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Posted Under Paganism & Witchcraft

Magickal Education

Pagan objects on granite

I'm a man of many hats. When people ask me what I do for a living, I'd like to answer that I’m a witch, because it's really my vocation, but such a provocative answer doesn't really encourage communication. I could answer writer, minister or priest, but my heart lies with education. If I didn't have the vocation of a witch, I think I'd be teaching high school or college somewhere. My ministry is about teaching magickal spirituality. Most of my books are really the classes that I teach in textbook form. I'm devoted to teaching the art, science and spirituality of magick, mysticism, and healing.

Though I've had many flesh and blood teachers in my life, some of my best teachers have been books. Some have amazing insights to offer and stay with me for the rest of my life. With so many books, you find an author that you really like, and really learn from, and then hit a wall. There is a lot of introductory material, or new perspectives on the classic concepts, but not a lot of books that take you beyond. Though the foundation can always be strengthened, I was looking for something to take me deeper into the mysteries. I didn't find a lot in traditional pagan books, so I sought out my education in other disciplines and traditions. Yet everything led me back to my magickal roots.

To paraphrase a quote attributed to Ghandi, you must be the change you wish to see in the world. It doesn't help to complain about the lack of something. If you feel something is missing, then create it. So I created the classes, wrote the books and recorded the CDs I wished I had myself, courses that collected and synthesized information together from a variety of sources, providing a wide range of views. I think as we enter the new age, we need to take the wisdom from the traditions of the past, but also be able to adapt and update it for the future. We have to walk the fine line of honoring what has come before us, but also finding what works for us today. And the key to walking that line is education.

My first book for Llewellyn Pub­lications, The Inner Temple of Witchcraft, is also the first book in a five-book series that is based on the five major classes I teach for those pursuing a witchcraft spiritual tradition. They are based on the five elements and the five mysteries of witchcraft as I see them. The companion meditation CDs allow the reader to experience the lessons as if they are in class with me teaching the material.

The Inner Temple of Witchcraft is based on the element of fire, and provides an unusual foundation. Rather than focusing on the rituals, poetry, and spells, it is based on the inner experience of sensing and seeing psychic energy. By learning the energetic foundation of ritual and magick, you can better appreciate the spellcraft. Instant Magick takes some of the magickal ideas that involve using informal magick in your everyday life, and expands upon them, detailing a non-traditional method of making magick.

The second book in the series focuses on the traditional ideas of witchcraft, the rituals, circles, and spells. The Outer Temple of Witchcraft is based in the fertility mysteries, the union of Goddess and God, Earth and Sky, through ritual and celebration. Rather than write a book of rituals and spells, it's a course for you to learn how to formulate your own.

The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft is the third book, looking to the spiritual practices of communing with beings of the other worlds. Delving into what many call shamanism, we compare shamanic healing practices to witchcraft, modern and traditional, and explore the emotional water element and the repressed shadow self.

The fourth and fifth books, The Temple of High Witchcraft and The Living Temple of Witchcraft work with the elements of air and spirit respectively. People have also found The Witch's Shield and CD set an excellent compliment to the Temple of Witchcraft series, giving further tools for psychic defense and protection.

Since I looked outside of witchcraft in my own education, I feel like a part of my job is bridging the gap between a variety of communities. The Mystic Foundation was written for students just starting on a spiritual path, who are overwhelmed at the choices and the variety of ideas. It outlines a wide range of foundational concepts and shows the similarities and differences between many mystic traditions. If you walk into a New Age store and have no idea where to start, or if you simply want to learn more from another perspective, pick up this book.

Men can sometimes feel displaced from Wicca, particularly young men in their teens and early twenties who seek out the Craft but feel left out because of the Goddess focus. There're not a lot of books looking at a man's role in witchcraft, or the God's role in Goddess-oriented spirituality. Sons of the Goddess was written because so many guys I knew wanted another perspective on witchcraft.

Having a hand in the Reiki community and seeing a lot of similarities to ritual magick, I wrote Magick of Reiki to bring the two communities together. With a similar purpose, I wrote Ascension Magick. The New Age communities involved in what is known as ascension, a descendent of Theosophy, have a lot of similarities, and a lot of differences, with magicians, witches, and shamans. I've found all these practices very healing and helpful to me on my journey, and wanted to share my own synthesis of the traditions.

When people ask me why I write so many books, the answer again comes down to education. I love to learn and to practice whatever I learn. And I like to share whatever I've learned and adapted for myself. I hope to never stop learning, so I'll probably be writing books on spirituality for the rest of my life. My biggest joy is to inspire readers to not only enjoy and use the material, but to then go on and share it with others. I don't want to only be a teacher, but to be a teacher of teachers.

The Reiki Principles
There are several forms of the Reiki principles, but this is the version I was taught:

  • Just for today, I will be grateful.
  • Just for today, I will not anger.
  • Just for today, I will not worry.
  • Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  • Just for today, I will respect all life.

Reiki teachers disagree about the importance of these principles in teaching. Since Reiki is not a religion, many feel they have their own moral code to follow. Other Reiki teachers believe that the Reiki principles are the guiding force behind the tradition of Reiki, as the founder, Dr. Usui, presented it. They can be used as daily affirmations.

Excerpt is from Magick of Reiki by Christopher Penczak

While you are in a light meditative state, after you have sealed any holes in your aura, imagine the outer edge of the aura, at least the edge you perceive, crystallizing. Imagine yourself in a large crystal egg or sphere. Some see it polished like a crystal ball, while others see it faceted like a diamond. It is translucent, allowing energies you need to pass into it, but reflecting and neutralizing harmful, unwanted energies. I avoid visualizing it as strict white light, since white light is so protective that it can block out all energies, even energy you desire to attract. I state the following information when doing my shield meditation:

  • I charge this protection shield to protect me from all harmful energies, both positive and negative.
  • I charge this protection shield to protect me from all harmful energies, both positive, negative and otherwise.
  • I charge this protection shield to protect me from all harm, and reflect love back on the source of the harm.
  • I charge this shield to protect me from all physical harm, from all physical and energetic pollution, attacks and harmful intentions, both of my own making and from others. So mote it be.

You should reaffirm this protection shield regularly as a part of your meditative practice.

Excerpt is from The Witch's Shield by Christopher Penczak

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About Christopher Penczak

Christopher Penczak is an award-winning author, teacher, and healing practitioner. He has studied extensively with witches, mystics, shamans, and healers in a variety of traditions from around the world to synthesize his own ...

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