Voices of the Temple: Templefest 2023 with Elizabeth Graham

In this episode, host Adam Sartwell talks with Elizabeth Graham about their work with the Aquarius Ministry in putting on Templefest, which shifted back to a one-day in-person event this year after two years online during the pandemic. A longer in-person event is planned for 2023.

We’re also delighted to note that Voices of the Temple is now available on Amazon Music – just click on the link to be taken to the podcast’s page there and listen with your Amazon Music account.

TempleFest 2020 Art Contest

The Temple’s Leo Ministry will be holding a contest to choose the signature artwork for this year’s TempleFest!

Each year, the TempleFest artwork is informed and inspired by the collaborative meditative vision of Team TempleFest. The resulting artwork is featured on our website, programs, t-shirts, and other promotional materials. This image is also intended to be a focus for meditation, drawing the community deeper into the energies of a given year’s event.

This year, the Temple’s Leo Ministry is seeking artists to work with the images and themes of TempleFest 2020 and participate in a contest to create the artwork for the event. The weekend registration fee for TempleFest 2020 will be waived for the winning artist.

Artists can email [email protected] for more information or to express their interest in participating.

TempleFest 2019 Registration Now Open!

It’s here! Registration for TempleFest 2019 is now open! Just click on the following link to go to the online registration page:

Register for TempleFest!

DAY PASSES: As in prior years, we will be offering a limited number of single-day passes for attendees who cannot join us for the entire weekend. To register for a single-day pass, please use enter the code for the day you wish to attend into the “Promo Codes” box on the registration form: TFFRI (for Friday), TFSAT (for Saturday), or TFSUN (for Sunday). Note that Saturday is planned as a “family day” with Children’s Ministry events for families with children who may wish to attend for just that day.

Please be mindful that our volunteers will be managing registration, particularly housing requests, as quickly as possible, so we ask for your patience before following-up regarding registration unless you feel there has been a clear problem or concern. You should receive an automated confirmation email of your registration to the email address used to register—be sure to check spam filters first if it doesn’t appear in your inbox!

If you do have questions, please email [email protected] or, for technical issues, [email protected].


The Book of the Faerie Court

Since very early on, Templefest has been strongly associated with the Faerie Court of Queen Aroxana and King Aubrey, allies of the Temple and its community. A part of Templefest is to honor our faerie allies and they, in turn have offered blessings and insights to us. A part of the planning process for the festival each year is a journey in vision to the Faerie Court to commune and seek guidance on the themes for the year, embodied in the beautiful artwork Leo lead minister Mark Bilokur has created.

Over these past years, and Templefests, many different members of the Temple community have had their own experiences with the Faery Court, including two years ago when priestesses and priests of the Temple offered a Faery Quest ritual, allowing members of the community to visit and commune with representatives of the Court directly. Many of us have precious bits of personal experience and lore, and we would like to offer the opportunity to bring all of it together. Therefore the Temple is pleased to announce the creation of The Book of the Faerie Court, a collaborative community project, headed by our Priestess Dragon, who is a book-binder and has been working in cooperation with the Court for this work.

In essence, we will offer, at Templefest 2016, a collection of pages and various artistic tools, and allow community members who have had experience with the Faerie Court of Aroxana and Aubrey, either previously or at this year’s festival, to record their lore, through the written word (in prose or poetry), through art, or whatever combination they wish. As curator and keeper of the Book, Dragon will select and organize pages and bind them together. Our hope is that The Book of the Faerie Court will be an ongoing project at each Templefest gathering, adding more and more pages each year and expanding our shared collection of lore.

There are, of course, some guidelines:

  • First and foremost, this project is limited to experiences and lore involving the fae within the context of the Temple and its rituals, and specifically the Faery Court of Aroxana and Aubrey, not simply the fae as a general concept or outside of this context. If you’re in doubt, you’re welcome to contribute, but be aware that the Book is curated (see below).
  • Secondly, contributing to the book is a part of the Templefest experience and may only be done (and must be completed!) at Templefest—no sending things in from afar or taking them home to finish later. We regret that may require some lore to wait to find its way to us in person, but that is a requirement of our allies.
  • Dragon, advised by the Temple’s founders and council of ministers, shall be the curator of what pages are included in the Book, and offering pages and lore does not ensure their inclusion. Again, while we hope that all correct offerings made in the spirit of Love, Will, and Wisdom will see inclusion, this is a collaborative effort with the Court, and not everything will necessarily be accepted.

The Book of the Faerie Court will be held in trust for the community by the Temple and housed at the Temple’s home in Salem, New Hampshire, although it will be available for viewing and reading, both at Templefest and by appointment and prior arrangement with the Temple for members. We hope for the Book to be a powerful touchstone and symbol of the prosperous relationship between the Faerie Court and the Temple.

Apart from announcing our plans, the main purpose of this article is to allow time for interested parties to gather their thoughts, notes, and any materials for a possible contribution this year, and to have time and the opportunity to ask questions. Blank pages and writing and art materials will be provided at Templefest. Although you are welcome to bring your own materials, there is no assurance that we can accommodate every form of media. In particular, please do not bring finished pages with the intention of including them, as we need to provide the paper for pages, sized and prepared for the bookbinding process. “Scrapbook” style media for pasting onto pages is acceptable and may be included.

For questions, please email [email protected] and we will do our best to get back to you. Please inquire well before Templefest, as volunteers will be quite busy immediately before, during, and after the festival!

TempleFest 2016 Q&A with Christopher Penczak

July 29, 2016 begins The Temple of Witchcraft’s annual three-day gathering of the magickal community at TempleFest. To preview the Lammas-encompassing festival, Temple Co-Founder Christopher Penczak shares with us how TempleFest began, what we can expect this year, some of his fondest memories of TempleFests past and what he’s most looking forward to this year.

When and how did TempleFest begin? Tell us its “origin story.”

TempleFest began in 2010 as a one-day special event for the members of the Temple of Witchcraft, primarily folks in our Mystery School. Our first one was members only because we didn’t really know how to put on a festival, so we wanted to keep it small until we understood the structure and mechanics. We had it on a lovely farm in Derry, N.H., before moving to private land of a member living in South Hampton, N.H. We wanted to create a place for community to gather, to share, beyond our sabbat festivals, which can be short, even with a class in the afternoon. I’ve been honored to attend so many festivals around the world, ranging from 2-7 days and hosted by great Pagan communities. In speaking about it, the leaders of the Temple also agreed it would be something to help share and hold space for our community.

We have a lot of distance members, doing correspondence courses, so TempleFest is an annual chance for them to gather. Mentors get to meet students, and classmates across the years get to hang out and share. Social media is helpful, but it’s no substitute for good conversation and hanging out around the ritual fire.

Who is this festival for and why should they attend?

The primary focus for the festival is for members of the Temple of Witchcraft, family, friends and those open and curious to Witchcraft and Paganism in general, and those specifically interested in the tradition of the Temple. While there are many events rooted in a pan-pagan ethos and focusing a multitude of religious practices, our focus for our community is on Witchcraft, and while we have all sorts of events ranging from beginners to advanced, our effort is to promote the culture of the Witch, of occultism and metaphysics, and not necessarily dilute it for a broader public.

Those looking to experience ritual, classes and community are welcome. While there is a huge social component, and building of relationships and having friendships grow in the flesh, our framework for the Temple has always hinged around education and experience of the esoteric. You’re certainly welcome to come and just hang out, but there is lots to do and experience, and we encourage immersion into the full experience.

What was the attendance last year and what do you expect this year?

Last year 230 people attended TempleFest over the course of three days, many for the whole weekend and others just for a day or part of a day.  This year we are expecting more than 250 (our site is limited to 300 people at one time).

Besides yourself, who are some of the big names in Witchcraft that we can expect to see this year?

This year our guest speaker is the fabulous Judika Illes, author of many excellent books on magick and the Craft, and in particular the popular Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells and the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft.

I’ve known Judika since I began my writing career and enjoyed her many classes. From her formularies to her work with Spirits, I always learn something new. We don’t see each other as often with busy schedules, so TempleFest is often a way I can get teachers that I want to hear out to our community.

In years past, we have attracted fun guests and friends from the community to come as “part of the crowd” and not necessarily as speakers, including Raven and Stephanie Grimassi and Dorothy Morrison. They were former guests of honor at TempleFest and came back to attend for fun. We’ve also had Orion Foxwood and Ceisiwr Serith present at TempleFest.

This year, we will have some folks attending who will really add to the educational experience, including David Salisbury, Courtney Weber, Ivo Dominquez Jr., Devin Hunter and Storm Faerywolf.

What’s the lineup of events? (or, what events do you know of at this point?)

Since TempleFest is focused upon the community’s connection to the Faery Court, we have a special Friday evening ritual based on the myth of the Fallen Angels as the Faeries. Saturday will include a Harvest, or Lammas, ritual in the afternoon, followed by a keynote presentation by Judika, most likely on the intersection between the saints and the ancestors of the Witch. Saturday night, we’ll have a ritual entitled The Dance of the Alchemist.

What would you say is the must-attend event at the festival this year and why?

This year, we’re repeating the Teacher Panel. It was an emergency fill-in last year when something was cancelled unexpectedly, and people loved it so much, we are purposely repeating it. Not sure what the topic will be yet, but something juicy to get everyone excited and opinionated.

What are you most looking forward to this year? What’s your favorite thing about TempleFest in general?

I enjoy shopping and getting to visit with people quietly, one on one, as we shop. I enjoy the time between, at the fire, at the tents. I do like to take classes with the guest of honor, as well. This year, Judika will be doing two workshops. I also like teaching and running rituals for folks myself.

Can you describe the atmosphere of the festival overall?

A gathering of individuals coming together in community. It’s definitely got a Witchy feel to it! Many have commented to me they are surprised we use things in public that other pagan groups might shy away from. Yet, we also attract families with kids, folks in jeans, t-shirts and baseball hats, along with the robes, cloaks, loin cloths and brooms. We gather around the fire, and I think it evokes something primary and powerful from Witches in ages past and times in the future.

What’s your funniest TempleFest memory?

I think passing a glass of absinthe to someone who didn’t know what it was, when sitting around the fire. The look on their face. It was a bit too green and bitter, despite the sugar in it. They almost choked and yelled at me for not warning them. Who needs a warning about absinthe? It’s not like it was hemlock!

How about your favorite memory from TempleFests past?

One of my favorite moments was going on a weed walk with one of the local herbal teachers at the very first TempleFest. It was education, relaxed and exactly what I needed at the time. Small group of herbal adventurers.

Who else helps make TempleFest possible?

The amazing Team TempleFest. I really do very little to make TempleFest happen with everything else I’m responsible for in the Temple. We have amazing “Three Rays” team leaders, each with their area of expertise to organize. TempleFest is put on through our Aquarius Ministry, and has been the baby of Lead Minister Lisa over these many years. She is working so well with her coven sisters Nicole and Alix. Jocelyn, our treasurer, makes so much possible through the use of her farm. We have always had amazing support on site from longtime Team TempleFest members and TOW ministers.

Everybody really pitches in and helps in some way. I run the class programming and am indebted to the many wonderful presenters who offer their time to present and teach the community. The vendors and our vendor coordinator, Beth, has gotten us great crafters and artisans to offer their magickal goodies to us.  And we have a new generation of volunteers form the online school working, as they can, to help out.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for attendees? (practical and magickal – not that those are necessarily mutually exclusive)

Pace yourself. Don’t try to do everything, but make sure you do something! Take time to hang out and visit. Drink lots of water. Dance. Be okay having an experience that releases something. It’s a safe place for doing magickal work in a community setting.

What, above all else, do you hope people take away from this year’s festival?

An experience with the magick, with the otherworldly, is the most important thing to me … I think that is a reason to come to TempleFest.

Attend TempleFest 2016 

TempleFest, held at 96 Woodman Road in South Hampton, NH, begins Friday, July 29 at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m.

Register now or visit the website for more information.

Templefest Security Training

Attention volunteers! If you are planning to attend Templefest in August and would like to volunteer to assist our Aries ministry with security and/or parking responsibilities, they are hosing a two-hour training for potential volunteers on Saturday, May 2nd, from noon to 2 PM, in Derry, NH, prior to our afternoon workshop “Magic and Mantras” from 3 to 5 PM and our evening Beltane ritual.

To inquire or register for the volunteer training, please email [email protected]. If you will be attending Templefest and are interested in volunteering with the Aries ministry, but will not be able to attend a local training, please email Wren at the same address to inquire about how you can help.

Templefest 2014 – August 2nd and 3rd

Templefest, the Temple of Witchcraft’s annual outdoor festival, is moving to August in 2014. The two-day event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, August 2nd and 3rd, 2014, at a private farm in South Hampton, New Hampshire (the same site that has hosted Templefest for the past two years). It will include the Temple’s Lughnasadh (Lammas) ritual on Saturday and, like all of the Temple’s public rituals, is open to everyone. Templefest features local vendors and craftspeople, classes and workshops, fun and fellowship and, as always, a special guest speaker. Pre-registration will be available online. Watch the Templefest page our website and our Templefest Facebook page for additional news and details.

Templefest: The Gift of Community

I wasn’t sure I’d go to Templefest this year. After caring for him in my home for years, my father had just passed away six weeks earlier and Templefest was being held on Father’s Day weekend. I was torn; as much as I love my TOW family, I wasn’t sure I’d be up for happy crowds of people. Then a beloved Wichcraft classmate called from NYC. She was coming for the weekend and, for the first time, I could offer her a place to stay. It was just a comfy sofa, but she said yes and I knew the Universe was guiding me to go to “the Fest” that weekend and be with the Community that so enriches my life.sandpainting1

sandpainting3Raye and I arrived early enough on Saturday morning to be part of opening ceremonies. We were excited to go to Stevie’s sand painting class, and we had a wonderful time! What fun this project was, and the beautiful pieces I saw were pretty amazing. When we were told to mess up our paintings so that the magick could be released to the universe, we sadly did (after taking plenty of pictures first!) and then collected and released all the sand into the breeze.sandpainting2

After that, we had to shop! The vendors were plentiful and well-stocked. The food guy got great reviews, and the weather was perfect! We had just enough time to get back to the main tent for Ellen Dugan’s keynote address. The tent was pretty full, but we found seats in the middle and for the next hour or so, I was actually mesmerized! Although I’ve only been practicing Witchcraft for seven years, and have been to a few large gatherings, in my professional life, I’ve been to countless conferences, conventions, and retreats in the last 30+ years, and  have sat through more speeches than I care to remember, and I’m a somewhat tough audience that way. Ellen gets high praise!

Ellen’s talk was very funny. We laughed again and again, and when it was over, I was chatting with different small groups and when I said how wonderful Ellen’s talk was, every single person replied, “Yes, she’s so funny!” and I agreed. However (and there’s always a however), what I really appreciated was that Ellen’s humor wasn’t used as a kind of smokescreen to cover up a lack of content; I get very frustrated with speakers who use humor and cute antics to make up for a lack of substance. Ellen’s talk was all about substance (and, oddly enough, Taco Bell bean burritos), and it was full of information that was practical, informative, and immediately useful. I couldn’t ask for better!

After more shopping and schmoozing and sharing, it was time for Wren’s Sacred Sexuality class. Once again, we were able to share useful information with laughter and in an atmosphere of open-mindedness and safety. Wren’s wonderful ability to combine a vast knowledge base with the openness to embrace people at their own individual levels is widely known, and the class was well-attended.

Too tired to stay for the evening drumming, Raye and I went back to my house to rest up for Sunday. We managed to be there for the first set of classes, and went to Jocelyn’s “An It Harm None” class, where we tasted two kinds of bread (with our eyes closed) and talked about the differences between store-bought white bread and homemade bread. We talked about sustainability, and not just how big a footprint we leave behind, but the kind of footprint, too. We had our share of laughs here, too, and gobbled up most of the homemade bread, giving the white bread to the birds. After that, Christopher’s talk on the Nine Waves was held under an increasingly breezy tent, and at the close, we did a Working to Thank the Land of Jocelyn’s farm. At the end, Jocelyn shared with us that the land had responded for the very first time, and we were all (land included) grateful and very moved. With threats of rain on the horizon, we had a lovely closing Circle. It was during the closing, when we were thanking each other and the land and the Universe for all of our Blessings, that I started to cry. It was Father’s Day, and I was feeling in equal parts, the heartbreaking reality of life without Daddy, and overwhelming gratitude for all my father had done for me, and all he was still doing for me, even from the other side of the Veil.


Raye, Spirita, Rama

I’m so grateful for my Witchy Family, my Blood Family, my Chosen Family. Thank you for all that you do to enrich the larger Universe and all who live within it. For me, the gift of Community means more than you know. May your days be many and your Workings always be for the Highest Best.

And may there always be fresh bread and bean burritos nearby.

Blessed Be!

— Spirita Dulce, TOW Rev. HPS

Do you have a story about Templefest you’d like to tell? Email your story to [email protected] or [email protected] and we can share it with the community!

Temple of Witchcraft