- On January 21, 2016
- By Gavin & Yvonne Frost
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