American Altars and Perpetual Choirs

by Christopher Penczak

As an occultist, my primary way of interacting with the world, society, and myself is through magickal technique. Though I have a lot of strong personal opinions about things in the world, and discuss them with people in my personal life, I am hesitant to do so in larger public or social media settings. While the larger conversation is helpful for many, and the Sacred Work for some, for me it’s not. It is easy to get your point distorted, be pulled away from your own Sacred Work, or engage in conflict that doesn’t further understanding or the issue at hand. It can be helpful to have those experiences, and I have had them to my fill, so I leave that Work for others who feel called to place their energy there.

It’s also easy for someone to confuse an occult teacher’s personal opinion with spiritual truth, and my occult training doesn’t give me any greater education on complex global topics. The way I can converse with an initiate is different than other people, say in my family, because the experiences of magick and initiation create a common core of understanding, beyond traditions and cultures. When I’m in doubt, I listen, read, and observe to better inform my own opinion, and help provide space, a platform or encouragement for those who do seem both educated and called to that Work, because not all with occult training are called to be teachers. But that’s my lens, occult teachings, and the thing I feel I can share most is technique and experiences for students of the occult to create the inner and outer changes necessary to make a shift for the world.

I understand that to many people occult techniques, rituals, spells, shamanism and meditation is much like “prayer” and will not fix the situation the world is in right now. Many are rallying against prayer and its effects, and I would agree that false prayer or platitudes without action do little. I often feel the same way about postings to Facebook and Twitter, as I am not sure those in the government really care what we are tweeting about. Yet I know many who benefit from conversations via social media and it can become a catalyst for change. I always follow up magickal work with the magician’s “real world action” to bring about results. Usually it is a mixture of making phone calls and writing letters/emails directly to state and federal government officials and supporting organizations in alignment with my ideals and intentions. It’s become a regular part of my week, though like with social media, I’ve grown concerned about its effectiveness at times. But I usually start with clear intention through magickal techniques. Spell for the result, as you never know how it will manifest.

So in that spirit, I was guided to share things from my meditations after the violence in San Bernardino. Two things spontaneously occurred. The first was influenced by my time visiting with Pagans, Witches, and Magicians in Maryland, Delaware, Washington D.C., and California. They have been speaking—and, I assume, working with—the Founding Fathers of the United States as sacred ancestors, along with images of Columbia, Uncle Sam, and Lady Liberty. embodiments of American ideals. I suddenly found myself in vision before these beings and communed about the problems, intentions for solutions, and the magickal actions that can be taken by me. I was inspired to start building an altar to do this work more regularly.

Part of my guidance was to share with those who might not be familiar with this idea, and see if others might resonate with it. I know I have a more global view of myself and my spirituality, and often feel disconnected from the National Soul of America, which I realize now, is a problem. Those with a global view have to engage with the National Soul more deeply to transform some of our collective views rooted in fear. The altar work, offerings, and visions will hopefully shift that in me, and have a greater effect in the world as more people do it.

For those unfamiliar with some of those concepts in images, particularly Columbia, a personification of America, here are some links to Wikipedia to get you started in your own altar work:

The second experience was drawn from a Glastonbury teaching – the Perpetual Choirs. The concept of the Perpetual Choirs is based both in the land and spirit. They are seen as ten to twelve sacred sites linked in the landscape of Britain, maintaining the “enchantment” of the British Isles. Some were based upon well known sacred sites such as Glastonbury and Stonehenge. Others are simply speculated about now.

“…in each of these choirs there were 2,400 saints; that is there were a hundred for every hour of the day and the night in rotation, perpetuating the praise and service of God without rest or intermission.”

– Iolo Morganwg, 1801

While overlaid in Christian imagery of choirs, churches, and saints, and possibly entirely Christian in origin, I was told it was originally the Druids who held this charge, creating a spell of prosperity and peace upon the land, but as their numbers dwindled, so too, did their enchantment. Many feel there is a deeper spiritual truth involving the idea of signing the world into being, and maintaining creation and order through song. The changing song amid the choirs transition the shift in the seasons upon the Earth and the stars in heaven.

In my meditation, the scene shifted from the American Spirits to a global view, with twelve points of light upon the Earth. Each was a choir, from possibly a different region, culture, or tradition, and soon I found myself surrounded by singers and chanters. I found myself surrounded by chanters with an African origin. Everyone across the globe was signing in their own language and own song, but it harmoniously blended together. One of my inner teachers explained it was the part of the song of creation humanity must participate in, to keep the human world in balance with itself and all of nature, and fewer and fewer signers join the cause. I was to come back and simply chant and sing for the spell of the world. The words I was given this night were:

Atwa Sim-Bye Aye ai-eh-eh ai-eh-eh

I have no idea what they mean, but it was the sound that seemed to matter. I was informed each time I came back the song could be different, so listen, and join in when you have it. So I spent part of my night chanting for the spell of the song of humanity. I was chanting for San Bernardino. For Planned Parenthood. For Paris and France. For Syria. For all of the Middle East. For Black Lives Matter. For America. For the rain forrests. For Tibet. For many places across the world, and I felt others chanting with me and to me as I did.

So I invite you to chant. To join, from time to time, these Perpetual Choirs across the geomantic landscape of the World. To commune with the spirits of your nation and speak to them of your hopes, dreams, fears, and intentions. But remember, if you do any of this, follow it up with real world action. Write your elected officials expressing your desire for gun control if that is your Will. Support organizations with the resource to educate and to lobby. If your Sacred Work calls you in another direction – civil liberties, police brutality, foreign relations, the environment, or any number of crisis issues going on right now, move towards it. Focus. Each of us cannot do everything, so find your Will and move towards it to do your Sacred Work.

Temple of Witchcraft