General

Soul of the Earth

by Naphana

I walk forward on my path.
Though the path takes twists and turns,
It’s all there for a reason.
Straight, Bent, Crooked
Step to step
Heartbeat to heartbeat
Breath to breath 
I walk with my guides and guardians
Along this path we call Life.
There are whispers all around us 
From far without 
To deep within.
I look to the spirits around me. 
I’m a soul of the earth,
Connected through 
Earth, Fire, Air, and Water.
Take a breath and you will see 
we are all connected eternally.

Naphana is a graduate of WC1 currently enrolled in WC2. She has also completed the TOW Wheel of the Year class and the TOW Astrology class. She loves poetry, writing, and photography, and is looking forward to her continued studies.

Join Us at PantheaCon 2017!

Ministers of the Temple of Witchcraft, including founders Christopher Penczak and Adam Sartwell and High Priestess Alix Wright, will be offering classes at PantheaCon in San Jose, CA, this coming weekend (February 17–20). Additionally, the Temple will be hosting an evening hospitality suite at the convention. Stop by for more information on the Temple, the work we do, and classes and services we offer. A complete schedule of events and hours will be posted on the door.

The hospitality suite will be open Friday and Saturday from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am, and Sunday from 7:00 pm until 11:00 pm (Temple members only from 7:00 to 9:00 on Sunday).

Friday

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Shielding and Protection Magick Ritual

8:00 pm  – 9:00 pm:  Invocations of the Three Rays of Witchcraft

9:00 pm – 12:00 am: Open Social Time with refreshments

Saturday

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Movie Night with the Temple!

10:00 pm – 12:00 am: Open Social Time with refreshments

Sunday

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Private Event for Temple members and students only

9:00 pm – 11:00 pm: Open Social Time with refreshments

Shawl Stories: Jess

The Temple’s Shawl Ministry offers gifts of comfort, healing, and love, and sometimes we hear back from those who have received them and they share their stories with us, and allow us to share them with you. This Shawl Story comes from Jess:

I am a practising Buddhist of diverse origins: my ancestors come from Iceland, Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Russia, Norway, and Moldova (among others). I grew up the great-granddaughter and great-great-granddaughter of immigrants from whom I learned about my family history. While in some cases they came to the US simply to seek a better life, many of my family came to escape persecution by the Ottoman Turks and rising Communist Party. The ones who came here were the lucky ones—when one of my great-great-grandfathers returned to Poland and Ukraine after World War II to look for his father and other relatives, not only did he learn that they had been victims of genocide, but that even the location of their graves had been obliterated, “plowed up”. Another great-grandfather lost most of his family to the Greek Genocide, and precious little survives about his family from their village in Turkey (they were Ottoman Greek). Yet another great-grandfather lost several relatives under Stalinist rule.

Despite this, my family has always embraced a positive, loving, and compassionate outlook. I was privileged to be able to know four of my great-grandparents growing up, as well as my grandparents. Most of my great-grandparents lived to be between 100-103 years old, and most of my grandparents survived well into their 90s. My last surviving grandfather passed away this January (2016). I had an especially strong connection to my Baba (passed away 2002, age 100); she sent me items that had belonged to some of my ancestors.

I had heard about the Temple of Witchcraft’s Shawl Ministry through various sources—as a knitter and crocheter myself, I am always so happy to see these skills used as a medium for transmitting healing and blessings to all those in need. I wanted to mark this passing of my last surviving grandparent with something special. I wanted to have something to wear in their memory when I lit candles to them in our local Orthodox Church. Although not Orthodox myself, I like to honour my ancestors who were in this way, as it gives me a powerful way to connect with them and honour that part of my heritage. In a way, the shawl would also serve as my way of remembering all of my ancestors and relatives who did not make it to the U.S., and for whom precious little information survives. I kept trying to make a shawl myself, but it just didn’t seem right—so many obstacles cropped up. I kept coming back to the Shawl Ministry. I was being guided in this direction, so I followed the guidance.

When the package containing the shawl arrived, with the card and candle, I cried with joy. The energy was so palpable—pure love and healing! I wrapped myself in it immediately! During my daily evening Tara practices, I lit the votive. Such warmth filled the room! I wish I could be more descriptive, but words fail! I found a card to colour to send to the ministry as a “thank you”. My recently departed grandfather had been an artist in this life, so I felt like, in a way, he was sharing his energy through my colouring the card.

I wear my shawl during the monthly Buddha days and four major Buddhist holy days, when doing puja at home or in the gompa; I will be wearing it again when my husband and I visit our local Orthodox church to light a candle for deceased family this week. Love transcends the boundaries we create, as does compassion, and the energy of loving kindness and compassion in the shawls made by the Shawl Ministry are a remarkable gift that can be shared with everyone. Just by wearing my shawl around others, I have seen their energies lift, and their mood become more positive. So wonderful!

I am glad, so glad, that I heeded that voice that encouraged me to write to the Shawl Ministry and request a shawl. Through this gift of kindness, I have been able to share healing with others, making this gift more meaningful than words can express. Thank you to the Cancer Ministry of the Temple of Witchcraft—may all your prayers and aspirations be achieved!

Have a story of the shawl ministry you would like to share with us and our community? Please email silver@templeofwitchcraft.org.

Temple of Witchcraft to Add Sabbat Rituals in Hartford, CT

On December 10, 2016, the Temple of Witchcraft will begin offering Sabbat rituals in Hartford, Connecticut, starting with a celebration of Yule. Lead by High Priests Jameson Ford and Ryan Cucchi, along with Priest and Witchcraft V student Dan Lupacchino, this will be the first of an ongoing series of Sabbats held in the state.

The Connecticut rituals will provide easier access to Sabbats for Temple members and the broader pagan community in southern New England, and will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Hartford. For more information about the upcoming Yule event or to register, click here.

Temple Sabbats are open to the public. Temple members and Mystery School students in the area are encouraged to attend, volunteer, and participate. Please contact Jameson at jford@templeofwitchcraft.org with any questions.

Temple Profile Pages

As the Temple of Witchcraft has grown, spreading roots and branches across the country and around the world, we want our growing community to be able to know who we are—and, in many cases where we are.

Towards that end, we offer our newly organized profile pages, which can be found under the About menu of our site (or by clicking the link in this article). When you investigate, you’ll see the profiles can be sorted using a drop-down menu in the upper right corner. Categories include our various ministries, as well as ministers, deputies, our board of directors, and ordained Temple ministers as well as teachers in our Mystery School. Additionally, the Mystery School Teachers and Ordained Ministers categories offer the opportunity to further sort the profiles by state in the United States, so you can find the Temple ministers and teachers nearest you.

We hope the community will find this resource useful and we’ll continue to add to it as the ranks of the Temple’s ordained ministers and teachers continue to grow.

Round About the Cauldron Go

A monthly musing of Kitchen Witchery

cauldron-and-gourds

Autumn blessings to all of you! (well, if you are on this side of the Equator). I wanted to start off by thanking all of you who attended our last ritual. The amount of food that was brought to our post-ritual potluck was impressive to say the least. This awesome spread led me to this month’s topic: Potluck Pointers. I also think it is an excellent time to post about this with the holiday season approaching. Most us will get invites to family and work gatherings, and these tips might be helpful.

Make what you like

If you are anything like me, you try to be as inclusive with your menu choices as possible when hosting a dinner party or attending a pot luck. It is good to be thoughtful, but it is just as important to make a dish that you would enjoy. There is a chance that some of it will be coming home with you. If you make a dish you love, you can use it for work lunches or as a side to your evening meal the next day.

Variety is the spice of life

Most of us lean towards veggie platters and dessert. They are easy and really yummy.  When attending a potluck, it is good to check in with the host, or in the Temple’s case, read over the potluck guide. We post a guide based on your last name in the ritual announcement. When you pop on to preregister, take a glance over it and see what category is recommended. When in doubt, a beverage is good. Also simplicity rules. Dressed greens,  a grain, or a veggie side are always winners.

No muss no fuss

Make serving and clean up as simple as possible. Think about how people will be eating your dish. If you made a soup, consider bringing bowls. If you made a roast or a large casserole, slicing it can help when it comes to serving time. The same goes for your famous oven-fresh bread. Cut it up and place in a bowl before the event. Your host will thank you. This will also make it easier when it comes to breakdown and clean-up. Remember to claim your leftovers and dish before heading out. We can occasionally get people to take remaining items with them, but it would help your hosts tremendously if you could take it with you or find it a home before you leave.

Carry in. Carry out.

If you are a camper, you are familiar with this saying. When planning your potluck contribution, think about the container and serving utensils. When possible, use a piece of tape or a tag with your name on it to make sure you are  able to track down your items. The host (or in this case, the Temple) doesn’t necessarily have the space to store serving vessels and utensils. We also are very conscious of the amount of waste we produce and would prefer not to throw out a number of disposable containers. When you do bring a reusable container, we do our best to return it to you clean, but no promises.

Location, location, location

Just like in the outside world, real estate is precious and most places you go will have limited electrical outlet and oven or refrigerator space.  I generally try and think of a dish that would be okay to be served at room temperature if needed. If you do decide to bring a crock pot, I recommend bringing a power strip as well. That way you can help your hosts extend their space. Remember to label it so you can get it back.

Fingers or fork?

Finger foods are great, but when making them, consider the amount of space they need for serving. Can they be stacked? Even though they are finger food, does their size or shape allow them to be picked up with spatula or tongs? When large groups of people are eating, it is a bit more sanitary to use a serving utensil even with finger foods.

Timing is everything

Potlucks seems like a very easy way to host a meal or gathering, but even potlucks have their logistical issues. Some of them we have mentioned above. Another is timing. Whenever possible, drop off  your dish in advance. Also wait until the designated time or announcement is made to start eating (yes, even the dish you brought). We know you worked hard and we thank you. We also know you are starving and the selection looks SOOO amazing, but it is considerate to wait until everyone is ready to eat. In our case, we usually give those who have led ritual a chance to recoup their energy and ground by getting a bite to eat first. We also know that you are going to want to thank them and chat about your experience. Allowing them to have full bellies and to return to a mundane mindset will allow them to be present.

Go Green

Since environmental sustainability is an important initiative for the Temple, we are trying to create as little waste as possible. By bringing a dish in a container that you will take home afterward, you are helping the Temple limit what ends up in our landfills. If you can go the extra step and bring your own eating dishes and cutlery, that’s even better!

Breathe easy

If you are like me, you have a few people in your close circle who have food allergies. The reality is that the number of people who have them is growing. Because of this, it is a good idea to label your dishes and list the ingredients. At our rituals, we have labels available for you if you forget. I personally also try to avoid the big ones like shellfish and nuts when I plan my dish.  Labeling also helps our friends who have removed items from their diets such as meat, soy,  gluten, or dairy for health, ethical, or other reasons.

Now don’t panic. I can tell you from personal experience that anyone who hosts a potluck is grateful for whatever your contribution is. Please don’t let this list cause you any stress or prevent you from bringing a dish to your next potluck. These are just some things to consider while planning for your next event.

Again thank you all so much for your contributions.

Samhain Blessings,
Ryan

corn

Ryan is an ordained Minister, Seminary Graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft & Deputy Minister of the Cancer Ministry. Ryan is passionate about Kitchen Witchery, the creatures of the Green World, working with Plant Spirits & making magick in daily life. Crafting herbal infusions, candles, and sacred tools, Ryan is co-creator of Drops of Three. You may visit his website at www.dropsofthree.storenvy.com.

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Meet Stevie Grant, Dean of Students

Stevie Grant, a high priestess and ordained minister of the Temple of Witchcraft, is Dean of Students of its Mystery School and Seminary. Also a high priestess in another tradition, she brings knowledge from her career in psychology and many years of experience as a teacher of the psychic and metaphysical, a healer, spiritual counselor, and Reiki master to her work with the Temple. A retired university professor and clinical psychologist, Stevie was active for many years in the academic subfields of hypnosis, past-life therapy, and women’s studies. Stevie lives in the southeastern part of Washington state, and to balance her role as Dean, enjoys meditating in her garden where she and her husband grow herbs and exotic hard-shelled gourds that they transform into magically-inspired art. [click to continue…]

Myths & Maidens Ritual Series

AurielleThe Ritual Series, sponsored by Myths and Maidens and The Temple of Witchcraft, provides opportunities for all people regardless of faith to explore their spirituality and to encourage ecumenical collaboration with other spiritual groups. There is no cost to attend, but voluntary donations are welcomed to help defray the costs of preparing and performing the rituals.

High Priestess Aurielle Nazro has performed rituals at Myths and Maidens since 2007 with the assistance of the Ritual Team. Rev. Aurielle is Deputy Minister of the Pisces Ministry of the Temple of Witchcraft, initiated in the Temple Tradition by Christopher Penczak, and an Ordained Minister in the Universal Life Church. Aurielle, a chemistry teacher at a local high school, has served on the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai Faith of Nashua, on the Board of Nashua Area Interfaith Council and the Board of Uncannunuc CUUPS of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester. She has followed the Mystic’s Path all of her life and her Ministry is to help others experience the Call of the Divine Spirit.

To help make the events inclusive, members of the Ritual Team change for each ritual to include different people in the community and encourage participation of various local spiritual groups. To receive information and updates on the Rituals and other events, please visit Aurielle’s Ritual Series on Facebook or see the Temple’s online events calendar.

Profile: Tina Whittle, editor

Me with azaleas editMerry meet! I’m a Witchcraft V graduate of the online mystery school, one of the Temple’s Southernmost members (I currently live in the Lowcountry of Georgia, along the Atlantic coast near Savannah). In my nine-to-five, I’m a mystery writer (my fifth book was released in March) and I also serve as co-editor of The Temple Bell, along with the astute and talented Raye Snover. When I’m not making words out of thin air, I enjoy playing golf and eating sushi and reading tarot for myself and others (you can read about that work at my tarot blog, which focuses on using the tarot as a creative tool, especially for writers). I’m also a non-fiction writer, currently working on a book of collected essays exploring the Major Arcana of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck as a series of pilgrimages.

My religious path began in a white clapboard Primitive Baptist church in rural Georgia, where I learned the concept of unconditional divine love. I also learned how to be a heretic, although my mother recoils at that notion. Eventually the restrictions of that faith set me looking in new directions, leading me eventually to the local Unitarian Universalist fellowship, where I got the first inkling that I might be a Pagan. The UUs were cool with that.

I’m also a former academic, so my first impulse at this point was to do a lot of reading. One of the books I picked up was Christopher Penczak’s Inner Temple of Witchcraft. My intellect was impressed with the impeccable research, but it was my heart that kept me reading. I felt as if I were coming home, a phrase I hear often from other Temple members. The teachings were more than information; they were a framework for me to explore my own talents and strengths, to ask the questions that would help me understand my beliefs and create a sustainable practice. And that was just in the first book!

I signed up for the Witchcraft I weekend intensive taught by Christopher, and I was happy to find the materials from the book deepened and intensified as we worked one-on-one with each other and with him. I applied for the Mystery School the second I got home, which has turned out to be one of the most profoundly rewarding decisions of my life.

Another thing I’ve often heard Temple members say is, “After a while you stop doing magick and start being magick.” That’s the process I’m in right now, dissolving that separation between the mundane and the magickal and realizing that everything I do is sacred. For me, ritual – whether solitary or with others, whether improvised while cooking dinner or organized for a sabbat – is simply a way of bringing my full attention to that understanding.

It’s an understanding I’ll be bringing with me to UU Womenspirit (a women’s group organized through the Unitarian Universalist church that explores the divine feminine). They have invited me to be on the planning committee for their fall retreat, which means I’ll be in charge of designing and leading worship for the six circles offered during the five-day gathering. And since the worship leaders get to choose the “flavor” of the circles, my co-leader and I are creating something very witchy.

After that, I don’t know! And for a very Virgo Virgo like me, not knowing is the greatest adventure of all. As soon as my travel schedule opens up again, I want to attend Templefest and participate in some of the retreats offered through the Temple. And I want to keep connecting with new members of the Temple – I am excited to see so many talented and lovely witches coming together under our beautiful umbrella.

by Adam Sartwell

618DV9PNOnL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Gateways Through Stone and Circle is an interesting book that details a magician’s work with the magical methods and practices of the grimoire traditions. It focuses on the evocation and invocation methods described in the art of drawing spirits into crystals. It is clear from reading the text that author Ashen Chassan has a deep respect for the grimoire tradition of evocation and the magical experiments of that era. The book is well-researched and presents a modern person’s attempts to recreate what is detailed in the grimoire texts. Detailed in the book are his creation of the sacred tools and instruments of this complex art. [click to continue…]

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