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The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft: Shadows, Spirits and the Healing Journey Paperback – Jul 8 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (July 8 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738707678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738707679
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 19.2 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Christopher Penczak is an eclectic witch, writer, and healing practitioner. His practice draws upon the foundation of modern Witchcraft blended with the wisdom of mystical traditions from across the globe. Formerly based in the music industry, Christopher was empowered by his spiritual experiences to live a magickal life, and began a full-time practice of teaching, writing, and seeing clients. His books include the The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation, and Psychic Development, The Inner Temple of Witchcraft CD Companion set, City Magick (Red Wheel/Weiser), Spirit Allies (Red Wheel/Weiser), Gay Witchcraft (Red Wheel/Weiser), the award-winning The Outer Temple of Witchcraft: Circles, Spells, and Rituals, The Outer Temple of Witchcraft CD Companion Set, The Witch's Shield, Magick of Reiki, Sons of the Goddess, and the new Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Witchcraft and Shamanism

To most people, witchcraft and shamanism appear to be two distinct and separate disciplines. The general public associates shamanism with the holy healing people of native tribes, while they associate witches with spells, potions, Halloween, and, due to popular misconceptions, evil. The two seem worlds apart, but in reality, they come from a very similar root.

What Is a Shaman?

The word shaman, or saman, is Tungus in origin, coming from the Ural-Altaic tribal people of Siberia. Related to the Tungus word sa, which translates as to know, the Siberian people use the word saman to refer to men and women who act as the spiritual healers and wise ones of the tribe. They are the ones who know the mysteries of spirit. The word shaman is properly used to refer to the spirit healers of those tribes who share a similar genetic origin to those of Siberia. It is usually used in reference to the healers of the North and South American tribes, but culturally and linguistically it can be used throughout Eurasia. The role of the shaman applies to both men and women, though culturally one gender can be more prevalent than the other. Few refer to female shamans with a different word, such as shamaness. Sexual orientation and gender identity does not preclude one from shamanism either. In many traditions, shamans dress in the clothes of the opposite gender or practice homosexuality. For anthropologists exploring the spiritualities of tribal societies, the word shaman is an easier and safer term than the words witch, wizard, sorcerer, magician, and seer, even though these labels were used in the past to describe the tribal shamans European counterparts. For those from a Western mainstream academic background, shaman has less negative baggage than these other highly charged terms. In an effort to be more precise, some anthropologists and mystical students use the term core shamanism to differentiate the use of shamanic techniques and ideas from traditional Siberian or Native shamanism. Although it is not a religion, shamanism has a definitive set of core practices that sets it apart from other traditions of magick, yet it can be found worldwide, particularly in tribal cultures, and in the foundations of visionary traditions. Not all mystics can be referred to as shamanistic in the truest sense of the word. Core concepts to the practice of shamanism include the following:

The ability to enter an altered state of consciousness through the use of sound, rhythm, movement, and plants. The experience of one or more nonphysical realities that are just as real to the practitioner as the physical world, and of actions in the nonphysical worlds that directly affect the physical world. The use of an altered state, a trance sometimes defined as an ecstasy, to project self-awareness from the physical world to the nonphysical worlds. Dealings with nonphysical beings, or spirits, who enter into a relationship with the practitioner. They offer guidance, healing, or power used to create change in the physical world. Other mystics may have the same gifts and abilities but do not access them through ecstatic trance or working with the spirits. Though they can be gifted medicine people or spell casters, without that link to the spirit world they are not necessarily shamans. The voluntary interface with the unseen and the ability to use this link to create change is what sets a shaman apart from other magi. Shamans are typically equated with the title of medicine person, though not all medicine men and women use shamanic techniques to effect healing. Humanity seems to be hard-wired with a few common ways to interface with the spirit world. These interfaces are a natural part of our physical and spiritual makeup. Wise ones across the globe separately discovered and applied these techniques and then applied their own cultural beliefs and rituals to them. These techniques have survived because they work. Archaeological evidence indicates that shamanic practice is at least 20,000 years old, making it truly the oldest profession. The recognition of core shamanic techniques in the lands beyond Siberia and the Americas has led to the somewhat controversial use of terms such as Celtic Shamanism and Norse Shamanism, applying a cultural adjective to the shamanic practice. Practitioners of these other cultural traditions sometimes resent the label of shamanism. The word shaman, being from Siberia, was never used by the ancestors of the Celts, Norse, or any other Europeans. A Celtic practitioner once asked me why we dont say Siberian Druidism or Asian Druidism, and in a way he had a point. Through this anthropological choice, shamanism became a default term recognizable to all. This practice of using the word shaman as a generic label has led to a bit of confusion and some difficult feelings. Those involved in the Native tribes feel that culturally it is their word and resent it being used as a generic label or default term. Modern pagans, sharing a similar spiritual history with tribal communities, should be sensitive to these feelings and make an effort to create bridges of understanding. As you study these techniques, it is important to remember that although there are great similarities between the healing practices of many cultures, there are also great differences in thought, philosophy, and interpretation. Such differences must be respected. When I first started on my shamanic path, I attended a lecture in the Boston area by a scholarly and experienced Celtic practitioner of the Underworld traditions, visiting from the United Kingdom. He insisted, and made quite a convincing case, that there is no such thing as Celtic shamanism. In his opinion, people who use the term are careless, sloppy scholars and need to be better educated. The...(Continues)

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I love c penczak but this is not on my must read books, he is neopagan so shamans prob wont like it as much, his book on reiki or high magick was better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 37 reviews
71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Penczak does it again! June 30 2005
By Elizabeth Walter - Published on
Format: Paperback
"The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft" was highly anticipated by myself, and I got it the day it was released. My only thoughts right now are: whatever the fourth book will be in the series, I am there.

Once again, Christopher Penczak hits the nail on the head. He starts off with an in-depth cultural history of shamanism, more than I was ever aware of. After that, he's off and running. Sacred space, ethics, cosmology, tools, power animals, the Underworld, the Angelic world, countless journeying...I can go on and on. Just about everything, almost every concept, is illustrated with diagrams and/or tables.

This is more information than I have ever seen before altogether in one book about shamanism. Although I have studied this practice myself and have some wonderful teachers, this book will be invaluable to me. As always, Mr. Penczak brings my spirit to that place of wonder, excitement, and awe in the natural world. I am now impatiently awaiting his fouth book in the Temple series. Whatever it is, I am so there. Thanks, Christopher.
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely Amazing! Sept. 5 2005
By E. Cantrell - Published on
Format: Paperback
I had not read anything by this author before, but I am a Hellenic Shaman, so I thought I'd give it a read. I was absolutely blown away by the care and research that Christopher put into this book. He includes Shamanic techniques from all around the world. There was even some Greek information, which I enjoyed immensely.

I like Christopher's focus on healing, as I am in the process of retrieving soul pieces myself. It is obvious that this man has dedicated his life to helping and healing others. After reading this, I just had to run out and get a copy of Spirit Allies, which I'm enjoying just as much.

Basically, this author is fantastic. You've GOT to read him.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Third "Temple" Book Oct. 30 2007
By hmv - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the third in Penczak's Temple of Witchcraft Series. I actually read it out of order, after the Inner Temple. I don't think I missed much by skipping the Outer Temple, but he did reference material and exercizes in both books frequently. As with the others, this book is laid out as a year-long lesson plan, with a few introductory chapters, then 12 lessons, one per month, with exercizes culminating in an initiation ritual.

All the Temple books are long, 400+ pages, and packed with information. It took me a long time to get through this one, but I'm glad I finished it. I've decided I don't really care for Penczak's writing - he tends to be verbose and repetitious, but not excessively so - but I do like his books.

This book describes the first lessons of a potential shaman. There are chapters on animal spirits, plant medicine (he even explains the poisonous ones), healing, and traveling in the three spheres, the upper, middle and lower worlds. The ultimate exercize at the end of the book is called "distilling the shadow," where you really get in touch with yourself. I haven't done any of the exercizes myself yet, in fact I am just starting the first book's exercizes, because I like to read it first to get an idea of what's in store. In fact, I recommend that, because even Penczak says the shamanic path is not for everyone. Even if you don't follow the lessons, this is still a good book full of information.

Being initiated into shamanism is no easy task. It takes a lot of hard work and you really have to be willing to put the time and effort into it. He said the distilling the shadow experience can make you not your usual self for weeks.

I highly recommend this book and the series. They are good guides for solitary practitioners.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Intro to All things Shamanism June 15 2006
By BibliophilePagan - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book was an excellent compilation of studies from all shamanic taditions, not rejecting or favoring any one culture. I loved the use of the World Tree as a journeying tool, and definitely benefitted from it. It also is a collection of herbal associations and totem animal meanings, and has a great layout that guides the reader through various exercises that strengthen their work in the shamanic realms. I really don't have anything to complain about with this book, I felt it covered at least all of the most important bases, and helps a person grow through use of various meditations and exercises.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
exceptional guide for study Aug. 30 2005
By Moonlightwillows - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book for continuing your spiritual studies, clear and very readable, never dry reading. Excellent addition to the collection of a true seeker.

Thank you