So it’s been several months since last I wrote… seems to happen to me a lot, but what can I say? I have a ton of stuff going on the vast majority of the time. That and I’ve just been dealing with a few issues here and there. It sucks sometimes. I can’t say I’m going to fill in everyone on the exact details of what’s been going on, but let’s just say it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses the last couple months.
It’s times like these that I am oh so grateful for therapy and knowing that there are people I can call when I know I’m in over my head. In the meantime…
I’ve started a new leg of my Craft journey! So those in the know, know that over the past several years, I’ve been taking an online apprenticeship with Christopher Penczak, working through his Temple tradition levels of training. I’ve gone through the first 3 levels and have just started the 4th level… which excites me to no end!
So maybe I should give a quick rundown of each of the levels I’ve worked through? Sounds interesting I think!
So back in September 2010, I gained acceptance to the Temple of Witchcraft online Witchcraft One class… also known as the Inner Temple of Witchcraft or even as ITOW. At this point, I had been involved in paganism for around 14 years, though at that point, it had been several years since I had done any sort of formal training. Either way, when I first started I thought it was going to be a pretty easy course since it was all so “basic”…
Boy was I ever wrong!
First off, my ego certainly needed to be put in check, because while there were some aspects of the course that were easier for me… there were others that were most definitely not my forte. *sighs* That and I also had to deal with being challenged in my beliefs, how I view things and also, how to explain my views to other people. I had to learn to take a step back when things triggered me so I wouldn’t fly off the handle and act like a fool. And my biggest lesson to learn… my experience is NOT going to be the same as someone else’s experience. It wasn’t an easy year for me at times. It didn’t help that I was also going through some seriously crazy emotional upheavals (some of which were epically recorded on this very blog) and the gods were making a point to challenge me as much as they could.
Some of the more interesting lessons dealt with Quantum mechanics, meditation, Hermetic philosophy, energy work… well, hell… it was all really interesting. Though the lesson on healing was one that I was really nervous about. The reason for this, is no matter how skilled I thought I was, no matter what sort of crazy things I had experienced… there was always a little voice in the back of my mind that expressed a wee little niggle of doubt. The lesson on distance healing was do or die time for me… and when I did it… and actually got “correct hits”, yeah, that’s when I knew it wasn’t all in my head. Funny isn’t it? I spent all those years studying, even joined an amazing coven, and there were still doubts in my mind. It was breathtaking, exhilarating and empowering!
I started in September 2010, and by the time the course finished in October of 2011… I was ready to begin my next level of training.
November 2011 and I began Witchcraft Two (The Outer Temple of Witchcraft or OTOW). This level is what most newcomers to the Craft begin with… basic spell design, the Wheel of the Year, circle work and ritual. But in the Temple tradition, that work is saved for the second level of training… and I get why. When you think about it… you read books or hear people talking about moving energy during ritual, but if you’ve never taken the time to properly learn how to work with your own energy, how to tap that energy… how in the world are you going to be able to use it for spell work and ritual?! So I spent the second year of training learning new elemental correspondences, some of which challenged the hell out of me. Christopher puts Air in the South and Fire in the East, which was very difficult for me to get around and mostly for the silly reason of “that’s the way I first learned it”… so I had to learn to open my mind even more and be open to other ways of doing things. It was crazy and intense and I loved it.
I didn’t really have too many issues with this course until towards the end… where we had to start putting together spells and actually using the skills we were learning. I had told the Dean of Students that I was having a hard time coming up with things to work magick for, and she replied that there was always something we could use our magick for… so there I was going for it and for once… acting like a Witch.
So finally in October of 2012, I finished the second level and was ready to start what I consider to be the most challenging and difficult level yet.
In November 2012, I started Witchcraft Three (Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft or TOSW) and was introduced to material that I was most definitely not particularly experienced with. I had some minor brushes with basic shamanism before, but those were really just basic “this is what it is” types of experiences, so I didn’t know what to expect.
It changed my life.
I was made to face myself, my fears, and make peace with them. I had to take a good, long, hard look in a mirror and face it. I journeyed into my Self, met with the Gods, met with my spirit guides, and found my light.
I also had to grapple a little with those self-doubts that came and spouted up a few times… but they were pretty minor. I also had to realize that not every exercise was going to be earth shattering and deeply significant. Some of them were like “meh, what’s up?” sort of experiences, like when we journeyed to the faery realms. My other classmates were having these awesome journeys, and mine was like “hey man, how’s it going?” where I just chilled out. No deep messages or anything, just chillin… which is kind of funny.
Others were more of an earth shattering experience. Like when we were going deeper with the Wheel of the Year, and since it was Beltaine, I worked with that one, and came up with something so completely awesome that I almost couldn’t take it. It rocked me to my core. Later lessons were even more intense and I am really glad I’m in therapy already, otherwise I might have had to start looking up to find one.
One of the end exercises had some music set to it that immediately reduced me to tears, it touched me. It resonated and that journey was one of the most powerful ones I’ve ever had. I worked with my Shadows and began healing my wounded inner self, and made it a new spiritual partner.
I finished in December 2013, and prepared myself for the next level… which I was very excited for…
So here I am, May 2014, and I’ve finally started Witchcraft Four, (Temple of High Witchcraft or TOHW), and this makes me so ridiculously happy I can’t stand it. This level is based heavily on Qabalah and Ceremonial magick, which is what much of my earlier experiences with witchcraft was based on. So for me, this is like coming back to my roots, as well as a way for me to deepen my understanding and practices. I am so jazzed about this I can’t even stand it. Right now, we’re doing Qabalah basics, but after this, we’ll be going through each of the sephira of the Tree of Life, which should be pretty kick ass, so yeah!!
Also, the website is going through some changes, there will be new content coming soon enough (if I can get the pages to freaking format right!) so be on the look out!
This is the latest in the life of me!