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(originally posted in the HPGP msn Group)
First of all word Witchraft/ Witch - Religion/ pratctices of people of Europe before the taking of Christianity. This is the word that was given to practicioners of ways that predeced Catholic Church by its Clergy. Practitioner of Witchcraft, or a Witch, is initiated into a line that has origins in pre- Christian time, a line that has continued and has not been broken.
Hethen - person who does not acknowledge the God of the Bible, Torah, or Koran. Originally a person living on the heath or in the countryside. A person holding on to the old customs and beliefs, often used in the pejorative sense of heretic or unbeliever. Etymology: Middle English hethen, from Old English h[AE]then; akin to Old High German heidan heathen, and probably to Old English h[AE]th heath.
Pagan - many times used interchangingly with Heathen. Pagan, from Latin pagus, country dweller, also taken as 'unenlightened'.
Some people will call themselves Heathen as opposed to Pagan to make a distinction 1) From neo-Pagans as a (neo-Greek = new) Pagan movement started by G. Gardner;
Pagan is today an Umbrella-term which incorporates many different ways which are Polytheistic (belief in more than one God), many Pagans also revere the Nature and are involved in different movements for preservation of Forests, animals, etc. Some of the Paths in today's Paganism are neo-Druids, Wiccans, etc....
Reconstructionalist - a person that draws heavily on what is documented/ saved in historical/ anthropological sources about a specific culture/ country. They (may) have a line that has been broken at some point (case of drawing partially on remnants of tradition that has once died), or may be avid students of historical sources and are trying to reconstruct a way of practices as close as possible as it may have once been, many times adding in parts of their own, when info lacks.
Wicca/ Wiccan follower of a Religion started in 40's of 20th century by Gerald Gardner. Traditional Wiccans - Gardnerian and Alexandrian. With many 'traditions' that have developed later, Wicca as a Religion draws from many sources - Europian (Irish, Welsh, Greek, Roman and other) pantheons/ cultures, Eastern Influences, Ceremonial Magick and, after Buckland started the 'self-initiatory' craze, for a practitioner of Wicca today, other than Gardnerian or Alexandrian ways, there is no intitiation necessary (some numerous other ways may require a type of initiation).
Seeker - a term refering to (usually) persons interested in learning more about Traditional Witchcraft (as defined above), but, today, many apply it for all sorts of neo-Pagan ways.
As far as what you call yourselves, thats a personal choice. All ways are valid, and there is no one way better than other.
Definitions here are based on research of history and antrophology. One good book about development of Religions is 'A History of Pagan Europe' by Prudence Jones, Nigel Pennick
Etymology - from Merriam - Webster, and Encarta Dictionaries
Articles by Norin
Altar (part 1) ALTAR z
AL'TAR, n. L. altare, probably from the same root as altus, high.
1. A mount; a table or elevated place, on which sacrifices where anciently offered to some deity. Altars were originally made of turf, afterwards of stone, wood or horn; some were round, others square, others triangular. They differed also in height, but all faced the east. The principal altars of the Jews were, the altar of incense, of burnt-offerings, and of shewbread; all of shittim wood, and covered with gold or brass.
Altar can be of any size, shape, and purpose. It depends from the practitioner how they will set up the altar. It can be a very simple setup. The direction in which the altar is placed is usually either the North or East.
Altar (part 2)
Setup of an Altar
Usually, the left side is dedicated to the Goddess, and right to the God.
P.S. As far as personal likes goes, leaving the Grimoire on an altar, exept for the time of ritual is not a good idea (some of you might like the idea of Grimoire stand). Personally, I'd place it in a crate with the rest of ritual supplies. If you cannot afford a crate, a second-hand suitcase would serve the purpose.
Grimoire is a personal notebook with the information that an individual puts down over the course of time. It can contain the recipes, properties of herbs, instructions, information of magickal nature etc. As well as, illustrations, drawings, etc. can be contained within the grimoire. Covers can be a simple folder or an elaborate fabric design or wodden covers with details.
Daggers were since pre-history used in the purpposes of hunting, personal protection, and assault.
Chalice, an ritual object is dedicated to the Goddess. There are various cups, differing on material, fabric, etc. The purpose is preservation of liquid (orange juice, vine, etc.), for the beginning, during, and at the end of a ritual, when its contents can be shared among the members of a coven/family and also partially spilt as an offering.
Divination serves as means for a person to get insight into future events.(Etymology: Middle English divinacioun, from Latin divination-, divinatio, from divinare).
Origin of the Tarot is unknown. (Word Tarot - etymology: Middle French, from Italian tarocchi (plural).
can be dedicated, consecrated, represent anyone or anything. In magick, the color can have a specific meaning, and a representation. All colors can be seen in white. Black is simply the lack of color/light.
Disclaimer (do not copy in part, only entire article with the discaimer, these articles are copywrited - Norin 2003, and a link to this group must be included http://groups.msn.com/HeathenPaganGatheringPlace , let me know if you desire to add it on your site or public domain before doing so). New-if you want to copy these articles, e-mail me first, as right-clicking is disabled. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org