The following is a short listing of beings and terms mentioned in my novel Nukekubi that may be outside the experience of my average reader.
Ammut: A demon beast in the ancient Egyptian religion that devours the heart of those who fail the test of the scales of Ma'at. The heart is weighed against the feather of Ma'at, representing justice, and if the heart is heavy, indicating an unjust life, it is fed to Ammut. Of course this occurs after death and is symbolic of one facing one's karma.
Ancestor worship: A belief system in which deceased relatives retain an interest in the family and may be approached for favours. Afterwards a thank you gift, such as incense burnt at the grave site, is usually given. This is done in much the same way you might give a living grandfather a bottle of wine in appreciation for help landing a job.
Amaterasu: Japanese Shinto sun Goddess; ruler of the plane of heaven; much beloved because she helps mankind to sustain itself.
Anubis: Guide of the dead in the ancient Egyptian religion. A God often depicted as a jackal or jackal-headed man. He is the patron God of travellers, guardian of the roads and those who use them.
Apep: Demon snake in the ancient Egyptian religion. A being of pure chaos and evil that tries to devour the sun each morning and must be fought back. A personification of darkness in the sense of our primal fears and anxieties.
Apollo: sun God of the ancient Greek religion; giver of laws; patron of the arts and archery; healer God; killer of the serpent Python. He is often associated cross culturally with Horus.
Atem: creator God in the ancient Egyptian religion, who diminished himself to instill creation with life and became Ra.
Balder: God of justice, beauty and reconciliation of the ancient Norse/Germanic religion. This deity resides in Hel, the Norse realm of the cowardly dead. Thus, he is one of the death deities suitable to the dark of the moon. Note: Hel is not the Christian Hell. For one thing it's perpetually frozen over.
Banished Gods: Most mythologies have stories of an earlier race of Gods defeated by a later race. This early race, being immortal, cannot be deceased but is banished from our world. If you want more, read world mythologies, particularly Babylonian, Greek, and Irish.
Book of Shadows: A pagan witches' grimoire.
Crowley, Aleister - Aleister Crowley was one of the most famous mystics of the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was considered by some to be the wickedest man alive. He was a brilliant magical-technician and his morals can remain a topic for debate.
Demon: A dis-incarnate being. Some of these can be positive; some of them negative. As in most things, you tend to hear more about the negative.
Dowsing: Any of a number of systems in which an object is used to suggest the location of a desired person or thing.
Duamutef: One of the four sons of Horus in the ancient Egyptian religion. He is the Lord of the element of fire, depicted with a jackal's head.
Freyja: Goddess of magic of the ancient Norse/Germanic religion. She keeps half of the slain warriors taken from the battle field. She is patroness of the runes; Goddess of marriage; divination and protection; often associated cross culturally with Isis.
Gnomes: The name men have given to earth spirits, living beings who dwell on the elemental plane of earth. Occultists call on them for grounding excess energy, or obtaining money for effort expended.
Goblin: An evil and malicious member of the fairy races.
Grimoire: A book of spells, facts and theories on magic and its workings; basically a mystic's notebook. Once, these were written on bound paper with leather covers. Most modern occultists simply sing, 'Deity bless the three ring'. Some occultists keep a floppy disk of shadows, but these must always use spell correct. ;-)
Hades: God of the earth and the dead of the ancient Greek religion. He is a dark of the moon deity, sometimes related cross culturally to Osiris, although the fit squeaks. Overall, Hades is a stern but fair-minded deity, who happened to draw the short straw and got stuck with the underworld.
Hades: Greek; not a misprint, this is the land of the dead over which Hades rules.
Hapi: One of the four sons of Horus in the ancient Egyptian religion, Lord of the elemental kingdom of earth.
Hathor: Goddess of love, beauty, and generosity in the ancient Egyptian religion. She is the wife to Horus, and is often depicted with a cow's head.
Hecate: Goddess of witches; the underworld; wisdom and magic in the ancient Greek religion. Her energy is dark of the moon in nature, being of the secret wisdom that darkness can hold.
Horus: Shining son of Isis and Osiris; avenger of his father's murder; in the ancient Egyptian religion who represents all that is best in man. He is a warrior God of defence and protection, God of justice and physical healing, sometimes considered a sun God.
Imseti: One of the four sons of Horus in the ancient Egyptian religion; Lord of the elemental kingdom of water. Occultists call upon water for emotional help or help in divination.
Isis: Started as a Goddess in the ancient Egyptian religion but later her worship spread across Europe. She is gentle but strong, with an indomitable will. Isis is the Goddess of motherhood and the template for the dutiful wife, as well as being a Goddess of sorcery in her own right. She manifests throughout the lunar cycle being comely and graceful like the maid for the moon new born; a mother and guardian for the moon at its full; and a widow who weeps for her slain love, Osiris, for the moon when dark.
Khepera: The sun at dawning in the ancient Egyptian religion. He is a scarab-headed God of beginnings and morning light; an aspect of Ra at dawn.
Ma'at: Goddess of natural law, physics, and justice in the ancient Egyptian religion. In some ways, she is more a representation of the laws that govern all things than an individual entity. Her scale is used after death to determine if a person lived a good life.
Neters: The Gods in the ancient Egyptian religion, seen as administrators of the universe's natural forces.
Nephthys: Goddess of divination in the ancient Egyptian religion. She is the sister of Isis and mother of Anubis.
Nukekubi: A Japanese goblin subsisting on the fear and life energies taken from its victims. By human standards this creature is immortal unless slain.
Oden: King of the Gods of the ancient Norse religion; Lord of Valhalla, hall of dead heros; Lord of the Norse runes. Through his efforts the runes were discovered. He is a mighty figure, sometimes associated with Osiris cross-culturally.
Osiris: God of the dead in the ancient Egyptian religion. He ruled a pleasant realm where the justified deceased were allowed to live on in a world similar to our own, save that sickness and strife were banished. Osiris also sat in judgment over the dead to determine whether they were worthy of entry. Being a death God, Osiris can be called at dark of the moon, but also at most other times because he is also a grain God. He was also, with his sister/wife Isis, the great educator of mankind, teaching us the arts of civilization.
Pagan: One who sees divinity as manifest in the natural world; often conceptualising the natural energies of the world as god forms that were worshipped around the world in ancient times. Thus an Egyptian path Pagan worships the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Egypt. A Celtic path Pagan worships the gods of the Celts, and so on. In the end, most believe there are few gods and many names. Thus the axiom, to deny the gods of another is to deny your own.
Papyrus: A paper made by the ancient Egyptians from a flowering water-reed of the same name.
Pert Em Hru: The book of coming forth by day, mistranslated as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. A collection of funerary texts that modern Egyptologists have misinterpreted. The ancient Egyptian priesthood saw the journey of the spirit after death as identical to the journeys taken by an initiate in search of personal growth. Thus, the Pert Em Hru, although used as a funerary text, is in fact a collection of path-working meditations, leading to individual development.
Poltergeist: A mischievous ghost noted for moving material objects. In most recorded cases the poltergeist locks onto a human energy source, usually an adolescent or mentally disturbed person. The poltergeist draws energy from this person to manifest effects. The strength of these effects can be charted on an energy dissipation graph. The further from the energy source, the weaker the effect.
Ra: The primary sun God in the ancient Egyptian religion. He is a champion of the light who defeats all obstacles; the force of the noonday sun; an example of man's never ending struggle against his own baser nature; a strong father figure, who though sometimes quick to anger, is as quick to right the wrongs that can be righted. Ra is usually depicted as a hawk wearing the solar disk and Uraeus serpent, while carrying the shen, or a hawk-headed man.
Salt: Salt represents purity and the earth. It is used on the ritual altar to symbolize the presence of the gnome kingdom.
Satanist: A Christian who chooses to worship the Christian anti-God.
Seth: God of social chaos in the ancient Egyptian religion. Often in Pagan faiths there is a God representing cosmic evil and another God representing social or human chaos or evil. Seth started out as the God of lower Egypt, but instead of civilising his people he exploited the land and soon found he ruled a desert. At this point, instead of changing his ways he sought to usurp the kingdom of his brother, Osiris. In short, he murdered his brother then tried to prevent the birth of his nephew. Years later he raped his nephew, Horus, and was driving Egypt towards disaster when Horus came into to his own and waged a war against Seth. Finally, a legal decision of the higher gods saw Horus placed on the throne and Seth punished. Much can be seen if one reads the myth and applies it to current politics, especially involving the environment. Some hold the myth to be a metaphoric prophecy.
Sky clad: Clad in the sky, naked, usually referring to ritual nudity. The flesh being the creation of the Goddess is pure, where clothes being the creation of man are un-pure. Thus, since the circle is sacred ground, what is better to wear within its confines? That is one of the many rationales for going sky clad. Most modern occultists don't care much either way. Trust me though, your friends and relatives look much better with their clothes on!
Sylphs: Spirits of air; citizens of the elemental plane of air; usually called upon when things involving weather control or intellectual endeavours are being dealt with.
Tartarus: A section of Hades reserved for the punishment of evil souls. A typical punishment is to be chained in a pool of sweet water with ripe fruit hanging above you. Each time you reach for the fruit a breeze sweeps it away. Each time you try to drink, the water level drops below your reach.
Thoth: The high wizard in the ancient Egyptian religion; a God whose finesse in manipulating energies is unparalleled. He is the scribe of the Gods and stands as chief attorney in their judgments. He is a God of philosophers, scholars and thinkers, usually depicted as an ibis-headed man carrying a scribe's pallet.
Wicca: A neopagan religion, actually a collection of sects, based on the idea of Gods and Goddesses of roughly equal importance. Some groups emphasize the Goddesses. The creator God and Goddess gave birth to the cosmos and nurture and protect all its inhabitants. The divine is held to be innate to all that lives, and as such all life is sacred. The basic moral tenant of Wicca is: "Be it that thou harm none, do what thou wilt". This is backed up by the belief that "whatever you put into the lives of others will be revisited three times over into your own."
Wiccan: A member of Wicca.
Witch: A nearly useless term used to describe everything from a Christian who reads palms, to a Satanist, or a Wiccan.