Groups of Witches and Witchy Terms The Different Groups Of Witches & Witchy Terms
Witchy Terms
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Different Witch Groups
Alexandrian Originated in England in the 1960's, founded by Alex Sanders. The rituals are said to be of Gardnarian basis. Alex Sanders referred to himself as the "King" of his Wiccans. Although similar to Gardnerian Wicca, Alexandrian Wicca tends to be more eclectic and liberal. Alexandrian Wicca has made some of Gardnerian's strict rules, such as the requirement of ritual nudity, optional.
British Traditional Witch This is a mix of Celtic and Gardenarian beliefs. These traditionalists move mostly within the Farrar studies and are fairly structured by their beliefs. They train through a degree-structured process. The International Red Garters is the most famous organization at this time. Often includes druids.
Celtic The Celtic tradition is based on the practices of the pre-Christian Celtic world. This includes Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Gaul. There is also a significant amount of Druid practice used in this tradition. It shares a lot with the Teutonic tradition, including the use of runes. This traditional is extremely earth based and strong in the religious aspects of the Craft. Many aspects of Christianity were drawn from the Celtic pagans, such as Cerridwyn's cauldron translating into the Holy Grail, and the goddess Brigit becoming Saint Bride.
Ceremonial Less religion, more emphasis on the art and science of magick. Rituals are generally complex and practices lean towards the secretive, hidden side of magick. Not geared towards the solitary practitioner, but can easily be adapted for those who choose to work alone. Not necessarily a wiccan-only tradition, though there are many ceremonial witches.
Dianic Tradition from Western Europe, tracked back to Margaret Murray in 1921. This tradition has been pegged as the "feminist" movement of the Craft. It is a mix of many traditions, but its focus is on the goddess, especially Diana. (Diana is a reference often crossed during study of Greek/Roman mythology.)
* Eclectic * An eclectic Wiccan doesn't follow any strict traditional guidelines, but instead, practices the beliefs that suit them best. They mix traditions to find their most fitting stance on their religion, using the magick that is most practical for their lifestyle and studying the parts of the religion they consider being essential. This is mostly of modern origin, previously most Wiccan traditions had more restricting boundaries; the eclectic tradition marks witchcraft's expansion into a patchwork quilt of various beliefs and theories.
* Faerie Wicca * Also referred to as fae, fey, faery, fairy, fairie... tradition based on faery lore and beliefs. Consists of a mixture of "green" Wicca, Celtic and Druidic practices, and modern witchcraft.
Gardnerian Gardnerian is the tradition founded by Gerald Gardner. He was one of the firsts to go public with information about the Craft, modern Wicca has mostly been derived from his books. Gardner's inspiration was drawn from many sources, including 'Aradia, Gospel of the Witches', where strands of the Gardnerian tradition such as required ritual nudity can be found. This is an extremely traditional path with a hierarchical grade structure. These individuals are very secretive and take oaths upon initiation. Although there are a number of Gardnerian Covens active in the US, they are difficult to locate and once located are not easy to join. This tradition does not lend itself well to solitary practice, but some aspects of it do. It therefore deserves study by solitary practitioners, especially eclectics.
Hereditary This is a person that can trace the Craft back on their family tree and was also taught the craft by a living relative. ("My mother's grandmother's sister's cousin was a Wiccan" doesn't count.) Because of the youth of modern Wicca, this really only applies to practitioners of witchcraft and not necessarily Wicca.
* Kitchen Witch * This type is one that practices by home and hearth concentrating on the practical side of religion, magick and the earth and elements. A more convenient form of practice for those who have limited space and resource, mainly suburban and city witches. This focuses on practicality, the use of magick in the home and in the workplace, and convenient ritual writing that includes readily available "ingredients" on short time and a tight budget.
Pictish : Pictish is Scottish witchcraft with a strong connection to nature in all of its forms. The practice is actually mostly Magickal with little emphasis on the religious aspect. This is practiced as a solitary tradition.
Pow-wow This is a system, not a religion, based on 400 year old German Magick. In this day and time it has lost much of its concentrations and is basically now into simple faith healing.
Seax-Wica (Or Saxon-Wicca) Founded in 1973, by Raymond Buckland. Raymond Buckland authored this tradition without breaking his original Gardnerian oath. His contributions to the Craft is of great significance and many popular books today are of his authorship.
* Shamanism * Beliefs are connected to contact with the spirit world. Through communication with the spirits, the Shaman can work acts of healing, divination and magic - revealing by way of vision, poetry and myth the deeper reaches of the human spirit.
* Solitary * Individuals preferring to work in private rather than within the confines of a group setting. Wicca works well with this sort of practice. Solitaries can pick any number of traditions that fit well into this sort of practice. Can be as fulfilling as working in a group setting.
Strega This tradition began around 1353 in Italy, with a woman called Aradia. Leland's book "Aradia, Gospel of the Witches" is the most veritable literary remainder of the original tradition. The teachings are insightful and should not be missed, for those who practice solitary or in covens, especially if you are interested in studying all traditions.
Teutonic/Nordic This is from ancient time, the Teutons have been recognized as a group who speak the Germanic group of languages. The languages include the English, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Norse practitioners are often Astruar that is, followers of Asatru. Many worship similar to their Norse predecessors, following Scandinavian and Germanic deities such as Odin and using divination methods like the runes.



Witchy Terms


Akasha: The fifth element, the omnipresent spiritual power that permeates the universe. It is the energy out of which the Elements formed.

Amulet: A magickally charged object that deflects specific, usually negative energies. Generally, a protective object.

Ankh: An Egyptian hieroglyphic that is widely used as a symbol for life, love, and reincarnation. It is depicted as a cross with a looped top. When worn or carried, the ankh brings good health, promotes fertility, and strengthens the psychic powers.

Asperger: A bundle of fresh herbs or a perforated object used to sprinkle water during or preceding ritual, for purificatory purposes.

Athame: "ah-THAW-may". A Wiccan ritual knife. It usually has a double-edged blade and a dark handle. The athame is used to direct personal power during ritual workings.

Balefire: A fire lit for magickal purposes, usually outdoors. Balefires are traditional on Yule, Beltane and Midsummer.

Bane: That which destroys life, which is poisonous, destructive, evil, dangerous.

Beltane: A Wiccan festival celebrated on April 30th or May 1st. Baltane is also known as May Eve, Roodmas. Beltane celebrates the symbolic union, mating or marriage of the Goddess and God, and links in with the approaching summer months.

Besom: Broom

Bolline: The white-handled knife, used in magick and Wiccan ritual for practical purposes such as cutting herbs.

Book of Shadows: A Wiccan book of rituals, spells and magickal lore. Once hand copied upon initiation, the BOS is now photocopied or typed in some covens. No one "true" BOS exists; all are relevant to their respective users.

Censer: A heatproof container in which incense is smoldered. An incense burner. It symbolized the Element of Air.

Charge, To: To infuse an object with personal power. "Charging" is an act of Magick.

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

Coven: A group of Wiccans, usually initiatory and led by one or two leaders.

Craft, The: Wicca. Witchcraft. Folk magick.

Deosil: Clockwise, the direction of the Sun's apparent motion in the sky.

Divination: The magickal art of discovering the unknown by interpreting random patterns or symbols through the use of tools such as clouds, tarot cards, flames, and smoke. Divination contacts the psychic mind by tricking or drowsing the conscious mind through ritual and observation or of manipulation of tools. Divination isn't necessary for those who can easily attain communication with the psychic mind, though they may practice it.

Divine Power: The unmanifested, pure energy that exists within the Goddess and God. The life force, the ultimate source of all things.

Earth Power: That energy which exists within stones, herbs, flames, wind and other natural objects. It is manifested divine power and can be utilized during magick to create needed change.

Elements, The: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. These four essences are the building blocks of the universe. Everything that exists (or that has potential to exist) contains one or more of these energies. The elements hum within us and are also "at large" in the world. They can be utilized to cause change through magick. The four elements formed from the primal essence of power- Akasha.

Esbat: A Wiccan ritual, usually occurring on the Full Moon.

Evocation: Calling up spirits or other non-physical entities, either to visible appearance or invisible attendance.

Grimoire: A magickal workbook containing ritual information, formulae, magickal properties of natural objects and preparation of ritual equipment.

Handfasting: A Wiccan, Pagan or Gypsy wedding.

Imbolc: A Wiccan festival celebrated on February 2nd, also known as Candlemas, Feast of Pan and many other names. Imbolc celebrates the first stirrings of spring and recovery of the Goddess from giving birth to the Sun (the God) at Yule.

Initiation: A process whereby an individual is introduced or admitted into a group, interest, skill or religion. Initiations may be ritual occasions but can also occur spontaneously.

Invocation: An appeal or petition to a higher power (or powers), such as the Goddess and God. A prayer. Invocation is actually a method of establishing conscious ties with those aspects of the Goddess and God that dwell within us. In essence, then, we seemingly cause them to appear or make themselves known by becoming aware of them.

Kahuna: A practitioner of the old Hawaiian philosophical, scientific and magickal system.

Labrys: A double-headed axe that symbolized the Goddess in ancient Crete, still used by some Wiccans for this same purpose. The labrys may be placed on or leaned against the left side of the altar.

Lughnasadh: A Wiccan festival celebrated on August 1st, also known as August Eve, Lammas. Lughnasadh marks the first harvest, when the fruits of the Earth are cut and stored for the dark winter months, when the God also mysteriously weakens as the days grow shorter.

Mabon: On or around September 21st, the autumn equinox, Wiccans celebrate the second harvest. Nature is preparing for winter. Mabon is a vestige of ancient harvest festivals which, in some form or another, were once nearly universal among peoples of the Earth.

Magick: The movement of natural energies to create needed change. Energy exists within all things- ourselves, plants, stones, colors, sounds, movements. Magick is the process of rousing or building up this energy, giving it purpose, and releasing it. Magick is a natural, not supernatural, practice, though it is little understood.

Magick Circle, The: A sphere constructed of personal power in which Wiccan rituals are usually enacted. The term refers to the circle that marks the sphere's penetration of the ground, for it extends both above and below it. It is created through visualization and magick.

Meditation: Reflection, contemplation, turning inward toward the self or outward toward Deity or nature. A quiet time in which the practitioner may dwell upon particular thoughts or symbols, or allow them to come unbidden.

Megalith: A huge stone monument or structure. Stonehedge is perhaps the best-known example of megalithic construction.

Menhir: A standing stone probably lifted by early peoples for religious, spiritual or magickal reasons.

Midsummer: The summer solstice, usually on or near June 21st, one of the Wiccan festivals and an excellent night for magick. Midsummer marks the point of the year when the Sun is symbolically at the height of its powers, and so too the God. The longest day of the year.

Mighty Ones, The: Being, deities or presence's often invoked during Wiccan ceremony to witness or guard the rituals. The Mighty Ones are thought to be either spiritually evolved beings, once human, or spiritual entities created by or charged by the Goddess and God to protect the Earth and to watch over the four directions. They are sometimes linked with the Elements.

Neo-Pagan: Literally, new Pagan. A member, follower or sympathizer of one of the newly formed Pagan religions now spreads throughout the world. All Wiccans are Pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan.

Old Ones, The: A Wiccan term often used to encompass all aspects of the Goddess and God. Some Wiccans view it as an alternative of The Mighty Ones.

Ostara: Occurring at the spring equinox, around March 21st, Ostara marks the beginning of true, astronomical spring, when snow and ice make way for green. As such, it is a fire and fertility festival, celebrating the return of the Sun, and God and the fertility of the Earth (the Goddess).

Pagan: From the Latin paganus, country-dweller. Today used as a general term for 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.

Pendulum: A divinatory device 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, and the elbow steadied against a flat surface, and a question is 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 movement; use those that work best for you.) It is a tool which contacts the psychic mind.

Pentacle: A ritual object (usually a circular piece of wood, metal, clay, etc.) upon which a five-pointed star (Pentagram) is inscribed, painted or engraved. It represents the Element of Earth. The words "pentagram" and "pentacle" are not interchangeable, though they understandably cause some confusion.

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 a movement of personal power for a specific goal.

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, and psychic mind/conscious mind. Universal balance.

Projective Hand, The: The hand that is normally used for manual activities such as writing, peeling apples and dialing telephones is symbolically thought to be the 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 wands are held. Ambidextrous persons simply choose which hand to utilize for this purpose.

Psychic Mind: The subconscious or unconscious mind, in which we receive psychic impulses. The psychic mind is at work when we sleep, dream and meditate. It is our direct link with the Goddess and God and with the larger, non-physical world around up. Other related terms: Divination is a ritual process that utilizes the Conscious Mind to contact the psychic mind. Intuition is a term used to describe psychic information which unexpectedly reaches the conscious mind.

Psychism: The act of being consciously psychic, in which the psychic mind and conscious mind are linked and working in harmony. Ritual consciousness is a form of psychism.

Receptive Hand: The left hand in right-handed persons, the reverse for left-handed persons. This is the hand through which energy is received into the body.

Reincarnation: The doctrine of rebirth. The process of repeated incarnations in human form to allow evolution of the sexless, ageless soul.

Ritual: Ceremony. A specific form of movement, manipulation of objects or inner processes designed to produce desired effects. In religion, ritual is geared toward union with the divine. In magick it produces a specific state of consciousness which allows the magician to move energy toward needed goals. A spell is a magickal ritual.

Ritual Consciousness: A specific, alternate state of awareness necessary to the successful practice of magick. The magician achieves this through the use of visualization and ritual. It denotes a state in which the conscious mind and psychic mind are attuned, in which the magician senses energies, gives them purpose and released them toward the magickal goal. It is a heightening of the senses, an awareness-expansion of the seemingly non-physical world, a linking with nature and with for forces behind all conceptions of Deity.

Runes: Stick-like figures, some of which are remnants of the old Teutonic alphabets. Others are pictographs. These symbols are once again widely being used in magick and divination.

Sabbat: A Wiccan festival. See Beltane, Imbolc, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Midsummer, Ostara, Samhain and Yule for specific descriptions.

Samhain: A Wiccan festival celebrated on October 31st, also known as November Eve, Hallowmas, Halloween, Feast of Souls. Samhain marks the symbolic death of the Sun God and His passing into the "land of the young," where He awaits rebirth of the Mother Goddess at Yule. This Celtic word is pronounced by Wiccans as: SOW-wen; SEW-wen; SAHM-hain; SAHM-ain; SAV-een and other ways. The first seems to be the one preferred among most Wiccans.

Scry, To: To gaze at or into an object (a quartz crystal sphere, pool of water, reflection, a candle flame) to still the conscious mind and to contact the psychic mind. This allows the scryer to become aware of possible events prior to their actual occurrence, as well as of previous or distant, simultaneous events through other than the normally accepted senses. A form of divination.

Shaman: A man or woman who has obtained knowledge of the subtler dimensions of the Earth, usually through periods of alternate states of consciousness. Various types of ritual allow the shaman to pierce the veil of the physical world and to experience the realm of energies. This knowledge lends the shaman the power to change her or his world through magick.

Shamanism: The practice of shamans, usually ritualistic or magickal in nature, sometimes religious.

Simple Feast, The: A ritual meal shared with the Goddess and God.

Spell: A magickal ritual, usually non-religious in nature and often accompanied by spoken words.

Spirits of the Stones, The: The elemental energies naturally inherent at the four directions of the magick circle, personified within the standing stone tradition as the "Spirits of the Stones." They are linked with the Elements.

Talisman: An object, such as an amethyst crystal, ritually charged with power to attract a specific force or energy to its bearer.

Three Fold Law: The only karmic principal of Celtic Paganism. It states that energy by the witch or magician (or anyone else for that matter), either positive or negative, will return to the sender three times over.

Tradition, Wiccan: An organized, structured, specific Wiccan subgroup, usually initiatory, with often-unique ritual practices. Many traditions have their own book of shadows and may or may not recognize members of other traditions as Wiccan. Most traditions are composed of a number of covens as well as solitary practitioners.

Trilithon: A stone arch made from two upright slabs with one lying atop these. Trilithons are featured in Stonehedge as well as the circle visualization in The Standing Stones Book of Shadows.

Visualization: The process of forming mental images. Magical visualization consists of forming images of needed goals during ritual. Visualization is also used to direct personal power and natural energies during magick for various purposes, including charging and forming the magick circle. It is a function of the conscious mind.

White-Handled Knife: A normal cutting knife, with a sharp blade and white handle. It is used within Wicca to cut herbs and fruits, to slice bread during the simple feast and for other functions. Sometimes called the bolline.

Wicca: A contemporary Pagan religion with spiritual roots in Shamanism and the earliest expressions of reverence of nature. Among its major motifs are: reverence for the Goddess and God; reincarnation; magick; ritual observances of the Full Moon, astronomical and agricultural phenomena; spheroid temples, created with personal power, in which rituals occur.

Widdershins: Anti-clockwise motion, usually used in the Northern Hemisphere for negative magickal purposes or for dispersing negative energies or conditions such as disease.

Witch: Anciently, a European practitioner of the remnants of pre-Christian folk magick, particularly that relating to herbs, healing, wells, rivers and stones. One who practiced Witchcraft. Later, this term's meaning was deliberately altered to denote demented, dangerous, supernatural beings who practiced destructive magick and who threatened Christianity. This change was a political, monetary and sexist move on the part of organized religion, not a change in the practices of Witches. This later, erroneous meaning is still accepted by many non-Witches. It is also used by some members of Wicca to describe themselves.

Witchcraft: The craft of the Witch-magick, especially magick utilizing personal power in conjunction with the energies within stones, herbs, colors and other natural objects. While this may have spiritual overtones, Witchcraft, using this definition, isn't a religion. However, some followers of Wicca use this word to denote their religion.

Yule: Wiccan festivals celebrate on or about December 21st, marking the rebirth of the Sun God from the Earth Goddess. A time of joy and celebration during the miseries of winter. Yule occurs on the winter solstice.




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