(Please note: The Cherokee words—denoted by an “*”—are pronounced according to the following information that was taken from the Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook, by Barbara R. Duncan & Brett H. Riggs, page 39:

A is pronounced as the short a in father
E is pronounced as the long a in say
I  is pronounced as the long e in see
O is pronounced as the long o in no
U is pronounced as oo in fool
V is pronounced nasally as a short u, as in uh-huh

Consonants are usually pronounced as in English.

In the Eastern (Cherokee) dialect, 
K is pronounced as G, so Kituhwa is “Giduhwa.”)

Mystic Gates Glossary

This Glossary will expand as the Mystic Gates teen reading adventure unfolds. The words below are defined according to our main characters’ understanding of them and will appear in the Glossary when first introduced in the books or on this website. Some of the terms will evolve as our characters’ understanding of them changes.

. . . whispered through the trees

Extra Features for Mystic Gates, a young adult magical realism series

*Adawees - A Cherokee name for the angelic beings who guard the four directions.

*Aganunitsi - The Cherokee name for the Shawano (Shawnee) Indian wizard who killed the last Uktena and captured its Ulunsuti. Aganunitsi means “groundhog’s mother.”

Airt (Air-t) - Gaelic word meaning a cardinal direction (East, South, North and West) along the Celtic spirit wheel. 

Amulet - A natural object or objects such as stones, a rabbit’s foot, herbs, etc. that are magickally charged with power. An amulet can be made into a necklace or bracelet. It is used for specific purposes such as protection against evil or psychic attack (by psychic vampires), or for enhancing prophetic dreaming and magical powers, etc.

Anamchara (Ahn-im-Kar-uh) - Aishling views an anamchara as a soul friend who will guide, protect and teach her, and will be her best friend for life. In the truest meaning of the word, an anamchara is a friend of your soul who reflects like a mirror the parts of your soul you cannot see. Your anamchara will guide you to your highest path and help you find the richness and fullness of your being.

*Ani-Yunwiya - The “Principal People.” The Cherokee people are also referred to as *Ani-Kituhwagi, or the people of *Kituhwa—their mother town. Some refer to themselves as *Tsalagi.

Athame (AH-tha-may) - A ritual knife used to sharpen, or focus ethereal fire energies—often used to create a ritual circle.

Beloved Woman (*Ghighau) - A title bestowed by the Cherokee people upon a woman considered to have great spiritual and courageous prowess and whose highly regarded sacrifices have benefited her people.

Beltaine commonly spelled Beltane (Bell-tene) - The Irish Gaelic version is Bealtaine (Byel-tin-yuh). One of the four fire festivals celebrated during the Wheel of the Year. (Beltaine Eve is April 30, when the celebration begins. Beltaine is May 1—May Day—in the Northern Hemisphere.)

Book of Shadows - A guidebook and personal philosophy created by a witch. This book holds its owner’s magicks, such as rituals, spells, charms, enchantments, and more. A witch may have more than one book. A Book of Shadows is often called a grimoire, as Aishling and Morrigan did in Book 1. However, there are differences between these two books. (See the definition for grimoire below.)

Caim (Kime) - A circular energy barrier you cast around yourself for divine protection.

Celtic knot charm bracelet - A bracelet made from yarn, leather, or other material that can be tied into knots. As the knots are formed, the person making the bracelet casts an enchantment or charm into each knot.

Celtic witches - Aishling’s mother is a Celtic witch who practices a craft tradition based upon Celtic and Druidic deities and beliefs.

Dream prophecy - Can be much more than a dream of the future or prediction of outcome. A dream prophecy could also reveal divine inspiration and will, or deliver a divine message.

Druids - The shamans and shapeshifters, healers, mystics and seers, spiritual advisers, bards, magicians and “wise ones” of the Celtic people before Christianity dominated the region. They believed in the sacredness of nature and divinity of the All.

Familiar - A witch’s companion. Can be bird, or beast, or spirit, or other being. The familiar helps a witch in magickal work.

Grimoire (Grim-war) - While the Book of Shadows is for “recording” a witch’s personal philosophy and the magicks used by the witch, the grimoire “teaches” the magicks. A grimoire is imbued with its own magical powers. It can choose to teach you, or not.

Healing touch - A method of hands-on healing where a practitioner draws in divine energies, and then focuses those energies into the energy field of the person seeking help. This allows the body to heal itself naturally.

Herbal remedies - Natural, medicinal concoctions made with the roots, leaves, barks, flowers or fruits from a broad-spectrum of plants including herbs, trees, and shrubs. Remedies can be made into teas, decoctions, syrups, poultices, ointments, etc.

Holly Eve - December 24, when the Holly King departs, leaving gifts for all his children.

Magick or magic - Which is it? Within the world of the Mystic Gatesmagick denotes a specific ritual, enchantment, spell, or charm, etc. used to shift, change, and control energies within and without one’s inner and outer worlds. Magic without the “k” is used in all other cases.
Naming Ceremony - A formal ceremony welcoming a young teen to the craft. Usually occurs between the ages of twelve to fourteen. The teen receives a craft name and commits to learning in earnest and practicing the craft in the adult community.

Numerology -  A system of using numbers to determine your personal expression or destiny. Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a number from 1 to 9, as follows:   1 = a, j, s;  2 = b, k, t;  3 = c, l, u;  4 = d, m, v;  5 = e, n, w;  6 = f, o, x;  7 = g, p, y;  8 = h, q, z; and  9 = i, r. To determine your personal expression or destiny number, you assign each letter of your full name given at birth and then add all the numbers together. Once you get that sum, you add the numbers of the sum together until you receive one of these numbers - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or a “master number” of 11, or 22. (There are many different websites or references that you can look at to see what your destiny or personal expression is.) Example: Aishling Bran O’Brian = 1+9+1+8+3+9+5+7+2+9+1+5+6+2+9+9+1+5 = 92, or 9+2 = 11.

Ogham (O-ham) Fews (also called fedhas) - Symbols encapsulating the “essence and energy” of certain trees, flowers, or birds, etc. Each symbol is a few or fedha. The Druids would not convey spiritual or magickal knowledge through the written word. It is believed by many that the Oghams were used instead as aides for learning large amounts of unwritten information, for secret communications, for magickal purposes, and for divination. Nowadays, these ancient symbols are still used for magickal purposes or spellwork, and for divination. A symbol from the Tree Ogham is referred to in Book 1, Dead Moon Awakens.

Ostara (Oh-star-ah) - Also known as Eastre—or Eostre. One of the four solar festivals celebrated during the Wheel of the Year. (Ostara is celebrated during the Spring Equinox, sometime between March 20-23 in the Northern Hemisphere.)

Otherworld - World of spirits, deities, faery folk, and other non-physical entities. Though invisible to most humans, the Otherworld overlaps our physical world. It can be accessed easier through certain thresholds found in sacred spaces or on certain times of the year.

Prophetic dreaming - Aishling’s gift. The process of dreaming and receiving dream prophecies. See dream prophecy above.

Sacred datura - Also known as jimsonweed, this plant was historically used in witchcraft. Although it has mind-altering powers, it is toxic and can be lethal.

Samhain (Sah-wen) - One of the four fire festivals celebrated during the Wheel of the Year. To many, this celebration also marks the Celtic New Year. (Samhain is October 31—Halloween—in the Northern Hemisphere.)

Sidhe (Shee) - Short for aes sidhe (ees shee), this Irish Gaelic word means people of the mound and has evolved to mean faery folk or faeries. Often, the Sidhe are referred to as the Shining Ones.

So mote it be - A statement of intent at the end of a spell or enchantment, ritual, etc. that focuses and directs the specific magick into action. So mote it be says much more than, “make it happen,” for this statement actually moves a determined intention from words into actions and makes it happen.

Soul recovery - The process of reclaiming pieces of your soul’s energy that have been lost from trauma or grief, or given to or stolen by another person.

Thong tree - A tree that was bent and shaped by the Cherokee people to mark important trails or places. Other Native American Indian tribes also used this method.

Twelfth Night (January 6) - The last day of the twelve days of the Celtic Christmas that begins on December 25. Originally, this time period was a twelve-day pagan festival celebrating the birth of the sun god.

*Uktena - The dragon-serpent that inhabited parts of Western North Carolina, North Georgia, and Eastern Tennessee.

*Ulunsuti (also spelled *Ulvsuti) - What the diamond crest talisman is called once it’s removed from between the eyes of its Uktena.

*Ulunsuti Holders - The only ones who can control the Ulunsuti.

Wheel of the Year - The procession of festivals (four solar and four fire) that leads one through the celebration of the rhythm of nature and the turning year. It marks the times when the veil between this world and the Otherworld is at its thinnest—times when it’s easiest to walk between both worlds.

Wish box - Filled with the wishes of its maker and sealed with a magickal ritual to ensure that one’s wishes come true.