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.

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