Main Page   Proto Indo-European (PIE) Religion   Wicca   Mithraism   Ritual    Tuadem  
  Back to the Beginnings  Nuit    Dedicant's Program     Prayers   Suggested Reading   Suggested Links 
The Pagan Family   Paganism   And The Rest  Publications   My Blog   About Me   My Calendar  Contact Me 



Glossary



Asperger: A sprinkler used to sprinkle consecrated water.

Athamé: A black-hilted knife used by Wiccans in rituals. It represents fire, air, or spirit, and is used primarily as a means of projecting the Wiccan's will.

Ceremonial magic: A system of magic that uses intricate rituals to effect either material or spiritual results. Most (but not all) forms of ceremonial magic are heavily influenced by medieval Jewish mysticism.

Circle: A consecrated area in which many Neo-Pagan rituals take place. In Wicca it is considered to be an in-between place, neither in the sacred nor the mundane worlds.

Circle-casting: The ritual by which a Circle (q.v.) is constructed.

Demeter: Greek Goddess of vegetation, especially grain. The second half of her name definitely means "mother;" the first half may mean "earth." Equivalent to the Roman Ceres, from which we get the word "cereal." Good deity for garden prayers.

Dionysus: Graeco-Roman God of wine, intoxication, ecstasy, and faithful marriage. It is possible that his name means "Wine of Zeus." Protector of both the marriage and good old fun. (He also has a dark side, but he can be invoked in his friendly aspect.)

Dualism: A philosophical outlook which divides phenomena into two opposing categories. The possible ways of doing this are limitless. Popular ones include spiritual/material (metaphysical dualism), good/evil (ethical dualism), or male/female (sexual dualism). Element: One of the four (sometimes five) modes of existence. The elements are air, fire, water, and earth (some add spirit.)

God's eye: A decoration made from two crossed sticks entwined with yarn. May be used as ancestral images, elemental emblems, or seasonal decorations.

Guided meditation: An imagined journey to a sacred place or to encounter sacred beings which uses a text describing the journey. The text is read out loud and the journeyers imagine the journey based on it.

Handfasting: Originally a term for betrothal, it has become the Neo-Pagan term for a wedding.

Hermes: Greek God of travelers, merchants, commerce, and thieves. Oddly enough, even though he protected thieves, he also protected the boundaries, both of countries and homes. Although he was equated to the Roman Mercury (also god of merchants) by the Romans, he can be equated in the family context with Terminus (q. v.).

Hestia: Greek hearth deity. The fires in her round temples were tended by widows, but she makes a great hearth goddess for those following a Greek path.

Indo-European: The language family to which most of the European languages, (including English) as well as those of Iran and India, belong. The term is also used to refer to the cultures of the speakers of those languages.

Isis: Egyptian mother Goddess, invoked especially for protection. Her worship became popular in Rome, as well as among ceremonial magicians.

Guardians: 1. Spirits that watch over a place or group of people. 2. Adults appointed by parents as guides for their children. 3. Spirits that rule the four directions. (In this sense usually called "Guardians of the Watchtowers."

Janus: Roman God of doorways and beginnings.

Karma: Literally meaning "action," this Hindu term has been adopted by Westerners to mean the accumulated effects of a person's actions, especially with regards to their influence on rebirth.

Kamidana: A Shinto god-shelf; the family shrine in a Shinto home.

Kwanzaa: African-American festival held from Dec 26-Jan 1. Celebrates the strengths of their culture.

Lares: Roman guardians of the home and family.

Libation: A liquid offering which is poured out to a spiritual being.

Litany: A type of prayer which involves a leader and a group alternating lines. Lugh: Irish craftsman God. The most widely worshipped of the Celtic Gods. Equivalent to Welsh Lleu and Gaulish Lugos.

Manannán mac Lir: Gaelic God of the sea, particularly of the Irish sea. Connected also with horses, like so many sea deities. Under his Welsh form, Manawyddan, son of Llyr, he was the second husband of Rhiannon (q. v.).

Menorah: Jewish candelabra of eight candles, used to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish midwinter holiday.

Mezuzah: Small case containing verses from the Hebrew scriptures that is attached to the door frames of Orthodox and Conservative Jewish homes.

Neo-Paganism: A modern religion based on a blending of ancient Paganism with new ideas.

Numinous: Possessing sacred power.

Pagan: A practitioner of any of the Pagan religions, either of the ancient world or the modern.

Paleo-Paganism: The polytheistic religions preceding and surviving Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Generally thought of as referring to the religions of ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, etc., but it also includes some forms of Shinto, Vedic Hinduism, some of the surviving American Indian traditions, and the native religions of Africa.

Penates: Roman guardians of food storage. Frequently confused with the lares (q. v.).

Pentagram: A five pointed interwoven star, symbolizing the four elements plus spirit combining to form the world. (See appendix 1 for illustration.)

Power animal: A shaman's guiding spirit, manifesting in animal form.

Proto-Indo-European: The hypothetical language and culture from which that of the Indo-Europeans (q. v.) are descended.

Puca: Celtic nature spirit. Equivalent to Puck and possibly Robin Goodfellow. The name is actually from English; what Celtic word it replaced is unknown.

Rhiannon: Character in Welsh legend who was most likely a Goddess. Since her name means "Great Queen," and she is associated with horses, twins, and the sea, she was probably the Welsh version of the Indo-European Goddess of sovereignty. Likely equivalent to the Irish Macha and possibly the Gaulish Epona.

Saining: Common name for Neo-Pagan blessing of a child. The word was originally a Northern English variation of "signing," meaning "baptism." Shaman: A traditional healer who effects his cures while traveling in his soul in a super natural world. He is able to travel there by means of percussion and, less commonly, hallucinogenic plants.

Skyclad: Ritually nude.

Terminus: Roman god of the borders.

Thor: Norse God of thunder, battle, protection, and rowdiness. The especial protector of the simple folk, and thus a good household.

Threshold: The horizontal base of a doorway. A sacred spot, frequently the location of worship of household Gods.

Vesta: Essentially the same goddess as Hestia (q.v.; their names are related, and mean essentially "Household Goddess"), but Roman. The eternal flame in her temple was tended by the famous Vestal Virgins, but she was also considered to reside in the flame on everyone's hearth.

Wand: A length of wood of almost any size (although eighteen inches is common) used by Wiccans in rituals. It represents air or fire and is used primarily as a means of projecting the Wiccan's will.

Wassail: Spiced heated ale or cider drunk at Yule.

Wheel of the Year: Term used by many Pagans to describe the seasonal holidays when seen as a whole.

Wicca: Neo-Pagan religion developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s by Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, and others. Originally composed of elements from British folklore and customs combined with ceremonial magic, it has undergone great changes in America in recent years due to an influx of feminist and American Indian spirituality.

Woden: Old English God of travel, wisdom, justice, and magic. Equivalent to the Norse Odin and German Wotan. He travels the world in the form of a stranger in need of help, so it is not a good idea to refuse to those in need; they might be Woden in disguise.

Zeus: Greek God of lightning, kingship, hospitality, and justice. Protector of Strangers. His name means "Shining One," or perhaps "Bright Sky."