Many years ago Herman Slater attacked us for the contents of “The Witch’s Bible”. At the urging of Oberon Zell we responded in the pages of “Green Egg”. Based on our response, Carl Weschcke of Llewellyn Publishing took it upon himself to put us “on trial” in Minneapolis.
Of course the trial was a farce.
The experience taught us one very simple lesson. To wit : Responding to attacks only increases the ego-satisfaction and the name-recognition of the self-appointed cowan who does the attacking. Wait! Why use the word cowan ? A prime tenet of the Wiccan/pagan community is
If it harm none, do what you will.
Public attacks on Wiccans/pagans are harmful; ipso facto the attackers are not Wiccans or pagans but instead are nurturing in their psyche an internalized sectarian Christian paradigm.
Recently there has been another series of attacks on ourselves, to which we have not yet responded. It seems now that things have gotten completely out of hand.
We hear that some individuals are threatening to burn us in effigy. We would ask them to pause a moment and think. The Church and School of Wicca is the only true Wiccan church that has been recognized as such not just by the IRS but also by the Fifth District Federal Appeals Court; ((About real churches: People hiding behind the aegis of a “not-for-profit corporation” need to be aware that in several recent cases it has been held that such non-profits are not genuine churches in a legal sense or in a spiritual. Courts have held them to be merely philosophical societies undeserving of the protection either of a church or of a corporation. )) has been thoroughly investigated by the IRS. Some of its ministers have been investigated by Child Protective Services. The Services found no cause to pursue against those Wiccan parents. The Church of Wicca has been mentioned as a church in Senate proceedings. If it continues–the negative, destructive path that some seem to be set on–then clearly we of the Church of Wicca will no longer be able to help the hundreds of people who come to us in trouble because of the spiritual path they have chosen. The mothers threatened with separation from their young children by so-called child protective services who label them unfit; the spouses being divorced because of their religion; the employees being oh, so carefully dismissed on some ostensible grounds whereas the real reason is their religion; and a thousand other abuses showing that still today religious discrimination is alive and well in this poor nation.
Have you ever been deposed? It is a very interesting experience. Over several hours every detail of your personal life and your belief structure is exposed, often in insulting terms. We can hear the lawyers now. “Mr and Mrs Frost, you claim to be Wiccan leaders.”
“How do you account for the fact that you were burned in effigy?”
One of the problems with the current set of attacks is that even though “Good Witch’s Bible” (the updated “Witch’s Bible”) has been in print since 1977–well over 25 years–records of recent sales suggest that few people, if any, have read it in its updated form. Instead they read carefully excerpted pieces of the earlier “The Witch’s Bible” and put their own luridly scurrilous interpretation on them in a not very inventive application of the “Aha! Gotcha!” syndrome. Let us here excerpt some pieces that precede those ruffling the feathers of the “Gotcha!” crowd.
Page 61 – “No formal initiation into a group that practices the great rite should be done before the candidate attains the age of eighteen.”
“… the use of the phallus is usually dropped. This was included as part of Craft heritage in line with the age-old practice universal among preliterate societies …” ((Alexander Marshack, “Roots of Civilization”))
Perhaps symptomatic of those who attack us is that any works they themselves may have published add little or no new knowledge to the body of Craft literature. Such authors are neither good researchers nor practical occultists. Such work as theirs gets many seekers into difficulties. That is why we ourselves recently published “Good Witches Fly Smoothly”. Its original title was to have been “99 Ways Good Witches Go Bad”.
So Cui Bono?
While you are thinking about Witch wars, perhaps you should think as well about who gains when these things flare up. Of course the whole Christian right-wing Bush-run theocracy gains as they see their opposition split apart.
There are short-term gains for people running festivals, if they can advertise another Witch burning. And of course there are the authors and publishers of what we describe as yellow-press books on the level of National Enquirer. So we ask, do you want this to happen?