Thank the God (and Goddesses) for Christopher Penczak. The Qabala was a part of my training, but I can’t say that I ever truly ‘got it’ if you can see what I mean. (Ellen Cannon Reed’s The Witch’s Qabala was a great help, however and until now it would have been my only strongly recommended Qabala reference). It has remained a hole in my education that, thankfully, never needed to be filled or was especially taxed by a student who desired to know more than I could pass on.
The Temple of High Witchcraft is the fourth in Penczak’s series of ‘everything you need to know about witchcraft, no I really mean it*’ books. The first three were outstanding and High Witchcraft continues the quality.
The first four chapters are structural in nature – they provide background material upon which the next twelve lessons (one for each sphere of the Tree of Life) are based. The thirteenth chapter is an initiation that fuses ‘traditional’ witchcraft with high magick.
This is, not surprisingly, a very intellectual work that is nonetheless highly accessible to most readers. Penczak ‘deconstructs’ each level (or sphere) of the Tree of life through straightforward teaching and then enhances our knowledge by employing meditation and ritual. There is a collection of 4 CDs of mediations offered as an accompaniment to the book, and I highly recommend them as well.
One of the lessons that I found most challenging was the reworking of my own personal reality map. This is partially because I’ve been consciously re-mapping myself for several years now, and this teaching came along too late to make that process easier, but still in time to cause me to go back over terrain I thought I understood. I’m still in the midst of it, but after holding this review for almost a year in order to ‘complete my studies,’ I decided to wait no longer.
For many of us, witchcraft is unstructured and very ‘made up as we go along.’ I continue to enjoy practicing in that manner. But, after reading The Temple of High Witchcraft I find there are new levels to my knowledge and insights into my practices.
*my terminology, not his.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Christopher Penczak
Llewellyn Publications, 2007
pp. 576, $19.95