AN INCOMPLETE GLOSSARY OF PAGAN TERMS.
A person who follows a religious path which is Earth-centered.
Including, but not limited to, Wicca, Druidic worship, Native
American Ways, Aboriginal Australian, pre-Christian African, and
in some respects, Shinto.
An archaic term, from the Old English "wice", meaning "Wise
One". Modern usage varies, but it is sometimes used as a synonym
for Wiccan, a practioner of Wicca. Applies to either gender.
Often used to mean a male Witch, but this is incorrect. The word
actually comes from the Old English, and means "oath breaker".
It refers to the Inquisitors' early tactic against Witch covens,
where a deep-cover agent was sent to infiltrate a coven, and
upon being initiated was to betray the coven members.
Unfortunately for the agent, the Inquisitors usually tortured
ALL initiated members of the coven, which included the agent.
Traditionally, a group of 12 plus a "leader". Most Witches
covens were originally built around this number, though the
Burning Times ended the widespread practice of this tradition,
as there were seldom 13 Witches alive in any given area. In
modern usage, "coven" refers to any group of pagans that wishes
to use the term. Note: The original "12+1" configuration can be
found in several Christian myths and traditions. Christ and his
12 Apostles, Arthur and his original 12 Knights, the 13 stars in
Mary, the Queen of Heaven's crown, etc.
The forerunner of modern Wicca. Literally, "the Craft of the
Wise". An Earth-centered religion holding Life as sacred, and
honoring both the Divine Female and Male (Goddess and God). True
Witchcraft was all but destroyed during the Burning Times,
though some family traditions (famtrads) have survived in total
secrecy (until lately).
(Note the small "w" here) During the Burning Times, the
Inquistitors tortured people for "witchcraft", which they
erroneously held to be a pact with the Christian Satan. Although
no Witches believed in Satan, the Church hierarchy did, and they
saw the Witches, with their pagan ways, as being servants of
Evil. Those who practiced witchcraft (small "w") were said to
sacrifice children and drink their blood, engage in wild orgies
under a full moon, and cause all sorts of trouble to the
"God-fearing". Confessions were extracted by the use of gruesome
tortures, and these confessions were usually used to convict the
accused at their "trial". The sentence was normally death, but
the accused or her/his family could sometimes buy their way out
by giving the local church all the accused's personal property.
The name given by pagans to the period when people were
imprisoned, tortured, and killed under the office of the
Inquistion. Although initially begun as an internal hunt within
the Church for heretics, the Inquisition was expanded to include
non-Christians, who were tortured for witchcraft (see above).
The death-toll from the Burning Times is held to be 9 million,
but it is acknowledged that only a small percentage of these
were actually pagan. The vast majority were Christian women.
A pagan Solar holiday. There are eight Sabbats in a year
occuring at approximately six-week intervals, corresponding to
solar events, i.e., solstices and equinoxes, and the midpoints
between them. The pagan New Year is usually Samhain (pronounced
Sah'-when), which occurs on October 31. This Sabbat, which is a
time for honoring those who have gone before, gave rise to
Halloween. Note that the word "sabbat" has been adopted by
certain satanic groups as a name for their own meetings, but
this is a modern corruption of the pagan practice.
A pagan Lunar holiday. There are usually 13 Esbats in a year,
occuring on the nights of full moons. On occasion, Esbats
coincide with Sabbats. These occasions call for a larger party
An ancient symbol, comprised of a five-pointed star in a circle.
The symbol has been given many meanings over the years. It has
stood for Mankind, the Element of Earth, as a protective symbol.
It is most often used to symbolize the five Elements (Air,
Earth, Fire, Water, and Spirit) bound together as one. It is
often called a "pentacle", but this actually refers to a flat,
round object inscribed with a pentagram. Either word is
Difficult to define, as nearly everyone has their own
definition. Natural Magic does NOT require the intervention of
spirits, and this is the form of magic practiced by most
Wiccans. Other pagan groups will vary. Magic has been best
defined (in the author's opinion) as: 1) Energies that flow
through and permeate reality, that modern science has yet to
quantify; 2) the use of these energies to affect a change in the