As part of navigating my own path, I have developed a personal vocabulary that applies to my ancestor work. These are some of the words and phrases that I use when describing what I do.
Affirmation – Lines repeated to oneself that reinforce previously known or unknown personal knowledge. Stronger if the lines rhyme, preferably as heroic couplets
Archetype – Role model or icon, living or dead, animal/human/other, whose image embodies desirable or healing energy. Used for personal inspiration and affirmation, but not appropriate for meditation or spell work. Cannot function as partisan, spirit guide, or vanguard. Not to be confused with Jungian archetypes.
Cameo – Round, coin-sized portrait of a Kindred soul carried in a wallet or portable altar.
Charm – Token or votive object imbued with magickal energy or special meaning that can be carried, worn, or placed on a home altar to aid or represent earlier meditation or spell work.
Illustrious dead – Collective term for the honored animal/human souls who have crossed over.
Invocation – Call for acknowledgment or attention directed to the Vanguard, Partisans, or Spirit Guides. Usually followed by meditation, offering, or thanksgiving.
Kindred – Biological or non-biological animal/human ancestors with whom one shares an affinity or soul grouping. Living or dead. It is from ancestral Kindred that Partisans and Vanguard emerge as principal energies.
Meditation – Lines repeated aloud or to oneself that seek to achieve a particular goal. May be directed to Vanguard, Partisans, or Spirit Guides. Strengthened by rhyme, repetition, aromatherapy, oil work, candle work, spell work, card work, etc. Synonymous with religious prayer.
Offering – Usually food, beverage, or charm left for Vanguard, Partisans, and Spirit Guides as thanks for their protection and wisdom.
Partisans – Non-biological members of one’s Vanguard who function as family and advocate in the same way. Animal/human.
Spell work – Combination of practices or skills that is meant to affect the path or outcome of a particular person, event, or situation. Strengthened by repetition, frequency, and diversity of means. Complexity should be proportional to purpose and goal.
Spirit guide – A guiding energy force on the Otherside that may or may not have lived on this side. Usually appears in animal/human form, but may communicate through the senses without taking discernible shape, i.e. through color, image, scent, sound, flavor, feeling, etc. Like Vanguards or Partisans, may be invoked and petitioned through meditation.
Vanguard – Pantheon of ancestors on the Otherside who serve as defenders, guardians, and teachers on this side. Human. Singular or plural. AKA Pips, Posse, Spirit Squad.