The Faery Faith in the Temple of Witchcraft
By Christopher Penczak
Faeries and Witches… Witches and Faeries… two archetypes inexorably linked in my own mind, yet in the outer world, many assume the two have nothing to do with each other. One is considered “evil” and the other “good” in popular consciousness. Our popular conception of the Witch is the Halloween hag; the green faced, hook nosed woman riding a broom and cooking up all manner of evil, while our popular conception of the faery, often spelled fairy by non-occultists, is a tiny slender figure fluttering about on the wings of a dragonfly or butterfly. Yet practitioners of magickal traditions know that both images are not quite true.
Today, modern Witches come in all shapes, sizes, genders, orientations and ages. Witchcraft is legally recognized as a religious tradition, one carrying on the ancient pagan mysteries and its goal is the evolution of the self through magickal means. We don’t shy away from the needs and desires of the physical world, and often start our journey with spell-craft seeking to manifest our will in the world. Such work leads us into the greater mysteries of oracles, fertility, ecstasy, gnosis, resurrection and service. In the end we’re essentially a mystery cult of sex, death and magick. Witches are not good or evil, but simply people on our spiritual journey. Just as they are good and bad Christians, Jews and Muslims, at least judging by behavior in accord with their stated beliefs, there are good and bad Witches.
Faeries, on the other hand, don’t have such clear-cut representation in our world. From art, greeting cards and popular story, the diminutive fairy popularized in the Victorian Era is perpetuated, but if one looks to the teachings of pagan cultures, and even early Christian era in the British Isles, you’ll find a different story. While sometimes referred to as the “little people,” you’ll also find stories of faeries in many shapes and sizes, ranging from tiny to gigantic, with many depicted as human in stature. Courts of Faery beings are depicted, with kings, queens, princesses, warriors and jesters. While having associations with nature as the Victorian era faery, these older depictions of fey are also associated with the dead, with the ancestors interred into the land.
Not only living in the green of nature, these fey folk dwell between the hills. Known as the Sidhe, pronounced “she,” in Ireland and the Sith in Scotland, they are otherworldly beings. Various legends attribute them to fallen angels who dwell within the land, pagan ancestral spirits from another age or a race of spirit beings who ruled the Earth before the rise of humanity. They are typically not referred to as faeries, as that is considered a sign of disrespect. Instead, they are the Good Neighbors or the People of Peace, to demonstrate mutual respect between humans and faeries. They are quite literally neither good nor evil, as they do not operate on the same cognitive moral structure as humanity.They are akin to the forces of nature who create and destroy as necessary. They have their own ethics, customs and taboos, but they rarely make sense to humanity. Folkloric traditions are ways of encoding the best behaviors of our relationships with them. Making offerings, particularly white foods such as milk, are ways we build bridges with their realm and consciousness, ensuring a more harmonious relationship. While the customs can seem archaic and superstitious, they are actually built upon sound occult principles that most people are simply unaware of.
Some stories claim that Witches are the descendants of Human and Faery relationships, and the Witch-blood of legend is actually the blood of the faery folk. Faery seers and faery doctors are the inheritors of a shamanic, magickal practice that is very much in harmony with the ethos of modern Witchcraft today. The spirit allies of the Witch are often found in the faery realm, as we are both on an evolutionary path that honors nature. There is a strong link between Witches and faeries, and that link is also explored in the work of the Temple of Witchcraft.
The Temple of Witchcraft is a collaborative effort, not just in the human realm, but also in the spirit realm. The techniques and practices have been distilling for over ten years before the formation of the legal body of the Temple, and the impetus for the formation of the outer body beyond the system of teachings came from Spirit. The deities of Witchcraft, in particular, urged us to form the group to serve the community through both work and education. Their mandate drew the attention of various entities, including angels, animal totems and even faeries.
Our first Temple faery contact came through a spirit ally of mine. This faery lady urged me to start teaching about the links between Faerie and Witchcraft, and gave me a model of a triune faery realm in the three realms, to unify the various and often divergent experiences people have with entities they call faeries. It drew together the concept of Devas, or Nature Angel / Intelligence popularized by the Theosophical traditions, along with the popular New Age nature spirit understanding of faeries, with the Pagan image of the elder race beneath the hills. I didn’t particularly want to teach about Faeries. At the time my focus was healing. I’d refer people to other teachers if they wanted to learn about faeries, particularly R.J. Stewart and Orion Foxwood. But my faery ally had other ideas.
After a few years of such teaching this model of the faery realm, my ally introduced me to her queen. On a hot summer’s night, in my tiny backyard garden as I tended my datura flowers, came a spontaneous vision of Queen Aroxana. She was really nothing like the faery queen of Thomas the Rhymer’s ballad, who could be mistaken for the Mother Mary, the queen of heaven. This queen of Elphame was much more wild and tribal. Though glowing white, her skin and features were dark. She could have been more a mix of Native American, African and Indian than British. Her hair and clothing were wild to match her features and she was dressed in tribal face paint. She appears to be a queen of the land beneath New Hampshire at least, if not all of New England or the Northeast. It can be hard to tell. She approached me that night to offer her partnership in the work of the Temple. She asked me to teach my people about her people, and she would do the same. Together we would work towards a collaborative effort, a home for us both where human and faery can meet in peace and partnership. She offered to her energy, power and support to our efforts to create a center of community as long as we realized the community was of incarnate, discarnate and excarnate entities.
Since that night, she has been honored in our Temple working. We see her as our primary contact in the Work of the Second, or Blue Ray and the Work of the Green Ray as the Ray of Manifest Nature. She come and goes as she is pleased and interested in our rituals. In one Sabbat, a priest knowing of her, but with little direct contact, dismissed her and several people clairaudiently heard amused laughter indicating she truly comes and goes as she desires. She is a willing partner, but no servant. Ours is a mutually beneficial relationship.
For those in the Temple who desire to work with Aroxana directly, start with an offering. Connect to the egregore, the spirit of the Temple first, and make your offerings. Do so with this poetry or something similar:
I call to the Spirits of the Temple of Witchcraft
I call to the Archangels, Ancestor and Animal Spirits that guide us.
I call to the Faery Queen Aroxana.
I welcome you to my heart and mind.
May there always be peace between us.
Make a traditional faery offering, such as a bowl of milk, cheese, bread, cookies, cake, wine, mead, beer, whisky or scotch. The more effort and energy you put into your offering, the better it is. Handmade goods transform nature’s raw ingredients into something new, which is of benefit to the Faery realm because human energy was put into the transformation. Even if you have to resort to store bought goods, charge the offering with your love and intention by holding your hands over it and directing your personal energy and intention of love and blessings into it. Leave the offering somewhere in nature – by a stone, tree or in a garden.
After at least one offering, perform the same connection and a new offering, but then meditate upon Aroxana. Ask her to be present with you, to visit with you or send an emissary. In your minds eye, imagine a blue fire, like the flame of a gas stove. The blue fire is of the Second Ray, the Bent Line of the Faery Path. Feel a faery presence come out of the blue fire, either Queen Aroxana herself, or an emissary from her realm. Take this time to commune. Ask about the mysteries of Perfect Love, faery magick, nature and Fate. You can ask for healing or blessings if so moved.
When done, thank the faery spirit that has met with you and allow the blue flame to burn out in your mind’s eye, knowing you can always repeat the ritual. Continue to build a relationship with her and the spirits of the Temple of Witchcraft, for the highest good, harming none. May your conversations and experiences be illuminating.
See: Interview with Christopher Penczak by Christopher Blackwell