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


Extrasensory perception (ESP) means the the ability to perceive information without the benefit of the senses.   Such perceptions, collectively called Psi phenomena, are grouped in four main categories: Telepathy or mind-to-mind communication; Clairvoyance or the awareness of remote objects, persons or events; Precognition or the knowledge of events lying in the future; and Retrocognition or the knowledge of past events in the absence of access to information about those events.

Scientific theory does not recognise modes of perception other than those mediated by the sense organs and other body systems, so ESP by defInition lies outside the realm of scientifIc explanation.   Claims for the occurrence of ESP therefore remain controversial, although the converse condition also holds, that the existence of ESP cannot positively be disproved.

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, attempts at controlled study of ESP phenomena have been undertaken by various persons and groups.   Such researchers often claim that ESP experiences can be induced by hypnosis, chemicals or other artifIcial means, so that they can be measured precisely under laboratory conditions.

The scientifIc community as a whole does not accept ESP research reports because it does not fInd them verifIable or reproducible.   Para-Psychologists and others, however, maintain that ESP exists and should be explored even should it remain beyond the bounds of scientifIc understanding.

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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 defintion 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 differring practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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