The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft: Shadows, Spirits and the Healing Journey

The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft: Shadows, Spirits and the Healing Journey

by Christopher Penczak


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Is shamanism all that different from modern witchcraft? According to Christopher Penczak, Wicca's roots go back 20,000 years to the Stone Age shamanic traditions of tribal cultures worldwide. A fascinating exploration of the Craft's shamanic origins, The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft offers year-and-a-day training in shamanic witchcraft.

Penczak's third volume of witchcraft teachings corresponds to the water element—guiding the reader into this realm of emotion, reflection, and healing. The twelve formal lessons cover shamanic cosmologies, journeying, dreamwork, animal/plant/stone medicine, totems, soul retrieval, and psychic surgery. Each lesson includes exercises (using modern techniques and materials), assignments, and helpful tips. The training ends with a ritual for self-initiation into the art of the shamanic witch—culminating in an act of healing, rebirth, and transformation.

COVR Award Winner

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738707679
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date: 07/01/2005
Series: Penczak Temple Series , #6
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 314,298
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.13(h) x 1.16(d)

About the Author

Christopher Penczak is an award-winning author, teacher, and healing practitioner. He has studied extensively with witches, mystics, shamans, and healers in a variety of traditions from around the world to synthesize his own practice of magick and healing.

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. He is the author of the award-winning Temple of Witchcraft series: The Inner Temple of Witchcraft , The Outer Temple of Witchcraft , The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft , and The Living Temple of Witchcraft Volumes 1 and 2 .

His other books include City Magick (Red Wheel/Weiser), Spirit Allies (Red Wheel/Weiser), Gay Witchcraft (Red Wheel/Weiser), Magick of Reiki , Sons of the Goddess , Ascension Magick , Instant Magick , The Mystic Foundation , The Witch's Shield , The Witch's Coin , and the forthcoming The Witch's Heart . Christopher Penczak resides in New Hampshire. Visit him online at

Read an Excerpt

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 shaman's 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.

Table of Contents

List of Exercises . . . xi

List of Figures . . . xiii

Introduction: What Is the Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft? . . . xvii

Chapter One: Witchcraft and Shamanism . . . 1

Chapter Two: Opening the Veil . . . 19

Chapter Three: Making Sacred Space . . . 39

Chapter Four: The Role of the Shamanic Witch . . . 57

Chapter Five: Lesson One: The Worlds of the Shaman . . . 79

Chapter Six: Lesson Two: The World Aside . . . 123

Chapter Seven: Lesson Three: The Underworld Path . . . 151

Chapter Eight: Lesson Four: The Starry Road . . . 183

Chapter Nine: Lesson Five: Walking with the Spirits . . . 207
Lesson Six: The World of Dreams . . . 249

Chapter Eleven
Lesson Seven: Rites of the Shaman . . . 269

Chapter Twelve: Lesson Eight: Animal Spirit Medicine . . . 285

Chapter Thirteen: Lesson Nine: Plant, Stone, and Song Medicine . . . 311

Chapter Fourteen: Lesson Ten: Past-Life Healing . . . 357

Chapter Fifteen: Lesson Eleven: Shamanic Healing . . . 373

Chapter Sixteen: Lesson Twelve: Mastering the Three Worlds . . . 415

Chapter Seventeen: Lesson Thirteen: Shadow Initiation . . . 431

Bibliography . . . 447

Index . . . 453

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The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft: Shadows, Spirits and the Healing Journey 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is cram packed with detailed information. It is the combonation of wicca and new age with shamanism. If your looking for something a little different this is for you. It has really influenced my life. The only thing you might find as a down side is that you have to have a LITTLE knowledge of new age religion before reading it but other than that it is a great choice.
earthlistener on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fairly interesting book with some unique ideas and concepts. One thing I really liked about this book is how it really talked about spirit relations, and it also talks about the nature of the other levels of the Otherworld. One of my biggest complaints and beef about this book is that really does not truly seem to differentiate between simply doing a guided mediation or visualization to actual journeying at points. Other than that a really nice book.
hearthfirecircle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down! Excellent excellent introduction to shamanic practice, intended for an audience well practiced with meditation and magick. The exercises in each chapter are invaluable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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