The Dictionary of Wiccan Terms


Cabala, Qabala, Kabala: The ancient Hebrew system of esoteric philosophy centering on the Tree of Life (q.v.). Probably the biggest single influence on the Western occult tradition. Modern occult Cabalism is not identical with that of the old Rabbis, but its principles 'are the legitimate descendants thereof and the natural development therefrom' (Dion Fortune).

Cabbalism: An ancient form fo Hebrew mysticism still practiced today as a form of witchcraft.

Cabochon:A cut and polished stone, round, oval, or square-shaped with one "rough" edge. Cabochons are often used in jewelry.

Cailleach: Celtic archetypal goddess; the Old Woman of Winter.

Caim: Meaning "loop" or "bend" refers to a sacred circle drawn on the ground to separate ritual space from mundane space. (See Circle).

Cakes and Wine: Also known as Cakes and Ale, this is a simple ritual meal shared with the Goddess and God, usually within the Circle, near the completion of a religious ritual. Such ritual meals predate Christianity.

Calling the Quarters: The act of formally evoking the energy of the four directions and their corresponding elements, usually at the beginning of the ritual.

Candlemas: See Imbolg.

Candles: See "Lamps of Art." In addition to illuminating the altar, candles are sometimes used to mark each of the four quarters, and can also be used for spell working. They may be anointed with oils and inscribed with runes.

Cardinal Points: The four chief points of the compass - north, east, south, and west.

Cast: A term used to refer to a ritual designed to "set" a particular intent, as in casting the circle (preparing sacred space) or casting a spell (directing focused mental energy).

Casting: A way of tossing small objects like stones or seeds on a surface in order to foretell the future from the resulting patterns.

Casting Stones:Several systems of divination call for small stones to be cast upon the ground, or on a special board or cloth. The stones may be marked with runes, or their color may indicate their meaning. Also, called Lithomancy.

Casting the Circle: The psychic creation of a sphere of energy around the area where ritual is to be performed, both to consecrate and focus the power raised, and to keep out unwanted influences or distractions. The space enclosed exists outside ordinary space and time. 2Preparing a designated space for ritual work, usually includes a purification ritual, calling the quarters, and invoking deity. The boundaries of the circle may be indicated or drawn with an athalme or sword.

Cauldron: A term that refers to the Goddess' womb of rebirth, which has the capacity to both create and destroy, as is needed for the perpetuation of life. The physical symbol of the cauldron used in ritual is usually a black, cast - iron kettle, and it is used for many purposes, some of which are noted in the rituals.2 The cauldron represents the womb of the Goddess, as in Cerridwen's Cauldron named Aven, or the source of all plenty, as in the Dagda's cauldron. Modern Witches use a cauldron as either a symbol, or to cook in for Sabbat feasts, or to burn things in as part of a spell. 3Black cast-iron vessel representing the womb of the mother goddess. Often used in magic for burnt offerings. Specifically associated with Cerridwen and the Dagda in Celtic mythology.

C. E.:Common Era. The nonreligious equivalent of A.D.

Celestial Doorway:The means of access to the higher spiritual realms. See also Celestial Realm.

Celestial Equator: The projection of the Earth's equator against the celestial sphere.

Celestial Realm:In New Age thinking, the abode of higher beings.

Celestial Sphere: An imaginary spherical enclosure surrounding the Earth; the backdrop in which the stars are seen. Believed in ancient times to actually exist.

Censer: A vessel in which incense is burned during rituals and meditation. It would often be swung or hung from a chain. ² A heat proof container in which incense is smouldered. An incense burner. It symbolizes the Element of Air.

Centering:A means of bringing yourself back into emotional, physical, or spiritual foci through meditation and visualization, often by drawing energy into your center of gravity. ² The process of moving one's consciousness to one's spiritual center, leading to a feeling of great peace, calmness, strength, clarity, and stability.

Centers of Activity: Energy-centers of the Astral body, corresponding to neural and glandular centers in the physical body; the "Chakras".

Cernunnos, Cerunnos: The only known name of the Celtic Horned God; it is much used by witches, in the Cernunnos form.

Cerridwen: A Welsh Goddess-name, much used to represent the Mother or Crone aspects.

Chakra:A spinning vortex of subtle energy. The term comes from the Sanskrit word chakram, which means "wheel," because these centers appear to clairvoyants and yogis as whirling disks of light. The system of subtle energy channels and centers is the basis for the Meridians and energy points used in acupuncture, yoga practice, and energy healing. There are eight main chakras, located in a line aligned with the spine. These centers connect the energy of the physical body with that of the Subtle Body. The eight chakras are located in the crown of the head, the center of the forehead (third eye), the throat, the solar plexus, the base of the spine, the genitals, and beneath the feet (earth). When the chakras are functioning properly, the body's physical and subtle energies are in balance and harmony. Malfunctions can lead to physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual disturbances. Many energy workers believe that the chakras can be healed by the interaction between vibrations of crystals and the energies of the body's biomagnetic or subtle energy field. See also, Blown Chakra. ²The psychic and spiritual energy centers in the Etheric body corresponding to certain organs in the physical body. The chakras symbolize spiritual ascent, and form the basis of a system of meditation. ³ The nexi or focal points of the human energy field. There are traditionally seven major chakras in a line from the top of the head to the base of the spine, as well as many smaller ones. Being able to sense and influence the chakras is an important form of healing.(4) One of seven zones of occult energy within the human body.(5) The word chakra means wheel. In Eastern thought, small spinning power centers are located in the human body, each of which has a specific function. The "heart" chakra, located aptly over the heart (for example), indicates a person's emotional accessibility. If a person's heart chakra spins clockwise and is large, that would indicate a big hearted individual. The "third eye" chakra, located on a person's forehead between the eyebrows, indicates a person's psychic openness, and so forth.

Chalice:A cup, usually a stemmed goblet, used on the ritual altar. Symbolizes the feminine aspect and the water element. See Cup. 2 The chalice or cup usually holds wine that is shared around the circle in Wiccan ritual. It is a symbol both of Water, and the womb. 3Magical tool representing elemental water and the feminine principle. Often a stemmed glass or goblet.

Channeling: The process whereby information is passed from a discarnate being(souls not in physical incarnation) via the voice and mind of an incarnate being. ²The ability to allow oneself to become a medium, or doorway for a spiritual entity or energy to communicate or move through. For example, one person may channel healing energy and another may channel a spirit guide.

Chanting: Not unlike prayer, except usually more repetitious in nature. It is meant to bring about a specific mental state to aid the movement of Magickal energy.

Charge, Charging:To infuse with energy, as in charging an altar tool; also to instruct, as in the Charge of the Goddess, as delivered by the High Priestess after the Goddess has been invoked into her. ²To magically imbue with power, generally utilizing visualization to direct power into the object or place. ³ Using your mind to place energy into an object for use at a later time. It is not unlike "plugging in" a battery, except this is accomplished through psychic force. (4) To infuse and object with personal power. "Charging" is an act of Magick. See also Empowering. (5) In the Gardnerian /Alexandrian witchcraft and some others the traditional address of the Goddess to her followers, delivered by the High Priestess. The definitive Gardernarian form was written for Gerald Gardner by Doreen Valiente, incorporating his inherited material but replacing some which he had adapted from Aleister Crowley's writings.(6)The New Age term for putting power into an object, similar to charging a battery. Rather than electricity, the energy being put into an item comes from nature—sunlight and moonlight being the most popular energy boosters. You can, for example, place a stone in sunlight to accent conscious, masculine, logical energies or in moonlight to accent psychic, feminine, intuitive energies. Other popular media for charging are soil, which provides foundations, and water, which cleanses and improves energy "flow".

Charge of the Goddess: A Witches' liturgical writing in which the Goddess addresses Her followers, first obtained by Charles Leland from an Italian strega named Maddelena around 1886, and published in Aradia; Gospel of the Witches. It was rewritten and expanded by Doreen Valiente, probably in the 1950's, and then again by Starhawk in The Spiral Dance, 1979.

Charm:Object or incantation believed to have a beneficial power. From the Latin word meaning song, its meaning varies according to usage. An object might have a charm (incantation) for friendship placed on it, for example. Certain verbal charms illustrate the believed power of rhyme and rhythm as seen in the child's verse "rain, rain, go away."(2) A verbal incantation meant to invoke a specific result, often in connection with love or another heartfelt desire, or a small object (like those seen on charm bracelets) that is energized and worn in hopes of improving life's circumstances. Usually the object represents the desired goal, such as a four-leaf clover carried for luck.

Chatoyancy: The property, found in many stones, or showing movement, illumination, or opalescence within the stone itself. Tiger's Eye, Cat's Eye, Moonstone, Sunstone, and many others exhibit this phenomenon.

Chevreul's Pendulum: A pendulum by whose motion the sex of the individual holding it is supposedly determined.

Circle: See casting the circle. Also a term used for a coven or other Magickal group, and also a verb meaning "to gather together for ritual."

Circle Casting: The process of moving positive energy from the body and forming it into a large, nonphysical sphere of power in which Wiccan rituals usually occur. Circle castings usually begin each Wiccan ritual. The process is also known as 'laying the circle' and 'creating sacred space', among other terms.

Circle/Coven: A group of Wiccans who worship together regularly. An old tradition has it that the number of an official coven is 13, but this is not the case in most contemporary groups. The number of a group is usually a minimum of those who are interested -- more than one -- and a maximum of however many will fit into the High Priestess' ritual area. Another old tradition has it that if you have more than 13 in your group, you should call it a "grove." This tradition is only loosely followed, if at all. Circle also refers to the way a group stands together during ritual, and to the consecrated area in which they have "cast a circle" to hold their ritual. The consecrated area in which ritual is held is also sometimes referred to as a temple, or a sphere, indicating that the circle is not flat, but rather spherical. ²The area where Magickal workings are done. The term "casting a circle" is used to describe the process of making sacred space through prayer, meditation, incense, and other methods. It is also a casual reference to the organization or group of people with whom you are associated and with whom you do Magickal work.

Circle, Magick: see Magick Circle. A sphere constructed to Personal Power in which Wiccan rituals are usually enacted. The area inside the circle is seen as common ground on which Wiccans and their Deities can meet. The term refers to the circle that marks the sphere's penetration of the ground, for it extends both above and below it. The Magick circle is created through Magick.

Circle of Stones:see Magick Circle.

Clairaudience, Clairsentience, Clairvoyance: The ability to be aware of events, facts or phenomena by psychic means. The term 'clairvoyance' is loosely used to cover all forms of this; but strictly speaking it is clairvoyance when the impressions are received as visual images, clairsentience when they are felt as bodily sensations, and Clairaudience when they are heard as words, music or other sounds.

Clairaudience: Clear psychic hearing - the ability to hear things that are inaudible to the physical sense of hearing.

Clairsentience:Clear psychic feeling - the ability to feel things that are physically intangible.

Clairvoyance: Clear psychic vision - the ability to see things that are not visible in the physical world.

Cleansing: An act of purification, or of banishing impurities and unwanted energies.

Clockwise: The traditional form of movement in positive magic and in Wiccan Ritual. (If your facing a tree, move to your left and walk in a circle around it. That's Clockwise motion.) Also, known as Deosil movement.

Combustible Incense: Self burning incense containing potassium nitrate; usually in cone block or stick form

Commune: Not to be confused with channeling, this is the ability to communicate with spirits or the Divine without opening yourself to them. In this instance, the person with a gift for communing might act like a long distance operator recounting information.

Component: In spells, this is some type of verbal prologue, physical gesture, or a material element used to help focus the Magickal energy.(2) An ingredient for making magick. Each component in a ritual or spell is carefully chosen for its symbolic, metaphysical value to the overall working.

Cone of Power: The collective psychic charge built up by a coven at work, visualized as a cone whose base is the circle of witches and whose apex is above the center of that circle. 2The energy raised during Magick is imaged as a cone, which at its peak is released toward a specific goal. 3An energy field composed of the electromagnetic energies of the practitioners creating in. It is typically envisioned as a cone shape rising in the middle of the ritual circle. 4Refers to energy raised during a ritual, usually enhanced by chanting, drumming, or dancing.

Conscious Mind: The analytical, materially - based, rational half of the consciousness. The mind at work when we compute our taxes, theorize or struggle with ideas. Compare with psychic mind.

Consecration:To bless or sanctify an object, person or area. Consecration is usually done for Magickal tools, the ritual space, the altar, and sometimes for individuals on special occasions, in order to be certain all negative influences are removed. ² The act of conferring sanctity. In Wicca, tools used in religions and Magickal rites are consecrated with Energy during specific rituals.

Construct: A magickal means and/or method. Constructs are the main focus through which the magick is created and directed.

Copal: Aromatic tree resin, similar to amber.

Cord: The Witch's cord is also called a girdle or cingulum; in many traditions the color signifies the Witch's degree. However the cord can also be used in knot Magick and in binding and loosing spells. 2A long, flexible material like a string or rope. Used as a tool in Magickal acts such as binding, or knotting to focus intent. Also, used in specified colors to denote a particular degree or rank. 3Usually nine feet long, either red, blue, or white; symbolizes the connection of the witch to the goddess.

Correspondences: A system of symbolic equivalents used in Magick. For example, a red candle may correspond to the element of Fire, which in turn corresponds to energy and will.

Corn Dolly: A figure, often human-shaped, created by plaiting dried wheat or other grains. It represented the fertility of the Earth and the Goddess in European agricultural rituals and is still used in Wicca. Corn dollies aren't made from cobs or husks; corn originally referred to any grain other than maize and still does in most English-speaking countries except the United States.

Cosmic Consciousness: A very high state of awareness in which the subject is part of nonphysical, divine energies.

Coven:See Circle. ²A group of Wiccans usually initiatory and led by one or two leaders, that gathers together, for religious and Magickal workings. Most covens operate within a specific Wiccan Tradition. ³An organized group of witches, meeting and working regularly together. (4) A group of Witches who gather regularly to celebrate their faith and work Magick. Covens range in size from three to twenty or more, though most covens limit their size to thirteen or fewer. Covens are self-governing and vary widely in their styles and interests. Some covens are affiliated with a particular tradition (denomination) of the Craft, while others are eclectic.

Covenstead: A coven's normal place or meeting. Or a collective group of covens that join under a single Coven.

Cowan: Anyone who is not a Witch.

Craft, The: Short for Witchcraft. A term that summarizes the practice of Wicca. The term Wicca originally meant the Wise Craft, shortened today to simply "The Craft" in Magickal jargon. It is in no way associated with Satanism, as is often the misconception. ²Wicca, Witchcraft, Folk Magick. ³The witches' name for the religion and practice of witchcraft, and its followers. (4) Another name for Wicca or Witchcraft, not to be confused with the Masonic "craft."

Crone: The aspect of the Threefold Goddess that represents maturity of wisdom. Also, used as a title of great respect for an elder woman.

Cunning Folk: An old name for wise people, village seers, and witches.

Cup, Chalice: One of the four elemental tools, representing the Water element.

Curse: A conscious direction of negative energy toward a person, place or thing.

Cycles (life, death, rebirth): In Wicca and Paganism, there is a belief that all life follows the specific cycles manifested in nature: birth, life, death, and rebirth. On a less grand scale, these cycles can take on a more personal nature, through circumstances which help us grow and learn, thus helping us to leave the old behind, and find new beginnings.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z