Welcome to the Witchipedia's glossary of occult terms. Here you will find terms often used in the Pagan, Heathen, magical and occult communities that may confuse a newcomer. This encyclopedia of magical terminology is a wonderful place to get started if you don't know where to start in the Witchipedia. If you don't see the term you are looking for here, feel free to bring your question to the community in our forums or Ask A Witch!


We have 331 terms listed in our glossary with more being added each day.

What you see on this page is the name and first paragraph of the articles in our occult glossary. To view the full article, please click on the title. You will also be able to comment, ask questions and add more information to the article once you've navigated to its page.

Shadow Period - The shadow period is an astrological term describing the period of time that it takes a retrograde planet to complete the entire cycle of movement from the furthest point of its retrograde back to the point it left before it went retrograde.

Shamanism - Shamanism is a spiritual or mystical practice that is characterized by the use of altered states of consciousness and contact with other worlds and spirit beings, Gods and ancestors to gather information and/or bring about a result in our physical world.

sigil - A sigil is a symbol that is drawn for a specific magical purpose; to represent the intent of the drawer or to represent a specific entity.

Simple - A simple is a curative preparation using a single herb. It may also refer simply to a single herb itself, used for healing. An herbalist who uses simples, one herb at a time or preparations of just one herb at a time, is a simpler.

Smoke cleansing - Smoke cleansing, or purification by smoke involves using smoke, usually from burning aromatic herbs or incense, to purify the body or space, usually to drive off unwanted energies and entities. See also smudge and fumigation.

Smudge - The word smudge is used in magickal circles as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, a smudge is an herb that is burned and made to smoke so as to purify an area. As a verb, to smudge is to purify the area through the use of smoke.

Smudge Stick - A smudge stick is a bundle of dried herbs that is burned to produce smoke used to purify or bless an object or area in a process called smudging

Smudging - Smudging involves burning of herbs to release their aromatic scent in order to purify an object, person or area.

Soft polytheism - Soft polytheism is the belief that there are many Gods who are all part of a larger whole.

Solar Eclipse - A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth causing the Sun to be fully or partially obscured by the Moon, as seen from Earth. This happens only during the New Moon.

Solitary Witch - A solitary witch is one who practices alone, without a coven or circle either by choice or necessity.

solstice - A solstice is a solar event marking one of the two annual extremes of the sun's appearance of height in the sky/distance from the horizon. During the Summer Solstice, the sun appears at its highest point for the year and the day of the Summer Solstice receives the longest period of sunlight for the year. On the day of the Winter Solstice, the sun appears lowest in the sky and the day receives the least amount of sunlight.

Sorcerer - A sorcerer is a practitioner of magick or sorcery. This title is often given to or adopted by those who practice High Magick or Ceremonial Magic. It may be used by a male witch in preference over the term witch or warlock or it may be used as a general term for any magic-user who does not self-identify as a witch, though some reserve this term for those who practice the dark arts. A woman may choose to identify by the feminine variant sorceress.

Sorcery - Sorcery is traditionally defined as any magical system that involves the use of tools and other materials to bring about magical change for personal gain or improvement. Sorcery may involve evocation, or not and is generally lumped in with High Magick arts.

Spare's Technique - Spare's Technique is a method for creating sigils that was developed by Austin Osman Spare right around the turn of the 20th century. It involves creating a sigil using the letters in a written statement of intent.

Spell - According to the most modern definition, a spell is focusing energy to achieve a goal, but spells were traditionally written or spoken, the power of words being paramount. Although ritual movements and other actions probably accompanied historical spells, more attention is paid to those than seems to have been in the past. Still, most spell-workers will agree that speaking your statement of intent out loud or writing it down is a very important part of any spell, though sometimes it is necessary for the purposes of privacy to "think" the words, rather than say them.

Spellcraft - Spellcraft is the art and craft of creating and casting spells.

Spellwork - Spellwork references magical operations involving the casting of spells. It may involve multiple spells and other techniques toward a single goal or it may reference specific techiques that make up a larger spell.

spirit - Spirit is non-physical, energetic consciousness.

Spirit Animal - A spirit animal is a spirit that embodies all of the characteristics of the species it represents. It is usually not viewed as the spirit of a specific animal, but as an archetype of that animal.

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