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Practical Pagan > A Glossary of Terms

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 10, 2013 05:15PM) (new)

A lovely GR friend just contacted me and suggested we have a definition thread, or a glossary of terms. This would prove very helpful to new heathens, pagans and witches, and for the curious too.

I thought I'd start the thread, and would love it if everyone could add to it. Please excuse my slackness in listing wikipedia as a source!

HEATHEN:

"Heathen or Heathenry may refer to:
An adherent of Germanic Neopaganism, also known as Heathenism or Heathenry, who may or may not specify further religious affiliation
According to the old definition, a pagan who may or may not specify further religious affiliation."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathen_...)

"Heathen:hea·then (hn)
n. pl. hea·thens or heathen

1. Offensive
a. One who adheres to the religion of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.
b. Such persons considered as a group; the unconverted.
2. Heathen An adherent of a Neopagan religion that seeks to revive the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Germanic peoples.
3. Informal
a. One who is regarded as irreligious, uncivilized, or unenlightened.
b. Such persons considered as a group.
[Middle English hethen, from Old English hthen; see kaito- in Indo-European roots.]
heathen adj.
heathen·dom, heathen·ism, heathen·ry n."

(http://www.thefreedictionary.com/heathen)

"Heathen
Oft times used as an insult by Christians against people who don’t worship their god. They tend to confuse Atheism, Paganism and Heathenism. Atheism is of course a lack of belief in any gods. Paganism is an umbrella term for many polytheistic non-Abrahamic religions. Whereas a heathen is one who practices the pre-Christian religion of the ancient Germanic people. They worship the Germanic and Norse gods and goddess’.

Heathens are hard polytheists, meaning they believe each god and goddess is a real and distinct individual not an aspect or archetype of a greater being. Besides the major gods spoken of in the lore, there are also local gods, ancestral spirits, and various sorts of wights. To a heathen reading and understanding one’s heritage is very important, this is why there is such a heavy emphasis placed on reading the sagas. Heathens take their religion very seriously. "

(http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...)


PAGAN:

Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller", "rustic"[1]) is a blanket term typically used to refer to religious traditions which are polytheistic or indigenous.

It is primarily used in a historical context, Greco-Roman polytheism as well as the polytheistic traditions of Europe and North Africa before Christianization. In a wider sense, extended to contemporary religions, it includes most of the Eastern religions and the indigenous traditions of the Americas, Central Asia, Australia and Africa; as well as non-Abrahamic folk religion in general. More narrow definitions will not include any of the world religions and restrict the term to local or rural currents not organized as civil religions. Characteristic of Pagan traditions is the absence of proselytism and the presence of a living mythology, which informs religious practice.

Ethnologists often avoid the term "pagan," with its uncertain and varied meanings, in referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring more precise categories such as polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism.

In the late 20th century, "Paganism", or more correctly "Neopaganism", became widely used in reference to adherents of various new religious movement including Wicca.[2]

As such, various modern scholars have begun to apply the term to three groups of separate faiths: Historical Polytheism (such as Celtic polytheism,Kemetism,Norse Paganism, the Cultus Deorum Romanorum and Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism also called Hellenismos), Folk/ethnic/Indigenous religions (such as Chinese folk religion and African traditional religion), and Neopaganism (such as Wicca,Neo-Druidism).

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paganism)

"Key Movements
Pagan beliefs can be broadly categorised in three streams – polytheism (belief in many gods), pantheism (belief that the whole of reality is divine) and animism (the belief that spirits are active in aspects of the environment). Some movements have a strong feminist/goddess orientation. Within those broad definitions, neo-pagan traditions proliferate. Among the most significant are:
The Wiccan movement (wicca, ‘wise ones’), or witchcraft, calls itself the Old Religion and gives devotion to various pre-Christian deities. Adherents use magic and celebrate eight seasonal festivals (or sabbats) per year. Many Australian Wiccans reverse Northern Hemisphere rites.

Druids are priests derived from an Ancient Celtic religion found around Britain and Gaul (France). They are nature worshipping.

Shamanists believe that spirits are only responsive to certain individuals called shamans, key figures in many indigenous traditions. Shamans travel in the spirit realm using totems as guides.

Asatru (Teutonic or Norse Paganism) encourages spiritual growth through study of the sagas, eddas and runes."

(http://www.abc.net.au/religion/storie...)

WITCH:

Witches: I really can't cut and paste any of the articles I've found as they annoy the hell out of me with their misconceptions and errors! I thought instead I'd add that the word Witch comes from the sacred willow: " "The moon owns it." Its connection with witches is so strong in Northern Europe that the words 'witch' and 'wicked' are derived from the same ancient word for willow, which also yields 'wicker'." (The White Goddess by Robert Graves)

Please add away! Definitions for each sub group needed, and explanations for terms. :)


message 2: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Great idea for a thread, Georgina :)


message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 11, 2013 04:08PM) (new)

:D:D A great suggestion from a lovely friend. I'll add to it when I get the chance.


message 4: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Eldritch:
Supernatural, chilling, and somewhat mystical.


message 5: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Aaron wrote: "Eldritch:
Supernatural, chilling, and somewhat mystical."


Ah, positively Lovecraftian...
On that note may I suggest: batrachian.
Frog like, useful if visiting Innsmouth.


message 6: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments I just thought I'd mention that the word "Heathen" also comes from, or is related to, the word "Heath". A Heath person.


message 7: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Unseelie:
Malevolent.
Seelie:
Benevolent. The word "silly" evolved from Seelie, as it was originally applied to garrulous fairies who were basically harmless.


message 8: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments I had also thought that the word Wicce had something to do with "knowing" and had also produced the word "wise", but I could be wrong.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, wicked too, all from the willow. :)


message 10: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Oh wow! I didn't know about the wicked part.


message 11: by Nell (last edited Mar 19, 2013 04:35AM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I wonder which came first - wicker (wicce) (as in wicker-work (baskets etc. made from willow) or wicked. The former methinks. 'Wicked' therefore might have originally have meant 'bent' or 'able to be bent'.

Love now knowing that 'Seelie' is the original of 'silly':)


message 12: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Isn't it? I love the idea of loveable but, obnoxious fairies.


message 13: by Aaron, Moderator (last edited Mar 24, 2013 01:12AM) (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments ᵕSome Hindu terms.

Yuga: An era. The first Yuga, Satyuga was roughly four million years in length. The current Yuga, which is the last Yuga (Kaliyug), is roughly a hundred thousand years. They get smaller as they wind down.

There are four Yugas in a Kalpa.

Kalpa: There are ten Kalpas divided according to the incarnations of Vishnu, and reflecting, somewhat losely the Hindu notion of the evolution of man. Starting with the fish and working its way through the amphibious tortoise, the mammalian Boar, which is the Kalpa we are currently in. Here is the list.

Matsyakalpa: The Fish
Kurmakalpa: The tortoise
Verehekalpa: The Boar
Narasimhakalpa: Half man, half lion. (Sadly it is only the body which is human in this incarnation. The Head is of the lion, so it is theorised that even in the next Kalpa, humanity's intelligence will only have reached a bestial level on average.)
Vamanakalpa: The dwarf. Finally we get a head, but development is still stunted.

Parsukalpa: The warrior
Ramakalpa: The prince
Krishnakalpa: The Lover
Buddhakalpa: The enlightened one
Kalkakalpa: The bringer of light, and destroyer of ignorence.

Note on pronunciation: We have a tendancy when transliterating Hindi and Sanskrit to add a spurious “A” at the end of every word, but this is not actually usually pronounced in Hindi or Sanskrit, therefore, the word “Kalpa” actually rhymes with “Gulp”. “Yuga” sounds more along the lines of “Good” (I was stuck for a rhyming word here).

Not everyone agrees about this group of avatars. There are some schools of thought who believe that Lord Balrama is actually an avatar of Vishnu, which is curious because he would have been on earth at the same time as Lord Krishna. In this scenario, they boot out one of the other avatars to make room for him in the list of ten.

Some people do not consider The Buddha a true part of Hindu doctrine, and so he takes the fall. Others believe that Parsurama is too violent to represent an incarnation of the maintainer, and instead chose to see him as an aspect of The Destroyer, Lord Shiva.


message 14: by Aaron, Moderator (last edited Mar 24, 2013 01:16AM) (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Yoga: A much misunderstood term in western thinking. (Rhymes with "rogue"). Yoga actually refers to any spiritual practice which requires discipline, and is not restricted to Hathayoga, which is the discipline of exercises.

In ancient Sanskrit, the word simply meant "joined".


message 15: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Tantra: Sorcery. (Not restricted to ritual sex magic, which is a small part of Tantra).

Note: Tantra is a part of the Shakta tradition, which is the division of Hinduism, in which Goddesses are most popular.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Great Aaron! :D


message 17: by Nell (last edited Jun 09, 2013 02:06PM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments The Three Druidic Worlds of Existence

Abred: the present life of change and continual struggle - birth, becoming, marriage, begetting, dying and rebirth.

Gwynffrydd: the second circle, gained by the soul purified after successive passages through the realms of existence in Abred.

Ceugant: the ultimate state of pure rejoicing existence.

Doubtless by courtesy of Iolo Morganwg or other, but nevertheless appealing...


message 18: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Thank you so much for that Nell. I hadn't realised that Druidry allowed for evolution of the soul. Any notes on pronunciation?


message 19: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I'll have to ask my Welsh son-in-law and get back to you on that one :)


message 20: by Nell (last edited Jun 09, 2013 02:08PM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Aaron wrote: "Thank you so much for that Nell. I hadn't realised that Druidry allowed for evolution of the soul. Any notes on pronunciation?"

Abred: A-bred ('A' as in 'apple')

Gwynffrydd: Gwyn-frith ('th' as in 'the')

Ceugant: Kay-gant

(Better late than never...:))

And of course Awen - creative inspiration


message 21: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Hecatomb...

"In Ancient Greece, a hecatomb (/ˈhɛkətuːm/ or /ˈhɛkətoʊm/; Ancient Greek: ἑκατόμβη hekatómbē) was a sacrifice to the gods of 100 cattle (hekaton = one hundred). Hecatombs were offered to Greek gods Apollo, Athena, and Hera, during special religious ceremonies."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hecatomb


message 22: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Suprising that they didn't sacrifice hecatombs to Hecate.


message 23: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Aaron wrote: "Suprising that they didn't sacrifice hecatombs to Hecate."

Different etymology sir...and maybe she wasn't that gone on cattle...


message 24: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Is it? I'd always thought they had the same root the word and the name. I can easily imagine her turning her nose up at cattle though. "I prefer virgin boys thank you."


message 25: by Little (new)

Little Miss Esoteric (littlemissesoteric) | 1116 comments Aaron wrote: "Is it? I'd always thought they had the same root the word and the name. I can easily imagine her turning her nose up at cattle though. "I prefer virgin boys thank you.""

:D:D:D


message 26: by Aaron, Moderator (last edited Jul 30, 2013 05:36AM) (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Kundalini

The power of the life force in the human body, which traditionally resides in the base Chakra, (power node) at the base of the spine, or to be more specific, just behind the genitals. It takes the form of a coiled serpent, which shoots up the spine and out the top of the head causing the petals of the thousand petalled lotus at the crown chakra to open.

The serpent only rises for adepts, who practice meditation or asceticism.


message 27: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments This word is not in common use, but I was so intrigued when I discovered it, I had to share it.

Seraji. A local word in the language where I live. It is a corruption of the Sanskrit words Swa- (self) and Raj- (king). It refers to someone from the district of Seraj which was named thus because it used to be self governed. The word "Seraji" has become a slur referring to any person, from anywhere in the state who is considered unruly or uncivilised.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Aaron wrote: "This word is not in common use, but I was so intrigued when I discovered it, I had to share it.

Seraji. A local word in the language where I live. It is a corruption of the Sanskrit words Swa- (s..."


That's neat. What do you call a group of self-ruled "Seraji"
Maybe fairies or maybe cats! Anyway this book looks good for historical data... though I don't consider it metaphysical. I'd like to read it : The Annihilation of Caste


Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜ (onthisgoodearth) | 72 comments Hmm...I know one though it may be obvious to some.

Shakti (Or Sakti in Tamil)-The female principles of energy, represented in Hindu/Dravidian goddesses such as Durga, Parvati, Lakshmi, Sarawati and so on. Shakti is actually considered her own goddess that manifests I to these other goddesses, known as the great mother called "Adishakti"

Shaktism-A denomination of Hinduism that focuses on the worship of the goddess, known as "Devi".

I could imagine many Wiccans linking their worship with this, whether you incorporate Hinduism into your spirituality and practices or not. As an eclectic Wiccan I find myself dedicated my craft toward mostly goddesses than gods. It just worked out that way.


message 30: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜ wrote: "Hmm...I know one though it may be obvious to some.

Shakti (Or Sakti in Tamil)-The female principles of energy, represented in Hindu/Dravidian goddesses such as Durga, Parvati, Lakshmi, Sarawati an..."


Also the name Shakti is believed to have been derived from The Vedic Queen of the Gods Shachi. Just a little by the way trivia.


Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜ (onthisgoodearth) | 72 comments I recently read up on Scachi and just saw your comment. Etymology is absolutely fascinating.


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