Author: Christopher Penczak
Trade Paperback, 457 pages
Publication date: 2005
List: US$17.95, C$24.50
Price & More Info: Click Here
This is the middle book in a series of five: The Inner Temple of Witchcraft
(the element of Fire), The Outer Temple of Witchcraft The element of Earth),
then this book The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft (the element of Water), The
Temple of High Witchcraft (the element of Air), and an as-yet unnamed fifth
book (the "element" of Spirit).
Whether or not you agree with all that Christopher has to say (and I don't
necessarily), you have to acknowledge that he has an approach which has
worked for him and which is capable of communicating in an intelligent, and
intelligible, manner. As a good example of this, I quote the following
(from page 3): "Modern Pagans, sharing a similar spiritual history with
tribal communities, should be sensitive to these feelings and make an effort
to create bridges of understanding. As you study these techniques it is
important to remember that although there are great similarities between the
healing practices of many cultures, there are also great differences in the
thought, philosophy, and interpretation. Such differences must be
As with the previous titles in this series, this is a book which is intended
to be worked through, not just read through. It also comes with a CD
companion (available separately, and at additional cost) which contains
chants, rhythms, etc. which would be helpful for the individual just
starting out on their path. I can't speak to the quality of these CDs (one
for each of the volumes in the series) yet, as I have not yet ordered them
None of these books are easy reading, although they are all clearly written.
The difficulty lies not in how the information is conveyed, but rather in
the challenges offered to conventional ways of thinking about, and
Unfortunately, from my perspective, Christopher perpetuates one common
misunderstanding regarding the Wiccan Rede (on page 64) when he says "The
Wiccan Rede is."An' it harm none, do what ye Will.'" That is NOT the Wiccan
Rede; it is the last eight words (the summation, if you will) of the Wiccan
Rede. While it is good advice, as he says, there is much more to it than
those few words.
On the reverse side of the coin, in the very next paragraph, he reminds the
reader "Don't take yourself so seriously. Be disciplined, but have fun.
Learn to laugh at yourself." Far too many practitioners today have
forgotten to learn this vital lesson. It is all too easy to become full of
Once again, in this book as in the others of his I have read, Christopher is
careful to indicate when he is sharing something which is opinion, versus
what is accepted as fact. Too many authors fail to make this distinction
clear in their books.
Although I have never taken any of his classes in person, he comes across
through his writing as a personable, enjoyable teacher. He writes for the
"average" reader, assuming neither too little nor too much about his readers' background knowledge.
Like each of the books in this series, The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft is
designed to be worked through over the course of a year and a day. It
serves as both an inspiration and a resource. Reading through it, although
informative will not be transformative. It is necessary to experience the
events contained within the covers of this book. If you work through all
five books in this series, you will find yourself with a grasp (and
hopefully control) of all the elements, and, more importantly, all of the
aspects of your own life and existence; thus finding yourself in a position
to help guide others in the same pursuit.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason