A Guide To Certain Words and Terms of Our Craft (Part IV)

words and terms

§  Part I A – C § Part II D – G § Part III H – K § Part IV L – P § Part V Q – Z §

Dear Friends,

Si Valetis, Valeo

Whether you study with us, or someone else, you will need to know certain words and terms which make up the language of magicians, alchemists, Gnostics, and students of The Western Mystery Tradition.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and we will be adding to it as time allows. In other words, it will be a “living document,” in as much as a document can live digitally.

Enjoy your LMNOP’s.

Pax Profunda


LAVADO: (Ecclesiastic) Latin. The act of hand-washing by a Priest or to signify they have prepared themselves for Mass.

LAW: rules and/or guidelines.

LAYA YOGA: (Yoga) Sanskrit. Gives mastery over the will and leads to the control of the powers of the mind.

LEAD: (Alchemy) In Hermetic Qabalah, lead is attributed to the planet Saturn, and the third sephiroth Binah, which means Understanding. In alchemy, lead is the first and oldest of the seven metals.

LEO: (Astrology) The fifth sign of the zodiac. The sun stays in this sign from about July 23 to August 22. Also known as “The Lion.”

LEUKOSIS: (Alchemy) A term for the Second Stage, which occurs during Distillation. (Same as White Phase.)

LIBRA: (Astrology) The seventh sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about September 23 to October 22. Also known as “The Scales.”

LINE OF SUCCESSION: (Religion, magick) The assumption that only a properly initiated Teacher can effectively initiate others. The idea is that genuine initiates should be able to show an unbroken Line of Succession, back to the originator their tradition. This was probably borrowed from Catholicism, which claims to have Apostolic Succession and that the Pope can trace his origins back to Christ himself. Some magical organizations have deliberately faked their own origins to impress students.

LITHARGE: (Alchemy) A term to describe the left-over scum, froth, or ashes of a metallic operation.

LION: (Alchemy) The animal symbolic of elemental Earth. In Ceremonial Magick, the Lion is attributed to the sign of Leo and attributed to the element of Fire.

LOGIC: (Philosophy) The branch of philosophy that deals with the formal properties of arguments and the philosophical problems associated with them. Central questions in logic include: What is a good argument? How can we determine if an argument is good or not? What are paradoxes? Can they be resolved? How can we talk meaningfully about objects that don’t exist, such as God or fairies?

LOW REDEFINITION: (Philosophy) A fallacy in which the meaning of a word is stretched to defend a questionable proposition. A justification. For example: A person that graduated five years ago is still using their discount card and you question their ethics. They reply: “Ah, but were all students, really.” Contrast with High Redefinition.

LUCID DREAMING: (Magick) A phenomena, perhaps a form of astral projection, in which one is aware of his dreaming without waking up, can therefore control the direction and content of the vision. It is possible to teach oneself how to lucid dream and many magicians employ various techniques and tools to accomplish this state. One such method is to take mega dozes of specific dietary supplements.

LUNETTE: (Ecclesiastic) From the Latin “luna” meaning moon. In the Catholic Mass, a lunette is a crescent shaped clip made of gold or of silver used to hold the Host in an upright position in the monstrance.

MATERIALISM: (Philosophy) The assertion that only material things exist. Often used in Philosophy of Mind in response to the claim that mental objects and events cannot be reduced to physical objects and events.

MAGICK:  According to Aleister Crowley, Magick is “the Art and Science of causing change to occur in conformity with will.” Its number is 11 to indicate the merging of man (the pentagram) with God (the hexagram). The conscious endeavor of creating an immortal body, or one’s own Adam.

MAGGID: (Qabalah) Hebrew Master or teacher. Synonymous with the Holy Guardian Angel, Higher Self, etc.

MAGNESIA: (Alchemy) A purely symbolic term that describes the primal transforming material in the universe.

MAHASEH BERESHITH: (Qabalah) Hebrew Literally, the “Work of Creation.” in Hebrew. The act of employing Qabalistic theory, Hebrew letters, with magick to emulate the act of creation as it appears encoded in the Book of Genesis. According to Medieval literature, tangible physical forms can be created from nothingness.

MANTRA YOGA: (Yoga) Sanskrit Gives mastery over sound and leads to the control of the powers of sound vibrations.

MASSIANIC AWARENESS: (Qabalah) Hebrew Christ or Tiphareth Consciousness. A new sort of solar awareness which will enable all people to function from a level of collective unconscious, thereby creating effortless harmony.

MATRASS: (Alchemy) A round-bottom flask with a very long neck.

MEDITATION: (Yoga) a) The ability to focus the mind on a subject, place or thing at the exclusion of all other stimuli.  b) The ability to engage sensual triggers to recall or re-experience events.   c) The capacity to experience unknown potentialities using sensual probabilities.  d) The ability to remove all thoughts from the mind.

MELANOSIS: (Alchemy) the First Phase of alchemy, which begins with Calcination and ends with the Putrefaction stage of Fermentation. (Same as Black Phase)

MULTIPLICATION: (Alchemy) A method of Distillation which results in a higher concentration; an increase in the quantity and intensity of the Stone. The sign of Aquarius represents Multiplication.

MENSTRUM: (Alchemy) A solvent having both the capacity to simultaneously dissolve and coagulate.

MERCURY: (Alchemy, Roman mythology) The smallest of the inner planets and the one nearest the sun. The Roman god of pranks, thievery and commerce which says something of how Romans conducted their business affairs. Called Hermes by the Greeks, Mercury is the messenger for the other gods, as well as being the god of science and travel and patron saint of athletes. He is typically represented as a young man wearing a winged helmet and sandals and holding a caduceus. Mercury is also a heavy, metallic silver poisonous element that is liquid at room temperature. Often used in scientific instruments. Also called also quicksilver, alchemists acquired it by roasting cinnabar (mercury sulfide). The mercury would sweat out of the rocks and drip down where it could be collected. When mixed with other metals, liquid mercury has a tendency bond with them and develop amalgams. These properties seemed to make mercury the master of duality in solid and liquid states; earth and heaven; life and death, and the Above and Below.

METAPHYSICS: (Philosophy) The branch of philosophy which studies the arrangement of reality. Central questions in metaphysics include: Can we act freely? What is it for something to exist? How are causes related to their effects? What is time? What is space? How is change possible?

MITER: (Ecclesiastic) A headdress in the form of a tall pointy hat with peaks in front and back worn by Christian and Gnostic bishops. A miter is usually only worn during Mass.

MONSTRANCE: (Ecclesiastic) A metal container on a stand containing a glass-viewing window made to display the Host.

MODEL: (Critical thinking, philosophy) An example (usually used in science to prove or disprove a theory).

MYSTICISM: (Religion, magick) immediate consciousness of the transcendent or ultimate reality or God. A mental exercise design to still the mind so that it is able to experience the highest and most abstract conception of Godhead. Traditional forms of mysticism can be found in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola and the Spiritual Guide of Miguel De Molinos, as well as in many of the writings of Sufism, Yoga, Buddhism, Zen, and Taoism. Unorthodox forms can be found in Gnosticism and the Hermetic Qabalah, etc.

NACHASH: (Qabalah) Hebrew the serpent in Genesis that convinced Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. It is the power which imprisons and sets free.

NATRON: (Alchemy) An Arabic word meaning “soda ash.” A generic alchemical term for salt. The Egyptians gathered it from evaporating lakes and utilized it in mummification. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) and saltpeter (sodium nitrate) are both salts, and alchemists refer to both of them as Natron. See SALT.

NATURAL THEOLOGY: (Philosophy) proposes that knowledge of God can be obtained by reason alone, without the aid of revelation.

NECESSARY CONDITION: (Philosophy) X is a necessary condition of Y if there cannot be Y without X. Therefore, raising a child is a necessary condition of being a parent. Compare with Sufficient Condition.

NEPHESH: (Qabalah) Hebrew the animal soul that corresponds to animal/vegetable levels of consciousness. It is said to reside at the level of Yesod and Malkuth. It is mostly corresponding with the automatic bodily functions and ego. Also known as the automatic consciousness. This body does not survive death, as does the Ruach and Neshama. This really upsets people who practice Astral Travel to cheat death, since the Astral Body is a projection of the Nephesh.

NESCHAMA: (Qabalah) Hebrew Corresponds to the purest aspirations of the soul and the Soul itself and corresponds to Binah on the Tree of Life. It is where the individual Soul merges with the Oneness or God. From this plane we may approach the collective unconscious. The Neschama is composed of three parts: Yechidah, Chiah, and Neschama.

NOTARIKON: (Qabalah) A way of creating acronyms and/or new words from other words or phrases believed to contain magical powers. For example: The biblical phrase “Thou art great forever, Lord” Ateh Gibor Le Olahm Adoni can be summed up as AGLA.

OMNISCIENCE: (General religious, Philosophy) The property of knowing everything. Many religions view God as omniscient.

OMNIPOTENCE: (General religious, Philosophy) Omnipotence is all-powerfulness. Many religions view God as omnipotent. Descartes (and most Gnostics) postulated the possibility of an omnipotent demon who could manipulate our thoughts and deceive us.

ONTOLOGY: (Philosophy) The branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence. Some central questions include: What kinds of objects exist? What does it mean for something to exist?

OX: (Alchemy) The animal associated with the element of Earth.

OUROBOROS: (Gnostic) Greek A Mithraic symbol illustrating the function of the sun. Also known as Agathos Daimon or “Good Spirit.” The Greeks call it Aion (from where our word “aeon” is derived) and defines the period between the creation and destruction of the universe. A symbol for eternal truth. A serpent devouring itself (some say, coming out of its own mouth) embodies the concept of “All Is One,” even when all things endure intervallic successions of destruction and creation, or death and resurrection.

PARADIGM: a pattern or model.

PARSUF, pl. PARSUFIM: (Qabalah) Hebrew Literally “faces.” In Hebrew Kabbalah doctrine, the ten Sephiroth develop into five parzufim when the divine “breaking of the vessels” occurred. These are called: Arik Anpin, Abba, Aima, Zair Anpin, and Nukva.

PATEN: (Ecclesiastic) A plate, usually of gold or silver that is used to hold the host during the Mass. Also called a “patina.”

PATH OF ZADEK: (Qabalah) Hebrew A reference to the path illustrated by the Temperance tarot card between Yesod and Tiphareth. This path traverses the path of normal consciousness between Netzach and Hod. It is the border line between the ego and the true Self. It is called “the path of the honest man” because it is only accessible to those rare individuals who have liberated themselves of self-deception and psychological slothfulness.

PELICAN: (Alchemy) A circulatory container with two arms feeding condensed vapors back into the body. It has a cunning similarity in shape to a pelican pecking at its own breast.

PHILOSOPHER’S STONE: (Alchemy) A material believed to have the ability of transmuting base metal into gold. See ELIXIR.

PHILOSOPHY OF MIND: (Philosophy) The branch of philosophy which studies the nature of the mind. Central questions in the philosophy of mind include: Is it possible for a machine to think? How is the mind related to the brain? Do animals have minds? How can I know that anyone else has a mind?

PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION: (Philosophy) The branch of philosophy which contemplates the nature and existence of God. Central questions include: Does God exist? What sort of evidence could justify belief in God? If there is a God, why is there so much suffering in the world? Is there life after death? Do we have souls? How could we know anything about God?

PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE: (Philosophy) The branch of philosophy which scrutinizes the nature and results of scientific inquiry. Central questions include: Do scientist describe reality or just appearances? Can we have good reason to believe in the existence of non-observable entities (e.g. quarks)? What happens when one scientific theory replaces an older theory?


PISCES: (Astrology) The twelfth sign of the zodiac. The sun stays in this sign from about February 19 to March 20.

PINGALA: (Yoga) Sanskrit. The Solar element in the kundalini said to reside at the right side of the spine. It has heating qualities and is manipulated by breathing through the right nostril.

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: (Philosophy) The branch of philosophy that discusses freedom, justice, rights, democracy and other political issues. Central questions include: Is democracy the best form of government? How can we balance rights and responsibilities?

POSTULATE: (philosophy) to assume without proof in order to speculate other more pertinent points.


PREMISES: (Logic) The part of an ARGUMENT which gives reasons for accepting the CONCLUSION.

PROGNOSIS: (From the author’s personal lexicon) Having intimate knowledge of progressive rock musick.

PROTOTYPE: the original model.

PREMISE: principles accepted as true.

PRINCIPLE:  a fundamental truth.

PROCEDURE:  methodical routine.

PRUDENCE: (Logic) Oftentimes prudence is used synonymously with self-interest; sometimes it is used as equivalent to something like wisdom in the pursuit of goals.


PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM: (Philosophy) The doctrine that a person pursues nothing but his own interests. Note carefully how it differs from ETHICAL EGOISM.

PSYCHOLOGICAL HEDONISM: (Philosophy) The doctrine that a person pursues nothing but her own pleasure or happiness.

PERSONA: (Psychology) The “I.”  Originating from the Latin meaning “Mask.”  The outer shell that the individual presents to the outside world.  The persona is something that one is not, but which oneself believes one to be.  It is a protective device designed to find social approval. The persona is socially forced in civilization as a means of human interaction. Society rewards the appropriate persona with money, respect, and power to create a desirable persona. It is an unconscious compromise between the individual and society. When we adhere or try to become our persona at the expense of “who we are” we gamble with a neurosis. In other words, we risk abandoning the understanding of who we are in order to adopt actions and behavior which are determined by social pressure.

PERSONA NON GRATA: Unacceptable or unwelcome, especially to a foreign government. A disavowed representative of some government or organization.

PERSONAL UNCONSCIOUS: (Psychology) Opposite of COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS.  It includes forgotten dreams and memories, shocking and unbearable ideas (purposely oppressed), and perceptions not yet accessible for consciousness.

PRANA: (Yoga) The breath is seen as one of the primary sources of life-giving energies or forces of the universe. Like the Chinese concept of Chi.

PRANAYAMA: (Yoga) The Hindu processes of controlling the breath. Breathing properly is at the heart of good health. Each inhale brings in oxygen, which in turn sparks the transformation of nutrients into fuel. With each exhale the body purges itself of carbon dioxide, a toxic. Breathing affects our state of mind. It can excite or calm us. It can make our thinking confused or clear. Ancient yogis created many breathing practices to take full advantage of the benefits of prana.

PROCESSIONAL CROSS: (Ecclesiastic) This cross is carried into church at the head of a Mass procession. It is symbolic of the congregation’s sect, or a sign of their beliefs.

PROJECTION: (Alchemy) The final stage of Coagulation, in which the powder Stone is cast upon the molten base metal to transmute it, such as the final process in making gold. The sign Pisces points to this process.

PURIFICATOR: (Ecclesiastic) A cloth used to clean the chalice after each use.

PUTREFACTION: (Alchemy) The first stage of the Fermentation process. The method is represented by the symbol Leo.

PYX: (Ecclesiastic) A small metal container, used to house the Host while it is taken to the sick and housebound.


About Gerald del Campo

Gerald Enrique del Campo (b. 1960) is a poet, musician, song writer, photographer, magician, philosopher, author, Bishop and lecturer on occult and religious topics. He was born in Córdoba, Argentina on January 14, 1960.
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