Welcome to the Witchipedia's glossary of occult terms. Here you will find terms often used in the Pagan, Heathen, magical and occult communities that may confuse a newcomer. This encyclopedia of magical terminology is a wonderful place to get started if you don't know where to start in the Witchipedia. If you don't see the term you are looking for here, feel free to bring your question to the community in our forums!
What you see on this page is the name and first paragraph of the articles in our occult glossary. To view the full article, please click on the title.
Acupuncture - Acupuncture is a traditional healing methodology originating in China. It utilizes small needles inserted into the skin at very specific points to direct the flow of chi. Acupuncture is popular in the West as a drug free treatment for chronic pain and nausea associated with surgery or the treatment of certain illnesses.
Adept - One who has studied and mastered (and continues to study) a magical system is often referred to as an adept. Some organizations have formal guidelines for conferring this title upon a member.
Akasha - Akasha is a Sanskrit word referring to the base material contained in all things. The literal meaning is "space" or "sky" and the closest Western synonym is Aether and it has also been related to modern Paganism's fifth element, Spirit.
Alchemy - Alchemy is both a spiritual and magical practice and a philosophy. Its aim is famously to achieve immortality but also to achieve wisdom through transformation of both the alchemist and the substances he manipulates.
Amulet - An amulet is an object that is carried or worn on a person or placed in a location in order to draw specific energy or luck toward that person or location.
Animism - The term animism comes from the Latin word anima meaning "life" or "soul".
Asperge - Asperging is a form of ritual purification involving the sprinkling of liquid on the item, person or area to be purified.
Athame - An athame (pronounced: ath-uh-may) is a (usually) black handled, double sided blade, ritual knife. Its purpose is strictly symbolic. The blade is usually strait and dull. It represents the male aspect of divinity and can be used to cast and cut a circle during ritual as well as to direct energy in much the same way as a wand.
Atheist - Atheist philosophy holds that there are no Gods. It does not mean necessarily that there are no spirits, that there is no magic or that we simply cease to exist when we die, although many atheists do believe that is the case. The word comes from the Greek meaning simply, Godless.
Aura - The aura is a subtle luminescence that surrounds all objects hinting at the energy contained within. With training, individuals can learn to see auras and "read" them, using their brightness, color, and consistency to learn about another's health, mood and personality. Some believe that the aura provides some protection against psychic attack while others believe that the aura is something of an energy overflow, that is, the energy that doesn't fit inside hovers around the outside in the form of an aura. The belief also exists that both ideas are true. Either way, the brightness of the aura is believed to be directly related to the spiritual strength and health of its owner and, as the spirit, mind and body are tightly connected, his or her physical and mental health and strength as well.
Banishing - To banish something means to send it away or drive it away from a location. In the mundane world banishment implies that whoever is banished can never return or is no longer welcome, but magical banishment is a little different.
Besom - A besom is a ceremonial broom. It is used to clear an area of negativity, to establish sacred space and for blessing and protecting the home. It is also used in marriage and other ceremonies to symbolize the end of one thing and the beginning of another.
Binding - A binding spell is that symbolically ties the target up. A binding spell can be positive or negative. The words positive and negative here are quantitative, not qualitative. Positive does not refer to something being good but rather something that adds something while negative takes something away.
Black Moon - The term black moon is the dark of the moon's equivalent of the term blue moon applied to the full moon.
Boline - A boline is a functional ceremonial blade. It is usually kept sharp only on one side of the blade, which is often curved. You will sometimes see a hand scythe or small sickle called a boline. The boline is used for cutting herbs, carving and inscribing words into candles and other things.
Book of Shadows - The Book of Shadows is primarily a witch's diary. It is where he or she records spells, recipes and thoughts and dreams, it is in essence ones very own, unique, personalized and sacred "Pagan Bible"…an ever evolving, non-dogmatic answer to the Holy Books of the Monotheistic Religions.
In families of Hereditary traditions, The Book of Shadows may be passed down through generations and contain messages of wisdom, family traditions, age old Spells & Old Wives Tales, among the rest of its contents.
Cauldron - The cauldron is a symbol of rebirth, the hearth, of abundance and of well being. Ancient Celtic tales tell of cauldrons that that no one ever went away from hungry and cauldrons that, when the dead were thrown into them, would bring the dead back to life. These days, cauldrons represent the female aspect of divinity, the womb, and are used thusly in conjunction with rods, wands, swords and athames (depending on their size and the tradition) in symbolic representation of The Great Rite.
Celtic Tree Calendar - The Celtic tree calendar, also called the Beth-Luis-Nion Calendar, is a modern calendar based on modern, theoretical interpretations of the Ogham alphabet, or the Celtic Tree Alphabet. While there is no evidence of ancient Celts or Druids using a calendar that even resembled this one, it has, however, become a valuable spiritual, liturgical and magical tool for some modern NeoPagans who identify with the ancient Celts. Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans reject it utterly as a complete fabrication with no historic basis. Which of course it is. Others embrace it as a tool to enhance their magic, their spirituality and their connection with nature and to help give structure to their rituals.
If you wish to discuss a specific article in this glossary, please click on the article's title and submit your comments in the article's comment section.