T. Thorn Coyle
TWPT: Hello Thorn and welcome to TWPT's book spotlight. We are going to be talking to you about your new book Evolutionary Witchcraft which was released last week but could you give our readers a little history of your journey along the Witchcraft path and what initially attracted you to it.
T. Coyle: Hello. I first discovered Witchcraft when I was 13. Some friends had a kooky book, but we couldn’t figure out how to find a temple who’s floor we could whitewash before painting a nine foot pentagram on it! Then I got scared off for a few years, finally starting to study at age 16. Like most Pagans, it felt like “coming home.” The idea of animism and immanent deity was what I found most attractive. Goddess In All Things made more sense to me than God Out There. Plus, a religion that honored the body, sexuality and multiplicity was very appealing. I quickly discovered ways into my own strength, which I needed badly.
What was it that inspired you to begin work on the project that
became your latest book Evolutionary Witchcraft?
T. Coyle: First of all, the work in the Anderson Feri Tradition has been of such help to me, personally, that I wanted to pass it along. So I teach a great deal, traveling throughout the country with occasional forays abroad. I saw the effect this work had on my students and I started getting more and more letters from people seeking the same. I’ve always been a writer, and it made sense to address this hunger by writing some of what I teach down in one place. Hence the book.
TWPT: You mentioned early on in chapter 1 that you sought Cora Anderson's blessing on the book, was she pleased with what you were proposing to do with Evolutionary Witchcraft and did she have any input as to ways the material might be presented?
T. Coyle: She has blessed both my teaching and the book, which means a lot to me. But other than my inclusion of some of the teachings I’ve received from she and Victor over time, she didn’t have any input in the book. Her spirit is there, though.
In a high level view of Evolutionary Witchcraft could you tell
us what it is that you are attempting to cover in the material that you
present to the reader and how that material is broken down?
T. Coyle: In my teaching and writing, I take some of the tools and concepts of Feri and applied them to the theory that we use only a fraction of our capacity as humans. The tools I work with – the Iron and Pearl Pentacles, the Black Heart of Innocence and the Triple Soul – all enable us to stretch ourselves, to grow larger, stronger and more compassionate. They also enable us to step more fully into our own Godhood. To me, this is both revolutionary and evolutionary.
The book is set
up to follow the casting of the great sphere – my tradition works with above,
below and center along with the four cardinal directions. The work has some
entry points for beginners, but I really designed it for people who’ve been
working for some time and want to strengthen their foundation and grow from
there, learning new techniques, tools and concepts as well as re-committing to
their Craft. We start with invoking God Herself- the Star Goddess, move to
working with the blue Feri fire and then learn the important work of aligning
our souls and engaging in self-observation. From that point on, we visit the
various tools mentioned above, and tenets of the Feri tradition, such as not
coddling weakness, not submitting our life force and firmly recognizing that
“God is self, and self is God and God is a person like myself.” We plumb the
dark spaces below and traverse the astral planes above, then return to center,
to our connection to sex, love and life force, where all things begin and end.
TWPT: Is it required for someone to have a deep understanding of the Feri tradition to be able to make use of Evolutionary Witchcraft along their own path even if that path is not a Feri one?
T. Coyle: One of the reasons I felt free to write this book is that many of the tools can be of help to anyone. I wish that everyone in the world, regardless of belief system, would align their Triple Soul every day. We’d all be much better off! One does not need to commit to Feri Tradition to use the techniques in this book. My hope is that Witches, Pagans and Magicians will all find some things they can incorporate into their current practices.
TWPT: How difficult of a task is it for some to live in the here and now of their spirituality and not in some distant place where a wished for perfection lies? Does your book speak to the immanent nature of Witchcraft in a 21st century world?
TWPT: How much of an influence were all of your spiritual journeys into a variety of faiths on the writing of Evolutionary Witchcraft?
TWPT: Why is it, do you think, that Witchcraft is such a fast growing religion and what is it about the other spiritual paths that folks are leaving behind in search of something else?
T: Coyle: Witches are not waiting for “someday” nor are we aspiring to transcend our bodies and this earth. Witchcraft offers us connection, right here and right now. The knowledge that our bodies are sacred, sex is holy and the earth is alive are very appealing to people who may feel divorced from their bodies or emotions and want to reconnect. Also, in these times of human caused environmental devastation, people are waking up to the fact that treating the earth as sacred is a better idea than treating it as a machine devoid of life.
TWPT: Your book appears to be aimed at the more mature practitioner on the Craft path, for a reader who has this serious mind set and approaches the book with a goal of drawing the wisdom from your words, what could that person hope to achieve by reading and practicing the exercises found in your book?
T. Coyle: First of all, there are tools in the book that are unique, such as the Rite of Unbinding life force and the practices of Triple Soul alignment that are some of my core practices. I think that the advanced practitioner will find that her own work is helped immensely by these. There are also in depth explorations of the Iron Pentacle which call back the energies of Sex, Pride, Self, Power and Passion that, once activated, vibrate up into the Pearl Pentacle points of Love, Law, Knowledge, Liberty and Wisdom. Working with these pentacles is revolutionary.
The work also focuses on building a consistent practical foundation for the exercise of our Craft, which believe it or not, many in the community are missing. So they have these intense spiritual experiences that just get eaten by their lives, because there is no foundation to build anything upon.
There is one comment in your publicity material that caught my
attention. It says "The work is dangerous , for it transforms us. But if one
is willing to work diligently, there is no need to turn
away." What was it that you were trying to convey with that thought?
T. Coyle: My teacher, Victor Anderson, always said, “Anything worthwhile is dangerous.” I have over time added the caveat “But not everything dangerous is worthwhile!” But I truly believe that if my spiritual practice is not dangerous to those parts of me that wish to remain small, trapped in habit and fear, then it is not worth anything at all. We must face the fear, embrace the danger, and walk toward change. This is our only chance at evolution rather than devolution. Doing this work then makes us dangerous to the status quo; it can upset relationships that are based on lies or addiction, and it cuts through all the insecurity driven marketing that controls so much of our dominant culture.
Evolutionary Witchcraft has not been out all that long but
have you had any feedback from your readers on the material at this point?
T. Coyle: The response has been gratifying. I’ve heard good reports
from people in my travels, and have received many emails from people all over
the country, as well as inquiries from places as diverse as