Different traditions of Wicca and Paganism have terms and officers that vary, usually inspired by ancient cultures or more modern poetic sources. Here I’d like to present a glossary of sorts for the terms used in Seax-Wica, as well as others that relate closely to it, such as Saxon lore and history, often in use by other Saxon pagan traditions, in case anyone wants a more traditional feel to their practice.
I’ll start with the people of Seax-Wica:
- Theow: Seax-Wica is an open tradition, meaning any are welcome (if invited by the coven, of course) to attend and observe the rituals, either because they want to know if the tradition or Wicca is for them, or to support loved ones who practice. These people are referred as ‘theows’.
- Ceorl: This is someone who IS interested in learning Seax-Wica and has begun their path to initiation or dedication. There is no hard ‘year-and-a-day’ rule for when a Ceorl can become a Gesith (coming up), but that is a good rule, especially for the solitary practitioner just starting out.
- Gesith: Once someone has studied Seax-Wica and determined that this is the right path for them, they can go through an initiation or self-dedication. Afterwards, they are a Gesith.
- Thegn: This person is the ‘master-at-arms’ for a coven. They call the meetings, and sound the horn to begin the ritual. The also carry a spear they use to outline the ritual area.
- Scribe: Each coven has their own hand-written copy of “The Tree”, and this person is the one who writes the names of new members into it, and keeps the records of the coven. Often they are the person with the best calligraphy or hand-writing.
- Priest & Priestess: Elected at the beginning of a coven and serving for a year, the priest and priestess are the ‘directors’ of rituals. I say ‘directors’ because it’s encouraged that everyone participate, even though the Priest and Priestess do lead the show while serving.
- High Priest & Priestess: After serving a term as a Priest or Priestess and being re-elected (whether concurrently or not), the honorary title of ‘High’ Priest or ‘High’ Priestess is given. This is strictly an honorary title, meant denote experience, and provides no additional ‘rank’ within the coven.
- Faeder: This is the title that was given to Raymond Buckland, the “Father” of Seax-Wica. Again, it was given to him by the practitioners, it was not a title he took for himself, and was honorary. He never claimed authority over the tradition.
- Stiweard: The ‘Steward’ of Seax-Wica, this position was given first to Michael B. Smith by Raymond Buckland. It is an honorary title, again without authority, but recognized him as a reliable source of information and guidance. Later, Mark Ventimiglia was appointed by Raymond Buckland as Stiweard, but he was later denounced by many Seax-Wicans, including Ray himself. He stepped down from the position, and in Ray’s own words: “Let me say that I will not be naming anyone else to any other position in the future!”
A quick note: Neither ‘Faeder’ or ‘Stiweard’ are actual position within Seax-Wica, and I include them here to answer questions that may arise when finding other sources. They are best described, in my opinion, as ‘apocryphal’.
Some other terms that are important within Seax-Wica:
- Seax: The ceremonial knife of Seax-Wica, usually known as an ‘athame’ in other traditions, although many of them have different names. All of them, for the most part, are considers athames. In Seax-Wica, the knife is used for quite a bit more than athames are used for in other traditions.
- Erecting the Temple: Sometimes call ‘Casting the Circle’ in other traditions, this is the consecration of a sacred space for a ritual, carried out before each ritual.
- The Tree: Often called a ‘Book of Shadows’ in other traditions, it is a book that contains the rituals of each coven and individual, as well as information on their personal interests such as herbalism or divination. It is also the name of the book written by Raymond Buckland that serves as the foundation of the Seax-Wica faith.
- Galdra: This is what we call magic in Seax-Wica. Related is Galdorcraeftig, a person who is good at galdra.
- Hwata: This is what we call divination in Seax-Wica, often including tarot, mirror or fire gazing (fire fantasy), or the saxon wands.
- Lacnunga: This is what we call herbalism in Seax-Wica. This is also the name of an old Saxon document that contains remedies for various things, and literally means ‘remedies’.
Although not used in Seax-Wica at its core, the following terms may be useful:
- Weoh: This is a Saxon word for both ‘shrine’ and ‘idol’, and is used in some Saxon Pagan traditions. Also related is Weohfod, which is an altar that holds a Weoh (in the sene of ‘idol’).
- Wight: This is a ‘spirit’ in Saxon paganism, which includes pretty much everything, from the gods to elves to plants to animals to unseen spirits of the land.
- Elves: Anglo-Saxon spirits of the land, these are somewhat equivalent to the ‘fae’ of other traditions, but there are certainly some differences. The term ‘elves’ also include dwarves, known as ‘dark elves’, who are often also seen as the spirit of craftsman.
As I find new terms, I’ll update this page. If you know of any I’ve missed or that others may find useful, let me know in the comments!