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Sabbat One of the eight celebrations of paganism. See Wheel of the Year page.

Sacrament From the Latin sacrarer, “to consecrate,” or from the Latin sacrementum, a military oath of allegiance. In Christianity, any of certain rites ordained by Jesus. The seven sacraments are (in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern churches) baptism, confirmation, the eucharist, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and matrimony. Protestants generally acknowledge only baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The Anglican catechism defines the term as “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Sometimes used to mean something regarded as having a sacred character or mysterious meaning. A symbol, sign, or token. In tribal cultures, the mushroom or other sacred plant eaten by the shaman to bring about communication with the spirit world is considered a sacrament, as it is identified with the divine. See Eucharist; Host.

Sacred Outlook In Tibetan Buddhism, it is thought that awareness and compassion lead the practitioner to experience sanyata (the clear light). This produces luminosity and allows the perception of the sacredness of the phenomenal world. This state results in a dialogue with the world that could be said to facilitate synchronicity. See Samaya; Synchronicity.

Sahasrara Chakra (SKT) The Thousand Petal Lotus, sometimes called the “Seat of Shiva,” is located just above the crown of the head at the spot the Hopi believe is the doorway of the soul at death. The petals contain the entire Sanskrit alphabet repeated 20 times and are colored with all possible hues. The center is attributed to the un-manifested Shiva, who is beyond all the other deities of the lower six chakras. The sahasrara chakra id the goal of the aroused kundalini (fire-serpent) as she travels up the spine from the muladhara (base of spine). All the chakras are restored, revivified, and imbued with new qualities when kundalini achieves union with Shiva at the sahasrara chakra. This is the center of self-realization (samadhi). See Chakra; Nadi.

Sahu (EGY) The spiritual body. The highest of the five bodies of a human being. The body of spiritual transformation through which the gods are perceived.

Saint Someone known for unusual spiritual development and enlightenment during their lifetime whose surviving influence seems to have miraculous power. Formally in Catholicism, one who is canonized by the church and approved for invocation. Loosely applied to any person considered by others to be holy. See Ascended Master

Salamander The elemental who dwells in the fire plane.

Samadhi (SKT) Literally “together with” (sam) “the Lord” (adhi). Ting-nge-‘dzin (TIB) “fixing the mind.” Sometimes called contemplation. The highest of the eight angas or limbs of yoga. Samadhi is a state of total involvement, unwavering awareness, and complete stillness of mind. The content of the meditation and the meditator are one. There are many different kinds and levels of samadhi. The meditation may be developed with a mental image, concentration upon a specific principle, or with consciousness itself as the object of meditation. Samadhi is the principle of total absorption in meditation. Terms such as prajna and vispa’syana refer to specific degrees of insight. The culmination of samadhi is sahaja-samadhi, which is not a trance state but a condition of permanent awareness. See Nirvana; Prajna.

Samaya (SKT) “Coming togetherDam-tshig (TIB), “sacred word” or “vow.” A formal vow taken by a disciple during the Vajrayana Abhiseka ritual. During this ceremony the disciple vows to regard the master as an embodiment of enlightenment and to constantly maintain sacred outlook in all of life from this day forward. See Sacred Outlook

Samhain A Pagan Sabbat held on the eve of November 1st, also called Halloween and celebrated by most people (religiously or not) on October 31st. This is a three-day period, which marks the pagan New Year.

Samsara or Sansara (SKT) The cycle of death and rebirth. The world of sorrow and ignorance. The karmic stream, which is only destroyed by cessation of desire and attachment. The wheel of karma, the original vicious circle. See Karma; Reincarnation.

Samskara or Sankhara (SKT) Habit-mold. The sensation or trace of an experience, which is stored in the lower mind (chitta). Many actions (even mental actions, such as concentration) may be performed without attention once a person is familiar with how the action feels. See Antahkarana; Chitta.

Sandarace An alchemical term for the fiery form of Spirit.

Sangraha-vastuni (SKT) Bsdu-ba-rnam-bzhi (TIB). The Four Ways of Magnetizing. The four ways a bodhisattva gathers students and spreads the dharma:
1.Generosity in providing necessities so that students will be attracted to the dharma.
2.Being kind and pleasing and generous with praise.
3.Acting in harmony with local customs, so that students will understand the actions of the bodhisattva.
4.Actions which actually benefit students.

See Bodhisattva; Dharma; Master.

Sanyama (SKT) Posing the mind. The attainment and combination of concentration (dharana), meditation (Dhyana), and contemplation (Samadhi) in regard to any one thing or idea, approached in succession. Supposedly the practice of sanyama results in the acquisition of special powers or knowledge. See Dharana; Dhyana; Samadhi.

Sat-chit-ananda (SKT) The three characteristics of the absolute (Brahman): sat (being), chit (awareness), and ananda (joy or bliss). Each of these qualities contains the other two in itself. They are not to be thought of as separate qualities but as a seamless whole since that is the essential nature of Brahman.

Scrying Divination through use of mirrors, crystals, specula, or other gazing devices. A scrying device may be as simple as a bowl of water, or it can be as valuable and crafted as the gold-mounted obsidian “shew stone” used by Dr. John Dee. Seemingly, anything which one can focus the sight upon, yet does not produce a definite image, may be used as a blank matrix in which the mind may impose its own order. In this sense, the scrying device is no more than an aid to concentration. Some practitioners scry upon streams or ponds where sunlight refracts on the moving surface of the water. The most important point is to still the conscious mind so that one’s thoughts, desires, and assumptions do not interfere with or overtly distort the vision. See Speculum

Secret Chiefs The super-physical council of ascended masters. The chakra or laya center for the evolution of mankind. See Ascended Master

Secret Fire AN alchemical term for the hidden or elemental Fire. There are said to be four grades of the Secret Fire, each related to Zodiacal signs.
Sun of Aries
Sun of Taurus(Black Stage)
Sun of Gemini(White Stage)
Sun of Leo(Red Stage)

See Esh; Esh Mezareph; Lapis Philosophicus.

Sensation Body Equivalent to the etheric body, which supposedly produces awareness through the senses when united with the physical body. See Kosha

Sephirah (HEB) Number, sphere, or emanation. An irreducible aspect of God. An entire worldview or state of being. A “quantum packet” of existence. In a sense, each Sephirah could be considered like a chakra (in yogic systems), or a resonant node (as on an antenna). See Chakra; Loka; Sephiroth.

Sephiroth (HEB) Numbers, spheres, or emanations. The plural form of Sephirah. The word Sephiroth s frequently used to refer to the Tree of Life, a symbolic arrangement of the ten spheres (or emanations of God) and the 22 paths between the Sephiroth (which represent their interaction). The Sephiroth are sometimes called “stations.” The descent of God into matter (creation) is symbolized by the “Lightning Flash,” the movement from Kether Elyon (Supreme Crown) to Malkuth (the Kingdom). The ascent of humanity back up the Tree towards Godhead (evolution) is often called “the Serpent of Wisdom.” The Sephiroth are undoubtedly the most versatile and developed system of the cosmos to appear in the West. The tree of the Sephiroth is the primary glyph of the qabalah. See Qabalah

Seven World In qabalistsic tradition, there are seven earths, seven heavens, seven hells, and seven “heavenly mansions” (hekeloth). Each of these is associated with a Sephirah on the Tree of Life (see table below). Cheled is the world in which we live. Arqa contains Gehenna (ge-Hinnom) and its seven layers, each with its own storehouse of darkness. People who do not have Adam as their ancestor supposedly inhabit the other earths. The seven earths are separated by intervals of whirlwind. The seven heavens and seven earths are held together by immense iron hooks attached to the rim of each heaven, linking it with the rim of the corresponding earth. The uppermost earth, however, is linked to the rim of the second heaven; the second earth is linked to the third heaven, and so forth. At the very top, the seventh heaven is described as a veil hanging on God’s arm. Alternately, some sources say that God holds up the heavens with His right hand and the earths with His left. The hekeloth (meaning temples, places, or mansions) are said to be the original home of Adam. After the Fall, the hekeloth became the abode of the saints. They are called “the Palaces of Briah” by Crowley. See Merkabah; Qabalah.

The Seven Worlds of the Quabalah
Hekel Qadosh
Qadeshim (palace
of the holy of holies)
Dar al-Jalal
(house of glory)
(the lowest)
(reserved for
Hekel Ahbah
(palace of love)
Dar as-Salaam
(house of
rest or peace)
(reserved for
pagans and idolaters)
Hekel Zakoth
(palace of
Jannat al-Maawa
(garden of
Bar Shachath
(pit of ruin)
(reserved for
Hekel Ratzon
(palace of
Jannat al-Khuld
(garden of
(mire of mud)
(reserved for
(dry land)
Hekel Etzem
Shamaim (palaces of
the body of heaven)
Jannat al-Naim
(garden of
(gates of death)
(reserved for
Hekel Gonah
(palace of
Jannat al-Firdus
(garden of
(shadow of
(reserved for
(world) &
(world) &
Tebel Wilon
(veil of the
Hekel Lebanoth
(palace of the
pavement of
sapphire stone)
Jannat al-‘Adin
(garden of Eden)
or al-Karar
(everlasting abode)
(valley of
(reserved for
Yesod and

Sexual Magick A significant percentage of magickal and religious practices from all over the world have evolved containing, cultivating, and/or redirecting sexual energies. These practices range from the primitive fertility rituals practiced by early cultures to extremely sophisticated techniques and rituals employed by tantric yogis and Taoist alchemists. Sexual magick and ritual is also found in both ancient and modern Goddess worship. Some magickians consider the sexual current (the libido) to be equivalent to the yogic prana. Certainly, sex is a vast soure of magickal energy as it pervades so much of human motivation. Sex and death (the human aspects of creation and destruction) constitute the two main poles of magickal initiation and power. See Karrezza; Orgone; Tantra.

Shade The spirit of a being which refuses to leave the physical plane.

Shakti (SKT) Litterally “power” or “ability.” The fundamental force or creative power of the manifested universe. Shakti is frequently personified as goddess or sometimes several goddesses. Shakti has three major aspects, each of whom could be said to be an aspect of one of the Trimurti:
SaraswatiGoddess of the ArtsBrahma
LakshmiGoddess of Prosperity and WelfareVishnu
(or Kali)
Goddess of Birth and DeathShiva

Shaman This term originally referred to a Siberian medicine man. “Shaman” is usually used to mean a medicine man or sorcerer in any primitive society. Most shamanistic practices involve astral projection (sometimes in animal form) and the search for spirit guides or helpers. Much of shamanism consists of techniques to include visions and ecstatic states, ranging from prolonged fasts and vigils to the ritual use of hallucinogenic drugs. See Spell; Spirit Helper.

Shamanism A term used in modern day to signify the religion of the ancient peoples of northern Europe and Asia, generally characterized by the ability of the Shaman to communicate with the spirit world. Major facets of Shamanism are animism, possession, prophecy/revelations, shapeshifting, and soul travel. See Shamanism page.

Shape shifting A very esoteric practice involving changing the human form. This may be practiced while on the astral plane; which this alone is a great accomplishment. It is said that one can also shapeshift on the physical plane, though documented or scientific proof of this is nonexistent. Few books are published on the subject as it is an art mainly for certain people, and teachers prefer to find these people and teach them their art secretively rather than publicly with seminars. The opposite of shape shifting is skin walking.

Sharira (SKT) The body. People are said to have three shariras (also called upadhis):
Karana-ShariraThe Casual Body
Suksham-ShariraThe Subtle Body
Sthula-ShariraThe Static or Dense Body

The five koshas are subdivisions of the three sharirias. See Kosha

Shedim (HEB) Demons who confuse and distract the mind of the mystic during reflection.

Shekinah (HEB) The visible presence of God. A title of Malkuth (the material world). Personified as a radiant goddess, the lower reflection of Binah (the Great Mother). Alchemical Marriage; Ruach.

Shell Sometimes used to refer to the lower parts of the soul (subtle body) which contain the memories, verbal patterns, and habits which may remain in the world after the death of the physical body. Usually these layers disintegrate rapidly after death since they are not part of the True Self (atma). Sometimes an elemental spirit or some other source of energy will attach itself to these patterns. Such a “shell” would not be conscious in the way the original person was, but would be more like a machine that was left running. Since such structures continue to disintegrate, a “shell” will absorb any available energy, sometimes to the point of vampirism. See Ghost; Kama-rupa; Qlippoth.

Shem Ha-Mephorash (Shemhamphorash) The 72-part Name of God. A divine name of 216 letters derived from Exodus 14:19-21. Each of the three verses used contains 72 letters, which are then arranged in boustrophedon to produce the 72 syllables of the Name. Eventually the Shem Ha-Mephorash was condensed to YHWH (the Tetragrammaton). See Divine Name; Tetragrammaton.

Shin (JAP) Spirit-mind-inspiration-wind-breath-intuition-soul-attitude. A Zen term for spirit. Shin is also the Hebrew letter attributed to Fire and Spirit. See Spirit

Showstone A crystal sphere used for divination, especially scrying. Also known as a crystal ball.

Shushumna (SKT) The principle nadi of the subtle body. The shushumna is a channel going straight up the center of the spine from the muladhara chakra (basal center) to the interior of the skull. Inside the shushumna is a smaller channel, the vajrini nadi. Inside that is a still finer channel called the chitrini, said to be as thin as a thousandth of the width of a hair. This is the channel used by the awakened kundalini on her way to union with Shiva at the sahasrara chakra above the crown of the head. The chakras could be thought of as resonant nodes on the chitrini, like nodal points on an antenna. See Chakra; Kundalini; Nadi.

Sigil Seal or sign. An analogic representation of a word or a name. Any word or name made into a single glyph. Most of the traditional Western methods of producing sigils involve converting the name or word in numerals (using a chart such as the Aiq Bekar) and tracing it on a numbered grid such as a magickal square. Sigils are frequently used in talismanic magick, since a considerable amount of information can thus be placed on a small object. Austin Osman Spare compressed and combined English letters in order to create his sigils. To him, the important quality of a sigil was that it could combine many concepts or compress a complex concept until it became a glyph, which could be held in the mind as a single point during visualization. See Magick Square; Talisman.

Sign A visual pattern or movement meant to convey information. See Glyph; Ideogram; Symbol.

Simulacrum (LTN) An image used in sympathetic (imitative) magick that is considered to be the magickal double of the thing represented. A “voodoo doll” would be an example of a crude simulacrum. In ancient Egypt, simulacra of slaves, animals, and other possibly helpful beings were entombed with their deceased owner. The term is also used by some to describe the visualized vehicle or “body of light” used in astral projection.

Skandha (SKT) Tendencies. Phung-po (TIB), “heap.” Aggregates of dharmas, which make up the individual and his or her experience. In Vajrayana Buddhism, they are the five Buddhas of the mandala:
Part of soul
(in Qabalism)

Skyclad A pagan term for nudity during rituals.

Solitary A witch who practices alone instead of within a coven.

So Mote it Be A phrase used often in rituals to close a chant or incantation. It literally means, "It must be so" or "So it shall be".

Sorcery Magickal practice which involves summoning, binding, or banishing deities. Often a sorcerer (practitioner of sorcery) uses no tools.

Soul The immaterial essence, animating principle, or ultimate pattern of an individual life. Usually used to mean an immaterial entity distinguishable and superior to the body. Spirit. The part of a human considered to be eternal. See Atma; Spirit.

Spagirus “A person who can separate the true from the false, the good from the bad, the pure from the impure, yet reject duality and cleave to unitySee Spragyric Art

Spragyric Art A term for alchemy. Literally “the separative art,” so called because of the primary aim of dividing the Primum Ens (First Essence) from the Prima Materia (First Matter) which acts as the vehicle for the Primum Ens in the physical universe. This is also referred to as “separating the Volatile from the Fixed.” The fusion of duality is a recurring theme in alchemy. Some of the symbols and concepts commonly used are listed below.
Male Seed
Female Seed
Active Principle
Passive Principle
Red Man
White Woman
Blood of the Lion
Virgin’s Milk (Gluten of the Eagle)

The Snake Ouroboros is sometimes used as an alchemical symbol of the fusion of yin and yang. See Alchemy; Lapis Philosophicus.

Speculum Any light refracting or shiny surface which can provide a focus for the attention. Mirrors, bowls of water, and crystal balls have all been commonly used as specula. See Scrying

Spell An arrangement of words and/or objects meant to alter reality (yours, mine, or ours) in some fashion. Usually an incantation. In many cultures a spell was always sung or chanted. This is particularly strong in the Norse and Finnish traditions. In Old English, “spell” means story or discourse. The word is also related to the present day slang, “spielSee Magick; Mantra; Mantrika-Shakti.

Spellcrafting The practice of creating spells by writing outlines, arranging correspondences, and authoring incantations.

Spirit From the Latin spiritus, meaning “breath
1. A Western term for ether or akasha. The most rarefied of the five elements. Pattern or essence. See Akasha; Quintessence.

2. An immaterial being or entity. Any concept, force, event, object, place, pattern, or person can be thought of as having a spirit. See Soul

Spirit can be thought of as information perceived as existing distinct from its medium.

Spirit Helper A spirit which has become (or one which has been created to be) the servant or ally of a shaman. Frequently a spirit helper is obtained (or won) during astral journeys. Shamans in many tribal societies gave young adults undergoing initiation an animal spirit (or totem) to guide and protect them. It was common practice in many cultures to charge a guardian spirit to watch over a child until it reached adolescence. Many children in modern society have “imaginary playmates.” Spirits as a whole can be viewed as exteriorized fragments of one’s mind or personality. In this sense, a spirit helper or ally could be seen as a very carefully trained and conditioned part of the subconscious. See Shaman; Spirit.

Sublimation An alchemical term. The Laton (or White Azoth of the Philosophers) must be washed free of all gross terrestrial portions and impurities of the Matter of the Black Stage (sometimes called the Uncleanness of Death). This operation is known as “sublimation” and supposedly includes all the other operations of alchemy. The sublimed Mercury of the Adepts is the Matter when it has reached the White Stage. See Azoth; Lapis Philosophicus; Laton; Magisterium; Rectification; Spragyric Art.

Summoner A male version of the maiden. A member of a coven who is an assistant to the High Priest.

Sunya (SKT) The Void. Zero, which represents both everything and nothing. Roughly equivalent to nirvana. See Nirvana; Sunyata.

Sunyata (SKT) The Univeral Void of Mahayana Buddhism. The Supreme Reality beyond manifestation. According to the teachings of Nagarjuna, “Nothing comes into existence, nor does anything disappear. Nothing is eternal, nor has anything an end. Nothing is identical, nor is anything differentiated. Nothing moves in one direction, nor in any other.” By transcending paradox, one may attain awareness of sunyata. Realization of sunyata grows out of the awakening of prajna. See Naga; Sunya.

Supernal Triad A term sometimes used to refer to the top three Sephiroth (or spheres) upon the Tree of Life. The Supernal Triad is called such because the three spheres (Kether, Binah, and Chokmah) are across the Abyss or veil on the Tree of Life, signifying their relation to the Absolute and separation from the worldly, planetary forces of the lower seven spheres. Kether symbolizes the invisible unity of God, while Binah is the Great Mother (yin) and Chokmah the Heavenly Father (yang). See Abyss; Sephiroth.

Supernatural This is one of the most abused and meaningless words. There is really only one good definition. Something which is supernatural is perfectly natural, onlysuper! The word comes from Latin roots meaning “above nature

Swadisthana Chakra (SKT) The second chakra, located just below the navel. It is attributed to the element Water and governs sensation and sensuality, sex, and general vigor. The swadisthana chakra is roughly equivalent to Yesod on the qabalistic Tree of Life. See Chakra

Sword Frequently used in Western rituals as the ritual tool attributed to elemental Air, symbolizing the defining, dividing, analyzing, catabolic qualities of the intellect. Sometimes the sword is used as the ritual symbol or tool of the planetary power of Mars. In this aspect, it symbolizes the severing, scourging, cleansing natures of strength and severity. See Ruach; Manas.

Sylph The elemental of air.

Symbol A sign with an idea or concept attached.

Synchronicity A term coined by Carl Jung to denote meaningful coincidence. Events bound by synchronicity are connected by similarity, by meaning, by resonance rather than by causality. The author William Burroughs described an incident of synchronicity, which occurred to him as a boy in Tangiers. He has been conversing with Captain Clark, who piloted the Tangiers ferry. Clark told Burroughs that he had piloted the ferry for 23 years to the day and had never had an accident. That afternoon the ferry sank with all aboard. Leter the same day Burroughs heard on the radio that Flight 23 out of Miami piloted by Captain Clark had also crashed, killing all onboard. This was the beginning of Burroughs’ interest in synchronicity and the number 23. See Auspicious Coincidence; Samaya.