Bottrell, William, in Kelvin I. Jones, ed., Cornish Witches & Cunning Men. Penzance: Oakmagic Publications, 1996.
Penczak, Christopher (1973- ) Witch and popular author of books on Witchcraft and MAGIC.
Christopher Penczak was born on May 10 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was raised a Catholic and spent 12 years in Catholic school. Some early paranormal experiences helped to set the stage for his later conversion to Witchcraft.
Penczak was in the fourth grade when he had a spontaneous out-of-body experience in class. To others, it appeared as though he fainted, then revived. He watched the entire experience out of body. Years later, he had another intense paranormal experience an after-death visitation of his great aunt Mary. About a week after Mary's death, he was at school and saw her image in a glass. The image spoke to him and sent him into a mild trance state. Others explained the experience as a grief-induced daydream, but Penczak knew it was more, that he had had a genuine visitation from Mary.
Catholicism provided no satisfactory answers for these early paranormal experiences, nor did it help him with his realization at a young age that he was gay. Penczak went through a stage of agnosticism and then began studying Eastern spirituality through the practice of yoga.
In 1991, Penczak enrolled in University of Massachusetts at Lowell. A woman who was a family friend introduced him to Witchcraft. At first, he felt simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by it, but the more he learned and experienced, the more the Craft appealed to him. He attended a full moon RITuAL that brought the power of the Craft home to him in a vivid way. The ritual took place outdoors under a cloudy sky. His friend, the high priestess, called upon the GODDESS of the MOON to part the clouds so that the Moon could shine down. The clouds parted, and the sky remained open until she closed the ritual, and the clouds covered the sky again. At this ritual, he also had the opportunity to do a healing spell for a friend, and the result of that spell impressed him so much that he decided to pursue further study in Witchcraft.
Penczak's friend became his first mentor in the Craft. She introduced him to the work of her teacher, Laurie CABOT, through Laurie's book The Power of the Witch, cowritten with Tom Cowan. His mentor encouraged him to take Cabot's courses on the art, science and religion of Witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. The Craft helped him to explore and celebrate his sexual nature.
He formed an informal COVEN with his mother and a college friend, both of whom also studied with Laurie, and began doing rituals for all the Moon observances, the WHEEL OF the Year, healing and SPELL work. The coven remained intact through is college years and became the nucleus of later magickal groups.
After college, Penczak pursued a career in the music industry as a rock singer, worked in A&R administration in a Boston-area studio-turned-record-company known as Fort Apache, and continued his personal studies in Witchcraft. When he was laid off work, he turned to teaching classes in Witchcraft, the start of his success in the Craft.
In 1999, he became a reiki master and a certified flower-essence consultant. In 2000, he was ordained as a non-denominational minister by the Universal Brotherhood Movement, Inc., of Florida. In 2002, he graduated from a medicinal herbal-apprentice program.
Penczak lives in New Hampshire with his husband, Steve Kenson, a designer and developer of role-playing games. He works full time as a writer, teacher, presenter and healer. He is a part time faculty member at the North Eastern Institute of Whole Health and a founding member and past secretary of the Gifts of Grace Foundation, a nonprofit community service organization in New Hampshire. He is owner of HelioLuna Flower Essences.
In his teachings, Penczak emphasizes Witchcraft as temple work, a spiritual path of truth and responsibility, healing, empowerment, and individual relationship with the divine. It is important to have a foundation in metaphysics, psychic ability and the principles of magic before one can learn effective applications in rituals.
An eclectic at heart, he teaches no lineage tradition. His four temple books on Witchcraft teach Witchcraft as a mystery tradition devoted to spiritual development, direct contact with the divine, inner planes work and self-empowerment. These teachings reflect trends in Witchcraft and Paganism toward a deeper exploration of the mys-
teries, rather than traditional spellcraft, and an ongoing merging of Witchcraft and Paganism with other spiritual traditions. Penczak's goal is to bring together mainstream metaphysical practices, such as reiki, and Theosophy, and ascension with occultist, Witchcraft and shamanic traditions. His personal spiritual practice involves intellectual research, divine inspiration, meditation and inner journey work.
Penczak is a prolific author, and his books have received numerous awards. In 2002, his book City Magick won Best Magic Book from the Coalition of Visionary Retailers. In 2003, he won the same award for The Inner Temple of Witchcraft. In 2004, he received multiple awards from the Coalition of Visionary Retailers, including a tie for Best Book of the Year for The Outer Temple of Witchcraft.
He wrote one of the first mainstream books for gay Witches, Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe (2003), as an outgrowth of his own search for meaning in a spiritual tradition oriented to a masculine-feminine polarity. He discovered many gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender themes in mythology and early paganism and applied them to his own evolving spiritual practice. He wanted to bring these early roots to light, to counter some of the existing prejudice against homosexuality that he encountered within the Craft and Paganism. The book has become instructional for the Pagan community at large.
Other books include Spirit Allies: Meet Your Team from the Other Side (2002); The Witch's Shield: Protection Magick and Psychic Self-Defense (2004); Magick of Reiki (2004); Magick of Reiki: Focused Energy for Healing, Ritual, & Spiritual Development (2004); Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft
(2005); Instant Magick: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Spellcraft
(2006); Sons of the Goddess: A Young Man's Guide to Wicca (2006); The Mystic Foundation: Understanding and Exploring the Magical Universe (2006); Ascension Magick: Ritual, Myth & Healing for the New Aeon (2007); and The Living Temple of Witchcraft, Volume One: The Descent of the Goddess (2008). The Living Temple of Witchcraft, Volume Two: The Journey of the God was scheduled for 2009.
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