My next interview is with an author I’ve enjoyed his work. I feel privileged to have him agree to an interview. He’s well-known in the Pagan / New Age community, has founded the Temple of Witchcraft – Christopher Penczak. He’s written a number of books including The Inner Temple of Witchcraft, The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, The Witch’s Shield, The Outer Temple of Witchcraft, The Living Temple of Witchcraft, The Gates of Witchcraft and many more.
Christopher Penczak is a modern Witch working in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition and community he helped co-found. His practice focuses on the intersection of Love, Will, and Wisdom as an ethos for today’s Witch, and focuses upon relationships with the plant realm, the patterns of astrology, and the use of trance in the Craft. He is the author of many books, including the Temple of Witchcraft series and The Mighty Dead. His vision is of an evolving Witchcraft culture making magick accessible to all, yet preserving the heart of the mystery. For more information, visit www.christopherpenczak.comand www.templeofwitchcraft.org.
Now for the questions:
1. Tell us about yourself.
Well, I am queer polyamorous Witch living in New Hampshire, co-creating a tradition, temple and a punishing company with my two partners in life, magick and business, Steve Kenson and Adam Sartwell, along with many other amazing members of our community and business. I am a Taurus Sun sign. Virgo Moon sign and Cancer Rising. I have degree in vocal performance and music business, but ended up as an occult writer, after a brief flirtation with the world of hard science and chemistry early on in my education. I’ve written over twenty-five books and a few of them have won some industry awards. While a Witch at heart, I consider myself an occultist and I’m always on the quest for the theory of everything!
2. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I actually don’t think I ever really wanted to be an author, which is kind of funny now. I was a musician and I wanted to be a rock star at one point. Then I got the opportunity to work in the music industry, and see people who were more talented than me, still struggle and generally not be happy, with a few exceptions, and realized that was not the life for me. I was teaching Witchcraft informally with a study group, and in a small egalitarian coven, and soon that got more demanding. After some unwanted spiritual direction and guidance by my matron goddess, I found myself without a job and teaching full time, and turning a few notebooks into manuals and books for classes. My first book was on astrology and magick, still a passion of mine, and it was never released, but was kind of like a grad thesis for me, and got turned into tons of class notes for those early years. That led me to developing the material in City Magick, Spirit Allies and the Temple of Witchcraft, drawn from my own teachers’ foundations, and my personal experience. Once I started writing, I just found myself with more to share and say, and kept writing. I don’t think it sunk in that I was an author until I had my third book, Inner Temple out, and was getting a lot of attention as an author. But at heart, I wanted to be, and am, a teacher, before being an author. I just use writing as a medium to teach.
3. What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
While I do read a lot of Witchcraft books and general metaphysical-New Age, I am interested in consciousness in general, and will read new science and in particular, books in esoteric Hinduism and Buddhism. I love a good conspiracy theory for fun, even if it is true, and I’m an avid fan of comics and graphic novels, ranging from the X-men and Spider-man to the esoteric lines from Vertigo and America’s Best Comics. Big fan of the authors Grant Morrison and Alan Moore. I don’t read a lot of fiction at the moment, but when I do, its usually some form of sic-fi or fantasy. Just finished The Witches of New York by Ami McKay and the Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.
4. Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
I”m writing occult and metaphysical how to, generally for adults, though I have a lot of younger readers, and one book in particular was written for young men, called Sons of the Goddess.
5. What is your current release or project?
My most recent book is The Casting of Spells, the first in a series of practical spell books. The follow up on Candle Magick is in production now, to be released in 2019.
6. Tell us about the key characters
7. What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?
The book so both on the practical aspect of writing and casting spells in the form of petitions and sacred script, and an understanding of how magick works through getting clarity on your own desires and needs and effectively communicating those desires to the whole self and the universe. We work on different aspects of a petition spell, from the practical of paper, pens and formulas for magickal links, to meditations and energy work for clarity and focus to prepare for the spell.
8. Share an excerpt (up to 800 words).
9. Do you have a favorite scene?
My favorite part of the book is the metaphorical look of the candle and the lamp as an image for the soul. In our tradition of Witchcraft, we believe there is a three part soul, generated called the Higher, Middle and Lower souls. They have many different names and correspondences depending on the system or tradition, including those in psychology, but in our Temple of Witchcraft, we call them the Watcher, Namer and Shaper. We look at the lamp as a symbol for the practitioner. The flame is the higher soul illuminating the way. The lamp and wick is the terrestrial aspect, the middle soul. The liquid oil, the fuel, is the lower soul. Together they form the whole practitioner, and the light we use in spells and candle magick really comes from the light of our souls working together as the lamp.
10. What advice would you give a beginner?
I think the process has been to study magick, do magick and then realize you are the magick. But it requires the study and the doing to get to that realization Keep a meditative and magickal practice. Do something, even a little something, every day. It’s a way of life. Integrate it into the life you are already living, and be open to it changing that life for the better.
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