Thursday, October 2, 2014

Invidia

The title of this blog means envy: the Latin root video (I see), plus the prefix in- that reverses its meaning. Ergo invidia means refusal to see. In 1609 when Galileo looked through his improved telescope and decided that Copernicus was right, many people (especially the alpha-male Catholic masters) refused even to look through the telescope. To those people Galileo rightly applied the word invidia. To us it seems that we are going through an invidia phase in the development of Wicca. Just as in Galileo's experience, part of the problem seems to be envy and another (perhaps greater) part is a refusal to accept reality--a denial. So as you all know, we Frosts are continually accused of everything from sheer stupidity to being anti-gay and/or being homophobes--and, worst of all, of being child molesters or pædophiles. The cluster of such claims implies a surge of creative fiction. Quelle imagination! When we say if you cast a circle using certain specific materials and certain specific dimensions you will get better results than if you cast it with (for example) a sword, many people won't even try it. They refuse to look. They are invidia. In conjunction with an international cast of students of the School of Wicca, we have cast more than 5,000 test circles using a wide variety of materials and a range of dimensions; and in another series of experiments have employed a super-sensitive magnetometer to prove the results. Still, despite these real-world facts, people cannot be bothered to run their own tests. Instead they start howling "Fake! Fake!" without making the first gesture themselves toward demonstrating how dishonest our claims are. Older (that is, more senior or earlier) students of the School share a common joke: Some years ago the ladies ran a ritual for more men to participate in circle events. They got their wish: the School was inundated with gay men who signed up and formed their own (warrior) covens. We are accused of being anti-gay because many years ago at a party an attendee asked Gavin whether gays could be Wiccans. Gavin replied that at heart Wicca is a fertility religion; that a) gays are welcome but b) must define their own fulfilling path c) in today's self-styled Christian nation where we are even now resisting the tedious drumbeat of the Christian "right"--an oxymoron if ever we've heard one--and are still articulating a more inclusive mindset. Part a) is never quoted. Part b) has been repeated ad nauseam. Part c) is a work in progress. The Church and School of Wicca is proud and grateful to boast the largest gay population of any group. We even held a Gay Wiccan Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The motel personnel made a perfunctory howl of protest, but were supportive after that moment of oscillation. Yvonne gratefully recalls their roadside marquee: "Welcome, Gay Witches." Of course this caused a furor in the press and many comments from the "community" saying we shouldn't have done that ... while they sat on their big fat davenports doing their customary Nothing. When we can arrange it, we march in Gay Pride parades. The last one we made was in Charleston WV. Yvonne's placard read on her chest "If you don't like it" and on her back "You can't have any." Credit for the thought traces back to Oberon Zell. How many of these self-appointed critics of the Church attend gay-pride parades to represent the Path? We seldom see anyone. The most egregious accusation is that we Frosts are pædophiles. In The Witch's Bible (which has been criticized on many counts) we went to the trouble of reprinting it with notes to satisfy all the complaints that we had received through 1986. The one page that escaped everyone's notice was the one on which we talked about initiation or dedication of youngsters. We used the word child. In other parts of the book we clearly noted a) that no one should break any civil law in the name of the Craft and b) that sex magic should not be taught to anyone under the age of 18. We have now changed that single remaining page. For more than forty (40) years no one noticed the page we had overlooked--but suddenly a small noisy percentage of self-styled Wiccans broke the Prime Guideline "If it harm none, do what you will" and accused us of that which is not true. A speculation: They were in genuine (self-induced) trouble and hoped to distract attention from their very real behavior as miscreants by dragging a smelly red herring into the discussion. We have never been pædophiles in fact, in fancy, or in imagination. We have never written anything in support of such activity. Like Richard Dawkins, we ask you to provide take-it-to-the-jury evidence for any such claims. Now we calmly suggest that if you don't like the things we do, invent your own. Make sure they work, and practice and publish them as your version of a spiritual path. Just please don't call that path Wicca. If you are not willing to look, you are indeed invidia.

Ancient Wisdom

We are as intrigued as anyone else about how some ancient stone monuments (e.g. megaliths) were built. Some of the technology, such as the fitting of the stones at Cuzco, is truly amazing. Some sixty years ago Gavin spent time on Salisbury Plain at Her Majesty's weapons-testing ranges, where experts were testing infra-red weaponry such as the Sidewinder. Most of the testing was done at night. This gave the scientists time to explore the landscape, and to bat theories back and forth on how and when and why Stonehenge was built. Gavin offered the theory that the quarrying and transporting and building of the stones, and putting the lintels on the tops of the megaliths to form trilithons, was no problem--if you simply thought winter. Why bother with rollers and ropes and all that, when a couple of buckets of water thrown on the ground would freeze and you could slide the blocks across the frozen surface? We had fun. We demonstrated to our own satisfaction that a single lightweight man could move a one-ton stone with ease, provided that it had even one flat side. To get the stones upright, build a ramp of ice and snow. To put the capstone on, another similar ramp would be needed ... and would be built just as easily and serve as well. Then in spring it would return itself to the earth. So the construction resolved itself into a simple application of manpower--people who were doing little else in the middle of winter. Next we looked at the thermocline: that is, the temperatures thought to have been prevalent at the time when Stonehenge was constructed. Lo and behold: It was a cold period. That still didn't solve the problem of how they aligned the stones nor how, for instance, they figured out where to put the Aubrey holes and why there should be 56 of them to predict lunar eclipses. Recall that they ultimately had to calculate astronomical patterns happening over approximately 200 years. So we solved half the problem, at least to our own satisfaction; and we will leave the rest to you. Think about it. Was life expectancy so brief? Or did people live to greater ages than we've always assumed? Were the knotted-string methodologies (quipu) known, or did those people have writing and calculation methods that we wot not of? We've puzzled over our uncertainty for years. Every time we see a piece on Stonehenge, it reinvigorates our thoughts. Will you share your thoughts? Give us feedback. Blessed be those who question easy assumptions. GY

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Overcoming Verbal Diarrhea

As I'm sure many of you have noted, our blog is overrun with the verbal diarrhea of third-eye spinning. All that stuff blocks the intended replies of you troops who are interested in such real-world thinking as, for instance, the earliest use of the word Wicca. There seems to be no way of blocking this childishness, so we have to ask you to write your replies to Church of Wicca - PO Box 297-bg Hinton WV 25951. We'll gratefully publish those incoming thoughts in future blogs. We hope the creature with obvious two-digit IQs will eventually get bored, and will cease and desist. Be patient. With luck there'll be another flap on another topic next week, and the whole screaming throng of knuckle-draggers will lurch on down the road ... maybe eventually get a life ... or (file this under Remote Possibilities) accomplish something useful themselves. Due to the tenacity of the "psychotic postings" we have dis-allowed any comments at this time. We are very sorry as we do enjoy reading your comments on our blogs -- it often gives us food for thought, although random nonsense about Beatles songs and chess in prison only makes us wonder if you need a better doctor.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Forming a Church without Agony

In 1971 CE Gavin worked in the aerospace industry designing and later selling military armaments of various sorts: a death industry, if you will. A very good friend of his was a high-powered corporate lawyer. When it came time for the Church of Wicca to go public, Gavin consulted with that lawyer on the best approach to take. Gavin's thinking was that the Church of Wicca was entitled to all the rights and privileges of, and should have the same structure as, any major Judeo-Christian letterhead. After several months of investigation, it became apparent that the Church should be a religious association: not a not-for-profit, not a foundation. The reason for the decision was that any other organizational structure would require constant reporting to various federal agencies--including the IRS (cue dread music.)--whereas religious associations do not have to report anything. Most especially, they don't have to reveal their membership or any financial information. Forming a religious association turned out to be extremely simple ... and inexpensive. Still today it will cost you a couple of first-class postage stamps and a phone call. The religious-assocation format gives you all the protection that any other church enjoys. Obviously you cannot do anything illegal; you cannot, for instance, borrow money without repaying it. When the late Jesse Helms of North Carolina (Senator "No") learned there were Witches in his constituency, he asked the IRS to investigate. The IRS put the Church of Wicca through the wringer and concluded that that the Church of Wicca was totally legitimate. After that time, two inmates in Virginia started a lawsuit to insist that they get the same religious rights Inside as their fellow inmates got: whether Christian, Hebrew, Islamic, Buddhist, or any of the others. This is the famous Dettmer-v-Landon case, in which Judge Butzner ruled for the Fifth District Court that Wicca was a genuine religion and that its adherents should enjoy the same rights as the adherents of any other religion enjoyed. Today several other, later Churches of Wicca are religious associations. Unfortunately, a couple of groups who went the not-for-profit route have been denied religious rights because various courts have held that they were a philosophy, not a religion. If you want to learn how to form a religious association, please send a Number 10 self-addressed envelope to Church of Wicca / PO Box 297 / Hinton WV 25951 bearing enough postage for a two-ounce package. If other questions occur to you pertaining to the topics above, write them in a separate letter, again enclosing appropriate postage. We'll share what we've learned in life's bitter school.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The earliest use of Wicca

We want to run a competition: just for fun, but with a serious purpose. The winner will receive a copy of Margaret Murray's God of the Witches. It's very simple: Document a single case of the word Wicca being used to name a spiritual path--meaning a religion or a spiritual way of thinking. Whoever finds the earliest use, apart from use by Frost, wins. Note that Gerald Gardner used "wi(c)ca"* only once, and he did not use it in the meaning we delineate here. The earliest use by ourselves was in our booklet "Witchcraft the Way to Serenity", the first copy was sold on 4 November 1968. In the back of the booklet there was an advertisement for the School of Wicca's course in Wicca. Therefore we were using Wicca at least a month prior to the sale we can justly claim a documented** date for first use of 1 October 1968. The Articles of Association for the Church of Wicca are notarized 13 December 1971. Okay, troops. Have at it. The winner's name will be announced in six (6) months. * We have been told that in early copies of Gardner's book it is spelt with one C and in later editions with two Cs. **Documented does not mean a quote from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Problem with the Internet No recourse to Gossip

Anyone with access to the internet can diss anyone almost without fear of reprisal. Recently we have stopped blogging because people amused themselves by misquoting and disparaging our work. These two-digit IQ's, obviously jealous, with little or no accomplishments to their own credit, have taken it upon themselves to degrade and belittle almost sixty years' work that culminated in getting Wicca to be a Federally recognized religion. We ask those of you with negative things to get off your chest: What have you done that is positive in the Community? Currently those of you who are perpetuating myths are supporting gossip: gossip that has no basis in fact and is of a deliberately, deleterious, titillating, and personal nature: a shining example of an attack ad hominem. The ancient saying ordains: To know, to will, to dare, to keep silent. People spreading gossip do not know. They only have negative will. They do not dare. They talk but have no record of accomplishing anything on their own. And obviously they do not keep silent. We suggest that such behavior should not be welcomed. Further we suggest: Know the real Community and the facts. Have will to be positive. Dare to support your Community. Keep silent. To keep silent means to listen well; to absorb what you hear. It does not mean to keep damaging secrets or to hide truth. We are not advocating a culture of complicity. Blessed be those who recall the Wiccan Rede and live by it.

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