Glossary of Wiccan & Pagan Terms

I’ve defined some words you are likely to see here on my site, or in other sites and books dealing with Wicca. I’ve provided short definitions, just enough to get the idea across.



Air – one of the four magical elements  Air Symbol Air Symbol Air Symbol

Akasha – fifth element, spirit

altar – table or flat surface used during rituals to hold ritual tools, books, etc.

amulet – a magical charged item, often worn around the neck for protection

Animism – the spiritual belief that everything in nature, animate and inanimate, possesses a soul

ankh – Ancient Egyptian symbol representing life and rebirth; similar to, but not the same as crux ansata

Aquarius – the eleventh sign of the zodiac, ruling from January 21 – February 19; and Air sign ruled by the planet Uranus

Aradia (air-a-dee-a) – Italian goddess, claimed to be Queen of Witches by some Wiccans

Aries – the first sign of the zodiac, ruling from March 21 – April 20; a Fire sign ruled by the planet Mars

Asatru – Norse Reconstructionism

astral body – representation of person or things found in astral plane

astral plane – a kind of dimension composed of energy

astral projection – an out-of-body experience usually induced through trance

athame – small, double-edged ritual dagger, usually black-handled; used to draw Circles and direct energy

aura – an energy field surrounding all living things


balefire – a sacred outdoor fire burned by some Wiccan at certain Sabbats

banish – to drive away or release a spirit or energy

B.C.E. – Before Common Era; an alternate dating system corresponding to B.C.

Beltain – Sabbat held on May 1st; also known as May Day, May Eve, Rood Day, Roodmas, and Walpurgisnacht

besom – a magical broom

Big Blue Book – sometimes Uncle Bucky’s Big Blue Book, refers to Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, a commonly read beginner’s book

binding – a spell which generally involves tying knots in cords or a similar action, aimed at restricting energy or actions

bolline – a small, white handled knife

Book of Illuminations – alternate name for what is traditionally called Book of Shadows

Book of Light – alternate name for what is traditionally called Book of Shadows

Book of Shadows – a collection of rituals, notes, spells, etc. as well as sometimes a journal of workings

Burning Times – name given to Reformation and Inquisition, when the Church actively killed people for practicing “witchcraft”


Cancer – fourth sign of the zodiac, ruling from June 22 – July 22; a Water sign ruled by the Moon

Candlemas – Sabbat held on February 2nd; also known as Imbolg/Imbolc, Oimelc, or Candelaria
Capricorn – tenth sign of the zodiac, ruling from December 23 – January 20; an Earth sign ruled by the planet Saturn

cauldron – pot or kettle, generally used as Goddess symbol

C.E. – Common Era; an alternate dating system corresponding to A.D.

censer – an incense burner

ceremonial magick – the art and practice of controlling spirits through force of will, requires dedication and study

Cernunnos – Celtic god, often used for name of Wiccan Lord (not universally accepted)

chakras – seven energy points within the body

Charge of the Goddess – well-known piece of poetry by Doreen Valiente

chalice – special glass/goblet used in rituals

circle – magical construct used in rituals (see A Circle)

cone of power – energy raised and focused by group or individual for magic working or ritual

consecration – act of blessing an object with positive energy

corn dolly – a human or animal figure fashioned out of a sheaf of corn; used in spells and as fertility symbol

coven – a group of people who come together to ritual and study

cowan – non-Wicca or non-Pagan (derogatory)
Craft, The – Witchcraft; also Masonic term

Crone – one of the aspects of the Threefold Goddess

crone – older, wise woman


deosil (day-o-sil) – clockwise direction, also known as “sunwise”

divination – art of foretelling future events or revealing knowledge through the use of tools (eg. Tarot, runes, etc.)

Drawing Down the Moon – invoking the Goddess into one’s self, usually in a ritual

Dawning Down the Sun – invoking the God into one’s self, usually in ritual


Earth – on of the four magical elements  Earth Symbol Earth Symbol Earth Symbol

eke-name – one’s sacred and secret name, used only with the divine and/or with fellow worshippers

elements – four ancient building blocks of the universe – Earth, Air, Water, Fire

enchantment – another word for spell

esbat – a regular meeting of a Wiccan coven or circle; sometimes used to refer to Full or New Moon rituals

Eostre – Spring Equinox Sabbat

evocation – calling up spirits or other magical entities


fetch – a name of one’s astral body

Fire – one of the four magical elements  Fire Symbol Fire Symbol Fire Symbol

fivefold kiss – ritual kiss on feet, knees, near genitals, breasts/chest, and lips


Garderian tradition – Wiccan tradition which traces unbroken lineage to Gerald Gardner

Gemantria – Hebrew numerical science which consists of adding up the numerical value of a word and comparing it to other words with the same value

Gemini – the third sign of the zodiac ruling from May 22 – June 21; an Air sign ruled by the planet Mercury

God – male aspect of pair of deities; the Lord

Goddess – female aspect of pair of deities; the Lady

Goddess worship – pagan faiths where the female divinity is the major focus; not Wicca

Great Rite – symbolic or actual sexual act performed as part of a ritual; also known as “Sacred Marriage”

green magic – low magic, magic focusing on the physical

Green Man – representation of the Lord as ruler of the forest

grimorie – a book containing a collection of spells

ground/grounding – root self in physical world


hand, projective – energy emitting right hand

hand, receptive – energy receiving left hand

handfasting – a Wiccan marriage ceremony

Hermes Trismegistus – “Thrice Great Hermes”, alleged teacher the magical system known as Hermetism

henotheism – the belief is one or more gods, without denying the existence of other gods

high magic – ritual magic, magic focused on spiritual realm

High Priest/HP – male head of coven; representative of God

High Priestess/HPS – female head of coven; representative of Goddess

Horned God – generally seen by Wiccans as the male consort of the Goddess; male deity with stag horns rising from His head


Imbolc/Imbolg – Sabbat held on February 2nd

incantation – a ritual recitation of a prayer or spell, usually rhymed, to produce a magical effect

invocation – calling upon a higher power (deities, Spirit, etc) for support or assistance



Kabbalah – occult theosophy of rabbinical origin; magical system including the Tree of Life and gemetria; also Cabala, Cabbala, Kabala or Qabbalah)

Kabbalist – one who practices Kabbalah
karma – the force generated by a person’s actions thought to determine the nature of one’s next incarnation


Lammas – Sabbat held on August 1st

left-hand path – use of magic of self-gain and/or evil

Leo – the fifth sign of the zodiac ruling from July 23 -August 21; a Fire sign ruled by the Sun

Libra – the seventh sign of the zodiac ruling from September 24 – October 23; an Air sign ruled by the planet Venus

Litha – Summer Solstice Sabbat

lingam – a stylized phallic symbol of the masculine cosmic principle

low magic – green magic, magic general focused on the physical

Lughnasadh – Sabbat held on August 1st


Mabon – Fall Equinox Sabbat

magic – “The Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will” – A. Crowley

magick, majic, majick – alternate spellings for magic (not accepted by all)

Maiden – one of the aspects of the Threefold Goddess

maiden – female assistant to High Priestess in some traditions

meditation – the act of engaging in quiet contemplation or reflection

Midsummer – Summer Solstice Sabbat

Mother – one of the aspects of the Threefold Goddess


Neo-Paganism – an umbrella term, referring to modern-day practices which aim to revive nature religions, Goddess-worship and/or mystery traditions

New Age – a modern spiritualism movement, followers of which believe we create our own reality

numerology – a method of divination that analyzes the symbolism of numbers


Old Ones – name encompassing all gods and goddess

Old Religion – used to refer to Witchcraft, Paganism, and/or Wicca (lots of differing opinions here as to its correctness)

once-born – non-Wiccan (derogatory)

Ostara – Spring Equinox Sabbat


pagan – a non-Christian, Muslim or Jew

Pagan – a follower of an Earth-Based religion

pantheism – belief in or worship of more than one god belonging to more then one pantheon

pentacle – five-pointed star, three dimensional

pentagram – five-pointed star, two dimensional

Pisces – the twelfth sign of the zodiac ruling from February 20- March 20; a Water sign ruled by the planets Jupiter and Neptune

polytheism – belief in or worship of more than one god


Querent – in divination, the person who ask questions of the reader


rede/Wiccan Rede – “An it harm none, do what thou will”

ritual – a religious or magical ceremony, characterized by formalized actions and words

ritual magic – high magic, magic focusing on spiritual realm

runes – divination tool using symbols carved into wood or stone

runes – symbols, early alphabets


Sabbats – the eight holy days based on the seasons

Sagittarius – the ninth sign of the zodiac ruling from November 23 – December 22; a Fire sign ruled by the planet Jupiter

Samhain – Sabbat held on October 31st

scry – gaze into or at an object with the intent to see future events or distant places

Scorpio – the eight sign of the zodiac ruling from October 24 – November 22; a Water sign ruled by the planets Mars and Pluto

skyclad – naked

Solitary – a name given to Wiccans or other pagans who work and worship alone

spell – a magical working aimed at changing reality

Spirit – the fifth (yes, fifth) of the four magical elements

spirit – an animating or vital principle within all living beings

spirit – a discarnate entity, such as a ghost or apparition

sympathetic magic – magic which works on the principle that like attracts like; image magic; creative visualization


talisman – object marked with magical signs, used for protection or to attract beneficial energy

Tarot cards – set of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana, used for self-discovery or divination

Taurus – the second sign of the zodiac ruling from April 21 – May 21; an Earth sign ruled by the planet Venus

theism – belief in the existence of a god or gods

Threefold Goddess – Maiden, Mother and Crone; goddess with three changing faces

Threefold Law – belief that all actions, good or bad, are returned three times over

tradition – group of covens sharing a common lineage, rituals, and beliefs


Uncle Al – refers to Aleister Crowley, who is believe to have influenced Gerald Gardner, the Father of Wicca


Virgo – the sixth sign of the zodiac ruling from August 22 – September 23; an Earth sign ruled by the planet Mercury


wand – ritual tool, usually made of wood and 21″ in length

Water – one of the four magical elements  Water Symbol Water Symbol Water Symbol

Wheel of the Year – a term used by Wiccans to mean one complete cycle of the year, encompassing all eight Sabbats

Wicca – Earth-Based religion

Wiccan – follower of Wicca

Wiccaning – a Wiccan birth rite where the Lord and Lady are asked to watch over the baby

widdershins – counter-clockwise direction

witch – practitioner of witchcraft

Witchcraft – art of spell casting, focusing mainly on low magic



yang – in Taoism, the active, male, positive principle

yin – in Taoism, the passive, female, negative principle

yoni – a stylized representation of the female genitalia symbolizing the feminine principle

Yule – Winter Solstice Sabbat