Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Plans & Good Witch's Bible

We haven't been posting frequent blogs recently because (A) we're preparing a series of eight lectures to be given at the Sankofa Festival and Sirius Rising at Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman NY, beginning on July 8. To learn about the wonderful annual festival that is planned at Brushwood Folklore Center, see website brushwood.com. See you there? And because at the same time (B) we're writing the lectures that will comprise the School's new course. We're calling this one the Video Course because, along with the printed material, it includes fourteen DVDs. This course will be the most complete course ever put together on Wicca as a magical spiritual path and religion. It will include segments from Wiccan leaders including Margot Adler, Oberon Zell, and others. If you have completed the School's Essential Witchcraft course, you can get a discount of $50 on the Video Course by showing your student number on your letter to us. Remember always too that if you have taken the School's Survey Course, you get a $25 discount on the Essential Course. Another thing we've been busy with is the making of very minor modifications to Good Witch's Bible, to make a handful of self-appointed critics happier with it. Revised copies are now available through the School of Wicca at $ 25.00 each plus $3.95 S&H. Ironically, revisions to only two (2) pages were needed for an independent evaluator to say it was now okay. Of course, since it took forty (40) years for the recent criticism to surface, we expect that when cultural mores change again, we'll have to revise the book again. Hmm. GY

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mythistory

The word mythhistory is used for narratives that may be myth but that have a grounding in factual real history. Some women were burnt at the stake as witches; true enough. The myth comes with the numbers. In Wicca there are many myths. Some rely on actual historical facts, but many are fabricated: what Yvonne calls history-as-wished-for. Perhaps chief among these pieces of mythhistory is the burning of nine million people as witches. Under the influence of feminist Wicca, the number morphed into nine million women. Many people were murdered by the Christian establishment over a considerable length of time in its drive for centralized power. The Christians have said that nine million from a population of probably less than fifty million would have been missed. That's a specious argument, though, when we think of a period of at least two hundred years when the murders occurred. We do know this much: An appeal was written to King James pleading for a cessation of the murders because "there is only one female left in the town and she is three years old". Similarly we know that the production of lace almost ceased because of the killing of the lace makers. So who knows how many Witches and "heretics" died? No one can be sure. One is too many. Remember: the vast majority were labeled heretics, not Witches, by the official centralized (Christian) power of the day; and many were hanged, not burnt. That's just another hair-splitting quibble, though: dead is dead. Burning at the stake is a persistent common image; whereas many were roasted on a grill, and their roasted body parts tossed to the cheering crowd. In a similar mythhistory vein: who was actually burnt? The little old lady herbalist living in a cottage in the woods? The midwife? No, the most common victim was the wetnurse or lying-in maid who minded the newborn infants of the gentry. In a time when absolutely nothing was known about hygiene, nutrition, or sanitation, she was blamed for the death of the child in her care. Another common victim was the landowner or the person of wealth whose relatives conspired to get at the land or the money. A modern myth that seems to be morphing into historical "fact" is the allegation that Gerald Gardner invented Wicca. In all Gerald's writings, he used the word Wicca only once--and even on that occasion he did not mean it to define a spiritual or religious path. Unless his spirit rose from the grave, he couldn't have done it anyway; because Wicca was first used by the Frosts in 1968 and Gerald died in 1964. The word was also used by Martello in NewYork in 1968. Gardner did a lot to popularize Witchcraft, and we admire him for his work. We are also pleased that some who travel the Gardnerian path now call themselves Gardnerian Wicca. Remember that unless we get our facts right, the scholastic establishment will continue to scoff at our efforts to gain credibility and spiritual freedom for all. Let's show some integrity, boys and girls. Fair enough? BB all Gavin and Yvonne

Friday, May 16, 2014

Newcourse

As a result of the recent furor over Good Witch's Bible we have decided to offer a new course. For some time we've had on the shelf videos of various leaders in the alternative/pagan community talking about all sorts of subjects. Those subjects range widely: Margot Adler talks, mostly about her childhood experiences; Janet and Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone talk about the pagan/Wiccan path; Professor Skip Clark talks about the mythhistory of Witchcraft and Wicca; St. Isaac does one of his flow-of-consciousness rants. So we're putting together what we call the video course. There will be a standard twelve (written) lectures and an introduction, but each lecture and the introduction itself will be accompanied by a DVD. It will be the most complete Wiccan course ever offered or completed. If you're interested, we'll be limiting enrollment until the fine details are sorted out. To get in at the beginning, then, write (as ever) to the Church at PO Box 297, Hinton WV 25951.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Write us

Greetings, The recent discussion/panel at FPG about the attacks on the Frosts and the non validity of various accusations showed a relatively clear split in the self-styled Community. From here the split appears to us to be between the current leadership of Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) and everybody else. Thinking about it, it may be that the split started in Minneapolis in the early 1970s over the nature of the Ultimate (Unknowable) Deity. We believe that it is now time (indeed, overdue) to attempt a healing of the split. Such a standoff as this one does not help the Community grow and thrive. Therefore we of the Church of Wicca offer to meet with representatives/spokespersons of CoG in private at a major festival to see whether we can at least clearly define any differences and, if we can't agree, agree to disagree on certain points and then to go our ways. Here is a further thought on the same topic: We Frosts have already rewritten Chapter 4 of Good Witch's Bible. We feel that even this rewrite may not be enough, so we are going to rewrite the whole book. Therefore we ask those (CoG people or anyone else) who have problems with any part of the book to write to us with your thoughts and suggestions through the School: School of Wicca PO Box 297 Hinton, WV 25951 with their proposed improvements. Please note: We do not expect the rewritten book to be all apple pie and ice cream. We will retain as much of the vigor and spice as we can. If all parties behave like intelligent, articulate adults, we can look upon this recent airing of opinions as a starting point of a new reïnvigorated Community. We strongly believe that honest discussion of differences is good for the growth of our spiritual path; but that ad hominem attacks should be outlawed. Blessed be all

Monday, April 28, 2014

Possibe other projects

Is it possible that Wiccans could come together and work together on a single project? The way things are, it seems very unlikely. Still we persist in believing--hoping--that it might just be possible. Self-appointed detractors of the Frosts have united behind negative causes, but all we see are words--no actions. Surely within all the Frost books and all those pages there must be other passages besides the current hot topic that they could find obnoxious. Try, people! Pay attention! So what could such a project be? Well, the most popular project these days seems to be to save our Mother the Earth. The easiest kind of such a project, one sadly neglected, is recycling. The two specific areas of recycling that are in sad need of help are (a) canning and (b) glassing. (Yvonne notes, I won't even lift the lid on the topic of roadside paper/plastic/styrofoam, nor on contraception ...) In many areas of the country there are more and more miles of highway / roadside lined with millions and millions of cans that could be collected and turned into ready cash. Any group can ask the local highway authority for a piece of road--and ask for a sign telling the world who is keeping this stretch of road clean and picked up (the Coven of La-de-Da, maybe; or the Baby Bambi Coven). Then they can indeed clean up--and make a profit doing it. It takes probably one day a month at most. There is potential here for a two-fold gain: money and advertising. Or, publicity or not, just go get the cans. You don't need a sign! The question of glassing is an interesting one because many American communities do not recycle glass, whereas the rest of the world outside our own borders does. In European recycling centers you will find separate bins for glass of each color. In the United States it is difficult to find a bin for glass of any sort. This nation recycles only at large centers, where there's enough population to support the effort. So processing glass will take work. You'll have to get your own community to add a glass recycling bin to their setup. In southern West Virginia at the present time we have to take the glass we collect across the state line into Virginia if it is to be recycled. So find out where the nearest glass recycling center is, and collect glass. Can you do it? Yes, you can. The time you spend playing the latest thumb-game could well be spent more productively. BB G and Y

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Always Positive Paganism

Over the many years we have run the Church and School of Wicca, we have seen the "Pagan Community" unite under various war cries of "My tradition is better than your tradition." Because we believe in "Walk in Balance on The Earth we feel strongly that there is too much negativity in the Pagan Community. Therefore, in order to find balance, we hereby ask that you enter into a covenant -- that when you feel anger that you direct that strong emotion towards positive goals. As such, this is a place for posting positive actions that help -- your home community or the Pagan Community that suggests positive growth.

Always keep in mind the Law of Attraction, therefore what you do good will come back to you and build our community.

Posts on this page indicate that you agree with and support this mission.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Beltane

It's that time of year again when celebrating the return of Spring occupies pagan minds. In Europe and the western hemisphere, indeed all around the globe, many festivals are based on Beltane, the ancient Irish fire festival. Two need-fires were lighted on Beltane among the Gael, between which they drove their cattle for purification and good luck. Bel = bala = blaze; tane = teni = warm.* At this time of year too the stubble in the fields was burned to kill off vermin and crop diseases. An alternative timing is based on the end of seeding. Scheduling depends on your distance from the north pole or, in the southern hemisphere, from the south pole. All this means that the dates of celebration vary from place to place. Which date is the appropriate occasion in modern life, when so few people in North America live truly rural lives? In the past we Frosts, as Wiccans, have simply assumed Celtic tradition and have said, "Celebrate on the full moon nearest 1 May." However, on reflection such an assumption may not be valid. Is full moon indeed the most fitting time? Since Beltane is a fire festival, it might just as appropriately be scheduled by the apparent movement of the sun. When Gavin lived in a Tantric house in the Punjab, its residents emphatically suggested that the full moon was not the right time for any festival; because, as they rightly observed, the delay in the tides caused by the hysteresis effect meant that the forces were at their highest level three days after the full moon crossed the zenith. One way would be to celebrate when the sun is crossing the zenith on the day of new moon, because that is one of the times when the moon's influence would be maximized. Another way would be to do the festival at dawn. This is recalled in other religions' dawn festivals at their Easter/ Ishtar/ Astarte/ Eostre observances. (Note here the cluster of goddess names and their clear relationship to our word estrogen. " In your estrogen bonnet, with all the frills upon it ...") Wiccan groups might prefer to do it at sunset, in case getting up at the crack of dawn is anathema to them. The Roman church held to its normal plagiaristic pattern, usurping the original Beltane and labeling it a saint's day: Saint Joseph the Worker was declared the patron of workers. From that beginning, Mayday on the Roman calendar became a day to honor workers, especially celebrated in communist nations. So we hope that we have summarized at least some of the choices. We encourage Wiccans to keep these in mind when you're picking your date for the celebration of Beltane. As you may know, we Frosts have habitually used the moon calendar. Remembering that Christian Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after spring equinox**, let's follow that pattern and say we could celebrate at sunset on the first weekend after the full moon nearest to May 1. It behooves all Wiccans to make their own decision as to when and how they will observe this most ancient of festivals. What say you? * Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. Oxford Clarendon Press ** Yvonne has to count forward, not backward, so she says: Start with spring equinox. Find the next full moon. Never mind the Roman calendar's "Sun"-day.