The glossary terms below may have multiple definitions but only the meanings that apply specifically to Paganism and witchcraft are listed below.
AFFIRMATION: The act of using positive thoughts, put into words, which repeated often to oneself to bring about a positive outcome in one’s life.
ALTAR: A designated sacred space used for spellwork and rituals.
AMULET: A magickally-charged object worn or carried for healing or protection as well as for repelling negative energy, people, etc. An amulet can be crafted from almost anything such as buttons, coins, crystals, religious medals, etc.
ANOINT: The application of oil or water to a living being such as a person or pet to bless her/him with divine or magickal energies.
ATHAME: A double-edged ceremonial knife used in spellwork. It is symbolic and used to cast circles and direct energy as well as to represent the element of fire. It is not used to sacrifice or kill anyone or anything.
BELL: A small hand bell that is used to banish negative energy as well as malevolent spirits. It is often used to begin a ritual.
BINDING: The act of preventing someone from harming themselves or others.
BANISHING: The act of sending someone or something, such as negative energy, away.
BESOM: A broom, often a small one, used to sweep away negative energies during spellwork.
BLESSING: Asking Goddess and/or God to infuse her/his positive energy into someone or something.
BOLINE: A knife with a crescent-shaped blade that is used to cut herbs, flowers, ribbon, and rope, or to inscribe candles.
BOOK OF SHADOWS: A personal journal or notebook that a witch uses to record her/his own magick work in, such as spells performed, tools used, feelings during spellwork, magickal results, etc.
CANDLE: Made of natural wax, candles are used in most spells and rituals. Represents the element of fire as well as colours. Smoke from extinguishing can represent the element of air. A candle may also be used for scrying.
CARTOMANCY: A form of divination using a deck of cards such as Tarot or regular playing cards.
CHALICE: A cup or goblet with a stem and foot used to represent the element of water during spellwork. It is also used to drink wine during rituals.
CHARGING: The act of infusing of an object with magickal energy by leaving it by the light of the full moon.
CHARM: A small magickally-charged object that can be worn or carried to bring good luck or another positive outcome to the carrier. Charms can be crafted from almost anything such as buttons, coins, crystals, religious medals, etc. Also refers to a simple spoken spell.
CHIROMANCY: A form of divination by the study of the lines on the hands. Also called palmistry.
CHRISTOPAGANISM: A faith or spirituality that combines the beliefs, practices, and traditions of both contemporary Paganism and Christianity. Also referred to as Christian Neopaganism.
CLEANSING: The act of removing negative or non-inherent energies from both living beings and inanimate objects.
CLEARING: The act of removing negative energies or spirits from a space, such as your home, office, or car.
CLOCKWISE: Referring to a motion that goes in the direction of a clock’s hands. For example, if you are turning clockwise, you would be turning to your right. This is the direction used to raise energy. Also referred to as deosil, sunward, or sunwise.
CONSECRATE: To purify and then establish an energy link between an individual and an object.
CORRESPONDENCE: The magickal correlations between actions, elements, emotions, nature, natural cycles, objects, sounds, and symbols.
COUNTERCLOCKWISE: Referring to a motion that goes in the opposite direction of a clock’s hands. For example, if you are turning counterclockwise, you would be turning to your left. This is the direction used to dispel energy. Also referred to as moonwise or widdershins.
COVEN: Often defined as a gathering of witches, in Neopaganism, it is typically a group of Wiccans who gather together as a community, often performing magick and rituals together. It is usually led by a High Priestess or High Priest.
CRAFT: A diminutive of the word witchcraft.
DEOSIL: This is a Wiccan term for clockwise.
DISPEL: To banish, drive away, or otherwise remove negative energy from a space, a person, or an object.
DIVINATION: The prediction of the future with the use of an implement or clairvoyance. Methods include reading tarot cards and tea leaves; scrying by gazing into crystal balls and mirrors; pendulum dowsing; geomancy; psychometry; and more. Note: divination is not necessarily an inherent part of Paganism but witches tend to have an open mind regarding it and as such, may incorporate it in their spirituality. Often used in magick to help guide a witch as to what spell should be cast to effect change.
DOWSING: A form of divination performed with non-scientific tools including a pendulum, a rod, a twig or small tree branch, or some wire in order to locate objects or materials such as gems, graves, and underground water. Dowsing with a pendulum with a simple spirit board is an effective means of communicating with spirits.
DRESS: The application of oil or water to an inanimate object such as a magickal tool or candle to consecrate it with divine or magickal energies.
DUALISM: The belief in two equal deities, usually Goddess and God in the case of witches.
ECLECTIC WITCH: A witch who practices an assortment of elements from various aspects, paths, and traditions of Paganism and witchery.
ELIXIR: A potion crafted with the intent of curing physical, psychological, and/or metaphysical ills. Historically, elixirs were also believed to extend life.
EQUINOX: One of two days during a solar year when the sun crosses Earth’s equator resulting in day and night (light and dark) being of approximately equal length. Ostara and Mabon, two of the minor sabbats, take place during an equinox.
ESBAT: This is a non-sabbat coven meeting of no fixed date which coincides with lunar phases, held whenever the members choose. These meetings are usually held monthly, typically during a full moon.
ESSENTIAL OIL: A natural volatile fluid made of aromatic substances extracted from plants.
FAMILIAR: Historically, believed to be a demon or evil spirit in animal form that did a witch’s bidding. Today, in short, an animal with whom a witch shares a magickal connection.
FLOOR WASH: The ritual washing of a floor with a magickal infusion. The floor would already be physically clean, swept and mopped, prior to applying the magickal floor wash.
GRIMOIRE: A reference book with all kinds of magickal information, including but not limited to: histories; collected spells & rituals; magickal properties & correspondences; tools & ingredients; terminology; and other magickal research. It is not a personal journal like a Book of Shadows and the information will typically be more general. In covens, there is usually just one grimoire, whereas each individual witch may have her/his own book of shadows.
INCANTATION: A spell that consists of rhyming sentences, spoken one or more times, during a spell or ritual.
INCENSE: A resin, spice, or other substances burned for the fragrance produced. In spellwork, it is used for the magickal properties of the substances that it crafted from, as well as to represent the element of air.
INFUSION: A water-based magickal liquid crafted by steeping herbs, flowers, or other plant matter in warm or hot water.
INGREDIENT: An organic item used for the working of magick, for example, herbs and salt.
INSCRIBE: The carving or scratching words and symbols onto a candle or wood during spellwork.
INVOCATION: Petitioning or compelling a deity, nature spirit, or other spirit to help or protect you and/or bless you, an object, or a place.
MAGICK: It is the making use of the relationships between actions, elements, emotions, deities, intentions, moon phases, nature, objects, qualities, seasons, senses, sounds, and/or symbols to raise and direct energies in order to achieve a desired outcome.
MANTRA: A word, sound, or chant repeated to promote meditation and/or achieve a trance.
MEDITATION: A technique used to achieve a state of deep relaxation and spiritual introspection.
MONOTHEISM: The belief in one single supreme deity, usually God.
MOON PHASES: This cycle of visibility and intensity of the moon in the sky. Also known as the lunar cycle.
MOONWISE: Another term for counterclockwise.
NEOPAGANISM: The term often applied to contemporary Paganism to distinguish it from ancient paganism.
OUIJA: A small board that has the alphabet and numbers as well as the words yes, no, and goodbye imprinted, used to communicate with spirits. It is typically used with a planchette and less commonly with a pendulum. It is also called a spirit board.
PAGAN: A practitioner of Paganism or Neo-Paganism.
PAGANISM: A peaceful inclusionary polytheistic nature-based faith comprised of many traditions and paths.
PALMISTRY: A form of divination accomplished by the study of the lines on the hands. Also called chiromancy.
PANTHEISM: The belief that the universe and God are one and the same.
PENDULUM: A weighted object, typically a crystal, stone, or metal, that is hung from a cord, string, or chain. It is used for dowsing, often with a simple spirit board, for divination and communication with spirits.
PENTACLE: A five-pointed star (a pentagram) enclosed in a circle. It is a Pagan religious symbol and does not represent satanism, despite its being attributed as such.
PENTAGRAM: This is a five-pointed star which is used or has been used on flags and religious symbols.
PHILTRE: An magickal infusion of distilled water and plants.
POLYTHEISM: The belief in multiple deities.
PSYCHOPOMP: A guide who escorts souls into the afterlife. These can include already-deceased family members, friends, and pets. Angels and some deities are also believed to act in this role. In addition, these guides may also serve to help with major life transitions, including the loss of a loved one.
PURIFY: To remove energies that are not inherent in an object or person.
RESIN: This a hardened organic substance secreted by trees and other plants. It is used in witchcraft for its magickal properties, as well as to represent the element of air.
RITUAL: This is magickal work that is usually intended for a more general, longer-lasting purpose and is customarily more structured than a spell. After energies are summoned, they are released more evenly throughout the upcoming weeks and even months.
SATAN: A construct of Abrahamic faiths, this is the personalization of evil that is believed to seduce people into sin. Pagans do not believe in satan and, as such, do not worship it. Also referred to as the devil.
SCRYING: A form of divination accomplished by gazing into a candle’s flame or a reflective surface such as a crystal ball, a mirror, or water.
SÉANCE: Two or more people gathered together for the purpose of communicating with spirits via a medium or a tool such as an ouija board and planchette.
SMUDGE: This is the spiritual practice of using the smoke produced from burning plant materials such as leaves and barks as well as resins for various purposes such as blessing, clearing, cleansing, and purification.
SOLSTICE: One of two days of a solar year when the sun is farthest from Earth’s equator resulting in either the longest day (summer) or the shortest day (winter) in terms of the number of hours of daylight. Litha and Yule, two of the minor sabbats, take place during a solstice.
SOLITARY PRACTITIONER: A witch who does not belong to a coven and practices her/his spirituality on her/his own.
SPELL: This is magickal work that is usually cast for a very specific purpose, such as helping you land a certain job or pass a particular exam, and as such, may be shorter acting. It is often more informal and less complicated than a ritual.
SPIRIT BOARD: A board used with a pendulum or planchette for communication with spirits.
SUNWARD: Another term for clockwise.
SUNWISE: Another term for clockwise.
TALISMAN: A magickally-charged item that can be worn or carried to attract or provide a specific ability, benefit, energy or power to the wearer. Talismans can be crafted from almost anything such as clothes, hats, paper, and more.
TAROT: A deck of cards, based on 15th-century playing cards, used in a form of divination called cartomancy.
TASSEOMANCY: A form of divination in which patterns in tea leaves remaining in a cup after one has consumed the tea are interpreted. Also called tasseography.
TINCTURE: A magickal liquid of alcohol such as brandy or vodka and plants.
TISANE: An herbal infusion.
TOOL: An implement used for the working of magick.
VISUALIZATION: The practice of concentrating on mental imagery with the mind’s eye.
WAND: A ceremonial tool used to summon and direct energy as well as to represent the element of air. It is often made of wood with the species dependent on the magickal intent and purpose.
WANING: The period of the moon as it moves from a full moon to a new moon, decreasing in visibility with respect to an Earth-bound observer as well as decreasing in intensity.
WARDING: To avert or repel magickal energies.
WAXING: The period of the moon as it moves from a new moon to a full moon, increasing in visibility with respect to an Earth-bound observer as well as increasing in intensity.
WHEEL OF THE YEAR: This is a simple contemporary Pagan calendar that represents the Earth’s life cycle. It indicates the eight sabbats: greater, which celebrate the annual seasonal changes; and lesser, which celebrate the onset of each season.
WICCA: One of the major traditions of Paganism.
WIDDERSHINS: This is a Wiccan term for counterclockwise.
ZAP: A spontaneous mini-spell that is performed in just a few seconds, immediately releasing a quick “zap” of magick when needed.