At TempleFest 2018, I initiated a project long held in my mind, and inspired by our Florida priest Michael Usher when he spoke to me about believing that “the Temple has many hearts.” I agreed and, to me, the heart here in the Motherhouse of Grandview Manor in Salem, NH is the hearth flame, but it is just one of many hearths. As we enter into the dark season, a time of harvest and ending, reflection and new beginnings, I think back to Templefest.
The founders of the Temple maintain a hearth flame here in Salem, NH, almost always continuously having a flame burning for the guidance, healing, protection, and blessing of our members and our community. Some teachers, myself included, give initiates at the first degree—of fire—a candle lit from the flame to use as they will. For some it becomes the main altar flame, passing from one candle to the next. For others simply a token of appreciation and a memento. For those maintaining the flame here, it is both a joyful blessing and at times, a burden, as it also can embody all the responsibilities, terrestrially and spiritually, assumed in community.
So at TempleFest, I asked for help in sharing that joy and burden, that responsibility, with twelve initiates in a small ceremony, to carry the flame back to their homes, and light the candles during their assigned zodiac sign when the Moon occupies it, and more diligently for the month when the Sun occupies it. They have been fulfilling this request beautifully ever since, sharing and supporting one another. It is my vision that they will continue to do so and, when the term of the year is up, twelve more will be added to this council of Light Bearers of the Temple, but the original twelve will continue on as they see fit, carrying the line of the blessing and tending to the many hearts of the Temple of Witchcraft.
That TempleFest was filled with many other joys of community, from our Sabbat of the Three Stars and our amazing keynote and guest speakers, and all our local teachers and vendors. TempleFest, though diligent planning, offered a $3,500 donation to the Barn Community Center Building Fund, and another $1,500 donation to our Scholarship Program. Brad, the Temple’s large crystal skull, made his public debut outside of the Congress of the Bones ritual we hold annually and was a big hit. One of my favorite parts of TempleFest this year was the Lammas ritual, where twelve members removed the stones from the field of community, by the power of the twelve zodiac ministries. The stones embodied Anger (Aries), Poverty (Taurus), Gossip (Gemini), Fear (Cancer), Selfishness (Leo), Illness (Virgo), Falsehood (Libra), Corruption (Scorpio), Hopelessness (Sagittarius), Blame (Capricorn), Miscommunication (Aquarius), and Delusion (Pisces).
So with these many acts of magick in community, after the ninth TempleFest, and after ten years of officially serving as President of the Board of Directors, several years more in preparation to form the Temple, and that first Inner Temple class all the way back in 1997, I am stepping down as President of the Board. While I shall still serve as voting advisor, I know the board is in excellent hands with Alix Wright as President, Adam Sartwell as Vice President, Steve Kenson as Secretary, and Jocelyn Van Bokkelen as Treasurer, with Aries Leader Minister Michael Cantone and Scorpio Lead Minister Elsa Elliott newly elected to serve as advisors as well.
This move will allow me to further develop the vision of the Temple and focus on magickal work, after many years of establishing the structure. With our Ministerial Church and Mystery School firmly established, rooted in the Red Ray of Will and Power, and in the act of Witchcraft as a religion, we are guided by our council of twelve ministers presiding over the zodiac ministries, as well as the legal structures to help maintain the administration of the Temple body. There is still work here to be done in expanding our ministerial education for the care and aid of the people, and the ministers who do this work, and I will be working with Libra ministry to help develop these teachings.
Next I will be working on the “advanced” teachings of Three Rays as part of the Society of the Temple, rooted in the Yellow Ray of Wisdom and Cunning and the role of Witchcraft as an occult science. Exploring working groups in the occult sciences, such as the experimental Pilgrims of the Sun and Stars, a new method of group work exploring the Wheel of the Year, as well as our experimental Dark and Deep Moon teachings, form the foundations of what is to come. This occult exploration of ideas and symbols, and the consciousness behind them, is truly where my heart is, and to step back from administration to such exploration is an exciting and joyful change. I also have the opportunity to work with Llewellyn Publications on the 20-Year Anniversary Editions of the Temple of Witchcraft series of books.
Once the Society is firmly established, I plan on working on the Fellowship of the Temple, rooted in the Blue Ray of Love and Witchcraft as an art, for those seeking support to deepen the culture and expression of our Craft as artists and creators. Our elemental retreat weeks and sacred site travel, as well our our beloved Light Bearers, form the seeds of this third body, to grow over time. Even TempleFest itself forms a bridge between this aspect of our work, as an intensive retreat with the greater body of the Ministerial Church, since it is open to all members and even the general public.
What started as a simple class taught when asked by a group of friends, has evolved from class to system, to tradition, and to community, all fairly organic, seeking to answer the needs of its people. I envision the continual evolution of the Temple to grow to meet the needs of its people and its time. I trust those light bearers and the new board of directors to guide it into the next phase.