Inspired from listening to a witchcraft podcast, I bring you a talk about some of the terms both well known and some not so known. I hope you all enjoy~
Spell: a form of words used as a magical charm or incantation; a state of enchantment caused by a magic spell; an ability to control or influence people as though one had magical power over them.
A spell is a magical act meant to achieve something. Though, it tends to be less strict and structured, and it tends to be more chaotic and spur of the moment. Spells that are pre-written are not strictly followed, and tend to vary when put to actual use. Often if I would write up a spell before performing it, I would make it a draft, in which I would change after actually performing it. Compared to a ritual, it is more of a recipe or a guideline than a strict list of instructions and how-to.
Ritual: a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order; the prescribed order of performing a ceremony, especially one characteristic of a particular religion or church; a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.
On the other hand, rituals gain their power from repetitiveness, practice, and study. The pre-work is a very important step in ritual work. Rituals tend to be more formal and planned out. You will pretty much be doing the ritual the same every time compared to spell-work, which can vary from every time you do the “same” spell.
Charm: a small ornament worn on a necklace or bracelet; an object, act, or saying believed to have magic power; an object kept or worn to ward off evil and bring good luck; the chanting or reciting of a magic spell.
In the more traditional context, a charm is a poetic incantation and is similar to a prayer, EXAMPLE. In a more modern context, it is a physical object meant to contain or perform a magical purpose. Its a charm bag, a charm bracelet, a charm box, charm bottles, etc.
In another sense, it also is often used to characterize any magical (or thought to be) act or intent.
Sabbat: any of eight neo-pagan religious festivals commemorating phases of the changing seasons; a midnight assembly of witches, devils, and sorcerers for the celebration of rites and orgies; a supposed annual midnight meeting of witches with the Devil.
The witch’s Sabbat, in the traditional and historical lore, is a nocturnal gathering of witches, usually reflecting the moon cycle in some way. It was during this time rituals like The Black Mass were performed or reverse baptisms and prayers. They also partook in the act of “Flight”.
Often today, the word Sabbat is associated with its neopagan meaning involving the celebration of the wheel of the year and the seasons, while Esbat is more associated with the rituals revolving around the moon. Margaret Murray was the one who originally coined the word Esbat with this meaning, “An esbat is commonly understood to be a ritual observance on the night of a full moon.”
Familiar (spirit): a spirit often embodied in an animal and held to attend and serve or guard a person; an animal, as a cat, that embodies a supernatural spirit and aids a witch in performing magic; a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal.
One of the more confused terms, Familiar, in its historical and traditional context, is a term meant for a spirit, which is also referred to as Familiar spirit, Spirit Lover, Spirit Companion, Spirit Self, and the Faery Lover.
In the modern context heavily influenced from pop-culture, it is associated as either an animal servant of the witch or just a pet that belongs to the witch.
Imp: a mischievous child; a small, mischievous devil or sprite.
Now in align with today’s view of Familiars, the imp is more closely related to that. It is a term used for the servants of witches, which were often pets or wild animals.
Black Mass: A Black Mass is a ritual characterized by the inversion of the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church. The history of such rituals is unclear before the modern era. The Black Mass was allegedly celebrated during the Witches’ Sabbath.
Now, I have yet to perform the Black Mass, but I find it very interesting. Basically, it was used to undo the effects that a Church’s mass would have. A large ritual was practiced in order to “undo one’s mind from Christianity”. Within the historical context, it was practiced when Christianity was spreading and converting many people. It was a time of the Inquisition and of the Crusades. A lot of people were feeling the oppression and tyranny that the Church was exercising. The Black Mass, in reference to traditional witchcraft, has a lot of deep connection and important meanings that tie in with how they viewed Christianity and The Devil.
For more info about the Black Mass, I would suggest listening to THIS.