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.

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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.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • 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
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Excellent article! I agree with you completely, but I put it in a slightly different way. The way I see it is like this: magick
  • Robert Scott
    Robert Scott says #
    Christopher, I very much agree. While intention is important, and focusing it is a part of magical practices, intent without acti

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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.

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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.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • 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
  • Christopher Penczak
    Christopher Penczak says #
    Thanks. Sure, feel free to hit me up for it. Just give me enough time as things are crazy busy and I don't want to miss a deadline
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Brilliant. I'm planning a "Psychic Arts" issue of Witches&Pagans for 2014 and now I know who to go to for authoritative, down-to-e

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

You may have heard, as it was not without its own bit of controversy, that the Temple of Witchcraft has bought property in Salem, NH, and is doing a fund drive for our parking lot. Why start with a parking lot? Simple: no parking lot, no temple. To gain the town's approval, a religious organization in a residential zone requires a paved lot with adequate space, lighting, and drainage.

Beyond the parking lot itself, some have asked why do Pagans, Wiccans and Witches need a temple at all? Aren't we meant to practice solitary, or in small groups in people's homes, or outside? And if I'm not in the Salem, NH, area, why should this even matter to me? All important questions and here are some thoughts in response to many of the discussions I've had with people over the last few months:

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  • Stephanie Noble
    Stephanie Noble says #
    Thank you for this article! I have very often thought the same.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

When I first got interested in all the topics that would eventually lead me to my spiritual path, they were neatly shelved under the “Occult” section of the library or local book store at the mall. Thankfully, by the time I really got involved, there were a few more “how to” manuals out there, but talking to people who started not that much earlier than me, they would wax nostalgic about the days when the shelf was ten to twenty books at most, and the Satanic Bible sat next to books such as Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, The Sea Priestess, Drawing Down the Moon, something related to the Golden Dawn or Aleister Crowley, Mastering Witchcraft, Sybil Leek's Diary of a Witch, Magickal Rites from the Crystal Well, and what we now affectionately call "Uncle Buckie's Big Blue Book." Depending on how they arranged the books, you might even get Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts or one of the many Carlos Castaneda books thrown in there too.

If you were looking for more, you had to go into the mythology section, or look at the ancient philosophers from the Greeks and Romans. You had to look into folk lore, and your local library, in its own occult section, would have out of print books from the sixties and seventies, usually with many photos, detailing the history of occultism and hitting highlights such as tribal witch doctors in Africa, tales of Medea and Circe, a bit about Isis, the persecution of Witches by the Christian Church, some alchemy and Rosicrucians, through the modern revival of the Spiritualist Church, Theosophy, the Golden Dawn, ESP studies, and the rise of Wicca. Somewhere in there would most likely be a scantily clad photo of an Alexandrian circle for the sheer shock value.

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  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    I really resonate with this post. The misgivings you've expressed are similar to ones I've expressed as well. I feel the same conc
Walking with the Mighty Dead......

My latest book is entitled The Mighty Dead: Working with the Ancestors of Witchcraft. It's an usual topic for me, but one that's grown out of a lot of direct experiences, followed up by research both in the Craft and looking at it through the lens of different traditoins. I thought I would give you a brief introduction with some excerpt of it here on my Pagan Square blog.

“There is a part of the Inner Planes, the Other World, which is called Witchdom. There you may learn much, if you can contact it. There are spells and chants, dances and music and such woods and streams as delight the hearts of witches. Witchdom has a temple, in that all sacred places on this earth have their astral counterparts. Nothing is lost, but much is stored deep.” - John Brakespeare

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