There are many religions within the Pagan religion. Much like there are all sorts of different Christian religions, each with its own traditions and rules, various Pagan religions also have their own individual traditions and rules.
Christopher Penczak is an award-winning author and a High Priest in the tradition of Witchcraft. He’s an ordained priest, an initiate of the Cabot Tradition of Witchcraft, and the founder of the Temple of Witchcraft tradition and organization.
On August 27, 2009, John Culbertson had the opportunity to interview this fascinating High Priest. Several topics were discussed in this interview including his views on the New Age World, influential books, and what’s up and coming in his life.
Christopher Penczak’s Professional Life
Q: What do you do for a living?
CP: “I am a professional minister who makes additional income through writing books on metaphysical topics. Basically, I make my living from teaching, writing, and private counsel work.”
Q: Tell us about how you got into your line of work.
CP: “I didn’t really intend to. I was working at a record label/recording studio and trying to make my own living as a musician and song writer. I had already been trained in Witchcraft and in my regular meditations, got a vision of the Goddess saying, ‘Teach more.’
I didn’t want to, and as soon as I resisted, the meditation stopped and I was snapped back to waking consciousness. This happened several times. Finally I gave in, but only grudgingly. I told her that I was working a full time job, in a relationship, already running a once-a-month Moon circle. She would need to get me the time.
I lost my job three days later, laid off due to budgeting. I knew the company was in bad shape, but we all thought at least three more people would be laid off before me. But it was me. Economy was good then, mid-nineties, and i couldn’t get a job anywhere. I was thinking of moving to NYC or Los Angeles, but my partner Steve did not want to. He was willing, but it wasn’t his first choice.
I tried to temp for a while. I had seven temp jobs that didn’t last more than a day before they permanently filled the position with someone other than me. The eighth job burned down to the ground before I could get there. I went back into meditation and asked the Goddess what job I should do, and she said, ‘Now you can teach more.’
I stopped trying to temp after that and put up a flyer for meditation classes and got a full house. Things just took off. I spent my time writing a book while on unemployment, and by the time I was ready, I had three books done. One was just practice and never got published. The other two were City Magick and Spirit Allies.”
Q: What lessons has your work life taught you?
CP: “Many things, but most importantly, how to listen to my soul, to spirit, and to make my life’s goal fulfilling my true will, with love and wisdom.”
About Christopher Penczak’s Religion
Q: Can you tell us about your religious beliefs/spiritual beliefs? What is your religion?
CP: “My religion is panentheistic, meaning the divine is found both in the transcendent and the material. We see nature as an expression of the divine, but not the only expression of the divine. I believe in a plurality of gods stemming from the same source, just as we have a plurality of people stemming from the same source. I believe in spirits, angels and faeries. I believe in magick as the ability to create change in your reality. I believe everything has a consciousness to it and can be communed with.”
Q: What was the most profound spiritual moment of your life?
CP: “I’d say recently the most profound experience I had was a vision of the dark side of the Green Man, calling himself the Green Devil and explaining to me the nature of life and death in the world. It’s hard to pick just one, as I have many profound experiences on this path, that help me awaken and evolve, but they might not be that profound for other people.”
Q: Does your religion believe in the after-life? What will be like?
CP: “Much like the Tibetan Bardo, I think it depends on your consciousness upon death. I believe in a multiple soul cosmology, and that when you die, your physical soul, or middle soul breaks down and returns to the land. The lower soul connects to the pools of ancestral energy and wisdom and your higher soul resides in the “tree of the world” from a high view point. One might say heaven. Those who die in a state of alignment continue their consciousness with all three souls and become what we might call the Might Dead, Boddisattvas or Ascended Masters.”
Christopher Penczak Speaks on the New Age World
Q: What do you dislike most about the new age world?
CP: “Nothing really. I think things evolve as they should and can. I think things should be going in a direction of greater depth and facing the unseen, so that’s what I write about and teach about. I don’t necessarily think others should do the same unless they feel called to do so. We each have a part.”
Q: Do you do psychic readings? Have you ever? What type of readings do/did you do? How much do/did you charge? What is the most important thing that a person should keep in mind when receiving and/or giving a psychic reading?
CP: “I have done psychic readings and still do. My preferred method is tarot, though I also do rune readings and straight psychic readings with no tools, but i like tarot because its gives people a picture to look at when they don’t understand the more subtle points of what you say.
Prices have changed over the years, but generally in my office, I charge $75 for an hour of my professional time, in any form of consultation – reading, counseling, private lesson. When I read at a different store or center, I let them set the price. I think the most important thing to remember is a good reader tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. If they only tell you what you want to hear, they are not a good reader.”
Books that Have Influenced Christopher Penczak
Q: What books have most influenced your life?
CP: “I’d say Power of the Witch is hugely influential, as it was my first book on Witchcraft. Doreen Valiente’s books are a big influence, as well as The Robert Cochrane letters by Robert Cochrane. The Vampire Lestat was pretty influential, in terms of enjoying life and making the most of whatever your situation is. The Sandman series of comic by Neil Gaiman have been hugely influential on me. And some of the most fun books I’ve enjoyed recently have been Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Madame Blavatsky and Alice Bailey made huge impressions on me, but I can’t say their books are my favorites.”
Q: What book are you reading now?
CP: “Shambhala by Victoria LePage. And I’m avidly awaiting the next issue of the “Darkest Night” saga in the Green Lantern comics.”
2009 Christopher Penczak News
Q: What are your current projects?
CP: “Currently, I’m working on a book about Plant Spirit Familiars. And desperately trying to edits three books. I hate editing. They are on love magic, another on trance magick, and another on a personal vision I had, tentatively called The Three Rays of Witchcraft.“
Q: Please tell us about your latest news?
CP: “I have a new book coming out in the fall, called The Witch’s Coin. It’s about money magick and the secret to true prosperity from a pagan, Earth centered perspective.
I’ve started a Temple that has recently incorporated in the State of NH, called The Temple of Witchcraft. We’re currently raising funds in hope to create a retreat center.”
Q: How can one find out more information about you?
CP: My website is probably easiest – ChristopherPenczak.com