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Dagger A ritual instrument of sacrifice, circumcision and martyrdom, the dagger or knife is usually a destructive symbol, particularly in the hands of Hindu divinities, but in Buddhism it can signify severance from the ties of materialism.

In magic, a magical weapon is any instrument used to bring about intentional change.  In practice, magical weapons are usually specific, consecrated items used within ceremonial ritual.  There is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes or does not constitute a magical weapon -- if a magician considers it to be a weapon, then a weapon it is.

However, there does exist a set of magical weapons with particular uses and symbolic meanings.  Some such common weapons/tools include the Dagger/Sword, Wand/Baton, Cup/Chalice, Paten/Pentacle/Disc, Holy Oil, Lamp and Bell.

See also Athame and Sword.




Damanhur The Federation of Damanhur, normally referred to simply as Damanhur, is named after the Egyptian city of the same name which was the site of a temple dedicated to Horus.  It is situated in the Piedmont region of Italy north of Turin in the foothills of the Alps on the edge of Gran Paradiso National Park.  It is a spiritual community which holds a mix of New Age and neopagan beliefs.

It was founded in 1975 CE by Oberto Airaudi (1950 - 2013) with about 24 followers -- by the year 2000 that number had grown to 800.  Damanhur's supporters claim the growth and activity of the community has revitalised the local area.  Citizens participate in 1 of 4 levels depending upon their chosen involvement, A, B, C, or D.  Class A citizens share all resources and live on site full-time.  Class B citizens contribute to financial goals and live on site a minimum of 3 days a week.  Class C and D citizens can live anywhere.  Class A & B citizens participate fully in The School of Meditation, Social, and the Game of Life.  Class C citizens participate fully in The School of Meditation.  The community has its own constitution and currency, the Credito.

Damanhur gained fame in 1992 after the disclosure of underground workings where they built the Temples of Humankind1.  This excavation work had begun 14 years earlier in 1978 in complete secrecy.  Because it had been constructed without planning approval the Italian authorities ordered construction work to stop although artwork was allowed to continue.  Permission was subsequently granted retrospectively.  Click on the image to the left to enlarge it.

The Federation of Damanhur now has centres in Europe, America, and Japan.

1 The Temples of Humankind are a collection of subterranean temples buried 30 metres (100 ft) underground built by the Federation of Damanhur.  They are decorated in several motifs stressing peaceful human collaboration.  The Temples are located in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy, 50 kilometres (30 mi) from Turin.




Damballah See Veves.



Dead Man's Rune See Cross of Nero.



Demeter Demeter is the Greek goddess of grain, agriculture, harvest, growth, and nourishment.  She is a daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and a sister of Zeus, by whom she bore Persephone.

Demeter is one of the main deities of the Eleusinian Mysteries in which her power over the life cycle of plants symbolises the passage of the human soul through life and into the afterlife.  She is depicted as a mature woman, often crowned and holding sheaves of wheat and a torch.

Her symbols are the Cornucopia, wheat-ears, the winged serpent, and the lotus staff.  Her sacred animals include pigs and snakes.  Her Roman counterpart is Ceres.




Deosil What is the etymology of the word deosil?  It would seem that witches and pagans had a bit of a 'spelling' problem -- no pun intended -- okay then, it was.  Deosil appears to be a misspelling of a Scottish Gaelic word 'deisil' or the Middle Irish word 'dessel', later modified by English speakers to 'deasil'.  These words all share the common Latin root word, 'dexter', meaning right, right-handed, skilful, or favourable.  The opposite word, Widdershins, is sinister, meaning left, on the left, or unlucky.  We can see then that deosil means a movement that moves right, or clockwise.

Moving Sun-wise is considered lucky and safe, while walking widdershins is unlucky.  Thus, if you need to walk around a building to get to the door, you should always walk sun-wise or clockwise, keeping the building to your right.  A Circle, drawn sun-wise or deosil around a house, stable or other building using a burning brand or torch is said to protect it from Fire and malicious magic.

Traditionally, one moves in a deosil direction -- clockwise or sun-wise -- to cast a circle or invoke energies.  Considering this is basically a northern tradition, so is it the same in both hemispheres, and does the deosil direction always raise energy and does widdershins always banish?  Thankfully, physics does have an answer:

In physics, the Coriolis effect is a deflection of moving objects when they are viewed in a rotating reference frame.  Perhaps the most commonly encountered rotating reference frame is the Earth.  The Coriolis effect is caused by the rotation of the Earth and the inertia of the mass experiencing the effect.  Because the Earth completes only one rotation per day, the Coriolis force is quite small, and its effects generally become noticeable only for motions occurring over large distances and long periods of time, such as large-scale movement of air in the atmosphere or Water in the ocean.  This force causes moving objects on the surface of the Earth to veer to the right (with respect to the direction of travel) in the northern hemisphere, and to the left in the southern hemisphere.  Rather than flowing directly from areas of high pressure to low pressure, as they would on a non-rotating planet, winds and currents tend to flow to the right of this direction north of the equator, and to the left of this direction south of it.  This effect is responsible for the rotation of large cyclones -- which rotate clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Consequently, this also means that energy moves clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere -- this is the way we raise energy.  To banish, move anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.  See also Widdershins.




Deshret Deshret, from Ancient Egyptian, was the formal name for the Red Crown of Lower Egypt (northern) and for the desert ('Red Land') on either side of Kemet ('Black Land'), the fertile Nile river basin.  When combined with the Hedjet, the White Crown of Upper Egypt, it forms the Pschent (Double Crown), in Ancient Egyptian called the 'sekhemti'.

The Red Crown in Egyptian language hieroglyphs was eventually used as the vertical letter 'n'.  The original 'n' hieroglyph from the Predynastic Period, and the Old Kingdom was the sign depicting ripples of water.  See also Egyptian Hieroglyphs.




Dharma Dharma is a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religions -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism -- and for which there is no single word translation in Western languages.  See also Dharma Chakra below.



Dharma Chakra The Dharma Chakra (literally, 'wheel of Law') is a Buddhist emblem resembling a wagon wheel, with eight spokes, each representing one of the eight tenets of Buddhist belief.  The Circle symbolises the completeness of the Dharma, the spokes represent the eightfold path leading to enlightenment: Right faith, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right endeavour, right mindfulness, and right meditation.  It is drawn from an Indian symbol, but instead of representing Samsara, or endless rebirth, it symbolises overcoming obstacles.  The Dharma wheel is one of the eight Ashtamangala, or eight Auspicious Symbols of Tibetan Buddhism.  Sometimes, the wheel is flanked by deer, which refer to the deer park in which the Buddha is said to have given his first sermon.

Dharma is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion.  It has multiple meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.  It is difficult to provide a single concise definition for dharma, as the word has a long and varied history and straddles a complex set of meanings and interpretations.  There is no equivalent single word translation for dharma in western languages.  In other words, there is no equivalent single word translation for dharma in western languages.

In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviours that are considered to be in accord with Rta, the order that makes life and the universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and 'right way of living'.

In Buddhism, dharma means 'cosmic law and order', but is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha.  In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is also the term for 'phenomena'.  Dharma in Jainism refers to the teachings of Tirthankara (Jina) and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings.  In Sikhism, the word 'dharm' means the path of righteousness and proper religious practice.

The word 'Dharma' was already in use in the historical Vedic religion, but its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia.




Diana The Roman fertility goddess, Moon goddess, huntress goddess, Triple Goddess, lunar virgin, mother of creatures, the destroyer, goddess of nature, fertility, childbirth, wildwood, Moon, forests, animals, mountains, woods, and women.  In addition to all of these responsibilities, Diana was also the goddess of the hunt.

In Roman art, Diana usually appears as a huntress with a bow and arrow, along with a hunting dog or a stag.  Both a virgin goddess and an Earth goddess, she was identified with the Greek goddess Artemis.  Dian is praised for her strength, athletic grace, beauty and hunting skills.




Dionysus The Greek god of wine, fruitfulness, parties, festivals, madness, chaos, drunkenness, vegetation, and ecstasy were the roles played by Dionysus.  In art he is depicted as either an older bearded god or an effeminate, long-haired youth.  His attributes include the thyrsus, a drinking cup, the grape vine, and a crown of ivy.  He is often in the company of his thiasus, a group of attendants including satyrs, maenads, and his old tutor Silenus.  The consort of Dionysus was Ariadne.

His sacred animals include dolphins, serpents, tigers, and donkeys.  He was a later addition to the Olympians -- in some accounts Hestia gave up her place for him.  Bacchus was another name for him in Greek, a name which came into common usage among the Romans.




Disc See Paten.



Djed The Djed is a very ancient Egyptian symbol of stability, resembling a short pillar with four horizontal, stacked platforms at the top.  It is a symbolic representation of the Tree that entombed the god Osiris on his death by the hand of his brother Set.

The Djed was central in the festival in honour of the god, called the Raising of the Djed, and stood in for the god's phallus; it also represented the cosmic axis, or Tree of Life.

The Djed can also be viewed as symbolic of the human spinal cord.




Dorje Dorje in Tibetan means 'indestructible'.  The Dorje is the Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of the double terminated Hindu ritual tool known as the Vajra, or thunderbolt.  The Vajra represents masculine force, sudden inspiration, the 'cutting' of ignorance and illusion.

In Buddhist rituals, it is always paired with the singing bell, or Ghanta, its feminine counterpart.  The spoked ends represent the closing of the spokes of the wheel of Samsara; the attainment of enlightenment.

A ritual gesture is performed by crossing the tools over the chest, representing union of the male and female principals.  As ritual tools, they are similar in symbolism to the Chalice and Dagger used in Wicca and Ritual Magic.

A 'double Dorje', or 'Vishvavajra', is two Dorjes crossed, the emblem of Amoghshiddhi, the 5th Dhyani Buddha.  It represents stability and impenetrability, and is often used on the doorways of temples, or placed under meditation cushions.

Both the Dorje and the Vishvavajra are forged from meteorite metal, probably due to the emblem's early (pre-Buddhist) associations with lightning deities.




Double Headed Eagle In heraldry and vexillology (the study of flags), the double-headed eagle is a responsibility associated with the concept of Empire.  Most modern uses of the symbol are directly or indirectly associated with its use by the Roman/Byzantine Empire, where it represented the Empire's dominion over the Near East and the West.  But the symbol itself is, in fact, much older, with its original meaning being debated among scholars.

The eagle by itself has long been a symbol of power and dominion.  The Double-Headed Eagle of Lagash is used as an emblem of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

The Double-headed Eagle motif appears to have its ultimate origin in the Ancient Near East, especially in Hittite iconography.  It re-appears in the High Middle Ages, from c. the 10th or 11th centuries CE, and was notably used in the Byzantine Empire, but 11th or 12th century representations are also known from Islamic Spain, France and Bulgaria.  From the 13th century onward it becomes more widespread, and is used in the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, Mamluk Egypt in the Islamic sphere, and in the Holy Roman Empire, Serbia and Russia in the Christian sphere.




Dragon A dragon is a legendary creature, typically scaled and/or fire-spewing and with serpentine, reptilian or avian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures around the world.  The two most well-known cultural traditions of dragon are the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Balkans and Western Asian mythologies.  Most are depicted as reptilian creatures with animal-level intelligence, and are uniquely six-limbed (four legs and a separate set of wings) --

and the Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian and South Asian countries.  These are traditionally depicted as serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence, and are quadrupeds (four legs and wingless).  Chinese dragons symbolise potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over Water, rainfall, hurricane and floods.

The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength and good luck, which is why the Emperor of China tended to use the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength.  In Chinese daily language, excellent and outstanding people are compared with the dragon while incapable people with no achievements are compared with other creatures such as the worm.

The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries.  The English word dragon and Latin word draco derive from the Greek, 'dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake'.




Dragon Fly The dragonfly has been a subject of intrigue in every single continent in which it is found, and with each civilisation, has developed a unique meaning to it, its behaviour and its lifestyle.

In almost every part of the world, the dragonfly symbolises change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realisation.  The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life.




Dragon Knot See Srivatsa / Shrivatsa.



Dragon Rouge A magical order, also known as 'Ordo Draconis et Atri Adamantis', Dragon Rouge was founded on New Year's Eve 1989 - 1990 CE in Sweden.  It claims in excess of 500 members throughout the world, making it one of the numerically strongest magical organisations in Northern Europe.  It has two lodges in Sweden, one in Italy, one in Germany and yet another in Poland.  There are also ritual groups in other countries such as Argentina and the Czech Republic.  The order is financed by an annual membership fee, and specifically asks for donations.

It is unusual among magical orders because it focuses specifically on the Left-Hand Path, its only notable competitor being the Temple of Set.  The order conducts ceremonies, works magic together and arranges study evenings inviting guest lecturers.  Members travel to cult sites and power places such as the many Ship Tumuli sites in Sweden or the Externsteine in Detmold, Germany.  For its initiated members, philosophical discussion evenings, dinners and festivities are arranged.

Note: Burial grounds.  Traces of aboriginal inhabitants' burial grounds can be found at many locations.  These might be mounds, stone circles, standing stones or insignificant raised pieces of ground.  Sometimes, the graves are in the form of a ship, such as that at Runsa, one of Sweden's best-known ship tumuli.  It is 56 metres between prow and stern and dates from 400 - 500 CE.

There are huge burial mounds near Löwenströmska in Runby called 'Zamoras Hill' after the timpanist Zamora, who came to Sweden from North Africa towards the end of the 18th century, and who lived at Runby Nedre farm, now the local heritage centre.  The largest burial ground is to be found at the Stora Wäsby castle dynastic burial ground, featuring approximately 200 beautifully formed grave mounds.




Dragon's Eye The Dragon's Eye is an ancient Germanic symbol as collected by Rudolf Koch (1876 - 1934 CE).  It is an isosceles or equilateral triangle pointing downwards, with a 'Y' in the middle which connects the three points of the triangle together.  According to Carl G Liungman's (born 1938) Dictionary of Symbols, it combines the triangle meaning 'threat' and the 'Y' meaning a choice between good and evil.

The Dragon's Eye is a well-known symbol of protection, said to protect anyone who recited the incantation to it.  The dragon is a universal motif linked to various cultures of humanity for 5,000 years.  The word dragon comes from 'derkesthai' (Greek - to glance dartingly) which, in a Hindu tradition, was the hungry look of the very first being when its fiery spirit was born out of the abyss of Water.  The Dragon's Eye symbol stands for the balance of love, power and wisdom.  Triple triangles are associated with the goddess and the nine Muses.




Dream Catcher The folk-charm known today as the universal 'dreamcatcher' was originally a small charm, basically a tiny hoop, usually of willow-wood, filled in with an interlaced webbing of sinew or plant fibres to resemble a spider's web.  The first dreamcatchers were crafted by the Ojibwa people (Chippewa -- Canadian) and were probably derived from or inspired by designs of snowshoes.

Most dream catchers were used as protective charms for infants -- the 'spiderweb' would trap negative spirits that cause disease, nightmares, etc., and protect the child, then the negativity caught in the web would be destroyed by the rising sun.  According to most sources, the original dreamcatchers were made in honour of Asibikaasi, or Spider-woman, helper of the people, whose magical webs even had the power to trap the sun.  Over time, these charms were adapted by other bands, each of whom developed their own methods, materials, and origin stories.

There is some argument over what constitutes a 'genuine' dream-catcher.  The monster-sized, ornate leather wrapped dreamcatcher with large feather dangles, stones, and beads is largely a product of the modern resurgence of interest in native cultures that occurred in the sixties and seventies, and do not represent any actual ancient traditions.  Similarly, even though many modern tribes have adopted and modified the design, they are not traditional in the strict sense, and neither are many of the 'ancient legends' associated with them.




Drigug See Kartika.



Druze Religion The Druze are an esoteric ethnoreligious group originating in Western Asia who self-identify as Unitarians.  Jethro of Midian1 is considered an ancestor of all Mandaeans and Mahra from Druze Mountain, who revere him as their spiritual founder and chief prophet.

The Druze faith is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of high Islamic figures like Hamza ibn-Ali ibn-Ahmad and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, along with Greek philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates.  The Epistles of Wisdom is the foundational text of the Druze faith, which incorporates elements of Islam's Ismailism (a branch of Shia Islam), Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism, Hinduism (according to some), and other philosophies and beliefs, creating a distinct and secretive theology known to interpret esoterically religious scriptures, and to highlight the role of the mind and truthfulness.

The Druze follow theophany, and believe in reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul.  At the end of the cycle of rebirth, which is achieved through successive reincarnations, the soul is united with the Cosmic Mind (Al Aaqal Al Kulli).

1 In the Hebrew Bible, Jethro or Reuel was Moses' father-in-law, a Kenite shepherd and priest of Midian.  In Exodus, Moses' father-in-law is initially referred to as "Reuel" (Exodus 2:18) but then as "Jethro" (Exodus 3:1).  He was the father of Hobab in the Book of Numbers 10:29.  He is also revered as the spiritual founder and chief prophet in his own right in the Druze religion, and considered an ancestor of all Druze.




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