Thursday, October 2, 2014
The title of this blog means envy: the Latin root video (I see), plus the prefix in- that reverses its meaning. Ergo invidia means refusal to see. In 1609 when Galileo looked through his improved telescope and decided that Copernicus was right, many people (especially the alpha-male Catholic masters) refused even to look through the telescope. To those people Galileo rightly applied the word invidia. To us it seems that we are going through an invidia phase in the development of Wicca. Just as in Galileo's experience, part of the problem seems to be envy and another (perhaps greater) part is a refusal to accept reality--a denial. So as you all know, we Frosts are continually accused of everything from sheer stupidity to being anti-gay and/or being homophobes--and, worst of all, of being child molesters or pædophiles. The cluster of such claims implies a surge of creative fiction. Quelle imagination! When we say if you cast a circle using certain specific materials and certain specific dimensions you will get better results than if you cast it with (for example) a sword, many people won't even try it. They refuse to look. They are invidia. In conjunction with an international cast of students of the School of Wicca, we have cast more than 5,000 test circles using a wide variety of materials and a range of dimensions; and in another series of experiments have employed a super-sensitive magnetometer to prove the results. Still, despite these real-world facts, people cannot be bothered to run their own tests. Instead they start howling "Fake! Fake!" without making the first gesture themselves toward demonstrating how dishonest our claims are. Older (that is, more senior or earlier) students of the School share a common joke: Some years ago the ladies ran a ritual for more men to participate in circle events. They got their wish: the School was inundated with gay men who signed up and formed their own (warrior) covens. We are accused of being anti-gay because many years ago at a party an attendee asked Gavin whether gays could be Wiccans. Gavin replied that at heart Wicca is a fertility religion; that a) gays are welcome but b) must define their own fulfilling path c) in today's self-styled Christian nation where we are even now resisting the tedious drumbeat of the Christian "right"--an oxymoron if ever we've heard one--and are still articulating a more inclusive mindset. Part a) is never quoted. Part b) has been repeated ad nauseam. Part c) is a work in progress. The Church and School of Wicca is proud and grateful to boast the largest gay population of any group. We even held a Gay Wiccan Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The motel personnel made a perfunctory howl of protest, but were supportive after that moment of oscillation. Yvonne gratefully recalls their roadside marquee: "Welcome, Gay Witches." Of course this caused a furor in the press and many comments from the "community" saying we shouldn't have done that ... while they sat on their big fat davenports doing their customary Nothing. When we can arrange it, we march in Gay Pride parades. The last one we made was in Charleston WV. Yvonne's placard read on her chest "If you don't like it" and on her back "You can't have any." Credit for the thought traces back to Oberon Zell. How many of these self-appointed critics of the Church attend gay-pride parades to represent the Path? We seldom see anyone. The most egregious accusation is that we Frosts are pædophiles. In The Witch's Bible (which has been criticized on many counts) we went to the trouble of reprinting it with notes to satisfy all the complaints that we had received through 1986. The one page that escaped everyone's notice was the one on which we talked about initiation or dedication of youngsters. We used the word child. In other parts of the book we clearly noted a) that no one should break any civil law in the name of the Craft and b) that sex magic should not be taught to anyone under the age of 18. We have now changed that single remaining page. For more than forty (40) years no one noticed the page we had overlooked--but suddenly a small noisy percentage of self-styled Wiccans broke the Prime Guideline "If it harm none, do what you will" and accused us of that which is not true. A speculation: They were in genuine (self-induced) trouble and hoped to distract attention from their very real behavior as miscreants by dragging a smelly red herring into the discussion. We have never been pædophiles in fact, in fancy, or in imagination. We have never written anything in support of such activity. Like Richard Dawkins, we ask you to provide take-it-to-the-jury evidence for any such claims. Now we calmly suggest that if you don't like the things we do, invent your own. Make sure they work, and practice and publish them as your version of a spiritual path. Just please don't call that path Wicca. If you are not willing to look, you are indeed invidia.
We are as intrigued as anyone else about how some ancient stone monuments (e.g. megaliths) were built. Some of the technology, such as the fitting of the stones at Cuzco, is truly amazing. Some sixty years ago Gavin spent time on Salisbury Plain at Her Majesty's weapons-testing ranges, where experts were testing infra-red weaponry such as the Sidewinder. Most of the testing was done at night. This gave the scientists time to explore the landscape, and to bat theories back and forth on how and when and why Stonehenge was built. Gavin offered the theory that the quarrying and transporting and building of the stones, and putting the lintels on the tops of the megaliths to form trilithons, was no problem--if you simply thought winter. Why bother with rollers and ropes and all that, when a couple of buckets of water thrown on the ground would freeze and you could slide the blocks across the frozen surface? We had fun. We demonstrated to our own satisfaction that a single lightweight man could move a one-ton stone with ease, provided that it had even one flat side. To get the stones upright, build a ramp of ice and snow. To put the capstone on, another similar ramp would be needed ... and would be built just as easily and serve as well. Then in spring it would return itself to the earth. So the construction resolved itself into a simple application of manpower--people who were doing little else in the middle of winter. Next we looked at the thermocline: that is, the temperatures thought to have been prevalent at the time when Stonehenge was constructed. Lo and behold: It was a cold period. That still didn't solve the problem of how they aligned the stones nor how, for instance, they figured out where to put the Aubrey holes and why there should be 56 of them to predict lunar eclipses. Recall that they ultimately had to calculate astronomical patterns happening over approximately 200 years. So we solved half the problem, at least to our own satisfaction; and we will leave the rest to you. Think about it. Was life expectancy so brief? Or did people live to greater ages than we've always assumed? Were the knotted-string methodologies (quipu) known, or did those people have writing and calculation methods that we wot not of? We've puzzled over our uncertainty for years. Every time we see a piece on Stonehenge, it reinvigorates our thoughts. Will you share your thoughts? Give us feedback. Blessed be those who question easy assumptions. GY