Glossary - B


Besom is another word for broom. Though popular stereotypes tend to link brooms and witches together, the besom isn't a tool used as often as some others (like the chalice or athame). It is used to ritually clean your altar or space before casting a circle.


Beltane is one of the 8 pagan Sabbats and falls on May 1st. It's also known as May Day.

Beltane is a day to celebrate the sacred marriage of the God and Goddess, a celebration of fertility. Crops were blessed to ensure a good harvest, and Maypoles were danced around. You might decorate your altar with wild flowers or ribbons. Celebrate with a bonfire, flower garlands or spend some intimate time with a loved one!


Blessed Be
"Blessed Be" is probably the best know Pagan or Wiccan expression. People use it as both a greeting and a farewell, and as a general expression of blessing during ritual.

Its use possibly stems from the longer traditional ritual called the Five Fold Kiss, that goes something like this:

Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways
Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar
Blessed be thy womb, without which we would be be
Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty
Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names.


Book of Shadows
A Book of Shadows (Grimoire, BoS) is your own personal book, containing spells and rituals, and anything else you feel the need to record. Some traditions copy the contents of their coven's BoS, so that information can be passed down through many generations. Not everyone has access to such an antique book, and it's not really necessary.

Any blank book will do, or even a 3-ring binder. You can hand-write the contents, or use your computer printer.


A boline is a knife with a curved blade, traditionally used to harvest fresh herbs


A small sharp tool used to inscribe symbols into candles (or anything else).


Burning Times
"The Burning Times" is what Wiccans call the time period between the 1400s and the 1700s when people were routinely accused of 'witchcraft' and killed. Many were burned alive, but hangings and other torture were also common. Those killed were mainly women, but men and children were also accused on occasion.

The actual number of people killed is not known, though estimates range from a few thousand to the hundreds of thousands. Sometimes whole villages would be wiped out in the hysteria.

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