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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Witan, or Witenagemot, was the national council of "wise ones" who advised the Anglo-Saxon kings in early Britain. For example, King Alfred asked the advice of the Witan regarding the testamentary disposition of his private inheritance. He also consulted his Witan before making peace with Guthrum. The Witan started as a small group of advisors but with the king of Wessex becoming the king of all England, the Witan also grew in size.

The group was composed chiefly of eorls, or nobles of hereditary rank, together with gesiths, or professional warriors. As a lawmaker, the king seldom acted without his Witan. There are many instances to show that this Witan was also able to elect a king. By late Old English times the Witan had many ceremonial functions, joining the king when he received ambassadors and, by the eleventh century, joining him in public feasting.

The word "Witan" comes from the same root as the Old English wiccian, "to work sorcery." Henry Sweet's The Student's Dictionary of Anglo-Saxon cites the Anglo-Saxon wita/io/ge (m) meaning "a sage or wise man," and witeg/a or witga, "a wise man or prophet."

Speaking of a modern tradition of Witchcraft, Edain McCoy says, "Witta, the Irish Gaelic term for the Anglo-Saxon word Wicca, is one of the Irish names of the craft."

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 867AD, they reached Nottingham, and Burgred and his witan again sought the help of Wessex, now ruled by Ethelred and his brother Alfred, known to history as "The Great".
Specifically, this can occur with a handful of verbs in initial vowel, /h/, or /w/--primarily have, will, witan ('know'), and some forms of be.
Interims: International Game Technology, Johnston Press, Ladbrokes, Murray Intl Trust, Partnership Assurance, Prudential, Serco Group, SIG, Synthomer, VTTI Energy Partners, Witan IT.
Fifty years after Magna Carta, Simon de Montfort rebelled against John's son Henry III and summoned what amounted to the first Parliament, itself an echo of the Saxon Witan. The roots of Fukuyama's trio--effective state, rule of law, democratic accountability--were planted pretty firmly in English soil three-quarters of a millennium ago.
Its clients include BNP Paribas SA (EPA:BNP), Quilter & Co Limited, the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA) and Witan Investment Services Ltd.
Table 4 displays the ten derivational paradigms of verbs with the highest rates of adjective loss (all of them belong to the strong class, although witan and cunnan are traditionally labelled preterite-present):
The author is, however, simply wrong when she argues that imagery was "updated to reflect contemporary society" by artists in the eleventh century: for example, the story of Pharaoh hanging his baker in the Hexateuch became the famous image of an Anglo-Saxon king dispensing judgement with his Witan and "The English thereby asserted their own cultural and linguistic identity and set themselves within the Biblical landscape" (124-125).
look that is chic and stylish, team it witan elegant pussy-bow blouse and coloured jeans.
(23.) JAMES CRAWFORD, HOLD YOUR TONGUE: BILINGUALISM AND THE POLITICS OF 'ENGLISH ONLY' 151 (1992) [hereinafter HOLD YOUR TONGUE] (emphasis added) (quoting Memorandum from John Tanton to WITAN IV Attendees (Oct.