The Temple of Witchcraft Tradition
Article ID: 15123
Age Group: Adult
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Author: The Temple of Witchcraft [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: July 15th. 2012
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The Temple of Witchcraft is a nonprofit charitable religious organization based in the State of New Hampshire. Co-founded by Christopher Penczak, Steve Kenson, and Adam Sartwell, the Temple started in 1998 as a system of magickal training and personal development, and eventually developed into a formal tradition of Witchcraft.
Now, as an outgrowth of the work of students, initiates, and graduates of the programs, the Temple of Witchcraft has evolved into an organization based on traditions of modern magick, Witchcraft, and neopaganism. The work of the Temple is both other-worldly and terrestrial, seeking to strengthen the connections between spirit and matter through inner transformation and public service.
The Temple of Witchcraft’s goal on an individual level is to awaken the potential of the human soul to its natural gifts of psychic awareness, communion with nature and the spirits, and magick. Each individual seeks to live a magickal life. Through these awakenings, we seek an expansion of consciousness through the alignment of our souls with Love, Will, and Wisdom to further the Great Work.
On a greater scale, we seek the restoration, maintenance, and evolution of humanity to the Garden of the Gods, the cooperative consciousness where all things are in harmony and community. Our myths define this awareness as the First Garden, known as Avalon, Hesperides, Zep Tepi, Shamballa, Lemuria, even Eden. We manifest this vision through both our inner workings and service to the greater community. By these actions, we plant the seeds and tend the garden of Witchcraft culture, tradition and community.
The Temple practices the religion of Witchcraft and Wicca in the modern neo-pagan tradition and holds to the following spiritual beliefs and principles. There are specific points of similarity and difference between the Temple and other traditions of neo-paganism. While considered theological “statements of belief” the Tradition is one of experience, not blind faith, and stated belief is not a requirement for membership. This list simply expresses the religious, spiritual, and theological philosophies underpinning the Temple’s teachings and work. They naturally unfold to the student in the Mystery School and Seminary with appropriate lessons and direct experiences through meditation and ritual.
Belief in divinity that is panentheistic, meaning divinity is paradoxically both immanent (manifest in the world) and transcendent (beyond the material world) . Humanity, nature, and the entire universe are expressions of divinity and are not separate from it.
Manifestation of divinity dualistically as both female and male, Goddess and God, and beyond gender, known as the Great Spirit. Goddess, God, and Great Spirit manifest in all things, and can be found in the mythos of the ancient pagan goddesses and gods, as well as directly in nature through plants, animals, and minerals. The Goddess manifests primarily through the triune force of creation, sustainment, and destruction, and is poetically embodied as the Weavers of Fate, or Maiden, Mother, and Crone. The God manifests primarily through a dual nature, of light and darkness, life and death, above and below. He opens and closes the gates between matter and spirit and moves through the cycle of life, death, and rebirth through the solar light, vegetation, and animal life.
A cosmology that includes the physical world and the “otherworld” of spirit, divided by the veil. This otherworld is subdivided into a variety of realms, often known as the upper world and the lower world, with the physical world as the middle world. These three worlds can be further subdivided into groupings of nine, ten, or twelve. Just as the physical world is populated with humans, animals, and plants, the otherworld is populated with a variety spirits, gods, and ancestors.
Belief in the four powers of the universe as the elements. The elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water --- often represented as physical phenomenon -- are truly archetypal forces influencing every aspect of creation. They are created from, and return to, a fifth element, known as Spirit. The elements are symbolically expressed by the four directions, four seasons, and four ritual tools. We believe various spiritual entities are associated with, guide, and govern these forces, known as elementals.
Belief in the Seven Principles of Hermeticism, as described in The Kybalion, as a philosophical explanation of the functioning of the Universe.
As we are expressions of the divine, we too are both immanent and transcendent, and can develop abilities to commune with the divine both in the physical and through transcendent practices such as meditation, ritual, prayer, and visionary trance. We are able to commune with beings on the other side of the veil for wisdom, guidance, and healing.
Belief in magick, as the art, science, and spirituality of causing change in conformity with one’s will. Every thought, word, and deed is a potential act of magick, and shapes our reality. Each of us is responsible for shaping our reality through the practice of magick. Magick can occur through concentration, ritual, charm, art, dance, prayer, and communion with the spirits and divine.
Belief in the existence of a subtle life force energy, often called prana or chi, that sustains and animates all human, animal, plant, fungus, and mineral life. This life force can be described in terms of male and female or positive and negative currents. We believe we can enter into conscious relationship with this life force energy through trance, meditation, and ritual to heal and empower ourselves.
Belief in three primary forces found within the universe, and within its divine reflection, the individual self. The three primary forces are expressed as the Divine Will, Divine Heart, and Divine Mind. Together, the Divine Will, Divine Heart, and Divine Mind comprise the Great Spirit. They are expressed as three “rays” emanating out from the source throughout creation, poetically known by color as the Red Ray, Blue Ray, and Yellow Ray, or quality, as the Straight Line, the Bent Line, and the Crooked Line. Only through a union of Power, Love, and Wisdom within an individual can true magickal enlightenment occur.
A belief is five basic mystery traditions – oracular, fertility, ecstatic, Gnostic, and resurrection. Mysteries are spiritual events that must be experienced directly, beyond intellectual understanding, and usually occur through religious ritual, meditation, and the experiences of life. Each of these five mystery experiences leads to an understanding of divinity. These five paths lead one to understand and apply the magickal will to service of the self, community, planet, and divinity
A belief in life after death, and a multiple soul anatomy, meaning there is more than one spiritual “self” animating the physical body that lives beyond physical death. We primarily belief in a triune self, or three-part soul, influenced by other forces determined by birth and spiritual development. Our cosmology includes the concept of reincarnation and return to the physical world as well as the guidance from ancestors beyond the veil.
Those of the witchcraft traditions who reach “enlightenment” through the union of Power, Love, and Wisdom through the three souls can become deified through apotheosis, joining the ranks of the Mighty Dead or Hidden Company, similar to the communion of Saints in other religious traditions.
A belief in the importance of ritual and the creation of sacred space. Through the use of the symbol of the circle and honoring the four directions in a ritual known as the Magick Circle, we can more easily commune with and celebrate the divine in sacred space. Sacred space is any ritual setting that puts the participants “between the worlds” — communing with more than one level of reality. Ritual is necessary for the celebration of and attuning to the cycles of the Earth, Moon, Sun, and Stars. We believe human participation in the “turning of the wheel” of the year is necessary for the continued sustainment of life on Earth and good will between humanity and both nature and the spirit world.
Ritual practice of the Great Rite in token, a sacramental act of placing the Blade into the Cup to bring together the forces of God and Truth with Goddess and Love. Participants then drink the water, wine, or juice of the cup blessed with both the power of Goddess and God, uniting their own male and female energies within and becoming more like the Great Spirit. The Great Rite can be practiced beyond ritual token in the privacy of individual's home, but not in public ritual.
The use of the Pentacle as a symbol of faith and practice, consisting of a Pentagram, or upright five-pointed star, surrounded in a circle. The five points are indicative of the five senses with the sixth psychic sense surrounding the star as the circle, as well as the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. The pentacle is also an image of divinity, seeing three points for the Triple Goddess and two points for the Dual God. The pentacle has long been a symbol of the gateway to the mysteries, the five-petal rose of the Goddess and the incarnation of humanity with two arms, two legs and a head. It is both protective from all harm and enhances our spiritual awareness.
Belief in the relationship between the World, or Microcosm, with the Universe, or Macrocosm, best illustrated today through the art and science of astrology. We believe there is correspondence between the events on Earth and the events in the heavens, but one does not cause the other. The Microcosm and Macrocosm are intimately linked, and each reflects the other.
Believe in the concept of tuirigen. Tuirigen, similar to concepts about reincarnation, is a Celtic term more fully understood as a birth into the union of all lifetimes, of all things, creating the oneness of the Divine Mind, Divine Heart, and Divine Will. Tuirigen is an extension of the concept of the One Sorcerer/One Witch/One Initiate stretched from the beginning of time to the end, to include not only magickal practitioners, but also all living things.
A worldview that encompasses the magickal wisdom traditions of all lands, incorporating the ideas and concepts of many cultures and traditions, ancient and modern, into personal practice as each individual practitioner sees fit. The Temple’s traditions seeks to be inclusive of the ways of Witchcraft, Wicca, Neo-Paganism, Ceremonial Magick, Shamanism, Theosophy, and Alchemy, as well as the cultural practices of the Celts, Teutons, Greco- Romans, Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Hindus, Asians, Africans, and Native Americans.
We are a heuristic tradition, simultaneously drawing upon many different paradigms, systems, and sources of knowledge, as we see pertaining to the overall body of modern witchcraft. Coming from the same root as the Greek, eureka, which means, “to find, ” as a heuristic tradition we are not only seekers, but also finders of our own ways, and add to the body of lore and traditions when appropriate through syncretism and synthesis.
We are both a nature-based and occult tradition. Our beliefs are occult in the sense they are “hidden” and unseen by the majority of people and must be sought out, not given. With this hidden understanding of reality, the wisdom of the natural world opens to us and shows us its secrets. The study of nature, the veneration of nature, and time spent in nature are all ways to open the hidden doors to this secret wisdom.
The Temple of Witchcraft is an expression, system, and tradition of experience grounded in the teachings of modern witchcraft, Our training, theology, and rituals based upon the writings of Christopher Penczak, particularly the six books of The Temple of Witchcraft series, exploring the five lines of mystery traditions. These books are the foundation of the Mystery School and Seminary trainings of the Temple of Witchcraft.
Temple Membership Handbook ( http://www.templeofwitchcraft.org/Structure_files/TOWMemberHandbook.pdf)
The Temple of Witchcraft series (Llwellyn Publishing)
The Temple of Witchcraft
Location: Salem, New Hampshire
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