DICTIONARY - Q


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Quakers Quakers (or Friends) are members of a historically Christian group of religious movements formally known as the Religious Society of Friends.  Members of the various Quaker movements are all generally united in a belief in the ability of each human being to access ‘the light within’, or ‘that of God in every person’.

Currently, about 89% of Quakers worldwide belong to the ‘evangelical’ and ‘programmed’ branches of Quakerism -- these Quakers worship in services with singing and a prepared message from the Bible, coordinated by a pastor.   The remaining 11% practice ‘waiting worship’, or unprogrammed worship (more commonly known today as Meeting for Worship), where the order of service is not planned in advance, is predominantly silent, and may include unprepared vocal ministry from those present.

The first Quakers lived in mid-17th-century England.  The movement arose from dissenting Protestant groups who broke away from the established Church of England.  They attempted to convert others to their understanding of Christianity, travelling throughout Great Britain and overseas, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ -- some of these early Quaker ministers were women.  They emphasised a personal and direct religious experience of Christ, acquired through religious experience and the reading and studying of the Bible.

Quakers were known for their use of ‘thee’ as an ordinary pronoun, their refusal to participate in war, plain dress, refusal to swear oaths, opposition to slavery, and teetotalism.  Some Quakers founded banks and financial institutions, including Barclays, Lloyds, and Friends Provident; manufacturing companies, including shoe retailer C & J Clark and the three major British confectionery makers Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry.




Quarters In Wiccan and Ritual Magic ceremonies, the quarters represent the four classical elements Air, Earth, Fire and Water as well as the cardinal directions north, south, east and west.

'Calling the Quarters', or 'Quarter Calling' is a ritual performed at the start of magical or spiritual work by many magical practitioners and is prescribed by several traditions including many types of Ceremonial Magic, particularly the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Wicca along with its many offshoots.

When you call them, you are doing more than simply circling the compass -- you are inviting the symbolic energies for each of them to attend and guard over your working and to become part of your magic.  The act of calling the Quarters is an integral part of casting a Circle, the circle being the sacred space in which ritual and magick are performed.  It is a safe space in which to work and worship.  When calling a Quarter, whether verbally, or in the case of those limited to silent casting through visualisation, you will want to use as many senses as possible to describe, qualify and thus call the essence of the Quarter to your working.

The 'Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram' is a magical ritual that originated from the 'Key of Solomon' and was used extensively by the Golden Dawn but which has now come to be practiced by numerous other magical schools.  It is considered by many to be a basic preliminary to any other magical work, so much so that it was the only ritual, beside initiation rituals, taught to members of the Golden Dawn before they advanced to the Inner Order.  The ritual is used either to invoke the four elements (the 'Lesser Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram') or to banish them (the 'Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram').  The banishing form is used in many traditions at the beginning of most rituals, and has thus become the more commonly known form.

The angels of the four quarters are symbolised by the Elemental 'Watchtowers' -- four large magical word-square tablets (collectively called the 'Great Table of the Earth').  Most of the well-known Enochian angels are drawn from these Watchtowers, each of them representing one of the four classical Elements.

In the tradition of the G.D., a watchtower or guardian in ceremonial and derived neopagan magical tradition is a tutelary spirit of one of the four cardinal points or 'quarters'.  See also Circle and Watchtowers.




Quaternary Knot See Shield Knot.



Quintessence In various dictionaries, quintessence is defined as:

  • the pure and concentrated essence of a substance.
  • the most perfect embodiment of something.
  • in ancient and mediaeval philosophy, the fifth essence or element, aether/ether, that permeates all nature and is the substance composing the celestial bodies, the other four being Air, Earth, Fire and Water.

In science, modern quintessence would be the fifth known ‘dynamical, time-dependent and spatially inhomogeneous’ contribution to the overall mass-energy content of the universe.  The other four components are not the classical elements, but rather ‘baryons, neutrinos, dark matter, (and) radiation’.  Although neutrinos are sometimes considered radiation, the term ‘radiation’ here refers only to photons.  Spatial curvature (which has not been detected) is excluded because it is non-dynamical and homogeneous; the cosmological constant would not be considered a fifth component in this sense because it is non-dynamical, homogeneous, and time-independent.

Quintessence differs from the cosmological constant explanation of dark energy in that it is dynamic; that is, it changes over time, unlike the cosmological constant which, by definition, does not change.  It is suggested that quintessence can be either attractive or repulsive depending on the ratio of its kinetic and potential energy.  Those working with this postulate believe that quintessence became repulsive about ten billion years ago, about 3.5 billion years after the Big Bang.

See also Aether.




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