We all live between several worlds. Few of us realize how readily we put on the mask suitable for each world. We rapidly change those masks as we move through our daily life. For the Wiccan or New-ager, changing the masks becomes second nature. We have specialized vocabularies, clothing, even postures and movements that we assume with each mask, each appropriate to the world in which we are currently operating.
We, Gavin and Yvonne, may wear more such masks than many other people do, even though nowadays we spend long periods in only one mode, that of the Craft. It was not always thus, for we have lived between several different worlds in a more totally committed and self-denying way than many people may ever choose to do.
In this chapter, we have interpreted "living between two worlds" In three ways. First is the interface between the Craft and what might be called the "paycheck world," everyday life. Then comes the Wiccan world as we have experienced it in the Church and School of Wicca and as some of our co-religionists have chosen to interpret it. Third comes the relationship between our lives, both in everyday terms and as Witches, and that other world which is the source of higher spiritual guidance. Finally we will suggest some thoughts about the future and where we see the strengths and weaknesses of the Craft in helping people adjust their lives to that future. History
Our mundane (paycheck) history is simple enough. Born respectively in England in 1930 (Gavin), and in Los Angeles in 1931 (Yvonne), we grew up in totally different environments. We met while we were both working in the aerospace industry in California in the late 1960s. By that time, Gavin had been initiated in England into a traditional semi-aristocratic coven; Yvonne had abandoned the fundamentalist Baptist cult of her childhood years, had explored Buddhism, and was now active in Spiritualism with its meditative communication. She recognized that the world view that Gavin described to her was the one for which she had been searching.
We joined forces and moved to a new chapter of life, leaving one major aerospace firm for another. In St. Louis, Missouri, we founded the Church and School of Wicca and wrote The Witch's Bible. Not long afterward, Gavin gave up the aerospace industry to commit himself full time to conducting the Church. We followed the Mother Earth News approach and supported the Church and School by raising feeder pigs on a farm in Salem, Missouri. The Church and School continued to expand, and we were ultimately forced to decide between it and farming.
After going through a hard period when food stamps were a necessary part of our life, we moved to New Bern, North Carolina, and supported the School first by repairing and selling historic homes and then by running a steel boat production company. Writing and publishing, along with conducting the School, continued apace throughout that time.
Recently we have semi-retired from the day-to-day operation of the
School, but still keep in daily contact with it while working on new
books and other Craft research projects.
Upon his early initiation in Europe, Gavin found that the fact of his affiliation with the Craft had little effect on his business life. From the social point of view, being a Witch was a heady experience in London, because many of his college classmates were army officers demobilizing from Hitler's war and returning home from the Orient; they had many stories to tell of religious conversions they had experienced, especially while being held prisoner (often in solitary confinement) by the Japanese. At the same time the powerful British Psychical Research Society and the imminent repeal of the Witchcraft Act made it fashionable to be a Witch--even though at that time, as today, no one really knew or knows what a Witch is.
Americans ask, "Which church do you go to?" as readily as Europeans discuss the weather, but most of the time there is far more religious freedom in Europe than in the United States. When he entered the American aerospace industry, Gavin found that discussing his religious beliefs with lower-echelon personnel was counterproductive whereas discussion with superiors and upper-echelon personnel was extremely productive. Because of his British/European/ Canadian background, he was assigned to foreign sales projects. He found that foreigners were extremely interested in his beliefs, and that (especially in eastern countries) his world view made it easier to meet people in authority. He got to meet with government and political figures at higher and higher levels with far less difficulty than his Christian competitors encountered.
For example, perhaps one of the most treasured books on his shelf is a copy of the Bhagavad Gita given to him by Indira Gandhi. He obtained for the king of Thailand some authentic Dixieland jazz records made on a Mississippi riverboat; in return the king arranged for Gavin to spend a week in a Buddhist monastery.
The founding of the Church of Wicca resulted in one of the most interesting between-the-worlds brouhahas of its early years. We were invited to speak at the local high school in St. Charles, Missouri. Certain resident Christians objected; they got a court order to prevent us from appearing. A compromise was negotiated with the aid of the media. The Christians promised that if they could talk to the students first (immunize them) we could have our turn. The hapless students sat through an hour's haranguing by two Christian ministers. The next day, when it was our turn, the Christians turned up with another injunction to prevent our speaking. To say the least, this riled the students up. Since the high school was observing Law Day, students marched on the county's circuit court building. We rented a vacant theater and made an evening presentation to more than six hundred students and parents, a packed house. We had to hire guards because at that time our lives were seriously threatened.
Since we were friendly with the St. Charles sheriff's department, its personnel arranged to have an unused police car parked outside our home at night. Though this had the effect of frightening off some "wannabe" Wiccans, we honestly believe that it saved our home from being fire-bombed. We have come to believe that forming relationships with local law-enforcement personnel and helping them interpret evidence of an occult nature at crime scenes should be a top priority with all Craft people. Call it getting there first with our side of the story, if you like.
The next evening we had a meeting with a group of local ministers. They were most interested perhaps in tarring and feathering us and running us out of town, but the media were present. The headline the next day in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch read, "Minister Admits Song of Solomon is Pornographic." This appeared over a photo of us two sitting on a desk, swinging our feet, while two ministers shook their furious fists in our faces. The media had a blast.
Because of all this furor, more students listened to Craft ideas than ever would have paid attention if the Christians had left us alone. There was no question about what was talked about in the coffee klatches at Emerson Electric, where by now Gavin was director of international sales. The discussion was so heavy and so widespread that through this Gavin met such St. Louis luminaries as Sandy McDonnell, founder of McDonnell Aircraft, whose interest in psychic phenomena was well known. On one famous occasion, a flight from Washington to St. Louis, Gavin was invited by Emerson's president to come up forward into the first class section and discuss with Missouri Senator Stuart Symington what was going on. Obviously, being in the open did no harm at all to Gavin's career. In fact, by being so open we saved ourselves a lot of unnecessary pain; we are confident that if we had been in the broom closet we could well have been murdered by the rabid Christians. In this caseãas in many other episodesãthe awareness of people in the media and people at top levels in large corporations was an eye-opener. We still feel that only very intelligent, very open and achieving people get to those top positions.
The Church and School of Wicca continued to grow. Soon we had some fourteen subsidiary chartered churches operating in the United States. In the early 1980s, a church meeting at Amarillo, Texas, was interrupted by a bomb scare caused by an unstable woman. The bomb scare and the subsequent Christian remarks got us a slot on the "Phil Donahue Show." That led in turn to the church's becoming more widely known in the United States. Directly following from this came such things as an invitation from Washington State's Department of Correction to write guidelines for meeting the needs of Craft inmates. One more time, controversy (this time between the world of a fundamentalist Christian woman and the world of the Craft) caused us and the Craft nothing but good.
After moving to New Bern, because we were repairing houses, we bought an extra house in New Bern so that a second coven could move into the locale. Then we bought yet another house because Dame Sybil Leek expressed a wish to be nearer. Gavin had been friends with Sybil and her mother Louisa for some years, and we thought it would be great to have them in New Bern with us. As it turned out, we could at least have eased Sybil's final years. In the final days of her incarnation, so-called Wiccans were squabbling across her deathbed about who would inherit her tools.
The purchases of all those houses attracted the attention of the Internal Revenue Service and led it to believe that the Church and School of Wicca must be a highly profitable operation. Fortunately for the church, the IRS was somewhat heavy-handed in its investigation of records in the New Bern and Craven County archives, so we very quickly knew from friends in the police and sheriff's departments and the newspaper what was going on. Once again, as we had been in Salem, we were fully integrated with the local community. "They may have some weird ideas, but underneath they're nice people and hard workers," seems to summarize town attitudes toward us. That small community protected its ownãusãfrom the outsiders.
The IRS requested that we bring all church financial records to their offices for review. We politely replied that part of the church's philosophy was that financial records shall not be kept, for we believed very strongly what we believe today: that if we followed our guidance, then the Lady would provide, and that financial records were an invention of Mammon. Well, the IRS did not believe it and continued to press us. The Pagan community was largely silent. At that point it became, "In a few days' time you, Gavin and Yvonne, will be in jail."
Then the letter which we had written to the Jimmy Carter White House kicked in with a vengeance. The IRS became more friendly. It may have helped that our attorneys showed the IRS representative the subpoenas that had been prepared for eveyone up to and including the President of the United States. Not only that, but the IRS had recently given a local federal judge a very hard time over his taxes; consequently its agents had no doubt that the subpoenas would be signed and served. We bent over backward then to help a very pleasant IRS agent who concluded that the Church and School of Wicca was not a very profitable concern and that it was indeed a bona fide religious association in all the meanings of the phrase. We were unofficially told afterward that the internal IRS investigation that resulted caused the firing of one agent and the disciplining of another.
Based on that confrontation, the IRS published a new set of guidelines for its agents to evaluate the validity of religions applying for recognition and for a letter of determination. Again we had succeeded in interfacing between the world of the Craft and the paycheck world of big government, and producing a net effect that everyone could at least live with. During all this adventure, though, the pagan community was totally non-supportive, even though today the new guidelines help all of us.
After all this, we had to agree with the IRS that the idea of having many subsidiary churches was not a good one, so we withdrew the charters from those who would not agree to report their activities to us on a monthly basis. Since that time we have issued charters only at long and irregular intervals to the very few people who have convinced us that they need them. We have suggested to other people that they go directly to the IRS without getting the Church and School of Wicca into the loop. The few charters we issue have an expiration date.
Recently we have continued our careful interface with law
enforcement people and have served on the North Carolina Department
of Correction Prison Chaplains' Board. We work as consultants to
Professor James Bailey, one of the nation's leading experts on occult
crime, "the crime that is not," as he says. Christians have learned
that to attack us means good advertising for the Craft, so in the
last few years they have left us pretty much alone.
Ever since publication of The Witch's Bible in 1969, we Frosts seem to have been anathema to some members of the Craft. The book's original title was to have been How to Practice the Oldest Religion, but was changed at the last moment at the publisher's request. What a furor it caused in the existing Wiccan community in the United States! It was not Gardnerian! It was not Alexandrian! How dare these non-Witch upstarts give away the secrets of the Craft! How dare they call their work the Witch's Bible?
Llewellyn's president, Carl Weschcke, agreed to host a public discussion between us and our critics in Minneapolis, but before agreeing to it he invited us up to discuss our viewpoint and the basis for our belief system. We were happy to go to Minneapolis and meet with him and Sandy, and with Russ and Vicky Zastrow, to discuss the system of Wicca described in The Witch's Bible. From those meetings we came away with very good new friends, and with the acknowledgment of a man who has worked long and hard on behalf of the community.
The Great Showdown, billed as the "trial of the Frosts'" by our critics, took place in Minneapolis. No such trial ever occurred, mainly because we showed up with well over one hundred supporters and they numbered four or five. The following year a large group met to propound the Principles of Wiccan Belief. By that time we thought that the furor over The Witch's Bible would have died down, especially since the original publisher had gone bankruptãbut even to this day other Wiccans continue to make themselves unhappy over The Witch's Bible. Not that we intend it that way or want to promote any such unproductive investment of energy; but people seem to want to be angry over something, and The Witch's Bible is probably as good a lightning rod as any other. An obscure book was made a good seller by the controversy; its continuing popularity can be attributed in part to the continuing interest it arouses.
During the second of the Gnosticons, the great meetings in Minneapolis hosted by Carl Weschcke, we taught a practical, light-hearted course on sex magic. Many people attended. From the feedback, we learned that all professed to enjoy the experience and to benefit from it. Yes, there was a degree of sexual contactãbetween consenting adults. One Wiccan is still trying to live down the fact that he couldn't get his socks off. A Wiccan woman told a man that sure, he was fine to do ritual with but she certainly didn't want to see him that evening. Goddess bless her, she had gotten it right. She had clearly distinguished between ritual sex contact and other (dare we say "romantic" or "affectionate"?) sexual contact. But the point we want to make is: It was light-hearted; it was good fun. No one was harmed; no one was forced to do anything against their will. Many attendees learned some basic magical procedures. I hate to think what might happen if we proposed doing the same workshop todayãnot from the participants, but from the rumor mill afterward, in rumors propagated by envious people who weren't there. Worse: Is someone out there trying to legislate sexual activity (that harms none) for Wiccans?
Of course there are many other divisions within the Craft. Everyone has a perfect rightãindeed, a dutyãto follow the path of their choice, so long as it harms none. We have elected to use sex magic to achieve alterations in the mundane future and to achieve altered states of consciousness. The choice implies no obligation on the part of anyone else. We have also felt it our duty to point out that attempts by untrained neophytes to "draw down the Moon" can be very dangerous. Both of these positions have been rabidly attacked by other writers, mostly in attacks ad hominem. We defend their right to discuss techniques and to follow their own path, harming none.
Also we can well do without people whose only resort is character assassination, not factual research. But perhaps the most irrational behavior of all is exhibited by people who publish attacks before they have read the work they are attacking. A recent exchange on CompuServe illustrates this point: "How can you say that, Gavin Frost, when you ___ ___ ___?" "Have you read The Witch's Bible?" "No, but I heard ___ ___ ___!"
An old clichÈ points out that all advertising is good advertising. The most recent spike on the sales graph of The Witch's Bible has once again proven the accuracy of the clichÈ. Our thanks, then, to people who attack any of our published works!
Suffice it to say that after all these years we have now decided that it is worth our while writing an annotated Witch's Bible, in which the original text will be expanded and clarified. Or maybe we'll call it The Witch's Bible and Concordance!
The phrase that was common in the community thirty years ago was
"I have the one and only right and true path ... for me. " with its implied corollary
"I do not have the right to criticize the path of another."
In today's world of Wicca, of course, this high-minded concept is honored more in the breach than in the observance.
As a final word in this section on Wiccan versus Wiccan, we note that new vicious rumors are now being started about various Craft leaders. The rumors have been received through some high priest or priestess "channeling." We believe it was in 1683 that spectral evidence was outlawed in courts of law. Welcome to the seventeenth century! With friends like these, we don't even really need the Christians to point the finger. This is definitely a problem within the community: one that needs to be addressed by the leaders in a forthright, honest, and unbiased manner. The Church and School of Wicca has taken the position that if we are accused of illegal acts, we will sue. We wish that other groups would follow suit. Perhaps that would curb some people's inventivenessãinventiveness which should be more productively applied, perhaps to investigate new paths and ways of gaining spiritual understanding.
Of course there were and are many more incidents of so-called Wiccans attacking us. (True Wiccans who believe in the Rede cannotãby their own professed philosophyãdo this sort of thing to anyone.) To date, physical attacks have been limited to handfuls of sand in the fuel tank of our car.
Lest you think this diatribe is just about Gavin and Yvonne, be assured that every single Craft leader of note has had similar experiences. A wise woman told me, "It's those who have nothing and have done nothing who attack. It gives them ego gratification to be noticed."
From this we developed a firm position: Publicly ignore the attacks. Privately, though, they still hurt.
A couple of years ago the trustees of the church enlarged upon that position: If someone libels or slanders the Frosts or the Church and School of Wicca, we will go to court and sue.
So far we have had occasion only to warn several people of this
When we speak of guidance, we are talking of those ideas that come to us through meditation, dreams, tarot, astrology, and a hundred and one other avenues: omens and portents that lead us along one path rather than another. When several of these omens and portents agree (oracular cross-talk), we know that we should take a certain path and that we will grow to be sorry if we follow another. Although some channeling seems to occur from time to time, we cannot arbitrarily say that the guidance we receive is from another plane of existence rather than from our own subconscious minds. Some guidance received from well-respected channelers (mediums) has been wildly off the mark, and sometimes our determination to go in a certain direction seems to have influenced the readings. We have never met or used channelers tested in the eastern manner; when we have tested channelers in the community, they have allãwithout exceptionãfailed.
Some major changes have occurred in our life because of guidance. Among them were decisions that we should found the Church and School of Wicca and that Gavin should leave aerospace. The major decision to give up a position as international sales manager for a major aerospace firm, with all its perquisites and a very comfortable salary, was strongly reinforced by guidance. The president and the divisional vice president for whom Gavin worked made no secret of the fact that they thought he was crazy because his future in aerospace looked bright. They did not want him to leave, and, further, they gave him a lucrative consulting contract so they could call on his services when needed.
Despite all, Gavin left; we became pig farmers and operators of a neophyte church because something (something that we believe was guidance) pointed us that way.
It is the interface between the spiritual world and the paycheck world which is perhaps the most interesting of our experiences. On more than one occasion we remember complaining aloud to the heavens on the theme of "Why me?" Leave a comfortable job? Become a pig farmer on a subsistence living which required signing up for food stamps? "Why me? Why not plow aerospace money directly into the Church of Wicca instead?" Who knows, except those with a longer world view than our own?
At one point we tried to kill off the School of Wicca by discontinuing all its advertising. But queries kept risingãfueled by the Wiccan-versus-Wiccan furor? by spiritual influence? We know not. So under guidance we decided to go into the school and into writing full time. This was truly the equivalent of sawing off the limb we were sitting on, but we have had no reason to change our confident belief that someone or something knew what they were doing.
We rededicated our efforts to writing and to expanding the school's student body. We heard of a house in New Bern, North Carolina, that had had some fire damage in the attic when a cat had knocked over an altar candle. No, we didn't hear it from the Pagan grapevine; we heard it from the United Farm Agency. Anyway, Gavin flew to New Bern and paid a deposit on the place; we were set for a major move. New Bern is the place where Judge Gaston wrote the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing religious freedom in this nation. His little law office still stands as a shrine. Serendipity? Guidance? Who knows? We believe it was guidance.
We continue to pursue our way with guidance. Some three years ago we were directed to go back on the road. The first thing we found was that we were disinvited from many meetings. Our letters went unanswered, and several letters came back saying, "We don't want you." Through the good offices of EarthSpirit Community and ACE, a couple of years ago we went to Rites of Spring and to Starwood. Although camping is not an activity we especially enjoy in our time of maturity and seizing-up joints, we enjoyed ourselves and found that our lecture on our path was well received and appreciated. In fact, people seemed to hear it through and then ask each other, "What was all the fuss about?" More recently our lectures on sex magic have drawn packed audiences.
Now once again guidance has taken a hand. We will disappear from
the festival circuit to investigate certain phenomena that occurred
late in the nineteenth century, with a view to getting at the true
roots of the European high magical tradition and our specific
The society in which we all exist is at one of those cultural change points that come from time to time. Large portions of the society are disaffected and in rebellion. This is not a new situation; it has manifested throughout recorded history. People like to think of hippies and communes as a twentieth-century phenomenon; but hundreds of such groups existed in the past: Brethren of the Free Spirit, Adamites, Christeria, Taborists, and Hussites (remembered for us in the Christmas carol, 'Good King Wenceslas' who bloodily suppressed them).
Disaffection is not new. What is new is that we are finally beginning to realize that its root cause is not poverty, for more crime is committed by people who are well fed and clothed than by the poor. Today too, the incidents arising from disaffection are more widely publicized and the suppression by authorities more widely questioned than ever before.
The Wiccan movement (indeed, the entire movement in search of alternative religions) must be placed in its historical perspective. The search for self through avenues of drug use, free sex, meditation, cold and hot sittings, nudity, revolt against the Christian church, is not a new phenomenon. In the past all such revolts have failed or have resulted in communes run by a dominant male messiah with a dogmatic religious creed.
We may surmise today that revolt arises from dissatisfaction felt within a person at the position in which (s)he finds him/herself. Everyone is different. For some, being a begger and a mystic is the road to fulfillment; for others, being a millionaire stockbroker is the path. The phenomenon known as "failure as revenge" is typical of people who reach the brink of success but then fail. They know that success will imply more work and more responsibility but will not fulfill their deepest dreams.
The world in which we live does not have enough job positions so that we all can work at what we would like to do. There are obviously too many production jobs available but too few spiritual jobs. So we have millions of disaffected misfits who make the lifestyles of the affluent their holy grail. They little realize that there are just as many misfits among the affluent as among the poor.
How can the Craft help move us toward a new Utopia and teach everyone to live between the worlds with fulfillment and compassion? To us it is evident that three things will have to happen:
1. The Craft must clean its own house.
2. Outreach programs must be expanded.
3. The technological village must move toward reality. Looking at each in turn:
1. Cleaning house
One segment of the Craft movement is composed of disaffected eggheads who try to gather around themselves people of like mind and education.
A second branch is that of the new high mucky-mucks who gain their fulfillment by becoming the petty dictators of groups of adherents. Some such groups have grown quite large, for many people like to be told what to do and how to behave. Unfortunately, many of those leaders insist on interfering with the freedoms of their followers, telling them what is the only right and true path, or dictating when and with whom they shall or shall not have sex.
Third, there is what in the Middle Ages would have been called the "disorganized rabble." They eschew any authority whatsoever, and of course avoid all contact with those who might know an easier or more effective path.
All of these groups have their ego-trippers. Years ago in the church we decided to do away with the degree and title ego-trip, so we passed two rules:
(1. ) Anyone claiming a second degree from the Church of Wicca ipso facto does not have one.
(2.) The Church would acknowledge no titles except those required by law; e.g., trustee.
In our writing we have consistently encouraged the practice of Graham Howe's Druid philosophy:
Follow the path.
Your path, which is not my path.
In our opinion, ritual differences between various groups and which god and goddess one uses in a ritual are not importantãso long as one understands that named gods and goddesses are not the Ultimate Deity although they may represent facets of It. There are people who believe they are Witches because they have changed the genitalia of a cult figure. Yes, they have moved from one cult to anotherãbut a cult is still a cult, and a bullying dominator-figure is still a bullying dominator-figure, no matter its genitalia. We do not deny these people the right to call themselves Witches, but we believe that the Craft is more than that. It is a mystical, agnostic, experimental religionãa way of spiritualityãthat acknowledges such concepts as the Web of the Wyrd and an unknowable, unnameable Ultimate Deity. (If a deity can be defined or named, it isn't the Deity.) Its whole growth through diversity is geared to a better and greater understanding, both of our own inner space and of the spiritual world in which the real core of our being, our spirit, lives.
How can we prevent the backbiting, the rumor mill, and the extravagant claims of the ego-trippers? It's easy and simple: Shun all who attack others for their path. Let's do it! Once we have our own house in order, then we can reach out.
Carl Weschcke has led the effort to get many inexpensive books published. We Frosts have led the effort to reach people through teachingãwe are shameless for platform time and for column inches, but for a good reason. The School of Wicca has been advertising for more than twenty-five years. It averages two thousand queries per month. Querents receive a minimum of three separate mailings of information on the Craft. That means that since its inception the school has mailed 1.8 million pieces of Wiccan literature to querents. This does not count the regular mailings to actual students or the mailing of its newsletter Survival or work with prisons, the military, the media, et cetera, et cetera. At a conservative estimate, the School of Wicca has mailed 3.5 million articles, at a cost of over $1.0 million.
From its earliest inception, the Church and School of Wicca has tried to reach toward a wide, diverse audience. Its work has been supported by those who pay for its courses. These courses have gone into every nation of the world and into many foreign languages. At the present time we cannot tell what will be the effects of this wide dissemination of information; but we Frosts strongly believe that without such a wide base in the more conservative, less fortunate strata of humanity the religion will not serve its true purpose--which we see as ministering to those in need (both physical and spiritual).
The system of belief taught through the School of Wicca is therefore not necessarily up with the latest trendy thinking; instead it is tailored more to a timeless readership, with perhaps a heavier emphasis on simple magical procedures than on the religious aspects of the Craft. In this way we try to stay in touch with our roots. Regrettably, as the religion becomes more urbanized, many who practice it comfortably in their living rooms are not in touch with those roots.
Some say scornfully that the magic taught by the Church of Wicca is "low" magic, since it is not composed of the arcane ceremonials of "high" magic; but we feel that putting labels on magical procedure is about the same thing as coloring it "black" or "white." A recent comic strip pointed out, "We invent labels so we can hate people without bothering to find out who they are." If the magic works, if the healing is effective, then it has a positive benefit and that is as far as we are willing to go; for surely the cunning folk of old knew very little of the arcana of (for instance) the Tree of Life. Instead, they experienced their religion and the god/esses directly from Mother Earth and from the people. The changing power of the circle, the Moon, and magic are open to all who seek. That power can change both the urban poor and the rural rich. The powers cross cultural boundaries, for they are archetypal experiences; yet they are most difficult to achieve without contact with the earth and with people.
An aspect of this outreach is not fully comprehended by many; that is: Until we reach out and explain our underlying philosophy and put into context the "weird" rituals that the media are so fond of filming, we can always expect to be attacked, both from the pulpit and by other people. For we all know that that which is Different is bound to be Dangerous, whether it be the odd-looking bug that you squish under your foot or the Witch that you burn. Until solid outreach and teaching programs are available to non-Craft individuals, the Craft will continue to be persecuted. There will always be those who find it easier to hit on a scapegoat than to face their inner demons.
We believe that the society in which we live is on a downward, materialistic, destructive course, and that that downward course is the direct result of an overlapping of interests shared between big business politicians and patriarchal religions.
The model of the isolated nuclear or single-parent family making its own way in the world is inadequate on many levelsãbut it requires more appliances and more services than does a kin group or extended family with multiple generations in the same household. So all together now: "Let's push family values!" Or, failing that, "Let's promote single parenthood!" Both cries benefit big business and the churches of conventional religions.
Can this be a deliberate policy, consciously promulgated from congress, board rooms and advertising agencies as well as from pulpits? Yes!
Take electric motors as an example. (Gavin worked for Emerson Electric, which makes millions of electric motors.) Statistics show that the average nuclear family owns 53 electric motors; a single-parent family, 41. In other words, split a nuclear family into two households, and they'll buy (2 x 41) - 53 = 29 more motors than one household alone. That is why the planners in large corporations have such an interest in the statistics on housing starts and divorces. And there's more: Industry sells more goods and services as well as more motors. Employees are more malleable when they live in terror of high unemployment statistics. If they are fired, they have no place to go except the streetãthat is, unless they live in a kin group.
What about the conventional churchãour "present help in trouble"? Single-parent families mean more parishioners; more parishioners mean more day-care and bigger collections. That bumper sticker did not lie: Enforced pregnancy increases church membership. Parents without partners need support groups, and the churches stand ever ready to run them. Once you're in the door, you're theirs.
Look now at the other side of the coin. When more goods and services are sold, more of Gaea's resources are used, more garbage is created, and the downward spiral is accelerated. Of course more children are put out to some form of care at earlier and earlier ages. This deprivation of family love and attention in early life affects later attitudes and behavior in ways we cannot even guess.
So the Church of Wicca feels it is a Craft duty to encourage people to form and join kin groups or group marriages or communities with mutual support, security, and linking. In this way Gaea's dwindling resources will be more slowly consumed and the human race may survive a little longer and a little more happily on the planet. Gaea will survive, almost no matter what we do; only a million or so years after we have gone, the devastation we have wrought will have healed. So protecting Gaea is in our own enlightened self-interest, not necessarily an altruistic policy.
In the limited space of this chapter we have tried to be honest
and objective. Our gray hairs have been earned over the years of hard
work, heartbreak, and turmoil caused by our living between the worlds
of our choice. The people who make up for all that are the
often-unsung leaders and elders who have supported us in our efforts
even though they were on a path different from our own. Our parting
wish is that you be positive, learn to live and let live, and join in
your chosen community to the fullest extent you can. We have always
found that if you become part of your community, you will have far
fewer problems than if you separate yourself from it.
Gavin Frost, Ph.D., D.D., was born, reared, and educated in Staffordshire, England. He had built a successful career in the aerospace industry when he and Yvonne launched the Church and School of Wicca in 1968. He learned his early Craft lessons in England and Wales, then progressed through grueling tests designed to banish the fear of death. To gain an ever-higher level of understanding, he has worked extensively with Hindus, Haitians, Sikhs, Thais, Japanese, and Australian aboriginesãall in their own homelands.
Born and raised in the Los Angeles basin, Yvonne Frost, A.A., D.D., grew up a Baptist, joined Mensa, and became involved with a Spiritualist denomination before discovering Wicca in 1967. Her strongest magical aptitude is for healing, both hands-on and distant, and her recreations include sewing and writing letters to the editor. Now, she says, she is entering cronehood and not looking back.
Gavin and Yvonne Frost have co-authored more than a dozen
books, including The Witch's Bible and The Magic Power of Witchcraft.
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