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The Llewellyn Journal
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The Language of Magical Herbalism

This article was written by Llewellyn
posted under Pagan

Adept: One who is skilled in the art of magic.

Amulet: An object worn or carried to bring luck or to attract certain vibrations or people.

Anaphrodisiac: An herb that cools the passions.

Aphrodisiac: An herb that acts as a sexual excitant.

Athame: The sacred knife of the Witch, black-handled and often engraved with magic symbols.

Balefire:
An open-air fire, a bonfire lit for magical purposes.

Bane: That which destroys life. Henbane, hellebore, and other such herbs are considered to be baneful.

Banish: To drive away an influence by magical means.

Besom: An old word meaning “broom.” The Witch’s broom is often called a besom.

Botanomancy: Divining the future through the use of herbs.

Censer:
A vessel of brass, copper, clay, etc., in which incense is burned. Any object that is used in this manner.

Chaplet: A garland of flowers, leaves, or herbs worn on the head, as in the chaplets of laurel leaves worn by the classical Greeks and Romans as a symbol of honor.

Charge:
To infuse with magical power or a specific magic purpose.

Charm:
A spell or incantation.

Charm bag: A magical sachet.

Clairvoyance: Literally, “clear seeing.” This is the ability to perceive facts, events, and other data by other than the five “normal” senses. Often referred to as intuition.

Clear: To drive out evil and negativity, especially from a place.

Consecrate:
To make pure, holy, or sacred.

Coven: A group of Witches who meet to work magic and worship together.

Curse: A concentration of negative and destructive vibrations, deliberately formed and directed to a person, place, or thing.

Daphnomancy: Divining the future through the use of laurel leaves, usually by burning them and observing the smoke.

Deosil: Sunwise, clockwise. The direction in which all positive and beneficial actions are done in magic.

Divination: The art of finding things out by other than “normal” means, i.e., by magic.

Enchant: “Sing to.” Magically speaking, a declaration of magical intent.

Exorcism: The act of casting out negative entities and general psychic clutter, usually from a place or object; rarely from a person.

Evil eye:
Supposed glance capable of causing great harm or ill luck.

Fluid condenser:
A substance that concentrates and stores natural energies, or “fluids.” In herbal magic, liquid fluid condensers are often used to concentrate the power of a specific herb for magical use.

Grimoire:
A collection of spells and magical rituals.

Handfasting: A Witch wedding ceremony. More broadly, all weddings and solemn betrothals.

Hallucinogen: An herb that causes perception of objects or events with no basis in reality, a mind-altering substance. Hallucinogen-induced “visions” are not manifestations of true clairvoyance; they are purely mental recreation.

Herb: Any plant used in magic.

Herbal: A collection of information regarding the properties, use, and symbolism of herbs.

Hex: Popularly believed to be an evil spell. It is derived from the German word for “Witch.”

Incantation:
A chant spoken with fierce conviction, often using repetition, rhyme, or heavy emphasis of certain words.

Infusion:
An herbal potion or tea. To make an infusion, steep one-half ounce dried herb to one pint water.

Invocation:
A prayer or plea to a higher being, usually a god or goddess.

Leech: An old Anglo-Saxon word for “healer.” Leeches employed herbs and magic in their work, known as “leechcraft” or “leechdom.”

Macerate:
To soak in alcohol or oil.

Magic: The manipulation of psychic forces to cause change. Within the boundaries of this work, magic is the art of tapping the hidden powers of herbs and plants and using them to produce changes in our own lives and those of our friends and loved ones.

Magician: A person of either sex who practices magic.

Magus: A male magician.

Narcotic: A sleep- or coma-inducing substance.

Pentagram: A five-pointed star, such as the one used in the blessing of the Magic Garden. Sometimes erroneously referred to as a “pentacle.” The latter is, strictly speaking, an object upon which a pentagram or other magical symbol is painted, engraved, or carved. The pentagram is an ancient symbol of protection.

Poppet: A small image of a human being or animal then handled in ritual to influence a specific person or animal. The destructive “voodoo doll” is a popularized vulgarization of the poppet. Among Witches, the poppet is generally used to effect healing. The doll is also called a “fith-fath.”

Rede: A maxim, tenet, or rule of life. An unwritten law, often in rhyme.

Runes:
1) Short, rhymed chants. 2) Ancient magical symbols. 3) A magical alphabet.

Sabbat: One of the eight religious festivals of Witches. They occur on the solstices and equinoxes, and also on October 31 (Samhain or Hallows), February 2 (Lupercalia or Candlemas), April 30 (Beltane or Rodomas), and August 1 (Lughnasadh or Lammas).

Sachet:
A small, cloth bag stuffed with herbs.

Scry: To gaze into a crystal ball, fire, pool of ink, etc., to awaken and summon clairvoyant powers.

Simple: A one-herb potion or infusion. A “compound” is an infusion of several herbs.

Spell: A magical ritual performed to cause change.

Steep: To soak in a hot liquid, such as water.

Three-fold Law: The Witch’s rede that states whatever one does returns to them threefold, “three times ill or three times good,” and thus encourages us to “harm none,” another Witch’s rede.

Tincture: An infusion made in alcohol or apple cider vinegar.

Tisane: A French term for an herbal tea.

Wicca: An old name for Witchcraft.

Widdershins: Counterclockwise, the direction of negativity.

Wise woman or cunning man: The village herbalist who worked magic and often acted as doctor, confessor, midwife, psychologist, and priest(ess).

Witch: A male or female follower of the Witchcraft religion.

Witchcraft: The ancient religion based on the worship of the lifeforce of the universe, as personified by a god and goddess. Its beliefs include reincarnation and the three-fold law. Most Witches practice magic.

Wort:
An old word meaning “herb.” Mugwort, St. John’s wort, etc., preserve the word.

Wortcunning: The use of herbs, usually in magic.

Yarb:
A dialectical form of the word “herb.”

From Magical Herbalism, by Scott Cunningham


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