Letters, photo by davide vizzini

A guide to Spiral Nature’s preferred spelling and word usage, particularly where it may deviate from our preferred dictionary, The Canadian Oxford English Dictionary. (See also “Spiral Nature Style Guide.”)

Note that there is an overriding preference for conventional spelling and grammar (Crowley was erudite, not “1337”), however allowances are made where alternative words are customary in a given tradition (TOPY’s usage of “ov” for “of,” for example).

Please note this lexicon is a work in progress, and that it may not yet be implemented across the entire site (particularly for works published prior to 2013).

Quick Hits

  • Prefer -re endings, such as in centre, metre.
  • Prefer -ize endings, such as in criticize, recognize.
  • Prefer -ce endings, such as in defence, offence.
  • Prefer -our endings, such as in behaviour, colour.
  • Generally double the consonant when adding suffixes (-ed or -ing), such as worshipped or travelling.

Spelling and usage

  • air — Lowercase.
  • Beltane — For consistency.
  • Dionysus — For consistency.
  • djinn — For consistency.
  • Druidry — The religion and spiritual practices of Druids. Not “Druidism.”
  • earth or Earth — As an element, lowercase; as a planet, capitalized.
  • ebook — No hyphen or weird capitalization.
  • email — No hyphen.
  • esbat — Lowercase.
  • faery — Lowercase. Plural “faeries.”
  • fire — Lowercase.
  • Hallowe’en — Originally All Hallow’s Eve, use the apostrophe to denote the contraction.
  • Heathen — Capitalized. A practitioner of one of the Germanic Pagan traditions.
  • Heathenry — Capitalized. Preferred term for the Germanic Pagan traditions. “Heathenism” also accepted.
  • Internet — Will always be capitalized in my heart.
  • kabbalah — For consistency; lowercase.
  • kundalini — Lowercase.
  • lemniscate — Lowercase.
  • Lughnasadh — For consistency.
  • magical — Without a “k.”
  • magician — Without a “k.” Preferred term for magical practitioners whose work is derived from ceremonial practices.
  • magick — With a “k,” unless referring to stage magic.
  • major and minor arcana — Lowercase.
  • occulture — Refers to culture informed or influenced by occult or magical stuffs.
  • occultnik — A pet term to refer to people who participate in or geek on occulture.
  • ok — Lowercase.
  • otherkin — Lowercase.
  • Pagan — Capitalized.
  • Paganism — For simplicity’s sake, use Paganism (note the capitalization). In place of “neo-Paganism,” say modern or contemporary Paganism.
  • postmodern — No hyphen.
  • Reconstructionism — Capitalized. As with Reconstructionist.
  • reiki — Lowercase.
  • Rider-Waite-Smith — For consistency when referring to tarot decks who derive their symbolism from the Rider Tarot, and to recognize Pamela Colman Smith’s often overlooked contribution to the creation of the deck and its design.
  • sabbat — Lowercase.
  • sabbath — Lowercase, unless referring to the Jewish Sabbath.
  • shaman — Lowercase.
  • shamanism — Lowercase.
  • tarot — Lowercase, unless referring to a specific deck, such as the Rider Tarot.
  • water — Lowercase.
  • website — One word, lowercase.
  • Wheel of the Year — Capitalize the seasonal calendar of Wicca and some contemporary Pagan traditions.
  • witch — Lowercase. Preferred term for magical practitioners whose work is derived from Wiccan or folk practices.
  • witchcraft — Lowercase, unless referring to a specific tradition, such as British Traditional Witchcraft.

Image credit: davide vizzini

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