In 2002, six years ago, Christopher Penczak gave us the first installment in his Temple of Witchcraft series and with volumes 1 and 2 of The Living Temple of Witchcraft: Mystery, Ministry, and the Magickal Life he is finishing the cycle. I’ve reviewed most of this series and am frankly running out of superlatives and new ways to say ‘this is great!’ Shortest review ever: This is a must-have addition to your magickal library if you are anything but a novice. (If you’re a novice, go get the first book in the series. Now.)

The subtitle of The Living Temple of Witchcraft gives us our first glimpse into the areas we’ll explore with Penczak this time: Mystery, Ministry, and the Magickal Life. This volume is not for newcomers to the Craft, but for those wishing to explore being a leader and taking a larger role within the Pagan community. Every witch has a personal connection with the Divine – that’s a basic component of our beliefs – but not every witch has the desire, or skills, to also take on the role of priestess to others. As the Neopagan community has grown more established, the desire for leaders has grown, and we are slowly acquiring training through our large-scale teachers (books) that help fill the need.

Penczak makes two things absolutely clear at the outset: the final calling of a witch is to be clergy, it is a necessary component of being a witch; no book can make you a high priest/ess. He knows darn well that most witches are content to find a personal practice that connects them more deeply into the natural world, but go no further. The Living Temple of Witchcraft is a guide for those who hear the ‘call’ but have no one in their life to assist them to the next level. It’s an eclectic collection of teachings based on the seven chakras and tied to the seven gates of the Goddess’ descent, a traditional part of a second-degree initiatory cycle.

Penczak is a superb teacher and a fine author. His writings are as good as much of what is personally taught.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry


Author: Christopher Penczak

Llewellyn Publications, 2008

pp. 408, $21.95