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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


A modern epresentation of Gaia

An ancient name of Greek derivation applied to the archetypal earth mother.   Her origins are pre-Hellenic and her centre of worship was in Attica.   Gaia is the primal essence of the earth and is one of the creations of the primordial beings of the cosmos, Aether and Hedera.

Encouraged by Eros, Gaia became the mother of Pontos (the sea) and Ouranos (the heavens) and, through subsequent incestuous liaison with Ouranos, she bore the first generation of Titans.

She is perceived as a placid and resilient Goddess who had an Oracle, predating that of Apollo, at Delphi.   In iconography she is represented by fruit and comucopiae.

Under Hellenic influence she became Demeter or Dameter, the com mother whose daughter is the ill-fated Kore (girl), a corn spirit better known as Persephone whose fate is depicted in the Eleusinian Mysteries.

In today's Neo-Pagan beliefs, Gaia continues to represent the apotheosis of the living earth and is, essentially, the Goddess of Wicca.

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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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