A DICTIONARY OF THE OCCULT

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W
Wand 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 dagger/sword, wand/baton, cup/chalice, pentacle/disk, holy oil, lamp and bell.  See Magical Weapons.  Symbolically, the Wand represents the element of fire, and sometimes, air (the suit of wands in a Tarot deck reflects this meaning, as wands (clubs) symbolise spiritual force).
Watchtowers This term came from the Enochian branch of Ceremonial Magick, but has now been incorporated into many Traditions of Wicca.  The watchtowers are the four elemental directions of north, south, east and west or the quarters (corresponding with the appropriate points on the compass) called to protect the Circle during its establishment.  Each has a correspondence with the compass point, an element, and (varying between different traditions) a colour associated with it.
Water Water is one of the four classical elements in Alchemy.  It is considered to be both cold and wet, and according to Plato is associated with the icosahedron, a twenty-sided polyhedron where all sides are equidimensional.
Wheel of the Year A complete cycle of the seasonal year.  The eight Wiccan/Pagan traditional festivals of Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane/Beltaine, Litha/Midsummer, Luhgnasad/Lammas, Mabon, Samhain and Yule (known as sabbats) are arranged around the Wheel of the Year.
Wicca A modern witchcraft religion founded in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, who called his new religion Wicca.  He likened it to a resurgence of European witchcraft, which he believed was a collection of ancient Pagan religions.  Gerald Gardner claimed to have been initiated into a secret witch cult which had been in existence for over 300 years, which is why Wicca is often referred to as The Old Religion.  Many believe the development of Wicca was influenced by Gardner's association with Aleister Crowley as many of his original 'Wiccan' rituals were copied from Crowley's Thelemic rituals.  See also Alexandrian Wicca.
Wiccan/Neopagan Symbols See Other Symbols.
Widdershins An anticlockwise motion used in magical workings or banishing routines.
Wishing Rods A name commonly used to describe modern dowsing rods.
Witch A practitioner of witchcraft.  There are many types and traditions of witches, for example, a witch is not necessarily a Wiccan, although if a Wiccan practices witchcraft he/she can be considered a witch.
Witch Sign See Symbols used in Occultism.
Witchcraft Often referred to as sorcery, it is the craft or workings of a witch, i.e. magick or healing through the use of personal power and the latent energies found in candles, stones, herbs, and other natural items, combined with spells.
Witches Hammer See Malleus Maleficarum.

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