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 or Ask A Witch!


We have 344 terms listed in our glossary with more being added each day.

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Voodoo - Voodoo or Vodou is a syncretic African American magico-religion with such variety that it is very difficult for sociologists to study. It has its roots in West African Vodun spirituality imported to the Southern United States along with the West African people kidnapped from their home continent and sold here as slaves. For many, their native religion was forbidden by their new masters and some were encouraged to adhere to the Christian faith instead. Some embraced Christianity and blended it with their native beliefs while others continued to practice their native religion while dressing it up in Christian disguise for the benefit of their captors. This led to a blending of two faiths that, because many slave communities were strictly isolated from others, was unique to the area in which it occurred while still holding true to its core. Thus, Haitian Voodoo and New Orleans Voodoo have some differences from one another but still also very similar, especially to the casual observer. In New Orleans the loa may be called orisha.

Voodoo doll - The term Voodoo doll is a Western term for a poppet or effigy used for sympathetic magic, usually implying that the magick is negative and harmful.

Wand - A wand, or a rod, is a stick that has been carefully gathered and prepared to be used for ritual work. They are associated with masculine energy and the element of air or fire depending on the tradition. Wands are used for pointing and focusing energy, and for stirring. A wand may also be used to represent the masculine principle during ritual.

Waning Moon - The waning moon period is the period during which the moon appears to be getting smaller in the sky, from the full moon to the dark moon.

Ward - Noun: A ward is a protection or guardian. It may be maintained by a spell, an talisman, a symbol or some other physical or energy object. Wards may be temporary, such as those put in place to mark the barriers of a magick circle and then taken down upon completion of a ritual. Or a ward may be a more permanent magickal structure, such as those placed on the boundaries of a piece of property. These wards must be maintained by a periodic repetition of the warding spell or charging of the symbolic warding object.

Warlock - The term warlock is often used to denote a male witch and some male witches embrace it though many consider it a derogatory term. Some witches use this term to name someone who has betrayed or broken the rules of his or her coven, who does not follow the Wiccan Rede or who practices black magic.

Water Sign - In Astrology, a water sign is a zodiac sign associated with the element of water. There are three water signs Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.

Waxing - The word waxing refers to the application of wax on something. This would cause the thing to grow in girth, or to appear to, as the layers of wax thicken. Most often when we witches use the word waxing, we are referring to the waxing phase of the moon. This is the phase when the moon appears to be growing, or thickening, from the period of the new moon to the period of the full moon.

Well Dressing - Well dressing is an ancient Celtic custom that continues in the remote regions of England, particularly Derbyshire and Staffordshire. It may be that remoteness of these regions helped preserve these traditions by making it difficult for invaders to reach them. The tradition of well dressing likely began as a sacrificial act to thank the spirit of the well or perhaps a God or Gods for providing the community with water throughout the year, or perhaps just to celebrate the fact that it was there.

Wicca - Wicca is a modern Pagan mystery religion that was introduced to the public in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner. It combines traditional British folk magic beliefs with early 20th century hermetic ritual practices into a dynamic whole. Much of its folkloric history is based on the work of Archaeologist Margaret Murray. Wicca is a Witchcraft tradition, meaning Wiccans are taught and encouraged to practice Witchcraft as part of their spiritual experience and religious expression.

Wiccan - The word Wiccan used as a noun refers to an individual that belongs to the religion Wicca. As an adjective the word Wiccan is used to describe anything relating to Wicca. For example, a Wiccan ritual, a Wiccan altar, a Wiccan esbat, a Wiccan Sabbat, the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. Wicca itself is occasionally described as "the Wiccan religion".

Widdershins - Widdershins is a Scottish term (Lowland Scots) meaning counterclockwise or against the sun. The Scottish Gaelic term is tuathal, which means "Northerly". The opposite direction is deosil or, more correctly, deiseal, or sunwise (clockwise). The term Widdershins is also used to mean any direction that isn't the proper or usual way.

Wildcrafting - Wildcrafting means gathering plants and mushrooms for food and medicine from the wild. This is also referred to as foraging.

Will - The idea of the Will or the True Will was first explored in writing by Eliphas Levi and further explored and publicized by Aleister Crowley. It has also been identified as the True Self, but this term is somewhat limiting. The Will is the defined roughly as your true path in alignment with your purpose in the Universe. You are your Will and everything else, your petty desires, disappointments, lusts, are simply built up around this Will, they are window dressing. The Will isn't the soul though. It is something more akin to your own personal position within the functioning Universe.

Winter Solstice - The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year when the sun appears at noontime to be at its lowest altitude above the horizon of the year. It occurs around December 20-22 in the Northern Hemisphere and around June 20-22 in the Southern Hemisphere. The winter solstice marks the moment when Sun is at its weakest and can only grow stronger as time progresses until it reaches its peak strength at the summer solstice and begins its gradual decline.

Witch - A Witch is one who practices magic, particularly the sort of magic associated with spells and charms and various folk magic.

Witchcraft - Definition of Witchcraft according to Merriam Webster dictionary
- The use of sorcery or magic
- communication with a devil or familiar
- an irresistible influence or fascination
- Wicca

Witch Doctor - A witch doctor is a traditional, magical healer who specializes in preventing and treating maladies of magical or supernatural origin, including, but not limited to, those believed to be caused by witchcraft.

Witch hunt - A witch hunt is a scapegoating exercise involving a systematic search for individuals that represent an unpopular, unaccepted or inconvenient social or philosophical position for the purpose of persecuting them. Witch hunts are often carried out by people in power as a means to cement their power by weeding out threats or perceived disloyalty. A defining characteristic of a witch hunt is the use of propaganda to demonize the targeted population. Another is the tendency to declare guilt and rush to judgement with scanty or fabricated evidence, as the punishment takes priority over justice. I.e. Finding someone to punish is more important than finding the guilty party. The crime for which the punishment is deemed necessary may be exaggerated or fabricated and often takes place in secret, thus excusing the lack of evidence. Those lacking power and closer to the targeted population may participate in the witch hunt in the hope of achieving the good will of the powerful or simply as a means of self-preservation.

Wizard - The word wizard derives from the Middle English wys or "wise" and denotes a philosopher or sage or "One who knows". The use of the word wizard to denote one who is proficient in occult sciences came into being during the 1500s when philosophy became interwoven with magick. In modern usage, the word wizard refers to one who is excellent in his field. Some male magick-users identify as wizards, and so do some computer programmers, chefs and craftsmen of all sorts.

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