At TOGA, we have some words and phrases that we use for affirmation, blessing, and sometimes just for fun. Because we are a multi-faith tradition, our internal vocabulary is drawn from many, many sources. The following are some of the common magical and ceremonial terms you may hear when you come to rituals and classes.
We have also included some basic magical vocabulary for those who are just beginning to explore their paths!
Words of Affirmation
These are words that are used to bless, greet, and express support, like the Wiccan “Blessed Be!” Some other terms you may hear….
Yaaas! – As a multi-faith tradition, we needed to find a word of affirmation that could be shared by anyone in any path. Fortunately, we all like cat videos. “Yaaas” is our special Reno Magick expression of support and blessings.
Ase (ah_SHAY) – This is a word of power from the West African Ifa tradition. Ase refers to your personal power; to say “Ase” to another person is a way of offering your personal power to support them.
Makarios – This is a Greek word that literally means “blessings.” Legend has it that the words was used by the ancient people of Crete to describe the overflowing abundance of their island. It is used to offer others an overflowing abundance of blessings and good things in life.
Hail! – While technically an enthusiastic greeting, the Hail is use by the Northern European traditions (as well as many American traditions) as an expression of strong support and celebration. We ‘hail’ people (and energies!) to welcome them, to congratulate them, and to thank them.
Words of Purification
Kherniptomai/ Kherniptosai: These Greek terms are used in the House of Zephyrus and the Temple of Aphrodite. “Kherniptomai” means “I purify myself” and “Kerniptosai” means “I purify you.” You will hear these terms when we cleanse people entering ritual and when we cleanse our altars and tools.
A’ab Nua: This Egyptian term is a declaration, meaning “I am pure.” Participants in Hwt Peret Auset declare themselves pure before the Gods after cleansing themselves with holy water.
Magical and Ritual Terms
Athame: This is a special knife used in ritual context. It can be a knife that is specially set aside and only used for ritual, or it can be any knife that you decide to use for a ritual purpose. Athames are used to project and direct energy and to declare sacred space. They can also symbolize the divine masculine, as cups and chalices symbolize the divine feminine.
Blot: A blot is a Norse ritual in which we honor ancestors, gods, and our own accomplishments. A mead horn is passed around at least three times, allowing each participant to offer prayers, affirmations, or to honor their gods and ancestors. The Fire, Wind, and Thunder Fellowship holds blots twice a month on Wodensdays (Wednesdays).
Circle: A circle is an energetic barrier, sometimes anchored by physical objects, that is set up in ritual space before doing magick or performing rites. The purpose of a circle is to contain and multiply the energy within the sacred space and to form a barrier between the sacred space and the outside world. Depending on the ritual and the tradition, there may be special procedures for creating, entering, and leaving a circle. You can learn more about casting circles in the Reno Magick Tradition in our First Circle Classes.
Evoke and Invoke: These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, which can make things confusing for beginning magick users. Both terms refer to calling upon Gods, ancestors, spirits, or other energy forms. To evoke something means to summon it or call it forth, such as evoking a spirit to join you in a circle, or evoking a spirit into a human medium for purposes of trance possession. To invoke something means to call on it for aid and energy, without necessarily asking it to be directly present, such as invoking Hekate when you create a spell of protection for your children. In this case, you would be asking Hekate for Her energy and support, but would not be asking Her to manifest over your children at that precise moment.
Spirit: While also one of our Reno Magick elements, spirit is often used as a catch-all term for our higher selves, ancestors, guardians, and any other non-physical entities and energies that we interact with or ask guidance from.
Summon: To summon an energy or entity is essentially the same as evoking it, however the methods of ‘summoning’ can be more aggressive and insistent. It implies that the summoner has authority over the summoned, and that the summoned cannot refuse to appear when called. While one may summon personal guardians or fetches (guardian spirits with very specific jobs), it is better to evoke Gods and most spirits, as evocation is more like an invitation than a demand.
Trance Possession: At TOGA, we practice a shamanic tradition which often involves rites of trace possession. A trance can be understood as any altered state of mind in which the individual is receptive to divine or ancestral energy. In this context, possession means allowing divine/ancestral energy to manifest through one’s body. This kind of possession can take many forms, from a deep meditative state to dancing with the Gods. It is also sometimes referred to as channeling or mediumship.
In some rituals, a priest may enter trance possession for the purpose of expressing (speaking and acting) as a God, ancestor, or spirit. While this is something that any human being has the ability to do, it is important that the individual is able to manage the energy safely and that its expression is authentic. In other words, if someone is transmitting a message from the Gods, we want to make sure that it is really coming from the Gods. Because of this, only priests (Reno Magick 4th Circle or higher) will speak, act, and transmit messages from spirit in Reno Magick rituals, except in certain rare cases.