Friday, December 09, 2005

Magical Terms

Merry Meet

Just as in any type of specialized learning, the Craft has special terminology. As you read your books and web sites, you may have seen terms like deosil, widdershins and sky clad. Hopefully your books and sites have explained them. If not, here are some terms that you should become familiar with.

Besom- this is the Saxon word for broom. Not all witches use brooms in their rituals and that is sad. I think it is because many witches get tired of having to explain to their non-witch counterparts that they do not fly brooms. They are an extention of the staff or rod used by many witches, along with their wands. In the old days of the Craft, the broom also represented the hearth, whene many witches practiced the Craft at home in the kitchen. As I mentioned earlier, the broom was also a woman's weapon. While her husband might have a sword or staff or pitchfork, the woman could use her broom. The stories of the witch using her broom as a means of transportation come primarily from the confessions of condemned witches during the burning times. They often swore in their confessions that they flew their brooms(or the family goat) to coven sabats and there they worshipped the devil and sacrificed children to the devil and had sex with the devil. They swore these confessions after torture and usually just agreed with whatever the inquisitor asked them. Because the early inquisitors believed that all witches were Satanists, they were practicing rites that blasphemed the Mass and the Church and many of these charges are just the twisting of Christian practice.

Sabat- this a witches' holy day. There are eight Sabats: Samhain, Beltaine, Lammas, and Imbolc
and then there are Mabon, Yule, Ostara, and Litha. Not surprisingly, these holidays correspond with the Christian holidays. I usually practice my Craft holidays a few days before the Christian holidays (many of them happen that way anyway) and I put a Christian slant on them because I am a Christian Witch. Some of my Pagan and Wiccan brothers and sisters might disagree with me, but that is okay.

Esbat- are days of the full moon or new moon when witches do their workings. Spell casting is at its most powerful at the full or the new moon. That doesn't mean that these are the only times you can work a spell, it just means that these are the strongest days. These are the days when herbs are at their most potent and when your body is attune to the workings of nature. Blue moons are very auspicious and witches take special advantage of a blue moon.

Blue Moon- When a month has a second full moon. This happens when the full moon rises at the beginning of a month, has a new moon in the middle and a second full moon in the end of the month. Special requests should be made during this time.

Deosil- whether stirring a potion, casting a circle, drawing a pentagram, or calling the corners, all are done in certain order in a certain direction. The clockwise motion is deosil.

Widdershins- counterclockwise movement

Skyclad- this is working in the nude. Many of my Pagan and Wiccan brothers and sisters work skyclad, particularly if they can work outside without interuption (or breaking local laws) and if the weather is with them. I don't work skyclad and any coven who forces their members to work that way is trouble. There are no rules in any witchcraft discipline what require going skyclad. Even Gardner, the father of modern witchcraft, says this.

As I come upon strange or unfamilar phrases or words, I will add them to the list. If anyone has a word they don't understand, contact me and I will be happy to find it out.

Blessed Be

Aslinn Dhan