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Glossary of Witchcraft Terms

Madam of Letters

Welcome to the Glossary of Witchcraft Terms. Click on a letter on the below bar to jump to that letter. Then scroll down to the word you wish defined.

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adept: One that has mastered the magical arts or a skill or aspect in it.

affirmation: The belief in verbalising positive thoughts or self-affirmations to influence and motivate people for the better and boost self-esteem.

alchemy: The early proto-scientific practice of combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy, and other sciences to turn base metals into gold and to find the panacea that would cure all disease.

amulet: An object cleansed and infused with energy intended to be a defence deflecting negative energy.

The most common form of amulet is a charm worn on a necklace or bracelet. The most classic or common designs are that of an eye (to protect against the "evil eye"), a stylized hand (the "Yud HaShem" worn by Sephardic (Spanish) Jews), and a Pentacle (a pentagram, or five-pointed star, in a circle).

But an amulet can actually be any object, such as a watch, a necklace with or without a charm, or a gem, stone, coin, or even an inscription on paper, parchment, wood or other material.

A talisman is a term most use as a synonim for amulet, while some use the term talisman to mean a magically infused onject to attract positive energy, rather than to deflect negative energy. See talisman.

anima locus or genius loci: Latin for the spirit of a place. This is a nature spirit or natural world spirit or protective guardian of a geographic location of note such as wells, lakes, mountains, stone formations, and monoliths. The term may also refer to the energy felt at these locations.

The common Anglicised term is ward. Also numan (Latin for deity) is used synonymously but less often as well as the Latin term Lar (plural: Lares) although a Lar actually refers to a Roman guardian household deity and not a geographic feature. The term, genius loci may be more correctly used differently than anima locus. For more information, see genius loci.

animism: From the Latin, anima, meaning breath, spirit, life. Animism is the worldview belief that all forms of nature, such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects including the universe itself and natural phenomena such as wind, lightening, and fire have a spiritual essence within that exist in their own right. One who believes in animism is called an animist.

asperse: To sprinkle or lightly spray with holy water, usually energized water for the spiritual cleansing of people, objects, or an area. It is applied by either a small tree branch with leaves, bundle of fresh herbs, or the fingers of the power hand. See power hand.

astral travel: To project the conscious self so the spirit can travel from the physical body to the astral plane. Also called astral projection.


baculum or sometimes called a verendum: An older term for a wand, staff, stang, or besom used specifically in divination and during fertility spells. Also see stang.

balefire or bonfire: (pronounced (bāyl´fire) Originally, a village bonfire on a nowl (See nowl) and used as a centre of festival celebrations.  The fire would be made from bales of wood and lit with elf fire (See elf fire).

It is believed the term bonfire originates from the term, "bone fire", in which in much earlier times the Celts would burn animal bones to keep evil spirits 'thither and away'.

bane: (pronounced: (bā´yn) A cause of pain, distress, misery, hardship, ruin, murder; something poisonous, especially a poisonous herb. To be baneful is to be spiteful, hurtful, or cruel towards another person.

banish: The magical act of driving away unwanted energy. A strong purification.

bard: In English society, a bard was primarily an entertainer that travelled around the country, singing traditional folk songs.

In Celtic society, a bard was a poet that would sing the oral traditions as a means of educating while also entertaining the public. Sometimes the bard was royally-commissioned to make an accounting of the monarch's activities and achievements.

Beating the Bounds: This is an ritual from Roman religious tradition and law that became part of British custom. A landowner (not a renter) walks the boundary of his property to 1) Symbolically affirm ownership, and, 2) To pay homage to Terminus, the god of boundaries; Pan, the god of fertility; and Faunus, the god of purification.

besom: An older term for a "broom" in England, today it refers only to a ritual broom that is often made by hand. The besom is a tool used for the spiritual cleansing of an area, such as a compass round, room, or an entire area inside or outside the home.

NOTE:  A besom is used only for spiritual cleaning, and not for physical cleaning. During a cleansing ritual, it is important that the bristles never touch the floor, but are kept no closer than a few inches above the floor.

Often a besom is made of birch twigs tied to an ash stave handle. However, a besom's bristles can be made of straw, thin or any regular twigs, or other such material. The handle can be of the same twig material or any appropriate wooden branch.

The spiritual cleansing of an area is performed by starting in the middle the area and sweeping outward as you walk deosil (clockwise).

A besom is also a traditional ritual tool used during handfasting ceremonies. The happy couple jump over the besom. It is later placed on the wall, usually in the front room or living room, near the front door.

The besom can be charged as a talisman and placed on a wall near or above the front door to serve as a protection against negative energy or unfriendly spirits. The bristles are always pointing upward so the good energy does not run out.

bidding: A bidding is a prayer/spell to one or all of one's Gods requesting help of some kind. The term bidding is also used as a request or order given to an apprentice or client.

bind: To cast a spell on another person.

binding: A spell to stop the magical actions of oneself after a change of mind; or to stop the magical actions of another magic practitioner.

black mirror: A scrying or divination tool made of in black reflective glass or metal. A standard reflective mirror can also be used, as well as water in a bowl, or an outdoor pond or lake, as well as the iconic crystal ball. It is believed that scrying will bring forth information.

black moon: The second dark moon (new moon) within a calendar month. In working magic, a black moon is thought to be a time of enhanced magical power in the spiritual world.

blasting rod: A wand usually made from a Blackthorn branch and used by some specifically for curses or hexes.

blue moon: The term has several meanings:

Most correctly, a blue moon refers to a full moon that is blue in colour. Under clear skies, this occurs when: 1) The planet Venus is close to Earth. Venus illuminates the full moon making it appear slightly pale blue in colour. 2) The moon can also appear blue if particles are in the sky from an volcanic eruption or by other means dirt is in the atmosphere.

A blue moon gives raise to the old expression, "once in a blue moon", meaning "it doesn't happen often".

In magic, a blue moon is very significant as it is considered an unusually good time to set specific goals in one's life.

In astrology, a blue moon refers to the second full moon while the sun has remained in the same sign of the Zodiac. Especially in the United States, a blue moon has come to mean a second full moon within a calendar month.

The blue moon has always been recognized as a special event and an especially romantic time. So, next time you see a blue moon think about your personal goals and that special someone in your life.

brazier: A very common means of heating larger homes in the ancient world, including Greece and the Roman Empire. It was a portable metal device in which a fire would be kindled. Today, some use the term brazier incorrectly to refer to an incense censer.


cauldron: A cauldron is a large round iron pot that use to be a very popular means of cooking over an open fire or in the household hearth in earlier times. Today, it is mostly associated with witchcraft. Some Trads use them in ritual and in magical workings. The caldron is symbolic of the womb and fertility, new life, transformation, abundance, and the revival of the dead.

The cauldron has an ancient and romantic history. They were commonly used for cooking by every European society until the 20th century. The caldron is also associated with the folklore of the French, Irish, Celtic, and Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) peoples, where the magic cauldron never emptied of food at a feast. The Celts were skilled metal-smiths and were known for their iron cooking vessels. Their iron vessels became legond in the Roman Empire as the Celtic lands became an intregal part of the Roman world.

By tradition, a cauldron must be made of iron and should have three legs (four is acceptable). It's best if it has a handle and a lid. As with any ritual tool, its use is optional in the Traditional Craft.

censer: An incense burner that is usually made of metal, is ornate and burns charcoal briquettes with incense. They can produce potent incense especially in a small room. They are much stronger than an incense stick. Some censers are designed to be suspended on a chain. Also known as a thurible.

chalice: A goblet is often used in ritual, often made of silver/silver plate.

charge: To infuse an object with energy such as with a talisman or in consecrating a tool to be used in ritual or magic.

charm: This is a common term used by the public to indicate an ornament worn on a necklace or bracelet for decoration or adornment or for a vague wish for "good luck" or as a declaration of religion, such as a pentacle worn by some Pagans, or a Yod HaShem ("hand of God") or a Mogain Dovid (star of David) worn by Jews.

Charms are believed to be originally worn in ancient Egypt, usually in the form of a necklaces, as a defence, amulet or pentacle, form sickness and psychic attacks. Charms, amulets or pentacles, became popular among the Greeks and Hebrews (the Pharisaic sects) as protection from harm. In the Dark Ages, charms became very popular and were used as a declaration of faith among Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

To one with magical powers, a charm is a material synonym for a "spell", specifically an amulet or a talisman, depending on the change or outcome that the Crafter intends.

channel: A channel is one trained to act as an intermediary between a client wishing to have information and one specific spirit that can provide that information by direct contact with the channel. The channel will go into a deep trance and will either convey a message from the spirit through automatic writing, through speaking, or the spirit will use the channel's body itself and speak directly to the client. Channelling does not require psychic ability as the channel acts only as an enabler. On the other hand, clairvoyance requires strong psych ability as the psychic will go into a light trance to use that ability to sense information. Psychics too often call themselves a channel when they are not.

cingulum: From the Latin, meaning girdle; in the Craft it is a cord that is worn during some magic workings and rituals, depending on individual practice. A cingulum can be from four to nine feet in length. Sometimes it is knotted and also used as a "witches ladder", a technique some use in spell casting.

claiming: A technique in which a practitioner consciously or unconsciously places a psychic "mark" on a desired item to reserve or keep the item until it can be physically obtained.

clairvoyance: The ability to foresee the future, to perceive distant objects, persons, or events in the present. A clairvoyant is the person with this ability. Clairsentience is "clear sensing" or empathy. Clairaudience is "clear hearing."

common era, C.E., CE: The theologically-neutral and preferred way to indicate the more popular "A.D." in our dating system. As an example, instead of writing 1951 AD, one would write 1950 CE. In a similar manner, the year 500 BC would be written 500 BCE, or before the common era.

compass round: The drawing, laying or casting a compass round with a clearly marked unbroken line, it is the act of creating a sacred refuge, a protected space between the worlds (the physical world and the Spirit World) where magic, ritual, and other Craft activities may take place in an environment of positive energy.

The compass round is often just referred to as a compass, but it is also sometimes referred to as a castle in a few Trads or more often as a circle outside the Trad Craft community.

conjure: To ritually call forth an spirit entity, usually a daemon (daemon is Greek for "spirit" and does not imply negativity), an archangel, or other such entity using various techniques normally associated with high magick.

consecration: A purification ritual to banish negative energy and infuse positive energy for the consecration of a tool for its dedication in ritual and magic. The old term for this is to sain a tool.

crafter: A practitioner of magic that usually follows a particular tradition, such as Traditional Witchcraft, as an example.

croomstick: A magical stave with a hooked end such as a shepherd's crook.

Crooked Path also the Crooks and Straits: Two of many old terms for the Old Craft, the Traditional Witchcraft in the British Isles. To "trod the Crooked Path" was to live the life of a Traditional Crafter.

cunning fire: This concept in Traditional Witchcraft is not easy to define. On one level, to access Cunning Fire enables an individual to act like the gods for it provides a special ability to create language, literature, music, technology, and to change the world for better or worse, and thus challenge fate.

On another level, it is the awakened awareness within the magical practitioner, to bring about an inner awareness that the spirit of the gods (energy) exists naturally in all of Nature, including mankind.

In a more profound sense, it is the achieving of heightened spiritual union, of intimate divine healing, of supreme creative awareness, and the very communion with the divine, with the consciousness of the universe. This enables the ability to access this very energy source at will and to use it as needed.

To the initiated or those that achieve spiritual realisation, so-called enlightenment, it is manifest in humans as spiritual light, which is said to allow the adapt to see through the darkness of human ignorance.

W. B. Yeats used the term Fire in the Head to refer to Cunning Fire in his poetry.


daemon: From the Greek, meaning spirit, or genius in Latin. In the Roman world the personification of the life force, the spirit of a person, place, or thing. In the Greek world it meant the spirits in nature and all divine spirits. Both definitions were used in Britain.

In Europe during the Dark Ages, the Vatican bishops deliberately misrepresented the Greek and Roman understanding of daemon, to create the new word, 'demon', to mean 'an evil spirit' to frighten the common people away from popular pagan practice.

dark moon: The time when the moon is completely dark, commonly call the New Moon, a rename given by Christian priests to hide its connection to magic. See a discussion on the dark moon in the article, The Moon And Magic.

deosil: To walk to the right, clockwise, when casting a compass round and in most other rituals. It is sometimes spelt: deiseal. The opposite of deosil is withershins.

Note on the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa): There has been a lot of confusion whether this holds true in the Southern Hemisphere, or if to walk withershins, counter-clockwise, might be more appropriate. Some authors on witchcraft, such as Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone encouraged those in the Southern Hemisphere to walk counter-clockwise when casting a circle, compass round, and other rituals. However, most authorities and Traditional Crafters now think this is not correct. So, I now believe those in the Southern Hemisphere should walk clockwise, deosil, as it is done in the Northern Hemisphere (London).

dirk: A traditional Scottish long-thrusting dagger considered a functional fighting dagger also used by Royal Navy officers and officers of Scottish Highland regiments.

divination: Divination is the act of foretelling the future; using abilities beyond the five senses to obtain information about people, places, things, and events of the past, present, and future.

Many methods are used. The most popular is the Tarot deck, mirrors, and bowls of water for scrying. Psychometry, which is the handling of another's personal item to gather vibrations, is another technique, as is astrology.

'dod and rig': To dod and rig a compass round is a method used in some Trads to measure the compass when out-of-doors. The dod is a small wooden peg that is placed in the earth at the nowl (compass centre). The rig, or cord, is then used to measure the compass round by scratching it around in a circle to mark the compass boundary. A second dod is then placed in the north position. The rig is then attached to both dods to complete the measurement.

dowsing: Dowsing is a divinational art of locating water, metals, and other items that are out of sight, usually below the ground, by the use of a "Y" shaped tree branch or other forked rod. Sometimes called water witching, dowsing has been around for about 7,000 years.

During the Middle Ages, the Catholic church associated dowsing with the evil. Forced into disrepute for so long, dowsing is now on a comeback.

Today, dowsing is more commonly used in geology, archaeology, locating missing persons, and by savvy utility companies for the location of damaged cables and pipes. A dowser is a person who is adept at dowsing.


earth plane: The physical world we live in; a metaphor for normal waking consciousness.

elementals or directionals: The lower-level spirits, Faeries, or nature spirits of the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Thus, the elementals are considered life forces.

elf fire: The flame used to light the balefire or the fire used outdoors at a compass round.

Elf fire is created without the use of metals. In the old times, the town elders would keep the village elf fire burning all year long, often as a hearth fire in the house of the mayor or an appointed keeper of the fire. It would be used to light the balefire at the end of the year, which in turn would be used to light a new elf fire from that year's village balefire.

enchant: A term meaning to magically energize, charge, or empower an object such as a charm, (a talisman or amulet) with energy for an attraction or a defence.

enchantment: A term used in Traditional Craft as a type of spell to effect manipulation by gazing at someone.

energy: The universal life force that some akin as the Gods or Universal Consciousness. This force is all around us and can be used for our benefit through the techniques magic by capturing and re-directing energy for our own purposes.

equinox: The day on which the Sun is exactly over the Earth's equator. This happens twice a year on or about the 21st of March and on or about the 21st of September. Both equinoxes have an equal number of light and dark hours all over the world in the North and South Hemispheres. Also see solstices.

ether or aether: ln Classical Greek philosophy, ether is the upper region of Earth's atmosphere, the clear sky, or the Spirit World. Aristotle included ether as a fifth element as the quintessence, the element of the heavenly bodies, in addition to the basic Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). We consider ether to be the element that fills all space.


familiar: A companion spirit, usually the spirit of a cat, especially a black cats, but it can be any animal or insect. A dog or rabbit are also popular familiars. Familiars serve as general magical helpers, aiding in spell casting and other works of magic, while others are protectors of hearth and home, or personal guardians during dream or astral work.

fascination: A magical technique in casting a spell or a claiming by getting in eyesight to the object and being mindful of intent.

fate: The plan of one's life created before birth. Thus, one's life is governed by Fate. Fate is determined by several factors including one's past actions. It should be understood that Fate works in tandem with Free Will. Therefore, something that is Fated to happen at a particular time, might not happen at the appointed time. It could happen later, or sooner, or it might not happen at all if the circumstances are not favourable.

fetch: A soul or spirit ; a term also used to indicate the animalistic nature of a soul or spirit. 'Sending forth the fetch' refers to astral travel.

four elements: The Four Elements are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. They are considered by some as the foundation of natural magic. The elements correspond to the four cardinal points in this manner:

North = Earth
East = Air
South = Fire
West = Water

The Four Elements are associated with the Elementals.

Full Moon: There are thirteen Full Moons in most years. On the Full Moon, Traditional Crafters may have a private practice or may gather for a monthly lunar celebration. It is a time for working magic and healing, as well as a time for special personal, family, or group celebration.


genius loci: Originally and sometimes today the term is used synonymously with anima locus, but today this term more often refers to a location's unique aspect rather than a guardian spirit. See anima locus.

grimoire: In Traditional Witchcraft, a personal notebook on magical lore and magical information including spellcrafting, spells, ritual procedures, magical properties of herbs, stones, and other natural objects, and other related information. The term comes from the English term, grammar. It is occasionally spelt, gramarye.

Grimoires have a very long history. In ceremonial magick, a Grimoire primarily contains information on the conjuring of higher spirit entities; albeit, many of such grimoires are of deficient quality.

Many surviving grimoires of the Dark Ages are very often incomplete as the magickians considered them only as notebooks. Therefore, entire sections of vital precautionary ritual such as precautions against daemons were completely omitted because the writer already knew the rituals by memory. These grimoires were not intended to instruct . So, their popularity today is highly unforntunate and quite misleading. Many important historic grimoires including the ancient Greek papyri originating from Alexandra, Egypt, are under academic study by such magicians such as Dr. Steven Skinner of Oxford University.

grounding: The quick process of dispelling excess or negative energy or unwanted emotion and placing it back into the ground. This is done by touching the ground or floor with a hand or bare foot.


heathen: The term favoured by the Germanic and Nordic pagans in refering to themselves.

hedge witch or Hedge Witchery: A tradition in the Traditional Craft of engaging in the ancient shamanic tradition. This involves going into deep trance for the purpose of visiting the Spirit World in order to achiere to acquire practical or spiritual information for themselves or on behave of others. This is called Hedge Riding. A solid meditative ability to achieve a deep meditative state is essential to the practice.

herb: Any plant grown for use in cooking, medicine, and in magic.

  • A medicinal herb is often a shrub or other woody plant. Usually, the seeds, berries, bark, and/or roots are the parts of the plant used.
  • A culinary herb is a usually a non-woody plant. Usually, the green, leafy part of the plant is used in cooking.

Herbalism: is the traditional use of herbs for medicinal purposes. Such practice is based on a thorough knowledge of herbs and the precise usage of plants and plant extracts.

Hermetica: The Hermética, or Corpus Hermeticum, are the books of codification containing the many tracts and dialogues that are believed to be the beliefs, religion, and philosophy of ancient Egypt.

A prime product of the Hellenistic culture of Alexandra, Egypt, the Hermética was itself the foundation of a Graeco-Egyptian religion founded in that city. It has had a profound influence on Western European philosophy, theology, and occultism. As a "secret document", the Hermética influenced many great European thinkers across the centuries and is credited as being one of the prime catalysts of the Renaissance.

hex: A term for a magical graphic instrument or curse designed to create bad luck on someone else. The term is also sometimes used to refer to an amulet for personal protection. It comes from the word, Hexe, German for "witch".


immanent: That which is intrinsically within human consciousness; that which remains in; something subjectively inherent. Example: He believed in a god immanent in humans.

infusion: A tea, brew, or potion produced by soaking one or more herbs in hot water.

invocation: Used in formal religious and magical ceremonies, an invocation is a ritual invitation for an deity or higher spiritual entity to be present.


libation: One of the principal rituals in some ancient and modern pagan practices in which primarily a drink, such as wine and other desirable beverage, and sometimes food, is offered to a spirit entity as an offering. The offering must be verbal as spirits may only enjoy that which is given to them.

Lilith's lantern: The moon.

lustration: A purification ritual used to spiritually cleanse and purify an area intended to be used for a Compass Round, before a ritual or magical working outside a Compass Round, or anytime when negativity is sensed.


magic: With the standard spelling spelt without a "k", magic pertains to is also called Low Magick, Folk Magick, or Traditional Magick and is associated with the magic of Traditional Witchcraft, the Traditional Craft such as that of the British Isles. See our article, Do You Believe in Magic?, for information about traditional Folk Magic in Britain.

magick: Spelt with a "k", magick is today also known as High Magick and is the ceremonial magick of the Western Esoteric Tradition (such as Golden Dawn).

Magick is commonly related to the use of exact magickal procedures in the conjuring of higher and more powerful spirit entities. Such safty procedures are vital to personal safty and are taught by masters such as in the lectures and online videos (YouTube) with Dr. Stephen Skinner and others.

The term, magick, was actually created in the modern era by Aleister Crowley to differentiate ceremonial magick from traditional folk magic of Traditional Witchcraft.

magester: A male or elder male Trad leader in a traditionalist group. A female leader or elder female leader of a Trad group is referred to as a magistrix (pronounced: MAJ-es-trix) or magistra. These are traditional terms of respect and honour.

megalith: A huge stone monument or structure dating from historic and pre-historic times, often found in a circle of other megaliths. Such circles were ancient religious centres and as such have special energy that sensitive's can perceive. Such ancient sites are sacred and must be respected with due diligence. Stonehenge is the best-known example of a ancient sacred site with megaliths.


Nameless Arte: One of many old names for traditional or folk magic in Britain.

necromancy: The evocation and communication with the spirits of the dead in order to gain information and knowledge.


  • The north direction within a compass round.

  • In some Trads, the centre of a compass round.

  • The Great Nowl is the North Star.

  • The centre of a land area or a hill in a flat pasture or dale.

numen: Latin for 'deity', this refers to a Land Spirit. See anima locus. (Plural: numina)

nymph: (pronounced: nimf) - A minor female deity or spirit of nature found in ancient Greek and Roman myth and folklore. They are often seen as full-size beautiful teenage girls or young women. In myth, nymphs are often said to be the mothers or the lovers of heroes or gods such as Achilles and Dionysus. A nymph will inhabit and protect and sometimes personify a feature of nature such as a specific river, stream, spring, valley, mountain, forest, grove, etc.


Old Ways: The Old Ways denote the beliefs, practices, and customs of our pagan ancestors especially as it pertains to magical customs.

'oot and aboot': Synonymous with transvection, in the magical sense from British folklore meaning spirit travel, or specifically spirit levitation. The practitioner leaves their body and travels into other relative dimensions and worlds, also known as going beyond the hedge as in astral travel or shamanic journeying.

Other Side: Where spirits and other spiritual entities reside; also known as the Spirit World, or heaven.

overlooking: To cast the evil eye; to stare at an intended victim as a means of cursing by sending negative energy.


pagan: From the Latin term, paganus. While the historic meaning of the term is lost in antiquity, most scholars believe the term probably meant "country dweller." Today, pagan is a general term for those of non-monotheistic personal religious beliefs.

pantheism: The belief that "God is everything, and everything is God" or that everything is of an imminent totality that is the First Cause, Universal Consciousness.

pendulum: A gravity pendulum is a divinatory device consisting of a string attached to a weight. The string is held in the hand, the elbow is steadied on a flat surface, and a question is asked. The movement of the weight determines the answer.

pentacle or pentagram: The terms pentagram and pentacle have slightly different star designs.

  • A pentagram is a five-pointed star. It has been in use unofficially since ancient times indicating spirituality.

  • A pentacle is a five-pointed star within a circle. In the upward position it is popularly used as a symbol to represent various movements in modern paganism as well as loosely representing the Traditional Craft.

polytheism: The belief in the existence and worship of more than one god. Many ancient religions were polytheistic, several civilizations having pantheons, in which a series of gods and goddesses were recognized.

power hand: The hand normally favoured, the hand one uses when writing; which is the right hand if one is right-handed, or the left hand if one is left-handed. Some call it the projective hand.

So named the power hand because this is the hand that is used to send energy from the body during ritual and spellcraft if a wand or dagger is not used; or the hand that holds the wand or dagger during ritual and spellwork.

praxis: The use, practice, or practical application of any acquired skill in a competent manner. In Traditional Craft, praxis refers to the practice of magic, 'the praxis of the Traditional Craft'.


ritual consciousness: To be in a trance state, an altered state of consciousness, to be in the zone for spellmaking. Ritual consciousness enables one to easily sense energy so that a Crafter can collect, form, and then sent the energy for an intended purpose. Ritual consciousness is often achieved through the use of Going Within or meditation with the use of visualization, although in the past it could be aided by other means.

runes: A form of an early Germanic alphabet used in inscriptions and other limited uses. Some pagans use it today for divination, although there is no evidence of this use historically.


sabbat:A gathering of Traditional Crafters usually from one Trad for a meeting or celebration. Historically, a sabbat is may be held on the Full Moon and sometimes on the Dark Moon or on a festival. However, a sabbat may actually be held on any special occasion.

seidhr: The old Nordic or Scandinavian form of shamanism and magic. Those that practice Seidhr are referred to as the Seidhfolk.

sain: A purification ritual that consecrates a tool or object to be used in ritual and magic, an act of sanctification. It elevates the object from the mundane and dedicates it for use in ritual and magic.

scry or skry: (pronounced: sker`rye) From the Old English word, descry: 'to see the future'. The ancient practice of a scryer is to gaze into a reflective object for the purpose of obtaining information from one's subconscious mind, the higher self, or a spirit, to see a vision, especially of a face of someone significant.

Anything reflective can be used. Nostradamus used a bowl of water. Most classically are the reflections in a lake or pond on a moon-lit night, or the use of a reflective object such as a magic mirror (black mirror) or an iconic crystal ball by candlelight in a darkened room.

seeker: One in training or in self-training to become a Traditional Witch. Historically, a seeker was under the mentorship of a village wizard, Cunning Man, or Wise Woman and became known gradually as a Crafter as people gained trust in his or her ability. Mentorship today is rare.

shaman: A gender-neutral term, a shaman is one that has the ability to enter a deep trance, an altered state of consciousness that allows the shaman's spirit to travel to the Other Side, the Spirit World, for the purpose of gaining insight and knowledge from personal guardian spirits, spirit guides, teachers, and helpers.

Various methods are used to aid in achieving a deep trance consciousness. One method is to be adept in meditation alone, but the use of drumming or other methods might be used. The knowledge gained from shamanic journeys makes it possible for the shaman to gain general knowledge and specific information, as well as to heal and help others.

Anyone can learn basic shamanic trance techniques and go on personal journeys to order to gain personal insight into life, and gain advice and help from our personal spirit guides. But to practice shamanic journeying for other people, a higher level of ability and skill is necessary. It is necessary to study under a full-time mentorship of a qualified shaman for several years to achieve this high level. This is not an easy process.

sigil: A sigil is a glyph symbol that is usually designed for a magical working or procedure. It may be composed of a symbol, an accurately drawn picture, or a semi-abstract or abstract design. It is placed on any item such as clothing, a car, luggage, etc. A sigil is usually made by the practitioner.

solstice: The first solstice in any given year is the day when the Sun provides the most amount of daylight hours. This happens on or about the 21st of June. The second solstice in any given year is the day when the Sun provides the least amount of daylight hours. This happens on or about the 21st of December. Also see equinox.

spellcraft: The art of the creation of spells to achieve a specific goal or a desired result.

spellweaving: The casting of two or more different but complimentary spells related to a single desired goal. Usually, the spells are cast to approach different aspects of the process of achieving the desired goal. This technique can be used when a goal is particularly difficult, unlikely, or of great importance.

stang or venendum: A ritual tool used in some traditions in Traditional Craft in place of a wand, dagger, or staff in ritual and in magic workings. The stang is a wooden pole, usually a branch from a tree, with a natural prong of two- or three-branches cut and formed as needed. It roughly resembles a trident. Because of its size, in my opinion it is inappropriate for use indoors unless the indoor ritual is performed in a huge room with high ceilings. While the use of stangs dates from the early Roman Empire, they became more commonly used among certain Trad Crafters in the 20th century. The Latin term is now rarely used.

sub rosa: From the Latin meaning, 'under the rose'. During dinners or other occasions in Roman Britain, a rose would be suspended from the ceiling or wall. All conversations said 'Sub Rosa' by sacred Roman tradition was understood to be held as strictly confidential. Some Trads follow this practice today.


talisman: A talisman is an object ritually cleansed and infused with energy intended to attract a specific positive force or energy such as to enhance health, increase wealth, to help in the achievement of a positive goal. Many also use the term talisman to defend against a negative force or other energy.

Today, the most common form of talisman is an object worn or carried on the body such as jewellery, a stone, a piece of glass or metal or other object.

Some use the term 'amulet' as a synonym for 'talisman'; but others use the term amulet for the opposite purpose of a talisman- instead of attracting a specific force or other positive energy, a amulet can defend against a negative force or other energy.

A charm is a common term used by the general public for a talisman and an amulet.

Tarot: A set of 78 illustrated cards in a deck that is used as a means of divinatory purposes. The use of Tarot is in discovering the hidden truths of life, a reflection of truth in answer to a question presented to the spirits for their guidance. The cards of the Tarot deck uses elaborate symbolism representing the major divinatory characteristics of the individual card.

A deck of Tarot cards is made up of two forms:

  • The first form is the Major Arcana, the primary secrets. These are 22 cards of higher rank that suggest the stages of life in an individual's path to spiritual ascension.

  • The remaining 56 cards make up the second form, the Minor Arcana, the lesser secrets, which is made of four suits: Wands, Coins, Swords, and Discs. Each suit has four court cards and ten numbered cards.

telepathy: The ability of two people to share the same words, images, or thoughts without verbal communication.

thirteen - 13: Among Traditional Crafters, no number or day of the week is less lucky than any other. With that understood, as numbers go, the number thirteen (13), holds a special place and is known as The Witching Number. Thirteen is considered favourable. In fact, thirteen shows up in several notable places that indicate its positive significance. Several of these are:

  • King Arthur of the Round Table had 12 knights = 13.

  • Robin hood had 12 in his merry men = 13.

  • The number of full moons in a year = 13.

  • In mathematics, the number 13 is a "lucky prime", a natural number that has exactly two distinct natural number divisors: 1 and itself.

Traditional Craft: Another term for traditional witchcraft in the British Isles, also known as Trad Witchcraft, or the Craft.

traditionalist: A traditional witch, also called a Traditional Crafter or Crafter. One that follows the traditions of a Trad in traditional witchcraft of the British Isles.

transcendent: Far surpassing the ordinary range of human excellence, or surpassing all human knowledge.


venendum: See stang.

visualisation: This is a meditative process using imagination and memory to create a very clear visual image of a desired outcoming the mind's eye during magical spellworkings. Proficiency in this skill is central to success in magic.


wand: A ritual tool used for collecting and the sending of energy during spellworking. Traditionally, a wand is made from a tree branch. Traditional Crafters, Trad witches, usually make their own. The type of tree sought in the forrest depends on the intended use of the wand, although some woods are more common because a wide range or type of spells are suited to certain wood. Some Crafters use a wand indoors and a staff or a stang out-of-doors. If a wand is not available, the power hand can be used when done correctly. The wand is usually not essential.

ward: There are three uses or meanings for this word:

  • An Old Craft term for a land spirit, or anima locus, the spirit and guardian of a specific place.
  • To ward, or To ward and wane is to use the magical arts to create or to reinforce a magical barrier for protection, as in to "ward a house".
  • Also, as a verb, to ward off is to chase off or drive away through magical protective energies.

witch: A gender-neutral term for one competent in the use of the Traditional Magical Arts with the optional use of spirits, including familiar spirits.

The term more commonly used within the Traditional Craft (traditional witchcraft) community is Crafter, Traditional Crafter or Trad Crafter.

witchcraft: Witchcraft is the application of magic for an intended purpose.

Traditional Witchcraft is the use of our inner divine energy to influence and cause change in the physical world or to change personal consciousness, and to communicate with spirits. Witchcraft and Traditional Witchcraft in itself is not a religion, but it is the utilization of The Magical Arts. It can be used alone or it can be used in co-ordination with a religious framework.

The Traditional Craft (traditional witchcraft) is a modern manifestation of the old Pagan spiritual beliefs of the British peoples. Trad Witchcraft can be used to achieve a better world, personal growth, and to gain a better understanding of Nature Spirituality. Trad Witchcraft includes the use of spells, protective spells, personal development techniques, healing, spirit travel, and divination.

withershins or widdershins: A Scottish lowlands term to walk to the left or counter-clockwise within a compass round or during ritual. Traditionally most Trads walk withershins only when they wish to dissipate energy, during the closing of a compass, and during such rites as the purification of a house.

The actual direction you move is not important to spirits or to energy, it is a matter of tradition. The opposite of withershins is deosil.

wizard: From the Middle English, meaning one who is wise, originally, the term did not imply a witch. Today it implies a male practitioner of the Magical Arts. However, even though "wizard" is not an offensive term, it is usually not used in the Traditional Craft or magical communities today.

Before modern times, virtually every village and town in Britain and Northern Europe had at least one member of the community that was an "adept", a master of magic. If a male, he was sometimes be called a "wizard". As with most Wise Women, wizards were thought of as cunning, in the sense of being bright and especially gifted. Wizards were often highly respected members of the community.

wort: From the Old English word meaning a useful plant. Today it is more closely thought of as: an herb; therefore the term wort cunning is understood to mean: herbal knowledge


Yule: (pronounced: you`el) - A pagan festival from early history celebrated during the period around the Winter Solstice in many areas of Europe. A similar festival was called Saturnalia in the Roman Empire.

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Redesigned and Updated on 14 May 2019  

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