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Pagan Glossary P-Z

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. Also, "The Wiccan Garden" By: Gerina Dunwich. Also, "The Witches Bible" By: Janet & Stewart Farrar.


      Any plant that has a life span longer than two years. The following plants are classified as perennials: agrimony, alfalfa, aloe, American ginseng, angelica, autumn crocus, balm, bay, belladonna, bindweed, birthroot, bistort, black cohosh, bladderwrack, bloodroot, blue cohosh, blue flag, boneset, buckbean, bugleweed, butterfly weed, California poppy, catnip, celandine, chamomile, chicory, chives, cinquefoil, colicroot, coltsfoot, comfrey, daffodil, dandelion, dog rose, elecampane, fairywand, fennel, figwort, fireweed, forget-me-not, garden (or salad) burnet, garlic, goldenrod, goldenseal, Good King Henry, gromwell, ground ivy, heal-all, hops, horehound, hyssop, lady's mantle, lady's slipper, lavender, lily of the valley, live-forever, liverleaf, loosestrife, lovage, maidenhair fern, marjoram, marsh mallow, mayapple, meadowsweet, milkweed, mints, moneywort, moonseed, motherwort, mouse-ear, mugwort, onion, oregano, Oswego tea, partridgeberry, passionflower, pipsissewa, pussytoes, rosemary, rue, sage, Saint John's wort, Sampson’s snakeroot, skullcap, Solomon's seal, sorrel, speedwell, spikenard, stinging nettle, stoneroot, sundew, sweet flag, sweet woodruff, tansy, tarragon, thyme, vervain, Virginia snakeroot, wallflower, watercress, water lilies, wild ginger, wild senna, wild strawberry, wild thyme, wild yam, winter cress, wintergreen, winter savory, wood sorrel, wormwood, woundwort, yarrow, and yellow flag.


      A small doll made of various substances to influence a person's life. In herb magic, either a craved root or a cloth image stuffed with herbs. The use of poppets is known as ‘image magic.’


      An herbal tea or brew used by Witches in magickal or healing rituals. In order to work properly, a potion must be prepared during the appropriate phase of the Moon and made with herbal ingredients possessing the correct magickal properties. Potions are traditionally brewed in cauldrons and are used in all facets of the magickal arts. Potions concocted for the workings of love magick are often called “philtres.”


      Herbs mixed with hot water (or a pastelike herbal medicine) that is heated, spread on a cloth or towel, and then applied to an inflamed or painful body part in order to warm, moisten, or stimulate. Poultices are also used by herb doctors for drawing out infection and foreign bodies as well as for relieving muscle spasms.




      The hand you write with; the dominant hand. This is a magically potent hand.


      The act of focusing one's attention on Deity and engaging in communication. In Wicca, prayer is directed to the Goddess and God (or sometimes, to one or the other).


      The psychological mechanism of subconsciously crediting (or discrediting) another person with qualities or shortcomings which are in fact elements of one's own psyche, so that one can confront them while avoiding the truth that one is really confronting oneself.


      The talented hand; that with which we write, used in magic as a channel of Personal Power. Compare with RECEPTIVE HAND.


      The total non-physical make-up of a human being.


      The act of being consciously psychic, in which the PSYCHIC MIND and the CONSCIOUS MIND are linked and working in harmony.


      The subconscious or unconscious mind, in which we receive psychic impulses. The psychic mind is at work when we sleep, dream, and meditate.


      The act of being consciously psychic. Ritual consciousness is a form of psychism.


      The psychic 'reading' of a material object, and its associations and history, by handling it.


      The hand that we do not write with. In magic, the hand through which power is drawn into the human body. Compare with PROJECTIVE HAND or POWER HAND.


      The doctrine of rebirth. The process of repeated incarnations in human form to allow evolution of the sexless, ageless soul.


      See RITUAL.


      Ceremony. A specific form of movement, manipulation of objects or inner processes designed to produce desired effects. In MAGIC it allows the magician to move energy toward needed goals. A SPELL is a magical rite.


      A specific, alternate state of awareness necessary to the successful practice of magic. The magician achieves this through the use of VISUALIZATION and RITUAL. It denotes a state in which the CONSCIOUS MIND and PSYCHIC MIND are attuned, wherein the magician senses energies, gives them purpose and releases them towards the magical goal. It is a heightening of the senses, an expansion of the awareness beyond the physical world, an interlinking with nature and with the forces behind all conceptions of Deity.


      Stick-like figures, some of which are remnants of old Teutonic Alphabets; others are pictographs. These symbols are once again being widely used in all forms of MAGIC.




      A cloth bag filled with herbs. In herb magic sachets are used to contain herb mixtures while they slowly release their energies for specific magical goals.


      An ancient festival day marking the beginning of winter. Also known as ‘Halloween’ and All Hallows Eve. It is observed by Wicca with religious ceremonies.


      To gaze into a pool of ink, fire, crystal ball, etc ... to awaken and summon psychic powers.


      Herbs which sooth, calm nervousness, and tranquilize: bugleweed, catnip, chamomile, fennel, heal-all, hop vine oil, horsebalm, Linden flowers, New Jersey tea, passion vine, scullcap, skunk cabbage root, valerian, viburnum, and Witch hazel.


      A man or woman who has obtained knowledge of the subtler dimensions of the Earth, usually through periods of alternate states of consciousness. Various types of ritual allow the shaman to pierce the veil of the physical world and to experience the realm of energies. This knowledge lends the shaman the power to change her or his world through magic.


      The Practice of shamans, usually ritualistic or magical in nature, sometimes religious.


      This is an archaic word used by Witches of old to mean a plant of medicine or the medicine obtained from it. Simples, which are a minstay of many folk healers and country Witches, are usually very mild and indigenous plants. They are used completely by themselves to prevent or treat disease.


      An affirmation that ends many chants and magical rhymes. This has been in common usage among folk magicians for many years. A transliteration might be: “So must it be,” (though this isn't linguistically correct).


      Wicca practiced, due to either choice or circumstance, by individuals without group support. Compare with COVEN.


      Botanicals which are used to induce sleep: barberry, bay, catnip, chicory, goldenseal, hops, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, onion, passionflower, Saint John's wort, sweet woodruff, and valerian.


      Individuals (q.v.) who are continuously involved with each other in successive Incarnations (q.v.), becoming rather like a pair of binary stars. Also known as twin souls.


      A magical rite. The mainstay of FOLK MAGIC, spells are simply magical rites. They're usually non-religious and often include spoken words.


      It consists of the ritual creation of, and use of, specialized magical objects.


      The elemental energies naturally inherent at the four directions of the magic circle, personified within the standing stones tradition as the “spirits of the stones.” They are linked with the elements.


      Herbs which increase or speed up the various functional actions of the human body: angelica, bayberry bark and roots, black pepper, bloodroot, calendula, caraway, cayenne pepper, coriander, elder flowers, garlic, horseheal root, horseradish, lavender, mayweed, nettle, nutmeg, pennyroyal, pine, prickly ash bark, rosebay, sassafras root, scabwort root, serpentaria root, sweet flag, vervain, wild ginger, wintergreen, wormwood, and yarrow.


      Plants which have curative properties in easing disorders of the stomach: angelica, avens, blessed thistle, blue gentian, bogbean, burdock leaves, cayenne pepper, elecampane, ginseng, gum plant, hop plant, lemon verbena, oyster plant, peppermint, Roman chamomile, rosemary, salsify, spearmint, sweet flag, and yerba buena.


      A female spirit or demon once believed to sexually tempt and abuse men. It may have been a theological explanation of nocturnal emissions. Compare with INCUBUS.


      Magickal incenses made from herbs and burned by Witches and magicians to attract spirits and enable them to materialize. Suffumigations are used in ceremonial magick, seances, and necromancy. Anise, dried carnation flowers, dittany of Crete, frankincense, dried gardenia petals, heather, pipsissewa, sweetgrass, and wormwood are the herbs most commonly used by Witches as suffumigations.


      A spiritualist word for the Heaven which souls enter after death. Often used by believers in Reincarnation (q.v.) to denote the astral stage of rest after physical death, before the Individuality (q.v.) withdraws from all the lower levels to prepare for its next Incarnation (q.v.).


      One of the four elemental tools, representing the Fire element - or in some traditions, the Air element.


      An object worn or carried to attract a specific influence, such as love, luck, money, health; as opposed to an amulet which keeps forces from its bearer.


      A coven's ritual meeting-place which is used for no other purpose; a desirable asset but not indispensble, since a Magic Circle may be cast anywhere.


      A liquid produced by soaking plant materials in ethyl alcohol (or medicinally, in apple cider vinegar) to produce a scented liquid. An herbal medicine that is made by mixing four ounces of powdered or finely cut herb with one pint of spirits (such as brandy, gin, or vodka). The mixture is kept in a large, tightly sealed jar for about two weeks and shaken several times daily to enable the medicinal properties of the herb to be released into the alcohol. After the two-week period, the tincture is then strained through a cheesecloth into another clean bottle and stored until needed.


      Plants which strengthen or invigorate the body and stimulate general health: agrimony, avens, barberries, bayberry bark and roots, bloodroot, burdock, chamomile, chicory, coltsfoot, dandelion, ginger, goldenrod, horehound, Joe-pye weed, mint, pipsissewa, red clover, rue, sea holly, selfheal, speedwell, sweet fern, sweet flag, tansy, vervain, watercress, Witch hazel, wood sage, wormwood, and yarrow.


      A word much-used in Wicca, this term includes both physical objects used to facilitate wiccan ritual (censers, wands, candles, salt, water, and incense) as well as internal process (visualization and concentration, among others). In some forms of Magic, this term also refers to stones, herbs, colors, and other sources of power utilized in SPELLS.


      An organized, structured, specific Wiccan subgroup, usually initiatory, often with unique ritual practices. The basis of any tradition is its Book of Shadows and specific oral instructions revealed only to initiates. Most traditions are comprised of a number of covens. Most recognize members of other traditions as wiccans. There are many wiccan traditions; perhaps the most famous of these is the Gardnerian.


      A stone arch made from two upright slabs with one lying atop these. Trilithons are featured in Stonehenge as well as the circle visualization in The Standing Stones Book of Shadows.


      The act of anointing a person or ritual tool with an herbal ointment or oil as part of a consecration, magickal ceremony, or healing ritual. Unctions are commonly performed in the spells and rituals of Wicca Craft. The term “unction” is also used for a balm, oil, or salve.


      A special ointment or salve used by Witches to promote healing and to induce astral projections and psychic dreams. Also known as flying ointment and sorcerer's grease. In the Middle Ages, unguents containing various hallucinogenic ingredients were believed to give a Witch the powers of flight, invisibility, and transformation.


      The process of forming mental images. Magical visualization consists of forming images of needed goals during MAGIC. It's a function of the CONSCIOUS MIND.


      Herbs which are used to treat minor external wounds such as burns, cuts, and scrapes: all-heal, comfrey, horsetail grass, marsh mallow root, and plantain.


      One of the ritual TOOLS used in wicca, the wand is an instrument of INVOCATION, usually utilized to call upon the GODDESS and GOD.


      The four cardinal points, regarded as guardians of the Magic Circle.


      A normal cutting knife, with a sharp blade and white handle. It is used within wicca to cut herbs and fruits, to slice bread during the simple feast and for other functions--but never for sacrifice. Sometimes called the boline. Compare with ATHAME.


      A contemporary PAGAN religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence of nature as a manifestation of the divine. Wicca views Deity as Goddess and God; thus it is polytheistic. It also embraces the practice of MAGIC and accepts reincarnation. Religious festivals are held in observance of the Full Moon and other astronomical (and agricultural) phenomena. It has no association with Satanism. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as WITCHCRAFT. The usual witches' name for the Craft (q.v.). It derives from the Old English WICCAN, 'to practise withcraft'. It is a slight mis-derivation, since WICCA in Old English meant 'a male witch' (and WICCE 'a female witch'). The actual Old English for witchcraft was WICCACRAFT. But the present usage is now long-established and there is every reason why it should continue.


      Of or relating to WICCA.


      In Wicca, the ritual blessing of a newly born baby; it is the witches' equivalent of a christening, except that it is not intended to commit the child permanently to any one path, since that should ve the individual's adult decision.


      Counter-clockwise ritual notion, usually avoided in FOLK MAGIC.


      Anciently, a European practitioner of pre-Christian FOLK MAGIC, particularly that relating to herbs, healing, wells, rivers, and stones. One who practiced WITCHCRAFT. Later, this term's meaning was deliberately altered to denote demented, dangerous beings who practiced destructive magic and who threatened Christianity. This latter definition is false. (Some WICCANS also use the word to describe themselves.)


      A bottle or jar containing herbs, pins, shards of glass and other objects, designed to protect a person or area from evil and curses. Usually buried or placed in a window.


      The craft of the Witch. Magic, especially magic utilizing PERSONAL POWER in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors, and other natural objects. While this does have spiritual overtones, witchcraft, according to this definition, isn't a religion. However, some followers of WICCA use this word to denote their religion. Spell-casting.


      In medieval Witchcraft and sorcery, a Witch's potion, brew, or philtre made from various herbs believed to possess magickal properties and used to control or manipulate the emotions or thoughts of others.


      A string of forty beads, or a cord with forty knots, used (like a rosary) as an aid to concentrated repetition without the need of actual counting.


      An old word meaning ‘herb.’ Mugwort preserves the term. A word stemming from the Old English wyrt, meaning a plant or herb. It is used chiefly in combination: mugwort and Saint John's wort are two examples.


      The knowledge and use of the secret healing and magickal properties of herbs; a word used by folk healers, Witches, and Wiccans of all traditions to mean the practice of herbalism. Wortcunning has been associated with the Old Religion since ancient times.


      A Wiccan Festival Celebrated on or about December 21st, marking the rebirth of the Sun God from the Goddess. A time of joy and Celebration during the miseries of winter. Yule occurs on the Winter Solstice.


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