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.
The Temple Bell asked Stevie to share some information about herself and her role in the Mystery School, particularly for the benefit of the incoming class of new students this Fall.
TB: Tell us a little about the role of the Dean of Students in the Temple’s Mystery School.
Stevie: It’s a busy job. I oversee the activities and morale of students, mentors, and teaching assistants, handle class registration, troubleshoot problems within the school, and offer personal student support. I also consult a lot with Christopher [Penczak], who is the teacher of the online classes, helping to set policy and getting direction from him. Since I’m on the other side of the United States from the physical Temple in New Hampshire, most of what I do is online, so I can relate well to our increasing number of online students all over the globe. I do get to TempleFest each year, though, and enjoy chatting in person with students and other ministers who are also able to attend. No matter where students are, I get to know each one a little by reading all the homework and making comments on it, by answering questions they send me via email, helping in whatever way I can with issues they may have.
What drew you to this kind of work?
Oh, gosh. I guess my career in psychology got me started. All that teaching and doing clinical psychology. One of my specialties was hypnosis. As I did age-regression with clients, some of them went back to events in previous lifetimes. That expanded my notion of reality. I also began to notice the auras of my clients and of speakers at conferences, then noticed how those auras could change depending upon what the person was talking about and remembering. These kinds of things led me to reading lots of metaphysical books and to meditating. It evolved from there.
Eventually I got training in Witchcraft itself and became a high priestess. One day, while browsing in the bookstore, The Witch’s Shield by Christopher Penczak just about fell off the shelf into my hands. I was impressed with his approach, his style. And that started me reading the Temple series. All the books weren’t out yet at that time. I couldn’t wait for the next one to be published. Then I discovered the online classes, became a student of Christopher’s, graduated from Witchcraft V in 2010, and became ordained in the Temple at TempleFest 2011.
I’ve served other ministries besides Sagittarius and the Mystery School, but I think my greatest love has always been working with students. I started out mentoring several, then was the list moderator for Witchcraft IV, and began some of the work that became tasks for the TAs. When I was offered the position as Dean, it felt like this was my Dharma, the path of my True Will. It’s been a challenge, but rewarding and very satisfying.
How does your work as Dean intersect with your own personal practice as a witch?
I have an active personal practice that includes meditating, doing ritual for Sabbats and Esbats, working with plants and stones, and so on. Being involved in all the Temple classes allows me to review material and not lose sight of what I learned early on. I incorporate into my practice quite a number of the exercises from Witchcraft I all the way through Witchcraft V. Practice helps deepen our spiritual muscles and delve further into the Mysteries. For example, I still Earth-walk in my garden as in WI, commune with the plant spirits and make tinctures and flower essences as in WII and III, create and use spagyric tinctures as in WIV, and deepen my relationship with the land spirits that I began in my outdoor vigil in WV. As Dean, I interact with students, mentors, TAs, and other ministers, often gaining new perspectives and new insights, and sometimes I can share that in return. So my work as Dean helps me to keep in touch with a wonderful spiritual community.
What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
Meeting new faces and renewing interaction with the familiar faces in the ways that I’ve talked about. It’s heartwarming to be part of the team that helps students to experience new things about themselves and their inner and outer worlds. I can relate to the challenges that need to be faced: making time for studies, practicing some of the exercises that may make no sense at first, wondering what difference it makes to work out all that specific astrological timing. And then there’s that amazing moment when it all comes together, and there’s that new understanding. I love to see this.
Do you have any advice for Mystery School students on how to get the most out of their studies?
Practice, and enjoy the experience. It’s your experience. Reading about it, watching it happen to other people, can whet your appetite. But you gotta do it yourself. You can open doors to new worlds, but you have to learn how to open the door and what to do when you walk through. The magickal techniques you learn will build upon earlier ones, but they can only build if you practice. You need to make the effort, but in doing so, you can learn to relish the amazing magickal mystery journey.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you!