So many aspiring witches start with spell books, formulas, and recipes. They have great success, but don't really understand what they are doing, or why they are doing it. All they know is that it works. I know that's how I got started. A spell that worked beyond my wildest dreams inspired me to pursue a deeper study of witchcraft. But I was lucky to study with those who looked beyond just the recipes, and gave me an understanding into the spirituality of the craft.
As my first Llewellyn book is called The Inner Temple of Witchcraft and my second The Outer Temple of Witchcraft, people have asked me what the difference is between these inner and outer temples. Both follow the same philosophy—understanding the powers of magick and partnering with the spiritual forces to improve your life. Both are set up as yearlong courses of initiation, but can also be used for specific exercises, depending on your needs and experience.
The Inner Temple of Witchcraft focused on the techniques of inner change, such as developing inner psychic skills and creating a sacred space through meditation that we called the Inner Temple. The second book in this five-book series, The Outer Temple of Witchcraft focuses on taking a sense of inner sacred space and using that to create an outer sacred space in the world around you, a place to do magick through ritual, spell craft, and celebration.
The difference between this approach and those used in traditional spell books is two-fold. The first is understanding the components of the ritual. Rituals have specific purposes. There is nothing wrong with changing them to suit you, but many witches either follow traditions by rote without understanding why, or change things randomly, without rhyme or reason. Neither approach helps you to progress very far in your magick. Intuition must be coupled with understanding. If you are going to create rituals, understand the foundations.
The second difference is building a relationship with the magical powers you call upon. Before doing ritual and spell work, build a relationship with the four elements. Build a relationship with the goddesses and gods. And don't forget to build a deeper relationship with yourself, so you can truly know what you want to manifest. If you don't, it's like knocking on the doors of strangers asking for help, but not taking the time to get to know them and build a relationship. Magick is all about relationships.
I often compare magick to cooking, which is funny because cooking is not my forté. So many people think of magick like chemistry; all they have to do is mix the right things together, say the magick words, and poof—instant success. Just as two parts of hydrogen to one part oxygen is the formula of water, those who have not experienced magick think it's simply about mixing two parts rose petals to one part vervain and poof—instant love spell. It can appear that way, but the forces are much subtler. Just like cooking, the time, effort, style, and love you put in will matter with the final result. Food made with both love and skill simply tastes better than food that is technically perfect, but is lacking the energy of a loving cook. Magick performed with the Perfect Love and Perfect Trust of the witch, with skill and understanding, along with intuition and creativity, just works better for all those quick recipe spells. I can follow a recipe, but the subtle nuances of cooking are not yet mine, so I would not consider myself a chef. Those who understand the principles of cooking, the ingredients, and tools, can not only improve upon a given recipe to suit their own tastes, but can also make things from scratch that are just as good.
I share with you techniques and rituals to understand the art and execution of witchcraft, so you can eventually build your own traditions, rituals, spells, and celebrations with the confidence and skill of a gourmet chef. Through this course work, you learn the skills of creating elemental gateways, casting magick circles, empowering tools, herb and stone craft, sigils, divination, lunar and astrological timing, and the celebrations of the Wheel of the Year. The accompanying companion CD set guides you through meditations, rituals, and chants for raising power and honoring the seasons. Learning magical self-reliance to create healthy changes in your life is the true teaching of the Outer Temple.
Christopher Penczak is a Witch, teacher, writer, and healing practitioner. He is the founder of the world-renowned Temple of Witchcraft and the Temple Mystery School, and he is the creator of the bestselling Temple of ...