Christopher a few days ago, and asked for another interview, this
time for CyberWitchcraft.
Again, he was gracious enough to agree to answer a few
questions. What follows is that interview.
thank Christopher for taking time out of his busy schedule of
writing and promotional touring, to do this interview.
long have you been a practicing Witch, and how did you first come to
I've been a witch for about 15 years now. I actually came to the path
as a skeptic. A friend and mentor introduced me to it and I thought she
was crazy, but as an agnostic former Catholic, I was searching for
something that made sense, and I respected her, so I listened.
invited me to a ritual where I had a very transformative experience.
The ritual wasn't so moving, but the effects of the spell I had the
opportunity to do really blew me away.
Also when she called down the
Moon Goddess on that cloudy, full Moon night, the clouds parted and
there was the Moon for the entire ritual. When she said farewell to the
Moon Goddess, the clouds covered her up. I thought it could be a
coincidence, but it was enough to get me to notice something was going
She taught me the basic of meditation and tarot, and when I got too
far, she decided to send me to her teacher, Laurie
Cabot. I began
training with Laurie when I was in college, and continued on my path
that caused you to write your first book on
CP: Well, my first
published book was not specifically on Witchcraft, but
on magick. It was City Magick. After my initial training and living in
New Hampshire, I got a job in the Boston area and found myself not as
with my practice because I was in the city working late hours.
adapted ideas and techniques to do magick and meditation while in the
city. That job only lasted a few years, and when I left, I thought it
should be something other magicians and Witches should know about, even
though I was back in the suburbs of NH. So I gathered my notes and it
eventually formed a book.
My first Witchcraft book was The Inner Temple
of Witchcraft. It's based upon a course I taught initially to
meditation group that was seeking more formal experiences. The class
was popular and I ended up teaching it many times, in several different
formats - weekend intensives, seven week series and a once a month year
I wrote the book to have a text book for the students,
because even if you have a year to study, so much will not be conveyed
in class lectures.
Questions and discussion lead to great ideas and
topics, but sometimes you then forget other parts. And I got lots of
requests for the class in areas that were not local to me, so I thought
having a textbook and CD set would make it available for people
have been quite prolific, writing at
least one book a year, since about 2001. The
last couple of years, you’ve published several works a year.
Where do your ideas come from, and how do you find enough material to
fill so many volumes?
Most of my
books come from classes, workshops and trainings that I have
designed and been using for a few years before they ever become books.
It allows me to work out a lot of material in my "day job" and have
experience and inspiration to write. I'll know what format works best
for people, have tested exercises, rituals and formulas, and be able to
draw from people's experiences.
I keep a list of questions people ask
and try to work those answers into the book material so people aren't
left wondering "why..."
after they explore the "how" of a particular
technique. I'm a big believer in mixing both theory and practical
experience, and also adding your own personal anecdote while not
getting too far off topic.
I try to make the books feel like attending
the class with a conversational tone, as those are the types of books I
enjoy the most.
In fact, I try to write the books and teach the classes
I wish I had when I was learning. My own personal spiritual practice
leads me into topics that interest me and help my evolution, and I
simply share what I experience with others.
for you to step out of the Broom
Closet with your friends and family?
to come out as a Witch than it was to come out as a gay
man. I think I lost more friends about being gay strangely. They took
the witchcraft in stride for some reason.
My mom actually trained with
Laurie Cabot at the same time as me, so the family had to adjust to two
Witches, not just one. It was a transition, but overall went well. My
dad didn't understand, but was supportive.
My mother and I were the
most religious ones of the household, so no one objected on religious
grounds. Though I must admit between being gay and a Witch, I didn't
keep many of my house, school, catholic school friends.
It's funny with
all these social networking sites getting people from grammar school
and high school popping up and wanting to "friend" me. I just want to
say, "You do remember
why you stopped talking to me, right?" But thus
far all the reunions have been good.
was the hardest lesson you had to learn,
that you credit your Path for teaching you?
and there's probably a lot of answers.
I think the hardest
lesson has been around the concept of Will, and understanding the
difference between True Will and personal or ego's will. That what your
soul wants is what you need, and that doesn't always coincide with what
your personality wants.
Wanting is not bad, but understanding and
exploring the difference between the two is a great act of magick. I
originally wanted to be a musician, a rock star actually. I had a
moderate amount of local success and I thought that with witchcraft, my
success would be assured, as it worked so well for so many other
And it did work well for a while, but I got out of balance
between listening and speaking, meditation and doing magick. I wasn't
hearing what my guidance was trying to tell me, and it resulted in my
loss of band, loss of job, loss of my chosen career, but when I did
listen, it opened me up to something that I'm far more successful at,
happy with, and enjoy.
Many of my previous endeavors - art lessons,
music degree, training in marketing and promotion, public performance -
all help me do what I"m doing now. What I do now will help me do
whatever comes next.
has being a Witch/Shaman changed who you are?
CP: Honestly it's
rather hard to relate to who I was before I got involved
in witchcraft. Getting started at 18, I was young at the time though if
you look at folks today it might be considered late now.
I think the
main thing is that it has brought a sense of peace, releasing and
healing unnecessary anger. It has also emphasized the importance of
love, Perfect Love, as a part of spiritual evolution, and understanding
how it is different from sentimental love.
start teaching a year-longInner
Temple of Witchcraftapprenticeship. Can you tell us
what that is, and
what it involves?
As I said when I was talking about
Inner Temple, I get a
lot of requests to teach. I've spent the last six years or so traveling
quite a bit, teaching while touring for my books. I've done a lot of
weekend intensives for my Witchcraft One through Five Temple series.
While I truly enjoy in person teaching best, it is both rough and
expensive on me to travel two or three times a month or go on 10-20 day
tours. Even with all these classes, people miss the first level and
have to wait, or the weekend conflicts with something else.
material is really best learned over the course of the year, and while
some students do it on their own, or in small study groups, others are
looking for mentorship and a greater community. My goal ultimately is
to create a non profit temple and seminary, and this online work is the
first step in testing out some formats for the school.
group studies one lesson a month, receiving assignments from me they
have to perform and write about, sending their homework via email to
me, along with questions and concerns.
We use The Inner Temple Book as
the text book, and they receive some unreleased material from my Book
of Shadows that is more poetic in nature. I also record the lecture to
the In Person apprentices, so the online students receive an MP4 file
of the lecture.
Those who have difficulty meditating can use the CD
companion to the Inner Temple, where all the lesson's meditations are
recorded. And lastly there is a yahoo! group where people can discuss,
share and ask questions to the community.
The class is currently closed
with a bit over fifty students, and if all goes well I'll offer it
again in the Spring or Fall, as well as continue on with levels two
can we look forward to from you in the near future?
CP: For books, I
have Volume II of The Living Temple of Witchcraft
coming out in May. The first Volume is based on the mysteries
of the Goddess, subtitled The Descent of the Goddess, using the seven
gates of the underworld as the teaching model. The second volume is
subtitled The Journey of the God, using the twelve Zodiac signs as the
model to round out the Witch's education.
These two volumes together
consist of my High Priest/ess training and culminates the Temple of
Witchcraft series. The post scrip to the series might be releasing the
grimoire/book of shadows that has only been available to some in person
and online students thus far.
I also have in production a
prosperity magick book that will explore the pagan perspective of
growth, renewal and healthy balance in terms of money, as well as the
spells, ritual and meditations to increase your good fortune.
pretty excited about it, as it mixes what you traditionally think
should go into a money magick book with both pagan philosophy and good
old fashioned common sense.
I'm currently working on a book on trance
techniques in modern witchcraft, a strange blend of British Tradition
trance techniques with more tribal and herbal knowledge. It won't have
any spells or rituals, but simply an exploration of techniques to alter
consciousness and gather energy, from simple to more
given the opportunity, what is the one thing
you would wish to tell every Witch?
witchcraft has a great deal of
to it, it's essentially something you do, not something you just think
Our tradition sees the sacred in the material world and the
practice of the world. Our actions evolve us on the path. We first
learn magick in theory and concept.
Then we practice magick and put it
into action, and ultimately we become the magick, embodying that which
we set into motion, but we still don't stop learning and practicing,
for each act takes us deeper.
Don't become stagnant. Rest at times and
follow the cycles and patterns, but keep growing, renewing and
evolving, like Nature Herself.
CW: Again, I want to thank you for
taking the time out of your schedule, and talking to our visitors here
at CyberWitchcraft. I know I learned several things, and I
believe our readers have too.
You can get more information on Christopher Penczak, his books, and
CD's at his website.