The Dictionary of Wiccan Terms


Hallowe'en: See Samhain.

Halo: In art, a disc or circular area of brightness about the head of a divine or sacred person, representing the light from the highest center of activity.

Handfasting:The ritual commitment of two people to live together as lovers and domestic partners. This may or may not be a legal marriage. Sometimes the commitment is made as a sort of trial marriage, for "a year and a day", after which the arrangement can be reevaluated. ≤ A Wiccan, Pagan or Gypsy wedding. ≥Within Wicca, a ritual joining of two human beings in a bond of love, and before the Goddess and God.

Healing: The goal of a great deal of Magick, especially among healing-oriented spiritual traditions such as Wicca. Some alternative forms of healing in use among Witches include Chakra / Energy work, visualization, herbcraft, spirit journeys, and crystal healing. Many Witches are professionals in the fields of health and medicine.

Healing Crisis: A positive sign that symptoms will soon disappear, marked by a brief intensifying of those same symptoms.

Healing Magick: In early days, before the origins of disease were known, many turned to magickal cures to ease the mind, and hopefully the body. In all instances of healing, both Christian and magickal, touching or laying on the hands has been an important factor in imparting that blessing. Techniques included methods of attempting to transfer disease to an animal or other object. In some instances, these techniques seemed to work, which may be attributable to their psychological benefits. Today's methods include auric balancing, bio feedback, crystals, touch therapy, herbalism combined with magick, and many more.

Heathen: A non-Christian, from "one who dwells on the heath." See Pagan.

Herb: Virtually any plant used in Magick. Herbs are usually strongly scented and are prized for their specific energies. Includes trees, ferns, grasses, seaweeds, vegetables, fruits, and flowering plants.Wiccan pries/esses often use herbs in simples, extracts, oils, etc. for healing; and in amulets, talismans, and incenses.

Herbalism: The use of various plants to promote health or to make substances, such as creams, powder, deodorizers and other useful products. Modern science has shown that many of the old herbal techniques handed down to us from the middle ages and earlier do have value. Magickal herbalism combines the symbolism of the plant with the known attributes and uses them as components for spells and rituals. Older beliefs centered on the ideas of like curing like. For example a round, smooth onion was thought to be a magickal cure for baldness, and anything that had a bad smells could keep away evil spirits. Magical herbalism also uses planetary correspondences, special harvesting times, and astrology to aid the overall effectiveness of the outcome. ≤ The practice of cultivating, gathering and using plants for medicinal, cosmetic, ritual and culinary purposes. See Herb Magick.

Herb Magick: The practice of directing energies found within plants to create needed change. A branch of magick. Practitioners utilize personal power as well as other forms of energy, such as colors, candles, stones, sounds, gestures and movements.

Hereditaries: Witches who claim a continuous family tradition and practice of the Craft, from long before the current revival.

Hermetic: Hermetic texts date back to the early days of Christianity, and contain information on astrology, magick, and other intellectual pursuits. These writings had a considerable effect on European thought, to the point where the study of mysticism could be perceived as scholarly. Hermetic Orders ten to remain secluded in order to study. This symbolism is carried over into magick in many ways, not the least of which is the Hermit of the Tarot, who signals the need for retreat and introspection.(2) Ancient teachings based on the concepts and principles taught by Pythagoras, Plato, and Hermes Trismegistus. Texts originating from the Mystery cults of the Aegean/Mediterranean as well as from Persia and Chaldea.

Herne:A British God-name, the best-known manifestation of whom is Herne the Hunter, leader of the legendary Wild Hunt in Windsor Great Park. The name may derive from the same original as Cernunnos. (q.v.)

Hesychastes: Members of a mystic cult of the Eastern Church.

Hex: See Curse.

Hexagram: (1) A six-pointed star, formed by two interlaced equilateral triangles. It is generally called the Star of David in non-occult circles, but its use as an occult symbol is far older than its use as a badge of Judaism. It signifies the Hermetic principle of 'as above so below'. (See Macrocosm). (2) Any one of the six-line figures of the I Ching (q.v.).

Hexing: Practising witchcraft.

High Magick: As opposed to other forms of magick, this is a detailed, very ceremonial form, often based on Egyptian Traditions.

High Priest, High Priestess:A priest or priestess who is a leader of a Wiccan Circle. The High Priestess is usually the primary leader and the High Priest is her "working partner". The High Priestess or High Priest has usually reached a high status within the religion, passing several tests and receiving (usually) three initiations.

High Priest: In group Wicca, either one of two visible leaders of a Coven; a man who co-leads the rituals, or a man who has reached a certain level of proficiency, achievement or wisdom. The term usually denotes a man who has received not one but several initiations. ≤ (1) The male leader of a coven, partner of the High Priestess who is the overall leader. (2) Any second-degree or third-degree male witch. (The distinction is between a coven function and a personal rank.) ≥The primary male leader within a coven. Very often he is a third-degree initiate, who either helped found the coven, was chosen by the High Priestess, or was elected by the membership.

High Priestess:A highly experienced leader of a Coven; the woman who leads or co-leads the rituals, or a woman who has reached a certain level of Wiccan proficiency, achievement and wisdom. The term usually denotes a woman who has received not one but several initiations. ≤(1) The female leader (and overall leader) of a coven. (2) Any second-degree or third-degree female witch. (The distinction is between a coven function and a personal rank.) ≥The primary female leader within a coven. Very often she is a third-degree initiate who either founded the coven or was elected by the membership.

Higher Self: The belief that within each person there is a Divine spark, a highly spiritual being whom we can listen to for guidance, not unlike a conscience.

Hive: See spin-off. Hiving is a term alternately used for the same purpose.

Hiving Off: The process whereby two or more members leave their parent coven to form their own coven.

Holly King: In the folk lore or many parts of Europe, including the British Isles, the God of the Waning Year. At the Summer Solstice he 'slays' his twin the Oak King, God of the Waxing Year; and a the Winter Solstice the Oak King, God of the Waxing Year is revived to 'slay' the Holly King in turn. Oak King and Holly King are each other's 'other self', in an external cycle of death and rebirth.

Homeopathy: A system of healing, first practiced by the Greek physician Hippocrates c. 460-377 B.C.E., that stimulates the body's healing power by introducing minute, diluted amounts of a substance that can cause the symptoms of a particular illness or disease. German doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) was the modern founder of homeopathy.

Hourly Correspondence: In certain forms of magick, each hour has a significant effect on rituals and spell casting. This correspondence is often combined with those of the moon, sun and planets to augment the effect.

Hypnotic Commands: Unconscious programs instilled by an external source can "run" a person, causing them to act in automatic mode.

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