Thursday, September 11, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
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
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