Thursday 10 January 2013

Glossary of Esoteric and Occult Terms

The following is a glossary of how I use terms, in an esoteric or occult context.  It will later appear on the Grimr website, once I've prettied it up and expanded it a bit more.  This is basically the first draft and represents a couple hours of brain dump.

It should be noted that the presence of a term below does not indicate the presence of that it describes within my practice, nor does it imply support or opposition to what it describes.  I intend no value or virtue ascription to these terms, merely a glossary of how I use them and what I mean when I use them.

It is of course incomplete and will be expanded with time, and represents my use, not any type of official use.

Abacomancy - Divination by observing dust.  See omens.

Aeromancy - Divination by observing air, or more precisely, observing clouds, storms, falling rain, falling snow, wind, etc.  This includes not just observing with sight but with hearing, as listening to the wind is aeromancy as well.  See omens.

Alectryomancy - Divination by the behavior or roosters.  See omens.

Arachnomancy - Divination by observing the movement or webs of spiders.  See omens.

Arithmancy - Divination using numbers.  Also called numerology.  See omens.

Astral Projection - A type of spirit sending where a portion of the soul travels out from the person's body, either through our world, or through what is referred to as the astral plane.  The person doing astral projection is conscious of what they are experiencing, though not always aware that they are doing astral projection.

Augury - Divination by observing the flight of birds.  Also sometimes used for natural omens in general.

Bibliomancy - Divination by opening a book randomly, often a Bible or other holy book.  See omens.

Cartomancy - Divination using cards.  On of the most common forms is the Tarot.  See omens.

Catoptromancy - Divination by using a mirror.  See scrying and omens.

Chiromancy - Divination by observing the palms of the hands.  Also called palmistry.  See omens.

Communications - Divinations that involve contact with a spirit or entity to find out information they know, rather than learning information from patterns.  These include oracles, prophecy, necromancy, and sciomancy.

Crossing - The movement, either physically or spiritually, from what is thought of as the real world to other worlds or realms that are not normally experienced by most humans.

Divination - The receiving of information from a means beyond the ordinary senses.  I divide divination into two many categories, omens and communications.  Omens are divination by observation of patterns.  Communications are divinations by contact with a spirit or other entity in order to obtain information they know.

Divining Rod - See witching rod.

Fetching - The practice of sending part of the soul out to do a task, sometimes to retrieve an object or information, sometimes to send a message or do something to something.  The different between fetching and other types of spirit sendings like astral projection is that the fetcher typically is not consciously aware of what the fetching body is doing during the fetching.

Geloscopy - Divination of a person's character by their laughter.  See omens.

Geomancy - Divination from signs from the earth.  This can be based on landslides or earthquakes but most often refers to an East Asian practice involving casting of rods with one or two stripes on them and determining information based on how they land.  The belief is that the earth effects who they land, hence the translation into English.  See omens.

Gyromancy - Divination by dizziness, basically, having someone walk around in a circle becoming dizzy until they fall down, then using where they landed in the circle to get information.  Gyro meaning circle.  See omens.

Hareriding - A practice similar to astral projection, but involving riding an animal instead of free movement, experiencing the world as that animal, and potentially directing it.  This is not limited to just hares, though that is a common animal to work with.

Intentional Omens - Omens that are intentionally elicited.  Basically, when the diviner takes action to discover the omen, like drawing cards, casting lots, opening a book, walking using a divining rod or witching rod.  See omens.

Journeying - Crossing or astral projection.  The actual travel either in our world/universe separate from the body, or into other worlds or realms or whatever.  You experience things through your own ability to understand, but the experiences and interactions are external, not mental or subconscious constructs.

Lecanomancy - Divination by observing a basin of water.  See omens and scrying.

Myomancy - Divination by observing mice.  See omens.

Mysteries - In proper terms, the Mystery Cults or Mystery Schools of Rome and Greece, and any later group that follow the same general concept.  In general terms, the things Mystery Cults and their successors pass on, and the techniques used to pass those.  Literally, this is mysteria in Greek, meaning here a secret rite or teaching.  The hallmarks of a mystery cult or school is the requirement of initiation for participation, and the requirement on an initiate not to share anything of what is done in secret.  When I use the term, "the Mysteries", it is referring to the secret rites and teachings, and implies something that can be understood only through experiencing it, so sharing it in words fails anyway even when it isn't kept secret.

Natural Omens - Omens that are based on observations of things happening around you without artificially doing actions to illicit the omen.  Basically, observation without interaction, as opposed to intentional omens, where action is done to connect to the omen.  See omens.

Necromancy - From nekros meaning dead body and manteia meaning divination or oracle.  Literally, this is divination using an exhumed corpse, but, in expansion, divination from the spirits of the dead.  Necromancy is a type of divination which attempts to receive specific information or specific guidance from the dead, either from the body of the dead and the soul parts that hang on it, or from the spirit that has left the body after death.  Technically, sciomancy is communication with the spirit and necromancy is communication with the corpse, but I normally use necromancy for both.

Omens - Divination based on observation of patterns.  In it's purest form, omens are the observation of occurrences around us, like a bird call, an eclipse, a sudden rain storm, a rainbow, an animal running by, dropping an object, and understanding deeper meaning that are behind them.  I would call these natural omens.  This includes such practices as augury, scrying, pegomancy, lecanomancy, geloscopy, ophiomancy, arachnomancy, myomancy, alectryomancy, abacomancy, aeromancy, and chiromancy.  Expanding, any method of divination wherein you attempt to produce something to observe, I would call intentional omens.  These are the forms of divination most discussed, including arithmancy, gyromancy, geomancy, catoptromancy, bibliomancy, cartomancy, water witching, and rhabdomancy.  There is bleed over between these two, and many of these can be argued to be the other type.

Ophiomancy - Divination by observing the movement of snakes.  See omens.

Oracle - A type of prophecy, and often used interchangeably.  Typically, an oracle refers to the place or mouthpiece.  Someone goes to an oracle to receive a message from the spirit of that oracle, usually a divine spirit.  Prophecy tends to imply the spirit giving a message to be taken to the person receiving it.  But there's bleed over.

Pathwork - Prescripted or mapped out meditations, occurring within the mind or soul, meant to demonstrate ideas that have to be experienced but can't be explained.  The mental equivalent of a pilgrimage to take part on the Mysteries in Roman or Greek times.  The words and meditations form the route for the one in trance, bringing them to the right place inside.  Creative visualizations combined with trance.

Pegomancy - Divination by observing the movement of water in a fountain or spring.  See scrying and omens.

Prophecy - A message from a spirit, usually a divine spirit, to a human through a human messenger.  Also see omen and divination.

Remote Viewing - The practice of sending a portion of the soul to a remote location, not traveling there over distance like astral projection, in order to observe that remote location.

Rhabdomancy - Divination using rods, sticks, or wands.  This is not to be confused with water witching or similar practices.  Rhabdomancy is standing up or casting of rods, sticks, or wands and divining based on how they land.  See also geomancy and omens.

Sciomancy - Divination by communication or summoning of the spirits of the dead.  Literally shadow divination or shade divination.  See also necromancy.

Scrying - Divination by gazing, usually into water, a mirror, a glass ball, or something else that is at least partially reflective, or in something moving like fire or smoke or running water.  It usually involves seeing visions in the reflection or movement, either visions of a remote place or remote time, or symbolic visions that represent other things. 

Spirit Sending - Any of several different practices that involve part of the soul of the sender leaving his or her body.  This can include astral projection, fetching, hareriding, remote viewing, and several other practices.

Water witching - The use of a rod, stick, wand or other such object, or a pair of the same, to determine the location of underground water by walking holding it or them and observing the movement of the rod.  It can also be used to find other subterranean objects or features.  See omens.

Witching Rod - Also called a divining rod, a rod, stick, or wand used in water witching.  These are often metal or wood, many wooden rods being forked like a capital Y.  See water witching.

~Muninn's Kiss

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