Christopher Penczak is a modern Witch working in the Temple of Witchcraft tradition and community he helped co-found as a writer, teacher, and minister. His practice focuses on the intersection of Love, Will, and Wisdom as an ethos for today’s Witch, and focuses upon relationships with the plant realm, the patterns of astrology, traditional occultism, and the use of trance in the Craft.
He is the author of many books, including the award winning Temple of Witchcraft series, The Plant Spirit Familiar, and The Mighty Dead, as well as the co-owner of Copper Cauldron Publishing. The Temple of Witchcraft offers in-person and online mystery school and seminary training based upon his teachings.
Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on May 10, 1973, Christopher was raised in an Italian/Polish family while living in Salem, NH. After twelve years of Catholic school and becoming an avowed agnostic struggling with the intersection of his spirituality and queer sexuality, he initially pursued an interest in chemistry, stemming from a childhood fascination with alchemy and herbalism. As a youth, he had an out-of-body experience, passing out in a fourth grade science class, but observing the whole scene in spirit from above the room. While in high school, he was visited by an apparition of his recently deceased great aunt. Memories of these two experiences made him question his dedication to science and pursue a study of the mystical and occult, as well as his artistic pursuits. He attended the University of Massachusetts as a vocal major, earning a Bachelor of Music Performance/Music Business in 1995 and set his sights on becoming a full time performer. While studying classical voice, he founded a band called Doctor Soulshine that fused mystical imagery and shamanic concepts to traditional heavy rock music.
While in college, a long time friend and teacher introduced Christopher to the principles of Witchcraft, meditation, tarot and spell work. At first he was skeptical, but his experience with a healing spell at a full Moon ritual was enough to convince him that there was truth to these ideas and he sought to understand more. He took classes with the Official Witch of Salem, Massachusetts, Laurie Cabot, in her Cabot Tradition with an emphasis on Witchcraft As A Science. He was fascinated with the science and philosophy of her teaching, grounding Witchcraft in sound thinking and personal experience. A psychic healing experience left him with a sense of empowerment and spiritual connection and a dedication to pursue magick deeply. After this initial training, he studied with an assortment of Witches, shamans, yogis, psychic readers, and healers in the New England area, developing an eclectic path of personal Witchcraft. He later focused on the healing arts, completing training as a Reiki Master (Teacher) in the Usui-Tibetan and Shamballa traditions and certification as a flower essence consultant and an herbalist.
After graduation, Christopher began work at the A&R department of Fort Apache, a recording studio and record label in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working for artists such as Juliana Hatfield and Tanya Donelly of Belly. He soon found himself leading meditations and ritual groups for friends seeking to know more about the Craft. During his time in the Boston area, Christopher experimented with the ideas he later wrote about in his first published book City Magick: Urban Rituals, Spells and Shamanism. The initial ritual group formed the nucleus of the first Temple of Witchcraft series of classes and books, with many students forming the core community leaders.
Although having no real interest in teaching Witchcraft formally as a vocation, Christopher received a message during a meditation in 1998 to start teaching more and begin writing. Thinking it was his imagination, Christopher ignored it, saying to himself and the universe, “I’m too busy with my music career. If you want me to teach, give me the time.” The next week he was laid off from his job at Fort Apache and had plenty of time. Although with a booming economy and many job opportunities, he had no luck finding a position in the music industry, or a more traditional office job. When he posted a few flyers about meditation and Witchcraft classes at a local shop, the response was immediate and he began teaching classes in his home. Soon he was asked to present workshops at local new age stores and centers. Christopher’s practice focuses on introspection, encouraging others to find their own path and create their own traditions while having a solid foundation in the art, science and spirituality of Witchcraft.
Since those early years, he has written extensively, founding The Second Road Newsletter: A Journal of Alternative Spirituality (1997-2002), contributing to numerous magazines and writing over thirty books on spirituality, Witchcraft, healing and magick winning multiple awards, most notably from the Coalition of Visionary Resources. Together with his life partners and fellow authors Steve Kenson and Adam Sartwell, founded Copper Cauldron Publishing in 2009 as a way to have their writing better support the Temple of Witchcraft community.
As a community leader, Christopher was first ordained in the Universal Brotherhood Movement, Inc (2000) as an independent minister, initiated as High Priest in the Cabot Tradition of Witchcraft (2008) alongside Sully Erma of the rock band Godsmack, served as the secretary for Gifts of Grace Foundation, and director of publicity for the Between the Worlds Queer Pagan Brotherhood Festival. Through his teachings, Christopher was a founding member of the Coven of a New Dawn (1999-2009), co-founder of the gay men’s group The Circle of the Sacred Thyrsus (2006-2010), a guest teacher in the Cabot Academy of Witchcraft, and was a part time faculty member of the North Eastern Institute of Whole Health.
Christopher keeps an office in New Hampshire and sees clients in-person and online for readings, healing, and personal consultations, though he travels extensively teaching in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. His vision is of an evolving Witchcraft culture making magick accessible to all, yet preserving the heart of the mystery.