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


Chants were very much a part of occult practice.   With the correct words, they could reach to the spirits of the beyond, either to placate them or to summon them.   Their rhythmic and repetitive quality helped to create the right state of mind among those assisting at a ritual, while the lengthy and strange-sounding names and words added to the sense of mystery and awe felt by the participants.   The real purpose was to work the magician-Chanter up to a state of Ecstasy in which she or he might experience revelations, like the Shaman with his drum.

Chants could include Kabbalistic names like Adonai, Elohim, Sabaoth, or with Egyptian ones like those of Horus, Hathor or Thoth.   Incantations could be prolonged.   Aleister Crowley admitted that on one occasion he incorporated the whole text of the hymn 'From Greenland's Icy Mountains' into an incantation and added that determinedly persisting with an absurdity was in itself a way of achieving the desired mental state.

see also: NAMES OF POWER

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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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