Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Progress Report on Gavin's Health

It's a week today since Gavin's surgery, that turned out to be more severe than any of us had expected. The recovery process feels quite slow ... though in our adrenaline-saturated culture, anything longer than instant is grounds for fidgeting. He is not allowed anything that might cause severe vibration or shock in the back, because the repair to the damaged dura will take time to heal properly. He can hobble around the house, though; and with the current cocktail of medications the pain can be controlled. Today's shower was a happy milestone. Also, we're feeling optimistic because the equinoctial storms seem to be subsiding at last and the weather is warming up.
Since we are now in hold mode and the jungle outside where a garden used to be is forbidden, as are travel and even meeting with groups of people, we're having to work on our long-delayed new book project. This may elicit groans from the community, but the work might contain a few new and different thoughts.
We're most happy with our neurosurgeon; without his swift and very delicate action, Gavin would probably be in a wheelchair instead of making a nuisance of himself. Your continued healing efforts will be appreciated. In a couple of weeks we expect to be on a reduced regimen of medications that will mean Gavin's immune system will be fully functional again and he can meet people..
That's all for now. Thank you all again. Progress continues, and the weeds are growing.

Blessed be all.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Update on Gavin's Health

Greetings, guys and gals. This hasty message is to thank you for all the wishes and healing energy that you've sent to Gavin. It must be working, because he's already getting ornery again.
Some of you have asked to come and visit. Not only is he strictly limited in travel--no riding in a car for a month--but he is restricted in meeting people because the cocktail of drugs he's taking has temporarily compromised his immune system. The one thing we don't want him to get is flu or anything like that, that would cause him to cough and break open the very delicate stitching in his spine. What an age we live in ...
Afterthought: He also is forbidden to lift any weight more than five (5) pounds. Not even a gallon of wine, Incredible. Booze is off limits too! But the tradeoffs don't bear thinking about.
We'd love to see you. We're happy to talk by phone or e-mail, but that's about it for now.
From the festival point of view, we've had to cancel FPG; but as things stand currently, we're still planning to make it to the Blue Ridge Beltane observance. And of course up to Detroit and to Sirius Rising and SummerFest ... all on tiptoe, of course.

Thank you again, every one of you, for all good wishes and healing energy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Update on Gavin's Health, April 22 2011 CE

Hello, tout le monde.
     Some of you know by now that Gavin underwent spinal surgery on April 20. The MRI findings had led us all to believe that it would be a fairly simple and straightforward operation. Unfortunately it turned out to be more complicated than anyone expected, even our brilliant neurosurgeon (Life, Health, Prosperity, as they used to wish Pharaoh). Apparently a low-down disk had been out of alignment for some long period of time and had been rubbing against the dura, the casing (that may resemble a membrane, tissue-thin) of the spinal cord. The fluid contained in the dura surrounds and floats the main nerve bundle. Actually the misaligned disk had partially shredded the dura; so the dura itself had to be reconstructed during the operation.*
     Thus Gavin was actually on the table for 2 ½ hours; whereas the procedure would normally have been expected to take half an hour. Further, it meant that he had to stay in hospital an extra day. At 80 years old, a single extra day isn't all that bad ... compared to some of the cases we saw while we were trotting up and down hospital hallways.
    So now a problem crops up. To wit: Gavin is forbidden to ride in vehicles, let alone drive them, for the next four weeks. After that time, we're just trying to keep our expectations loose and to assume nothing. This means that the Frosts will not be able to attend even simple events such as our accustomed weekly Unitarian-Universalist meetings, only 40 miles away. Events more distant, such as Florida Pagan Gathering (one of our favorite annual events), have also got to be cancelled, much to our disappointment and regret--purely on a selfish level. Since we're going to be confined to the house, we may post a few extra blogs or something, or even get the next book under way.
    Don't worry. This event is not contagious. You'll have your own challenges to face as those ol' sands of time pour through the bottleneck. But if you feel like mentioning our names to your Friends in Management, we'll be grateful to you and to Them for thinking in our behalf.

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* All the above is Yvonne's attempt to describe medical matters of which she has the scantest knowledge and understanding.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A New Definition of Wicca

People keep asking, so here we go again. In Appendix 2 of our Solitary Wiccan's Bible we tried yet again to define of Witchcraft (Wicca). Here it is for your comment and development.
In trying to define a religion or a spiritual path, it is instructive to look first at other religions. Note: Under ‘religion' here as a courtesy we include various personality cults such as Christianity along with real religions that are ways of spirituality. Let us see, then, whether we can find the underlying essence, the message or whatever, of a few world religions.
1. Christianity - Christianity is a religion "of the book". Various interpretations of the book in its myriad translations result in various sects; so Christianity is an approach to the sacred through the written teachings of one sacred book and one avatar. Its purpose may be summed up as a religion of sacrifice which leads to salvation. The sacrifices expected of its followers are many and varied, from the giving of money to the church to living unnatural life styles.
A religion of salvation through sacrifice
2. Judaism - Judaism too is a religion based on the book. Here the book contains a great deal of civil law. The religion teaches its adherents to live safely in an unsafe world; therefore it has many different laws of behavior and diet, many restrictions, and many rituals that bring strength to the family and to the kin.
A religion of learning salvation through civitas (civilized behavior)
3. Islam - The message of Islam may be the simplest and the most stark of any of the major religions. It is simply that if one submits to Allah, one receives salvation. The very name of the religion means "submission to god". The tribal culture in which it flourishes is of the desert and of the stark reality of nature as a threat to life. A religion of salvation through absolute submission
4. Taoism - This religion--which some say is not a religion--relies on the balancing of opposites. It tries to get its adherents into harmony with the primal nature of things. It differs from Confucianism in this way: Confucianists try to use reason and learning as a guide; whereas a Taoist guides himself by intuition. Thus the Tao instructs people to be humble and accept life as it comes to them.
A religion of salvation through harmony
5. Witchcraft (Wicca) - The great thrust of the Craft is that it encourages spiritual development in all people they intuitively feel is right for them. On its social side the Craft teaches connection with nature and the idea that one should progress through harming no one. That leads to a very simple definition: an ethical path that encourages its members to progress in their own way and in their own time to greater spiritual understanding.
A path of spiritual growth through learning and ethical exploration
6. Hinduism -
This is the oldest and largest religion (by temple or church attendance) in the world. It relies on the idea that what you do in this lifetime affects what you will become in your next incarnation: an idea known as transmigration. The aim of many of its adherents is to live in such a way that they will get off the wheel of continuous reincarnation (samsara).
A religion of salvation through right living.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Addenda to several ongoing topics:

1. We want to thank everybody for the healing energy they've been sending to Gavin, and to give an update on things. Gavin's problem is associated with a stenosis in his spinal column. We suspect that this challenge traces back to a day years ago when he fell off a steel boat we were building in Pamlico County, North Carolina. Apparently that fall has pinched the motor nerves that control the muscles for walking. The neurosurgeon believes that the nerve pathways, which run through the plexus in the hip, will retrain themselves--that is, learn new pathways--provided Gavin walks every day.
There is a little pain, but it is easily controllable; and there is no weakness in the muscles themselves. It's just that they don't work right.
We don't want to blow all this out of proportion, but (again) we do appreciate all the healing that people have been sending us.
2. We are now scheduled to go to the Blue Ridge Beltane observance May 13 through 15, in Greenville VA. See for details. It looks like being a great festival. Not far away geographically, in the autumn we are going to
3. Mountain Mabon Mysteries September 16 through 18, outside Stanardsville VA (north of Charlottesville). See or

So what about the visits we posted earlier on this site? That information, those plans, remain valid. Choose a date and a site that fit your life, and drop in to press the flesh; it's your chance to see our fangs and our hairy palms yourself.
4. More later. It's sunny today, and it almost looks as if winter is over. Dare we put away our Dr. Dentons* for the season?
* For younger folk, these are one-piece jammies of flannel in which the feet are all of a piece with the legs and the drop-seat body. So fetching ... and so provocative. d#%n.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Cultural anthropologists generally agree that religions go through three distinct stages of development. As Max Weber wrote in "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", these are the stages:
1. Visionary - Someone has a vision of a better explanation of all that is; through charismatic leadership he promotes that path. Many other people with similar thoughts join, each usually following slightly different visions. Squabbling and argument and schisms ensue. If the visions are strong enough, a movement develops and moves to Stage 2.
2. Festival - The groups hold festival-style meetings offering a lot of attractive freedoms. The main freedom is that of thought, but other freedoms from socially accepted behavior are encouraged. Yes, even the Christians were sexual, excessively and immoderately--free enough that they shocked the Romans--to such an extent that men and women were not allowed to worship in the same building. In following centuries, though, they must have managed to get over it ...
3. Institutional - Here the movement grows up and becomes accepted by the general population. It loses its freedoms. Now its new leaders--who are usually in it for power, not for the original vision--insist on political correctness.
Frost musings:
Centralized power - The next step in the inexorable progression is the setting-up of positions or "offices". The set of offices has titles and hierarchal structures such as ministers, bishops, archbishops, and so on, who are charged with keeping the doctrine "pure". What is a church without an organization chart, anyhow? The word for bishop, episcopos--one who oversees or who takes the overview--indicates that clear sight was held to be necessary. Then, instead of a person deciding what was or was not orthodox, the office fulfilled the function. Centralized power--that's the key.
Since time immemorial earth-centered religions have had many charismatic leaders. As founders of Wicca in the late 1960s, we dare to count ourselves among modern charismatics, perhaps comparable (shudder) to many others in the frothy time of new ideas and paths that most or all movements undergo. Many of those ideas and paths were modeled on ancient ways. We all had a clarity of vision and an energy which the movement may be losing. It seems clear that the Community is now at Stage 2, Festival, moving away from Freedom. Since the Church of Wicca is a "church", we probably should have expected it. The question becomes: Are we going to follow the rest of Weber's narrative, eventually, inexorably morphing into a massive institutionalized monolith?
We Frosts see signs of it, and we will fight it by encouraging independent forward-thinking charismatic movements. At the same time, since many of you seem to want the movement to grow, we must face the fact that a large percentage of the Community would like it if the movement did become institutionalized ... though of course promoting their own particular favorite path over the promotion of other paths, and probably with themselves as leaders, fostering power that grows ever more centralized.
As the pagan/Wiccan community expands, it will inevitably follow the examples from history. That's the assumption. But at the same time, the Community must keep its independent autonomous forward thinkers.
The point surely is this: If the Community criticizes its leaders into obscurity instead of listening to the vision, we are doomed. Progress will take a back seat to control, and growth will be judged by how big and fancy we build our campgrounds and temples.
Personally, I (Gavin) like the Hindu attitude: You toe the line through the early years of life, but in old age you're allowed to venture into any spiritual path you like. Thus when people who are, for instance, hard-working householders kick at the religious orthodoxy, they are told simply, "Wait. You will have your turn at changing the rules."
So what is the Community to do? Must it too set up a religious hierarchy with a basic orthodoxy (decreed by who knows whom?? the loudest? the richest? the meanest?) allowing for free thought in some areas but requiring that a majority of people adhere to the official line on certain basic precepts or axioms? It's no use hoping it won't happen, because it will. If we don't learn the lesson of history, we will all fail.
The bottom line, perhaps: If you don't like the thoughts articulated above, start your own letterhead. If you just sit and piss and moan, nobody can get anything done. It will all sink of its own weight and, like the worm Ouroboros, eat its own tail.
So surely our first basic axiom must be that taken from the charge to the Goddess. Here it is as it was first uttered, before it got politically correct--that is, before it got smooth below the waist:
To show that ye are free,
ye shall be naked in your rites
and afterward make the game of love.