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Author Topic: Temple of Witchcraft series by Penczak  (Read 24939 times)
Raziel
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« Reply #15: July 24, 2010, 04:21:12 am »

In all, I think he's got some valid points taught in an easy to tackle set of instructions. Granted to take him with some salt, but like I've mentioned in another thread, he's not completely full of shit. The techniques he mention in his books can and do work. I dunno, maybe I'm just a sucker.
I agree, mostly.  I've read the first 5 books in the Temple set, and a couple of the others, but I constantly refer back to the practical work in the first one because the exercises are effective and useful. 

Yes, one should take his writing with a huge grain of the old salt, however I think that should be a standard practice when reading anything pertaining to oogie-boogie 'occultism.' 

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« Reply #16: July 24, 2010, 06:55:12 pm »

I'm probably going to get slammed for this, but he's one of my favorite Wiccan authors. I haven't read the Temple of Witchcraft books yet, although one's on my TBR shelf. I have read several others, and I liked them. I use the CD included in Witch's Shield daily. I'd recommend him.

Honestly, after participating in a large group trance ritual with him at Pantheacon a few years ago I've been seriously considering picking his stuff up, because his work felt solid to me, even if the theology he wrapped it in might be less so.

I actually met one of his students at church a few months ago (the last time I actually made it to church, heh).
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« Reply #17: July 24, 2010, 08:41:36 pm »


Nimue and Straycat,

Please don't forget to quote when you reply, even if you're replying to the thread as a whole.  It's required by the rules.  Thanks!

Best,
Catja
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« Reply #18: July 30, 2010, 07:20:26 am »

Nimue and Straycat,

Please don't forget to quote when you reply, even if you're replying to the thread as a whole.  It's required by the rules.  Thanks!

Best,
Catja
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Yes, I've been told that. A number of times. Once again, I apologize. I also explained why.
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« Reply #19: July 30, 2010, 08:00:51 am »

Yes, I've been told that. A number of times. Once again, I apologize. I also explained why.

I think there's just some miscommunication about what constitutes "responding to the shape of the thread" here.  I think what you're seeing as "responding to the shape of the thread", we're seeing as "responding to the first post".  For example, here, the initial post asked for opinions about Penczak's work, and you responded with an opinion about Penczak's work, so that seems like a pretty clear response to the first post. 

There is a provision in the rules that you can skip quoting if you're responding to the shape of the thread and there's genuinely nothing at all you can quote to show how your comment follows the discussion at hand--but those situations are very rare and should not happen very often.  Most often, there is something that sparked the thoughts you're expressing, or that logically ties your comments into the discussion.  If there are multiple similar posts that touched off your line of thought and you don't want to quote all of them, you can just choose one.  The point here (or, at least, part of it) is to allow people to follow the conversation more easily, and when you don't show us how your comments fit into the discussion that can get difficult.

If you're still unclear about what's required, please feel free to PM me with questions and I'll try to help clear things up.  We need you to follow the rules, but obviously it's difficult to do that if you don't understand them.  So if you don't understand, let's fix that instead of just trying to plow ahead and hope for the best, yes?  Wink
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« Reply #20: July 30, 2010, 06:01:01 pm »

I've recently been asked by a friend about Christopher Penczak's Temple of Witchcraft series, and I was wondering if any of the religious witches on the board could offer their opinions? I have not read them myself, and I know very little about religious witchcraft to be able to give a solid opinion. Thanks a bunch!

I had never heard of him before reading this post (can you tell I don't hang around the witchy subjects in the bookstore anymore Smiley ) Checking Amazon, I see he has a book called Gay Witchcraft.........WTF? When I see something like this, my BS detectors all start going off, and I just wonder how much he got paid to jump on that particular bandwagon... and why didn't I think of it first?!

oh yeah.....didn't think of it because .......WTF. Gay witches do the same thing as other witches....except the males dress snazzier......

(I'll probably get smacked by my gay daughter for making a gay male stereotype joke......I couldn't help myself. I ti s Friday and it has been such a long week.......)
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« Reply #21: September 01, 2010, 01:07:17 pm »

Nimue and Straycat,

Please don't forget to quote when you reply, even if you're replying to the thread as a whole.  It's required by the rules.  Thanks!

Best,
Catja
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I have to admit that I don't have read the serie either. I have the two fist books on my bookshelve I just didn't start thoses yet. But for the author, I have read ''city magic'' and I enjoy it. He is not shy to share his ideas even if the are... unusual for a pagan book some time.

The title remove the envy to read his book. ''temple of hight witchcraft''. It sound to me like there is low witchcraft. I am not saying that this is the message of the books, only that it is, for me, presented as a ''superior way'' and I don't like it. But the best way to have a clear point of view on it is to read it. ... ... Yes I will read it... when I will fell like it Smiley
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« Reply #22: September 01, 2010, 01:28:16 pm »

The title remove the envy to read his book. ''temple of hight witchcraft''. It sound to me like there is low witchcraft. I am not saying that this is the message of the books, only that it is, for me, presented as a ''superior way'' and I don't like it.

(As a side note:  Please quote the message you're replying to, not just any random message in the thread.  This will help everyone follow the discussion more easily.  Thanks!)

The thing is, there is such a thing as "low witchcraft".  I haven't read Penczak's work, but in general I think the important thing here is to understand that "high" and "low" don't mean "superior" and "inferior".  It's a distinction between two different approaches to magic, not a value judgement.

High magic involves a lot of ceremony and ritual; it's very formal and very precise stuff.  From the full title of that particular book (The Temple of High Witchcraft: Ceremonies, Spheres and The Witches' Qabalah), it sounds like "high witchcraft" is probably an accurate description of what the book's describing.

Low magic, on the other hand, is more sort of kitchen-witchy or hedge-witchy stuff.  Informal, using what you have at hand, improvising as necessary and generally not involving a lot of full-scale ritual.  It's not inferior to high magic; they just have different goals and different ways of achieving their goals.
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« Reply #23: September 01, 2010, 01:45:13 pm »

(As a side note:  Please quote the message you're replying to, not just any random message in the thread.  This will help everyone follow the discussion more easily.  Thanks!)

The thing is, there is such a thing as "low witchcraft".  I haven't read Penczak's work, but in general I think the important thing here is to understand that "high" and "low" don't mean "superior" and "inferior".  It's a distinction between two different approaches to magic, not a value judgement.

High magic involves a lot of ceremony and ritual; it's very formal and very precise stuff.  From the full title of that particular book (The Temple of High Witchcraft: Ceremonies, Spheres and The Witches' Qabalah), it sounds like "high witchcraft" is probably an accurate description of what the book's describing.

Low magic, on the other hand, is more sort of kitchen-witchy or hedge-witchy stuff.  Informal, using what you have at hand, improvising as necessary and generally not involving a lot of full-scale ritual.  It's not inferior to high magic; they just have different goals and different ways of achieving their goals.

Thanks for the reply it helps me understant this point of view. Sorry for the random quote I didn't check back when I wrote my reply thinking that it was for the first post.

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« Reply #24: September 01, 2010, 02:00:06 pm »

(As a side note:  Please quote the message you're replying to, not just any random message in the thread.  This will help everyone follow the discussion more easily.  Thanks!)

The thing is, there is such a thing as "low witchcraft".  I haven't read Penczak's work, but in general I think the important thing here is to understand that "high" and "low" don't mean "superior" and "inferior".  It's a distinction between two different approaches to magic, not a value judgement.

High magic involves a lot of ceremony and ritual; it's very formal and very precise stuff.  From the full title of that particular book (The Temple of High Witchcraft: Ceremonies, Spheres and The Witches' Qabalah), it sounds like "high witchcraft" is probably an accurate description of what the book's describing.

Low magic, on the other hand, is more sort of kitchen-witchy or hedge-witchy stuff.  Informal, using what you have at hand, improvising as necessary and generally not involving a lot of full-scale ritual.  It's not inferior to high magic; they just have different goals and different ways of achieving their goals.
I was wondering about the meaning of the terms. High and low witchcraft. I don't want to start a new topic in this post, but, Would it be more accurate to call it ceremonial magic, ritual magic and the like instead of hight magic? I don't see what is high nor do I see what is low in thoses differents path.

Let me explain... or at least try Smiley : someone can have a hight connextion with the divine by gardening as well than by conducting ritual. A kitchen witch is not more down to eart than someone involved in complex rituals.

i see the point with structure VS improvisation. But would that not be more acurate to use trems like instinctive magic and structured magic or something of the like?

My point is not to complain nor do I want to change the terms, I just want us to think about the ''Why' of thoses terms. '
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« Reply #25: September 01, 2010, 02:03:11 pm »


We've talked about this before on TC somewhere.  I tend to agree with you -- the "high"/"low" distinction implies a value judgment, and it's definitely intended as such by the ceremonial types who coined the terms.  I prefer "ceremonial" and "folk" instead -- it's more accurate, and less judgey.
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« Reply #26: September 01, 2010, 02:18:07 pm »

I tend to agree with you -- the "high"/"low" distinction implies a value judgment, and it's definitely intended as such by the ceremonial types who coined the terms. 

I stand corrected then. 

I always read it as a reference to a high level of organization/ceremony/formality vs. a low level, myself, hence my thinking it wasn't a value judgment.  ::shrug::  I know my background's a bit spotty here, though.
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« Reply #27: September 01, 2010, 03:07:22 pm »

The thing is, there is such a thing as "low witchcraft".  I haven't read Penczak's work, but in general I think the important thing here is to understand that "high" and "low" don't mean "superior" and "inferior".  It's a distinction between two different approaches to magic, not a value judgement.

The high magic/low magic distinction isn't entirely on formality of ritual; it's closer to an academic/practical distinction, and it has the same class/gender issues to it.

The thing with the ceremonial stuff is that its practitioners describe it as being about enlightenment, purifying the soul, personal development, and so on: the sort of stuff one cares about if one has a lot of leisure time and doesn't have to do much work.  It's this sort of thing that led me to coming across a blog a while back that argued that women don't do magic, because the smug jackass making the post was such a ceremonialist that ordinary-people-concerns just didn't register to him.

"Low magic", on the other hand, is oriented practically, to achieve material effects.  Curses, blessings, fertility work, healing, protection.  The sorts of things that your standard peasant farmer cares about.

Techniques tend to be more rarefied for high magic stuff, but that's a consequence of the class issues, I think, rather than the reason for the descriptor.

I think most magical systems have aspects of both (and stuff like "the protection one does so that one can do soul purification" probably falls under "high magic" in effect most of the time, even if protection magic is primarily a low magic concern).  Especially systems in which religious stuff blends with magical stuff, they'll have both.
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« Reply #28: September 01, 2010, 04:54:26 pm »

The high magic/low magic distinction isn't entirely on formality of ritual; it's closer to an academic/practical distinction, and it has the same class/gender issues to it.

I tend to agree. There is a real difference between high magic and low magic, but the choice of names was a value judgment based on the classes thought to usually be performing the magic.
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« Reply #29: September 01, 2010, 06:37:37 pm »


Yes, yes, and yes.  Historian Owen Davies' new book Grimoires talks quite a bit about this, with a lot of focus on the class/gender issues.  Because access to education was restricted by both class and gender, the grimoire/ceremonial magic tradition was limited pretty much entirely to middle-class and above men, and tended to reproduce the attitudes of those privileged groups.  Calling up and commanding spirits to do your bidding is much easier to conceptualize when you've been told since birth that you're entitled to order around over half the human race.
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