Monday, February 15, 2016

The A to Z Pagan Glossary


Are you new to the pagan world or confused by a word you read recently in a New Age book or on a pagan blog? This glossary is made up of a collection of popular words from the pagan world, and it's complete with short, simple definitions that you'll want to print, laminate, and stick in your BOS! Or you could just Pin It; whatever works!

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

A

  • Acolyte: one who attends or assists in a ritual, service, or procession.
  • Adept: a person who is skilled in magic, witchcraft, or mysticism.
  • Air: one of the four (or five) elements; element of the East; associated with intuition, learning, thought, and knowledge.
  • Alchemy: a branch of High Magic developed in the Middle Ages which sought to magically and/or chemically turn base metals into gold through the use of a Philosophers Stone; also known as transmutation.
  • Alexanderian: A traditions of Wicca descended from the teachings of Alex Sanders, the "King of Witches."
  • Altar: a flat surface used for religious, spiritual, and magical rituals, preferably of natural material.
  • Amulet: a magically charged object that deflects specific energies, usually negative, to protect the bearer.
  • Angel: a spiritual being who acts as a messenger between the Divine and physical realms.
  • Animal-Psi or Anpsi: psychic phenomena involving animals and humans.
  • Animism: the belief that the divine is within everything.
  • Anoint: to smear or rub with oil
  • Arcana: the two halves of a tarot deck; divided into Major and Minor; Major consists of 22 trumps while the minor consists of 56 suit cards.
  • Arcane: ancient or secret wisdom.
  • Archetype: universal images and symbols commonly used to represent deities in forms that we can understand. 
  • Asperger: a bundle of fresh herbs or a perforated object use to sprinkle water before, during, or after a ritual for purification purposes.
  • Astral Plane: an invisible world parallel to our own often used for travel.
  • Astral Projection: the process of separating your astral body from your physical one to travel in the astral plane.
  • Astrology: the study of the effects of the movements and placements of planets and other heavenly bodies on human lives and behaviors; a form of divination.
  • Athame: a ritual blade, usually double edged which a black handle; it is never used to cut anything in the physical realm.
  • Aura: life energy that surrounds all living things.
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B

  • Balefire: a traditional bonfire held on the sabbats, especially Beltane.
  • Banish: the magically send away or repel, especially negative energies or entities, from a person, home, or ritual area.
  • Bell: ritual tool used to invoke directional energies, ring in the sunrise on a sabbat, stir up energies, or frighten away faeries and harmful spirits.
  • Beltane: a fire festival falling on May 1st that celebrates fertility, fire, and abundance.
  • Besom: witch's broom often used to sweep away negative energies from a space, as a protection symbol, or as a guard to doors cut in a magical circle.
  • Bind: to magically restrain.
  • Black Magic: negative magical used to harm or manipulate someone, something, or a situation; sometimes referred to has the "left hand path."
  • Blessing: the use of magic to benefit an object or being.
  • Blood of the Moon: a woman's menstrual cycle which is also her most powerful time, especially if it occurs on or around the full moon or new moon.
  • Boline: a white handled knife used for practical purposes such as cutting herbs or inscribing candles.
  • Book of Shadows: a book of magical workings which sometimes includes spells, rituals, and magical lore; also know as a BOS. See grimoire.
  • Burning Times: a reference to a period during the Middle Ages when many witches and non-witches were executed by the church or by public officials for supposedly practicing witchcraft. Some estimates state as many as nine million people were killed while others offer more conservative numbers. By the end of the period, it became a favored means for officials, neighbors, and families to get rid of personal enemies or any unwanted person in the community, especially powerful women.
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C

  • Candlemas: another name for Imbolc; the first of the fire festivals falling on or around Feruary 1st to usher in spring.
  • Call: to invoke divine forces as in calling quarters.
  • Cardinal Points/Directions: North, South, East, and West.
  • Cartomancy: divination through the use of cards. See tarot cards.
  • Cauldron: a three-legged post, often of cast iron, used to cook potions, for scrying, and as a censure; symbolizes rebirth and the Goddess.
  • Censor: a heat-proof container used to burn incense; associated with element Air.
  • Ceremonial Magic: school or method of magical that places emphasis on long, complex rituals; often referred to as ritualism.
  • Chakras: the seven psychic centers of power associated with different parts of the body in the Tantric system of anatomy; often associated with a color.
  • Chalice: a cup used in rituals to represent water and the feminine principals of creation.
  • Channeling: a New Age word for mediumship; involved allowing a spirit or entity to speak through the individual.
  • Charge, To: to infuse an object with personal power.
  • Charm: an object that has been charged with power for a specific task by saying an incantation over it.
  • Circle: a sacred place in which a ritual or magical workings takes place; also used to describe a group of witches or Pagans who work together in an informal way.
  • Clairvoyance: the faculty of perceiving things and/or events in the future.
  • Cleansing: the process of removing negative or unwanted energies from an object, person, or place; can be accomplished through a variety of means such as burning sage or sweeping with a besom.
  • Cone of Power: psychic energy raised and focused by an individual or group mind to perform a specific task or to achieve a purpose. 
  • Consecration: the act of cleansing, blessing, and charging an object or place with positive energy. 
  • Correspondences: sets of ideas, concepts, and beliefs about objects, sabbats, plants, animals, or colors.
  • Coven: a group of thirteen or fewer witches who work together in an organized fashion to perform magical workings and religious ceremonies.
  • Covenstead: the place a coven meets.
  • Craft, The: a old term used by Freemasons to refer to their activities and beliefs; currently used by Neo-Pagans and modern Witches to refer to their activities and beliefs. See witchcraft.
  • Crone: aspect of the Goddess represented by an old woman; associated with wisdom, waning moon, crow, black, Mabon, and Samhain.
  • Crystal: stones associated with various properties used to enhance magical workings. See gemstones.
  • Cult: a system of religious devotion toward a particular figure or object; often used negatively.
  • Curse: magical spell to harm an object or being.
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D

  • Daemon: a spirit or being below the Gods in power.
  • Dagger: ritual knife used to sever psychic bonds, cursing, initiating, and exorcising.
  • Damping: lowering the power level of psychic energy fields.
  • Dedication: a ritual in which a witch dedicates his- or herself to the craft and vows to study and learn all that is necessary to reach adeptship. 
  • Deity: a god or goddess.
  • Demon: a personification of evil; an entity of an evil and destructive nature.
  • Demonology: Medieval science of studying demons.
  • Deosil: clockwise direction; symbolic of life and positive energy and magic. Pronounces jostle.
  • Divination: the magical art of using tools and symbols to find hidden information about the past, present, or future; often uses psychic talents. See runes and tarot cards.
  • Dowsing: a technique of using a rod or pendulum to find underground water, minerals, or anything invisible; can be used to magically find a person, place, thing of element.
  • Drawing Down The Moon: a ritual performed during the full moon to empower oneself with the moon's essence.
  • Drawing Down The Sun: a lesser-known and lesser-used ritual performed to empower oneself with the sun's essence.
  • Druid: a person who practices druidism; derives from drui which means "oak" and "solid and true;" modern day druids follow ancient and contemporary wisdom; have a reverence for nature, especially oak trees, knowledge of astrology and divination, shamanic journeying, and healing.
  • Dualism: a religious doctrine stating all spiritual forces are split in two.
  • Duotheism: style of religion in which there are two deities, usually of opposite gender.
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E

  • Earth: one of the five (or six) elements associated with stability, wisdom, knowledge, strength, growth, prosperity, and North.
  • Earthing: connecting with the Earth's natural energy, usually through the feet. See grounding.
  • Earth Magic: a form of magic which draws on the powers of the Earth.
  • Earth-Mother: female personification of the life force of the Earth. See Gaia.
  • Eclectic Witch: an all-purpose term applied to Wiccan and witchcraft traditions that don't fit into any specific category; usually pull from a variety of traditions, making the craft their own.
  • Elementals: personification of the elements. See gnome, undine, sylph, and salamander.
  • Elements, The: earth, air, water, fire, and spirit.
  • Empath: a person with the ability of apprehend the mental and emotional state of another individual.
  • Enchantment: the state of being under a spell.
  • Entity: a being, spirit, or living creature or its personification.
  • Ethics: a part of philosophy dealing with matters of "right" vs "wrong."
  • Esbat: a ritual performed on the full or new moon.
  • Evocation: to call something out from within.
  • Exorcism: severing an unwanted psychic connection within an object, person, or place; dismissal of an unwanted spirit, demon, or ghost.
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F

  • Fairy or Faerie: a small being of human form with magical powers; may be invisible or visible.
  • Faerie Burgh: a mound of earth that covers a faerie colony's home.
  • Familiar: an animal that has a spiritual bond with a witch; may be on physical or astral plane.
  • Fates: the three goddesses who preside over the birth, life, and death of humans.
  • Fire: one of the five (or six) elements associated with the west, creativity, destruction, and power.
  • Folk Magic: the magical practice of projecting person power and energies into natural objects to bring about desired changes.
  • Folklore: traditional sayings, stories, faerie tales, or cures with a particular locale.
  • Folktale: a story handed down among a people.
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G

  • Gaia/Gaea: the personification of Mother Earth. See Earth Mother.
  • Gemstone: stones associated with various properties used to enhance magical workings. See crystal.
  • Ghost: spirit of a dead animal or person existing in a nonphysical manner.
  • God/Goddess: masculine/feminine aspect of a deity.
  • Gnome: an earth elemental; correspond with the direction North; insure the stability of Earth and offer a rooting or grounding quality when called upon. See earth.
  • Green Man: another name for the God; often represented as a face surrounded by or made of leaves; associated with fertility.
  • Green Witch: nature-based and earth-oriented form of witchcraft which draws on folklore, folk religion and folk magic.
  • Grey Magic: magic that is neither black nor white; morally neutral; not performed for specific beneficial or hostile reasons.
  • Grimoire: a compilation of spells, ritual information, formulae, correspondences, history, and all other magical information; does not contain journal entries or outlines of magical workings.
  • Grounding: the process of centering one's self with the Earth before and after magical workings, rituals, or astral experiences.
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H

  • Hag Stone: stones containing a naturally occurring hole; believed to provide protection against diseases and evil.
  • Handfasting: a Pagan wedding.
  • Hearth: a fire place and the surrounding area; symbol of one's home.
  • Hearth Witch: a witch who performs magic in and around the home, usually centered around the hearth and kitchen; often healers.
  • Heathenism: a Pagan religion focused on Germanic beliefs, usually Norse, with the basic premise that everything spiritual is also practical.
  • Hedge Witch: a form of earth-based witchcraft that is shamanistic in nature; the main function for a hedge witch is to be a mediator between the spirits and people; commonly referred to as wise man or wise woman; often healers.
  • Herbalism: the study and use of plants for medicinal and magical purposes.
  • Horned God: one personification of the God; not to be confused with Satan or the Devil. see god.
  • Horoscope: a forecast of a person's future and their character based on the relative positions of the planets and stars at the time of the person's birth.
  • Hypnosis: an altered state of consciousness where one's bodily and sensory control, suggestibility, and the ability to concentrate are increased. See mesmerism.
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I

  • Imbolc: the first of the fire festivals using sympathetic magic to usher in spring. See Candlemas.
  • Incantation: words used during a ritual or spell that are chanted or sung.
  • Incense: ritual burning of herbs or oil during magical workings or rituals to better help the witch(es) attune with the goal of the working.
  • Initiation: the process of being introduced and admitted into a coven; usually done as a ritual.
  • Invocation/Invoke: summoning of a deity or supernatural force, usually in ritual form; to call energies into one's self.
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J

  • Jew-itch: a term coined by some pagans of Jewish descent who are seeking the pagan roots of Judaism.
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K

  • Karma: the belief that one's thoughts and deeds are counted for or against them or added to their spiritual path across multiple life times. See Threefold Law.
  • Kitchen (Cottage) Witch: a witch working in or around the home to bring peace and harmony to them and their families; usually healers; focus on magical workings in the kitchen, especially regarding food. See Hearth Witch.
  • Kettle: a vessel used for boiling liquids or cooking food.
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L

  • Lady: another name for the Goddess. See Goddess.
  • Lammas: the first of the three harvest festivals falling on August 1st; a celebration of the harvesting of grains; fresh bread is baked and blessed from the first harvest of wheat. See Lughnasadh.
  • Litha: a festival held on Midsummer when the sun is strongest; honors the Sun, strength, and vitality. See Midsummer.
  • Lord: another name for the God. See God.
  • Lughnasadh: See Lammas
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M

  • Mabon: a mid-harvest festival honoring the changing seasons and the second harvest; often referred to the pagan "Thanksgiving."
  • Mage: a general term for anyone performing magic. See magus.
  • Magi: Zoroastrian priests; powerful magicians.
  • Magic(k): the projection of energies to bring about a change using focused will and emotion.
  • Magic Circle: a sphere constructed of personal power around a witch or coven in which magical workings are performed; protects the witch(es) from outside forces.
  • Magician: general term for someone performing magic.
  • Magos: the Greek word for "magi."
  • Magus: singular form of "magi."
  • Maiden: the first aspect of the Triple Goddess; symbolizes new beginnings and creation.
  • Mantra: sounds used for as an associational device or to induce trance.
  • May Pole: a phallus symbol of Beltane; often danced around on Beltane.
  • Meditation: a mental exercise such as  reflection or contemplation for the purpose of reaching a heightened spiritual awareness.
  • Medium: a psychic who is able to communicate with various spirits.
  • Mesmerism: a form of telepathic interaction which consists of suggestions backed by the insistent power of the sender; Charles Dickens was also famous for practicing mesmerism.
  • Mesopaganism or Meso-Paganism: a general term for a moment that started as a way to revive what their founders believed to be the best aspects of ancient pagan ways.
  • Midsummer: see Litha.
  • Monotheism: a style of religion following only one deity.
  • Mother: the second aspect of the Triple Goddess which symbolizes motherhood and fertility.
  • Mundane: worldly, ordinary, common, or simple; often refers to the physical plane.
  • Mystic: one who practices mysticism.
  • Mysticism: the belief that one can directly connect with a deity or truth through meditation and intuition.
  • Myth: lore about any land or peoples that makes up their mythology.
  • Mythology: a collection of myths.
  • Mythos: a myth or mythology; a set of beliefs or assumptions about something.
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N

  • Necromancer: a magician who specializes in summoning spirits of the dead.
  • Neo-Paganism: a modern religious movement that incorporates beliefs and ritual practices from traditions outside the mainstream (pagan sources).
  • New Age: the mixing of metaphysical practices with a structured religion such as Wicca.
  • Nine Herbs Charm: a old English charm used to treat poison and infection; one of only two Old English mentions of the herb Woden.
  • Numerology: divination through the use of numbers and numerical values of letters.
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O

  • Occult: "hidden;" applied to a range of beliefs and activities that are outside mainstream religions and philosophies; can refer to anything secret, magical, or supernatural.
  • Old Religion: a name for Paganism that pre-dates Christianity; sometimes used as another name for Wicca.
  • Oracle: a priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice and prophecy is sought.
  • Ouija Board: a board containing letters, numbers, and the words yes and no which is used for divination and speaking with supernatural beings.
  • Out of Body Experience: one's consciousness being outside one's physical body as during astral projection.
  • Ostara: a festival on the Vernal Equinox to celebrate spring, new life, and sexuality.
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P

  • Pagan: general term for follower of magical, shamanistic, and polytheistic Earth-based religions.
  • Paganism: a term used to describe religious and spiritual practices that are not Christian, Judaic, or Islamic.
  • Paganing: when a baby is presented to the God and Goddess and given a craft name; at the age of 13 the child can choose their own name.
  • Paleopaganism: general term for the nature-based faiths of tribal Europe, Africa, Asia, Americans, Oceania, and Australia.
  • Palmistry: divination using the folds and other features of the hands; palm reading.
  • Pantheism: belief in many deities as simply aspects of a single source.
  • Pantheon: a collection or group of deities in a particular religious structure.
  • Paranormal: supernatural or unusual.
  • Pendulum: any small object on a string use in divination.
  • Pentacle: a pentagram surrounded by a circle.
  • Pentagram: a five-pointed star representing the four (or five) elements; used in magical workings for  variety of purposes.
  • Polytheism: belief in the existence of many unrelated deities and lesser beings.
  • Poppet: anthropomorphic (human-like) dolls representing a particular person in magical workings.
  • Priest or Priestess: a cleric who is a leader  of a given religion, cult, or coven.
  • Projective Hand:  generally your dominant hand; hand from which personal power is sent from the body; the hand in which tools such as a wand or athame is held.
  • Prophet: a person who speaks for a deity.
  • Psychic: see Medium.
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Q

  • Quarters: the four corners and/or watchtowers in a magical circle.
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R

  • Receptive Hand: the hand through which energy is received into the body; usually the opposite of  dominate hand.
  • Rede: the basic tenet of witchcraft according to Wiccas; "An it harm none, do what thou will."
  • Reincarnation: the belief that one has lived before in another lifetime and will continue to live again after physical death.
  • Ritual: an ordered sequence of events, actions. and directed thoughts designed to produce an altered state of consciousness or bring about a desired change.
  • Runes: a set of symbols that are used in divination and magical workings.
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S

  • Sabbat: one of the eight festivals celebrated by witches. Include Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Mabon, and Lammas.
  • Salamander: elemental of fire; associated with the direction south, energy, passion, and power.
  • Samhain: the pagan new year; celebrated on October 31; a time for honoring the dead and the Crone; final harvest festival.
  • Scry, To: to gaze into an object to still the conscious mind and contact the physic mind.
  • Scrying: a form of divination in which one gazes into an object until visions appear.
  • Seer: one who can see the hidden.
  • Shaman: a medicine person and medium who uses astral projection to enter the spirit world; represents the human world in the spirit world.
  • Shamanism: the practice of shamans; usually ritualistic or magical.
  • Sigil: a magically oriented seal, sign, or glyph used in magical workings.
  • Skyclad: the act of performing magical workings or rituals in the nude.
  • Smudging: a traditional Native American method of burning sacred herbs to produce a smoke cloud to cleanse and purify prior to a ritual or healing; not to be confused with smoke cleansing used by most witches.
  • Sol: another word for sun.
  • Solitary: a pagan who works and/or worships alone.
  • Solstice: the two times of the year when the sun reaches an extreme northward or southward motion; June 21-22 and December 21-22.
  • Sorcerer or Sorceress: term used to describe a man or woman who uses magic.
  • Spell: a magical ritual often accompanied by spoken words; does not have to be religious in nature.
  • Spiritualism: a religion based on the belief in life after death; usually use mediums to contact the dead.
  • Sprites: disembodied spirits, elves, daemons, or dairies; often associated with sylphs. See sylph.
  • Staff: a ritual tool corresponding to the wand or athame.
  • Summerland: the pagan "heaven;" land of the dead.
  • Supernatural: rare, unusual, or different; paranormal in nature.
  • Sword: symbol of the element air; used for directing energies and for severing psychic bonds or links.
  • Sylph: air elemental; associated with the east, knowledge, intelligence, and communication.
  • Sympathetic Magic: the concept of like attracts like; the most common way spells are cast.
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T

  • Talisman: an object charged with personal power to attract a specific energy or outcome to the wearer; not to be confused with an amulet.
  • Tarot Cards: a set of 78 cards which feature pictures and symbols used for divination.
  • Theology: the study of religion; concerns the nature of the deity and the deities relation to the world.
  • Threefold Law: a Wiccan karmic principle that energy released, both negative and positive, will return to the original source three times over.
  • Tomte: a Scandinavian house gnome or elf with a long beard, conical red cap, and no taller than three feet; protects their families estate, including property, animals, and house; loves honey and milk.
  • Totem: a natural object or animal that has a spiritual significance to an individual or group and is adopted as an emblem.
  • Tradition: any various sects of Wicca, witchcraft, or paganism.
  • Trance: an altered state of consciousness, usually undertaken to connect with the astral or spiritual plane.
  • Triple Goddess: one goddess in all of her three aspects. See Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
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U

  • Undine: water elemental; associated with west, emotions, and purification.
  • Universe: all existing matter and space.
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V

  • Vampire: a person who is undead and survives through the eating of blood.
  • Vibration: oscillation of a fluid or energy given off by all natural objects, living and nonliving.
  • Vision Quest: using astral projection or bi-location to accomplish a specific goal.
  • Visualization: the process of forming mental images; used in the craft to increase personal power, direct energy, and set a goal for a spell or ritual.
  • Voodoo: a religion practiced in the Caribbean and southern United States which combines elements of Roman Catholic ritual and African witchcraft; characterized by sorcery and spirit possession.
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W

  • Wand: a ritual tool used for directing energy; representative of fire in some traditions.
  • Warlock: a derogatory term referring to a male witch; translates to "oath-breaker" or "liar;" arose during the Burning Times.
  • Water: one of the four (of five) elements; associated with the direction west, purification, intuition, compassion, and emotions.
  • Web Weaving: networking with other witches and pagans through conversations, emails, blogs, message boards, etc to gather information and assist each other.
  • Wheel of the Year: full cycle of the seasonal year.
  • White Magic: magic performed with "good" intentions; benefit the parties involved and do not bring harm to others.
  • Wicca: a modern Pagan religion with spiritual roots in nature; belief in and worship of the God and Goddess; practice witchcraft; very ritualistic; believe in Threefold Law,
  • Widdershins: counter-clockwise motion; used for negative magical purposes such as dispersing negative energies or banishing.
  • Witch: one who practices witchcraft; describes both male and female practitioners.
  • Witchcraft: the craft of a witch; uses magic in conjunction with personal power and the energies of stones, herbs, colors, etc, to bring around a desired change; not associated with Satanism; not a religion but a practice.
  • Witch Doctor: a medicine man/woman or shaman who uses magic to heal, divine, and protection others from "evil."
  • Wizard: derives from "wys-ard" which means "wise one;" originally referred to someone who was wise; sometimes used to refer to a male who practices magic.
  • Wyrd: concept of fate or person destiny in Anglo-Saxon culture; modern English word for weird.
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X

  • X: a place holder; a magical symbol used in place of an unknown or secretive object.
  • Xenophobia: a fear of what is new, different, or strange.
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Y

  • Yin-Yang: Chinese symbol representing polarity and the connectedness between opposites.
  • Yule: festival held on the Winter Solstice (shortest day of the year) to celebrate the birth of the God, the coming of light, and the Holly King.
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Z

  • Zen: Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes the value of meditation and intuition; total state of focus that incorporates a togetherness of mind and body; peacefulness.
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And there you have it! This list should cover most, if not all, of the terms you may find confusing or difficult while learning about witchcraft and paganism. If there is a definition you feel is incorrect or needs clarity, please let me know in the comments, on Facebook, or via email. Furthermore, if there is a word you don't see on the list that you are confused about or you feel is important for beginner witches to know, please also contact me via the comments, Facebook, or email.

I hope this has been enlightening and helps you progress in your craft.

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