1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of
life forces marked by the phases of the moon and the Seasonal Quarters
2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility
towards our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature, in
ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness
within an evolutionary concept.
Continue reading “Principles of Wiccan Belief (as adopted by the Council of American Witches, April, 1974)”
This is a standard outline that can be
used for public or semi-public Druid ceremonies. I’ve spent thirty
years making this pattern esthetically pleasing, historically
plausible, magically powerful, and spiritually satisfying. Please
don’t casually throw pieces of it away (without determining how
you’re going to get the same effects), or inject portions of
non-Druidic rituals (such as “casting a circle,” “drawing
down the moon,” “invoking the Watchtowers,” etc.)
that make no sense in terms of this liturgy’s structure, esthetics,
polytheology or goals. Also remember that the “positions”
of the ritual leaders can be combined in several ways, depending
upon the individuals and talents available. Detailed instructions
on how to prepare and perform this liturgy will eventually be
found elsewhere in this website, by attending workshops on it,
or by reading my liturgical book to be finished someday.
Continue reading “A Standard Liturgical Design for Neopagan Druidic Worship 3.0”
Throughout all known human history, people
who had hidden knowledge (whether of healing, weather prediction,
mathematics, or magic) have used their exclusive possession of
that knowledge as a source of power, for purposes that were good,
bad or weird. The warrior caste has always done its best (or
worst) to take that knowledge away from the intelligensia and
to put it to political, economic and military use. Today, almost
all the hard and soft sciences have become tools for those who
wish to control their fellow human beings. The polluters, the
exploiters, the oppressers, and the conquerers, are the ones
who control nearly all the technology of overt power and a great
deal of the technology for covert tyranny.
Continue reading “The Political Implications of Neopagan Druidism 3.0”
A.D.F. and Keltria, along with other offshoots
of Neopagan Druidism, have developed in unexpected ways, diverging
from my original vision as they have grown. I still think it
worthwhile, however, to describe what that original vision was
and how it has grown in my own mind over the years. Hence, the
minor renaming of this essay from “The Vision(s)” to
“My Vision.” You will still, of course, find many within
the Neopagan Druid community who would agree with most of the
following, so I will retain the plural pronouns for much of this.
What makes the Neopagan Druidism that I envision
different from other Neopagan as well as other Druidic traditions
— and how is it similar to those that have gone before? To a
great extent, both the differences and the similarities are rooted
in my vision of the past, the present, and the future. That vision
leads me to express it much of it in terms of a commitment to
Continue reading “My Vision of Neopagan Druidism 4.0 or Useful Words and Phrases for the Interdimensional Traveler”
Note: This essay will make more sense if
you first read Indo-European
Paleopaganism and its Clergy, elsewhere on this website.
Our story so far: In the first few episodes
of our continuing saga, “All My Oakgroves”, we’ve established
two key concepts for understanding the world(s)views of the Indo-European
Paleopagans. The first concept is a polytheological and sociological
one called the “trifunctional ideology,” discovered
by Georges Dumezil and his followers. The second is a related
cosmological one of the “Three Worlds plus Fire,” identified,
I believe by me, from a variety of Dumezilian and other Celtic
and IE studies.
Continue reading “Indo-European Caste Systems and Cosmologies 1.5.1”
The following is a list of technical words and phrases which may prove of value to the reader, taken from the 1989 edition of Real Magic.
This will be updated over the next few months to incorporate
new terms and definitions, as well as polytheological vocabulary,
with internal hyperlinks activated, and will eventually grow
into A Polytheological Dictionary for Neopagans.
Readers should remember that many of these definitions and coinages
are my own, and that other authorities may disagree with me.
All definitions should be taken, regardless of the source, as
tentative approaches to complex realities.
- An antipsi talent for absorbing the power
out of psychic energy fields, including those around other beings.
See Tapping and Vampire, Psychic.
- The “colors” black, grey and white;
used occasionally to refer to moralistic schools of occultism.
- Active Ritual:
- One in which those persons raising and focussing
the psychic energies are not the main targets intended to be
- Active Talent:
- A psychic talent that involves the discharge
of energy or data from the agent to the target.
- One who is very skilled in magic or mysticism.
- The person or animal exercising a psychic
- One of the main “elements” in occultism;
associated in the West with thought, knowledge, yellow, blue,
swords, activity, daring, light, communication, heat, dampness,
- Akasa or Akasha:
- One of the “elements” in Indian
and Tantric occultism, equivalent in most ways to the “ether”
concept and/or that of “astral” matter.
- Akasic Records:
- A concept in Indian metaphysics, of a gigantic
repository of all the memories of every incarnation of every
being; some gifted ones are said to be able to “read”
these records (possibly through retrocognition or the clair senses)
and to gain data about past events. See Switchboard.
- A psi or antipsi talent for boosting the
power levels of psychic energy fields.
- Something that appears to be from a time
period other than the one in which it is perceived; as in medieval
knights and ladies in modern America or astronomical computers
in the Stone Age.
- A personification of what we consider good
or pleasant. In theoilogy, a being just below the main god(s)
in power for good. In some magical systems, a sort of “psychic
- Medieval science of studying angels. Question:
how many angels can dance on the head of a photon? Answer: give
the physicists who are working on quantizing consciousness another
decade or two.
- A little-used term for psychic phenomena
involving the interactions of animals with humans, each other
and the environment.
- The belief that everything is alive. The
Law of Personification taken as a statement of universal reality
rather than as one of psychic convenience.
- Divination from human entrails.
- Anti-Psi or
- A categorical term for several genuine psychic
talents that (for the most part) serve to frustrate, avoid, confuse,
destroy or otherwise interfere with the operation of normal psi;
they can affect the power and/or information content and/or vector
of psi fields within range.
- See Atomic Psychokinesis.
- Apopsi or Avoidance:
- An antipsi power that appears to generate
an energy field into which no external psi field can penetrate;
may work through transmutation, retuning or aportation; may interfere
with internal psi fields as well.
- a PK talent involving the seemingly instantaneous
movement of an object from one location in space-time to another,
apparently without going through the normal space-time in between.
- (1) Original astral form of a phenomenon;
(2) In the psychology of C. G. Jung, an inherited idea or mode
of thought derived from the experiences of the species and present
in the unconscious of the individual who picks it up from the
collective unconscious of the species.
- A method of altering the state of one’s consciousness
through the avoidance of comfort and pleasure; when extreme,
may become masochism.
- Aspect, Astrological:
- Angle formed between two items on an astrological
- A technique of psychic healing involving
the picking up of a patient’s pain and/or illness by the healer,
who experiences it personally for a short time, after which it
is supposed to vanish in both patient and healer; may also be
- Connection or correlation between two or
more objects, ideas or beings; thus forming a pattern.
- Association, Law of:
- “If any two or more patterns have elements
in common, the patterns interact ‘through’ those common elements
and control of one pattern facilitates control over the other(s),
depending (among other factors) upon the number of common elements
- Astral Planes:
- Subjectively real “places” where
some astral projectors perceive themselves as traveling; said
to be multiple “levels” of (a) material density in
the same space, and/or (b) awareness and concentration.
- Astral Projection:
- An OOBE or Psi talent that may involve traveling
GESP with the image of a body and/or the separation of a “less
dense” body from the normal physical one.
- Divination through the correlation of earthly
events with celestial patterns.
- Ritual dagger used by Neopagan Witches, borrowed
by Gerald Gardner from medieval grimoires.
- Atomic Psychokinesis
- Psychokinesis done upon the molecular, atomic
or subatomic levels; a subcategory of PK.
- Divination by means of whatever is most handy
at the time.
- One or more energy fields supposedly generated
by and surrounding all beings and many objects; those persons
blessed with clairvoyance or other psychic talents can “read”
the patterns of energy and determine information about the person
or object. See Kirlian Photography.
- Belle Indifference:
- Lack of interest or concern on the part of
a “hysteric” or RSPKer towards unusual events occurring
in or around him or her.
- Celtic fire festival beginning the summer
half of the year; starts at sunset on May 4th and is also known
as Bealtaine, Galan- Mai, Roodmas, Walpurgistag, St. Pierre’s
Day, Red Square Day, etc. Celebrated by most Neopagans and many
Marxists as a major religious holiday.
- Divination through the random selection of
words or phrases taken out of books, especially the Bible.
- Electrochemical energy currents generated
by living cells.
- Biological Radio:
- One Russian term for telepathy.
- The physics of biological phenomena.
- From “binary digit,” a unit of
data equal to the result of a choice between two equally probably
alternatives, used in computer technology. Eight bits usually
equals one “byte.”
- Black Magic:
- A racist, sexist, creedist and classist term
used to refer to magic being done for “evil” purposes
or by people of whom the user of the term disapproves.
- The use of magic to benefit an object or
- The native Tibetan religion that later merged
with Buddhism and Tantrism.
- Bonding Control:
- A PK talent involving the creation and/or
alteration of bonding patterns on the intermolecular, interatomic
and subatomic levels; thus causing disintegration or cohesion.
See Geller Effect.
- Boomerang Curse:
- Spell designed to make an attacker suffer
the effects of whatever hostile magic they may have launched
at the user; a variation of the “mirror effect,” probably
operates through reddopsi.
- See Kabbalah.
- Divination through the use of cards, especially
- Casting Runes:
- (1) Divination through the use of small objects
which have been inscribed with runic letters. (2) A method of
focusing or firing a spell through the carving or writing of
- An antipsi talent for the generation of strong
fields of psychic static, frequently at such high intensity that
all other psi fields within range are disrupted and/or drowned
out, usually with the information content of those fields collapsing
- Cause and Effect, Law of:
- “If exactly the same actions are done
under exactly the same conditions, they will usually be associated
with exactly the same ‘results’.”
- Cellular Psychokinesis or CPK:
- A subcategory of PK, involving the use of
what is probably several different APK talents in order to psychically
affect the structure and behavior of living organisms, working
primarily on the cellular level.
- Centre or Center, The:
- Point of intersection of various planes or
modes of existence, including space and time, and which can be
used for (at least subjective) transportation between them.
- Ceremonial Magic:
- Schools or methods of magic which place their
emphasis upon long and complex rituals, especially of the Medieval
and later European traditions; often degenerates into ritualism.
- Several psychic centers of power associated
with different parts of the human body in Tantric systems of
- Cup used in rituals and usually associated
in western occultism with “element” of Water (though
it often contains more potent fluids).
- A pattern or connection between whole or
partial metapatterns within the Switchboard; often may be (or
be associated with) an archetype, deity or other spirit.
- ESP input as if it were normal hearing, without
the medium of another mind.
- A term I once tried to get people to use
instead of “psychometry,” but which I am no longer
- ESP input as if it were normal tasting, without
the medium of another mind.
- ESP input as if it were normal smelling,
without the medium of another mind or of a cosmetics company.
- Clair Senses:
- General term for all the forms of ESP that
start with the prefix “Clair-.”
- ESP input as if it were normal touching,
without the medium of another mind.
- ESP input as if it were normal seeing, without
the medium of another mind; often used as a term for clair senses,
psychometry and/or precognition. See Remote Viewing. Classification:
- Association of some phenomenon into a predetermined
pattern or class of phenomena.
- A person who uses both passive and active
talents and rites for both thaumaturgical and theurgical purposes,
for personal and public benefit.
- Cold Control:
- The use of temperature control to freeze
or thaw objects or beings.
- An interpretation of the ways in which photons
hit your eyes; one way to see the difference between two objects
of identical size, shape, distance and illumination.
- Color Classifications:
- Sets of associations between various colors
and particular concepts, interests or acts.
- A network of electronic gates and memories
that processes data; an unimaginative but very logical problem
solving machine; a magnificent slave and miserable ruler; a great
tool and toy for any technologically oriented occultist.
- Cone of Power:
- Term for the focusing of a group’s magical
energies, visualized as a cone of psychic power based upon a
ritual circle containing the participants (who are usually Neopagan
or Feminist Witches). There is some confusion among various groups
as to what exactly should be done with the energies at the moment
- Contagion, Law of:
- “Objects or beings in physical or psychic
contact with each other continue to interact after spacial or
- See Cellular Psychokinesis.
- Craft, The:
- (1) Old term used by Freemasons to refer
to their activities and beliefs. (2) Current term used by Neopagan,
Feminist and some other modern Witches to refer to their activities
- A calm and unbiased evaluation of the structure
and performance of a ritual, not usually done in American occult
groups thanks to internal politics and delicate egos.
- Divination through the use of (usually) spheres
of quartz crystal, glass or plastic as focussing devices.
- Any secretive religious, magical, philosophical
or therapeutic group of which the user of this term does not
- The use of magic to harm an object or being.
- Comparative study of the autonomic control
system formed by the brains and nervous systems of human and
other animals, as well as electro-chemical-mechanical devices
and communications systems.
- Finger signaling system of language (such
as Ameslan) used by deaf and mute persons; can also be used as
powerful mudras in rituals.
- Divination by means of finger movements upon
tripods, planchettes, pendulums, Oui-Ja Boards, etc., or through
the use of finger rings.
- A “supernatural” spirit or being
in ancient Greek religion and philosophy, far below the Gods
in power for good, evil or neutral purposes; probably the actual
sort of “demon” conjured by Goetic magicians.
- A ritual knife used for severing psychic
bonds, exorcising, cursing and/or initiating.
- A psi or antipsi talent for lowering the
power levels of psychic energy fields.
- Information or concepts of any sort.
- The meaning of a word; the classification
pattern that it fits into during the time period and for the
given population involved.
- Deflection or Bouncing:
- An antipsi talent for altering the force
vectors of incoming psi broadcasts, thus “bouncing”
- (1) The most powerful sort of “supernatural”
being. (2) A powerful pattern in the Switchboard. (3) The memory
of a dead hero(ine) or magician. (4) An ancient visitor from
outer space. (5) An ancient visitor from inner space. (6) All
of the above?
- (1) A personification of what we consider
to be evil or unpleasant (often repressed guilt feelings). (2)
A nonphysical entity of a destructive and evil nature opposed
to the will of the God(s), such as Maxwell’s.
- Medieval science of studying demons.
- Density Control:
- A PK talent for increasing or decreasing
the density of an object or being.
- A minor spirit perceived as a force for evil.
- Devil, The:
- “Heir of Man,” originally the Evil
God of the Zoroastrians; later a creation of Christian and Islamic
theologians (who called him Satan and Shaitan) consisting of
old fertility gods, wisdom spirits and nature elementals combined
with Ahriman into a figure of terror and malevolence fully equal
to that of that Good God (Jehovah or Allah); the deity worshiped
by Neogothic Witches.
- One phrase creeds or statements of belief,
often used as mantras, such as “E = mc2.”
- Tantric trance, possibly a form of hypnosis.
- Difficult Passage:
- A common mythological motif involving a hard
transition or journey from one state or location to another through
impossibly dangerous or paradoxical territory.
- Training or experience that corrects, molds,
strengthens, or perfects (especially) the mental faculties or
moral character; noted primarily by its absence in American occult
- Disk of Shadows:
- A grimoire or other magical text (especially
one of witchcraft rituals) kept on a computer memory disk.
- The art and science of finding out hidden
information about the past, present or future through the use
of psychic talents.
- Obviously, one who does divination.
- See Rhabdomancy.
- Druids, Ancient:
- From the root “dru-,” meaning “oak
tree, firm, strong;” the entire intelligentsia of the Celtic
peoples, including doctors, judges, historians, musicians, poets,
priests and magicians; 99.9% of what has been written about them
is pure hogwash.
- Druids, Masonic:
- Members of several Masonic and Rosicrucian
fraternal orders founded in the 1700’s (and since) in England,
France and elsewhere; some claim to go back to the original Druids.
- Druids, Reformed:
- Members of several branches of a movement
founded in 1963 c.e. at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota;
most are now Neopagans, though the original founders were not.
- A religious doctrine that states that all
the spiritual forces of the universe(s) are split into Good Guys
and Bad Guys (white and black, male and female, etc.) who are
eternally at war.
- Dualistic Polytheism:
- A style of religion in which the Good Guys
and Bad Guys include several major and minor deities (though
they may not always be called that by the official theologians);
what most so- called “monotheisms” really are.
- A style of religion in which there are two
deities accepted by the theoilogians, usually of opposite gender;
all other deities worshiped are considered to be “faces”
or aspects of the two main figures.
- Dynamic Balance, Law of:
- “In order to survive, let alone to become
a powerful magician, one must keep every aspect of one’s universe(s)
in a state of dynamic balance with every other one.”
- One of the main “elements” in occultism;
associated in the West with matter, brown, black, pentacles,
passivity, inertness, silence, food fertility, wealth, practicality,
cold, dryness, etc.
- Female personification of the Life force,
fertility of the Earth and its inhabitants. One of the most widespread
deity concepts in the world (though far from universal); She
is now worshiped in the West as Mother Nature.
- Electric Control:
- An APK talent involving the control of electricity
and other electron phenomena. See Picachu.
- Having to do with the interchanges between
electrical and chemical energy, especially (in this text) those
taking place in the body.
- Electroencephalograph or EEG:
- A machine that records electromagnetic activity
in the brain (the so-called “brain waves”), usually
upon a moving roll of paper.
- Electromagnetic Spectrum:
- The entire range of frequencies or wave-lengths
of electromagnetic radiation from the longest radio waves to
the shortest gamma rays. Visible light is only a tiny part of
- Personifications of the four or five “elements”
of Western or Eastern occultism; in the West these are “Gnomes”
for Earth, “Undines” for Water, “Sylphs”
for Air, “Salamanders” for Fire, and “Sprites”
- Elementals, Artificial:
- Term used by some Western occultists to refer
to spiritual entities “created” by magicians, usually
to perform specific tasks.
- Elementals, Nature:
- Term used by some to refer to various minor
spirits inhabiting or associated with various natural phenomena
such as trees, streams, rocks, dust storms, etc.
- Elements, The:
- A classification system based upon the division
of all phenomena into four or five categories; in Western occultism
there are Earth, Water, Air, Fire and sometimes Spirit or Ether
(or in India, Akasha); in Chinese occultism these are Earth,
Water, Metal, Fire and Wood.
- One who can use the psi talent of empathy.
- Empath, Controlled:
- Someone who uses psychometry and/or empathy
and/or absorption, occasionally to the point of draining others
of their psychic energy.
- Empath, Total:
- One who has trouble controlling their empathic
and/or other passive psychic talents, and subsequently gets “overloaded”
with data and power.
- As I now use it, a type of telepathic reception
limited to the perception of emotions; obviously this talent
would tie in nicely with absorption.
- Energy Control:
- In Tantra, the control of biocurrents and
their movements through the body; otherwise the control of energy
- Energy Field:
- A continuously distributed something in space
that accounts for actions at a distance; an area where energy
does something. Don’t blame me for the vagueness of this definition;
it’s a standard one used in modern physics.
- A being, spirit, living creature or personification.
- See Extrasensory Perception.
- A hypothetical “substance” filling
all space and conveying waves of energy. See Space-Time Continuum.
- (1) That part of philosophy and theoilogy
dealing with matters of “right and wrong,” “good
and evil,” etc. (2) A set or system of moral values. (3)
Principles of conduct governing an individual or profession.
- Part of social and cultural anthropology
emphasizing descriptions of individual cultures rather than cross-cultural
comparisons; when engaged in by the untrained, often degenerates
- Evocation, Law of:
- “It is possible to establish external
communication with entities from either inside or outside of
oneself, said entities seeming to be outside of oneself during
the communication process.”
- The severing or disruption of all unwanted
psychic circuits and circuit potentials within a specific object,
person or place; hence the dismissal of ghosts and spirits.
- (1) One who performs exorcisms. (2) A magician
or psychic (often very religious) with strong talents for CPK,
antipsi and the clair senses, who specializes in forcing or persuading
unwanted psychic energies (including spirits) to depart from
objects, persons or places.
- A test of an idea or guess.
- Experimental Design:
- The way the test is put together, hopefully
for maximum output of useful data.
- Exponential Decay Function:
- A “decaying” or “falling apart”
function in which an independent variable appears as one of the
- Extrasensory Perception or ESP:
- The categorical term for several psi talents
involving the reception of (usually) external data through other
than the commonly recognized sensory means.
- Faith Healing:
- CPK and/or other psi talents interpreted
as religious phenomena in curing.
- That which is improbable, unpleasant or inconvenient
- Animals supposedly used by Gothic Witches
and others to help them with their magic; often believed to be
incarnated spirits or the messengers of noncarnate ones.
- Short term for “Familial Tradition.”
See Witchcraft, Familial and Tradition.
- Data returned as a reply or result, containing
corrections and additions.
- An antipsi ability to use apopsi, reddopsi
or deflection selectively, thus stopping part of a psi broadcast
or field while letting the desired remainder (usually part of
the information content) through.
- Finite Senses, Law of:
- “Every sense mechanism of every entity
is limited by both range and type of data perceived, and many
real phenomena exist which may be outside the sensory scanning
ability of any given entity.” The Supreme Being(s) may be
excepted from this law.
- One of the main “elements” in occultism;
associated in the West with flames, red, orange, wands or staves,
activity, light, will, animals, energy, assertiveness, heat,
- The discharge of psychic energy in a ritual,
the timing of which is frequently critical.
- The study of folktales and legends, a subject
overlapping that of mythology.
- Story handed down among a people, such as
“Cinderella,” “Rumpelstiltskin” or “Our
Leader Knows Best.”
- Geller Effect:
- One or more psi talents (probably including
bonding control) that enable the user to bend metal objects without
touching them, named after this century’s best known user, Uri
Geller. The effect is real and has been done by Geller and others
under impeccable laboratory controls, regardless of the tales
told by Geller’s supporters and detractors.
- General Extrasensory Perception or GESP:
- A term used when two or more forms of ESP
are operating at the same time.
- Germ Theory:
- (1) In Tantra, the theory that every entity
has a germinal or root sound, the repetition of which can create
that entity. (2) In the West, a folk belief that all diseases
are caused by miniature demons called “germs” or “viruses.”
- Personification of data received as the result
of a plug-in to an individual metapattern within the Switchboard,
and/or the spirit of a dead person or animal, still existing
in a nonphysical manner, and/or something(s) else entirely.
- The general result one actually wishes to
accomplish with a particular magical or psychic act. Compare
- God or Goddess,
- See Deity.
- God or Goddess,
- The particular masculine or feminine deity
worshiped by a particular mono-, heno-, or duotheist.
- “God or
Goddess, Thou Art:” A statement of divine immanence
common among Neopagans, originally from Robert Heinlein’s book,
Stranger in a Strange Land.
- A young or minor deity.
- From words meaning “howling or crying,”
the medieval books of ceremonial magic, such as The Greater
and Lesser Keys of Solomon.
- An artificial person given life by the carving
of a Sacred Name upon his or her forehead and usually used as
a slave. Has deeper meanings in real Hebrew Mysticism, in which
we are all golems in some sense.
- (1) An officially nonpsychic method of personality
assessment based upon the study of handwriting samples. (2) A
method of divination based upon the use of such samples as contagion
- Gravity Control:
- A psychic talent for altering the gravitational
fields in a particular location, such as in a room or around
an object or being.
- Gray Magic:
- Magic that is neither “black” nor
“white,” hence morally neutral, at least according
to those who use these quaint terms.
- So-called “Black Books” of (usually
Goetic) magic, consisting of recipe collections, scrapbooks of
magical customs, Who’s Who’s of the spirit worlds and phone directories
for contacting various entities. Fairly useless unless you know
enough Hebrew, Greek and Latin to correct all the mistakes.
- Group mind:
- A section of the Switchboard consisting of
two or more metapatterns linked into an identity circuit. Term
is used for those formed telepathically in rituals but can also
be used to refer to mobs or other cases of crowd hysteria.
- (1) Perception of objects or beings with
no reality or not present within normal sensory scanning range.
(2) Experience of sensations with no exterior cause, usually
as a result of nervous dysfunction. (3) Perceptions not in accord
with consensus reality.
- Hallucination, Veridical:
- One in which the content is essentially factual.
- A chemical or biochemical substance capable
of inducing hallucinations when introduced into the human metabolism.
- Recurrent plug-ins to the Switchboard and/or
perceptions of ghostly entities associated with a particular
location or being.
- The religion of those who live on the heath
(where heather grows). See Paganism.
- A method for altering the state of one’s
consciousness through the experience of intense pleasures; when
extreme, may become tiring.
- A polytheistic religion where one deity is
the official Ruler and is supposed to be the prime focus of attention.
- Divination through the use of animal innards
(see Anthropomancy), especially livers. When done with French
hens, usually indicates cowardice.
- Heat Control:
- The use of temperature control to start or
stop fires and other heating phenomena, also called “psychopyresis.”
- Hixson’s Law:
- “All possible universes that can be
constructed out of all possible interactions of all existing
subatomic particles through all points in space-time, must exist.”
- A two-dimensional chart of the way “important”
parts of the sky look at a particular time and location, especially
at birth, used in astrology.
- The promotion of one’s tribal deity to the
rank of Supreme Being, as in Judaism, Christianity or Islam.
- A categorical term for those psi talents
consisting of superfast thinking, usually at a subconscious level,
often using data received via ESP, which then reveals all or
part of the “gestalt” (whole pattern) of a situation;
this is then presented to the conscious mind as a sudden awareness
of knowledge (or “a hunch”), without a pseudo-sensory
experience. See Retrocognition and Precognition.
- Excessive or pathological sensitivity of
the skin or other senses; heightened perception or responsiveness
to the environment; often mistaken for real ESP.
- (1) As used in this book, an altered state
of consciousness within which the following can occur at will:
increase in bodily and sensory control, in suggestibility, in
ability to concentrate and eliminate distractions, and probably
in psychic abilities as well. (2) A useful word and tool for
those who cannot conceive of nor practice real mesmerism.
- Scientific term for wild guess, hunch, tentative
explanation or possibility to be tested.
- The divination of medical problems and solutions.
- I Ching:
- Chinese “Book of Changes;” key
to sortilege system.
- Identification, Law of:
- “It is possible through maximum association
of the elements of one’s own metapattern and those of another
being’s to actually become that being, at least to the point
of sharing its knowledge and wielding its power.”
- Imaging or
- Term for strong visualization of a concept
being used for focusing.
- Imbolg or
- Celtic fire festival beginning the second
quarter of the year (or spring); starts at sunset on February
3rd and is also known as Candlemas, St. Bridget’s Day, Bride’s
Day, Lady Day, etc. Celebrated by most Neopagans as a major religious
- Unlikely, difficult, implausible, uncomfortable,
- Words used in a ritual or spell, should always
be chanted or sung.
- Infinite Data, Law of:
- “The number of phenomena to be known
is infinite and one will never run out of things to learn.”
- Infinite Universes, Law of:
- “The total number of universes into
which all possible combinations of existing phenomena could be
organized is infinite.” See Hixson’s Law and Personal Universes,
- Information Theory:
- Study of communication.
- Information Transfer:
- An intense personal experience, often of
a death and rebirth sort, resulting in a higher state of personal
development and/or admission to a magical or religious organization.
- The way incoming data is interpreted or classified.
- Instrumental Act:
- One which is useful, even if for no other
purpose than to relieve stress.
- Interdisciplinary Approach:
- The use of data and techniques from more
than one art or science in order to analyze phenomena.
- Invocation, Law of:
- “It is possible to establish internal
communications with entities from either inside or outside of
oneself, said entities seeming to be inside of oneself during
the communication process.”
- Any technical terminology or characteristic
idiom of specialists or workers in a particular activity or area
of knowledge; often pretentious or unnecessarily obscure.
- (1) A Hebrew word for “collected teachings,”
referring to several different lists of books and manuscripts
on various occult and mundane topics. Sloppy translations of
a handful of texts in the Kabbalah of Mysticism, with Christian
names and concepts forcibly inserted, are responsible for much
of what is now called “Cabala” by western metaphysicians.
If you can’t think fluently in Hebrew, you have no business trying
to do Kabbalistic magic. (2) A general term for collections of
magical and mystical texts from various cultures, thus “Greek
Kabbalah,” “Arabic Cabala,” etc.
- A (usually benevolent) supernatural being
in Hopi religion; may be a personification of an aspect of nature,
an ancestor, or something revealed in a dream.
- Ritual sexual intercourse in Tantra.
- In many eastern religions, the load of guilt
or innocence carried from one incarnation to the next, determining
one’s lot in the next life; often used by American occultists
as a general term for moral responsibility, as in “You can
do that if you want to, but it’s your karma.”
- Karma Dumping Run:
- American occult slang for a ritual process
of visiting someone’s “just deserts” upon them, by
“concentrating the karma” they may have earned in their
life (or recent past) and delivering it back to them in one brief
period of time; usually done when someone is suspected of evil
doing but proof is lacking, since it is considered a morally
neutral way of stopping them.
- Physical movement including quantitative,
qualitative, and positional change; sometimes movement caused
by stimulation but not directional or aimed.
- Kinetic Energy:
- Energy associated with motion.
- Kirlian Photography:
- A lenseless electrical photographic technique
invented by Russian parapsychologists S. D. and V. Kirlian in
1939 and which can be used to record energy fields around living
or once living objects and beings. Although the “Kirlian
auras” vary with emotional excitement and intent, there
is as yet no proof that they are the same as the “psychic
auras” traditionally seen by clairvoyants. Time will tell.
- Term invented by Arlynde d’Loughlan to describe
the use of CPK to make people more clumsy (or agile) through
interference with neuron or muscle activities.
- Knowledge, Law of:
- “Understanding brings control; the more
that is known about a phenomenon, the easier it is to exercise
control over it.”
- The sacred book of Islam.
- The “favorable moment;” a temporal
- A statement of the ways phenomena seem to
- Law of Magic:
- A statement of the ways magical phenomena
seem to work.
- Laws, Law of:
- “The more evidence one looks for to
support a given law, the more one finds.”
- Law, Sturgeon’s:
- From science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon:
“90% of everything is crud.”
- Left-Hand Path:
- (1) The people we don’t like who are doing
magic. (2) Occultists who spend their time being destructive,
manipulative and “evil” — or at least annoying.
- A psi talent involving the combination of
PK proper with Gravity Control and/or Mass Control in order to
produce floating effects.
- Light Control:
- An APK talent for the control of photons.
- The study of human speech, including the
units, nature, structure and development of language(s).
- Long prayer or incantation with constantly
- Groups of magical and mystical workers similar
to (1) the old European guild systems, with apprentices, journeypeople
and masters, or (2) church organizations with rank based upon
goodness or evilness. In America at least, these are usually
tiny, incompetent and riddled with internal and external warfare
- Celtic fire festival beginning the third
quarter of the year (or fall); starts at sunset on August 6th
or 7th and is also known as Lammas, Apple Day, etc. Celebrated
by most Neopagans as a major religious holiday.
- A general term for anyone doing magic, especially
of the active kinds; often used as synonym for “magus.”
- Zoroastrian priests. Later used for powerful
magicians of any sort.
- (1) A general term for arts, sciences, philosophies
and technologies concerned with (a) understanding and using various
altered states of consciousness within which it is possible to
have access to and control over one’s psychic talents, and (b)
the uses and abuses of those psychic talents to change interior
and/or exterior realities. (2) A science and an art comprising
a system of concepts and methods for the build-up of human emotions,
altering the electrochemical balance of the metabolism, using
associational techniques and devices to concentrate and focus
this emotional energy, thus modulating the energies broadcast
by the human body, usually to affect other energy patterns whether
animate or inanimate, but occasionally to affect the personal
energy pattern. (3) A collection of rule-of-thumb techniques
designed to get one’s psychic talents to do more or less what
one wants, more often than not, one hopes. It should be obvious
that these are thaumaturgical definitions.
- Magic Circle:
- A mandala-mudra-mantra combination used around
an area where all or part of a ritual is to take place, so that
an individual or group can more easily control the energies generated.
- (1) As a general term, anyone who does any
sort of magic at all. (2) More specifically, someone who uses
mostly active talents and rites for mostly thaumaturgical purposes.
- Magician, Goetic:
- A magician and psychic who frequently “summons
up” various nonhuman entities (good, bad or ugly) in order
to gain both occult and mundane knowledge, which is then used
for thaumaturgical, theurgical and nonmagical purposes.
- Master, teacher or magician.
- Magnetic Control:
- An APK talent involving the control of magnetic,
diamagnetic and paramagnetic lines of force and other magnetic
- Greek word for “magi.”
- Originally, the singular form of “magi.”
Later, a powerful magician.
- Polynesian word for psychic energy.
- Sights (especially drawings, paintings and
carvings) used primarily as associational and/or trance inducing
- Mantic Arts:
- The various methods of divination.
- A diviner or seer.
- Sounds used primarily as associational and/or
trance inducing devices.
- The property of a body that is a measure
of its inertia, that causes it to have weight (in a gravitational
field), and that is a measure of the amount of material it contains.
- Mass Control:
- An APK talent for increasing or decreasing
the mass of an object or being.
- (1) Sanscrit for “illusion.” (2)
A tribe of Central American Indians.
- One who controls the worlds of illusion,
a magician or mystic.
- A word used (usually as an insult) to refer
to those who prefer to analyze even supposedly nonphysical phenomena
in terms of physical or mechanical patterns of behavior.
- Medicine Person:
- A tribal official who combines the modes
of magician, psychic and cleric, using her or his talents for
personal and tribal benefit; especially in such matters as healing,
hunting, fertility, weather and war magic.
- A psychic (and frequently cleric as well)
who specializes in being possessed by or otherwise communicating
with, various spirits especially those of dead humans; someone
who knows how to plug-in to the metapatterns of the recently
dead, or can arrange such plug-ins for others. See Necromancer.
- Mental Projection:
- An OOBE or psi talent that may involve traveling
GESP without the image of an “astral body” being brought
- From Franz Mesmer, a form of telepathic sending
in which the data sent consists of suggestions backed by the
insistent power of the sender.
- A general term for a variety of movements
both organized and nonorganized, which have attempted to revive
or recreate various forms of Paleopaganism, but which suffer(ed)
from being locked into a Judeo-Christian worldview. Examples
would include many Renaissance artists and philosophers, the
Masonic Druids, Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic religion, Gleb Botkin’s
“Long Island Church of Aphrodite,” etc. See Neopaganism
- The sum or gestalt of the processes going
on inside your body.
- Change, especially of the outward appearance.
See Werewolf, or your local politicians.
- As used in this text, the sum and gestalt
of all the interlocking patterns that make up an individual,
including the body (or bodies), the various levels of mind or
awareness, the psychic and artistic abilities, memory and intellectual
capacities, and perhaps whatever it is that is usually called
- Philosophy of the relations between “underlying
reality” and its manifestations.
- A paranormal act or occurrence done by or
for someone who belongs to a religion that you approve of, usually
credited to divine intervention.
- Miracle, Counterfeit:
- A paranormal act or occurrence done by or
for someone who belongs to a religion that you do not approve
of; usually credited to demonic intervention.
- A style of religion in which the theologians
(or thealogians) claim that there is only one deity (theirs of
course) and that all other spirits claiming (or claimed) to be
deities are “actually” demons in disguise. If other
deities have cults that can be made to support the One Deity,
they are kept on as “angles” or “saints.”
- Moon Sign:
- In astrology, the zodiacal sign that the
moon appeared to be in at the time and location for which the
chart is cast.
- A common pattern running through stories,
folktales or myths.
- The act or process of a body passing from
one place or position to another. Completely relative.
- Physical gestures, positions or postures
(including dance movements) used primarily as associational and/or
trance inducing devices.
- Worldly, ordinary, common, simple; pertaining
to “the earth plane.”
- Secret rituals usually involving the display
of sacred mandalas and other objects to, and the performance
of various mudras with and in front of, and the chanting of mantras
and dharanis in the hearing of, properly initiated worshipers,
for theurgical purposes in this life and the next.
- Mystery Cult:
- A group of people who get together regularly
to perform sacred mysteries and to study their meanings.
- Mystery School:
- In theory, a group of magicians and/or mystics
who have gathered together to share their wisdom and secrets
with each other and with new seekers. In practice, usually a
group of would-be “enlightened masters” who are primarily
interested in impressing each other and in fleecing the gullible.
After all, “there’s a seeker born every minute!”
- (1) One who practices mysticism. (2) A person
who uses mostly passive talents and rites for mostly theurgical
- (1) The doctrine or belief that direct knowledge
of the God(s), o spiritual truth, of ultimate reality, or of
comparable matters is attainable through immediate intuition,
insight or illumination and in a way differing from ordinary
sense perception or conscious thought. (2) The concepts and theories
behind the theurgical approach to occultism.
- (1) Technically, a traditional story with
its emphasis upon the actions of deities; (2) commonly, a false
or simplistic belief.
- The study of myths, and thus a field overlapping
folklore; sometimes used to refer to a specific body of myths
pertaining to a given culture or motif. The study of someone
else’s religious stories.
- A system of myths within a society or culture.
- Names, Law of:
- “Knowing the complete and true name
of an object, being or process gives one complete control over
- (1) A magician and psychic who specializes
in “summoning” the spirits of dead persons, usually
without possession, in order to gain both occult and mundane
knowledge, which is then used for thaumaturgical, theurgical
and nonmagical purposes. (2) Generally, anyone who does any form
of divination involving the dead. See Medium.
- Negapsi or Reversing:
- An antipsi ability to reverse all or part
of the information content of a psi broadcast or field.
- A general term for a variety of “Aquarian
Age” movements both organized and (usually) nonorganized,
which have attempted to revive or recreate various forms of Paleopaganism
in terms of modern humanistic ideas of personal growth needs.
As “Neo-Paganism,” term was popularized in the late
60’s and early 70’s by Tim Zell, who has a different and much
longer definition. Examples would include the Wiccan Witches,
the Church of All Words, Feriferia, the New Reformed Druids,
the Church of the Eternal Source, etc. See Mesopaganism and Paleopaganism.
- Neotarot Cards:
- A collection of divination cards designed
to be used in the same general ways as regular Tarot Cards, but
which have different (non-Tarot) archetypal images as their main
contents. Examples would include “Morgan’s Tarot,”
“The Illuminated Tarot,” etc.
- Nervous System:
- The bodily system made up of nerves, senses,
and brain, including all connectors such as the spinal cord.
- Divination by means of numbers and numerical
“values” of letters.
- “Reality” as it supposedly is “in
itself,” instead of as it may be perceived.
- A part of the scientific method that involves
a careful cataloging of perceptions involving any particular
- Being besieged or impelled by an outside
force (often perceived as demonic) to entertain thoughts or perform
actions of an unpleasant, malign, pathological or unprofitable
nature; thus causing anxiety and fear to be experienced by the
person involved and/or observers. See Possession.
- Occam’s Razor:
- A philosophical axiom credited to William
of Occam: “Entities should not be multiplied without reason.”
Or as I put it, “Don’t complicate theories unnecessarily,
but beware of being simplistic.”
- That which is hidden or known only to a few.
- The study and or practice of that which is
occult, especially (in this century) in reference to the powers
of the mind.
- Divination by means of dream interpretations.
- See Out of the Body Experience.
- Oui-Ja Board:
- A flat board with letters, numbers and/or
words upon it, used with a planchette or pendulum for divination.
- Out of the Body Experience:
- A perception of one’s consciousness as being
outside of one’s physical body and usually as movable. See Astral
Projection and Mental Projection.
- From the Latin paganus, meaning “civilian”
or “country dweller;” used in ancient Rome to refer
to those who were not part of the army, or who were “hicks”
and “bumpkins;” later used by the Christians to refer
to those who were not part of the “armies of the Lord.”
Now used as a general term of polytheistic religions and their
members, it should always be capitalized just as other religious
noun/adjective combinations are, such as “Buddhist,”
“Hindu,” “Christian,” etc.
- A general term for all of the ancient and
current polytheistic religions, practiced by intact (usually
tribal) cultures. Most often refers to beliefs and practices
of the ancient Romans, Greeks, Slavs, Celts, Babylonians, Egyptians,
etc., but can also be used for the original inhabitants and their
current tribal descendants in Africa, Australia, Oceania, Asia,
and the Americas.
- Divination by means of the folds and other
features of the hands.
- The organization of deities and lesser spirits
in any given religion.
- The study of paranormal phenomena in tribal,
traditional and/or nonliterate cultures.
- Slang term taken from psychology, used to
refer to general terror or anxiety, usually with associated feelings
- Unusual or “supernatural.”
- (1) The physics of paranormal phenomena.
(2) The study of PK.
- (1) The general and interdisciplinary study
of paranormal phenomena. (2) The study of that which is “beyond”
the field of “normal” psychology. (3) The scientific
branch of occultism.
- Passive Ritual:
- One in which those persons raising and focusing
the psychic energies are the main targets intended to be changed.
- Passive Talent:
- A psychic talent that involves the reception
of energy or data by the agent from the target.
- A method, system or approach to magical or
- Path, The:
- The One-True-Right-And-Only-Way followed
by the user of the term.
- Any small object on a string or chain, the
movements of which can be used for divination. See Rhabdomancy.
- A five pointed star made by interweaving
five letter A’s.
- Originally a talisman of a five pointed star,
now used as a general term for talismans in general. When made
of clay, glass, metal or wood, often used in western occultism
as a symbol of the “element” of Earth.
- Another word for a five pointed star, used
as a symbol for the occult in general and Neopagan and Feminist
Witchcraft in particular.
- The process of classifying sensations.
- Personal Universes, Law of:
- “Every sentient being lives in and quite
possibly creates a unique universe which can never be 100% identical
to that lived in by another.” See Hixson’s Law and Infinite
Universes, Law of.
- Personification, Law of:
- “Any phenomenon may be considered to
be alive and to have a personality, and may be effectively dealt
with as such.”
- Perversity, Law of:
- “If anything can go wrong, it will —
and in the most annoying manner possible.” Also known as
- (1) A variation in a process that effectively
negates or contradicts what the user of this term considers to
be the original purpose of the process. (2) Using the entire
- Divination by means of the features of the
- The study of the living body.
- See Psychokinesis.
- Placebo Effect:
- (1) Term used to refer to the process by
which the belief of a target may cause results (physical or psychic)
to occur with no known effort being made by the supposed agent.
(2) The most powerful, cheapest, and therefore least researched
method of healing.
- Placebo Spell:
- Obviously, a spell that works by the placebo
- A triangular object with short legs used
as a divination tool, usually by moving it over a Oui-Ja Board.
- Plant-Psi or
- A little-used term for psychic phenomena
involving the interaction of plants with humans, each other and
- To “close a circuit” or otherwise
make a connection with a part of the Switchboard or a smaller
- (1) One who fashions words artistically.
(2) One who can control the power of words and is thus a magician.
(3) To the ancient Greeks, one who is a specialist in retrocognition.
- Polarity, Law of:
- “Any pattern of data can be split into
(at least) two patterns with ‘opposing’ characteristics, and
each will contain the essence of the other within itself.”
- From the German, meaning “noisy spirit;”
an old term for RSPK, resulting from a personification of the
- A style of religion in which the polytheologians
claim that there are many deities, of varying power, and many
lesser spirits as well, all of whom are considered to be “real”
and to be worthy of respect and/or worship.
- Intellectual speculations concerning the
natures of the Gods and Goddesses and Their relations to the
world in general and humans in particular; etc., etc., etc.:
see Thealogy, Theology. I’m now using this term instead of Theoilogy.
- The process or experience of having another
being (divine, demonic or other) inside of one’s own body, usually
as the result of a conscious or unconscious invocation. See Obsession.
- Pragmatism, Law of:
- “If a pattern of belief or behavior
enables a being to survive and to accomplish chosen goals, then
that belief or behavior is ‘true,’ ‘realistic,’ and/or ‘sensible’.”
- Hypercognition done about future phenomena.
- Priest or Priestess:
- A cleric who is an official representative
of a given religion, sect or cult, and who is responsible for
leading other people in rituals.
- (1) A person (usually a cleric) who “speaks
out for” a deity or other powerful spirit, usually about
future events. (2) A diviner of the future.
- Tools, physical emblems and other objects
used primarily as associational and/or trance inducing devices.
- Short for “psychic.”
- Psi Corps:
- Organizations set up by governments in order
to use psychic talents for the benefit of the governments involved,
especially in matters of espionage, sabotage and assassination.
- A scientistic way to get around using the
dirty word “magic;” probably coined by John Campbell,
the word is usually used to refer to technologically oriented
- Fake, deceptive, erroneous or otherwise “unreal.”
- As used in this text, a word referring to
rare or seldom-used powers of the (usually) human mind, which
are capable of causing effects that appear to contradict the
mainstream worldview of western science and philosophy.
- Psychic, A:
- Anyone who uses mostly passive talents and
rites for mostly thaumaturgical purposes.
- A fashionable term for parapsychology in
- A categorical term for those psi talents
that involve the movement of matter and energy through space-time.
- Psychokinesis Proper:
- A specific term for the psychically induced
movement of objects (including the physical bodies of beings)
through normal space-time.
- Divination by means of the features of the
- See Light Control.
- (1) The science of statistical measurements
in the field of psychology. (2) An undefeatable term for a psychic
talent involving the reception of data “from” objects
or surroundings about events and/or persons connected to those
objects or surroundings; quite possibly the ability to use objects
or places as contagion links for telepathic reception, the clair
senses, and/or retrocognition.
- See Heat Control.
- Another new way to avoid saying “magic;”
the popular term in Eastern Europe.
- Radiation Control:
- An APK talent for speeding up and slowing
down the decay rates of radioactive materials.
- Radio Waves:
- Waves on the electromagnetic spectrum between
infrared radiation (less than 1 cm from crest to crest) and those
called “Very Low Frequency” (over 10,000 km); only
a tiny portion of this wavespread is used for common radio and
- (1) The result of consensus opinion. (2)
That which is most comfortable and convenient to believe. (3)
- Reality, Levels of:
- The concept (resulting from the Law of True
Falsehoods) that a given idea may be “true” in some
situations and “false” in others, depending upon the
aspects, sections, areas or other subsets of the personal or
consensus universes involved; such subsets may be considered
“levels” of reality.
- Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis or RSPK:
- Term coined by William Roll. Refers to the
unconscious use of PK and APK talents (usually by adolescents)
as a release for frustration and means of obtaining attention.
- Reddopsi or
- An antipsi talent for reversing the force
vectors of incoming psi broadcasts, thus returning them to their
senders. Probably a variation of deflection.
- A belief concerning the supposed process
by which souls reinhabit body after body, life after life. The
mathematics are implausible and most of the evidence has other
- (1) The body of institutionalized expressions
of sacred beliefs, observances and practices found within a given
cultural context. (2) A magical system combined with a philosophical
and ethical system, usually oriented towards “supernatural”
beings. (3) A psychic structure composed of the shared beliefs,
experiences and related habits of all members (not just the theologians)
of any group calling itself “a religion.”
- Remote Viewing:
- The currently fashionable term being used
by parapsychologists in the U.S.A. to refer to clairvoyance,
presumably because it sounds “more scientific.” So
far, no one has said anything about “remote hearing,”
“remote smelling,” etc.
- The ability of a phenomenon to be repeated
at will, especially as the result of a scientific experiment;
one of the major dogmas of scientism is that an unrepeatable
experiment is not a valid one.
- Hypercognition done about past phenomena.
- Divination by means of wands, sticks, rods
and pendulums, usually when searching for water, minerals or
other valuable items. Sometimes called “dowsing” or
- Right Hand Path:
- (1) The people we like who are doing magic.
(2) Occultists who spend their time being constructive, manipulative
- Rising Sign:
- In Astrology, the zodiacal sign that was
coming over the eastern horizon at the time and location for
which the chart is cast.
- Any ordered sequence of events, actions and/or
directed thoughts, especially one that is repeated in the “same”
manner each time, that is designed to produce a predictable altered
state of consciousness within which certain magical or religious
(or artistic or scientific?) results may be obtained.
- Ritual Cannibalism:
- The eating of all or part of the physical
or symbolic body of a given person or personified entity in hopes
of gaining one or more of their desirable attributes.
- Devotion to the use of rituals and ceremonies
above and beyond the call of sanity; often, an uncritical acceptance
of rituals constructed in the past.
- Role Playing:
- (1) A flavor of “modern” psychology,
discovered by Aeschylus and Shakespeare, saying that we all wear
masks and play various roles as conditions seem to require, even
when alone. (2) A type of game in which the participants cooperate
in the creation of a living fantasy novel.
- Letters in the old Celtic, Teutonic and Scandinavian
alphabets; the word is based on roots meaning “secret”
or “occult.” If you try to practice any form of magic
within these cultural contexts, especially for deceptive purposes,
then your career will lie in runes.
- Celtic fire festival beginning the winter
half of the year and being the Day Between Years; starts at sunset
on November 7th and is also known as La Samhna, Nos Galen-gaeof,
All Hallow’s Eve and Halloween. Celebrated by most Neopagans
as a major religious holiday.
- See Devil, The.
- In Tantra, the solemn uttering of a Great
Truth, used as a mantra for magical or religious effects such
- One of several spellings of a word from Christian
Cabala, meaning “the expository” or “the 72 Names
of God and His Angels;” originally the title of a collection
of magical names, now used as a magical word itself.
- Accumulated and accepted knowledge that has
been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery
of general truths or the operation of general laws; knowledge
classified and made available in work, life or the search for
truth; comprehensive, profound or philosophical knowledge, especially
knowledge obtained and tested through the use of the scientific
- Scientific Method:
- The principles and procedures used in the
systematic pursuit of intersubjectively (consensus reality) accessible
knowledge and involving as necessary conditions the recognition
and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through
observation and if possible experiment, the formulation of hypotheses,
and the testing and confirmation of the hypotheses formulated.
- One who can see the hidden, a diviner.
- Self-Knowledge, Law of:
- “The most important kind of knowledge
is about oneself; a magician must be familiar with her or his
own strengths and weaknesses.”
- The noticing of a change in the internal
or external environment; the activity of a sense before classification.
- A mechanism that notices or causes sensation.
- A medicine person and medium who frequently
uses astral and/or mental projection to fly into “the spirit
world,” in order to represent his or her tribe to the spirits
there and who is often possessed by them as well.
- An area around a being or object within which
one or more forms of (usually) antipsi energies are operating
in order to defend the being or object from unwanted psychic
intrusions; the process of setting up and maintaining such an
- A pattern of sensory stimuli which is intended
to communicate data.
- Signs of the Zodiac:
- In astrology, twelve approximately equal
segments of the Ecliptic (the belt of sky through which the planets
appear to move “around the Earth”); in many systems
of astrology, these no longer occupy the same space as the constellations
for which they were originally named.
- Silver Cord:
- Supposed umbilical cord connecting an astral
projector to her or his body.
- Silver Dagger:
- A traditional weapon for destroying various
- Similarity, Law of:
- “Effects are liable to have one or more
outward physical or inward mental appearances similar to one
or more of said appearances of their causes.”
- Sorcerer or
- Indiscriminate terms for those who use (or
are suspected of using) magic, especially when acting as independent
agents and/or using their magic for “evil” purposes.
- Divination by means of sticks, coins, bones,
dice, lots, beans, yarrow stalks, stones or any other small objects.
- A three-dimensional something that extends
without bounds in all directions (this week) and is the field
of physical objects and events and their order and relationships.
or Space-Time Continuum:
- The four-dimensional system consisting of
three coordinate axes for spacial location and one axis for temporal
location, upon which any physical event may be determined by
citing its four coordinates; also, the four dimensional space
formed by these four axes.
- (1) A magical act designed with an emphasis
upon the use of mantras and the literal spelling of words. (2)
Any magical ritual.
- A religion based upon the belief in life
after death and the experiences of various mediums over the last
hundred years; organized primarily to provide legal protection
for the mediums and their followers.
- Splodging or
- An antipsi talent for the generation of specific
psi broadcasts (usually of emotions) so strong that all other
psi signals in range are drowned out or disrupted, with the information
content of those signals collapsing first; may be a form of reversed
empathy or of single-content telepathic sending.
- Disembodied spirits, elves, fairies or daemons;
often the term used for the Air elemental known as “sylphs,”
or as the name of the elementals of Spirit.
- Statistics, Three Magical Laws of:
- “Once is dumb luck, twice is coincidence
and three times is Somebody Trying to Tell You Something.”
- Those things that arouse sensations; energy
- In science, someone or something being observed
and/or experimented upon.
- “Reality” as it is perceived, instead
of as it may be “in itself.”
- Sun Sign:
- In astrology, the zodiacal sign that the
sun appeared to be in at the time and location for which the
chart is cast. In isolation, the sun sign reveals very little
- Rare, unusual, beyond the common, extraordinary,
unexplainable at the time, paranormal; usually input as “religious”
- (1) Fixed irrational notions held stubbornly
in the face of evidence to the contrary; beliefs, practices,
concepts or acts resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown,
morbid scrupulosity, erroneous concepts of causality, etc., as
in the words and actions of many critics of parapsychology and
the occult. (2) “A belief not founded in any coherent worldview”
(J. B. Russell). (3) Someone else’s religious or philosophical
- The normal form of prayer, that is to say,
begging; occasionally, asking an entity to give you her or his
attention for a moment.
- Survival Phenomena:
- Paranormal phenomena that appear to bear
relevance to the questions of survival after physical death;
at one time the main area of study in parapsychology when it
was still being called “psychic research.”
- Suspension of Disbelief:
- Temporary curtailment of critical faculties
for a specific time and specific purpose, it is absolutely necessary
during the performance of a ritual. Before and after the ritual,
however, the participants can and should criticize all that they
- Book or traditional collection of sayings.
- Switchboard, The:
- A theory of the author’s concerning a postulated
network of interlocking metapatterns of everyone who has ever
lived or who is living now, expressed as constantly changing
and infinitely subtle modifications of current telepathic transmissions
and receptions. Many phenomena interpreted as “spirits”
may actually be “circuits” within this Switchboard,
as may be many other “archetypes” of the “collective
unconscious.” See Akasic Records, Archetype, Circuit, and
- An archaic weapon used in western occultism
as a symbol of the “element” of Air, as well as for
fighting psychic battles, concentrating and directing energies,
and for severing psychic links or bonds.
- A sign plus an associated concept.
- Synchronicity, Law of:
- “Two or more events happening at the
‘same’ time are likely to have more associations in common than
the merely temporal.”
- Synthesis, Law of:
- “The synthesis of two or more ‘opposing’
patterns of data will produce a new pattern that will be ‘truer’
than either of the first ones were.”
- Table Tipping:
- The use of tables for dactylomancy.
- As used in this text, an ability to use psychic
energies in one or more forms, including ESP, Hypercognition,
PK and the Antipsi powers. Talents may be active, passive or
- A psychically charged mandala carried about
(or placed in a special spot), expected to work via contagion.
- Talmud, Babylonian and Palestinian:
- Records of the processes by which Hebrew
scholars debated and developed their laws and rulings.
- Indian systems of theurgical concepts and
magical training methods, easily adaptable for thaumaturgic purposes.
- The religious window dressing added to Tantra.
- The absorption of psychic energy from the
ether or from groups or individuals who are willing (such as
congregations of worshipers or various deities). See Absorption
and Vampire, Psychic.
- The person, object or process one wishes
to effect in order to accomplish one’s goal.
- Tarot Cards:
- Ancestors of modern playing cards, originally
designed for divination use and now used for meditational and
magical focusing as well.
- The study of applying scientific, artistic,
psychic or other knowledge to practical ends; the use of methods,
skills, crafts, arts, sciences, knowledge and beliefs to provide
the material needs of a people.
- Synonym for “psychokinesis.”
- A type of ESP involving the communication
of data from one mind to another without the use of the normal
sensory channels. Note that telepathic sending and reception
may be two different talents.
- A PK talent involving the seemingly instantaneous
movement of a person or other being from one location in space-time
to another, apparently without going through the normal space-time
in between. See Aportation.
or Thermal Control:
- An APK talent for altering the speed of atoms
and molecules, so as to change the temperature of an object of
being; see its two main subsets: Heat Control and Cold Control.
- The use of magic for nonreligious purposes;
the art and science of “wonder working;” using magic
to actually change things on the Earth Plane.
- Thaumaturgical Design:
- Experimental design for magic.
- Intellectual speculations concerning the
nature of the Goddess and Her relations to the world in general
and humans in particular; rational explanations of religious
doctrines, practices and beliefs, which may or may not bear any
connection to any religion as actually conceived and practiced
by the majority of its members.
- A term I am no longer using for polytheistic
theology or Polytheology, since I got tired of telling people
it wasn’t a typo.
- Intellectual speculations concerning the
nature of the God and His relations to the world in general and
humans in particular; etc., etc., etc.: see Thealogy.
- (1) A belief, policy or procedure proposed
or followed as the basis of action. (2) An ideal or hypothetical
set of facts, principles or circumstances. (3) The body of generalizations
and principles developed in association with practice in a field
of activity. (4) A judgment, conception, proposition or formula
formed by speculation or deduction, or by abstraction and generalization
from facts. (5) A working hypothesis given probability by experimental
evidence or by factual or conceptual analysis but not conclusively
established or accepted as a law.
- The use of magic for religious and/or psychotherapeutic
purposes, in order to attain “salvation” or “personal
- Three M’s:
- Mantra, mandala and mudra; the prime associational
and trance inducing devices.
- A function of the ways in which humans perceive
their universes, as being composed of phenomena that occur “before,”
“during” or “after” each other.
- Torah, The:
- The first five books of the Bible.
- Tradition or
- A term used by Neopagan and other Witches
to refer to the exact distinctions between each body of organized
sectarian beliefs and practices, thus some groups refer to themselves
as Manx Traditional Witchcraft, Scottish Trad, English Traditional,
Continental, German, etc. The assumption or claim is usually
that each “tradition” represents several centuries’
worth of an organized system of witchcraft, though in point of
fact the overwhelming majority of trads can be easily proven
to be less than thirty years old. The term, however, seems to
be evolving to mean just a sect or flavor of modern Paganism,
with no implied claims of antiquity.
- An altered state of consciousness (at least
for most people) which is characterized by disassociation and
withdrawal from the mundane environment.
- An APK talent for changing the atomic structure
of matter, so as to alter its elemental or molecular nature.
- A writing that treats a subject; specifically,
one that provides in a systematic manner and for an expository
or argumentative purpose a methodical discussion of the facts
and principles involved and conclusions reached.
- Tribal Magical Systems:
- All systems of magic and mysticism practiced
by peoples living in tribal cultures at any time in the past
or present, anywhere in the world. True:
- That which is probable, pleasant or convenient
- True Falsehoods, Law of:
- “It is possible for a concept or act
to violate the truth patterns of a given personal universe (including
a single person’s part of a consensus reality) and yet to still
be ‘true,’ provided that it ‘works’ in a specific situation.”
See Pragmatism, Law of and Reality, Levels of.
- Unconscious, Collective:
- A theoretical construct of C. G. Jung, who
believed that all human beings have access to the collected mental
experience of all their ancestors and that, in essence, these
memories (usually in highly symbolic forms) are carried genetically
from one generation to the next; sometimes called “racial”
unconscious, though whether the species as a whole or specific
gene pools are referred to is unclear.
- Unity, Law of:
- “Every phenomenon in existence at any
point in space or time is linked, directly or indirectly, to
every other one.”
- Universals, Cultural:
- Patterns of belief or behavior that show
up in all or a majority of human cultures, that are related to
- The total gestalt of all data patterns one
may have about that which seems to be oneself and that which
seems to be not-oneself; depending upon whether or not one believes
in an objective reality, the universe can be considered to be
a part of one’s metapattern or vice versa.
- A person who has supposedly risen from the
dead and who survives through a process of inducing willing or
unwilling blood donations.
- Vampire, Psychic:
- A person or institution practicing the absorption
of psychic energy to the point of actually damaging the people
they attack. See Absorption and Tapping.
- A factor, as in an equation or experiment,
that changes from situation to situation and thus affects the
- In Tantra, the principle that sound is eternal
and that every letter of the alphabet is a deity.
- Vodun or Voudoun:
- (1) A West African word meaning “deity”
or “power.” (2) General term for a variety of eclectic
religions and associated magical systems practiced throughout
the Americas, consisting of mixtures of various African tribal
beliefs with various Native American tribal beliefs, Roman Catholicism
and Protestantism, Spiritualism, Theosophy and other systems
(including Hinduism, Islam, Neopagan Witchcraft and anything
else that seems useful). Different names include Candomble, Macumba,
Santeria, Hoodoo, Voodoo and many others. (3) In the United States
and Canada, systems of thaumaturgic magic and religion practiced
by people who are usually poor, uneducated and nonwhite. Therefore,
see Black Magic.
- Vortex Field:
- An energy field causing rapid circular movement
around an axis.
- A short stick of wood or metal, used ritually
in western occultism as a symbol (usually) of the “element”
of Fire, as well as for concentrating and directing energies.
- (1) One who bends (or bends with) words,
a magician and/or liar. (2) Used by some to refer to male witches.
- One of the main “elements” in occultism;
associated in the West with emotions, intuition, blue, green,
silver, cups, bowls, wisdom, passivity, cleansing, passive psychic
arts, cold, dampness, etc.
- Water Witching:
- Rhabdomancy when done for finding water.
- Web, The:
- (1) The total pattern formed by all the interactions
of all matter and all energy. (2) The current best example of
the Law of Infinite Data.
- The effect of gravity upon mass.
- Weight Control:
- Mass control and/or gravity control when
done in a gravity well (on the surface of a planet, for example).
- Someone who can supposedly change their body
into that of a wolf’s, as a result of deliberate intent or unfortunate
- White Magic:
- A racist, sexist, creedist and classist term
used to refer to magic being done for “good” purposes
or by people of whom the user of the term approves.
- An Old English root meaning (1) to bend,
turn or twist, and (2) to practice magic. No connection to “wisdom.”
- Wicca and Wicce:
- The male and female terms, respectively,
in Old English that eventually became “witch” in Modern
- (1) The original plural form for “wicca/wicce”
or “witch.” (2) An adjective used to describe their
religion by the followers of Neopagan Witchcraft.
- Wiccian or
- The Old English words for the activities
of a “wicca/wicce.”
- Window Dressing:
- The scenery and passive props used to provoke
and reinforce specific moods and associations.
- Anyone who calls themself a “witch”
or is called such by others; an utterly useless term without
a qualifying adjective in front of it. The only thing the definitions
of “witch” have in common is the idea of magic or other
techniques of change being practiced.
- From “wiccecraeft,” the craft of
being a witch.
- Witchcraft, Alexandrian:
- A variety of Gardnerian Witchcraft founded
by British magician Alex Sanders.
- Witchcraft, Anthropologic:
- Anything called “witchcraft” by
an anthropologist, usually referring to (a) the practices of
independent magicians (real or supposed) who are outside of their
society’s accepted cultural patterns of behavior and/or (b) a
state of being (often involuntarily) a monster who can curse
people with the “evil eye.”
- Witchcraft, Classic:
- The probable practices of the persons originally
called “witches” in Europe, to wit: midwifery; healing
with magic, herbs and other folk remedies; providing abortions,
love potions and poisons; divination; casting curses and blessings,
- Witchcraft, Dianic:
- (1) A postulated medieval cult of Diana and/or
Dianus worshipers. (2) Term used by some henotheistic Neopagan
Witches to refer to their concentration on the Goddess. (3) Term
used by some Feminist Witches to describe their practices and
- Witchcraft, Ethnic:
- The practices of various non-English-speaking
people in the United States who use magic, religion and alternative
healing methods in their own communities, and who are called
“witches” by English speakers.
- Witchcraft, Familial
- The practices and beliefs of those who claim
to belong to families that supposedly have been underground occultists
for several centuries in Europe and the Americas, using their
wealth and power to stay alive and secret, and mixing fragments
of Paleopagan customs with every new occult wave that hit the
- Witchcraft, Feminist:
- Several new monotheistic religions started
since the early 1970’s by women in the feminist community who
belonged to the women’s spirituality movement and/or who had
contact with Neopagan Witches, the religions involve worshiping
only the Goddess and using Her as a source of inspiration, magical
power and psychological growth.
- Witchcraft, Gardnerian:
- The origin of what has now become Neopagan
Witchcraft, founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1940’s and (with
help from Doreen Valiente and others) the 1950’s, based upon
his alleged contacts with British Fam-Trads. After he finished
inventing, expanding and/or reconstructing the rites, laws and
other materials, copies of them were “borrowed” by
numerous others who then claimed Fam-Trad status and started
new religions of their own.
- Witchcraft, Genetic:
- See Witchcraft, Familial and Grandmotherly.
- Witchcraft, Gothic:
- A postulated cult of devil worshipers believed
in by the medieval Church and used as the excuse for raping,
torturing and killing hundreds of thousands (if not millions)
of women, children and men. The origins of the modern Disney
stereotype. Russell calls this “Diabolic Witchcraft.”
- Witchcraft, Grandmotherly:
- Refers to the common habit among modern witches
of claiming to have been initiated at an early age by a grandmother
who belonged to a Fam-Trad but who is conveniently dead, doesn’t
speak English, and/or is otherwise unavailable for questioning.
- Witchcraft, Hereditary:
- See Witchcraft, Familial and Grandmotherly.
- Witchcraft, Immigrant or Imm-Trad:
- Refers to the customs and beliefs of partially-Pagan
peasants and supposed Fam-Trad members who immigrated to the
Americas and mingled their magical and religious customs with
each other, the Native Americans and enslaved Blacks, and the
- Witchcraft, Neoclassic:
- The current practices of those who are consciously
or unconsciously duplicating the activities of the Classic Witches
and who call themselves (or are called by others) “witches.”
- Witchcraft, Neogothic:
- The beliefs and practices of modern Satanists,
most of whom work very hard to be everything that the medieval
Church and current Fundamentalists say they should be.
- Witchcraft, Neopagan:
- Several new duotheistic religions founded
since the 1960’s, most of which are variations of Gardnerian
Witchcraft but some of which are independent inventions and/or
reconstructions based on real or supposed Fam-Trads. Worship
centers around a Moon/Sea/Earth Goddess and a Horned Sun/Hunting/Vegetation
- Witchcraft, Neoshamanic:
- The practices of those modern persons who
are attempting to rediscover, duplicate and/or expand upon the
practices of the original (postulated) Shamanic Witches.
- Witchcraft, Shamanic:
- The beliefs and practices of postulated independent
belladonna/Moon Goddess cults throughout premedieval Europe,
remnants of which might have survived into the Middle Ages.
- Witchcraft, Traditional:
- See Tradition and Witchcraft, Familial.
- Witchcult of Western Europe:
- A European-wide cult of underground Pagans
postulated by Margaret Murray as having been the actual cause
or spark of the medieval persecutions, but which is not believed
in by most of the historians, linguists, folklorists or anthropologists
who have examined her arguments.
- A medicine person or shaman who hunts down
and fights “evil” Anthropologic Witches.
- A cleric or other person who seeks out and
tortures alleged Gothic Witches.
- Blemish supposedly placed upon a Gothic Witch
by The Devil as a sort of membership card or identification device.
- From the Old English “wys-ard,”
meaning “wise one.” Originally may have referred to
anyone whose wisdom was respected; later came to mean a male
witch; now used to mean a powerful and wise magician.
- Words of Power, Law of:
- “There exist certain words that are
able to alter the internal and external realities of those uttering
them, and their power may rest in the very sounds of the words
as much as in their meanings.”
- A morbid fear of that which is new, different
or strange; common among professional debunkers of minority belief
- A Tantric diagram or chart.
- Chinese symbol for the Laws of Polarity and
- Literally means “yoke” or discipline.
With no qualifying adjective, usually refers to Hatha Yoga (discipline
of the body).
- The feast of the Winter Solstice, Birth of
the Sun, etc.
- Zener Cards:
- Cards used in most of the early ESP experiments,
developed in the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University.
- (1) Someone supposedly raised from the dead
by a Vodun magician, possibly never really dead at all but rather
drugged, who is used as a slave. (2) Someone who has joined a
repressive “cult” movement, lost their own personality
and other intellectual faculties, and is used as a slave. Easily
identified by the characteristic “glazed eye” look
and inability to continue their conversation if interrupted several
times in mid-partyline.
Depending upon the currently fashionable trends
in physics, biology, history, anthropology, psychology and cybernetics
at the time of observation, a few of the Laws of Magic, some
of the various modes of practicing magic, and many of the psi
and antipsi powers may be easily considered to be identical to
each other, and/or to include each other, and/or to be culturally
and politically threatening to the insecure (and therefore as
phenomena the existence of which is to be denied and eradicated
as quickly as possible). Research is progressing (and academic
fashions are shifting) at an incredible pace, so if you don’t
like the latest explanations — wait a minute.
|Copyright 1971, 1999 c.e., Isaac Bonewits.
This text file may be freely distributed on the Net, provided
that no editing is done and this notice is included. If you would
like to be on the author’s personal mailing list for upcoming
publications, lectures, song albums, and appearances, send your
snailmail and/or your email address to him at PO Box 372, Warwick,
NY, USA 10990-0372 or via email to email@example.com.
Isaac Bonewits Homepage
This is excerpted from what was to have
been a chapter on ritual in my unpublished book on Witchcraft.
I’m posting it here now so that folks will have a general idea
of my research and practice on the topic. It will be expanded
to include a full ritual script, but not for a while, as I have
other promised items to post on my website first.
In the Beginning
In the 1940s and ’50s, a retired British civil
servant and amateur folklorist named Gerald B. Gardner (referred
to affectionately as “GBG” or “Old Gerald”),
together with his friends, began to either reconstruct or invent
what they chose to call “the Old Religion” of “Witchcraft.”
They claimed that Margaret Murray had been correct when she postulated
that an underground Pagan cult had survived in Christian Europe,
and that the members of this cult had been the “witches”
whom the Church tried so hard to exterminate during the Renaissance.
Furthermore, Gardner and his associates said that the Old Religion
had continued to exist even into the 20th Century. See “A
Very Brief History of Witchcraft” for details about Gardner
and of how he fits into the overall history of the word “witchcraft.”
Continue reading “The Patterns of Wiccan Ritual 1.1”
One would think if we were successfully living our lives and truly
priestessing by the Wiccan Rede, the Golden Rule or the Laws of Maat
that the reminders or suggestions herein might not even warrant
repeating. However in our busy and stressful lives, is there any one of
us who can claim perfection or cannot strive to do better? So in that
spirit, as we embark on what many are calling the next millenium, this
discussion to raise our awareness certainly may lend some help should we
feel we can or want to personally perform our duties and responsibilities
on a higher level of service within our communities. Starting from the
premise we all have more in common than we are different, let’s examine
some ideas that might help how we share leadership or power with each
other within our circles, covens and study groups.
Continue reading “Sharing Power In Our Communities”
As in ancient folklore and religious practices, modern Paganism is
built on the practices and styles of its writers, teachers, and
ritualists. Various forms of today’s Pagan religious revival are used
and adapted, and then reused in new ways. General practices, such as
the use of a contained fire for banishing, or the use of certain images
to represent deity, or a certain style of invocation, are all parts of
the evolution of modern Paganism as a folk religion.
Continue reading “Modern Paganism: A Folk Religion”
Books abound on the array of
neo-pagan faiths and Wiccan traditions, but after reading all we can,
it is common to desire a teacher to inspire and guide us along our
chosen path. Unfortunately, the world is full of hucksters eager to
cash in on this desire. Money, however, is not the only “evil” to watch
out for, and often not even the primary one. Potential religious
teachers often seek the recognition or respect given to them by eager
students. Sometimes, such respect is entirely unwarranted. Over the
course of our lives, we may have many teachers and learn these lessons
through hard-won experience but how can you avoid these pitfalls and
find a spiritual teacher with your best interests at heart? Here are
some tips to help you find your way amidst the labyrinth of good and
- Search for a teacher who is both experienced and honest.
There are many reputable teachers in a variety of traditions and they
will welcome your questions about their lineage and training. If they
are self-taught, a good teacher with lots of experience is not ashamed
to admit they are. Claims of profound mystical powers are often a
warning sign, as is how your prospective teacher handles proprietary
information. Is it common for the teacher or other group members to
pass along written information without crediting authorship? How can
you tell? If the style of language used in the text does not match what
your teacher or fellow group member usually uses, chances are they
copied this information elsewhere without crediting its author. A good
teacher will not only credit where they acquired information, they will
make a point of teaching you to do the same.
- Take your time & avoid anyone who moves too fast.
Dont adopt a teacher on the basis of one meeting. Spiritual education
is a life-long journey. Theres no inherent value in rushing your
decision. On the flip side: does your prospective teacher accept you as
a student without taking the time to really get to know you? This
should be a two-way process and a teacher who does not take the time to
evaluate prospective students is in search of quantity, not quality.
- Get to know your teacher & his/her tradition.
Sometimes the only way to get to know a teacher is by enrolling in a
class they may offer online or at your local occult shop. Feel free to
enroll in these without committing to being their student on a
long-term basis (ie, seeking initiation or ordination with that
teacher). Evaluate the information you are provided with in the class
Does it feel like the right path for you? Does his/her description of
their tradition fall in line with your own research on that tradition.
You havent done any research on his/her tradition? Back-up and do that
before agreeing to anything!
- Conduct a background check. What is your prospective
teachers background? Does s/he claim initiations or degrees that you
cannot confirm through outside sources? A reputable teacher will be
happy to provide references. Be wary of individuals who claim
hereditary blood lines or training that you cannot verify. Find out
his/her reputation in the spiritual community. Is the prospective
teacher respected amongst his/her peers? If you meet your teacher at a
festival, community event, or even in a chatroom, ask others of similar
stature and experience what they think of him/her. Does s/he allow
contact with her former students that have completed their training
with her? If not, consider it a warning sign.
- Learn to spot power trips and puffery. Are you
strongly urged by the teacher to take the next class (to the point of
being pushy)? Does the teacher seem impressed with him/herself? Does
s/he brag about who s/he knows or his/her own stature? Does your
prospective teacher make rash, emotional decisions or always place
blame on someone other than themselves? Does your prospective teacher
expect you to put them on a pedestal? If not, are you tempted to put
them on one? Run far, far away. No matter who instigates such a
relationship, it is not healthy for either party.
- Ask questions about his/her personal and professional life.
Is his/her emotional life in order? Spirituality affects and permeates
all levels of our lives, and as such a good teacher should have stable
relationships with their mate, family, friends, former teachers and
former students. This is not to say that we dont all go through ups
and downs, or that you should necessarily quit working with someone
when they go through inevitable woes life swings our way, but youll
both have a more rewarding experience if you start when you are both on
a more stable footing. This, of course, will become readily apparent if
you follow step 1 (above) and take your time: time will tell you
whether or not your prospective teacher is merely going through a rough
period or if chaos, dissension and blaming others seems to follow them
wherever they go.
- Find out if the teacher takes minors as their students
without significant dialogue and permission from the students legal
guardian. For those who are underage Yes, I realize you are eager
to learn as much as you can about your chosen spiritual path, but
remember that there is no reason to rush things. Even your parents
religion will teach you valuable lessons regardless of what path you
later choose to take. A good teacher will encourage that you learn your
lessons from your family while you can.
- Explore all your options. Does your prospective
teacher encourage you to explore several paths before deciding his/hers
is the right one? An experienced teacher will be able to provide you
with a list of readings that illustrate perspectives different from
his/her own. S/he should be willing to discuss these options with you without pointing
out his/hers is the only right option. Certain traditions require
significant investments of your time if you are the type that likes
to study many different paths simultaneously, talk this over with your
teacher. Most will be fine with it, especially if you are still
exploring and trying things out (they may even encourage it!), but
because of the intensity of the training they may require you to decide
upon one before beginning a priest/ess path with their group.
- Evaluate what you expect from your teacher. What kind
of relationships do other people in the group have with the teacher?
You can tell a lot from context. Some teachers will prefer a more
formal relationship, others informal. One isn’t necessarily better than
another, but knowing what you’re after ensures a more likely fit. It’s
also a good idea to open up a dialogue by writing a list of what you
are looking for and sharing this with the prospective teacher when you
- Ask prospective teachers what they expect from you. What
will your homework assignments be like and how much time per week or
month will you be expected to devote to them? How many classes and
rituals do you need to attend? Be honest with him/her and yourself —
can you balance the study load along with work, family life or school?
If not, now may not be the time to begin this particular course of
study. If a fee is charged for lessons, does it seem reasonable?
Teachers have to eat too, so money does not necessarily indicate base
motivations, but the fee should be reasonable (whatever that means for
you — don’t be afraid to ask what the fees are allocated for). Also
ask if you are allowed to disagree with a teacher. You should certainly
learn their tradition and fit reasonably well with their beliefs if you
plan to dedicate and seek initiation, but questions and doubts should
be part of the dialogue and not simply subject to blind faith. Bear in
mind however that the relationship you have with your teacher should
also not be a constant source of philosophical (or other) disagreement.
- Assess whether or not the ethics of a group is a good fit with your own.
Some people think that “consciousness-altering” substances are a
valuable part of ritual, while others would never even consider such a
thing. From Dionysian revels to Native American worship, this isnt an
easy question when you look at historic precedents, but whether your
own ethics fall on one side or the other of this argument, make sure
you discuss this with your prospective teacher ahead of time. Either
way, avoid illegal substances and the groups that use them. Whether or not they should
be legal is beside the point; common sense tells us that it is
needlessly foolhardy to participate in illegal activities. Another area
to consider: Certain favors from the student to the teacher are not
considered ethical; the most obvious ones are sexual favors. Were
human; sometimes romantic relationships develop between members of a
group, but they should not be expected as a matter of course, nor
should they break any commitments you or the other party has made with
your respective spouses nor should they be tied to your advancement in the group.
Less obvious are things like washing the windows in the High Priestess’
house (Helping to clean up the property after a ritual, however, is
- Trust your intuition. A teacher may check out all the
points beautifully but the student’s inner bell is clanging an alarm.
In that case, the student should heed it.
Document Copyright 2001 Spiritualitea.com & Sandra Mizumoto Posey, Ph.D., author of Cafe Nation: Coffee Folklore, Magick, & Divination
(Santa Monica Press, 2000). This article may be reproduced as long as
no changes, additions or deletions are made to the text. All the
information in this paragraph must be included on the document whenever
it is distributed or reproduced. Special thanks to Laura von Bosau for
her significant contributions to this article and to Donna Albino and
Denise Dumars for their thoughtful and insightful suggestions.