Tradition means a way of celebrating the God and Goddess by the use of semi-structured guild lines passed down through the years, with various modifications to suit the needs of the group along the way. Listed below are some of the different Traditions/Trads and sects Witches use today.
Alexandrian: Founded in England during the 1960s, Alex Sanders referred to himself as the “King” of his Witches. The rituals are said to be modified Gardenarian. Alexandrian Wicca is also considered “Classical Wicca.” Alexandrian covens focus strongly upon training in the area of ceremonial magick. For many years Sanders insisted he was a Hereditary Witch, taught by his grandmother, but he eventually confessed to basing his Tradition upon Gardnerian teachings.
Algard Tradition: A Wiccan religious tradition founded by Mary Nesnick, of N.Y. City, in late 70’s. Their Book of Shadows includes a combination of Gardnerian and Alexandrian components.
Algard Wicca: A Wiccan tradition that combines both Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca traditions, founded in 1972 by Mary Nesnick, an American who was initiated into both Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions.
Amarapura: Ceylonese Buddhism – American Tradition: This Wiccan tradition is an offshoot of Gardnerian Wicca, founded by Ed Fitch and several Southern Californian Gardnerians in the late 70’s. The tradition includes Gardnerian material and additional material supplied by the founders. This tradition is sometimes known as Mohsian, after two of the founders whose last name was Mohs.
American Celtic Wicca: “The American Order of the Brotherhood of the Wicca” covens stem from Jessica Bell “Lady Sheba”, a self styled Witch Queen. The tradition‚s rites are virtually the same as the Gardnerian, though covens work robed. They follow the same practice of Gardnerians in preferring couples; preferably husband and wife. “Ceremonial magick is the primary work of the American Celtic tradition and it is conceived as being the most powerful and ancient means of psychological and occult therapy by which normal, healthy people can undertake a program of initiation and development.”
American Wicca: An offshoot of Gardnerian Wicca, founded by Ed Fitch and several Southern Californian Gardnerians in the late 1970’s. The tradition includes Gardnerian material and additional material supplied by the founders. Also known as Mohsian Wicca.
Analogeticists: Those who follow the teachings of Ammonius Saccas, named for their use of analogy and correspondence in the interpretation of myths and symbolic legends.
Arcadian Tradition: A Male oriented worship of the Horned God, less sexist than Dianic Wicca, as most Arcadian groups admit women.
Arcadian Wicca: A Wiccan tradition centered around worship of the Horned God. Covens are open to both males and females.
Ár Ndraiocht Fein: („Our Own Druidism‰) A Druid Fellowship founded in 1983 by P.E.I (Isaac) Bonewits, former Archdruid of several groves in the Reformed Druids of North America. Ár Ndraíocht Féin is an American based neo-pagan Druid religious fellowship. It has no direct links to the ancient Druids but is a reconstruction of Druidic and Indo-European pagan rituals and religions. It integrates religion with alternate healing arts, ecology-consciousness, psychic development and artistic expression. It is organized in groves, many of them named after trees. They have eight seasonal High Days (celebrated on the same dates as the Sabbats) and they conduct regular study and discussion groups in addition to a wide range of artistic activities.
Asatru: Also known as Odinism. The pagan religion based on that of early Northern Europe, paying homage to the Aerir, These are the Sky Gods, of the Pagan Norse, including Odin, Thor, Balder, Loki and Frigga. The aesir were late comers to Norse religion compared to the deities of the other branch. The Vanir, or Earth Gods. Asatru includes the religious practice of Odinists, who give special reverence to the God Odin. Their love of Norse culture in general, not only the religion, has encouraged the growth of special interest groups dedicated to traditional Norse crafts and skills. See alsoTeutonic Witch.
Asatru Free Assembly: A Norse Pagan tradition founded in 1972 by Stephen McNallen that recognizes both the Aesir and the Vanir.
Association Of Cymry Wiccae: One of the oldest Witchcraft associations in the U.S. Founded in 1967, it provides member Churches, Covens or Groves with Federal I.R.S. Tax Exempt status. It has included every major Wicca tradition in its membership at one time or another. It consists of member Witch and Wiccan churches whose traditions derive most of their religious philosophy from Celtic sources.
Australian Wicca: The Craft is alive and well “down under” as it is in virtually every country around the globe, with Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Seax Wica and other groups there. There is a branch of The Church of the Old Religion in Western Australia. Unfortunately, I don‚t know much about this tradition.
Avonian Wicca – Tradition initiated by Avon Maser. Primary deities are Mother Earth, Father Sun and Daughter Moon. Based in belief in an ecological pattern of technology to achieve advancement of Human race.
Baltic: The reconstructionist religions of the Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian peoples. Like their neighbors, the Slavs, folklore and custom are important elements in their practices and rituals and the ‘Balts’ have largely maintained their language, folklore, pagan beliefs and customs throughout the centuries. Nature as a sacred force is emphasized as is harmony both within the individual and in society and the relationship with the gods and ancestors.
Bardic Wicca: A mix of Celtic Wicca and Celtic Druidry.
Basildean: A Gnostic sect founded by Basilides of Alexandria, who claimed to have received his esoteric doctrines from Glaucus, a disciple of the Apostle Peter. The system had three grades: material, intellectual, and spiritual and it possessed two allegorical statues, male and female. The doctrine had many points of resemblance to that of the Ophites and Cabala.
Bon: The native Tibetan religion that was later merged with Buddhism and Tantrism.
British: A mix of Celtic and Gardenarian beliefs. Most famous organization at this time is the International Red Garters. British Traditionals move mostly from within the Farrar studies (the famous Witch husband and wife from England.) They too are fairly structured in their beliefs, and train through the degree process. Their covens are also co-ed.
Buddhism: The religion based on the doctrine of Gautama Buddha that asserts suffering is inseparable from existence and that enlightenment is achieved by the inward extinction of the self and of the senses. Buddhism is the predominant religion of eastern and central Asia, and is represented by many different sects.
Caledonii: Formally known as the Hecatine Tradition, this denomination of the Craft is Scottish in origin, and still preserves the unique festivals of the Scots.
Carpocratian: A sect of Gnosticism founded by Carpocrites of Alexandria. Carpocrites claimed that Christ had studied the mysteries at the Temple of Isis in Egypt for six years and had taught these mysteries to his apostles, who in turn, taught Carpocrites. The sect was believed to have lasted for several centuries and used theurgic magick.
Celtic Reconstructionism: A culturally specific and historically based pagan path that attempts to recreate the religion of the ancient Celtic peoples of Western Europe and the British Isles. It embodies a strong reverence for nature.
Celtic Shamanism: A shamanic path that is based on the Faery Faith of the Celtic peoples of Western Europe and especially of Britain, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Cornwall, Isle of Man and Brittany.
Celtic Tradition: 1.) Old Celtic Tradition as practiced by the late Lady Gwynne (or Gwen) Thompson d. 1987. This is a tradition similar to Welsh Traditional but which adopted rituals similar to those of Gardnerian. This Family Tradition derived from Southern Welsh sources and was brought to the U.S. through Nova Scotia. 2.) American Celtic Tradition as practiced by Lady Sheba (Jessie Bell) allegedly derived from Family traditional, Mike Howard of “The Cauldron” in Wales, and Gardnerian sources. 3.) In England, British Celtic covens are called tribes and are led by Elders instead of High Priests and High Priestesses.
Celtic Wicca: The use of a Celtic/Druidic pantheon mixed with a little ritual Gardnerian, and heavily stressing the elements, nature and the Ancient Ones. They had a vast knowledge of and respect for the healing and magickal qualities of plants and stones, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, the little people, gnomes and fairies.
Celtic Witan Church: The legally incorporated church and religious organization formed for the study and practice of the goddess-oriented nature-based religion of the ancient Celtic peoples called Wita. This is a fertility religion concerned with all aspects of prosperity, growth, abundance, creativity, and healing. The Church honors the Celtic deities with full moon rituals and sabbat festivals. There are many open rituals and training programs.
Ceremonial Magician: Practitioner of High Magic. Well known groups include the Freemasons, The Order of the Golden Dawn, Thelema, and the OTO.
Ceremonial Witchcraft: Followers of this Tradition uses a great deal of ceremonial magick in their practices. Detailed rituals with a flavor of Egyptian magick are sometimes a favorite, or they may use the Qabbalistic magick.
Christianity: The doctrine of faith based on the acceptance of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah and the Son of God (Yahweh/Jehovah) in accordance with the New Testament in the Bible. Christianity encompasses religions including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Mormon and Fundamentalist Christian sects.
Church & School Of Wicca: A Welsh-based Wiccan tradition founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost in the early 1970’s. The Frosts are coauthors of The Witches Bible.
Church Of All Worlds: A Neo-Pagan religion founded in 1962 and incorporated March 4, 1968 that is inspired by science fiction as mythology. It is dedicated to the celebration of Life, maximizing the potential of mankind, and achieving the balance between individual freedom, personal responsibility, and collective harmony in Nature.
Church Of The Eternal Source: A Neo-Pagan religion founded by Don Harrison in 1970 and based on a reconstruction of the Mysteries of ancient Egypt and the worship of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.
Church Of Satan: The controversial form of Satanism founded by Anton LaVey in 1966, which split into several factions in 1975. Practitioners follow the Satanic Bible (written by LaVey) as scripture. The Church of Satan does not recognize the existence of Satan as an entity but uses the name as a symbol of the material world and the carnal nature of man. The Church of Satan renounce sacrifice and crime as conducive to meeting their spiritual goals.
Church Of Seven Arrows: A Universal Life Church congregation with a shamanic component that was founded in 1975. See also: Shamanism.
Church Of Y Tylwyth Teg: Their stated purpose is “to seek that which is of the most worth in the world to exalt the dignity of every person, the human side of our daily activities and the maximum service to humanity to aid humanities, search in the Great Spirit´s Universe for identity, for development and for happiness to re link humanity with itself and nature.” It is, as its name suggests, a Keltic/Welsh tradition and was originally organized by Bill Wheeler, in Washington D.C in 1967, as “The Gentle People.‰ It teaches the balance of nature, folklore, mythology and the mysteries and was incorporated as a non profit (religious) organization, in the state of Georgia, in 1977. The Church has an “Outer Circle” of students, who may learn through correspondence, together with its inner core.
Circle Wicca: American; founders Selena Fox and Jim Alan in 1974. Circel Sanctuary is a 200-acre Nature preserve in Wisconsin. More closely aligned to Shamanism and Native American Traditions then European Wicca.
Council Of American Witches: An alliance of American Wiccans from different traditions that was active in 1973-74 in an effort to define the principles of Wicca. Carl Weschcke, a Wiccan priest and president of Llewellyn Publications, spearheaded the effort. The group drafted „The Principles of Wiccan Belief‰ which many Witches endorse and which was later incorporated into one or more editions of the handbook for
chaplains in the United States Army.
Covenant Of The Goddess Wicca: A cross-traditional federation of over one hundred covens, solitary elders and associates who organized in 1975 at Coeden Brith. The Covenant works to have Wicca recognized as a legitimate and legally recognized religion. It is incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in California, though it has grown to be a nationwide organization with members throughout the United States, as well as a few in Canada and Overseas. Decisions are made at an annual Grand Council or in local councils which may cover a city, state or an even larger area. A coven can apply for membership if it a cohesive, self-perpetuating group which has been meeting for six months or more; the group follows the code of ethics defined by COG; the coven has three or more members studying for the priesthood, one of whom is an Elder; and the focus of the group’s ritual and theology is the worship of the Goddess and the Old Gods (or the Goddess alone).
Coven Of The Forest, Far And Forever: This is newer denomination and therefore not found as widely spread as some of the others listed. It was formed by a Priest and Priestess with collective experiences in Dianic, hereditary Spanish, Egyptian and Gardnerian Wicca plus Qabbalism. There is good balance between the male and female aspects. The group “sees the Goddess and God figures as living representatives of even more fundamental, living forces which manifest on a variety of levels. “Their stated purpose is “is to make ourselves more fit as vehicles for these forces, by invoking them to, in turn, balance and develop our own natures and grow closer to the universe. “The worship is skyclad and without the use of drugs. Esbats are held at each moon and there is emphasis on the Book of Shadows being personally handwritten.
The Craft: Traditional Witchcraft, These people practice the Craft and its Arts.(Masons also refer to Masonry as “The Craft” and is the actual origin of this term.)
Deboran Witchdom: “The Deboran branch is eclectic. They make little ritual use of nudity. They work with balanced polarities (Goddess/God; positive/negative). What they are aiming for is a reconstruction of the Craft as it would be if the Burning Times had never happened as if Wiccedom had continued without interference to this day. They use research, logical deduction and divination in this quest. “Sabbats are open to guests but Esbats are closed. They do not have First, Second and Third degrees as such, but “apprentices, ‘sealed and sworn’ Witches and Elders. They view the Craft as a priesthood with a ministry and their principle job, as Witches, is to help others find pathways to religious experience and to their own power.‰ The Deboran tradition was founded by Claudia haldane.
Dianic: First pinpointed by Margaret Murray in 1921 in “The Witch-Cult in Western Europe,” this term appears to include a mixture of various traditions. However, their prime focus in recent years is on the Goddess. Dianic groups often allow only women members and may concentrate only on Goddess energy. Specifically, they work with the image of Goddess as maiden, mother, and crone, known as the Triple Goddess resulting in pegging them as the “feminist” movement of the Craft.
Dianic Feminist Wicce: A tradition started by Ann Forfreedom that is both religious and practices magick. It includes both female and male practitioners “Its not lesbian oriented and not separatist” states Ann, solo practitioners, mixed covens and all female covens. “Dianic Feminist Wicce encourages female leadership, insists that a Priestess must be present for a Circle ritual to be held and involves its practitioners in feminist and humanist issues.” Groups work either skyclad or robed.
Dionysian: Lunar or Nature orientated, they concentrate on the emotional aspects and liberating of the psyche, to enable the “group Mind.(Named for Dionysus the Greek God of wine and Ecstasy)
Discordianism (Erisian): *The Discordian or Erisian movement is described as a ‘Non- Prophet Irreligious Disorganization and has claimed ‘The Erisian revelation is not a complicated put-on disguised as a new religion, but a new religion disguised as a complicated put-on. ” It all started with the*’Principia Discordia, or How I Found the Goddess and What I Did to Her When I Found Her’*, a collection of articles and ideas compiled by Greg Hill(Malaclypse the Young-er). The central theme is ‘Chaos is every bit as important as Order’ as illustrated in the story of The curse of Greyface, a story found in Star Hawk’s the Spiral Dance.
*Humor is central to Discordianism, but Discordianism should not be dismissed as a joke. Profound experiences frequently accompany the practice or Erisinaism. It is a perceptual game, one which demonstrates that the absurd is just as valid as the mundane and chaos is just as valid as order. It frees the practitioner from the order games (that most have forgotten are games) to play games with order or games with chaos, or both. The effects of Discordianism upon an individual can be far reaching and amazingly liberating.
Draconic: A definition are those witches who work with dragon energies and allies in their magick practice and rituals.
Druidry: The Druids were originally a priest caste in Celtic society, according to visiting omans, Modern Druidry apparently took form in the eighteenth century under the guidance of the antiquarian Reved William Stukeley. Druids celebrated the solar solstices and equinoxes with outdoor ritual in ceremonial robes. Music, poetry and oratory are highly valued in Druidry. Imagery used in Druidic rituals includes elements drawn from Celtic and Arthurian legends. Modern Druidry has many parallels with Wicca.
Dynion Mywn: The American branch of Dynion Mwyn, a Welsh tradition named for the faery folk. It emphasizes historical lineage, religious equality, and Welsh mythology and lore. The American branch is called Y Tylwyth Teg.
Earth Religion: This reveres the Earth, and nature as the manifestation of the Devine, opposes the wanton exploitation of the Earths natural resources
Eclectic Witch: Look in any personals column in a Craft-oriented newsletter or journal and you will see this catch-all phrase. Basically, it indicates that the individual does not follow any particular Tradition, denomination, sect, or magickal practice. They learn and study from many magickal systems and supply to themselves what appears to work best.
Faery Faith: A pagan religion based on animism, the belief that everything in this and the Otherworlds is alive and the faery folklore.
Faery Wicca: An Irish tradition centered on green witchcraft, shamanism and faery magick.
Family Tradition Witchcraft: A Tradition passed down within the family in an unbroken line and hence by hereditary descent. Many Family Tradition Witches do not consider their traditions Wiccan; some use the term Wicca to describe their family traditions because the beliefs and practices fit more or less closely with Gardnerian or Alexandrian Wicca. Also known as Hereditary Witchcraft.
Feri Tradition: The Tradition founded by Victor Anderson. Some refer to it as Feri Wicca, others insist that it is a Witch tradition, not a Wiccan one. Also spelled Faery or Faerie. Very shamanistic. Has nothing to do with the images of cute little winged people the name might invoke.
Frost’s Wicca (Wicca Celtic): Welsh, founders are Gavin and Yvonne Frost, early 1970’s. The Church and School of Wicca, apprentices gained through a twelve-lesson correspondence with self-initiation.
Gaia Wicca: An earth Wicca tradition blending Native American and European Wiccan Traditions. Founded by Kisma K. Stepanich in 1985.
Gardnerian: This was the first denomination of the Craft to make itself known publicly in the 1950s, in England. Because of that, many people mistakenly think that it is the only “true” Wicca. It is named for its founder, Gerald Gardner, who actually launched the tradition a few years after the end of the second World War. For many years Gardner was accused of inventing the whole concept of Wicca and of getting Aleister Crowley to write its rituals. Today he has been pretty well cleared of both these charges. The Gardnerian Book of Shadows can now be seen as a compilation from various sources, much of it actually contributed from Doreen Valiente. For a detailed examination of the birth of Gardnerian, see Janet and Stewart’s excellent books Eight Sabbats for Witches and The Witches’ Way.
The Gardnerian tradition places emphasis on the Goddess over the God, with the female generally lauded over the male. It has a degree system of advancement and does not allow for self initiation. Covens work skyclad and aim to have “perfect couples” equal numbers of male and female, paired. Covens are, theoretically at least, autonomous. Gardnerian Wicca is found in most countries around the world. Today there are many traditions which base their rites on the Gardnerian ones. There are also a large number of groups who call themselves “Gardnerian” even though their Books of Shadows bear little resemblance to Gardner´s original.
Georgian Wicca: If one word could best describe the Georgean Tradition, it would be ‘eclectic. Even though the material provided to students was nominally Alexandrian, there was never any imperative to follow that path blindly. George Patterson (the tradition’s founder) always said ‘If it works use it, if it doesn’t, don’t’. The newsletter was always full of contributions from people of many traditions. I’ve always felt Pat’s intent was to provide jumping off points for students and members.
Goddess worshipping / Goddess spirituality: Pagan religions in which the feminine aspect is dominant. Not Wiccan.
Hecatine Tradition: A Scottish tradition of Witchcraft that preserves the unique festivals of the Caledonii. Also known as Caledonii Tradition.
Hechiceria: A Mexican Indian magickal tradition that reveres the pre-Columbian divinities. Practitioners are most often male and are called Hechiceros, Nuguals, or Bruho Naturaleza.
Hedge Witchcraft: A non-initiated solitary practice of Witchcraft that focuses on the traditional European, especially British Isles, role of Witch as healer, midwife and seer for a community. Highly intuitive, Hedge Witchcraft emphasizes the practical role of magick in daily living over the religious doctrine and it is acceptable for Hedge Witches to be self taught and eclectic in the spiritual aspects of their faith.
Hellenismos: Hellenic or Greek Reconstructionists (Hellenists, Hellenes, Hellenism) are generally polytheists who worship and revere the ancient Greek Olympian gods. It is primarily a ‘votive’ religion where ‘offerings’ or gifts to the Gods are an important element of ritual practice. Hellenismos has a highly developed ethical system based upon moderation, hospitality and reciprocity, place great value on scholarship and specifically on the use of classical texts.
Henotheism: A religion that acknowledges the existence of many gods but chooses to revere, worship or acknowledge only one. They are often confused with, or assumed to be, monotheistic (believing in one god). Judaism and Christianity are examples of Henotheistic religions.
Hereditary Witch: Also called Family Traditions. One who can trace the Craft through their family tree and who has been taught the Old Religion by a relative who was living at the same time. Channeling doesn’t count. How far one has to go back on the family tree to meet the conditions of the first part of this definition is debatable. Family Trades (another name for Hereditary Witches) occasionally adopt individuals into their dynasty. This decision is never a light one, and usually stems from the lack of offspring to carry on the line, or the high regard they hold for the person in question. The ceremony is intricate and important. After all, it is not every day you can pick your relatives! It is much like the marriage of an individual into a family.
Hermetic Magick: A style or system of Magick that achieves results through mental concentration and other inner processes, without the use of ritual tools and trappings.
Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn: A Ceremonial Magick Order founded in 1888 by Dr. William Wynn Westcott, Samuel Liddle MacGregor Mathers and Dr. W.R. Woodman based on a manuscript said to be an old German occult order. Aleister Crowley is the most well known member in occult circles, but membership also included W.B. Yeats and A.E. Waite. During its height the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn possessed the greatest known repository of Western magickal knowledge. Three magickal systems were taught: the Key of Solomon; Abra-Melin magick; and Enchonian magick. Materials were also incorporated from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, William Blake‚s Prophetic Books and the Chaldean Oracles. Some of the texts included Christian elements and members circulated various Catholic and Anglican writings and sermons. Instruction was given in astral travel, scrying, alchemy, geomancy, the tarot and astrology.
Hinduism: The main religious and social system in India. Hinduism has various sects with the commonality of the belief in reincarnation, polytheism and an ordained caste system as its social base.
Hoodoo: An American magickal system drawn from African magickal practice, Native American botanical healing knowledge and European folklore. It is often confused with Voodoo and it’s practitioners are called Hoodoo, Hoodoo Doctors, Hoodoo Men/Women, Conjure Men/Women Conjurers, Root Doctors or Root Workers.
Huna: 1.) the traditional Pagan religion of Hawaii 2.) a magico-religious system invented by Max Freedom Long, who is attempting to recreate what he thought the original Huna must have been like. Most who consider themselves to be practicing Huna are practicing the later. Huna teaches that there are three selves: lower, middle and higher that may be integrated by directing Mana properly. Practitioners are called Kahuna.
Islamism: The monotheistic religious doctrine as revealed by the Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah. There are many sects of Islam and believers are called Muslims.
Jainism: (Sanskrit, jainas: “saint”) A major religion originating in India that has some similarity to Buddhism. Jainism does not recognize the authority of the Veda and its philosophy includes belief in the eternity of matter, the periodicity of the universe, the immortality of human’s and animal’s minds. It stresses non-violence and Jains are particularly known for avoiding harming any living thing.
Jamaican Voodoo: The polytheistic religion and magickal system of West African origin found in the Caribbean, South America and North America today. It recognizes that there are a multitude of gods and ghosts who each have their own myths, rites, offerings, taboos, and magical forces. Obeah is a healer god, who can also be invoked to bring illness and other calamities to one’s own enemy. Also known as Obea, Obeah, Obi, Oby, Jamaican Voodoo.
Kabala, Kabbala: A body of occult philosophy, doctrines, and magickal and mystical lore derived from certain Jewish rabbinical texts, probably originating in early Chaldean and other Mesopotamian cultures, possibly including ancient Egypt. Also known as Cabala, Cabbala, Qabala, Qabbalah.
Kemetism: A modern religion based upon the ancient Egyptian family of gods/goddesses and the concepts of Ma’at (all) and Netjer (the divine force). While many gods and goddesses are revered or acknowledged, the Kemetic religion is not polytheistic in the same sense that many other Pagan or Heathen religions are. In many sects of Kemetism, the concept is better described as a ‘monolatry’ or one god manifesting as many distinct personalities and divinities. Rituals and offerings are often elaborate and great value is placed upon both ancient texts and modern archeological discoveries and research.
Kingstone Tradition: A conservative American form of British Traditional Wicca. It has existed in California since the 1960’s. and was founded by a student of Gerald Gardner.
Kitchen Witch: You will hear this term every once in a while. Basically, this type is one who practices by hearth and home, dealing with the practical side of religion, magick, the earth and the elements. There are some who groan loudly at this type of terminology, viewing it as degrading or simply inappropriate. Just remember that the Old Religion started somewhere, and most likely the kitchen (or cookfire) was the hub of many charms, spells, healings, and celebrations. After all, where does everyone congregate during the holidays? Grandma’s kitchen has always produced magickal memories for humanity; visions of Mother making that something special for a sick child still holds true today for many of us.
The Left Hand Path: Black Magic. Generally looked down at and discouraged. Not reccommended though it’s not going to stop any one seeking a quick easy path to power to follow this.
Macumba: The Brazilian form of Vodoun and Santería. Macumba is not in itself a religion but the umbrella for the two principal forms of African spirit worship in Brazil: Candomblé and Umbanda. Macumba is sometimes used to refer to harmful magick, but that is more properly called Quimbanda. Macumba is also called Spiritism
Maidenhill Wicca: A “traditional” Wiccan group established in 1979 and having strong ties with The Coven of Rhiannon in Manchester, England. “Their main focus is the worship of the great Goddess and her Consort, the Horned God Their coven does not limit worship to one particular cultural/ethnic’tradition’. Rather, a thorough training in basic Gardnerian wica is taught and members are urged, after mastering these basics, to find that particular myth, cycle or path consistent with their beliefs.”
Mithraism: The Persian religion centered on the reverence of Mithra, god of Light. It emphasized the conflict between good and evil and the reward of virtue or punishment of wickedness in the afterlife. It was the principal rival of Christianity in the first three centuries CE and is believed to be the foundation of the concept of hell and Satan in Christianity.
Mohsian Wicca: An offshoot of Gardnerian Wicca, founded by Ed Fitch and several Southern Californian Gardnerians in the late 1970’s. The tradition includes Gardnerian material and additional material supplied by the founders. Also known as American Wicca.
New Fairy Tradition: Wiccan practice derived from the books and/or the teachings of Starhawk.
New Generation Of Witches: People who are reviving the interest and renewal of the craft. Both Witch, Wiccan and Pagan and Others of the same faith as we go into the new Millenium. New Ager’s, Mystics, Neo’s, Agnostic’s and More would fall into this term.
New Reformed, Orthodox Order Of The Golden Dawn (NROOGD): A Wiccan tradition founded in 1967 by Aidan Kelly and others. The ritual material is all original poetry, but the basic approach and ritual style was heavily influenced by Gardnerian Wicca. Most of the covens in this family are avowedly Neo-Pagan, but at least one adopted very British Tradition attitudes and went underground for a few years. The tradition has nothing whatsoever to do with The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
New Wiccan Church: An association of British Traditional Wiccan Covens.British Traditional” in this case refers to Gardnerian Wicca and very closely related traditions, e.g., Kingstone, Silver Crescent, Taran, Alexandrian, and similar branches of the craft.
Nordic Tradition: Pagan traditions that worship the Norse pantheon of deities and stresses conservative values of honor, honesty, courage and duty to one‚s family, kin and friends. In the 1970‚s a number of Norse Pagan groups sprang into existence almost simultaneously and independently of one another, in America, England an Iceland. Many adherents to Norse Paganism are attracted by the emphasis on blood ties and genetics, the warrior ethic and the Norse symbology. Norse Pagans recognize both branches of the Norse pantheon, the Aesir and the Vanir. A branch called Odinism worship only the Aesir.Festivals center on the seasonal equinoxes and solstices, and Norse holidays such as Ragnar‚s Day. Heavier emphasis is placed on skill mastery and shamanism than on magick and meditation. There are a few extreme right-wing Norse Pagan groups who believe they have founded a religion upon the Aryan race; and while some do include neo-Nazis, most Norse Pagans consider these people a fringe element not connected to their religion. Also known as Teutonic Tradition.
Northern Way: A non initiatory tradition that works robed. “They try to emulate as authentic and traditional re creation as possible of old Norse garb Their God-names are Old Norse, not Teutonic.They do cast a Circle, they do not ‘call Quarters’ Their tradition is Norse the group, however, is not hereditary in that members need to be of any particular family or ethnic group.”The Northern Way was founded in 1980 and incorporated in 1982, in Chicago. Its religion is sometimes called Asatru. They observe the four Solar Fire Festivals as well as those indigenous to the Norse religion.
Nova Wicca: An eclectic group founded by two Gardnerians.They work robed at Esbats and skyclad at initiations. The Gardnerian deityt names are used, though “working pairs may use others if they wish” Nova has a degree system, which is very finely tuned, and an in-depth training, some classes being open to newcomers. Grand Sabbats are also open to interested persons, at the coven´s discretion. Nova classifies it self as “a Mixed Traditonal, Teaching/Training Coven”
Obea, Obeah, Obioby: The polytheistic religion and magickal system of West African origin found in the Caribbean, South America and North America today. It recognizes that there are a multitude of gods and ghosts who each have their own myths, rites, offerings, taboos, and magical forces. Obeah is a healer god, who can also be invoked to bring illness and other calamities to one’s own enemy. Also known as Obi, Oby, Jamaican Voodoo.
Odinism: A form of Norse Paganism that recognizes only the Aesir, the Sky Gods, including Odin, Frigga, Thor, Loki, Balder and others. Odinism does not acknowledge the Vanir, the Gods concerned with earth, agriculture, fertility and the cycle of death and rebirth.
Old Religion: Italian Witchcraft, founded in the mid-14th century with the teachings of Aradia, the Holy Strega, and based upon the pre-Estruscian Italian belief system. The Old Religion is a worship of the “Source of All Things”, through the personification of the Goddess and God. Also known as Strega, Stregheria, and La Vecchia Religione.
Pagans: Paganism is not a single religion, but an umbrella term for all those religions other than the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. A Pagan is a person who follows one of those “other” faiths. Many Witches, Wiccans, Reconstructionists, and other Neo-Pagans simply identify themselves as “Pagan” or “Neo-pagans” when talking with others who may not be familiar with the complexity of the different belief systems. This can make it sound like “Paganism” is a religion instead of a collection of religions. Neo-paganism should also not be confused with the “New Age” movement, as Pagans are almost exclusively involved in distinctive religions while New Age spirituality draws from many sources and esoteric spiritual techniques which are generally added as an extra layer on top of whatever religion one normally follows. Note: The word ‘Pagan” itself comes from the Latin paganu(m), for “someone who is not from the city, rather from the country.” In Late Latin, this turned into pagensis, “one who is from the country,” and this ultimately became the French pays and the Spanish País, both meaning “nation.”-(From Etymologically Speaking at www.westegg.com/etymology/)
Pagan Federation: Founded in 1971 and formerly called the Pagan Front, Pagan Federation is a London-based organization that seeks to provide contact between the Craft of the Wise and „genuine seekers of the Old Ways‰, and to promote harmony among the various European Pagan religions. It works with institutions, governmental bodies and the public to present accurate information on Pagan religious views and rights.
Pagan, Occult, Witchcraft Special Interest Group Of Mensa: A special interest group (SIG) of Mensa, the organization for persons scoring in the top two percentile on IQ testing. Only Mensa members can be full members of the SIG but non-Mensans may join as associate members. Their newsletter, Pagana, is considered to be one of the best Pagan journals.
Pagan Way: An organization started as a movement responding to the high demand for applicants to covens in the 1970‚s. Pagan Way provided an alternative to the traditional intensive screening programs, and year-and-a-day probationary periods with an open, nature-oriented system that emphasized celebration of nature over magick. Although the Pagan Way organization fell apart in the 1980‚s, the rituals survived. Some covens run Pagan Way groups as training circles for interested persons and potential initiates. Those who aren‚t initiated into the coven can remain in the Pagan Way group indefinitely, become solitaries, or form their own Pagan Way group.
Pecti-Wita: A Scottish Solitary tradition passed on by Aidan Breac, who personally teaches students in his home at Castle Carnonacae, in Scotland. The tradition is attuned to the solar and lunar changes, with a balance between the God and the Goddess. Meditation and divination play a large part in the tradition and it also teaches several variations on solitary working of magick.
Pictish Witchcraft: Scottish Witchcraft that attunes itself to all aspects of nature; animal, vegetable, and mineral. It is a solitary from of the Craft and mainly magickal in nature with little religion.
Power Doctoring: In the Ozarks region of the United States, power doctors are backwoods healers who use charms, amulets, incantations and magick to cure illness. They cannot charge a fee, but may accept gifts and offerings. Power doctors must learn their Craft from a person of the opposite sex who is not a blood relative. They may in turn teach two or three others the Craft, but that they would lose their abilities should they teach more.
Pow-Wow: Indigenous to South Central Pennsylvania. This is a system, not a religion, based on 400 year old Elite German magick. Pow-Wow has deteriorated to a great degree into simple faith healing. Although Pow-Wow finds its roots in German Witchcraft, few practicing Pow-Wows today in Pennsylvania follow the Craft or even know the nature of its true birth.
Protean Family: A Wiccan tradition based on Gardnerian Wicca that are the lineal descendants of Proteus Coven in New York City. The High Priestess of Proteus, Judy Harrow, founded the coven in the Gardnerian practice during the early 1980’s. In late 1985, after a series of internal conflicts over some of the changes of practice instituted by Harrow, a body of Gardnerian Elders indicated a desire to disassociate with Proteus and her descendants. In the early 1990’s, Harrow declared the Protean Family to be a “self-aware subgroup” of the Gardnerian line.
Qabala, Qabbalah: A body of occult philosophy, doctrines, and magickal and mystical lore derived from certain Jewish rabbinical texts, probably originating in early Chaldean and other Mesopotamian cultures, possibly including ancient Egypt. Also known as Cabala, Cabbala, Kabala.
Quimbanda: Harmful magick in the Macumba Tradition; a Brazilian form of Vodoun and Santería. Macumba is not in itself a religion but the umbrella for the two principal forms of African spirit worship in Brazil: Candomblé and Umbanda. Macumba is sometimes used to refer to harmful magick, but that is more properly called Quimbanda.
Religo Romana: The Religio Romana is the pre-Christian religion of Rome. The modern religion attempts to reconstruct the ancient faith of Rome and its gods, goddesses and temple rituals as closely as possible. Every attempt is made to rely on actual historical and archaeological evidence and much emphasis is placed upon the original classical texts, writers and language.
Right-Hand Path: A term used to identify some traditions where Magick is never used for destructive purposes.
Ritual Magick: Magick that calls upon the aid of beneficent spirits and is akin to religion. Ritual Magick is based upon a blend of doctrines of Plato and other Greek philosophers, Oriental mysticism, Judaism and Christianity and currently is divided into three forms : Enochian, Thelemic and Eclectic. Enochian Magick originated with John Dee and Edward Kelly in the 16th century and communication with spirits involved the Nineteen Calls (or Keys): incantations in the Enchonian language, a complex language of unknown origin. This system of Magick was revived by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and studied at length by Aleister Crowley. In turn, Crowley developed the Thelemic Magick system from his studies and Ritual Magickians have since expanded to develop Eclectic Magick systems based on a variety of different systems, inclusive of Alchemy, Egyptology, Kabbalistic doctrines, Chaos Magick etc.. Ritual Magick requires a rigorous discipline and has an intellectual appeal, the mage derives power from God (the Judeo-Christian God) through the successful control of spirits, usually demons, which are believed easier to control than angels. Demons may be good, evil, or neutral. In its highest sense, Ritual Magick is a transcendental experience that takes the mage into mystical realms and into communication with the Higher Self.
Rootwork: An American magickal system drawn from African magickal practice, Native American botanical healing knowledge and European folklore. It is often confused with Voodoo and it’s practitioners are called Hoodoo, Hoodoo Doctors, Hoodoo Men/Women, Conjure Men/Women Conjurers, Root Doctors or Root Workers. Also known as Hoodoo.
Sacred Wheel Wicca: An eclectic neo-Pagan path based on Celtic beliefs, that focuses on balance and learning. Celtic beliefs are a part of their teachings. They state that they are a Wiccan religion dedicated to the health of Mother Earth, and to all her children in whatever forms they may take.
Santeria: (Spanish, santo: “saint”) A religion centering on the worship of the ancient African Gods who have been assimilated as Catholic saints. Similar in practice to Voudon, all worshippers of Santería could be called Santeros but the term Santeros usually refers to the priests or priestesses. The highest order of priest is a babalawo, who has the power to heal the sick, punish the unjust and to divine the future through the Table of Ifá. Also known as Umbanda.
Satanic Witch: One cannot be a satanic Witch because Witches do not believe in Satan. This had to be mentioned here, because, there are some people out there that label themselves as such and the two together is impossible if you know anything about the Wiccan religion. The people that call themselves Satanic Witches are NOT real Witches at all!
Satanism: The worship of the Christian concept of the Anti-Christ. It is not a Pagan religion although some Satanists refer to themselves as witches or Witches.
Scotican Wicca: A Wiccan tradition founded by Striix that is a mix of Wicca, Peti-Wita, Kitchen Witchery, and Ceremonial Magic.
Seax-Wica: Founded by Raymond Buckland in 1973. Although of Saxon basis, it was authored by Raymond himself without breaking his original Gardnerian oath. Raymond Buckland’s contribution to the Craft is a significant one. Not only did he develop a Tradition that is more than acceptable to many individuals, he also has written a large volume of textbooks on different magickal aspects and practices of the Craft, thereby enhancing many lives in a positive direction.
Shamanism: A shaman is one who helps people in their dealings with the other worlds. These other worlds are the realms above, beyond, and deep with the experiences of our lives. These are the realms of the spiritual, psychic vision and pure, natural Earth energies. In shamanism these worlds were traditionally represented as the upper world of the sky, or spirit levels, and the lower worlds of Earth and Nature.
Slavic: The Slavic peoples are not a “race”, but are related through culture and area. These regional groups include the Russians, Polish, Czechs, Ukrainians, Byelorussia’s, Serbo-Croatians, Macedonians, Slovenians, Bulgarians, Kashubians and Slovakians. In reconstructing Slavic religions, adherents place much store on Slav folk tales and stories. Dualism is an important concept in Slavic religion, but differs from the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ dichotomy of post-Christian thought. Here dualism is understood to be a system of complimenting opposites such as darkness and light, winter and summer, female and male, cold and hot. The God-brothers Bialybog “white-god” and Czarnebog “black-god” who rule the light half and dark half of the year respectively, are further illustrations of this polarity. Nature spirits also play an important role in Slavic beliefs.
Solitary Witch: One who practices alone, regardless of Tradition, denomination, or sect. Solitaries come in various forms. Some were at one time initiated into a coven and eventually chose to extricate themselves from that environment and continue practicing a particular Tradition or sect by themselves. A solitary can also be an individual who has no desire to practice with or learn from a coven structure, but still may adhere to a specific Tradition or sect through the teachings of another. And finally, a solitary Witch can be a person who has decided to tough it out on their own, learning from books, networking, and fellow Witches of different Traditions. These people have the ability to pick themselves up and brush themselves off, and live to try again. More and more individuals are selecting the solitary path rather than that of group interaction. Another name for a solitary Witch is “Natural Witch.” You may hear this word from time to time as well.
Spiritism: The Brazilian form of Vodoun and Santería Spiritism is not in itself a religion but the umbrella for the two principal forms of African spirit worship in Brazil: Candomblé and Umbanda. Spiritism is sometimes used to refer to harmful magick, but that is more properly called Quimbanda. Spiritism is also called Ma*****ba.
Standing Stones Tradition: The Wiccan tradition founded by Scott Cunningham for solitary practitioners.
Star Kindler Witches: Traditional Witches who trace there line of initiarory descent from both Gerald Gardner and from Alex and Maxine Sanders, through a line of Starkindler High Priests and High Priestess, according to the StarKindler Book Of Shadows, and who practice the Starkindler tradition of Wicca.
Strega Witches: (Stregheria, La Vecchia Religione, “The Old Religion”) Follows a tradition seated in Italy that began around 1353 with a woman called Aradia. Of all the traditional Witches, this group appears to be the smallest in number in the U.S.; however, their teachings are beautiful and should not be missed. It encompasses elements of the pre-Christian European mystery teachings and the ancient Etruscan and Tuscan religions. Many modern Italian Witches today, especially those who still reside in Italy, are Christians who have simply continued to practice their native Old Religion alongside the ‘new’.
Sufism: The Islamic magickal system.
Teutonic Tradition: A pagan tradition that worships the Norse pantheon of deities and stresses conservative values of honor, honesty, courage and duty to one‚s family, kin and friends. In the 1970‚s a number of Norse Pagan groups sprang into existence almost simultaneously and independently of one another, in America, England an Iceland. Many adherents to Norse Paganism are attracted by the emphasis on blood ties and genetics, the warrior ethic and the Norse symbology. Norse Pagans recognize both branches of the Norse pantheon, the Aesir and the Vanir. A branch called Odinism worship only the Aesir. Festivals center on the seasonal equinoxes and solstices, and Norse holidays such as Ragnar‚s Day. Heavier emphasis is placed on skill mastery and shamanism than on magick and meditation. There are a few extreme right-wing Norse Pagan groups who believe they have founded a religion upon the Aryan race; and while some do include neo-Nazis, most Norse Pagans consider these people a fringe element not connected to their religion. Also known as Nordic Tradition or Norse Paganism.
Teutonic Witch: From ancient time the Teutons have been recognized as a group of people who speak the Germanic group of languages. Culturally, this included the English, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish peoples. This is also known as the Nordic Tradition. See also Asatru. Bear in mind the Teutonic Witch is different from Asatru in that the Teutonic Witch has all the ceremonial trappings of Wicca that puts the Norse Gods in place of Celtic.
Traditional Wicca: A modern religion of Witchcraft is called “Wicca.” Traditional Wicca is based on the teachings of Gerald Gardner, is coven(group) based and each coven can trace its lineage (line of teaching passed on by initiated Traditional priests and priestesses) back to Gardner himself. There are offshoots of Gardnerian Traditional Wicca such as Alexandrian Wicca, Georgian Wicca and many others. Traditional Wicca is considered a ‘mystery’ religion, one that requires initiation by the coven and has a “degree system” or different levels of rank based upon coven training and the readiness of the initiate to accept the duties and responsibilities of that degree. Traditional Wiccan covens have a core of inner knowledge-often called the “Book of Shadows”-which is shared only with initiated Wiccans. Most Traditional Wiccans believe in the balance of male-female divinity. Traditional Wiccans are seldom solitary except for those ‘Elders’-usually former priests and priestesses-who may have retired from active coven involvement, have taken a voluntary sabbatical or do not have access to a Traditional coven in their area.
Vecchia Religione (La): Italian Witchcraft, founded in the mid -14th century with the teachings of Aradia, the Holy Strega, and based upon the pre-Etruscan Italian belief system. La Vecchia Religione is a worship of the “Source of All Things”, through the personification of the Goddess and God. Also known as The Old Religion, Strega and Stregheria.
Vodoun, Voodoo, Voudou, Voudoun: (Fon, vodu: „spirit‰) Like Santería, Vodoun is a blending the worship of traditional Catholic saints, Christ and the Gods (loas) of Africa, for example, a Vodoun practitioner could beg for intercession from St. Patrick and really be calling on their serpent God, Danbhalah-Wedo. Vodoun worshippers believe that the work of the loas appears in every facet of daily life and that pleasing the loas will gain the faithful health, wealth, and spiritual contentment. The loas speak to their devotees through spirit possession but only for a short time during ceremonies and manifest to protect, punish, confer skills and talents, prophesy, cure illness, exorcise spirits, give counsel, assist in rituals and take sacrificial offerings. The priest(houngan) or priestess (mambo) acts as an intermediary to summon the loa and help the loa to depart when his or her business is finished. Magick, for both good and evil, is an integral part of Vodoun.
Warrior Tradition: This is a practice of Wicca that strives to acknowledge the Warrior Archetype and makes it an active part of their magiks and rituals.
Welsh Cymri Wicca: A Wiccan Tradition based on Y Tylwyth Teg, a Welsh-based tradition named for the faery folk of that land, which maintains deeply Celtic roots and very humanistic philosophy. Students of both these paths are asked to place heavy emphasis on the study of Welsh myth, folklore, and faery lore.
Welsh Tradition: 1.) Y Tylwyth Teg, the American branch of Dynion Mwyn, brought to the U.S. by Rhuddlwm Gawr in 1966. Derived from the Tribe of Dynion Mwyn in North Wales. What distinguishes the Tradition of Y Tylwyth Teg from other traditions of Witchcraft or Wicca in general, is the emphasis on a historical linage (alleged to have been passed down from Prince Llewellyn) since 1282; a focus on religious equality (either High Priest or High Priestess may initiate or lead a coven (or grove); and the passing down of handwritten copies of books of power, which include: The Owl (a Book of Shadows), and thirteen books containing magickal philosophy, myths, legends, history, and rituals. These books were named after the Original Mythological Thirteen Treasures of Ancient Britain. The tradition includes a body of lore and ritual associated with the Welsh Mabinogion and Welsh Triads. 2.) The New York Welsh Tradition. This tradition was originally founded by Ed Buczynski with the help of Herman Slater. It is derived from The Celtic Tradition as taught by the late Gwen Thompson. 3.) A Tradition of Witchcraft derived from the teachings of the ancient Welsh Bards and practiced by Keith Morgan of Wales. 4.) A Southern Wales tradition called “Nementon”, which was brought to the U.S. by the late Gwydion Penderwen, who founded the tradition in the 60’s and 70’s in California, and is being carried on by his initiates.
Wicca: Wicca is a religion of veneration of Nature and the worship of Divinity as containing both feminine and masculine aspects. It is founded upon the spiritual roots of pre-Christian European beliefs and practices. When Wicca first came to public attention in the early 1950s through the efforts of Gerald Gardner, it was portrayed as the remnant of an ancient European fertility cult. Practitioners referred to Wicca as the Old Religion. It was also known as the Craft of the Wise. On the surface modern Wicca appears to be a folklore and folk magick system. On the inner initiate level Wicca contains pre-Christian European Mystery Teachings. It is the single largest tradition within Paganism, which is earth-centered, celebrates the eight Pagan holidays, envisions Deity as both male and female(which it calls the God and the Goddess), practices magick, and believes in an afterlife known as the Summerland. The Wiccan ethical system is stated in the Rede and the Rule of Threes. The Rede contains the ethical instruction to “harm none and do what you will.” The Rule of Threes states that whatever you send out from yourself will come back threefold.
Witchcraft and Witches: A practitioner of a nature-based/revering or folk belief system, art or religion. Not all Witches follow the same belief system. Some practice what is called the “Old Religion” which has its roots in Pagan pre-monotheistic folkways and beliefs and which usually follows the agricultural seasonal cycles. Many Witches believe in a polytheistic deity structure usually based upon the local gods and goddesses of the area of origin. Witches may practice alone as ‘solitaries” or in covens. There are also family groups or traditions that trace their practices and beliefs within the same close group throughout several generations. Some Witches consider Witchcraft to be a religion while others simply practice witchcraft as a magical art.
Witches League Of Public Awareness (WLPA): An international organization founded in 1986 by Laurie Cabot and Christine Dumas to protest the filming of John Updike‚s novel, The Witches of Eastwick, a gross misrepresentation of the Craft. The WLPA works to end prejudice and bigotry against Witches and Witchcraft. It does not handle individual discrimination cases.
Witta: An eclectic Irish path which keeps very old Irish traditions and combines them with the influences of the Norse. Witta values Irish Pagan history and recognizes that at each stage in its development, over many centuries, each generation has been able to add something of value. Until recent times Wittan covens were characterized by strict stratification and one-on-one teaching for its apprentices. Today most Wittan covens operate on a consensus basis and will accept self-initiation and the solitary life as valid. It is very similar to the Scottish Pecti-Wita which is evolved from Pictish, rather than Irish, tradition. Also known as Wita.
Wizardry: (Middle English, wis, „wise‰) Most often associated with the magickal systems of High Magick including alchemy, the Hermetic wisdom, and the doctrines of Agrippa, Dee, Paracelsus and other Neoplatonic philosophers. In archaic use, a wizardrywas synonomous with magick of any kind.
Y Tylwyth Teg: The American branch of Dynion Mwyn, a Welsh tradition named for the faery folk. It emphasizes historical lineage, religious equality, and Welsh mythology and lore.
Zen Buddhism: (Japanese, zen: “meditation”) Japanese Buddhism which is differentiated from other Buddhist sects by its strong emphasis on the concept that all things are one.
Zoroastrianism: The religion of the Persians before their conversion to Islam. According to tradition, it was founded by Zoroaster in the 6th or 7th century BCE. Its principles, contained in the Zend-Avesta, include belief in an afterlife and the continuous struggle of the universal spirit of good, Ormazd, with the universal spirit of evil, Ahriman.