The Dictionary of Wiccan Terms


Pagan: When the early Church came on the scene, the popularity of Pagan traditions proved to be a real problem. Saint's days replaced Pagan holidays in an attempt to displace the old gods and portray them as evil spirits. Similarly, magick wells and trees became Gospel Oaks and Holy Springs. Today, Pagans usually follow a myriad fo Divine images or believe that there are many faces and facets to the same God/dess. Their worship is diversified, often being based in nature.˛ From the Latin paganus, country-dweller.. Today used as a general term for the followers of Wicca and other magickal, shamanistic and polytheistic religions. Naturally, Christians have their own peculiar definition of this word. It can be interchanged with Neo-Pagan. łA follower of any nature-based religion, especially those with European roots, such as Wicca, Druidism, and Asatru. From the Latin paganus or 'country-dweller', a member of the community or resident of the district.(4) A member of one portion of the magickal community with polytheistic overtones and a strong emphasis on living in harmony with nature.

Pantheism: A doctrine that identifies Deity with the universe and its phenomena; or the worship of all gods. Many Witches consider the God/dess and the universe to be identical, and all gods to be valid facets or aspects of Deity.

Pen of Art: A pen especially for magickal work or recording information in one's Book of Shadows; some witches use a quill pen, while others prefer a ballpoint or a computer keyboard.

Pendulum: A tool of Divination consisting of a string attached to a heavy object, such as a quartz crystal, root or ring. The free end of the string is held in the hand, the elbow steadied against a flat surface, and a question asked. The movement of the heavy object's swing determines the answer. A rotation indicates yes or positive energy. A back and forth swing signals the opposite. (There are many methods of deciphering the pendulum's movements; use those that work best for you). This is a tool the contacts the psychic mind ˛A divinatory tool consisting of a small weight on a tread or a fine chain. It can be made of crystal, stone, wood, or other materials. Its uses is called radiesthesia or dowsing.(3) A type of divinatory system in which an object is suspended by string and its movements observed for interpretive values.

Pentacle/Pentagram: A primary symbol of Wicca. Represents the four elements and the fifth element of Spirit, or Minds, through which humanity transcends the four elements. Usually depicted as a continuously drawn five-pointed star within a circle, although it is sometimes not enclosed within a circle, and indeed Wiccans are likely to favor any five-pointed star motif in jewelry, decor, etc. , as a representative of the pentacle. A Wiccan altar usually includes a pentacle as a central tool, and pentagrams are drawn in the air during acts of evocation, invocation, and banishing. 2Also known as the Seal of Solomon, it was originally a symbol of health and life. It was probably derived from the pentagram shape which appears when you cut an apple core in half. Later, it became known as the Witch's cross and is believed to represent all four elements, (the fifth point being the self). 3(or pentacle) A five pointed star drawn with five continuous strokes used as a sacred or magickal symbol. 4A ritual object (usually a circular piece of wood, metal, clay, etc.) upon which a five-pointed star (Pentagram) is inscribed, painted on or engraved. It represents the element of Earth. The words "pentagram" and "pentacle" are not interchangeable, though they understandably cause some confusion. 5Pentagram enclosed in a circle. Magic tool representing the elemental earth. Often made of wood, clay or metal.

Pentacle: One of the four elemental tools; and engraved disc representing the Earth's Element. It is normally the centerpiece of a Wiccan altar. 2A disc or metal, ceramic, or wood with a pentagram and other symbols inscribed on it. It is a symbol of the element Earth, and sometimes salt or cakes are placed on it. 3Pentagram enclosed in a circle. Magic tool representing elemental earth. Often made of wood, clay, or metal.

Pentagram:A five-pointed star. An upright pentagram (i.e., with a single point uppermost) represents (1) a human being (astride with arms outstretched) or (2) the four Elements (q.v) governed by the fifth, Spirit. An inverted pentagram (i.e., with a single point downwards) represents Spirit still subservient to the four Elements; it is generally seen as a black magick symbol, except when it is used as the symbol of a second-degree initiate, the implication there being that he or she is still on the way to full development. ˛ A starlike, five-pointed figure of very ancient origin, used magickally for blessing, protection, and balance. The five points stand for Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. Witches often wear a silver pentagram encircled with one point up to symbolize Spirit guiding and balancing the elements. Also called Pentalpha, the 'endless knot', and other names.

Perfect Love and Perfect Trust: A Wiccan ideal; we begin by working to create them within the coven, and expand from there.

Persona: The 'comforting cloak' of the Ego (q.v); the self-image which the Ego builds up to reassure itself and to present to the world.

Personality: See Individuality.

Personal Power: That energy which sustains our bodies. It ultimately originates from the Goddess and God (or, rather, the power behind Them). We first absorb it from our biological mothers within the womb, and, later, from food, water, the Moon and Sun, and other natural objects. We release personal power during stress, exercise, sex, conception and childbirth. Magick is often movement of personal power for a specific goal.

Phoenix: Constellation visible from the Southern Hemisphere, which makes a rare appearance in the Northern Hemisphere at Samhain. Named for the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes once every 500 years.

Planchette: A form of the Ouija board.

Planes: The various levels of being and activity - Spiritual, Mental, Astral, Etheric and Physical.

Planetary Correspondence: The placement of planets and their astrological significance are sometimes used to create specific effects in magick. In this respect, a plant might be picked or a ritual might take place at a special time in order to help increase its effectiveness.

Platonism: The Philosophy of Plato, mainly the view asserting ideal forms as an absolute and eternal reality of which phenomena of the world are an imperfect and transitory reflection.

Plotinian: A form of Neoplatonism involving a more complex mystical overview. Basic to its tenets is the concept of the One Ultimate Principle from which emanates all others. Redemption of the soul through various levels of existence is another primary focus of this belief system.

Polarity: The concept of equal, opposite energies. The Eastern yin/yang is a perfect example. Yin is cold; Yang is hot. Other examples of polarity: Goddess/God, night/day, Moon/Sun, birth/death, dark/light, Psychic Mind/Conscious Mind. Universal balance. ˛The interaction of two differing polarity-energies can raise enormous amounts of magickal energy, and this insight is incorporated into most traditions of Wicca,as well as alchemy and other philosophies. The female-male polarity is most commonly discussed, but of course there are others as well; Fire/Water, Yin/Yang, Darkness/Light, and so on.

Poltergeist: Translated from two words meaning "uproar" and "ghost". These are mischievous and often unhappy spirits who make themselves known by noises or other means. 2 A "noisy ghost"; usually a manifestation of much uncontrolled energy, with knockings, hurled or transported objects, activity involving fire, water, etc. Frequently of human (usually incarnate human) origin, albeit caused unknowingly; sometimes with other activity also, attracted by the force.

Polytheism: A belief in many gods. Witches are polytheists to the extent that they believe in the aspects or facets of Deity. However, they could well be called dualists or monotheists. A saying popular among many Witches is, "All Goddess are one Goddess; All Gods are one God; Goddess and God are one."

Poppet: A small image of a person, perhaps made of cloth or plant life, which is used in a magickal act.

Postulant: See Neophyte.

Power:Energy drawn from natural sources, then concentrated and directed within a ritual for magickal purposes.

Power Bag: A Shaman's (See also) source of power; a container of cloth animal skin and so on in which quartz crystals, stones, drums, rattles, and other magickal objects are placed.

Power Pouch: A small bundle into which various tokens are placed to provide the bearer with specific types of energy.

Prâna: The vital force of the Cosmos as it operates on the Etheric level; it permeates this and other solar systems, and every living organism is charged with a concentration of it.(2) The Life Principle; the breath of life.

Pranic Energy: The energy that permeates everything. It is particularly useful in healing work as it revitalizes and re-energizes. From the Sanskrit word prana meaning "breath".

Prayer: The act of focusing one's attention on Deity and engaging in communication. In Wicca, prayer is directed to the Goddess and God (or sometimes, to one or the other).

Pre-Birth State:The dimension inhabited by human beings before birth.

Precession: The subtle shift of the direction of the Earth's axis among the stars.

Precognition: Psychic awareness of future events.

Priest/Priestess: Anyone who has been initiated into a Wiccan tradition. ˛Every initiated witch is regarded as a priest or priestess, the priest-function being seen as inherent in every human being who is prepared to activate it.

Priest: The American Heritage Dictionary defines "priest" as "a person having the authority to perform and administer religious rites." We could say that a Wiccan Priest is one who performs Wiccan religious rites at will, authority be damned. However, the definition of shaman .from the same dictionary also fits; one who "acts as a medium between the visible world and the invisible spirit world and who practices magick . . . for healing, divination, and control over natural events." A Wiccan Priest is also a spiritual teacher and counselor.

Priestess: The same dictionary defines "priestess" as "a woman who presides over especially pagan rites". Add the functions of a priest as defines above, and that seems accurate enough.

Projection: The psychological mechanism of subconsciously crediting (or discrediting) another person with qualities or shortcomings which are in fact elements of one's own psyche, so that one can confront them while avoiding the truth that one is really confronting oneself. (See also Astral Projection.

Projective Energy: That which is electrical, forward-moving, active. Projective energy is protective. See also Receptive Energy.

Projective Hand: In right-handed people, the right hand. In left-handed, the left. This is the hand through which magickal energy passes from the body. See also Receptive hand.˛ The hand that is normally used for manual activities such as writing, peeling apples and dialing telephones is symbolically thought to the be point at which personal power is sent from the body. In ritual, personal power, is visualized as streaming out from the palm or fingers of the hand for various magickal goals. This is also the hand in which tools such as the Athame and wand are held. Ambidextrous persons simply choose which hand to utilize for this purpose. Compare with Receptive Hand.

Psyche: The total non-physical make-up of a human being. 2The non-material part of a psycho-physical being.

Psychic: Someone who is apparently able to understand or use powers outside the normal range of physical law. These abilities are believed to be linked with the mind.

Psychic Attack: The supposed direction of negative energy toward another person to harm them; a "hex" or "curse". These are rare today, if not nonexistent. The direction of malevolent thoughts or feelings toward another person, whether consciously or unconsciously, that can create illness or disruption in that person's life.

Psychic Aura: The force-field which emanated from the astral body.

Psychic Awareness: The act of being consciously psychic, in which the Psychic Mind and the Conscious Mind are linked and working in harmony.

Psychic Mind: The subconscious, or deep conscious mind, in which we receive psychic impulses. The psychic mind is at work when we sleep, dream, meditate, employ divination, and experience intuition, or unbidden psychic awareness, as well as practice magick. It is our direct link with Nature and Deity, and with the larger, non-physical world around us. Other related terms: Divination is a ritual process which utilizes the Conscious Mind to contact the psychic mind. Intuition is a term used to describe psychic information which unexpectedly reaches the conscious mind.

Psychic Vampirism: A person's ability to draw or "feed off" the energy of others.

Psychic Gifts: Abilities such as clairvoyance, telepathy, and healing.

Psychism: The act of being consciously psychic, in which the psychic mind and the conscious mind are linked and working in harmony. Ritual consciousness is a form of psychism.(2) The natural ability (latent or otherwise) that all people have to "sense" things beyond the normal levels of awareness.

Psychometry: The psychic 'reading' of a material object, and its associations and history, by handling it.

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