Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Thoughts on the New Moon -- On Gavin's Passing from October 2016 by Yvonne

      It seems unreal that Mabon and a rare black moon has passed and it has been nearly a month since Gavin passed away from diverticulitis and its complications. I think of Gavin’s passing as “graduation”, though not many can readily grasp this idea about death.

     Mabon, in conjunction with Rosh Hashanah and Hijra, Islamic New Year, has us thinking about new beginnings and the fall of the year as harvest time finishes up and the excitement grows as we approach the cowan holiday of Hallowe’en coupled with the upcoming Samhain. (We celebrate Samhain on November 14 this year.)

      I don’t know where I would be in this grieving process if it wasn’t for the tremendous support from our many friends, notably the Unitarian Fellowship (link) here in Beckley, WV, Lady Rae, Ron and Raven, Brushwood Folklore Center, Cucumber and Co, and the patience of our students, even though I have managed to get through the pile of mail from the last couple of months. I would ask for everyone to please be patient with me as it is VERY new to be single after nearly 50 years of companionship, even with our notable ups and downs. I am so grateful to our colleagues and friends, and to my daily meditation practice for helping me keep my thoughts in some kind of order.

      I also have to relearn all the details of the daily operating procedures of the Church and School of Wicca because I was content to let Gavin run things all these years. Bronwyn (Jo) and Cucumber and Co have been helpful in working with me to more fully automate the School’s correspondence, but it all takes time and seems overwhelming now. I can’t say enough what a blessing it is to live in these mountains of West Virginia with such wonderfully supportive people.

      Those mountain people managed to put together a great service to remember my partner. Here is the link to a video of the service since so many could not afford to come, with Bronwyn leading the service and the UU Squad helping out with snacks and support. I am so grateful Gavin and I moved here in 1993, because I do feel as if West Virginia is my spiritual home.

      And finally, in light of new beginnings, I really want to say that I find comfort in eating thoughtfully, following the recommendations of The China Study , self-directed aquaerobics at least twice a week, and my daily meditation practice. Where would we be without our comforting daily rituals? Blessed be to you all, and thank you for your kind words and thoughts.

Please note that this blog was originally published through in October 2016 and has been moved over to Dancing Wiccans in January 2017.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The roots of Wicca

In 1949 CE Gavin was initiated into a Witchcraft coven based in Cornwall, England. At that time the young people in college and returning from World War II were all into new lifestyles and religions, just as they seem to be today. Only in the early '70s, when Gavin was in India, did he realize that the basis for parts of the Witchcraft system that he'd been taught in Cornwall were to be found in Hinduism (and probably more specifically, in Tantric Hinduism). With a little help from senior political people in India, he arranged to go and spend two weeks in a Tantric house in the Indian Punjab. During that time he became even more convinced that several facets of Witchcraft were taken directly from Tantra: specifically the calling of the directions. The Indian Punjab is one of the only areas in the world where the traditional attribution of the Elements is in tune with the natural surroundings. Traditionally modern Wiccans assign Air in the East, Heat in the South, Water in the West, and Earth in the North. In the Punjab we have the Himalayas to the North and the Sun in the South, the Arabian Gulf in the West, and the trade winds blowing from the East--whereas, for instance, on the east coast of the United States Water should be in the East and Air in the West. Further, in the casting of the three circles we recognize the Hindu Tri Loka, the three levels: Earthplane, Spirit Plane, and the Beyond; though in Welsh they are labeled Annwn, Abred, and Dyfed. Because of these parallels, in 1980 we decided to teach Tantra and to write a book on Tantric Yoga so that others could benefit from knowing where to look for some of the roots of what later was called Wicca. Although the word Wicca was gradually entering the consciousness of the alternative community, only when a group led by Gavin and Yvonne in Missouri decided to use Wicca in the naming of their church did it become generally popular. In fact the naming of the Church of Wicca is the first federally recognized use of the word anywhere in the world. When we looked into other covens in England, we found that in most cases their founders had spent time in the East. Specifically Gerald Gardner was a civil servant in the East; and it turned out that the founder of the coven in Cornwall had also been founded and led by an army captain who himself had served in India. If we look at the roots of Witchcraft in England, we find that it descended from such people as Kellner, who readily admitted that he too gained most of his knowledge in India. Let us be aware at least of where our true roots are to be found. And since Tantra is the oldest documented religion, we can truly claim that Wicca is the earliest manifestation of a nature religion in modern time as well: a religion that demonstrably goes back to perhaps 6000 BCE and the Vedas--in other words far earlier than the roots of Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Those belief systems claim their heritage started in Zoroastrianism, with its male-oriented philosophy and its emphasis that everything is dualistic: either good or evil. We encourage every Wiccan to study Tantra, either by taking the (correspondence) course in Tantric Yoga offered by the School of Wicca, or by finding a good book on the subject. Blessed be each one who seeks. Gavin and Yvonne disk blogs 090115 blog tyoga (tantric yoga)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

cui bono

Once again a handful of self-appointed pagans are criticizing The Witch's Bible and its daughter book Good Witch's Bible for "encouraging illegal behavior". This short article will give those who don't know it a precise résumé of what has happened and is happening. When The Witch's Bible was published in 1972, it was greeted with both wild approval and disapproval. The disapproving group, was led by one Herman Slater of the Warlock Shop in New York City. We all know that warlock means traitor and Slater was indeed a traitor to the Craft. Nevertheless Slater convinced Carl Weschcke of Llewellyn Publications that he should put the Frosts on trial for writing such an inflammatory book. Carl had one of his assistants, Vicki Zastrow, review the book. We met with Vicki and Carl in Minneapolis in 1974 to review the situation. Apparently the main complaint was the definitive article in the title: The. We Frosts agreed to change the title of The Witch's Bible to Good Witch's Bible. In addition, in discussion with Vicki we agreed to write forewords for the various chapters of the book. This was done, and Good Witch's Bible was published in 1993. The trial in Minneapolis went ahead; but since the Frosts had arrived with a large contingent of supporters and Slater had only three (3), it was canceled; instead a Witch from Arkansas, Eli, was tried in absentia. We were never able to ascertain the nature of his crime(s). The positive outcome of the aborted trial was a second Witchmeet in Minneapolis. Here agreement was reached on the definition of a Witch, mainly written by Isaac Bonewits but agreed to without dissent by all present. It was at this Witchmeet that Morning Glory and Otter/Oberon Zell became friends. In 1985 the original book was used by Federal Judge Butner in Dettmer v Landon to determine that Wicca was a legitimate religion worthy of Federal recognition. Further, on May 19, 2016 the quiz show Jeopardy mentioned that specific decision in a question. Thus the book that has been so much criticized is one of the foundation documents of the religion of Wicca. Rewriting the document would inevitably have led to a reevaluation of the religious status of Wicca; hence the forewords were inserted rather than rewriting the whole book. The most controversial part of the book seems to revolve around initiation. In the foreword to Chapter 4 is the clear statement in English: No formal initiation into a group that practices the great rite should be done before the candidate attains the age of eighteen [18]. Thus the accusation of pedophilia and child molestation falls down. Nevertheless people continue to question the wording of that chapter. Since the foreword was in place, it seemed unnecessary to us to make changes in the body of the chapter; however, on the advice of Craft friends, in July 2014 we changed two (2) words on Page 64 to clarify further that no one under the age of eighteen (18) years should be involved in sexual initiations in the coven setting. The revised edition has been available for more than a year; yet only six (6) copies have ever been sold. Such is the fervor of Frost accusers: a lot of heat with very little light. To us it is clear that the accusers have not bothered to read the relevant material and are working from hearsay with smoke and feathers and salacious imaginings. The whole question of the introduction of children to the Craft seems to be controversial. In our own family and in other families with children who have made no secret of their alliance with the Craft, the children have been able to live a healthy and healthful life without being accused of being the children of devils. Perhaps we should have talked about puberty rites in Chapter 4 rather than about initiation. Girls especially, when they start menstruating, should be honestly told of their change of status and be welcomed into their adult life. We are most happy to have attended puberty rites recently for several girls in our covens. When The Witch's Bible was written, there was no other book which would guide people into the religion of Wicca: the Craft as spiritual path. There were several books on Witchcraft but none were definitive guidebooks. They talked about the history of the Craft and about its present resurgence; about magical procedures (not distinguishing clearly between magic and spirituality), and assorted activities at all levels of expertise. Notable among such authors, of course, were Margaret Murray, Gerald Gardner, and Raymond Buckland; however, none of their books could be used to enlighten those who were interested in exploring the religion of Wicca. Those who criticize The Witch's Bible and its daughter Good Witch's Bible should write their own guides--remembering that they cannot stray far from The Witch's Bible without creating a new religion. From that point they will find it necessary to move ahead and get federal recognition for their new religion. Once they have completed this task, we will be happy to welcome them into the ranks of pagan religions. In closing we should point out that accusing us of pedophilia, or of condoning pedophilia, is libel; if it is seriously meant we will see the accusers in court. If it harm none, do what you will. - Gavin and Yvonne a:cuibono

Friday, May 20, 2016

Thank you ann marie

Thank you, Ann-Marie. As you all know, the Frosts' appearance at FPG 2016 had become controversial. Nevertheless, we felt it was time to test the waters by going back to FPG to see whether the old scars were still present. Unfortunately, our names were listed in a first draft of the program--which was not meant for general distribution. Thanks to Ann-Marie, the gates of Camp la Llanada were not closed against us. We were greeted with a friendly welcome by everyone we met and we were made to feel thoroughly at home. The only public appearance we did was in the honoring-- make that saging--of Max Maya. There we said a few words of gratitude for his work in the Community. We also gave three semi-private presentations with the support of Mystic Moon Church of Wicca. Regrettably Gavin became ill on the last night of the gathering, so he could not personally thank everyone. Thanks are especially due, of course, to Lady Rae and to Ann-Marie as well as to Dennis and Bobbi Jo Smith, indeed to the whole group at Mystic Moon. We look forward to crossing paths again with y'all. Blessed be. Gavin and Yvonne

Saturday, March 19, 2016


It amazes us that some seekers and interviewers still confuse Wicca with the old stereotypes developed in the 16th century (and way earlier) by Christians with an axe to grind, stereotypes developed to eradicate a natural religion. We're talking about a religion based--as many are--on the idea that the Earth is our Mother and something to be cherished rather than raped. People forever ask us the question: "Do you worship Satan?" Now Satan is the evil god of the Abrahamic religions; thus the answer is obviously a resounding "No." Why would people who subscribe to a positive, nurturing lifestyle subscribe to the negative destroyer-god of someone else's religion? Wicca (the word is derived from Old English and is related to wit, wisdom, wicker .....) is now the spiritual home of many people whom others ignorantly call Witches because they don't know any better. We believe that as of today there are more than a million Wiccans openly practicing their religion throughout the world. Since we Frosts founded the School of Wicca in 1968, we have enrolled over 60,000 correspondence students internationally. Many of them fell by the wayside, of course, when they found that our course was serious and actually required reading reference books. Anyway, this one small school influenced so many lives that, when we multiply by the many schools that have since opened, you can easily see that a million is no exaggeration--except perhaps that it may err on the low side. Where else does confusion lie?, since many non-Wiccans assume that Wiccans perform magic and are sorcerers under a different name. This again stems from a real fact: that many Wiccans are healers, though the ability to heal should not in any way be confused with any spiritual path. People of any religion or none can use their own innate energy to heal an amazing assortment of illnesses. The statistics are in: The man in the care of nuns who pray in his behalf for his broken leg after a skiing accident in Italy heals more quickly than the one who is in the state hospital. Thus the power of the nuns can be thought of as a magical healing touch, although of course in their context they're not allowed to say so. Have you ever suddenly thought of someone--a friend or lover perhaps--who out of the blue comes into your mind, and you find they're going through some sort of traumatic experience which is being telepathically communicated to you? Again this type of communication between two people and between a person and an animal seems to be some kind of magic--whereas in fact it's quite natural. For many years we all relied on dowsers to locate the place where we'd spend a considerable amount of labor in digging a well. People found that dowsing could be used for finding not only water, but also for oil and for buried mineral wealth. Indeed, such people as plumbers and utility-line workers dowse with the mindset, "Doesn't everyone?"Again, anyone can do it. You don't need to be a Wiccan; all you need is an open mind and a few moments practicing this further natural ability of dowsing that lies dormant in everyone. We could go on and on, and talk about all the other activities that people accuse Wiccans of. There's a tendency for women of the Craft to like cats, especially black cats. Men, on the other hand, tend to love dogs. The thought of sacrificing animals (especially when you're on a farm and plan to store food for the winter) is particularly abhorrent to us. We're horrified when people go out and shoot a deer and take only its antlers, leaving the rest of Nature's child, her gift to us, to rot in the woods. It's an obscenity and a travesty. Okay. We've said enough. If you want to learn what Wiccans are, come join us at festivals around the nation. There's Sirius Rising or Sankofa in New York State; there's Florida Pagan Gathering in central Florida. You name it. If you are of an intellectual bent, take a correspondence course from the School of Wicca. Try to avoid reading trashy books; look instead to the scholars, such as Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" or our own "Solitary Witch's Bible". As we say, "Blessed be each one who seeks."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

finding your roots

For many years people have encouraged us to write our autobiography. We have resisted such suggestions on the assumption that anything we write will probably only cause more furor in the self-styled Wiccan/pagan "community". ‘Who will guard our self-appointed guardians?' indeed. If you read Wikipedia you'll find the idea generally accepted that Gerald Gardner founded the witch/Witch/Wiccan (choose one) community with the publication of "Witchcraft Today" in 1954 followed by "The Meaning of Witchcraft" in 1959. It is true that he mentioned WICA (sic, all caps, spelled with one c) in "Witchcraft Today". But throughout all his later work he referred to what he was doing as witchcraft with a lower-case w and to that witchcraft as a cult. We, on the other hand, have always believed that Witchcraft represents the race memory of an ancient religion or (more accurately) an immemorial spiritual path, with traces dating back eons before alphabets and before any named male deity/juju. We looked up the word cult in the dictionary, and found that (among other things) a cult has a male leader self-appointed and self-described as infallible. We Frosts popularized Wicca (note the upper-case W and the two c's) after a meeting in September 1968 between four (4) initiates at our home in Ferguson, Missouri. After that evening's long discussion, the group decided to use Wicca and Church of Wicca as the title of the new group. The problem with Wicca was that it is the male form of the noun, whereas the female form is Wicce. It seemed to some of us that the female form would be a better title. In that time of ascending feminism, the decision prompted no little to-ing and fro-ing. Interestingly, the men voted for Wicce; the women for Wicca. As a result of all this, we Frosts began to advertise the Church and School of Wicca--the very first correspondence course in Witchcraft. In Avant Garde magazine we advertised the course as well as a booklet: "Witchcraft, the Way to Serenity". To put everything into context, early developments looked like this: - "The God of the Witches" Margaret Murray 1931 - "Witchcraft Today" Gerald Gardner 1954 - "The Meaning of Witchcraft" Gerald Gardner 1959 - Gerald Gardner's graduation (often called "death") on February 12, 1964 - "Witchcraft the Way to Serenity" G and Y Frost November 1968 - Raymond Buckland's Museum of Witchcraft, opened in 1968 - The controversial "Witch's Bible" 1972 - The letter from Frosts to the IRS asking for tax-exempt status, dated September 1971, with the IRS Letter of Determination dated August 31, 1972. After publication of "The Witch's Bible" it was reviewed by Vicki Zastrow and Carl Weschcke. Weschcke convened a general Witchmeet to discuss it. As a result of that well-attended Witchmeet, we put some explanatory notes at the front of each chapter and republished it as "Good Witch's Bible". The interest in Witchcraft was so high that we went on to publish no less than 29 (twenty-nine) titles on subjects ranging in subject matter from popular to scholarly, from "The Magic Power of Witchcraft" to "Tantric Yoga". Though our books are not usually acknowledged in American works on Witchcraft and related topics, they have appeared in five (5) languages. Only in 2014 did someone notice the use of the word children in "Good Witch's Bible". We promptly revised the book to settle the flap. Only one sentence had to be changed. And so great was the outcry over that discovery that as of this writing, a sum total of nine (9) revised copies have been sold. Yet to such a peak did the furor on the Web and in the Community rise that we resolved to attend no further festivals. But we have now rethought that decision, and currently plan to attend certain festivals again, starting with Florida Pagan Gathering in May 2016. If it is your wish to set off another storm in a teacup, you are at liberty to do just that; however, we have now provided you with a set of real-world documented dates and deeds on which to hang your criticisms. see you at Fpg blessed be g&y

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Calling the directions

For many years the classic universal way to call the directions has relied on Hindu tradition. Documents show that the only place in the world where the traditional directions harmonize with reality is located in the Indian or the Pakistani Punjab. Today's set of directions is appropriate to where we are in West Virginia. We encourage you to use directions appropriate to where you find yourself on Mother Earth. Below Think of growing plants and the fact that the earth supports us all, both physically and with the food we eat. Brown. Female. East The rising sun. New beginnings. Green shoots. Youth and babies. Green. South The heat of the noonday sun. Emotions. Passion. Early adulthood. Red. West The setting sun. Dark blue as the night comes on. Death. North The white of snow. Wisdom. Above Pure white and palest yellow. The sky. Rain clouds: the rain that nurtures the earth. Male. Everywhere Clear spirit. The thing that motivates every living creature. Unknown and unimaginable, but pervading all the directions. Don't be afraid to change the calling of your directions. Use whatever feels right to you for the place you are in. Blessed Be