Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Godd-ess of the Wiccans

One reason that Wicca became so popular in the late 20th century was that it did not insist on the worship of a male deity. Instead, many Wiccans favored a female deity. Some thought of Diana as the supreme being. There are two ways in which we think of and use a Goddess, firstly as an anthropomorpic representation of the unknowable and secondly as a means of storing Psychic energy for which we use the German term Vril. First things first, once you have understood that the First Cause or the Supreme Being is beyond the thoughts of our finite minds, you might wonder why people personify that deity in an anthropomorphic fashion. Wiccans fully realize that their god-ess' personification is only a metaphor for the Ultimate unknowable Deity. It isn't really possible to worship that great unknown Something that may not exist. Yet human beings have a need for something to think of when they think of God. Anthromorphic images are helful in trying to grasp an unimaginable reality, remember always that they are manifestations of the unknowable. We can trace the idea of goddess images and worship back to the very earliest time in the Vedas and we find that they are early peoples' created images that were beyond just a representation of a living male or female. We find images of the Great Mother, for instance, with rows of breasts resembling, as Lethbridge says, gun turrets. In the Hindu iconography we see multiple images that are beyond human: goddesses with multiple heads and multiple arms and sometimes god-esses with animal parts. Thus in Wicca (as contrasted to the Abrahamic religions) we do not worship something that is at best human. We worship (or more literally grow toward) something beyond our finite comprehension. Turning to the idea of using a goddess as a store for Psychic energy, anything exposed to strong emotions stores vril and if you have had an emotional connection to something you can name or visualize then the saying that name or thinking of the image automatically lets you use the energy stored therein. In the cave paintings of Lascaux there is the famous Sorcerer: a male figure with a stag's head. This could be either a priest/shaman dressing up as a totem animal or a hunter putting on a deerskin so that he could get a deer herd within spear range--or a god showing that these people recognized that the Ultimate Deity beyond simple anthropomorphic description, or perhaps the image stored vril that would help the hunter in his quest. To summarize, then: A Wiccan may tell you, "I worship Diana" or "Lugh" or "whomever" but what they might mean will only become apparent with a close questioning of the motive in their act of "worship"

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


More on Cleansing Amulets A couple of people have commented that they prefer to use the smoke of sage to cleanse amulets: to smudge them instead of administering a thermal shock. In our experience (though it's admittedly finite), if the article is not of animal origin, then saging has little or no effect on the vibes of psychic energy imbedded in it. It is obvious that you can't put a person into an oven and then freeze them to cleanse them, and in the case of individuals saging seems to work--though we are not sure that this is what really happens. Whether the worker is looking visually, sensing through psychic impressions, hearing the aura, or whatever is the method du jour, "reading" the auras of human subjects (a) before and (b) after saging, scant difference if any is perceptible. We two have come to think that perhaps people who are exposed to a saged individual or object expect a change and then duly perceive it. Some Wiccans follow the old practice of bathing in salt water before they attend a ritual. There does seem to be a perceptible difference in the aura of people who have had such baths. Experimentally we have seen that if you start with a very hot bath to which lavender essence has been added, and if you finish by salting the water, you will effect a change in your aura. Inerestingly, Gavin's grandfather used to add a quarter-cup of hydrochloric acid to the final rinse of his bath. There is a good medical reason for such a practice: Soap is alkaline--whereas the body likes to keep the skin acidic. Thus the small amount of acid added to the rinsewater is very helpful in reducing the body's alkalinity. You can try this little experiment in the interest of research: 1. Get some small pebbles. When you are very angry (perhaps having just read about Congress' output of the day) put that anger-energy into three or four of them. Then ask someone to psychometrize the whole collection, one at a time. A sensitive will easily identify the pebbles that have been exposed to anger. 2. Next sage all the pebbles and take them back to the psychic for identification. In every case we have tried, the psychic still identified the "angry" pebbles. Alternatively, you can try washing the pebbles in salt water. Again, in our experiments the angry pebbles could still be identified. Clearly this area needs some investigation. If you have a group, why don't you try various methods of psychic cleansing and publish the results? The world could use some non-gasping, objective work such as this would be: free of blue balls of fire and free of heavy hoodoos. Keep your head in gear. Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne

Friday, November 8, 2013

visions and envisioning

Many years ago we visited our book publisher's office. One of the staff typesetters came in to meet us. He had been very impressed by our remarks about receiving psychic impressions, commonly called visions. He hesitantly said he had always heard sounds emanating from people, but had never thought of them as visions or psychic impressions. He was pleased that we had opened up a whole new way of thinking for him. He said that Yvonne sounded like little bells ringing tunes; whereas Gavin was more dark random drumming. Many people don't realize that "visions" come through all our senses, and that each one of us has a dominant mode of reception. Tests show that about 90 percent of people receive psychic information in the form of pictures. The largest other percentage of people, something like 6 percent, feel things. There are a small percentage of individuals who taste, smell, or hear psychic impressions. Recently re-reading Dion Fortune's Psychic Self-Defence, I realized that she had made the same point back in the 1950s. Now Dion Fortune was a psychologist, and it was her belief that the reason for the variance in receptive modes stemmed from the development of the brain over endless eons and that for survival the most important receptive method would be seeing: optical. She also made the point that nobody in her experience (or for that matter in our own experience) saw written information. To learn what your own major receptive sense is, think of a baseball park on a hot afternoon, when a player has just hit a tie-breaking home run. Do you see, hear, taste, smell, or feel the scene? Do you see the batter at the plate? Do you hear the cheers of the crowd? Do you smell the hot dogs? Do you taste anything? Or feel the sense of thrill of the hit? Now we move on to sending psychic information, as for instance in the case of trying to heal someone. To get to their subconscious, you must use the same methods that work for reception. In other words, yelling "Heal Aunt Martha!" or writing it down is not as effective as looking at a picture of Aunt Martha in good health or as imagining her--envisioning her, if you will--in good health. Since you do not know what the patient's prime receptive sense is, when you do a ritual for healing, you must try to key your work so that every sense of the target person is addressed. In the past we have fallen into the trap of writing requests; but we now think that this is the approach least likely to be successful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

your amulet

Amulets are objects that usually are made by human hands, intended to ward off negative influences. With wearing, they tend to lose their energy, and also occasionally to pick up any negativity that has been directed at the wearer. The good news is this: They can be cleansed and re-charged. The cleansing process extensively tested by psychic Peter Hurkos is this: Place the amulet in a freezer for 24 hours, and then place it in a hot environment: either boiling water or an oven set to 300 F: 15 minutes in either case. Repeat the process three times. After this the amulet should be effectively cleansed both of the energy (whether positive or negative) that has been imbued into it by the wearer and/or by the person who charged it. Obviously you have to be careful that the amulet is not made of a material that will be destroyed by such environments The most simple process of re-charging is to place it in direct sunlight at high noon for an hour three days in succession; or in moonlight at full moon for an hour three nights in succession. If you do not have the option of using direct sun- or moonlight (for instance, if you are an inmate), here is an alternative procedure. Stand in Star Position (feet shoulder-width apart, arms outstretched at shoulder height, left palm up, right palm down [for right-handers], head tilted slightly back) for five minutes at the time you know the sun will be overhead, and recharge yourself. Then bring your hands down. Hold the amulet between the palms and concentrate on putting your energy into it. Your dominant hand is your charging hand; your secondary hand is your receiving hand (left hand for right-handers, right hand for left-handers). If you are right-handed, this means the energy normally travels from the right palm ito the left palm. You can check the effectiveness of your charging by psychometrizing the amulet afterward, remembering to place it in your receiving/secondary hand This process is easy and straightforward, and accessible to everyone. It should be done at least once every six months to every amulet you employ.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Thoughts for Hallowe'en This is to kick off a facebook weekly diary or some such. Get us being trendy! Woo hoo We have just witnessed the Hunter's Moon or Samhain: the full moon nearest November 1, which occurred this year on October 18. When Christianity swept across the face of Europe, Samhain is the observance that got rescheduled, repurposed, and renamed Hallowe'en. Indeed, it is the sacred night, the Hunter's Moon, when the Lady of Seedtime and Harvest steps down from Her highest place to make room so that the Lord of Hunting and the Forest can have His half-year of supremacy. At the time of the first new moon of the new Celtic year, then, we Frosts propose to begin a new phase in communicating with other Wiccans. Each of us has within us a spirit. We Frosts simplistically think of the two parts of the being as "I", the ongoing spiritual part, and "Me", the mundane part. At times the spirit's agenda may seem to be at odds with what the body wants in the mundane world. Through meditation we try to reconcile the two parts in a happy or rational way so that we are not pulled in two directions at once: such pulling leads to stress. People too often assume that the two parts conflict with each other. No. They complement each other in what we call progressive reincarnation, each playing a role that the other cannot play. Let us meditate first on the sort of things that Me really wants. Let's see whether we can separate the wants from the needs. Often we can do that by investigating (a) whether the want is real and (b) what it would cost to fulfill any pseudo-need. As an example: The other day our cherished friend Ronn came by driving a newly acquired RAV 4 sporting all the bells and whistles imaginable. Gavin immediately felt that he too would like to replace his antiquated Subaru (a whole year old) with a shiny new RAV 4. It obviously wasn't a need: The Subaru meets all the Frosts' needs more than adequately. Anyhow, one day we had a little time in the local market town, Beckley, so we looked into the real-world effects a trade would have. Very quickly it became obvious that the price equation wouldn't work: Even with the high trade-in value of the Subaru so meticulously maintained, the payments on the new vehicle would break the bank. This little story illustrates the difference between a want and a need and Me's influence which had weighted the spiritual side in this purely mundane-level fantasy of Gavin's. We spent an hour of our life getting a firm real-world answer to a question that would have been available to us in ten minutes of deep meditation. We're (shall we say?) old-line meditators, yet the want for a new toy overruled the need and the obvious answer. We encourage you, then, not to waste the time, even though in wasting the time it set Gavin's want in perspective. Remember: In the real world there are many places where you can put far fewer dollars than are required to get a new car into something that will be infinitely more rewarding--places such as the garden.


Spirit Very little in the ancient Celtic mythos is truly about Spirit, so we have to go back into Hindu writings to find some ideas that the Celts might have shared. The Isha Upanishad describes Spirit this way: Although not moving, the self is swifter than the mind; The gods cannot catch It as It speeds on in front. Standing, It outpaces others who run; within It Sages place the waters. It moves--yet It does not move. It's far away--yet It is near at hand! It is within this whole world--yet It's also outside this whole world. Recall that the Hindus thought of Spirit or Life as being equated to breath, so that the Ultimate Deity is sometimes defined as the Living God that does not breathe, or the Breathless One. A more modern way of looking at it is defined by philosopher Georg Hegel: The nature of spirit may be understood by a glance at its direct opposite--Matter. As the essence of matter is gravity, so, on the other hand, we may affirm that the substance, the essence, of spirit is freedom. If indeed it is true that every living thing has a spirit, then each cell of your body has a spirit. Is your spirit then the sum of all these minute spirits working in comjunction? Or is your spirit kind of a dictator-spirit that organizes and runs all the smaller entities?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tempus Fugit

The wheel of time goes round and round. From our office window we see the trees on Sandstone Mountain are now bare. They've dropped their beautiful fall coloring. This reminds us of the time fifty years ago when we applied for federal recognition of the Church and School of Wicca as a religious association. Fifty years and almost 60,000 students seems now to be a lot of work. It has all happened slowly and gradually, one step at a time. The heady days when the IRS was investigating us and our attorney was saying, "Don't worry"--while the IRS seemed to be saying, "Go directly to jail" are a long time and many autumns in the past. Even with Gavin's serious surgery we're still looking forward to many more views of the beautiful mountain in its variety of colors. Soon the view will be white; but we know that white will be followed by spring greenery, and we think the future is looking brighter. Blessed Be Y'all Gavin and Yvonne

Thursday, October 10, 2013


We're back..... This is a test of the blog.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pulltogether or die

Our friends of the First Nations have a saying: "Walk your talk." In other words, put your money where your mouth is; don't make hollow claims. Thinking about that idea, we reflect that in the Wiccan/pagan community fewer and fewer people are willing to do that. An example:

Recently we've* been trying to find Wiccans who will visit prisons to counsel--or even to chat with--the many inmates who claim Wicca as their religion or their spiritual path. So far as we know, no one has yet volunteered: not one single individual. Ten years ago we used to get volunteers, but not today.
And so once again it falls on us to do any visiting that gets done. Given our advancing years and given the state of our health, it's quite a chore to travel across country for perhaps a one-hour session with an inmate.
The sorry irony about all this is that it was through inmates (the famous Dettmer versus Landon case) that Wicca got final confirmation of its federal recognition as a valid religion. Now it seems that self-styled Wiccan/pagans in the outside community--"on the street"--are not willing to support inmates as inmates supported the Craft.
Big Brother is out there. In the last year three "churches" have been declared believers in a philosophy, not in a religion. If this keeps up, the Community will lose the federal recognition for which we Frosts have fought so hard and to which we Frosts have committed our lives, our strength, our creativity. In a recent blog we tried to encourage people to come together and form larger groups that would have more political power. The idea was that if we could agree on even a few of the most basic tenets, the Community might become a more visible presence and might work together to strengthen its validity in the public perception. The comments on that blog totally disgusted us. And beyond disgust: we were heartsick. Apparently, there is no consensus in the self-styled Community even on such an essential idea as the Wiccan Rede. In fact we wondered whether we should stop blogging altogether and simply save ourselves the heartache.
Quite frankly we're fed up with it all. We've been the Community's scapegoats for over forty (40) years. Well, Community, you won't have to bother with us that much longer. And if you don't pull together now, you never will.
The choice is yours. The future is in your hands. What sort of future do you want? Having to meet furtively in secret? Having to lie to your associates about how you're spending your time? Having to live again under total repression? Do you want to live in a spiritual void, wondering whether you are alone on the planet? (Ask an inmate how fulfilling Solitary is.) Or do you want to go into the future having a strong spiritual and mundane belief system to live by, that governments and individuals around the world cannot ignore?
If there were a coin engraved on one side with the word Privilege, its other side would have to be engraved Responsibility. Two of us have made our choice. If you have the testosterone or the ovarian fortitude, you can make the same choice. If you don't have those qualifications, ask yourself: Do I deserve to share in what the Frosts have won?
- - - - - - - -

* Throughout this blog "we" means "we Frosts".

Monday, May 27, 2013

Morphing of Words

Of course we all know that words change their meaning over time. One of those that always amuses Gavin is virgin. In the (Welsh) Laws of Hywel Dda given in the White House on the River Taff, it is decreed that a nobleman may marry only a virgin with two healthy children. Obviously virgin didn't mean intact, as it has come to mean currently in the United States.
A simple little word such as nice might confuse you when it is applied to an adolescent, for it means exact, as in a nice distinction ... that is, if any distinction can be exact.
When it comes to other words such as hag (see Yvonne's thoughts below on hq/crone) the Christians have had a field day. Crone also falls into the same category, although of course Chronos is the elder god, the god preceding all others.
Yvonne muses:
Only Mecca itself surpasses Hagia Sophia in the reverence it receives from worshippers and tourists. Sophia means wisdom, but what does hagia mean? Hagia means holy! A word from ancient Egypt gives the clue: hq or hk is a holy woman.
Because of assorted malevolent propaganda masters working through the centuries, hk/hq has morphed into hag. Likewise with crone: one crowned (cf corona) with wisdom and maturity, meriting our deep respect.
My thinking is prompted by reflection on hk/hq and on crone. If I'm perceiving everything wrong, please give me information (specific information with sources, not just vituperation) that will set me straight.

another day, another tornado

Yvonne reflects.
Monday, May 20, 2013 saw yet another tornado tear up Tornado Alley, again destroying town after town with particular activity at Moore, Oklahoma. Does anyone else see a pattern here, or see grounds for speculation based on a long-term view of events?
I can't help musing. In the 1800s untold thousands of First Nations peoples were killed and displaced from the lands they had inhabited and cherished since time beyond memory. Don't get me wrong: the slaughter and ethnic cleansing were impartial. "Don't take this personally. We just want you dead or out of the way. Here. This black book will comfort you--or it would if you could read King James English."
A web search names nation after nation that got such treatment, labeling the nations "Native Americans" or "Indians", giving us a choice between two further insults. Among those nations listed we found Plains Apache, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Caddo, Cayuga, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, Delaware, Ioway, Kaw, Keetoowah Cherokees, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Miami/Peoria, Missouria-Otoe, Modoc, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Ponca, Potawatomi, Quapaw, Sac and Fox, Seminole, Seneca, Shawnee, Tonkawa, Wichita, Wyandotte, Yuchi.
If my usage constitutes yet another insult, I ask pardon: My mistakes are those of ignorance, not of ill-will. My own Cherokee grandmother was often quoted around the table,
"I don't want any preacher throwing dirt in my face at my funeral. Just give me a banjo solo."

Thus a thought occurs to my deviant mind:
The guardian spirits of those nations are fed up to here with the way white (make that pink) people have usurped and abused those beautiful and beloved lands. Said spirits may now feel they have waited long enough for an apology or for any symptom even of awareness, let alone remorse, and have declared payback time. Hence the events of the tornado season. If I am wrong in my thinking, please correct me with specifics.
Blessed Be Yvonne

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Consortiun of Wiccan Groups

It has been high in our list of priorities for many years that we who practice the Craft need greater numbers to speak with authority (with a single voice, if you will) on a range of topics.
It seems to us that the only way such a thing can happen is if we form a new consortium of churches and other groups to identify some shared ideas that we can all subscribe to. We believe that some form of democratic organization of associated groups will be able to speak with greater authority than we Frosts alone (or indeed, any isolated voice) could muster.
To this end, then, we believe it might be possible to use our (Church of Wicca) website to put up a page for each group that wishes to join, where they can outline their philosophy and perhaps see who salutes. After all, the website is very high up on any of the search engines, and does achieve hundreds of hits a day. Just now it is limited to promoting the Church and School of Wicca alone, but it could easily be expanded.
Your thoughts on this topic will be appreciated, especially on the idea of whether it would be an association, a consortium, an information booth, or ... who knows? Let's be very clear on one thing: We're not talking Mount Olympus here. It might resemble a town hall, where people could reveal their thoughts and beliefs and perhaps find others of like mind. The key point is that the Church of Wicca would not be in control, except in this aspect: if we really objected to something, we could remove the page from the website--but it would have to be a very dramatic disagreement, maybe something on the level of child pornography. We don't think such a thing will happen.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

 Venus and the Megalithic Yard

Those of you who are interested in the ancient measure, Proffesor Alexander Thom's megalithic yard (MY), would do well to investigate the book Civilization One by Christopher Knight and Alan Butler (ISBN 978-1-907486-09-8). Messers Knight and Butler investigate an early unit of measure which was accurate within millimeters from the northern Hebrides to southern Europe. The unit of measure has a relationship too with the Minoan culture's foot.
The first fact that comes as a surprise to many is that the old Summarian civilization used a circle of 366 degrees. That circle with its 366 divisions was obviously based on the length of the year (approximately 365 1/4 days). The diameter of the earth had early on been calculated by accurately measuring the length of one degree. The question has always been: How can you develop a measure using this fact?
You yourself can do a similar experiment: Working on the day of spring or autumn equinox, set up two poles of equal height, say 50 MY (Megalithic Yards) apart, in an E --> W direction, and two more poles in a N --> S direction. Measure the time it takes for the shadow of the first pole to be the same length as the shadow of the second pole. You must measure the shadows to better than a millimeter and the time to less than 1/10 second. The measurement results in a full polar circumference of the earth of 48,221,838 MY.
The ancient Sumerians used a base 6 for their calculations, so they separated each degree into 60 minutes and each minute into 6 seconds. When you divide this out, you find that one second of the full circumferance of the earth turns out to be 366 MY. You might call this a coincidence--but it isn't.
If you erect two poles separated by one degree of arc, then you can determine how long a star or a planet takes to traverse the distance between the two poles, measuring this time by the swing of a pendulum. The same mathematical trick that we use in casting our circles can be used to accomplish this. If you cast a circle of diameter 233 units and then divide it up using a 2-unit stick, you will find that you get one degree of arc per division. When you do this for a star, you find a pendulum length close to half a MY, but not quite, and certainly not within the accuracy to which the megalithic monuments were built.
It occurred to researcher Robert Lomas that perhaps the ancients used not a star but the planet Venus. Working with Christopher Knight (see above), Lomas had found that Venus was hugely important to the builders of megalithic sites. For example, New Grange was designed so that the light of Venus came into its central chamber for only a couple of minutes every eight years.
When you measure the transit of Venus between your two poles, you see that you get various results. This is because the apparent movement of Venus is regulated by the fact that it moves around the sun as the earth does. If you use a pendulum to measure its transit, when you measure the slowest transit, you get a pendulum length of exactly ½ MY--and we mean exactly: to better than 1 part in 3,000. Thus you have a method of developing the MY with very high accuracy no matter where on earth you are. True, in a very few places, such as high mountains or deep valleys, the swing of the pendulum will be slightly off. In most cases, though, this will result in an error of less than 1 part in 10,000.
Thus you can develop the MY with the most simple of tools: pieces of string, some form of plumb-bob weight, and a measuring stick (which can be of any length). It seems that our ancestors were far smarter than we thought: not just pointing and grunting ....
Why should you go to all this song-and-dance? Because the megalithic yard is the unit of measure we Wiccans use in casting our circles for spiritual work. Good enough?
By the way, Civilization One also explores liquid and cubic measure, and shows that they were probably developed for trade.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Callong the Directions

In calling the directions to create sacred space, we traditionally place Air in the East, Heat in the South, Water in the West, and Earth in the North. The question has arisen many times as to where this set of directions came from: The word tradition is insufficient.
The answer is clearly: the Punjab. The Punjab is an area in northeastern India and southeast Pakistan, and the word itself means five rivers. It is the area of one of the oldest civilizations yet discovered: the Indus Valley civilization. It is also an area subject to disastrous floods, and may actually be the source for ideas of Noah's flood, if we trouble to scrape off our shoe the old habitual assumptions.
Go to the web or to your public library, and look up trade winds. You will find that in the area of the Punjab the wind blows from the east: therefore it is logical to assign Air to the East. Similarly, the Himalayan massif is to the north, so that putting Earth in the North is logical.
Today most thinking occultists and Wiccans acknowledge that the directions should be called depending on the location of the worker. To do so is a symptom that the workers are thinking about the significance of what they are doing, in contrast to passively, numbly continuing to work the old patterns handed down on who-knows-what authority from who-knows-what distant land. If you are on the east coast of North America, it is logical--rational, mindful--to put Water in the East. If you are on the west coast, vice versa: you would put Water in the West. From the perspective of the northern hemisphere, Heat is in the South. Again, in the southern hemisphere the thinking is flipped.

Thus we can develop a set of directions for a ritual on the east coast or on the west coast of North America with the only decision left to make being what to put in the north. For many years now we Frosts have recommended putting Time in the North. This equates to old age, white hair, and (we may hope) wisdom. Many of us also add the sixth direction; that is, Above. Here it is logical to use either Spirit or Grandfather Sky. Since Time is in the North in our circle, we prefer to use Spirit.
Thus to fit our location USA east, we use, Earth  (what workers stand on): below our feet.
 Water in the East (the place of new beginnings; e.g. dawn), Heat and emotion in the South, Air in the West (since the winds blow from the west), Time in the North, and Spirit Above. If you tune your calls to fit your location, we think you will feel more comfortable with the result than you would by using the ancient Indus Valley/Punjab system. Do your research, and let us know.

Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne

Monday, April 8, 2013


A very capable student of the School of Wicca has prompted us to explain the use of correspondences when it comes to timing your services. As we all know, astrological signs influence the work we do and there is a correspondence between doing, for instance, a healing ritual for a heart attack and Aries.
Throughout a 24-hour day we move (that is, the earth rotates) through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each sign exerts the most powerful influence for a two-hour period. Conventionally we assign various times of the year to the dawn sign, and dawn is normally taken as 6 a.m. in the time zone where you are working. The astrologers among you can in fact work this out in finer detail and tell you exactly when Aries (for example) is in its ascendant.
So if you take it that Aries is at 6 a.m., on a day that the moon is full, when you plan a major ritual at midnight, what sign will you be in at that hour? That is, which sign will have the strongest influence over your efforts? Since midnight is is 18 hours away from 6 a.m., that means you will have moved 9 signs around the zodiac. This will place you in Sagittarius; therefore you must do something appropriate to Sagittarius to fine-tune your work to the proper sign. All you have to do then is (1) figure out when you will schedule your service, (2) figure out what is the dawn sign, and then (3) count around the signs to the one appropriate for your service.
You may have decided to do the service at 10 p.m. In this case you would count around only 8 signs. Simple, isn't it?
Career ... wealth ... healing ... If you need a complete table of correspondences that will suggest the most appropriate day and time for your intent, send the School a stamped addressed No. 10 envelope with an extra stamp inside; we'll send you a copy of such a table. A more complete explanation of this phenomenon can be found in our book Helping Yourself with Astromancy from Parker Publishing.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Principle of Least Effort

We are repeatedly amazed and puzzled that many people (self-styled "witches" or "magicians") are apt to cast some kind of imaginary circle with a fancy sword or some other comic-book hoodoo paraphernalia. Students of the School of Wicca's international student body have cast thousands upon thousands of circles; and we have tested the effectiveness of the circles both as (a) a container of intentional psychic energy and as (b) a shield excluding extraneous psychic energy (noise) from outside. In serving this two-fold need, such circles provide a safe area in which to work--though only when accurately cast.
As part of our work, we have used a hypersensitive magnetometer to detect the presence or absence of psychic influences. We have tried to encourage other people to do the same, because independent verification or lack thereof is instructive. The results of the experiments have consistently shown that effective circles must be (a) cast in electrically conducting materials and (b) of a very definite specific size.
We have found too that magnetic materials interfere with psychic reception. (You may remember Julius Caesar's report that before rituals, all iron and steel objects were stored away under lock and key.)
Regrettably, the Principle of Least Effort manifests itself all too often. The Principle of Least Effort is a polysyllabic way of describing simple laziness. When it relates to the casting of circles, it implies a certain self-enchantment and an inaccurate assumption that the self-appointed worker has not done his/her homework or is simply too lazy to follow techniques defined through generations of hard and even dangerous work.
In casting circles and in doing most magical work, you will do well to keep the Principle far away from the actual work. If you do sloppy work in an attempt to achieve whiz-bang hoodoos, you are insulting those who have gone before. If you want to play dress-ups or do claw-and-fang thumb games, that's all well and good--but don't call it Witchcraft, let alone Wicca. Lazy witchy-play and comic-book games do no honor to those who have gone to the effort to do the research. Our proud heritage deserves better.

Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne

Monday, March 25, 2013

Russian Spring

The two witch hazels that bracket our front door are very confused right now: They came into full bloom a couple of weeks ago, complete with the classic scent so familiar from those old drug-store bottles. Yet today they're covered with snow because we're having a Russian "spring" here in climate zone 6. For over a week now temperatures have been below normal--and we're promised that this will last at least another week. Indeed, temperatures are way below the normal for this time of year--and of course the self-appointed prophets of doom are gloating while they trumpet that global warming is a myth.
We're glad to report that Yvonne will never see 81 again. We had a quiet lunch out to celebrate.
Gavin's health seems to be improving though progress is terribly slow. We're sure that all those people who have sent energy have really helped the healing process. Let's recall that his surgeons thought he'd never walk again.
We had a good presenter at the Unitarian-Universalist fellowship last Sunday. He's a Russian exchange student and smarter than two or three whips. Whew. He's kind enough to say he likes it here but will be happy to get back to Russia where people don't wear meaningless smiles all the time.

That's all we know right now. Blessed be Y'all

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Gun Control

After the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the whole queston of gun control in the United States has once again become a cause celebre; and once again everyone seems to be throwing up their hands in helpless dismay, giving up the battle before they have really begun to fight.
We had already been invited to give a presentation on the topic to our nearest (Beckley WV) Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. In researching for that presentation, we have now come across a very good article--an eye-opener--which we recommend that everyone read. It is contained in the March/April 2013 issue of Mother Jones, the independent investigative journal that repeatedly leads us to say "Hoo boy." Some of the conclusions from the article are worth repeating. Example: The number of guns owned by this nation's military and law-enforcement bodies is estimated to be four million (4,000,000). The guns owned by civilians is three hundred ten million (310,000,000). In the two weeks after Newtown, more than a million guns were sold.
Gun deaths by state came as a shock: Wyoming led with 18 deaths per 100,000 per annum. And of all things, Massachusetts was lowest with 4 per 100,000 per annum. The other thing that was pretty startling to us was that in 2008 there were 11,030 gun deaths in the United States. Contrast that figure with 11 in Japan. The commonly held idea that video games produce gun homicides is sunk by this statistic: In Japan $55 per person is spent on video games per annum; whereas only $44 is similarly spent in the United States. Also everyone believes that the NRA controls gun legislation--and indeed that is true. But when polled, 74 percent of NRA members say (note: they say) that they support background checks for all buyers of guns. You might like to know that 40 percent of guns are sold without background checks, mainly at gun shows and on line. Also 67 percent of NRA members would support background checks for buyers of ammunition. And 45 percent say they support a ban on assault weapons.
After we looked at these (and a lot more) statistics in the Mother Jones article, we came up with the talking points below for discussion at the Fellowship. We thought we would share them with you to get your opinion on these and other things that could be done to reduce gun homicides.

Can we act as a group?
Ban assault weapons
Require background check for all sales
Require background check for purchase of ammunition
If you want to purchase a gun or ammunition, you must prove you own a safe in which to store it
Develop a black list naming criminals and mental patients
Install and use more metal detectors at schools, stores, bars, churches, restaurants
Toughen up requirements for permits to carry weapons include handguns, shotguns and rifles
People who buy/own guns must consent to warrantless random searches of vehicles and homes
If loaded gun found not in a safe, first offense confiscation of all weapons and $10,000 fine;
second offense, 10 years in jail with no option, no appeal

Monday, March 11, 2013

Travel Plans, Spring and Summer 2013CE

Greetings Y'all.
Gavin's health is sufficiently recovered that we now feel able to travel. At present our travel plans include Florida Pagan Gathering in Ocala National Forest early in May (see below).
         Additionally we plan to go to Sirius Rising and SummerFest at Brushwood Folklore Center outside Sherman, NY, 30 miles east of Erie, PA. We expect to be away a little more than two weeks for this one, because we are committed as well to a prison visit in the Finger Lakes district of NY State.
         Students who have been a while with the School of Wicca will see that once again their mail will be delayed while we are on these adventures. We don't know how many more such annual trips we'll be able to accomplish, but we plan to continue as long as we can, in case there are people we haven't yet offended. We feel it is especially important to meet again with other old-timers while they too are still able to travel. Example: We are most pleased that Margot Adler has agreed to come to Sirius Rising. We've known and admired her since the days when we were running our pig farm (the early '70s) in rural Missouri.
     We'd love to cross paths with all of you at one or both of the gatherings, Florida and/or New York. We believe sincerely that single voices speaking out for the Craft can do a lot of good; but if we could form real alliances, then the groups could speak with more authority and be genuinely taken note of.
    Gathering Dates, and Location Details

  Florida Pagan Gathering  May 1 - 5 Ocala Nat'l Forest see: flapagan.org
  Sirius Rising  July 15 - 21 Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman NY
  SummerFest July 22 - 28 Brushwood Folklore Center, Sherman NY
For both Sirius Rising and SummerFest see: brushwood.com/index.html

See y'all there.            BB Gavin and Yvonne

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ethics Morality and "Sin"

Recently we heard a member of the NRA (National Rifle Association) address a group of students and parents on the subject of gun control. After the usual blah-blah-blah reasons why every American should pack an automatic weapon with a magazine of at least 20 shots to kill off the lethally homicidal deer population, he wrapped up with this thought:
"If someone breaks into your home, shoot to kill. Do not shoot to wound:
If the criminal lives, he or she will sue you."
Naïve fools that we are, we had imagined that most of the members of the NRA, and certainly of the audience of which we were a part, were Christians and thus would subscribe to the commandment, "Thou shall not kill."
The question that occurs to us is this: Was the speaker being ethical? Was he being moral? Or was he committing a sin by suggesting that we the audience break a "sacred" commandment?
Let us deal with the "sin" first. The commandment was written, we are given to understand, by a man (Moses), presumably at the behest of "God" or "Jehovah" himself. Should one regard written commandments as an absolute law? Should a religious law apply to all taxpayers in a nation founded by Enlightenment thinkers honoring absolute separation of church and state?
This is probably a good commandment, even though it is honored more in the breaking than in the usage. Mostly we obey the laws of the nation. We do not excessively exceed the speed limit on the highways or molest one another. Such laws are developed for the benefit of the whole of society.
We don't consider breaking them a "sin", though: It's merely a risk: the risk of being punished. So the arbitrary labeling of an act a "sin" probably has very little effect on our selection of the ethical set by which we choose to run our lives.
The question then becomes: When we recall the speaker who urged that we break the sacred law "Thou shall not kill", was he being moral? In our opinion the answer is "Of course not!" though in his own weird twisted way he probably thought of himself as a very upright, even exemplary citizen.
The killing of someone has a lower pain threshold for the killer than being sued. Where then do ethics come into this question? Are you "ethically" going to shoot the criminal--and shoot to kill, not to wound? It depends, of course, on what your ethical set really is. If you were brought up in a neighborhood of criminals, you will have an entirely different set of ethics than someone who was brought up in a good, friendly, "Christian" area. (Of course the two adjectives may be mutually exclusive.)
In America the murder rate is approximately 1000 times the murder rate in Japan and 100 times that of France; we are conditioned to think of life as being very cheap. So the ethics of American society permit acts which in those foreign societies would be anathema--unthinkable ... and memorably punishable.
If I go to the dictionary and look up morality and ethics, I find myself directed from ethics to morality and from morality back to ethics. Apparently the writers of our tomes don't know the answer either. The derivation of ethics in the etymological dictionary concludes with "a placing of oneself, hence self-assertion, self will, and habit relating to custom" and moral under "excellent in conduct"--and it is noted that the root of moral is "uncertain". So both ethical and moral relate to the way we conduct ourselves, but it is apparently up to each individual person to define their own level of "morality" and what is "ethical" behavior.
For most of us the dictionary definition is nothing like satisfactory. Many of us alternative individuals cannot and will not turn to the "bible" and St. Moses to improve the dictionary definition. We Frosts can suggest only that you try working out a definition for yourself. The thought of the Wiccan Rede might fleetingly cross your mind.
If it harm none, do what you will.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sharia Law

Let's imagine we're back in 1600 CE, and let's believe for a moment that being a Witch and having a deviant view of "god" (or goddess) is legal in England--but we're in New England!, and in New England people are being murdered for holding "deviant" beliefs. Would it be reasonable to suppose that England would declare war on New England to prevent more people being murdered in the name of religion?

Now let's move forward to the present day. Let's think about a country, something like, say, Iran, where they have sharia law, where women get murdered if they are caught in public without a male member of their family to escort them (make that chaperone them). Would it be reasonable for America to go to war to enforce US ways on Iran?
We may assume consensus from our US perspective, ostensibly democratic, that sharia law is not something we can agree with. First of all, the US purports to separate church from state: That is, official enforcers (ostensibly) do not inflict one franchise's tenets and/or practices on the whole population.
Should we go to war to change it? What right does the United States have to impose its standards on another nation? We all agree--at least we Frosts hope we all agree--that the killing of people who are trying to advance women's education or to improve the health of people is not desirable. But how far are we entitled to go in forcing a whole nation to change its law system just because we don't like it?
Around 500 BCE in a time known as the Axial Age, give or take some centuries, men began to dominate women; Goddesses were universally overrun by male gods. From the Axial Age on in history, society has been subjected to laws designed for one purpose only: that is, to control women and to resist their advancement through education and even to prevent their benefitting from advances in medicine. Again: How far are we justified in going to war against those people who refuse to allow women what we perceive as their rightful place in society?
We Americans boast of how "good" our democratic law system is ... or is it? Really? Two examples come to mind.
1. Let's consider the position of pregnant women. Is a pregnant woman not a person? We attribute personhood (woo hoo) to the zygote. Does a woman give up her personhood when she becomes pregnant? If a zygote is a person and should not be "killed" through abortion, what is the pregnant woman? I guess she must have stopped being a person when the pregnancy happened.
Surely every woman has the right to govern her own uterus. She has the right, and indeed sometimes the duty, to terminate, especially if the father's DNA carries undesirable traits. Only she can decide when she wants to exercise her right. Only she can decide when she will follow through on her duty.
2. In many places in this nation, carrying a concealed weapon is legal.
      If a foreign country disagrees with our law, should its leaders go to the United Nations and get sanctions against the United States? Why, then, is it all right for us to interfere with the laws of other nations?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Circles and ?

In creating safe sacred space, it has been traditional to cast a circle of three concentric rings. These circles serve to protect the people within them from any malevolent influences that might be near.
When we founded the School of Wicca, we were puzzled by references to circles of various sizes: diameters of 9 feet and 11 feet were popular. So we decided we would ask students of the School (who by and large had not been exposed to the texts, whether ancient or contemporary) to cast circles of various sizes in order to decide which worked the best in a modern setting. The test was simple: Cast a circle. See whether you could (a) feel any negative influences while you were inside it and (b) send information to a third party from within it. We chose the idea of sending love or red roses to a friend.
After casting many circles in many different materials and of many different dimensions, we decided that the best materials were those that were electrically conducting. They could be anything from heavy copper tubing, to coal (that is, carbon), to sulfur, to salt that had been dampened, and copper sulfate. We simply chose three of them for our circles, basically because the colors of the materials seemed to match the idea behind the specific circle being cast. Thus for an outer protective circle, we used sulfur. For a circle on a higher plane we used bright blue copper sulfate, and for the healing protective circle we used salt. The sizes of the circles were difficult to pin down but finally realization came through that the outermost circle must be indivisible; i.e., the circumference must be a prime number. Working this back to the diameter, we found much to our surprise that the number had been well known when the ancients built their stone (megalithic) circles. So for many years, using only a piece of string and a pivot in the center, we could cast our triple circle with ease. We had to be careful of the copper sulfate, though; because if people had cuts on their feet, it might cause them problems: copper sulfate is a poison.
Recently we've been trying to figure out a slightly different arrangement: One of our students noted that the stone circles are not accurate circles: They are in fact closer to an ellipse. Casting ellipses is not all that difficult--and the big advantage is that they have two focal points. An elliptical shape provides a location for the priest (flamen) and for the priestess (flamenca), allowing a balance that had not been available in the single center point of a true circle.
If this was not enough, it has recently been pointed out that instead of an ellipse, it might be better to think of two parabolas facing each other. The advantage of this arrangement is that energy from the one focus would be transmitted to the other and thus could be multiplied. Casting parabolas is quite tricky. You will have to go back to your high school geometry book to figure out how to do it. We would very much like some of you more dedicated workers to try it and tell us about your experience.
For more information on casting of basic circles and ellipses, you can refer to Appendix III of the Solitary Wiccan's Bible by Frost and Frost, Samuel Weiser. York Beach, ME

Depression, Sex, and Testosterone

At this time of year many of us in the northern hemisphere are subject to fits of depression stemming essentially from SAD: seasonal affect disorder. This is especially true of people north of the Mason-Dixon Line at about Latitude 39 N. Depression based in SAD can be overcome by spending more time outdoors or in the light of a powerful light bulb or a tanning lamp.
There is another significant contributor to depression, though: it is called testosterone--that is, the lack thereof. If you talk to your physician and have your testosterone levels checked, Doc will normally say, "They're fine ... for someone your age." But that's not the full story. When testosterone is high, in your thirties, people are rarely depressed. Thus normal testosterone levels for men are said to be 270-1070 nanograms/deciliter and for women 15-70 nanograms/ deciliter.
As we mature, the body seems to like a slightly higher level of testosterone to maintain its vitality. Right now men's levels as high as 1550 ng/dl and women's as high as 250 ng/dl are considered high-normal. Such a level means that you are more vibrantly alive and enjoying life more. We were interested to learn that before Israeli fighter pilots fly a mission, they get Viagra to improve their reaction times.
We all know now that in males Viagra-type medications overcome the dread erectile-dysfunction bogey. (There seems to be no equivalent supplement available for the female--that is, we have heard of none.)
In working in Tantra, erectile dysfunction has been a problem for older men; and although medication helps, it cannot be used to maintain the serial erections that Tantra calls for. Such maintenance requires a penis pump and constricting rings. There are two main advantages in using a pump: (a) the obvious one: it always works; (b) it is very much less expensive than chemicals. By the way, most medical insurance companies will pay for such equipment. Once the initial investment is made, there is no cost and there are no chemical side effects.
Various authorities claim that high levels of testosterone lead to antisocial behavior--but in fact it turns out that low levels, where men are frustrated and depressed, cause more problems than the higher levels. Nor is it true that supplemental testosterone causes or accelerates cancer or prostate problems. We do not know whether high levels of testosterone produce a different set of pheromones; but it does seem that men with high levels are more attractive to the opposite gender.
Go ye then, and do some research. Share your findings with us if you are willing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Accuracy in Speech

We are continually annoyed by the inaccurate use of words in describing various occult phenomena. Perhaps the most egregious error occurs in the King James Bible:
                  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
The accurate translation of the original word is not witch; it is poisoner--and the substitution of witch for poisoner carries over into many of Scotland's trials held during the reign of that self-same King James.
At that time in western history, arsenic was a new find. People knew how to manufacture it, but they did not know how to trace it in the way we think of today as forensic detection. So if someone wanted to get rid of an inconvenient person, what better approach than to use arsenic and casually throw around the w-word to distract investigators from their own guilty activities? And I won't even lift the lid on King James' after-dark activities with pretty boys and young men ... More on him another time--if you're over 21 years of age and if you have a strong stomach..
The most famous of those Scottish trials is recorded in the ordeal of the Lady of Glamis in 1537. She was burned as a witch "for the attempted slaughter and destruction of our Sovereign Lord by poison." Most so-called "witches" in Scotland were simply people whom others desired removed for various personal reasons. Some indeed were feeble old women--but many were young and had committed no crime except those imagined by the superstitious judiciary acting under James' crazed fear of everything occult. The well-documented Scottish witchcraft trials show how the dominant central power of the king caused thousands of deaths in that nation--to such an extent that there is in the files a plea from the citizens of a village saying, "There are no females remaining except one three-year-old child."
Fortunately James finally went to England. Once he was crowned there, he seems to have lost most of his interest in dominating that specific area of his subjects' lives. Poor James (sigh). He wanted so desperately to be a scholar (see his Demonology), but he simply didn't have the horsepower.
As Shakespeare noted in Hamlet, there are many facets of life and of our world that are still unexplained, so we sloppily label them "magic" and let it go for now. It's easier than puzzling out the real cause and effect. Example: Many people have psychic experiences and are in fact able to predict what may happen in their future. Often this is no more than the mind using its idle capacity unconsciously to plot out future probabilities.
In the course offered on astral travel by the School of Wicca, many students have been able to leave their bodies and visit other realms. These are simple and straightforward experiences--but they are mis-named "occult". The dividing line between the ancient alchemist and today's chemist is very difficult to define; but we should not label alchemy what are again easily repeatable chemical experiments. It's all research; and occasionally research yields up new information. High-caliber minds tend to be inquisitive. See Isaac Newton.
When a Witch uses her/his inborn bioplasmic energy to cause something to happen, it is not magic--nor is it (gasp) witchcraft. People like the Kodak company have shown that some women cannot work in the packing of sensitive film because their energies tend to fog the film; thus when someone like Ted Serios fogs film, it should not be thought of as woo-woo magic. It's bioplasmic energy. Similarly, when Uri Geller bends keys and teaches children to do the same thing, it should not be thought of as magic. It's just the application of their inborn powers.
How did these demonstrations of what power can do get to be so vilified? The answer is too simple, really. There have been those people, and those letterheads, that sought (and seek) to control our every activity and thought. Picture a conference table surrounded by people in funny collars or smelly woolen robes. Can you hear those people saying something like the following? "We've got to keep a lid on 'em! We've got to keep 'em putting coins into the collection plate! I know! Let's label something a sin and make 'em feel guilty. Let's tell 'em they have to buy forgiveness for it. Hmm. Okay: How about if we tell 'em it's a sin to have your hands in dishwater and to come out with pruny-looking fingertips? If we can convince 'em that pruny fingertips are a sin, they'll pay and pay. Hot diggity dog. We're home free, boys. Let's never lose sight of the Eternal Trinity, eh? Guilt, shame, fear."
For centuries churchmen have denied us access to our powers and have murdered anyone who actually exhibited such powers in public.
The same lust for centralized dominant power is exhibited by the abrahamic churches of our day--and incidentally, by the alpha male baboon in any baboon troup. See the work of Robert Sapolsky. Right now it seems to be worst in the east, with the ayatollahs fomenting war against the infidels--but never assume that it doesn't exist in these United States, most especially in the south. There people are still regularly shunned for being (gasp again) different.
Our plea, then, is this: When you see or hear of phenomena that are at the edge of rational explanation, do not assume that they are the result of magic, of Witchcraft, or of other "occult" forces. Magic and Witchcraft are different: Magic is one thing; Witchcraft is another. Both ideas are valid, but the area of overlap is low. Remember your class in Geometry I? Remember dimensions--up and down, left and right, near and far? Spirituality and magic are simply in two different dimensions. Yvonne tends to think in the time-worn stereotypes: spirituality is in the up/down dimension, whereas magic is in the left/right dimension. Sort 'em out in your mind, and you won't be guilty of sloppy semantics.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Endorphines and Astral Travel

For some forty years the School of Wicca has taught a (correspondence) course in meditation and astral travel; we have written a book outlining the way to improve your success rate and to enter deep states of both activities (Frost and Frost: Astral Travel). We have also published a DVD on the same subject.
The requirement that the School's enrolled students submit feedback from their work has equipped us to refine and improve both the instructions and the students' success rate. It has shown quite clearly that various methods of releasing endorphines dramatically improve these success rates. The endorphines are endogenous morphine; that is, morphine produced by the body itself in the pituitary gland and in the hypothalamus. Such endorphines are produced by:
1. sustained exercise - This is sometimes called the runner's high since it is experienced by runners who push beyond their normal limits--through the burn, if you will;
2. excitement - Any form of unusual experience that produces an excited state will produce endorphines. This can be as simple as going for the first time to a naturist camp or viewing a particularly exciting sequence in a movie;
3. pain - In former times when the lash was used and when boys were caned in school, there were reports that some individuals deliberately misbehaved so that they could re-experience the high occurring after the pain finished. Soldiers wounded in battle get a reduced pain level because the body reflexively produces endorphines to produce an analgesic effect;
4. consumption of spicy food or dark chocolate and red wine - For some reason that we don't yet understand, highly spiced food produces endorphines, as does dark bitter chocolate eaten with red wine, especially dark red Chilean wine.
5. falling in love and (later in the relationship) orgasms produce a large endorphine rush;
6. moving to a beat - Ballroom dancing is a perfect example of this: Yvonne clearly enters an altered state the minute she hits that dance floor with a partner who has almost any level of skill.
Looking at these various ways to produce endorphines, we can understand the basis for certain elements in the initiation ceremonies that are traditional in some Wiccan paths: dancing till they drop; having orgasm(s); and being whipped; eating chocolate and drinking red wine. All these experiences produce effects that help change the participants' state of consciousness.
Combining two or three of the best-known methods of getting into a relaxed, exhilarated state, allows rapid access to other levels of awareness.
Since most work on endorphines is quite recent, it is encouraging to us that initiation ceremonies were designed to produce specific results that help in achieving their ends. It therefore behooves us not to disregard or hastily spurn any step in a traditional ceremony or rite of passage. Instead of brushing aside such a heritage, let us feel a sense of gratitude for the knowledge won so hard after centuries of trial-and-error by our spiritual forebears. They worked from a cold start to gain the knowledge that careless people today may not appropriately honor through simple ignorance.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Truth in Advertising

Recently we have been reading some of the older texts on occult phenomena, typically Montague Summers' Geography of Witchcraft, and other books written between, say, the 1850s and the 1920s and '30s describing the "horrors" of being or becoming a Witch. The key to these gasping scenarios seems to be a complete lack of understanding of what it means to investigate freely all that life and living have to offer--what it means to be someone not bound by the irrational and baseless restrictions that the abrahamic religions--Judaism, Christianity, Islam--strive to impose.

As just one example: with the increased sexual freedom of which we are aware today, we think nothing of young adults--consenting young adults--making love with one another. Of course this is a terrible sin, we're told, when they have not been legally approved / sanctioned so to do.
Take a step back and get an overview of the whole situation: Who has an axe to grind here? Who is striving to exert centralized power over others? But this sexual freedom was one of the "horrors" of being a Witch.
In the same way, various groups have experimented with such research as running ouija boards, table tapping, ghost hunting, dark sitting, and attempting to change their consciousness through various methods including the use of psychedelic drugs. The good people writing tomes such as the Geography of Witchcraft universally labeled these practitioners witches.
Wait a minute here. The fact that someone is sexually free and experiments with the occult does not in any way imply that they are actually a Witch or a Wiccan. They can be a Wiccan without ever doing any of the aforementioned activities. Being a Wiccan means that you are willing to accept the fact that we still have much to learn about real occult phenomena. A Witch is likely to accept that ghosts probably exist--but never see one and never join a ghost-hunting group. She may heal a sick child by using herbs; she may heal an adult hangover by laying her hands on the sufferer. "Magically" the child gets better and the person gets over their hangover or whatever else was causing the headache. What we don't yet understand we tend to label magic. Yvonne is a hands-on healer with many healings on her record; she is proud and grateful to be called a Wiccan. But her healing ability does not of itself make her a Wiccan. Nor is it magic. It's just one more thing we haven't yet explored or documented in a rational way.
When you talk to her you will find that there are many facets in her mind as to what makes her a Wiccan (her consciously chosen spiritual path), from belief in an unknowable indifferent Ultimate Deity through belief in progressive reincarnation, through the healing power she has, through many other aspects of her life, and her commitment to a certain code of ethics, all together make her a Wiccan. Remember Socrates? "The unexamined life is not worth living."
You'd think that current writers would be more aware of what is and is not a belief in a true religion--a spiritual path--and they'd refrain from attacking someone else's religion just because they can't comprehend that person's viewpoint. Yet, regrettably, they enjoy the notoriety that they get from publishing unfounded reports of Witches (gasp) in the village. Little do they realize that today there are Witches in every village and town, Witches who are not benefited by being accused just because they try to help or heal someone. Small-minded armchair generals and second-guessers--who themselves have absolutely no achievement in their résumé to boast of--apparently can find nothing better to do than to vent their envy and spite by malicious gossip about individuals who actually do quietly achieve good works.

We have called these musings Truth in Advertising. It would be just as valid to call them Accurate and Inaccurate Labels.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Temple Prostitutes

All right. Get over your gasp of horror. Get used to a novel idea: the idea that people in ancient times who wanted their parishioners to have a good experience in the temple were smart enough to know that (a) one way to promote a good experience was to get them relaxed, and (b) one way to promote relaxation was to get them laid.
Thus we find that in temples to Aphrodite in Greece the ladies of the town took turns in being available to service worshippers coming to the temples. It seems to us that this is probably a good idea, because in the ordinary way of things, men are the causes of more disruption than ladies are; however, it does seem to be somewhat one-sided. We don't know whether there was an arrangement in which male youths serviced the ladies. Considering human nature realistically, it seems that it would be quite probable in such worship centers. This may be why some dionysian rites (for example) have remained secret.

The offshoot of the ladies servicing multiple partners, of course, was a broadening of the gene pool and a reduction in the rate of birth defects. It has been found in such closed communities as the Amish that a reduction in birth defects can easily be achieved by allowing the ladies a little more sexual freedom.
So get rid of the gasping; figure that the ancients knew what they were doing. Ask yourself: Why don't we still do it? Is it just that the elderly rulers of the abrahamic religions could no longer get it up? Could it be that they unconsciously thought, "If I can't do it any more, I don't want anybody else to do it either!" ? Did they ever think, "These young bucks put me in the shadow. Wait! I know! I'll start a war and get rid of 'em all." ?

Saturday, January 19, 2013


The religion of Witchcraft or Wicca (more accurately the spiritual path) naturally has some teachings which are kept very close to the chest. They're not exactly secret, but they're of a nature which only people who have been taught well can appreciate and handle. As we often say when presenting, you wouldn't give the car keys to a two-year-old. So since time immemorial it seems there have been levels of initiation; thus people can be rewarded for hard work, and other members of the community can be confident that people less senior know what they're doing.
In modern traditions there are usually three levels of initiation. Because various groups define these levels differently, here we spell out the Church of Wicca's definitions and compare them with levels of initiation practiced by the general American Wiccan community.
First Degree - This is a preliminary admittance to the outer circles of a group, often symbolized by a triangle with a 3 inscribed. In the Church of Wicca, this means that the neophyte will have completed a set of Wiccan magical tools and will have been dedicated in a new secret name that (s)he has chosen for themself. The name will be known only by members of the group. In the Church of Wicca we call this stage dedication.
Second Degree - This requires that the candidate knows how to cast and to sanctify / dedicate a circle, and that (s)he understands the meaning of a pseudo Great Rite: probably a procedure in which the athame signifies the male and the chalice signifies the female. The symbol for this stage is a Pentagram, signifying completion.
Third Degree - In the Church of Wicca there is no third degree; there is only initiation with no degree number attached to it. In the general community we understand that a third degree signifies that the candidate has completed a study of at least a year and a day, and has been initiated in a real Great Rite which symbolizes the passing of magic on from the priest or priestess to the neophyte. This stage can be signified in several different ways; in the community it is often shown as an open eye resembling that on the back of the U. S. dollar bill. In the Church of Wicca the candidate makes their own ankh with downswept arms.
In the Church of Wicca we combined the second and third degrees because we work by correspondence, and bringing people in from distant places twice seemed to us to be too much of a burden for a single initiation.
Whether in the third-degree initiation practiced by the wider community, or in the single initiation of the Church of Wicca, it is usual to give the candidate some semi-secret information which equips them to prove to other members of the community that they have indeed completed this level and are qualified for the privileges that go along with their level of initiation.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Iceman Cometh

As many of you know, for a long time Gavin has held the peculiar view that the stones at Stonehenge were moved during winter--when the ground was frozen hard and anywhere water fell, slick ice would form. Even large stones would slide over ice, and slide quite easily at that. Not only that, but instead of building rickety scaffolding from the very few trees available on the chalk downs, workers could build ice banks / ramps so that the stones could be pushed up and tipped to assume their intended vertical positions; with equal ease the lintels too could be slid up and into place.
The other day, while we watched a documentary on Egypt, Gavin was intrigued to learn of a tomb painting showing blocks being transported for the building of pyramids. Those blocks were coated with a white substance, and that tomb painting clearly depicts a lone worker pushing such a block along.
The natural question then is: What was that white substance?
If we look at the map of Egypt and north Africa, we see that the Blue Nile flowing northward through Khartoum becomes simply the Nile as it flows from the mountainous region to the south.
Even so close to the Equator, some of those mountains have a perpetual ice cap. Admittedly it's a long way from them to Gizeh, but boats could have loaded ice and simply floated down the Nile; thus ice would have been available on which to slide the stones. Gavin likes this theory a lot better than he likes the various weird constructs of the archaeologists--including the latest, making hundreds of round stone balls and of course wood tracks to run the immense stones on Stone Age ball bearings.
The ice-movement theory would also account for the movement of blocks in South America to the present-day ruins of Machu Picchu ... never mind how the skill might have crossed the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the South American continent at its broadest point.
Anyone who has lived in rural areas of a northern European nation or in middle America knows that winter is the ideal time to move heavy objects. Any farmer knows this and makes use of it when he wants to re-set, for instance, his hog pens. And surely the people who built the great stone monuments would have been smart enough and close enough to Nature to use this, Her gift.
In looking at the thermocline, we find that during the time when Stonehenge (for instance) was built the climate was a couple of degrees colder than it is today; and although a couple of degrees doesn't sound like very much, it does in fact mean that the ground remained frozen for a longer period than it currently does.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pentagram or ankh?

When we Frosts founded the Church of Wicca in 1968, there were two symbols we might have used to represent Wicca. They were

(a) the ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life; and

(b) the Pentagram with its five points; members of the community presented it both the traditional way up on two of its points, and upside down resting precariously on one point.
Since ancient times the number five has been regarded as both holy and lucky. It is a sign of completeness: the four elements plus Spirit, as well as a mnemonic (look it up) to recall some of the basic tenets of the Craft. In our own representation we add Deity at the center, leading to 6. Of course 6 is another holy number and serves in Judaism, represented by the hexagram.
Because of the widespread use of the Pentagram we wanted to be somehow different, so we decided on the ankh. At the British Museum in London Gavin saw an ankh that was very ancient: one with downswept arms. It resembles an oval balanced on an arrow and it clearly symbolizes male and female conjoined, offering an excellent depiction of life and of freedom.

The ankh is one of the most ancient Egyptian amuletic symbols. It was retained by the Egyptians even after they converted to Christianity and stopped using the various hieroglyphic inscriptions that had appeared on earlier amulets. Thus we find that the oldest ankh with the downswept arms was replaced with an ankh displaying a hard straight crosspiece which was said to be a sign of Jesus with arms outstretched blessing the multitude ... or on the cross.
In this straight-armed form the ankh appears in all sorts of Coptic monuments. It can be found woven into textiles and stamped on the side of pots.
We decided that the ankh would be a good symbol for the Church, and we gratefully use it to this day, though with downswept arms, not the later straight-armed version.
Along with the ankh we decided to incorporate the old guideline stemming from the French tradition: Faitez-vous çe que vous voulez, si çe ne nuit pas. In the form we used, we translated it first as An it harm none, do what you will, adding a footnote: the none includes yourself. This is the same rule that was carved into the door lintel at Medmenham Abbey, where the Hellfire Club met to dress up as priests and nuns and to do naughty things.
Now the question became: Should we not have updated the archaic language of the Rede, substituting today's if for yesterday's an? Each time we quoted the Rede, we had to explain that an was not and. Everyone from journalists to office help seemed to get it wrong and to need their heads pried open for new information. In only one usage does an linger on today: that is in the comic strip known as Snuffy Smith. Recall his usage: if'n. That 'n is the last trace of an.
So in the end, yes, we scraped an off our shoe and used if instead.
Anyway, what about harming someone? Let us suggest this course of action: If you commit an act in all innocence, but learn later that someone has been harmed by it, seek to make restitution. With the passage of time, restitution may not be possible. In such a case, learn from your increased understanding, and release the guilt. Don't sentence yourself to carry an 800-pound bag of guilt on your shoulders for the rest of this incarnation because of an unconsidered action.

A personal word from Yvonne on all this: As a recovering Baptist, I gratefully affirm that my awareness of the Craft and my commitment to it have healed my life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

And We'll Call It a Sin

The western world has just come through what is traditionally called the most joyous time of year: a time when (according to the Egyptians) five days were given to us by the gods to enjoy. How did the Egyptians learn of the divine gift? The cresting of the Nile had gone off-schedule: a dead giveaway that the Egyptian calendar was in error. So from those five "extra" days grew such festivals as the Roman Saturnalia and the Christian Christmas. In the Celtic year, winter solstice was already a time of joy because the darkest days of deep winter were over and people could look forward to the lengthening of the day and the return of warmth.
During the revels, it was customary for misrule to be the law. Lords and ladies became servants, and servants played lords and ladies. Everyone had a jolly good time; September birthrates peaked. People did what the self-appointed Christian authorities (the only game in town) labeled "sinning". Christian authorities simply could not allow such jollification, especially when it involved spontaneous acts. It might be possible, church leaders thought, that they themselves would be displaced and have to be the servants--and their servants might be in church --and might even run the church services! (Horror of horrors ... and the ridicule that might be possible--oh, shudder!)
So the individuals who sought power ever more centralized decided that every fun act should be called evil and those committing such acts were sinning. Personally, we don't really know why enjoying oneself is a sin. If everyone is getting a little on the side, then why worry? As the old saying goes, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Of course, the authorities followed these ideas of sinning with making monogamous marriage a legal requirement. Now if considering only the preservation of property rights and the protection of children, that was probably a good idea; but extending it to rule out all enjoyment was a step that pagans and Witches vigorously resisted, especially when the least little act or thought could be labeled a sin.
If you didn't attend church every single day of the week, you were sinning, and in the worst case could be judged a heretic--and we all know only too well that being labeled a heretic led to torture and ultimately the fire just because you didn't obey the man-made rules of the elderly, crochety clergy--who probably couldn't get it up any longer anyhow.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Twelfth Night

Many, many traditions cluster around the time of winter solstice. Perhaps as a final wrap-up, our spiritual forebears enjoyed twelfth night, as a summation and a farewell to the indoor festivities occasioned by cold weather and short daylight hours.
As with so many other pre-Christian pactices, the Christian church stole the celebrations held on the twelfth night after solstice, and turned them into something it called "the Epiphany". The first confusion that arises stems from the awkward fact that twelfth night is supposed to occur on the evening of January 5, ahead of the twelfth day which fell on January 6 because days officially began at sunset in those times.
Of course, as with many stolen festivals, this one predates Christianity by thousands of years. It stems originally from an adjustment of the Egyptian calendar, as noted in the Rhind mathematical Papyrus:

The world is out of joint. The gods have given us five extra days, and they should be used
for rest and revelry.

In many parts of old Europe this prompted a Saturnalia-type holiday with a Lord of Misrule, when aristocrats served the servants; where possible, all normal pursuits were reversed or let slide. The Christmas decorations were always taken down by the Lord and the Lady of Misrule, and any food in them was eaten at the twelfth night feast. This would normally include such things as nuts, apples, and dried fruits. In many places circular (ring-shaped) cakes were baked. In Spain, for example, such a cake was called the "king's ring" to signify the turning of the wheel of the year. Or for all we know, maybe it was properly "kings' ring" as in three kings. The cake would contain a dried bean and a pea. The persons who got these pieces would be designated King and Queen for the following year.
Shakespeare's play "Twelfth Night", written to be performed on twelfth night (surprise), has a special flavor of the fun and games and misrule that were common practice in his day.

What happened?

How come we no longer have revels and enjoyment of this sort? Even the pagan groups don't seem to trouble themselves with innocent revelry of this sort. We Frosts think this is a very sad commentary on today's materialistic, shallow world with its disregard for traditions.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Defining Sacred Space

Before we begin any ritual, it has become our practice to define the space in which it is held: That space is between the worlds and is not subject to "normal" time constraints. In defining thus, we have used the ancient directions which correspond to the elements: fire, earth, air, water. The correlation of the elements with directions comes to us from the ancient Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley: from the area known as the Punjab (Land of the Five Rivers). The area spans the border between today's Pakistan and today's India.
Generally North has been designated Earth. With the Himalayas in the North, putting Earth there seems reasonable. But what if there is no earth massif to your north, as for instance in northwestern Ireland, or in the praire flatland of Kansas? Since anywhere we stand Earth is under our feet, it seems reasonable to us to correlate Earth with Down.
What if we are in the United States on the west coast? Where should we put Water? Since the Pacific Ocean is in the West and it is a pretty large body of water, let's say for the sake of argument that we should put Water in the West. Then when we move to the east coast we should put Water in the East; and by similar reasoning on the Gulf Coast we should put Water in the South.
Since the sun is at its most powerful in the South (we're speaking here throughout of the northern hemisphere), Fire should be in the South, and Air in the West. This is especially appropriate since most prevailing winds come from the West. (You need only look at the weather channel.) This now leaves us with a blank for North--and after working many, many dedications of space, we have come to the conclusion that the best representation for North is Time. Without Time, nothing would exist. Further, Time can obviously be associated with the elderly, with white hair, and with many other concepts befitting what is essentially a sympathy magic. Now we can put Spirit Above and have a very consistent, tidy, satisfactory six-direction dedication for our working.
We prefer what is called cross-circle calling: the person standing in the South calls North, and similarly around the group--starting, of course, with Earth because workers need something to stand on. It is best, then, that everyone in unison call Earth. Here then is a typical set of direction calls for the eastern US:
Below - earth, our mother: the solid ground from which we all come                a  square
East - water, adaptability: takes on the shape of its container                           wavy lines
South - fire, passion, not indifference                                                              triangle
West - air, mental: here new ideas come in on the wind                                   fountain
North - time, remembrance, good times, those who have gone before             clock hands
Above - spirit, which activates every living thing                                              spiral
Thus we offer some basic ideas to direct your thinking as you dedicate your space. Some groups also like to make hand gestures as they call each direction, so we have included them too. Remember always that the key to such working is the ability to remain silent, an ability often equated to Earth, with the silence of rocks and mountains. As with all magical procedures, though, it is up to the local group to make their own decisions on how they will sanctify their sacred space. Therefore we urge you to do just that: Define it, try it; if you like it, stay with it. Whatever you do in your working, don't just simply follow like a well-trained dog the ancient instructions without thinking about them.
Remember always that the key to all this working is the ability to remain silent. It is often equated to Earth. The silence of the rocks and the mountains. As with all magical procedures, it is up to the local group to make their own decisions on how they will sanctify their sacred space. We urge you, therefore, to do just this: define it, try it; if you like it, stay with it. Whatever you do in your working, don't just simply follow like a well-trained dog the ancient instructions without thinking about them.

Be where you are.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

First Footer

At this time of year it is appropriate to remember the First-Footer. What is that? It is the first human foot that crosses the threshold after midnight on the night between December 31 and January 1. Traditionally the First-Footer is expected to bring into the household a silver coin; a piece of wood or coal; some bread item, perhaps an unsweetened dinner roll, usually baked fairly hard. Gavin remembers being on a BOAC flight with his (two older) children at this season. The airline served up rolls of a type that the kids could have used as cricket balls.
In addition, especially in Scotland, a bottle of whisky is brought.
All the First-Footer items are placed over the lintel of the front door of the dwelling, or over the door which is used most often. The items signify that the home will never lack money, fuel for heat, and food.
Some folklorists note that especially good luck came when a First-Footer was invited to stay at a dwelling where there were unmarried daughters. Presumably this was an old way of widening the gene pool.
You can go first-footing in your neighborhood if you like, or just to the dwelling of your friendly local Witches. Let's not lose these ancient rituals. They mean something even now.

Happy 2013