A DICTIONARY OF THE OCCULT

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S
Sabaoth See Iao.
Sabbat The witches' Sabbath was a superstition in medieval times, when it was believed that witches and warlocks would gather to worship the devil in a perversion of the Catholic Mass.  Like all religions, the Wiccan religion celebrates holidays with rituals and traditions.  Eight such holidays (called Sabbats and known collectively as the Wheel of the Year) are celebrated throughout the year, some fixed and some variable depending upon the length of sunlight on a particular day.  Each holiday represents a turning of a season or some change within a season.  See also Esbat.
Sacred Alphabet (The) See Other Symbols.
Sagittarius Sagittarius, the Archer, is a fire sign and the 9th sign of the zodiac.  Sagittarius is ruled by the planet Jupiter.
Sahasrara The 7th chakra, the thousand-petalled spiritual energy center at the crown of the head (the cranial chamber of the soul body), where one experiences the highest states of consciousness.
Salamanders In Alchemical tradition, these are the elemental spirits of Fire.
Samhain In Wicca and other Neopagan traditions, Samhain is a Sabbat held on the Wiccan New Year, October 31st, to honour the dead.  This is the time during which Wiccans believe that life and death walk hand in hand, i.e. the veil that separates the worlds of the living and the dead is at its thinnest, making it the ideal time to contact their ancestors.
Santeria See Lukumi.
Santero A priest of Santeria.
Satan From the Hebrew word for adversary, Satan is a fallen angel, demon, or minor god in many religions, playing various roles in the Koran, the Hebrew Bible, the Apocrypha and the New Testament, a personification of the powers of evil.  Alternative names for Satan include the Devil, Lucifer, Bilial, Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness and the Serpent.
Satanic Cross See Symbols used in Occultism.
Satanic 'S' See Symbols used in Occultism.
Satanism Satanism is a term that is often misused, referring to a religious, semi-religious, and/or philosophical movement.  The term is normally applied by non-Satanists to those individuals or groups who worship an entity called 'Satan', advocating the triumph of evil forces over good in the universe.  The Church of Satan was founded by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966.
Saturn The 2nd largest planet in the solar system after Jupiter, and the 6th from the sun.  It was named after the Roman god Saturn, the counterpart of Cronus in Greek mythology.  Astrologically, Saturn rules Capricorn.
Scarab Beetle See Symbols used in Occultism.
Scarlet Woman (The) See Babalon.
Scorpio Scorpio, the Scorpion, is a water sign and the 8th sign of the zodiac.  Scorpio is ruled by the 'planet' Pluto.
Scrying A form of divination which involves gazing into a crystal, a bowl of water, a black mirror, or similar surface to obtain 'visions'.  Nostradamus (1503-1566) used scrying as his method of foretelling the future, gazing into a scrying bowl.
Seal of Babalon See Symbols used in Occultism.
Séance A gathering of spiritualists hoping to receive messages from the spirit world.  The participants sit quietly in a circle, usually in dimly lit surroundings.  During the séance, lights may appear, raps and other sounds may be heard, and the movement of objects such as tables, chairs, curtains, glasses etc. may occur without physical contact, or even with it, but contact insufficient to explain the movement.  Objects could levitate, a trumpet could convey a message from 'the other side,' spirits may materialise etc.
Sefer Yetzirah The speculative branch of Kabbalism had its origins in Babylonia, but what really set it in motion was the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation).  It was probably written in the 3rd century AD, and develops the doctrine of the Sephiroth (the powers which emanate from God through which the universe is created and its order sustained - see below), supposedly delivered by Abraham, using the primordial numbers of the later Pythagoreans in a system of numerical interpretation.
Sefer Zohar The Sefer Zohar consists of mystical commentaries and homilies on the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible).  It was written by Moses de Leon (13th century AD) but attributed by him to Simon ben Yohai, the great scholar of the 2nd century AD.  See also Torah and Kabbalah.
Sensitive See Psychic.
Sephirah In the doctrine of the Kabbalah, a Sephirah, or sphere, is a divine emanation of God.  According to Kabbalah, there are ten Sephiroth (plural of Sephirah), each with its own unique properties.  Divine Energy travels through these ten Sephiroth, from Kether, the crown, to Malkuth, the kingdom, resulting in the manifestation of the material plane.  These emanations form the Tree of Life, and symbolise the image of the body of God in Adam Kadmon.
Sephiroth Plural form of Sephirah.
Set Set is an ancient god, originally the god of the desert, and was associated with sandstorms, and caravans.  Due to the developments in the Egyptian language over the 3,000 years that Set was worshiped, by the time of the Greek period, the t in Set was pronounced so indistinguishably from th that the Greeks spelled it as Seth.  Set/Seth is the Egyptian god of chaos, evil, drought, thunder and storm, and destruction, embodying the principle of hostility, even outright evil.  Seth tore himself from his mother's womb in his hurry to be born, and is associated with the murder of his brother, Osiris.  See also The Temple of Set.
Seven Principles (The) The philosophy of Spiritualism in Seven Principles upon which all Spiritualists would agree.
Shekhinah Shekhinah, being a feminine word in Hebrew, is held by many (particularly exponents of Lurianic Kabbalah) to represent the feminine attributes of the presence of God, based especially on readings of the Talmud.
Shem ha-meforash According to Kabbalah, the 72-syllabled name of God, comprising 216 letters.
Sibyl A woman who tells fortunes.  In ancient Rome it was a woman who was regarded as an oracle or prophet.  In ancient Greek mythology it was the prophetess at Apollo's oracle on Delphi.
Sigil Usually denotes a magical sigil, a glyph used in Ritual Magick as a focus, or for summoning angels, demons, or spirits.  There are several methods of devising sigils for this use, usually involving special arrangements of magick squares, Enochian tables, etc., of letters or numbers, and tracing the desired word over this pattern to reveal a symbol, or by reducing alphabetical characters into a single glyph (a fancy word for a shape, a component that makes up an outline font).  John Dee's (see Enochian Magick) AGLA Sigil was designed for the reverse of the Sigil of Ameth under the direction of the angel Uriel.  He was instructed to re-create the Sigil of Ameth by the angels he contacted during his scrying sessions with Edward Kelley.
Sixth Sense A popular term for ESP, also known as intuition or inspiration, it is an ability to perceive things in ways which transcend the use of our traditional five senses.
Solar Cross See Symbols used in Occultism.
Soothsayer In olden times, a prophet, someone able to see the future, and who made a living from it.  The word is no longer in common usage.  See also Fortune Teller.
Sorcery A term normally applied to Witchcraft referring to the influencing of events and physical phenomenon through supernatural (see below), mystical, or paranormal means, i.e. the performing of certain magical rites to gain control over the supernatural realm for the purpose of achieving specific objectives.
Spell A magical rite directed towards the achievement of an objective.  Sometimes this refers to the verbal part of the ritual, and is similar in ways to a Christian prayer, but besides vocalisation, herbs, candles and other assorted natural objects are used to strengthen and focus the 'prayer' or spell.
Spiritism The belief that the dead can and do communicate with the living, brought about mainly by Allan Kardec, whose doctrine of reincarnation does not figure in spiritualism (see below).  These forms of communication may include rapping on objects, the lifting of a table during a séance, and the flickering or dimming of candles.
Spiritualism A belief in the existence of a spiritual (non-material) counterpart of a being.  According to this meaning, Spiritualism is the base of all religions.  Contrary to Spiritism (see above), the Spiritualism movement does not accept reincarnation as a natural way of spirit evolution, although it has many points in common with Spiritism.
Star and Crescent See Symbols used in Occultism.
Summum Bonum This term originates from the Latin of the Alchemists and relates to the completion of the alchemical process.  Its meaning is highest good in which all moral values are included or from which they are derived.  God is the first cause of everything, and the final goal, thus the end for which all things were created is the glory of God.  See also Great Work.
Sun A sun is a star at the centre of a solar system.  Our sun is usually referred to as the 'Sun', but occasionally referred to as 'Sol' to distinguish it from others.  Earth orbits the Sun, as do countless other bodies including other planets, asteroids, meteoroids, comets and dust.  Astrologically, the Sun rules Leo.
Supernatural A term which pertains to those phenomena above or beyond what is natural or explainable by natural law.
Swastika See Symbols used in Occultism.
Sword A magical weapon is any instrument used to bring about intentional change.  In practice, magical weapons are usually specific, consecrated items used within ceremonial ritual.  There is no hard and fast rule for what constitutes or does not constitute a magical weapon.  If a magician considers it to be a weapon, then a weapon it is.  However, there does exist a set of magical weapons with particular uses and symbolic meanings.  Some such common weapons/tools include the sword/dagger, wand/baton, cup/chalice, pentacle/disk, holy oil, lamp and bell.  See Magical Weapons.
Sylphs In Alchemical tradition, these are the elemental spirits of Air.
Symbols See Occult Symbols.

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