person's health, emotional state and spiritual development.


      Before Common Era; the non-religious equivalent of B.C.


      A fire lit for magical purposes, usually outdoors. Balefires are traditional on Yule, Beltane and Midsummer.

    Bane, Baneful:

      That which destroys life. Poisonous, dangerous, destructive. Herbs such as henbane (‘Henbane’ is poisonous to hens). hellebore and aconite are examples of baneful substances.


      To drive away evil, negativity or spirits.


      An ancient folk-festival day observed by Witches that celebrates the fully blossomed spring, April 30th or May 1st.




      Any plant that completes its life cycle in two years or growing seasons. Most biennial plants normally generate leaf growth in the first year, and then bloom, produce fruit, and die in the second year. The following plants are classified as biennials: alkanet, caraway, celery, clary, dill, evening primrose, feverfew, foxglove, goat's beard, high mallow, hound's tongue, mullein, parsley, prickly lettuce, Queen Anne's lace, raspberry, red clover, rocket, scurvy grass, sweet clover, and teasel.

    Bitter Tonics:

      Botanicals with a bitter taste which stimulate the flow of gastric juices and saliva, increase the appetite, and aid digestion: black haw bark, blessed thistle, bugle, dandelion, dogwood, goldenseal root, and wild cherry bark.


      The act of conferring positive energy upon a person, place, or thing. It is usually a spiritual or religious practice.


      The white-handled knife, used in Wiccan and magic ritual, for practical purposes such as cutting herbs or piercing pomegranates. Compare with ATHAME.

    Book of Shadows:

      A collection of Wiccan ritual information that usually includes religious rituals, magic and advice. There are many Book of Shadows; there is no one correct Book of Shadows.

    Boomerang Effect:

      A popular name for the well-known occult principle that a psychic attack which comes up against a stronger defence rebounds threefold on the attacker.


      In perfumery, a blend of natural or synthetic scents which reproduces a specific odor, such as rose or jasmine. Also known as a compound or a blend.


      See INFUSION.

    'Burning Time':

      A term used by some witches for the period of persecution of witches (actual or alleged) which reached its height in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Used in reference to England, it is in fact a misnomer; English witches were customarily hanged, not burned, though they were burned in Scotland and on the Continent.

    Cabala, Qabala, Kabala:

      The ancient Hebrew system of esoteric philosophy centring upon the Tree of Life (q.v.). Probably the biggest single influence on the Wester occult tradition. Modern occult Cabalism is not identical with that of the old Rabbis, but its principles 'are the legitimate descendants thereof and the natural development therefrom' (Dion Fortune).

    Cakes & Wine:

      Also known as Cakes and Ale, this is a simple ritual meal shared with the Goddess and God, usually within the Circle, near the completion of a religious ritual. Such ritual meals predate Christianity.


      See IMBOLG.


      Botanicals which are used to induce the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines: cayenne pepper, dandelion, fennel, feverfew, ginger, parsley, peppermint, thyme, and yarrow.


      Botanicals and other substances which cause evacuation of the bowels. Cathartics are divided into two categories: laxatives and purgatives. A laxative produces gentle bowel stimulation, while purgatives induce more forceful evacuation to relieve severe constipation. Laxatives: aloe vera, balmony, boneset, bunchberry, chicory, dandelion, dock, horehound, horseradish, hydrangea, magnolia, olive oil, red mulberry fruit, walnuts, and white ash bark. Purgatives: barberry, blue flag, castor oil, chaparral tea (or spurge), fennel, mayapple, poinciana leaves, and senna leaves.


      Common Era; the non-religious equivalent of A.D.


      A vessel of metal or earthenware in which incense is burned. An incense burner.

    Cernunnos, Cerunnos:

      The only known name of the Celtic Horned God; it is much used by witches, in the Cernummos form.


      A Welsh Goddess-name, much used to represent the Mother or Crone aspects.


      See CUP.


      A garland or wreath of flowers or leaves worn on the head, as in the chaplets given to classical Greek heroes as symbols of honor.


      See EMPOWvERING.


      A magically empowered object carried to attract positive energies.

    Circle Casting:

      The process of moving positive energy from the body and forming it into a large, non-physcial sphere of power in which Wiccan rituals usually occur. Circle castings usually begin each Wiccan ritual. The process is also known as ‘laying the circle’ and ‘creating sacred space,’ among other terms.


      Literally ‘clear seeing.’ The ability to perceive facts, events and other data by other than the five ‘normal’ senses, unaided by tools.


      The traditional form of movement in positive magic. (If you're standing facing a tree, move to your left and walk in a circle around it. That's clockwise motion.) Also known as deosil movement.

    Combustible Incense:

      Self-burning incense containing potassium nitrate; usually in cone, block or stick form.

    Cone of Power:

      The collective psychic charge built up by a coven at work, visualized as a cone whose base is the circle of witches and whose apex is above the centre of that circle.

    Conscious Mind:

      The analytical, materially-based, rational half of our consciousness. Compare with PSYCHIC MIND.


      A ritual of sanctification or purification. A ritual of dedication.

    Corn Dolly:

      A figure, often human-shaped, created by plaiting dried wheat or other grains. It represented the fertility of the Earth and the Goddess in early European agricultural rituals and is still used in wicca. Corn dollies aren't made from cobs or husks; corn originally referred to any grain other than maize and still does in most English-speaking countries except the United States.


      A term used by herbalists to mean an herb that is added to food or medicine to improve the taste or smell of it.


      A group of Wiccans, usually initiatory and led by one or two leaders, that gathers together for religious and magical workings. Most covens operate within a specific Wiccan Tradition.


      A coven's normal place of meeting.


      An art, especially that made with the hands. See also SPELL CRAFT.


      One of the four elemental tools, representing the Water element.


      A concentration of negative and destructive energy, deliberately formed and directed toward a person, place or thing.


      A medicinal or magickal extract made by adding herbs to boiling water (normally one ounce of dried herb to one pint of water) and then allowing the mixture to simmer for usually thirty minutes.


      Herbal substances taken internally which soften and smooth inflamed mucous membranes and are used to treat coughs and minor throat irritations: blessed thistle, borage, coltsfoot, goldenseal root, hound's tongue, and Solomon's seal.


      See CLOCKWISE.


      Herbal substances taken internally to increase sweating. such substances are also called sudorifics, and are frequently used to break common colds and fevers and to promote good health: black cohosh, broom, cajeput, calendula, catnip, chamomile, elder flowers, garlic, ginger root, horseheal, hyssop, Jacob's ladder, linden flowers, mugwort, oregano, pennyroyal, rosebay, saffron, salad burnet, scabwort, serpentaria root, vervain, and yarrow.


      Plants which increase urine secretion and work to correct urinary disorders: agrimony, balm, bearberry, black cohosh, blue cohosh, blue flag, boneset, broom, chicory, cleavers, cucumber seeds, daphne bark and root, garlic, germander, gravel root, ground cedar, horseheal, horseradish, horsetails, hydrangea, joe-pye weed, juniper berries, parsley, pipsissewa, pumpkin seeds, rosebay, rue, scabwort, shepherd's purse, sorrel, sunflower seeds, vervain, wild carrot, wood sage, wormwood, and yarrow.


      The art of finding things out through means other than the five senses, using tools such as tarot cards, crystal balls, and so on. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as ‘fortune-telling.’


      The unmanifested, pure energy that exists within the Goddess and God. The life force; the ultimate source of all things. It is this energy that Wiccans contact during ritual. Compare with EARTH POWER and PERSONAL POWER.


      Invocation of the Goddess aspect into the High Priestess by the High Priest.


      Invocation of the God aspect into the High Priest by the High Priestess.


      That energy which exists within stones, herbs, flames, wind, water, and other natural objects. It is manifested DIVINE POWER and can be utilized during magic to create needed change. Compare with PERSONAL POWER.


      The conscious part of the human psyche.


      The third-degree and second-degree members of a coven.


      A primitive non-human and non-material entity, of the nature of one of the four Elements (q.v.). The term is also used for a human thought-form which, spontaneously by strong emotion or deliberately by mental effort, is split off from its human originator and acquires temporary quasi-independent existence. 'Created elementals' of the latter kind can be given healing work to do; they are also sometimes used maliciously for psychic persecution.


      Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. These four essences are the building blocks of the universe, and ancient magical sources of ENERGY. In magic, Earth energy is associated with the North; and with the color green, with money, and stability. Air energy is associated with the East; with yellow, with travel, and the intellect. Fire is associated with the South; with red, with protection, and sex. Water is associated with the West; with blue, with love, and psychic awareness. The energy of the elements is often used in magic.


      Plants which induce vomiting: adder's tongue, bay, black mustard seeds, blue flag, bloodroot, cliffrose, elkweed, roots, hedge-hyssop, ilex berries, mandrake, mayapple, wake-robin roots, and white mustard seeds.


      The act of moving ENERGY into an object.


      ‘Sing to.’ Magically speaking, a procedure whereby herbs are aligned with your magical need prior to their use.


      A general term for the currently unmeasurable (but real) power that exists within all natural objects and beings--including our own bodies. It is used in FOLK MAGIC. See also PERSONAL POWER.


      A French perfumery term describing the process of extraction essential flower oils with purified fat. Also known as POMMADE.


      See SABBATS.


      A Wiccan ritual occasion celebrating the Full Moon. Compare with SABBAT. See also WICCA.


      A structure intermediate between the Astral Body (q.v.) and the physical body. It is an energy-network which linkes the physical body to the corresponding astral, mental and spiritual bodies, and thus literally keeps it alive.


      The energy-level, intermediate between the astral and physical, on which the Etheric Body (q.v.) functions.


      Supposed glance capable of causing great harm or fear, once almost universally feared.


      Calling up spirits or other nonphysical entities, either to visible appearance or invisible attendance. Compare with INVOCATION.


      Traditionally, the magical process of driving out negative entities. In herb magic, a powerful purification.


      Botanicals which loosen phlegm of the mucous membranes and promote its expulsion: benzoin, bloodroot, chokecherry, coltsfoot, garlic, horehound leaves, licorice root, slippery elm bark, storax tree bark gum, sunflower seeds, sweet gum, vervain, violet, white pine (dried inner bark), and yerba santa leaves.


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