General

Ancestors & Apple Bars

I was visiting my mom one Fall and I asked to go through her recipe box and write down any of the ones I wanted. We sat and looked through the many recipes and I would ask her about if this or that one were any good. I was surprised to find recipes I had never tried before. I remember as I looked through it thinking: “I don’t think I have ever had apple bars.” I asked my mom about the recipe and she said it was her father’s favorite. He passed when I was too young to really understand death. My clearest memories were not about foods he liked. I remembered most fishing and being told I was scaring the fish with my incessant talking.

I thought about what a precious gift it is to learn something more about him, another way to honor my ancestry by making something he loved. So I went home and tried out this new to me recipe handed down from my ancestry. Peeling, coring, and shredding the apples, mixing the batter, all while thinking of my scant memories of my grandpa. The bars are light and cake-like. They taste a bit like what I would think the ambrosia of the gods would taste like.

This recipe is something I often think about as the autumnal equinox comes closer and apples are in season here in New England. It also helps me to prepare myself for the coming Samhain by reminding me of my ancestors. Enjoy!

Grandpa’s Favorite Apple Bars
In honor and memory of R.L.H.

3 medium sized eggs
1 cup of oil (I use canola)
1&1/2 cups sugar
2 cups of flour
6 medium sized apples: peeled, cored, and shredded or finely chopped (Granny Smiths are my favorite baking apple, but you can use others)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the eggs in a bowl and beat for 1 minute (I do this by hand but you can use a mixer if you want). Add the sugar and oil, stir until combined. Add in the dry ingredients. When the batter is ready, fold in the apples. Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan and pour in the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into bars.

Adam Sartwell works as a certified Consulting Hypnotist with certification by NGH and ICBCH, and professional Tarot reader. He is a co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft. Award wining Author of Twenty-one days of Reiki and The Blessing Cord. For more information on his work as a hypnotist  and online courses go to https://hypnointuitive.com. To see more about his work as an author, psychic reader,  and teacher go to his website https://adamsartwell.com.

Astrological Aromatherapy

The Temple of Witchcraft’s Virgo Ministry works with the Spirit/Archetype of the Healer. In this piece we’ll explore astrological aromatherapy. You’ve probably heard that Aromatherapy is the art and science (every time I say that I think of Severus Snape talking about the ‘exact art and subtle science that is potion-making’) of using essential oils for health and wellness—be that physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Essential oils are the essence and lifeblood of the plant and they impart not only aromatic and physical benefits but energetic, spiritual and magickal as well. Here we will explore how aromatherapy can help us strengthen and balance our energies—based on our natal charts.

Crafting magickal aromatherapy blends to harmonize and maximize our core/inner selves can be as simple as selecting an essential oil or two for your Sun Sign. But why stop at simple? A great blend you can craft is to select an oil for your Sun, Sign, your Moon Sign and your Ascendant.

Below is a starting list of essential oils for each of the Signs, many are common, a few are on the rarer side. Select one or two for each sign. Choose from what you have, what you know…or use a pendulum to select an oil from each Sign. Start by blending 1-2 drops each in about ½ ounce carrier oil (grapeseed and sweet almond are the most popular.) Witch magickal aromatherapy the attributions and intention of the blend is more important than the scent of the blend…but experiment a bit. If you can’t stand what you blend…it won’t do much good for you! Be sure to writer down what you blend together. ‘Tinker’ with your blend to perfect it.

You can use this as an anointing oil, a personal magickal perfume, as an aid to raise your energetics before and kind of magickal working. Please use caution when using essential oils…read about each oil before you use it. If you are allergic to the flower, please don not use the essential oil! Do not take essential oils internally. Yes, I know I sound like Mom…but this IS Virgo, remember? Suggested books include: The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews (Scott Cunningham); Magickal Aromatherapy (Scott Cunningham) and Mixing Essential Oils for Magic (Sandra Kynes).

Above all—have some fun. This will help you explore another aspect of your highest and most magickal self.

ARIES

Frankincense, Cedarwood, Clove, Cinnamon, Pine, Allspice

TAURUS

Cardamom, Patchouli, Vanilla, Thyme, Oakmoss, Rose

GEMINI

Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Dill, Eucalyptus, Anise

CANCER

Chamomile, Jasmine, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Sandalwood, Violet

LEO

Orange, Lime, Benzoin, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Rosemary

VIRGO

Patchouli, Bergamot, Fennel, Lavender, Peppermint, Cypress

LIBRA

Rose, Rose Geranium, Mugwort, Ylang Ylang, Cardamom, Spearmint

SCORPIO

Black Pepper, Ginger, Clove, Myrrh, Basil, Vanilla

SAGITTARIUS

Cedarwood, Ginger, Sage, Orange, Nutmeg

CAPRICORN

Vetiver, Cypress, Patchouli, Magnolia, Myrrh, Oakmoss

AQUARIUS

Lavender, Petitgrain, Benzoin, Pine, Peppermint, Cypress

PISCES

Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Sage

Mulling Spices

As we move toward the beginning of Fall with Mabon fast approaching it is a great time to start preparing some mulling spices to get in the spirit. Mulling spices can be used in wine or in cider to create delicious spiced drinks. They can even be used in a hot toddy.

This spiced “wassail” was used in southern England in medieval times during winter celebrations. They would sing and drink to the health of their apple trees to ensure a bountiful harvest the next year. At the end of their celebrations they would pour the last cup of mulled cider to the “Apple Tree Man” who lived in the oldest apple tree in the orchard.

With a little research and a bit of magic you can make a mulling spice that will help you to harvest your desires. Most basic recipes include the following ingredients. I have listed them here with their correspondences magically so you can brew up some magic.

  • Allspice: Success in love and money matters, banishing poverty consciousness, determination and healing
  • Cinnamon Sticks: Good luck, attraction, money 
  • Dried orange peel: Health, success, happiness
  • Whole cloves: Protection, love, money, healing, and strength

From here you can add a whole bunch of different herbs and sweeteners to customize your blend. Some of the common additives are:

  • Cardamom pods: Love and passion 
  • Dried Ginger: Love, money, success and power
  • Star Anise: Joy, blessings, luck, and psychic awareness
  • Whole nutmeg: Luck, money, health, fidelity, and psychic ability
  • Peppercorns: Protection
  • Vanilla bean: Love, lust, and power
  • Lemon peel: Cleansing, love, friendship
  • Maple sugar: Love, longevity, money, healing, and sweetness
  • Brown sugar: Friendship and sweetness
  • And my favorite, candied ginger: all the same things about dried ginger only sweeter!

Adding another layer to any mulled brew you want to make, think about your medium.

Cider is made from apples, used to bring about love, Healing, immortality, revival of the garden, and speaking with the dead. So if you mull some cider you can drink in these qualities as well.

In wine you have the power of the resurrected gods like Dionysus to bring back health, fertility, healthy gardens, and wholeness. The transformation of fermentation brings about an initiatory power to wine, which is why it is sacred in places all over the world.

The herbs used to make mulling spices are usually whole or crushed into smaller size. They are not ground to a powder or you will get gritty mulled drinks. A good rule of thumb for your mulling spices is about two tablespoons of spices to about a half gallon of cider or wine simmered on low for about a half hour. Don’t go over medium heat for wine, keep it on low. Put the spices in a tea strainer or muslin bag so you can remove them from the brew more easily. You can make your own blend of mulling spices to go with your intention, magically charging the herbs as you go. Spice blends also make great gifts for people who love mulled cider and mulled wine, packaged up in cute airtight bottles.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Mullin’ Spice Blend

When it is money and abundance that you need 
This mulling spice will help you succeed
Don’t be greedy, it is only fair 
When you have plenty there is more to share. 

1/2 cup cinnamon sticks, broken into chips
1/4 cup whole cloves
1/4 cup allspice
1/4 cup dried orange peel
1/2 cup candied ginger chopped into pea sized chips.
3 tbsp star anise

Charge each herb for abundant prosperity and to attract cold hard cash. Put the cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves in a sealable plastic bag, cover with a towel, and whack it with your rolling pin or a mallet to break them down into chips. Do not powder! Mix all ingredients together and put into cute airtight bottles and give some away to friends.

To mull, put two tablespoons of the blend in a muslin bag or tea strainer. Put this in a half gallon of cider or wine and simmer for a half an hour over low heat.

Adam Sartwell works as a certified Consulting Hypnotist with certification by NGH and ICBCH, and professional Tarot reader. He is a co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft. Award wining Author of Twenty-one days of Reiki and The Blessing Cord. For more information on his work as a hypnotist  and online courses go to https://hypnointuitive.com. To see more about his work as an author, psychic reader,  and teacher go to his website https://adamsartwell.com.

Reiki Share: Peace & Quiet

Deep within the still center of my being may I find peace
Silently within the quiet of the grove may I share peace
Gently and powerfully within the greater circle of humanity may I radiate peace
— Peace prayer from the order of Bards, Ovates and Druids

We are living in hard times. News flashes by and changes rapidly, especially in this time of social media and technology. Many people, myself included, long for the times where we were bored, things were quiet, and there was a sense of ease.

Growing up, my house was very loud. The one thing I could do to get away from the noise and pressure was to get on my bike and ride around the neighborhood. Through the course of my explorations, I found an abandoned lot behind a school. It was fenced-off but there was a hole in the fence. The lot was a giant hole in the ground covered with leaves, weeds, baby trees, and vines.  It was one of the greenest places that I could get to easily. In the spring Queen Anne’s lace and dandelions filled the hole. In the fall, around the outside of the hole the trees turned orange and red. There were no woods nearby and the one campsite that was near my house was next to a highway. This abandoned lot was away from the streets and it was quiet. It definitely had garbage in it (which I did try to pick up) but it also offered a quiet place where I could sit and be away from everyone and everything. I could just listen or sing or read without anything interrupting me. It was magick.

I long for the times where I could sit and read and think without obligation or worry. These days we cram so much into a day and some of us feel constantly “on”… It is harder and harder to find peace in day-to-day living.

I have found that if you do the work, the work changes you. Conjuring spells, sitting with people to do readings or to give people Reiki, talking to your spirits and guides – this is the work.  You are a light to so many people and you are a light to yourself. When you are feeling overwhelmed and disillusioned that is when it is time to step outside your house, put the screen away, and just walk or sit, even if it’s just your own backyard…or an abandoned lot. Taking some time out in nature, just noticing the leaves in the trees budding…it changes you. It stops you from looking at the world in obligation, stress and worry. It reminds you that living in the world can be awe-inspiring.

I ask you to take some time to notice the world outside of yourself. Breathe in the living air, breathe out the discomfort. Breathe in and kindle the fire within yourself. Breathe out and cleanse yourself of stress. Breathe in and feel your body. Breathe out and ground. Sit in the sunshine or the rain, the warmth or the cold and just feel it. You are here. You are living. You are love. You are magick.

And once you take care of yourself, you can take care of others. Call the people who are high risk or who you know have anxiety. Give them some of your time, some of your love (and some Reiki) and in this way we can ease the stress we feel today.

Dawn Marie Costorf is a Pisces deputy and leads the Reiki share at the Temple of Witchcraft once a month with Renee Bedard.  

Temple Astrolog: Karmic Romance

Some relationships get us deeper in the heart than others. That’s just the way it is. And it’s not necessarily the length of the meeting or the relationship that determines how deep it will affect us. Some wounds of the heart heal and mend over time, others need more help and assistance.

Right now the planet Venus (love, relationships) has moved into the sign of Aries (self) right next to both Chiron (healing) and Lilith black moon. There she is making challenging aspects to both the south node (karma) and the north node (where we are supposed to go)

This activates strong karmic relationships connected to love and romance, but also relationships that have helped to shape you and the person you have become, both the good and the bad. Don’t be surprised if you dream about past lovers or if they show up in your life again in one way or another. You may also see love and romantic relationships in a new light, as Chiron the great healer is traveling with Venus. If you feel there is something hurting in your heart, now is a great time to work with healing that. It may be through therapy, working with crystals and stones, essential oils, flower remedies, or other healing methods.

Remember that if you feel an aching or longing in your heart, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with the relationship you are currently in. It can be, but it can also be that your heart is remembering something that previously happened to it that you may not be conscious about.

Numerologically speaking, this is a number 4 year that resonates with the heart chakra. So this will be a year when we all will be working with healing the heart in various ways (see Numerology for 2020).

The Right Kind of Voice

Venus (love, romance) is also making a challenging aspect to Pallas Athena, right next to the south node in the sign of Capricorn. Venus can be very soft, seducing, and charming, but she also has a harsh and brutal side which we do well not to forget. Together with Pallas Athena (communication and warrior) she can be very direct, even blunt. Here we are wise to stop and think about what kind of voice we are using. Everyone who has kids has probably heard them say “It’s not what you are saying, it’s how you say it!” Well, that goes for all of us right now. If you are a public person in any way, or are active on social media, this is important to remember right now. You may come across in a way far from how you intend.

The right kind of voice also applies to your relationship with yourself. What words are you using to motivate yourself? Are you as loving and compassionate towards yourself as you are to others? If not, then why?

Around the 17th, Venus moves away from Chiron, but stays in aspect to Pallas Athena until around the end of February.

Reprogramming Old Dialogues

To help us reprogram our inner and outer dialogue, we have the opportunity to partner with Mercury (communication) in Pisces. Mercury in Pisces is a lovely placement for music, poetry, and loving communication. With the positive connection to Pallas Athena and the south node in Capricorn we can get serious in reprogramming old harmful dialogues to loving and supporting ones. Things that you can do:

  • Make a happy playlist with songs that makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Put up affirmations on your bathroom mirror.
  • Make your own happy song about yourself.
  • Make happy and affirmative notes and hide them in your clothes and bags to be found another day. This works well on your loved ones as well.

Mercury Retrograde

A few times each year Mercury goes retrograde. During that time it looks like the planet is moving backwards. Mercury rules things like communication, travel, education, science, computers, deliveries, and trade. During the retrograde things can be problematic in those areas. If you think about packages being delivered to the wrong addresses, computer havoc, and misunderstandings, you get the idea. It is also said that you should avoid signing any important documents during mercury retrograde.

But there is also a good side to Mercury retrograde. It is a good time to rewrite, edit, finish projects, go back in time and look over things again. Because outer communication is a bit more quiet there is more peace for inner communication.

Spiritual Reconnection

This time Mercury retrograde is in the sign of Pisces (harmony, spirituality, intuition, the arts). That makes this a great time to reconnect with old spiritual or artistic practices. Perhaps there is a spiritual or creative practice you haven’t done in a while? Now is the time to dig out your old crystal friends from your treasure chest, or pick up the dusty guitar and start exercising your vocals again. Or there may be a god or goddess relationship that you haven’t paid attention to for a long while.

By reconnecting to the old connections you may very well find new gold and wisdom teachings for you to use in the present and for the future. As always, remember to record, make notes, and make sketches as the things raining down from the heavens—or rather coming up from the creative depths of Pisces—during this transit will not last forever.

Mercury goes retrograde from February 17th until March 10th.

Blessings,
Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

The Sagittarius Ministry and the Temple’s Mystery School has announced that registration for the year-long Mystery School classes beginning in the Fall of 2019 will close on August 12, 2019.

If you wish to submit an application to be an online Mystery School student, please do so prior to that date in order to be considered. Late applications will not be considered and will have to wait until the next open online registration sometime in 2020.

Please see the Education page of our website for an overview of the Mystery School and links to the individual class pages. See the class pages for links to online application forms. For questions regarding the Mystery School, please email sagittarius@templeofwitchcraft.org. For technical issues, email admin@templeofwitchcraft.org.

Professional Witchcraft

by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle

So you want to be a professional Witch? Why? Are you sure? I wasn’t. In fact, I ran kicking and screaming from it. I sometimes felt as if my life were being hijacked by the gods and spirits. In retrospect, I see how it was aligning with a sense of purpose and will, but it was quite difficult to see at the time. All my interests and experiences were giving me a unique set of skills to navigate the world I was entering, even if I had no idea at the time.

There is no educational model to prepare one to be a professional Witch. Even the idea can sound absurd at times. What does it mean? I wonder still, even though doing magickal work on some level has been my full-time vocation and source of income since 1998. I don’t have one job—professional Witch. I have several jobs that add up to my vocation. Minister, ritualist, psychic reader, healing facilitator, magickal consultant, crafter, teacher, project manager, and author are some of the hats I wear. Education is piecemeal and haphazard in all these things. They are unique arts, and no one set of guidelines covers us all.

For some, professional Witch means minister. One of the reasons why I rebelled against ministry is that I love the idea that in Witchcraft, everyone is their own priest or priestess. You learned the foundations of your Craft, and you did it yourself. You didn’t need a priest to be the intermediate for you. Or did you? I understood the benefit of legal ordination if I wanted to officiate weddings or be protected legally in a less-than-Witchcraft-friendly society, but that was simply playing the game of the government and getting fair and equal treatment. When I looked back, however, I realized that some of my most profound experiences were also facilitated by another priestess or priest or group. While the technique allowed me to have my own experience, their expertise in creating and holding the space for it, guiding the process, was invaluable. I wasn’t one of those Pagans who picked up a book and was good to go. I questioned. I rebelled. I thought things were silly. I needed to see it in in action. I needed to talk to people. I needed understanding. Some was provided by mentors and friends. A lot of it was done in a “professional” education setting with a very experienced teacher. I paid for it, and certainly got my money’s worth as they more than fulfilled what I was expecting. So while I was my own priest, I did gain benefit from other priestesses and priests acting as teachers and ritualists. Did many other profound experiences happen when I was alone or in a small group? Absolutely, but the pattern demonstrated by others helped me facilitate those experiences for myself.

My main vocation, as I see myself as a professional Witch, is educator, and for me that means the education of experience, not just the textbook. The start of my path was with my matron goddess asking me to teach more, as people in our once-a-month book group clamored for formal “lessons,” and I refused. When I gave in to her request, three days later I lost my day job, and the only inner world guidance I got was “now you have more time to teach.” Thankfully they did not clear away my relationships to create time and space, just my job, which I had been unwilling to admit had run its course. My first teachers provided information and structure to support direct experience, and a progression of ideas through a pattern. I endeavored to do the same, and what started as simple classes in technique evolved into a system, community, and then magickal tradition.

While it is controversial for many to charge for teaching, as some take vows to never charge, my own teachers charged for classes, and I appreciated the academic setting of a syllabus and an agreement that the following topics and experiences would be covered in a specific time frame. As several friends of mine in other forms of Witchcraft will often joke with me, “one way or another you pay,” so it is best to know the literal cost up front, rather than pay in emotional servitude or blind loyalty. The coven can often become an unhealthy substitution for the family, and the magickal sense of spiritual frater and soror—the sister-brother-other-hood we share as practitioners—gets warped into unresolved family dynamics with projections of parent and sibling issues. For good or for ill (and I am not particularly a Harry Potter fan), the idea of a school of magick and Witchcraft has caught the imagination of practitioners, and there is something to be said about the clear boundaries of an academic model to help minimize favoritism and absolute hierarchical authority from a potentially abusive High Priest/ess.

As I’ve seen Paganism, Wicca, and Witchcraft grow by leaps and bounds over a few short decades, the community has changed. I love that things are more accessible to seekers and deeper education and resources available for the more experienced, but the basic network of teaching covens has become the minority, with all other forms of magick and Paganism that do not work in that structure bursting forth. Previously a “minister” ministered to their own coven or local tradition-mates. Now we were getting more requests for aid outside of that immediate circle of practitioners, along the lines of traditional ministers—weddings, funerals, hospital visits, pastoral care, social service advocacy, legal support, and prison visits. Those who are Pagan but outside of a coven or group were seeking visible teachers for help, and we gave it and continue to give it, while lacking the resources and support that traditional mainstream religion ministers often have.

Churches with weekly donations from congregants provide salaries, insurance, and often housing for clergy, providing support for the clergy to spend long hours doing vigils in hospitals and providing visits and pastoral support. The modern Witch has to work these commitments into their schedule, if they so choose to serve in this way, between full-time day jobs, paying gigs, and side hustles to make ends meet. One might say it is not the job of occult priest/esses to perform such work, that people should have their own networks of family and friends for support, but the general community of Witchcraft calls to outsiders who lack such support networks. Our occult theology of interconnectiveness and interdependence, along with a sense of compassion and social justice, often moves us to take this work regardless.

Beyond what many consider traditional ministry are the classic services of the professional Witch, such as one-on-one psychic readings via Tarot, runes, astrology, or any other divination method. While pure psychics simply tell you what they perceive, those who come to a Witch are often looking for further solutions to difficult times, and then the session will morph into spell consultations or magickal work. Some Witches will do spells for clients, and others will not. Between the two, I will teach a client how to do a spell, set up all the parts, and guide them through the process, but they must be involved. I won’t just do it for them. That is my rule of engagement and empowerment. But many are trained in traditions and cultures that you are doing the work as a part of the service. I paid a lot of my way through college doing psychic parties and spell consultations. While not a lavish lifestyle, it kept me going while pursuing both my magick and music.

Many professional Witches have training in healing modalities, new and old, including energy work, crystal healing, body work, hands-on energy healing, and medicinal herbalism. These services have collectively become for me the work of the modern cunning Witch, providing services in the cottage at the end of the village. I’ve had many people, both in and out of the Pagan community, seek my services, often as a last resort. Sometimes you are the miracle solution and sometimes you are the one to hold their hand at the hospital deathbed until they pass. Personally, I’ve been aided by nontraditional healers when modern medicine was stumped. While I don’t discount modern medicine, in some situations sorcerous answers are required for sorcerous people.

Others, not liking such one-on-one service, will resonate more with commerce. They will handcraft magickal items—things like potions, talismans, jewelry, and art—and use today’s technology to sell online or vend at fairs and smaller specialized events, often focusing upon the Pagan and metaphysical communities. In times past, the variation of the occult or Witch shop in every town was the access point for supplies, networking, and community, and would carry not only the nationally known magickal staples, but also local handcrafted specialty items. Readers, healers, and teachers would gather at such sites and provide their services. Sadly, as more offerings become available online and find support in the mainstream, such places are valued less and are disappearing due to lack of interest and often poor management, unable to compete in this day without updates to the business model.

All of this sounds wonderful, fun, and easy, right? No, not usually. While the successful might make it look easy—and due to online wonders many people who are not successful give the illusion of success—every successful full-time metaphysical practitioner I know has had moments where we are envious of those who get a steady paycheck, paid health insurance, sick days, and vacation time. Like many of the self-employed, we joke about working half days only—pick any twelve hours from a given day, and that is your “half” day to work. Along with providing these services, we usually have to be our own promoters, publicists, accountants, business managers, travel agents, sales department, order fulfillment, and negotiators.

So I’m always a little leery when someone declares they wish to be a professional Witch, despite being one myself. Most I know didn’t want to be and would have probably done anything else if they could, but their own temperament, soul, and will guided them here. In her book Fire Child, elder and high priestess Maxine Sanders says, “We sacrifice the ordinary in exchange for the extraordinary.” And it is true. People focus upon the extraordinary aspect, which can be wonderful, but don’t realize the sacrifices. It can put you out of synch with the rest of the world, your family, and friends, and requires a tremendous amount of effort, energy, and life force. While many of us can truly choose no other way, we can be wistful watching those who do not bear the burdens of the work. Speaking with elder Ivo Dominguez, during one of my infrequent bouts of melancholy, he quoted the traditional initiation rites “neither bound nor free.” I have an extraordinary amount of seeming freedom and flexibility compared to many people in traditional jobs, but I’m not free of the many structures unseen and unknown to most people who only see the “easy” part of the job of the full-time Witch.

I fear many seek it out because it looks glamorous from the outside. They have an illusion of living in a wonderful world of movie magick, not understanding the real-world business skills behind it. Those who do this work rarely talk about the challenges and pitfalls beyond their peers, and we can make it look easy and glamorous. Many are seeking some mythical illusion of what they think it means to be a Witch full-time. Most full-time Witches I know are spiritually aware full time, but still work in the so-called ordinary world.

I fear some seek it out because they’re lazy, and simply just don’t like working a day gig. They see a fraction of the work and think, “I can do that, easy.” I fear that some are motivated by fame, a desire to have people take themselves seriously as an authority, or the perception of easy money. In my experience, none of these things are what they appear to be from the outside. The more famous I’ve become, the less famous I’ve wanted to be, putting the emphasis on the teaching and community, rather than my name, image, or personality. While my agreement with my matron many years ago was to not suffer for lack of money, it’s not been easy money and often requires great financial juggling.

And I fear that in encouraging people to both be their own priest/esses, as I was, and to serve, as my teachers encouraged me, I’ve encouraged too many to think they must emulate the path I’ve been called to, to be a full-time Witch as teacher, ritualist, healer, reader, and minister. I’ve had many a conversation with amazing members of the community apologizing for not choosing to be a professional Witch like me, that they like their job, or need to have a stable source of income for their family and can’t drop everything to do Witchcraft full-time. I’d like to see more “professionals” in the Craft, not necessarily Professional Witches, but rather those accomplished in their own chosen vocations. I am warmed to see those magickal beings successfully fulfill their vocations, and bring magick into other areas of the world, even if only by their very presence as a practitioner. We have doctors who have moved into holistic medicine, lawyers who do social work, farmers, artists, business managers, home makers, cashiers, all bringing magick to their vocation in our Temple

I’ve had others desperately push their “brand” and use a lot of words and pictures to say not much at all, but say it with style. My only desire is to have each Witch fulfill their own Will, in their own way, in their own style, with their own magick, to create the life that is correct for them. Do I encourage service? Yes. We created the Temple to offer many means of support for service that didn’t require you to be a professional Witch. It’s certainly not for everyone. Some are great community organizers and administrators behind the scenes. They are needed just as much, if not more, than another Witchcraft personality.

Usually there will be some form of call to service, and most go through a process of reluctant acceptance, as in the Hero’s Journey, which is both wrestling with fear and with ego. The fear is about not being good enough and the ego is often about not being seduced by the call for harmful reasons. Usually there will be some acceptance of your peers working at this new level that will help bolster self-esteem and check your ego. It can be too easy to believe your own press and lose perspective. The potential peer group often looks askance at the individual who wants so badly to simply have it, rather than to serve. Some who seek to set themselves up as leaders and teachers are immediately rejected by their community or discouraged by their past teachers and mentors. Those who can explore this can often find a place of service, but sadly, a few will ignore it and go on to create inherently toxic forms of community and service.

So you want to be a professional Witch? Why? Are you sure? What are you seeking? What are you offering? Be clear in your motivations and be true to your deepest self. You can be anything you want, but whatever that is, be in alignment with your soul’s will and true heart’s desire.

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.

X