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Dictionary of Terms
from The Wicca Handbook
by Eileen Holland

 

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Akashic Records: The astral record of everything that has ever been done.

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Amulet: Something that is worn for protection, usually jewelry.

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Ankh: Ancient Egyptian symbol of life. It looks like a cross with a loop at  the top.

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Aotem Animal: An animal which represents a person, tribe or other group.

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Asperge: To sprinkle with water before or during a ritual, to purify with sprinkled water.

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Astral Projection (AP): An altered state, often achieved via trance, in which the  consciousness is freed from the physical body.

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Athame: Ceremonial knife used in magic and rituals. In Classical Wicca an  athame is only used ritually and must have a black handle.

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Aura: The bio-energy field of a living creature.

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Banishing: A magical working performed to remove evil, threats, darkness,  negativity or people embodying those qualities.

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Balefire: A fire lit for a magickal purpose.

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Besom: A magickal broom.

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Bolline: A white handled knife used for practical purposes (cutting herbs, flowers, etc.).

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Book of Shadows: A witch's handwritten book of spells, rituals and magical information (also called a Grimoire).

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Botanica: A Santerian shop that sells herbs, charms, candles, religious statues,  etc.

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Bruja or Brujo: Spanish for witch. (j is pronounced like h)

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The Burning Times: The historical period in Europe when Christians persecuted and tortured  witches and alleged witches. Thousands were put to death, usually by  hanging or burning at the stake.

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Censer: An incense burner.

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Center: To center one self's thoughts and energies.

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Chakra: Any one of the seven energy nodes of the human body.

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Charge: To infuse an object or person with energy; also an oath or instruction.

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Chalice: A ceremonial goblet that represents the element of Water.

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Charm: A magical object, action, or incantation that effects magic, averts  evil or danger.

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Circle: A group, less formal than a coven, of witches who practice, worship,  celebrate or study together.

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Clairvoyance: The psychic ability to know things beyond your immediate knowledge (also called ESP and the second sight).

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Coming out of the broom closet: Living openly as a witch.

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Consecration: A ceremony that dedicates a thing or place for sacred use.

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Corn Spirit: The spirit of a grain crop, embodied in an entity, person or animal.

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Coven: An organized group of witches who practice, worship and/or celebrate  together. Covens traditionally consist of no more then 13 members, are  lead by a High Priestess with High Priest.

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Covenstead: A place where a coven of witches usually meets, often the home of the High Priest or Priestess.

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Craft: The Craft; Witchcraft, natural magick.

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Croning: A ceremony held to mark a woman's transition from Mother to Crone, the  final phase of a woman's life.

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Crystallomancy: Divination by crystals, usually a crystal ball.

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Cedicant: A new witch in the period of study and apprenticeship before  initiation. The traditional period for this is a year and a day.

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Deosil: Clockwise. (Widdershins: Counter-clockwise)

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Divination: Any practice that reveals the future or unknown things. Tarot cards,  runes and crystal balls are all means of divination.

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Eclectic: A witch who works with deities from or worships within more than one  culture or mythological system.

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Elements - The four building blocks of the universe. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Major forces used in natural magick.

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Elder: 
    1. A witch who has attained a position of respect in the Craft.
    2. A coven member who has attained an advanced degree of initiation.

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Esbat: 
    1. Coven meetings held at the full moon.
    2. A Lesser Sabbat, celebrating Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox or Winter Solstice.

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Evocation: Calling upon spirits, elementals or other entities.

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Faery: Alternative spelling for fairy, to distinguish it as a belief system.

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Faerie Kingdom: The realm of the Faerie.

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Familiar: An animal, usually a cat, with whom a witch establishes a special  psychic/magical relationship. Familiars offer help, companionship,  protection, and usually unconditional love as well.

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Five-Fold Bond: A ritual tie that links wrists, neck and ankles.

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Fivefold Kiss: A ritual greeting of eight kisses between witches of opposite genders  in Classical Wicca, on the feet, knees, pelvis, breast and lips.

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Flying Ointment: A paste, usually containing herbs, that is applied to the skin to aid  in astral projection.

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Folk Magic: A culture's traditional magical practices.

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Gardnerian:
    1. Of or relating to Gerald Gardner, who is credited with reviving  Wicca in modern times.
    2. Any formal Wiccan tradition that follows Gerald Gardnerís system.

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Granny Woman: A female shaman, usually of the Appalachian Mountain region of the U.S.

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Grimoire: Book of Shadows, a handwritten book of spells and magical information.

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Grounding: To ground ; to root oneself firmly in the physical world in preparation for magicka; and metaphysical work.

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Handfasting: A Witch, Wiccan, Pagan, or Gypsy wedding.

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Hex: 
    1. n. A spell, usually negative; the evil eye; a curse.
    2. v. To cast such a spell.

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Hedge Witch: A walker-between-worlds, a non-Wiccan witch with a shamanistic path.

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Hidden Children: Witches, who must often keep their religion secret, are the hidden  children of the Goddess.

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High Priest or Priestess: A witch who has attained a tradition's highest degrees of initiation  and leads a coven.

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Hoodoo: African-American folk magic tradition.

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HP/HPS: High Priest/High Priestess.

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I Ching; The Book of Changes: Chinese system of divination that uses yarrow stalks or coins inscribed  with hexagrams.

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Incubus (pl. incubi): A malevolent male entity that takes sexual possession of sleeping  women.

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Invocation: Calling upon a god or goddess, such as for help or to empower a spell.

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Juju: West African word for magick.

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Karma: That which accrues and is carried over from one lifetime to the next  one. Karma can be positive or negative, according to what sort of lives  you have lead.

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Kitchen Witch: A witch who mainly uses practical magic centering on the home, hearth  and family.

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Kundalini: Dormant bio-energy resident in the base of the human spine, in the root  chakra. Kundalini energy is released through yoga and other practices  for enlightenment, intelligence and spiritual insights.

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Libation: A liquid offering to a god or goddess, such as wine or milk. Libations are  usually poured out upon the earth, but may be poured into a fire or offered in another way.

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Mage, Magus (pl. magi): 
    1. Someone who is adept at magic but not a witch.
    2. In some Wiccan traditions, a male witch who has attained more than  the first level of initiation.

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Magick: 
    1. Ceremonial or ritual magic; high magick.
    2. A spelling for magic used by some witches and other practitioners to  distinguish it from the illusions and prestidigitation of stage  magicians.

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Maiden:
    1. The stage of a woman's life between menarche and motherhood or  mentoring.
    2. The assistant High Priestess in a traditional coven.

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Matrix:  I use this word to describe the Universe as the Goddess-web-of-life.

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Medicine Bag: A Native American shaman's pouch, usually containing herbs, stones,  feathers, etc.

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Medium: A person who is able to channel spirits or other entities.

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Mojo: An African-American word for magic.

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Mojo Bag: A small bag, usually containing charms or talismans, that is worn  around the neck for power,
protection, etc.

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Necromancy: Divination via the spirits of the dead.

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Novice: Someone who has just begun studying the Craft.

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OBE: Out-of-body experience; astral projection; lucid dreaming.

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Ogham: Any ancient Celtic magical alphabet.

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Old Soul: A person who has been reincarnated several times.

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Omen: Anything which may be interpreted as a sign, positive or negative, from  the Universe.

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Oracle: A place or method for divination by means of deities, as interpreted  by a priest or priestess. Methods include the flight of birds, the sound of  splashing water or rustling leaves. The most famous oracle of the  ancient world was that of Apollo at Delphi.

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Orisha: Any deity in the Santerian religion.

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Ouija Board: A board printed with letters and simple words that is used for  communicating with spirits. It is operated by two or more people  touching a paten that moves around the board pointing to letters or  words.

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Pagan or Paganism: A Follower of an earth based religion.

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Pentacle: 
    1. A 5-pointed star inside a circle.
    2. One of the suits of a Tarot deck.

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Pentagram: 
    1. A pentacle that is written, printed or drawn.
    2. A 5-pointed star inside a circle.

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Postulant; Neophyte: A new member of a coven, someone who has not yet been initiated.

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Praña: The Hindu word for bio-energy, the vital force shared by every living  creature.

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Poppet: A humanoid figure that is used to represent someone for a spell or  other magical working.

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Psychometry: Drawing psychic impressions from objects while handling them.

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Psychopomp: A god or goddess who guides souls to the Underworld or afterlife.

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Reincarnation: Transmigration of the soul; metempsychosis; rebirth in another body after death.

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Runes: 
    1. The ancient Nordic alphabet, marked on stones or sticks and used  for  divination.
    2. Magical chants or songs.
    3. Any magical alphabet; the stones, cards or sticks on which it is  printed.

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Sabbats: The eight annual Wiccan festivals.

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Sands of Time: Sand taken from between the paws of the Great Sphinx in Egypt, used to  make spells and charms permanent.

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Santeria: An Afro-Caribbean earth religion that joins Yoruban god or goddesses with  Catholic saints.

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Scrying: Divination by means of gazing, such as into water, a dark mirror, a  crystal ball or a bowl of black ink.

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Séance: A gathering of people, usually seated around a table, for the purpose  of communicating with spirits.

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Shaman: A priest and medicine man, usually of Native American or Siberian  peoples. Shamanic practice includes magic, healing, shape shifting,  communication with ancestral spirits and divination.

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Shamanka, Shamaness: Words sometimes used for female shamans.

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Shape shifting/Skin walking: The shamanic practice, often aided by drugs, drumming and/or dance, of  mentally assuming animal form.

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Sheikh/Sheikha: Modern Egyptian Arabic words for magical adepts.

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Sigil: An occult or mystical sign, a paper talisman.

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Skyclad: Ritual nudity. Some Wiccan traditions insist on skyclad worship.

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Solitary; Solitaire: A witch who practices alone, without a coven.

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Sorcerer/Sorceress: 
    1. (traditional) A person who practices black magic, usually by aid of  malevolent spirits.
    2. (modern) Term used by some magic-users to differentiate themselves  from witches.

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Succubus (pl. succubi): A malevolent female entity that takes sexual possession of sleeping  men.

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Strega; Stregheria: An Italian magical tradition.

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Summerland's: The place where we rest after death, between incarnations.

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Synchronicity: A meaningful coincidence.

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Talisman: A magical object, usually one made or carved at an astrological moment  suitable to its purpose. A magickally charged object used to attract a specific force or energy to its bearer.

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Tantra: A Hindu path based on kundalini yoga and sex magic as ways to enlightenment.

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The Tarot: An ancient system of cards used for divination.

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Telekinesis: The ability to move objects with your mind (also called psycho kinesis (PK)). Telekinesis is a very rare gift that usually manifests  accidentally when a person is angry or upset. It is most often seen in  adolescents and fades with age.

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Third Eye: The chakra in the middle of the forehead.

bulletUnderworld - The realm of the spirit; realm of the dead.
bulletUnicorn - A magickal horned horse.

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Visualization: The process of forming mental images

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Voodoo; Voudoun; Voudu: Afro-Caribbean faith with both right- and left-hand paths. Like witches they worship various god or goddesses , use magick as part of their religion, and are the subject of superstitions and misinformation.

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Warlock: An old term for a male witch that no one uses any more. Warlocks were men who pretended to be witches in order to penetrate covens and betray  witches during the Burning Terms.

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Wheel of the Year: The annual cycle of the sun, the moon, the seasons and the zodiac.

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White Witch: A witch on a right-hand path.

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Wicca or  Wiccan: (a participant of) A modern revival of ancient Earth-based religions focusing on the goddess and god of nature

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Widdershins: Counter-clockwise (Deosil: Clockwise.)

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Witch Doctor: African shaman.

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Witch's Ball; Witch Ball: 
1. A mass of dried entwined herbs blown about by the wind; any small  tumbleweed.
2. A glass ball with a mottled surface that is hung in a window to  thwart witches and trap their spells.
3. A fancy dress party attended by witches.

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Witch's Bottle: A sealed bottle placed in the house or buried on the property for  protection. There are many ways to make a witch's bottle. Some witches  use the detritus of the year: broken pottery, rusted nails, junk mail,  etc. Witches sometimes add something personal like their hair, nail clippings, urine, a bloody bandage or tampon. This sort of bottle is  always buried, usually at Samhain (for the new year). Another type is a bottle filled with salt and sugar, and/or herbs for  blessings like protection, happiness, prosperity, and charms to avert  specific threats. This type of bottle is secreted somewhere in the  home.

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Witch's Ladder:
    1. A type of knot magic in which charms are knotted or braided with specific magical intention into cords, making a powerful talisman.
    2. A cord with 40 knots in it or a string of 40 beads, used as a  meditation device or aid to concentration.

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Witch Queen: A High Priestess whose coven has hived off two or more new covens.

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Wizard: Someone who practices magic but is not a witch.

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Wort; Wortcraft: Herb; herbalism.

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Yin/Yang: The opposite but balancing male and female principles. Yin is female (Moon) energy, negative and passive. Yang is male (Sun) energy,  positive and active.

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Yoni: The female genitalia as a sacred symbol of life, creation, fertility,  sexuality, the Goddess, etc.

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