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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


TALIESIN (1) The renowned poet of Celtic legend who was otherwise known as Gwion Bach.   He is said to have acquired access to Occult knowledge when he inadvertently swallowed some drops of a magical Potion being brewed in a cauldron by the Goddess of Inspiration, Ceridwen.   The Potion was ostensibly destined for her son Afaggdu to compensate for his extreme physical ugliness.

Gwion Bach is said to have fled from Ceridwen, adopting an assortment of guises until, as a grain of wheat, he was pecked up by her while she took the form of a hen.   When, later, he was disgorged from her crop it was to be reborn as Taliesin, the poet.

The name Taliesin is given to one of the earliest manuscripts of Welsh Celtic poetry written in about 1275 and which was discovered with a manuscript copy of the Mabinogion.

TALIESIN (2) The nom-de-plume of a contributor to the magazine Pentagram, the official organ of the Witchcraft Research Organization who, in 1966, was partly responsible for a major confrontation between Gardnerian Wiccans (see GARDNER, Gerald) and other, more traditional, groups.   Taliesin scorned the Gardnerian (then being proclaimed by Doreen Valiente) as one of 'sweetness and light coupled with good clean fun under the auspices of a Universal Auntie'.   He claimed to represent a Traditionalist group operating in the west of England following a strictly Celtic Tradition and employing the hallucinatory properties of the mushroom Amanita muscaria.   In this respect he allied firmly with Robert Cochrane, who was also writing articles of a similar nature in Pentagram.

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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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