Author Topic: Magic Terminology  (Read 12894 times)

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July 23, 2004, 11:18:54 AM
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Abyss – In Judeo-Christian mythology, it is the equivalent of Hell.  In Kabbalistic tradition, it is the level of existence characteristic of emptiness, and parallel to the eastern concept of the void, which exists on the tree of life between the sefira Binah, Chokmah, and Tifereth.

Air - In most magical traditions this corresponds with East, the colour yellow, the mind, intelligence and imagination.

Akasha – Essentially an Indian concept, the word itself meaning “spirit.”  It can be seen as the Eastern parallel of the western Quintessence, which is often called “the fifth element.”

Akashic Records - In the early part of this century the famed psychic Edgar Cayce brought to general society the thought form of Akashic  records. Supposedly, there is a giant data base somewhere that can be  accessed for information on subjects such as past lives, healing, and  other magical/spiritual practices.

Altar - A flat surface on which all ritual tools, symbols and objects are placed that will be used in the spells and rituals. In most Dionysian traditions it is placed in the North, whereas in most Apolloian traditions it is placed in the South.  However, in basic hermetics, the magician simply places is facing the quadrant in which the desired entity or force is thought to reside.

Amulet – An amulet is refined from “talisman” as being specifically a talisman which has been enchanted by the magician for some type of protection.

Animism - The belief that natural objects, and Nature itself, are alive and conscious; or the belief that an immaterial force animates the Universe.  Comes from the term “anima,” which means “soul.”

Angeology: The study of angels.

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.

Arcana - The two halves of a Tarot deck. The Major Arcana consists of 22 trumps depicting dominant occurrences in our lives. The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards (sometimes called the lesser Arcana) that assist in fleshing out the trump situations, or indicate smaller occurrences in our lives.  When used in conjunction with Hermetics, they reflect forces within the magician that can be called out for use via contemplation of the proper card.

Asatruar – A follower of the Asatru religion, from whence we receive the Northern Path of magic, and therein all runic systems.

Asperger - A ritual tool used to sprinkle water for purification purposes. It can be a crafted artifact or something as simple as a pinecone.

Aspirant – One who is not yet initiated in the path of magic, but seeks to be.  Commonly referred to as a neophyte.

Assiah: The manifest world, according to kabbalistic tradition.

Astral Bell – A phenomena which often occurs upon the arrival of a spirit during an evocation.  It is a light, yet resonating sound similar to the ringing of a bell, and is characteristic of actual hauntings.

The Astral Plane - The Celestial level of existence, which is arguably divided into six levels that correspond to the 6 Heavens that are not material in
Judeo-Christian mythology. It is here that thought and emotions manifest, energy travels and is stored, and people try to enter when they Astral Project.

Athame – A knife blessed by the ritual magician for use in ceremonial magic. It usually has a double-edged blade and a black handle. The athame is used to direct Personal Power during Ritual workings. It is seldom (if ever) used for physical cutting. Depending on the magical tradition followed, it is either a symbol for Air or Fire. The term is of obscure origin, has many variant spellings, and an even greater variety of pronunciations. It's pronounced as: "Ah-THAM-ee" (to rhyme with "whammy"); "ATH-ah-may" and "ah-THAW-may".

Attunement - An activity which brings the minds, emotions, and psyches of a group into harmony prior to ritual: chanting, singing, guided meditation, and breathing exercises are common ways to attune.  Such things are commonly done before workshops, so that the collective wills of the magicians intertwine and work together.

Atziluth - The archetypal world, or Divine World, in Kabbalistic tradition.

Aura – The energy field of any living thing, though usually used in reference to the one which surrounds the human body.  It exists on several layers, and contains within it colors the meanings of which are unique unto the mind that sees them, and so shall not be discussed here.

Balefire - A fire lit for magical purposes, usually outdoors. Balefires are traditional on Yule, Beltane and Midsummer.  It is from the Balefire tradition that we have to thank the old scripture “Thou shalt not make thy son or daughter to pass through the fire.”

Bane - A term for coven or other magical group, and also a verb meaning "to gather together for ritual".

Bell - In some traditions, a bell is rung to alert the Quarters prior to invoking the elemental powers, and then rung 3 times afterwards to banish the energies which were worked with.  In the case of demonic invocations, it is rung 6 times, and then 7 times to banish.

Besome – A ritual broom used symbolically to “sweep away” energies.  It is commonly implied in Hindu festivals.

Bi-Location - This is an interesting practice. You use a type of astral projection in everyday reality by retaining the capability to be aware of your present surroundings. Similar to Remote Presence.

Bind: To magically restrain something or someone.

Bolline - The white-handled knife, used in magic and Wiccan ritual for carving or cutting materials necessary for ritual or healing. It is also sometimes used for harvesting herbs, and will have a small silver sickle-shaped blade.

Book of Shadows - A Witches' book of rituals, spells, dreams, herbal recipies, magical lore and so forth. Once hand copied on Initiation, the BoS is now photocopied or typed in some Covens. No one "true" Book of Shadows exists; all are relevant to their respective users. Compare it to the grimiore of hermetics.

Briah – The Creative World, or World of Thrones, in Kabbalistic tradition.

Burning Times - The period of European history roughly between 1200 and 1700 CE, during which the Church of Rome launched the Inquisition, an organized campaign of extermination against Jews, heretics/magicians, Pagans, and homosexuals. The most conservative estimate is that 60,000 may have been killed; estimates range as high as 9 million.

Candles - In addition to illuminating the altar, candles are sometimes used to mark each of the four Quarters, and can also be used in spell working. They are often anointed with oil and inscribed with magical symbols.

Casting Stones - Several systems of divination call for small stones to be cast upon the ground, or on a special board or cloth. These stones may be marked with runes, or their color may indicate their meaning. Also called Lithomancy(consult Solstice’s article for a better description).

Casting the Circle - The psychic creation of a sphere of energy around the area where a ritual is to be preformed, both to concentrate and focus the power raised, and to keep out unwanted influences or distractions.

Censer - This is a heatproof container in which incense is smoldered. An incense burner, it symbolizes the Element of Air, the smoke of which is often chosen by an evoked spirit to manifest in.

Centering - The process of moving one's consciousness to one's spiritual centre, leading to a feeling of great peace, calmness, strength, clarity and stability.  In the east, this spirit center is the Muldhara, or lower Tan-Tien.

Chakras - They are nexi, focal points of the human energy field. Energy centers, sometimes described as 'organs in the spiritual body,’ of which it is said awakening them is a process of spiritual enlightenment. There are traditionally seven major chakras, as well as many smaller ones.

Chalice - This is used to consecrate drinks during rituals, such as The Simple Feast. It is both a symbol of Water and the womb, and if filled with black ink, is often used for scrying.

Channeling - This is a new age practice wherein you allow a disincarnate entity to "borrow" your body to speak to others either through  automatic writing or verbally. Channeling does not have a very good track record simply because it is difficult to prove and the information imparted is usually not about things that can be "tested". Subjects normally involve distant prophecy, what the after-life is like, the structure of other dimensions, words of wisdom that everyone really needs to know before it is too late, etc. The best known and most accurate medium within our present century was the late Edgar Cayce.

Chant - This can be a rhyme, often intoned rhythmically to raise power. Such rhymes can be simple and repetitive, it makes them easier to remember, but it is not a requirement.

Charge – The foundational technique of enchantment, “to charge” is to fill an element with the desired energy.

Cleansing - The act of removing any negative energy, vibrations or images from an object or place by utilizing a banishing technique, commonly the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Cleric - Any magician who practices magic within the confines of religious dogma, most common today within Islamic circles. Notice the distinction between a Cleric and a Mystic.

Cone of Power - The energy raised during magic that is visualized in the form of a cone, where at its peak it is reaching for a specific goal. One method of visualization for the casting of a spell.

Consecration - Consecration means dedication to some sacred purpose. This is usually done to the ritual tools as a method of cleansing them.

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

Cord - It's also called a girdle, or cingulum. In many traditions, the color signifies a degree. It is most commonly used in the Wiccan techniques for binding or loosening spells.

Correspondences - A system of symbolic equivalences used in magic. Consult Liber 777 for a full compendium of such.

Coven – A group of magicians, usually witches, led by one or two leaders. They range in size from three to twenty or more, though most covens limit their size to thirteen or fewer. Covens are self-governing and vary widely in their styles and interests. Some covens are affiliated with a particular tradition of magic, while others are eclectic.

Cowan – Traditionally, anyone who is “non magical,” or simply a mundane person with no occult background.

Degrees - Levels of initiation representing spiritual or magickal development as well as skill, knowledge, and experience.

Demonaltry – The application of demons in magical operations.

Demonology – The study of demons, used in conjunction with demonaltry.

Doesil - This means sunwise, the direction of the Sun's apparent motion in the sky. In Northern Hemisphere magic and religion, doesil movement is symbolic of life, positive energies, good. It is much used in spells and rituals; i.e. "walk doesil around the Circle of Stones." Most magical groups below the equator, notably in Australia, have switches from doesil to widdershins movements in their rituals, for the Sun "moves" in an apparent counter-clockwise motion from this vintage point. (See also Widdershins.)

Divination - The art of discovering the unknown by interpreting random patterns or symbols through the use of tools such as clouds, tarot cards, flames, smoke, stones, etc. Divination contacts the Psychic Mind by drowsing the Conscious Mind through Ritual and observation or of manipulation of tools.

Divine Power - The unmanifested, pure energy that exists within the god-head, however you may personify it.

Dowsing - The art/science of using a pendulum or stick to find the actual location of a person, place, thing or element. Dowsing can also be used to answer yes or no questions, and quite a science has developed by holding a pendulum over a specially designed chart to answer specific questions on life patterns.

Earth - In many magical traditions, the element corresponds to the North; the colors black, yellow, brown and forest green; and foundation, stability, the human body, all solid material things, and prosperity.

Earth Power - That energy which exists within the stones, herbs, flames, wind and other natural objects. It is manifested Divine Power and can be utilized during Magic to create needed change.

Elder - One who is recognized as an experienced leader, teacher, and counselor.  There are still many organizations which use a “Council of Elders,” the church included.

Element: Any of the four elements recognized by Pluto as being present when burning a log in a fire. They are Earth, Air, Water and Fire. In Eastern Mysticism, this extends to five material elements, which are water, fire, wood, metal and earth.

Enchantment – To enchant an object is to charge it with a specific intent, such as protection, health, etc.

Enochian – The angelic system of magic referring to the practices that revolve around the information channeled by John Dee and Edward Kelly.  Named after the biblical patriarch Enoch, of whom it is said this information originally belonged to.

Entity - In magic, typically refers to a discarnate manifestation that exists not within the physical world, but instead within the mental and/or ethereal.

Esbat - A Wiccan ritual, usually occurring on the Full Moon. A common time for covens to meet.

Evocation - Calling up spirits or other non-physical entities, to visible appearance, typically via a catalyst such as smoke.

Ets Chyim/Otz Chiim - A diagram of the tree of life representing the process of manifestation, starting with purest energy, descending to physical form. It is composed of ten Sephiroth (singular Sefira) or spheres and the twenty-two paths that interconnect them, which are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each Sefira represents a certain energy or stage in the process of becoming or an aspect of being - so the Tree of Life is a map of the Universe. Like a blueprint of the process of any activity or situation, or a chart of the make up of an individual.

Familiar – Contrary to Gardner’s original beliefs, and therein the common beliefs of the modern Wiccan, a familiar is not a physical pet, but instead an ethereal servitor, usually given to the magician via command of a powerful devil, or the request to an elemental king or angel.  Traditionally, the magician is allowed to have four familiars, one for each 6 hours of the day.
Fascination - A mental effort to control another animal or person's mind. It has been referred to as "mind-bending". Although the technique of fascination runs a borderline when considering humans, it should not be totally disregarded.

Fire - In many traditions, the element corresponds to the South, the color red, energy, will, passion, determination, purpose, ambition and spirituality.

The Great Work - The Qaballah. How “great” it is depends on the magician.

Grove - An organized group of Pagans.

Grimoire - This is a magical workbook containing ritual information, formulae, magical properties of natural objects and preparation of ritual equipment. Many of these works include "catalogues of spirits." The most famous of the old grimoires is probably The Goetia. Most first appeared in the 16th and 17th centuries, though they may be far older and contain traces of Roman, Greek, Babylonian, late Egyptian and Sumerian rites.

God - The male personification of Deity in Wiccan paradigm.

Goddess - The female personification of Deity in Wiccan paradigm.

Grounding - Psychically reinforcing one's connections with the Earth, by reopening an energy channel between the aura and the Earth. Usually used to released excess energies.

Guardians - Ceremonial magicians use the Guardians of the Watchtowers or Guardians of the Four Quarters. There are those that see these guardians as lizards, dragons, angels, etc.

Handfasting - A Wiccan, Pagan, or Gypsy wedding.

Healing – The act of healing an individual, be it another or one’s self, via something other than the traditional medicines, and commonly refers to the healing which specifically uses psychic energies.

Heathen - A non-Christian, from "one who dwells on the heath".  Most commonly applied to the Asatruar.  

Herbs - Often used in simples, extracts, oils, etc for healing, amulets, talismans, insences, tinctures, etc.

High Magic – Any systems of magic revolving around the worship and implication of a god-head, and the authority granted therein.  The most common system of High Magic is the Kabbalah.

High Priest - The primary male leader within an order. Usually a third degree initiate who either helped found the order, was chosen by the former leader, or was elected by a council of elders.  Also used to refer to an adept of High Magic.

High Priestess - The primary female leader within a coven. Usually a third degree initiate who either founded the coven, or was elected by the members

Homeopathic Magic - Any magic system which uses synergy of forces within and around the magician to bring about a result. For example, the magician may synergize with the emotion of hate to attract an entity or thought form who shares like-characteristics.

I Ching - A Chinese system of divination in which yarrow stalks, or coins are cast to create hexagrams, which are then interpreted from a standard I Ching book.

Immanence - The belief that Deity exists within all things, including people, and cannot be separated from them. Corresponds to the grasp of Malkuth in Kabbalistic tradition.

Incense - These are often burned in ritual magic, for purification and as a symbol of Fire and Air. They may be in the form of sticks, cones, resins, or dried herbs. The incense chosen will depend on the nature of the magic being preformed, and often the forces being invoked.

Initiation - This is a process whereby an individual is introduced or admitted into a group, interest, skill, or religion. Initiations may be ritual occasions, but can also happen spontaneously. One common example of an Initiation is Baptism.

Invocation - An appeal or petition to a higher power (or powers).
Kahuna - This is a practitioner of the old Hawaiian philosophical, scientific and magical system.

Karma - The total effect of a person's actions during their successive incarnations, which determines their destiny. A Hindu concept in origin, though it has been taken and twisted by Wiccan paradigm as the Law of Three.

Labrys - A double-headed axe that symbolizes 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.

Lamps of Art - Candles used to illuminate the altar at a ritual; they may be white, or colored to correspond with the magical work being done.

Law of Return - Whatever energy is sent out returns to the sender multiplied. Some traditions say it is multiplied by three, and therefore call this principle the "Threefold Law".  A belief I personally do not adhere to.

Laws of Witchcraft - A list of rules for Witches, focusing on individual conduct and coven operations. They are sometimes called the 'Ordains' or 'Ardaynes'. Several versions exist. Their origins are unclear: they may be from the Burning Times, or recent, or a pastiche of ancient and modern.

Lemegeton: The sum writings attributed to King Solomon.

Low Magic: A very crude term, and one you will not find that I personally use. Generally refers to any magic which does not have some basis in The Great Work.

Lunar Cycle - It's roughly a 29-day cycle during which the visible phase of the Moon waxes from dark to full and wanes to dark again. Much magic is geared to the energies present at certain phases.

Macrocosm - The world around us.

Magic - Defined by Crowley as change in conformity with the will.  It is the science of expanding the individual’s sphere of influence in the universe.

Magician - Represents anyone who studies magic. It comes from the word Magus, which roughly translates from Pharsee as “wise man,” of which a group is called magi, or wise men. In the original Persian context, it referred to anyone who sought and/or was learned in the Arcane Wisdom, the most powerful of whom were hand-chosen to protect The Mountain, upon which it was believed God resided(parallel to Zion, Mount Olympus, etc). Interchangeable with “Mage.”

Metaphysics - Refers to anything considered outside the normal human sphere of interaction and performance, such as psychic skills, magic, chi practices, etc.

Microcosm: The world within us.

Mystic - Any magician who seeks a spiritual benefit from magic, oftentimes(within Middle-Eastern context) in pursuit of the Divine Wisdom/Doctrine.

Mysticism - Any spiritual approach to magic, be it religious or not. Most strongly associated with the Eastern mystics from the Hindi religion, but can apply to any spiritual magician.

Occult - Anything which is deemed as “unknown,” or mysterious. In today’s world, it typically refers to the sum of psychic and magical practices(leaving out eastern mysticism in most cases).

Operation - Interchangeable with spell, referring to the sum preparation and casting of the magician’s intent. Usually refers to a ritual-based spell.

Oracle - Anything used to divine the future(i.e, runes, pendulums, etc).

Pact - An agreement, or deal, between a magician and a spirit(usually a devil). Many people wrongly believe that it refers only to the selling of the magician’s soul to a devil in exchange for power. While it is often used towards that end(unfortunately), it can be something as simple as “I’ll do this, if you do that,” with no particular danger. None the less, a pact acts as a powerful connection between the magician and the spirit(now referred to as the pact-partner), and usually involves either the magician receiving more power, or the spirit(and all entities under its command) being subservient to the magician.

Psychic - Any studier of the occult who has refined his/her practice to those faculties which are most directly associated as phenomena of the mind’s power. Such attributed powers are any of the “Clair” groupings, precognition, remote viewing, Telekinesis, Psychokinesis, etc(there are many powers I left out). As of late, can be used interchangeably with the term Psion, which adds a level of energy manipulation to the practice(shielding, constructs, etc).

Qaballah - Also spelt Kabala, Kabalah, Qabala, and Cabala, it refers to the Jewish system of High Magic which was intended to bring about an understanding of the Talmud within the magician via personal ascension and unity with God. Most well known for its intricate use of angelic and heavenly forces to bind demons, forcing them to work for the magician.

Ritual - Any operation which requires a large amount of ceremony. In esoteric context, the operation in which the magician uses all five of the Magical Weapons, a magical circle, prayers, and any items of a helpful correspondence.

Runes - A set of symbols that are used both in divination and magical operations. There are several types of runes with different origins. A few are the Norse, Scandinavian and Germanic runes. Unlike the Tarot, they are an integral part of a magical system with its own pantheon, should you care to use it. They can function as an alphabet and are used in vision questing, dream recall, enchantment and practical magic.

Sigil - A magically oriented seal, sign, glyph, or other device used in a magical working. The most powerful sigils are those that you create yourself. Sigils can be used on letters, packages, clothing, on paper, tucked in your pocket, etc. The most common form of sigilization is that layed down by A.O Spare.

Soothsayer/Seer - Refers to a magician or psychic who has refined the faculties involved with seeing into the future. At higher levels, the seer has the power to step in and out of a fourth-dimensional existence, where time and space are immaterial. In magic, is exercised via Scrying, which is a method of acquiring knowledge by means of gazing(crystal gazing, water gazing, etc).

Sorcerer - Originally referring to any magician who practiced The Forbidden Arts(as seen by the High Priests). In today’s outlook, it may be used interchangeably with “magician” as a term to refer to anyone who practices magic, may be used to refer to a magician who releases large amounts of Raw Energy to create an effect(as opposed to focused bursts), or more recently(development of the late 19th century), someone who deals with the ethers. May or may not have religious and/or spiritual associations.

Spell - A very broad term given to the broadcasting of the magician’s intent, and may be ritualistic or non(though the image conjured is usually one of candles and incense).

The Threefold World - Refers to the existence of the universe on three levels; Celestial, Intellectual, and Manifest.

Vision Questing - Using astral projection, bi-location, or dreamtime to accomplish a specific goal. Also called path working.

Visualization - The effect use of the imagination so that the individual may better see the goal of his casting. Plays a key role in Eastern Mysticism, all types of magic, and the enacting of psychic phenomena.

Warlock - Traditionally means “Oath Breaker,” and has Celtic origins. According to the Scottish/Irish viewpoints, a warlock was the parallel of the middle-eastern Sorcerer. In today’s world is often used loosely to refer to any male magician.

Wizard - In today’s world, “wizard” lacks any defining characteristics as its own class of magician, and therefore usually refers to any magician who is not a sorcerer. Classically, Wizards were the keepers of the Secret Wisdom, and religiously stood opposed to the sorcerers.

This magic "dictionary," if you will, is subject to expansion in the future.

July 23, 2004, 02:56:30 PM
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Very good. Only on thing, you placed Bane after Charge.

August 02, 2004, 09:53:03 PM
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Wonderful article. Only 1 problem, Muldhara is the root, not the lower tan tien.  Svadhisthana is the lower Tan dien.  But thats just a technicality :)
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