By Hand, Head & Heart: The Practice, Philosophies and Love of Magick

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Christopher Penczak

Christopher Penczak

Christopher Penczak is the co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft, a system, tradition and religious nonprofit organization focused on magickal education and building community. He is an award winning author of over twenty books, including The Inner Temple of Witchcraft, The Three Rays of Witchcraft and Ascension Magick and a co-owner of Copper Cauldron Publishing, a company dedicated to producing inspirational products of magick and art for the evolution of consciousness for individuals and the world. Based in New England, he travels internationally to teach magick and healing.

Last week, as the Full Moon in Virgo was making a transiting conjunction with my Natal Moon (that's an intense time of discernment and analysis for our non-astrology speaking readers), I experience two very strange occurrences. What was really strange was they were really both about the same hot button topic for me, but from opposite ends of the spectrum. One involved me as a student, the other as a teacher. It produced a lot of internal dialogue, conflict, communication, and ultimately a few snarky Facebook posts. It was the Facebook status updates that inspired our esteemed host, Anne Niven, to ask me to write about it in more detail. I didn't think I was going to, but with some time and distance, I got greater clarity on the whole thing and thought, if she thinks I should share it, then why not? Anne's certainly encouraged me to write quite a few things and, if it should prove helpful to anyone else beyond me, then mission accomplished.

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The first episode was an email I received from a spiritual teacher whom I have had no real contact with for many years, and haven't studied with since the late '90s. She is not in my Pagan-Witchcraft world, but more from my early New Age-Holistic world. Let's call her Tara, for simplicity's sake. While I'd like to think the intentions of Tara's email were good, to warn about a potential legal issue with the system she taught me, the letter came across as scolding and sanctimonious. I thought perhaps I was being oversensitive and shared it with a family member and a mentor. Both agreed it was not just my imagination. The part that really got me was not that Tara was sanctimonious, but it was the spirit in which she expressed it. The teachings Tara taught me were a healing system based in the New Age concept of the Ascended Masters and part of her critique ultimately boiled down to “the Ascended Master does not agree with what you are doing.” The email contained no questions, no invitation for a dialogue. It was a proclamation: The Ascended Master has made it quite clear he wants it done this new way, not the old way you learned.

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  • Morganlafey
    Morganlafey says #
    Sorry you had to go through such chaos with a past teacher and former student of yours. However, I love how you extract the less

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

 http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/13-Yule-2013-Day-13.mp3

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  • Oak
    Oak says #
    Will thank you very much Christopher! I got so very much out of these workings.More than I can even Express. It had been a very bu

For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

 http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/12-Yule-2013-Day-12.mp3

Scorpio's key words are sex and death, as both are foundation stones in the mysteries, for both help swing open the gates between matter and spirit, allowing great connection, communion and passage. The spirit of Scorpio worked with in the Temple is the guardian who watches over that gate, who guards its passage, and guides those who are ready to pass through. 

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

 http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/11-Yule-2013-Day-11.mp3

While in astrology, Libra is the scales, or more precisely, the energy of balancing the scales, in this vision working, we work with the consciousness that holds the scales, the judge. Not unlike the presence of the Egyptian goddess Ma'at, the goddess of the divine order who weighed the heart against the feather of truth (technically it was Anubis who usually weighed the heart against the Feather of Ma'at), we approach the Judge to test that balance, and renew ourselves when out of balance. Unlike in the Egyptian mysteries, we will not be devoured by creatures for being unbalanced in this vision working, but received aid to balance this life, so we can find harmony before we pass on into the next. 

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/10-Yule-2013-Day-10.mp3

Many are the faces of Virgo. We have often though about Virgo as the analyst, able to see all the parts of any things, and see how they work, or don't work together. We also think of Virgo as the servant, for the process is key to understanding this mutable Earth sign. A symbol for mutable earth is the harvest itself – grains, fruits and vegetables – as that is earth manifest in a form that will not last. It will either be eaten, stored or spoiled, and just as food serves as nourishment, the powers of Virgo serve the greater good when applied with the highest and deepest wisdom. But the favorite face in the Temple of Witchcraft teachings is Virgo as the healer. 

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  • Christopher Penczak
    Christopher Penczak says #
    Thank you so much Oak! I would love to hear about people's experiences too! It's a little preview of some of the teachings in The
  • Oak
    Oak says #
    Hello my friend these teachings are wonderful! I have been witch for over 30 years . Working and practicing with reclaiming and F

b2ap3_thumbnail_183518_10150131096893281_1032058_n.jpgFor a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/08-Yule-2013-Day-8.mp3

The Moon is the ruler of Cancer and the Mother, and all lunar, sea and even Earth Mother correspondences would be appropriate for this eighth working of the 13 Days of Yule. Sea foam, lunar, and earthen tones are the colors of Cancer, along with moonstone, pearl, mother of pearl and beryl for stones. Jasmine, Camphor and Mugwort are excellent scents for incense and oil. In Tarot, the Chariot is the Major Arcana trump associated with Cancer, like a knight within his armor, the crab within the shell, but on the journey to the Great Mystery of the Mother. While the Great Mother is ever present in life, to truly know her, we must seek her. 

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/07-Yule-2013-Day-7.mp3b2ap3_thumbnail_188341_10150131097058281_6534911_n.jpg

Mercury is the ruler of Gemini and the Trickster, and all the Mercurial correspondences work when evoking the Trickster gods. Carnelian, Agate and multicolored or mottled stones are the minerals of Mercury. Scents such as lavender and storax are excellent to use in the form of incense and oils. The Lovers card, depicting the dual nature of Gemini, is the Tarot Trump associated with this sign. The Divine Twins can be siblings, but also the anima or animus, the compliment, of the other. 

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here:

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/06-Yule-2013-Day-6.mp3

 

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For a recording of this meditation, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/05-Yule-2013-Day-5.mp3

Due to it being the 25th, and many of us are with our facilities, this day's meditation is slightly abbreviated and you might hear a bit of the old house's heating system in the background, but with the background music, one can easily keep focused on the vision working. 

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For the MP3 recording of this meditation, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/04-Yule-2013-Day-4.mp3

If you are enjoying these meditations and would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Temple of Witchcraft, or find out more about our Work, please visits www.templeofwitchcraft.org

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For a recording of this meditation, please click here: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/03-Yule-2013-Day-3.mp3

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To be Guided through the journey, use this link to download the MP3: 

http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/01-Yule-2013-Day-1.mp3

Though beyond and including all correspondences, the scent of Myrrh and dark stones such as jet, obsidian and garnet can help you connect with the Goddess. The last of the Tarot Trumps, the World or Universe card, gives us imagery to work with her.

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  • Johnny Allison
    Johnny Allison says #
    EkatvaMatriSadbhava Sanskrit for "Blessings of the Divine Mother" Most Beautifully Adorned with the Heavens !

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Most people today in America are familiar with the Twelve Days of Christmas carol, detailing twelve days of more and more elaborate gifts, much to the delight of modern retail to encourage us to shop more for the holiday. It is an English folk song and possibly there is a correlation between each of the twelve days, and the upcoming twelve months, but if there was any deeper insight, or folk custom coded into the song, it appears to be lost or garbled to us today. The overall concept of the song, if not the direct inspiration, is based upon the twelve days of Yule.

This Yuletide season went beyond a simple one or two day celebration, and lasted for twelve days and thirteen nights in the Germanic, Norse and English traditions, though at times it the season could have lasted a month or even two. In terms of magickal currents, we can even see the season starting as early as Hallow's, or our sabbat of Samhain. The familiar customs of Yule, such as evergreen trees, holly and mistletoe, were then absorbed and adapted into Christian celebrations when the birth of Christ was shifted to fit the holidays of a more Pagan calendar. Christian celebrations usually start with Christmas, and the twelfth night then being January 5th. Others in more Pagan traditions start counting at the Winter Solstice, of the eve of the Winter Solstice.

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Samhain time is upon us, and its time for my next installment of the Eightfold God. I had hoped to talk about the horned gods we place upon the solar holidays, but sadly life got in the way, so it appears I will be doing the four fold vegetation god on the Fire Festivals first, and then move to the horned gods on the solar festivals.

After our John Barleycorn, we have Jack of the Lantern, the pumpkin headed figure. While not a long standing image of folklore, the carved jack o'lantern has captured the imagination of many Witches, particularly American Witches celebrating Halloween. The image was popularized in a 1980's horror movie by the name Pumpkinhead, though it was not really a pumpkin-headed being, but simply a demon with a large head conjured in a pumpkin patch. Those who survey other pop culture will find the image also plays a role in the popular Vertigo/DC Comic, The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman. One of the supporting characters is Merv Pumpkinhead. His image, in turn, is based upon the Oz novels of L. Frank Baum, with the character Jack Pumpkinhead.

 

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This entry is an unusual blog for me. I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time this summer, at the International New Age Trade Show, with Jacki Smith and Patty Shaw, owners of Coventry Creations. Copper Cauldron, Willow Tree Press, Wicked Witch Studios and Coventry shared booth space and had a great time.

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Is Intention Everything?

When I progressed on my journey into magick, I had several teachers who said something similar to “intention is everything.” For the longest time I agreed and, on some level, I still do. Though perhaps not in the way I once did.

I do believe in the power of intention, of aligning your will with the will of the universe to manifest your magick. Without intention, you magick doesn't seem to work, either in terms of tangible results or the more nebulous, but arguably more important, self development that can come from it. On any of the magickal paths, will is a requirement. In fact, when teaching about the basics of a spell, I teach that you must have three things: Clear Intention, Strength of Will, and a Method to Direct the Energy of the Spell. Will without clarity usually ends up backfiring, intention with no desire behind it is lackluster at best, and you can have both, but if you cannot direct the energy into the proper channels, through ritual technique and/or real world action, you will still lack results. You can even cause harm.

While many teach magick as the option of last resort, I learned it as the first, as setting the intention before any endeavor. The more long-term your intention, the more time the universe has in gently bending its motions to your plans, rather than working solely on the material plane without any energetic preparation, getting frustrated when it didn't work, and then resorting to last minute spellcraft. For example, I find a long-term weather spell, say casting in March for a moderate, sunny day in July, not too hot, yet clear and dry, much easier and more gentle than seeing the forecast for rain and pouring a lot of juju into shifting it within three days, or even three hours, as some do.

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  • Onesense
    Onesense says #
    Loved the article and very happy and grateful to be starting the online course. The references Wayne Dyer makes to Carlos Castenad
  • Antonella
    Antonella says #
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this Christopher. Thank you!! Blessed Be!
  • Antonella
    Antonella says #
    Great Article Christopher! I agree on most points. I believe intention is a start, but you can have all the intention in the world

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One of the images I've been working with in the Temple of Witchcraft, though have only recently been teaching as a cohesive element, is the eight faces of the God through the Wheel of the Year. Some of it was underlying my personal shamanic practices during the course of the year, and expanded with a deepening relationship with the Green Man through my plant spirit work. I originally worked in a framework of a two-fold God and a triple Goddess. The Goddess was the familiar maiden, mother, crone who went on to take aspects of the heavens, earth and underworld, and the triple fates. The God was a Neopagan Janus – with one face of life and light heading towards the future, and one of death and darkness facing the past. He is the guardian of the threshold. On the side of the light were the aspects of the Child of Light at Yule, the Green Man of the Spring, and the Corn King of Summer. On the side of the dark were the faces of the Horned God who is both the hunter and the hunted, Lord of the Underworld and subterranean riches and the Trickster. They were my Oak King and Holly King, though they rarely manifested in those symbols, each ruling half of the year in a variety of guises.

The Horned God was incredibly distinct when present in magick, though fluid over the years. Horns of the stag were most common, but the goat, the bull and the ram appeared. One God? Many Gods? Same God? Different Gods? I'm not wise enough to answer with certainty. I work with who shows up.

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It comes up time and again, and I'm not sure I understand it – Ghost Hunting. I have a love/hate relationship with the practices seeking out the spirits of the afterlife. While I think it can be quite helpful, healing and even practical to have some skills in this area, I see people get caught up to a level that distracts them from their own spiritual evolution.

What I”m specifically talking about are Witches, Magicians, Shamanic Practitioners, Pagans, you name it, going ghost hunting for fun. People without a magickal background, who are looking for “proof” that consciousness can exist after death, I understand their fascination, but I don't understand those in the magickal community who do it.

I do understand those who are what I would call Death Walkers, who help those entities that are in pain to cross over. That makes sense to me. It's part of our service as magickal practitioners. I do understand those of us called to clear a haunting, and having to deal with anything from a mischievous to malevolent spirit. I've gotten that call quite a few times since putting up my metaphoric shingle as a public witch taking clients. Disappointing to most whom I tell, the vast majority could be summed up by “bad Feng Shui” or simply toxic energy accumulated, seemingly taking on a life of its own. Or disturbed nature spirits. Very few have been deceased entities or close to what I would describe as truly demonic forces. Just misplaced force, which I guess is my definition of evil in the world.

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  • Johnny Allison
    Johnny Allison says #
    I have to wholeheartedly agree. I have heard people taunt and jeer at these entities in the hopes that it will draw them out. I
  • Christopher Penczak
    Christopher Penczak says #
    Thanks! I think most things people encounter are cast offs and shells when they think they have a trapped soul, and lot of it is j
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Good piece. I agree that if you really are dealing with the dead, they are not for entertainment. But there may be "cast-offs" and

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