exWitch Australia
Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


A special investigatory court established in 1673 in France at the behest of Louis XIV following a report by certain Paris priests that they had received confessions of murder by poisoning in consequence of marital upsets among their congregations.   Subsequent police investigation uncovered a poisoning ring and the king instituted the Chambre Ardente, so named because the courtroom was lined with black drapes and candlelit.   Although people from all walks of life were indicted, generally only the poor suffered execution.

The investigations and trials were terminated in 1682 by order of the king who considered the court to have become excessively zealous in its application.   The Chambre Ardente was, however, never claimed to sit in judgement of Witchcraft in the true sense of the term.

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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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