The Frosts and Consent Culture

Carved Heart— By Shauna Aura Knight

This post is inspired by Gavin and Yvonne Frost but isn’t actually about them. It’s about how Pagans continue to support Pagan leaders and teachers who have written or done highly unethical things. (And by unethical I don’t mean gray area, I’m talking about issues of rape, abuse, and consent.) It’s about how Pagans continue to sweep abuse under the carpet.

What does support look like? Support is hiring people to teach at your event or in your area. Support is hosting teachers in your home or at your venue. Support is attending their workshop or buying their book. Support is keeping silent.

Why is it important to talk about these issues? Largely because there are so many abusive patterns in the Pagan community What I hear over and over is that Pagans want this to stop. To stop it, we have to address it.

And then we have to actually make changes and stop making excuses. 

My last Pagan Activist article was on the difficulty of whistleblowing. I’m not writing this article to say that I myself am perfect. Far from it. I have my own flaws, though my mistakes have made me a better leader because I learn. The focus of this post is on accountability. Specifically, how many excuses are made for the reprehensible behavior of Pagan teachers and leaders?

Who Are The Frosts?
Gavin and Yvonne Frost make an excellent case study on the issue of accountability . Back in the 1970’s, they published The Witches Bible, later published as The Good Witches Bible. The original version and subsequent versions contains several paragraphs in Chapter 4 which detail a sexual initiation ritual that parents should engage their barely-pubescent children in. A later edition clarified that none of the rituals described in the book should be done by anyone under 18, yet the text remained using the word “child” and describing physical sexual characteristics of puberty (girls were supposed to have sex with a man who was part of the coven, one month after their period started). The chapter describes how girls should given one month to prepare for sex with a wooden phallus. To prepare for the ritual, boys and girls are to fast for three days and then be given alcohol.

Text of Chapter 4, 2007 edition.
*Note: There’s a new edition of the book, and I have not read the edited chapter.

Whether we’re talking about minor children, or about teenagers under the influence of alcohol, the person cannot give consent. In essence, the chapter outlines–and borderline advocates–child rape in the context of ritual.

I’ll be clear on my stance: Anything that suggests the rape of minors is wrong. It goes past negotiating the gray area of different religious traditions.

Here are articles that cover the Frosts in more depth:

Why Do the Frosts Matter Now?
Pagans have protested the Frosts being headline speakers at festivals for years. After the Kenny Klein news hit, the Frosts withdrew from presenting at Florida Pagan Gathering and Michigan Pagan Fest. However, Michigan Pagan Fest went ahead and hosted a special weekend with them in mid-August.

*The primary coordinator for Michigan Pagan Fest is the person who brought the Frosts to Michigan this August. She clarified that MPF itself was not responsible for bringing the Frosts in. However, I’ve pointed out that the event was publicized on the MPF Facebook group, and posted by the MPF Facebook identity, vs. by her as an individual. This implied that the organization, Michigan Pagan Fest, had given the Frosts event its backing and support.

I posted on my Facebook  that I was significantly disappointed to see people still hosting the Frosts. Nearly 300 comments and several private conversations later, I observed that the Frost supporters continue to make excuses for the Frosts no matter what evidence was presented. (Read this excellent post on cognitive dissonance by Jason Morrow.)

Anti-Frost Folks Go Overboard
Now–complicating the discussion, many folks who are against the Frosts  overstate the issue, often referring to the Frosts as pedophiles. Pedophiles are only attracted to pre-pubescent children. A hebephile is the term to use for someone attracted to post-pubescent children/teens.

That being said, the Frosts say they haven’t ever done the ritual, and there’s no evidence suggesting they have (ie, no victims).

Arguments Frost Supporters Use
These are specific to the Frosts case study, but consider any leader/teacher that people make excuses for.

“They wrote that years ago.”
They still stand by what they wrote with only vague backpedaling including some fairly defensive blog posts. Check the comments as well–basically, they don’t ever address the actual issue.

The two main excuses they seem to offer are: 1. they only included it as historical reference and 2. their use of the word “child” meant “non initiate.”

I think it’s fine to reference historical ritual/traditions; why pretend our ancestors didn’t marry girls off at 12 or younger?  If initiations happened as described in the chapter, or as referenced in the novel The Red Tent, then reference it that way. What’s posed in their chapter is a living ritual. They don’t write it as anthropology or history. They write it in a “This is how it should be done” style.

“Child” meant “Non-initiate/spiritual child.” That just doesn’t make sense if you read the chapter. The Frosts outline how parents should assist their barely-pubescent children to prepare for sex. They talk about puberty, and doing the ritual in the month after a girl’s first blood (puberty typically happens between ages 10-15). They are talking about the children of members of the coven.

“There are more productive things to worry about.”
Well…maybe. But, we still have to address this behavior in our community. This is basically just phrase that evades the issue.

“You are violating their civil rights.” 
Not sure how that follows; speaking up against abuse or writing that promotes abuse is not violating civil rights.

“You are destroying Wicca.”
Still not sure how that follows. And–well, if calling out bad behavior destroys a religion, then I can’t say that I feel much remorse in that.

“Show me a victim.”
I’m not suggesting that the Frosts themselves have actually sexually abused any minors. My issue is the passage that they wrote detailed instructions for raping children in a ritual context. However, if you want a victim, here’s one. I’m sure there are more.

“I was personally hurt as an adolescent by the Frosts’ writings, and those that follow said writings like scripture.When I was 14 years old I wound up in my first coven…in central Indiana….However, the two leaders, the self appointed high priest and priestess were big fans of a book called the Good Witch’s Bible by authors they referred to as “The Frosts.” … When I heard that this 30 year old woman thought it was rational and appropriate for us to be sexual in any way at all, I freaked out! …I didn’t associate with other pagans for…4 years.”
–Mark P., Indiana

“It’s not that bad.”
I don’t understand how anyone can read their chapter and not read it as an outline for child sexual abuse.

“Don’t be intolerant of other traditions and the way they practice.”
This is accompanied by an admonishment, “You wouldn’t want people to tell you how you could practice, would you? Here’s the problem. We’re still talking about non-consensual sex. Rape. We’re talking minors, and fasting and inebriation before the minor has sex with the partner the coven has assigned to them.

For that matter, what if the child is gay, lesbian, asexual, or transgender?

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Or, “They are elders and we should respect them.” Yes, when someone has expertise in an area but they’ve done some bad/unethical things, shouldn’t we focus on the good and what we can still learn from them? On the other hand…what are we valuing and supporting if we do that? What behavior are we continuing too make “ok” with tacit support?

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s a fantastic author. However, were she alive today I would never invite her to speak at any of my events–despite the strides she made for feminism and female authors–because of the transcripts where she admits to aiding her husband in the sexual abuse of minors. Her fiction works will stand the test of time, I think, but that’s different from me inviting her to be a speaker at an event.

In fact, in the science fiction and fantasy community, numerous editors and authors have gotten away with sexual harassment for years because nobody had the guts to speak up against them. People now take the risk to speak out. It’s not to say that those aren’t great authors/editors. But if you bring someone in to teach at your event, are you promoting consent culture or rape culture? 

“No one is perfect and without flaws, yet we must all remain accountable…to the consequences of our actions…To remain oblivious or silent is to allow the culture of harm behind sexual abuse within ‘spiritual context’….at what point does the harm they do outweigh the good? …[S]omeone who has been raped or abused in the name of spiritual obligation/initiation/healing would have a much stronger opinion than someone who has never experienced such harm.”
–Romany Rivers

“You’re trying to rewrite history.”
Stating that rituals like that happened is history. Stating what the Frosts wrote in their book is history. Stating that a ritual like that with minors is unethical and should not be done isn’t rewriting history. 

What else is part of our history, or even current world events? Slavery, racism, misogyny, beating your wife, beating transgender people, discriminating against gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, selling children into sex servitude at a temple, child brides, female/male circumcision. Should we continue those practices just because they are traditional?

“You’re a prude.”
Ad hominem.

“You just think initiatory sex is bad.”
We’re talking apples and oranges here, but the relevant connection is consent. Here’s a quote from the Frosts displaying a complete lack of understanding of consent, rape, or the nature of coercion and grooming:

“Any initiatory sex should be with a “stranger” — an initiated Witch of the coven [that] the neophyte plans to join. . . . The underlying tradition here is sometimes overlooked. If the Craft means enough to you that you are willing to abide by its tenets then abide by them! If you cannot transcend your cultural brainwashing and accept the assignment to have sex one time with an assigned partner, in accordance with centuries of Craft tradition, the Craft can’t mean that much to you. Here’s the door. Don’t call yourself a Witch.” – Gavin and Yvonne Frost

I’m not suggesting that all initiatory sex or sex magic is bad. I agree that the Pagan community has gotten squeamish about sex, but there are reasons for that. In the name of sexual freedom and sexual intiations,I have heard of so many people who have been damaged, manipulated, and abused by the practice of ritual sex–even as adults. Jason from the Wild Hunt details his experience of emotional and sexual abuse at age 18 through being groomed by an abusive HPS.

It’s time to take stock. If we want to use sex in our rituals, we simply have to find a way to do it ethically. For me, ethically means enthusiastic consent.

“They’ve never done that ritual.”
Either they wrote about a ritual in an instructional format that they deeply believe in but they have never actually practiced. Or, they wrote about a ritual in a how-to format because they had done the ritual themselves. The latter is more legally problematic. The former implies hypocrisy.

“It was a different time, different morals.”
Add to this prevarications about how the age of consent was different, or that girls started their periods later. Some apologists wrestle with what specific age is legal, and state laws vary. And yes–a teenager doesn’t magically turn into an adult on their 18th birthday. In some states you can still get married at 13…overall I think it’s safe to say that it’s less socially acceptable now than it was 40 years ago to get married under 18, and even 40 years ago, this chapter outlining a ritual with inebriated pubescent teens would have been questionable.

“You’re taking the Mystery away.”
This is, I think, one of the core fears underlying a lot of the defensiveness from people making excuses for the Frosts. I don’t think people mean to be abuse apologists with it. The fear seems to be that those of us speaking up about abuse will take away the deep sexual initiation mysteries and thus, we’re taking the power and magic out of Wicca/Paganism.

Video interview of the Frosts

Phaedra Bonewits pointed out, “[The Frosts] are sincere in their belief that what Gavin was taught was the real deal….I hope it gives some context to their conviction that some things they were taught shouldn’t be changed.”

Watching their video and reading their blog posts, I understand the Frosts’ point of view as, they were handed down this ritual and they believe that it’s an important, potent rite of passage ritual from ancient times that shouldn’t be changed. They talk about wanting an initiation to matter, to not lose those potent, powerful initiatory experiences.

But–speaking as an experienced ritualist–there are dozens of ways to give someone a transformative initiatory experience without sexual abuse. The Frosts go on the offensive pretty easily in their blog posts and on the Youtube video. Instead of addressing the question, they talk instead about how Pagans have gotten squeamish about sex.

Sex Education
I’m not advocating keeping children ignorant of sex. It’s important to explain biology, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and yes–some education around pleasure so that masturbation isn’t shameful. I’m an advocate of providing teenagers access to condoms/other birth control.

However, there’s a vast gulf between sex education, and pressuring a young girl to penetrate herself, or telling a young boy or girl “You must have sex with someone from my coven, assigned by my HP/HPS.”

Consent Culture
The Frosts’ chapter 4, and their statements about acquiescing to your HP/HPS’s orders about who to have sex with, lead me to believe that they do not understand nor support consent culture. Broader cultural shifts have occurred thanks to feminism and other activism that have brought up issues of harassment, slut shaming, rape culture, and consent. The conversation around consent has, inherently, changed some perspectives about what “counts” as rape.

We have to acknowledge facts. We have decades of abusive leaders in Paganism pressuring people for sex, and that includes minors. Also, discussion of these abuses have led to some reframing of the “free love” part of the Pagan movement and revealing the dark underbelly of how it often became “Free love…and what I mean by that is, have sex with me or I’ll guilt and shame you.” Shaming someone into sex, or into sexual initiation, is not consent. 

Leadership and Teacher Accountability
I don’t believe the Frosts are evil nor pedophiles. I have serious ethical issues with the chapter they published and their failure to address it. Supporting the Frosts is supporting people who have written–and continued to defend–a ritual that outlines a how-to guide for raping a teenage child.

While it’s sometimes used as an excuse, context is important to this conversation. In the my Facebook conversation thread, Phaedra Bonewits referenced Pagan history and that older generations of Pagans were engaged in more of a socially-transgressive, countercultural movement than modern Pagans may understand, and that sex was part of that. She brought up that “The unspeakable of one generation is the ordinary of another.”

Phaedra and I usually agree on matters of ethics and leadership, though we disagreed a bit around some of the nuances. I did appreciate the perspective she offered on how Paganism and Wicca have changed over the decades. She agreed to let me quote her for this article.

“Isaac was friends with [the Frosts] for years–and tried for years to get them to revise those two pages. ….Their flaw is not that they did this ritual, their flaw it is the stubborn refusal to change what they had written. Do I think they were right not to change it? No. I think they should have rewritten it decades ago. Gavin is proud and stubborn, but he’s not a monster. Neither is Yvonne….Did you think that their seeming lack of remorse might reflect a couple of elderly people trying to save face? That it might be more painful than you think to say they were wrong about a position they held to so tenaciously for so long?”
–Phaedra Bonewits

I hear that. What I’d offer is that the Frosts, and any teacher or leader, are accountable to the broader community if they are teaching at public Pagan festivals. They’ve failed to address the chapter with anything other than backpedaling. I feel that stubbornness does not excuse this.

I’m not asking for perfect leaders. Gods know I’ve screwed up so I’m no exception. If we want Paganism to have healthy community, we have to start holding our leaders accountable and not just saying, “Well, they’ve done so much other good, their action over here shouldn’t tarnish that.”

What I want to see in the Pagan community are leaders we can trust. Not perfection, but excellence. We have so many leaders that we “put up” with. We cover up a range of abuses–because there’s nobody else. Or because they’re charismatic.

Festival Organizer Accountability
Any Pagan festival or event organizer is also accountable to the community. When we promote presenters who do not support consent culture, that says, “Consent culture doesn’t matter to me or to my event.”

I don’t support events or teachers who don’t support consent culture. And yes–consent culture is difficult to build. It’ll take us a while, and we’ll screw up, but it matters.  Making excuses just continues the culture of harassment, shaming, and rape culture.

Going Forward
Let’s look at who we make excuses for. Let’s understand predatory and abusive behavior so we can challenge it. Let’s look at consent culture and what we want to build. Let’s look at what it means to be held accountable. I’ve written before on Sex, Ethics and Paganism, and there’s Lauren Ouellette-Bruchez’s article on behaviors that predators often engage in. 

How do we build healthy community?



Shauna Aura Knight writes on the topics of community leadership, spiritual transformation, and activism. She is the author of The Leader Within, Ritual Facilitation, Dreamwork for the Initiate’s Path, and Spiritual Scents, as well as a contributor to many magazines and anthologies, as well as a fiction author and fantasy artist. Shauna travels nationally offering intensive education in the transformative arts of ritual, facilitation, leadership, and personal growth.

Check out her blog on Pagan leadership and community building or her web site for more information.

90 thoughts on “The Frosts and Consent Culture

  1. Sam Wagar

    Solid stuff, bud. Good for you. And I read the whole thread from which this piece was condensed as well. Ethical relativism doesn’t cut it – there are things which are simply wrong.

  2. james

    The frosts do not condone underage sexuality! I know them personaly and no I am not a member of their church and school of wicca. I say this being a father of several children and grandchildren who also know them well.
    I would suggest you buy the book and see where the ideas mentioned actually came from in historical content.

  3. Dana Corby

    Excellent article! However, I have a serious issue with the (expletive deleted) pale gray font that seems so popular now — just when, ironically, so many of us are aging and can’t read it. I had to copy the article into a Word document. Please be nice to your Elders and use a black font. Thank you!

  4. hauntedgirl1554

    Before I begin, let me state that I agree that I believe our leaders and community should conduct itself in an ethical way. I also believe that rape, sexual abuse and pedophilia is immoral, illegal and unethical and should not be condoned. However with that said, I personally think we are looking at this Frost issue from entirely the wrong angle. My greater concern is…..Why are we initiating minors into the craft in the first place? If we are questioning a minor’s ability to provide mature decision making in important areas of their developing lives, then shouldn’t we wait until that person reaches a legal age of consent before we permit them to indoctrinate themselves into any religious group? Otherwise, isn’t that a form of brainwashing, rather than encouraging our children to decide their own religious and / or spiritual beliefs when they legally come of age? We restrict military applications, marriages, alcohol, tobacco use, and by the way, crimes committed by persons under 18 are not treated the same as if the person was an adult. So are individuals between the ages of 12-17 capable of making important life decisions regarding their personal lives not?

  5. Ejay

    OMG Please get off it!! They wrote something 40+ years ago and the only one keeping it alive is people like you. The Frost don’t condone child molestation, they don’t molest children, they DON’T TEACH about child molestation if you’ve ever actually been to one of their workshops. I’ve been to several events they have taught at and never once has their been a class where they taught or supported the molestation of children.

    The book has been out of print for a decade and when it was re-published by Gavin’s own publishing house the chapter had a forward explaining that no initiations of a sexual nature should be performed on minors AT ALL and to only those over the age of 18 with their full consent.

    And speaking of the book being out of print for a decade, the only place anyone can actually read the chapter are places like this and other anti-Frost websites where they post it verbatim.

    Want to protect children from that chapter Gavin wrote…Let. It. Die! Use your energy to protect children who are really being harmed. Here are a few suggestions:

    Volunteer for the Big Brother/Big Sister program
    Host kid friendly workshops at your local pagan events
    Train to be a Guardian ad litum
    Volunteer with the Red Cross in some of their child safety classes
    Know martial arts? Teach a Stranger Danger class.

    Do something more productive than rehashing this over and over again…please.

  6. Julia Maupin

    Thank you for writing this. It doesn’t matter if the Frosts “don’t condone underage sexuality” or otherwise- what matters is the book is written in a fashion that can be taken literally as a how-to-guide and as we all know, when we first start on this path we are thirsty for knowledge. You don’t think people just starting out read that passage and thought “Oh… um, wow- never mind” or maybe a few thought “Oh yeah!” and not for the reasons of arcane knowledge.

    What about “an it harm none”? I find it hard to believe that in one hand a person can say “If the Craft means enough to you that you are willing to abide by its tenets then abide by them!” and then choose to ignore the rede (yes I know it is Wiccan but so many apply it to their paths) when it is so reverently preached. Because that passage would be ignoring the reed, if you think that it would have no psychological effects, emotional or physical effects on a young person to go through that then you are kidding yourself.

    Unfortunately I am not as eloquent as Shauna but I’m sure whoever reading this, gets the idea.

  7. Trace

    So… you will mention events where they weren’t hosted but you won’t make mention of the ones that did host them? Why is that?

  8. deirdrehbrt

    I’m finding it interesting to see the excuses you bring up by those who still support the Frosts brought up by supporters of the Frosts in the comments. It’s as if they didn’t even read the article.
    Personally, while I think the Frosts have a good deal of good information in their books, and while I believe them to be good people, I believe that retaining, and refusing to distance themselves from that part of their book – especially considering what we’ve learned about sexual abuse by religious leaders in the years since, is a serious error on their part.
    Though I don’t believe they have ever harmed a child, we can’t claim that no children have been harmed through their writings. For that, we need only look to books like “To Train up a Child” by Michael and Debi Pearl to see how a book can harm children.
    I also think that if the Frosts simply took that section from any future editions, or at least clearly identified it as historical / anthropological (despite the lack of evidence that this was actually done among any craft), and clearly repudiated non-consensual sex in a ritual setting, they could go far to healing some of the rift that has been caused as a result of their writing.
    Thanks for a great post!

  9. Amarfa

    This is a great article! I think that this is also the attitude we should take with Aleister Crowley. I don’t in any way believe for a moment that AC was anything but a bad person and I think he spreads a bad name and image on pagan and magical communities at large.

  10. Christopher Blackwell

    Unfortunately sexual predators have not yet been run out of our community and not all leaders take responsibility for their actions. So as long as it is a problem then things like this have to be bought up until such time as we have ended the problem.

    The Heathens often say you are your deeds. That includes everything that you do, say, and write. The inability to admit to having been wrong is not going to improve peoples impression of you. The problems are human problems, but they have been problems in Wicca from nearly the beginning.

    We often complain about how other religions handle these problems. If it is wrong for them to cover it up and deny that the problems exist, then it is also just as bad for us to do it. The excuses people are making I have heard before and it is the reason that the problem continues.

    If some leaders refuse to take responsibility for what they say, do, and write, then it is up to us to hold them responsible until they do take responsibility. If we don’t, our silence may be seen as agreeing with bad behavior.

  11. Nancy

    It appears that Ms. Knight has blocked me. I find her article interesting and if nothing else well written. However when you start talking about changing Wicca (which is as old as time) you begin to shape it into something it was never intended to be. Go back and research the beginnings of Wicca Ms. Knight. How do you think the Church of England evolved. The King didn’t like the Catholic rules about divorce and marriage so he changed a few things and there you have the watered down version. Is that what we should do to WICCA?

    As for comments about hosts of the Frosts, I still thought this was a free country and Freedom of Speech should be one of our highest regarded freedoms. Not to have someone who wouldn’t bother to attend blast the organizers for offering others the opportunity to hear the Frosts and then form their opinions.

    Ms. Knight, you don’t deserve to wear the mantle of WICCA. Especially if you would water it down to make it meet the needs of those who can’t take what WICCA is. I refer to “A Witch’s Bible” written by Janet and Stewart Farrar. In Chapter ll, “The Great Rite”, Page 49; there is much discussion about sexual initiation, but not a word about changing WICCA.

  12. Nancy

    Please remember that I have the basic freedom of speech. We can’t all support something just because it is there. If we disagree, we must have the right to express that position.

  13. Dana Corby

    Shauna, thank you for acknowledging my issue with the pale font. It’s not just you — seems like everybody has been convinced this is the ‘artistic’ way to go. It’s mad.

  14. danacorby

    Shauna, thank you for responding to my issue about the pale font. It’s not just you. Seems like everyone has been persuaded this — or else red or blue against black — is the ‘artistic’ way to go. It’s simply mad!

  15. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    As for the issue of changing Wicca…I don’t really understand what the issue is. *IF* initiating minor children is important to that religious tradition, and *IF* that initiation requires sex, that means that *RAPE* is required for that initiation.

    There are some religious traditions that believe female genital mutilation is required for their religion as well, but I think we can all agree that that is wrong. Can’t we also agree that sex without consent is also wrong? And if a tradition has been promoting sex without consent, that that perhaps needs to change?

    How is that destroying a tradition to ensure that sex is consensual and only with adults?

  16. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    Trace, I’m not sure what you mean. I was specifically mentioning two recent event hosts (Florida Pagan Gathering and Michigan Pagan Fest). My intent wasn’t to create an exhaustive list of places that have hosted the Frosts. Though–if you’d like to offer that here, that would be fine with me.

  17. Trace

    But you mentioned two event hosts who didn’t have the Frosts. To what end?
    What I mean is, instead of bringing up events who didn’t have the Frosts why not see which events did host the Frosts this year?
    Using the names of events who didn’t have the Frosts but were high profile seems more like trying to draw readership and takes away from the subject of Consent Culture. Not really showing good decernment. IMO

  18. hauntedgirl1554

    Your comment regarding FGM is misleading and not an apples to apples comparison and detracts from the point. “Regarding religious differences, it is now generally recognized that even though a number of the countries where female genital surgeries are found are predominantly Muslim. In CDI [Côte d’Ivoire], the prevalence is 80 percent among Muslims, 40 percent among those with no religion and 15 percent among Protestants, and in Sudan the prevalence is highest among Muslim women … In Kenya, by contrast, prevalence is highest among Catholics and Protestants compared with other religious groups … Thus, there is no unequivocal link between religion and prevalence.” Carla Obermeyer, Female Genital Surgeries, The Known, the unknown, and the unknowable. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, March 1999, pgs 79-106, pg 88

  19. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    Trace: I brought up the two events because it was recent Pagan news. There was a big hooplah (you can follow the news on the Wild Hunt) about Florida Pagan Gathering refusing to back down on hosting them, and local Pagans protesting it. When Florida Pagan Gathering was forced to back down, the Frosts also backed out of teaching at Michigan Pagan Fest. To write about all of that (with the additional details I’d need to include) would have added a tangent to the article, and the article was already really long. I specifically focused on Michigan Pagan Fest because 1. I’ve been a guest presenter there in the past, and 2. I had discussed with them being a guest presenter there in the future. I also talked to the Michigan Pagan Fest organizer before I posted the article so that she could offer a comment if she wanted to.

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  21. CloudDancer

    Yeah, I just have to say the following to Nancy:

    1. Wicca is not as old as time. Various and sundry gods/goddesses have been worshipped since the beginning of time, that is true. But Wicca, itself? Yeah…notsomuch. Try England in the 50’s and 60’s. And yes, I know they were doing that prior to the 50’s but WICCA the word as it is used today in modern parlance was born out of the books that the Gardners wrote and that Alexander wrote.

    2. The letting go of self-flagellation and things like the persecution of Jews changed the Catholic church but you know, those things were not good things. Neither is sexually initiating a person who cannot consent to it. Stop being pedantic and obstinate about traditions that may (and I use that word as loosely as it is possible to use it!) have been done in the past.

    3. I’m guessing at the World Conference of Super Uber Wiccans (what? you didn’t get your invite?) that you were not elected the sole spokesperson for Wicca and who deserves to be called Wiccan. Mighty high horse ya got there.

    4. Change happens and it can be fearful. But, Wicca is a LIVING TRADITION. It is not stagnant. It is GOING to change and grow and move away from old practices and adopt new ones because, guess what? PEOPLE ARE PRACTICING IT. There is no “one twoo way” and anyone who says that is selling you a bill of goods.

    5.You miiiiiiiight want to understand a bit more how the bill of rights works because if someone runs a website and doesn’t want you to comment, that’s not an infringement of your rights as you can go squawk on your own bit of e-real estate to your heart’s content. The first amendment protects your right to speak and not have the STATE or FEDERAL GOVERNMENT arrest you for that speech. It has NOTHING to do with the timeliness of someone approving your comment on a blog. Chill. OUT.

    6. I don’t consider myself Wiccan anymore but I was for a LONG time. I speak from knowledge of the tradition.

    7. Why the FUCK is it difficult for the Frosts to say “Hey, we made a mistake there. We should have changed the word “child” in that chapter when we wrote the revision and the forward. Sex with kid? YUCK!” It wouldn’t be hard, it would be RIGHT and it would make them a HELL of a lot more credible.


  22. River

    Additional Feedback: The Frosts did write the Good Witch’s Bible in 1972, but it was not created in that vacuum and then abandoned – suspended for all time, impossible to update. I bought my copy in 2003, and by that point it had been republished eight times, by three different publishing houses. The Frosts had ample opportunity to reject and revise their stance. They did not. In fact, the 2000 edition has a Foreward which states “one of the areas we might have deleted is that concerning the phallus. We decided that to do so would be to destroy a historic artifact of the Craft. […] Through this book the Frosts can rightly claim to have funded Wicca as a new spirituality and religion.” Thus, the Frosts stood by their writings in 2000 (and defend it today). You can say that you know them personally, and that they’ve told you otherwise, but as late as the 2000 edition, they stood firm about the phallus. In 2009, at a panel at Florida Pagan Gathering, they stood by what they wrote (as documented by T. Thorn Coyle on her blog).

  23. Curly girl

    Looking at the Michigan Pagan festival’s Facebook page the announcement about the Frost’s visit was removed. It seems like after the conversation with the person from Michigan Pagan fest they they took it off so it didn’t seem like others of the fest supported it.

  24. River

    Additional Feedback: The Good Witch’s Bible is also not what some defenders attempt to characterize it as: a description of archaic practices that are described but not encouraged, remnants of archeology or our messy human history. To the contrary, this is a Bible, written by self-described founders and “trailblazers of the Craft”, who run the Church of Wicca. Chapter 8 is all about forming a running a coven, and includes a suggested set of 26 weekly classes and instructions on how to interview perspective coveners; Chapter 5 details the various tools and how to make them (including dimensions for a wooden phallus); Chapter 2 includes instructions about how to meditate; Chapter 9 includes a diet for Wiccans. Chapter 4 includes instructions that a “child” at the onset of puberty (“when a child develops to a stage where the physical attributes of reproduction are present”) should be instructed to have sex at the next moon, and given a wooden phallus to “prepare” her. Chapter 4 also includes a “handout” which is to be given to the “child”, which contains a schedule and detailed instructions of how to prepare for sex. The worksheet explains that if she has any difficulty her father or male sponsor will help her. Chapter 8, Class XVIII specifically states that the phallus is “of course, used for all female initiates regardless of their previous sexual experience.” Chapter 4 specifies “it is hoped that the first full sexual experience will take place in the coven”.

    This is NOT a description of an archeological remnant, this is a specific instruction, with a handout and schedule detailing all of the events that will transpire, and portions of it are reiterated throughout multiple chapters of the book.

  25. Mark P.

    Here is the full statement that I gave Shauna. To me this isn’t entirely about the writings of the Frost, it’s about the predators in the pagan community and how no one will take a stand and even worse the majority of the community doesn’t even keep a watchful eye out for potential abuse and problems. We have no collective backbone, only a few strong groups and leaders.

    “I was personally hurt as an adolescent by the Frosts’ writings, and those that follow said writings like scripture.

    When I was 14 years old I wound up in my first coven (rest assured I was obviously smart enough to not tell my parents! Smart, right!) I had friends in their late teens and early twenties that were apart of this same “coven.”

    It was really two people leading a good sized Wiccan community in central Indiana. The people were nice to me, they welcomed my weirdness, and it felt comfortable and safe. However, the two leaders, the self appointed high priest and priestess were big fans of a book called the Good Witch’s Bible by authors they referred to as “The Frosts.”

    Everything went well for a year and a half until it was my time to perform an initiatory rite with the high priestess. It was said to be the Great Rite and that I should be excited. I was, until a friend of mine took me aside and explained that I was “getting laid” that night.

    I had been sexually abused by a couple when I was a child and had developed PTSD from the experiences. When I heard that this 30 year old woman thought it was rational and appropriate for us to be sexual in any way at all, I freaked out! I had a panic attack, came home and confessed to my parents about the psychos I was involved with, and was so freaked out from the experience that I didn’t associate with other pagans for the next 4 years.”

  26. June

    I totally agree with you. When I was first initiated in 1970, the sexual initiation was at it’s height (‘the great rite’. However the HP would ask initiates if they felt comfortable with it, and if you didn’t, that part was skipped. Over the years I have talked to a lot of female Pagans (this ritual seems to be encouraged more for women than men) who either backed out of initiation into a certain group because of it. It has seemed endemic among certain groups I came to see at various festivals and events where in there was a dominant male leader, usually older, the alpha male, with a handful of beta male members, who actively pursued young females to be initiated into the group, often with sexual innuendo. Older women who expressed wanting to know something about the groups beliefs were never bothered with…it was so strictly nubile younger women, over 18 of course…so much so that I had more than one woman, upon meeting me, said it gave them hope, because before that, they didn’t know older women could still practice. (I have found as I aged, a marked tendency in the upper midwest for groups to not want older women as members but welcome older men….I find it irritating.) As long as there is some sexism overlapping from the larger social community, it will be difficult to reduce or eliminate these rituals. I talked once to a young woman who complained that the minute she got her first period, the men of her mother’s coven were after her to pick them as her initiator into womanhood. And she hated the idea. Happily her mother did not insist. Later she joined another group which did (as I always did as HP) have coming of age rituals that did not include this practice, but were very effective. The sad fact is, more young girls and women are still considered more or less prey animals by some groups.

  27. Linda Koprin Pardue

    I personally walked away from most groups and traditions because of one major point: we were SUPPOSED to be able to see the Craft as a way of breaking away from dogmatic traditions – to see it as I see spirituality, a living, breathing, ever changing way to see the greater Universe and our connection to it. The world and ideas about sexuality have changed. Why are we so afraid to change with it??? The Frosts could change their book at any time – that they haven’t in my view means they stand by it. Anything else others say to make excuses for them are a moot point.

  28. Greybeard

    On the whole I often find those who condemn others to be more objectionable than the people they are rallying attacks against. Many pagans opposed dictatorial moralists demanding obedience in other religions, and aren’t so happy with it in pagan culture either. If I were selecting some “unethical” pagan leaders to banish from our realms, I could think of a couple dozen who would be higher on my list than the Frosts. But as someone once said, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I don’t really care if you have a different opinion from mine about individual pagans. I do find all the public attacks on other pagans to be offensive and wrong directed. Do as you will, but you are not the chief moral authority who gets to say who else should be shunned. That kind of divisive behavior gets someone promoted up on my list of people I would shun if I were shunning people.

  29. Singingdragon

    The fires seem to have been lit under many a fanny..all of the trolls who adore the frosts should then petition the frosts to remove that ritual. If the Frosts are against sexual abuse of children or minors in any way, then perhaps a new edition of the good witches bible should be printed without that particular ritual and a new article that gives a better explanation of why Witchcraft should not allow the harming of innocent children and minors in any ritual, sexual or otherwise. It’s rather hard to believe that someone does not condone something so heinous when they readily publish such a ritual in their book.It’s rather like the Catholic church’s views on the priests molestations of boys, shove it under a rug and ignore it until it explodes..Now as for the Frosts book: I have read it, and decided that the information in the Witches bible was little more than a formulaic how to book of rituals that can be found in better written books in libraries, or written by the witch themselves to suit the traditions of that particular witch, should the witch have enough imagination and the ability to speak in rhyme.

  30. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    Greybeard: I’d agree with you on the dictatorial moralists, but we’re talking about people that wrote a chapter describing sex with barely pubescent children. There’s gray area, and there’s a line.

  31. Yarrow

    Issac Bonewits had his own problems with underage girls so i doubt the claim that he tried to persuade the Frosts to change anything.

  32. Dana Corby

    Dear Graybeard: If so many people weren’t inclined to take whatever is written in a book, especially about spiritual matters, as the absolute truth from which they may not deviate, I might agree with you. If so many people weren’t so easily persuaded by lectures at festivals that the writer in question couldn’t possibly be a bad person, again, I might agree with you. But they do, and they are, and therein lies the rub. The Frosts advocate the ‘deflowering’ of virgins as a requirement for their entry into their version of the Craft. They claimed, and still claim, that this is authentic and the only ‘true’ Craft. But unless they’ve been living in a cave for the last 40 years, they have to know that neither is true. Therefore, they’re not only a bit twisted, but liars as well. Personally, I don’t cotton to liars passing their twisted ideas off to the general public under the same name as *my* spiritual practice.

    And then we can tackle the issue of underage initiation. Other than the Frosts, there’s not a single legitimate Craft tradition — and by ‘legitimate’ I don’t mean just those descended from Gardner, but those that have stood the test of time and usefulness — that allows the initiation of underage kids outside the immediate family. The Frosts have been warned about this time and again, and they remain adamant that theirs is the right way.

    Let the Frosts do as they will; but let them call it something else so as not to confuse people. And while they have the freedom to speak their ‘truth’ as they see it, they are not — no one is — free from the consequences of their speech. The consequences of the Frost’s speech has been for most others in their chosen subculture to go “Ewww…” and shun them. So mote it be.

  33. Greybeard

    Shauna and Dana. Further recitation of moral demagoguery neither addresses nor dissuades my concerns.

  34. danacorby

    Greybeard: There is a big difference between ‘dictatorial moralizing’ and choosing not to associate with people whom one finds offensive. It strikes me as the responsibility of those with knowledge of danger to vulnerable members of one’s community to warn them, and to warn off the dangerous elements. It’s what responsible people do.

    And Shauna, that’s my last word to Greybeard.

  35. Christopher Blackwell

    Sexual predators should not be encouraged in our religion. We have had far too many of them. If you want orgy go for it but please don’t tell me your religions requires it. Sexual relation s in a coven create problems for a coven when the people break up. It has trashed a fair number of covens. Time to clean up our act or how are we different from all the other religions suffering for sexual scandals. Stop blaming the victims and put full responsibility on the predators where it beings.

  36. Amarfa

    So what are the solutions to these problems? Speaking up, for one. We can also avoid gatherings where sexual predators are known to be. Avoidance is passive, and speaking up starts a chain of events that, even though they are ultimately for the best, require a victim to wrench themselves away from a predator who has worked long and hard to cultivate empathy, compassion, and primacy in the minds eye of the victim. Those psychic and psychological bonds are not broken without a lot of emotional bleeding, and make no mistake-it is the victim who bleeds.

    I think that we could take a good lesson from polyamory culture at this point-no sex without negotiating boundaries, and teach ourselves and one another that there should be no sex without explicit consent beforehand.

    We need to adjust and expand our thinking when it comes to pagan sex ed. Most of the time, it boils down to, if you are of age, and you want to, use protection and be safe from disease.

    We need to expand that to include education about consent and also expand the education toward people who receive news of sexual victimizing as well. We need to be conscious and aware of what the victim wants-they may choose to remain silent and only trust one person. We have a long way to go, but the first step could very well be educating ourselves to be better first responders.

  37. Christopher Blackwell


    Your suggestions make a great deal of sense. Doing and retraining ourselves is the only way to start and maintain change. No more excuses and no more justifying what happens no matter who is doing it.

  38. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    Amarfa, it’s a great question. I’ve recently said that I think one of the reasons I write some of these posts is to begin to define the problem. There’s a saying in the field of strategic design that to design the thing right, you have to design the right thing. And, that the solution is found within the definition of the right problem. This problem is so big that it’s hard to define.

    I write these posts to help people feel more comfortable speaking up about abusive situations or leadership issues. I figure, if I’m not willing to speak up, how can I expect someone else to be?

    I believe that in writing these posts–and, in the ensuing discussions–we can begin to bring awareness to the unhealthy behavior that people may not have even noticed. It’s all around us, like the air we breathe. Unless you notice how completely abusive something is, you may never realize you need to stand up against it.

    And sometimes, people engaging in poor behavior have no idea. And if they understood, they’d shift. I believe what can help is education about sex positivity and consent and what that actually looks like, and education about abuse and what that looks like. I hold out hope that if we can clear out the clutter in the middle, then the predatory behavior will really stick out like a sore thumb.

  39. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    Amarfa: That’s a tough one. On the one hand, victim confidentiality does indeed protect the abuser if the victim does not speak out. On the other hand, the consequences to speaking out against an abuser are significant. I spoke out on my Facebook, and via my Pagans and Predators blog series on my main blog, back in April. I spoke out against my ex fiance, and I was the subject of a lot of victim blaming…and I wasn’t even dealing with the tough stuff that a lot of victims go through.

  40. amarfa

    I’ve had a couple of situations in pagan social circles (see what I did there?) that have been incredibly frightening. I spoke up about both of them, but in different ways. Both times, the thing that comes back to haunt the victim is the reputation of the abuser; the victim becomes the liar because the abuser has set it up that way.

    I think that initial confidentiality from a victim to a first responder could potentially be a safety valve, and also a place from where the two could work together to get proof of the abuser’s behavior. Once unequivocal, unrefutable proof is established, I think it would be a lot easier to pursue charges and rev up the public involvement.

  41. Dana Corby

    Abusers, when you think about it, are another type of troll in out community. Here’s a link to an online book about dealing with trolls that I believe will be enormously helpful even though it was written before the issue of sexual abuse came out in the open. I liked it so much I printed it out! But be warned — for the first few months after reading it *everybody* looks like a troll!
    Trollspotting – Esoterica Bichaunt

  42. Pingback: The Frosts, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Accounting. | Veiled Witch's Mirror

  43. Pingback: Conflict, Mediation, and Victim Blaming | Shauna Aura Knight

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  45. Richard Arlington Briggs Jr

    Goddess Shauna! G’day and Howdy from Central Texas! (Yes, I’m HOME! Permanently.) I appreciate and enjoyed your article. Yes, collective backbone and the words “NOT in my sacred circle!” should be rehearsed and used by all gentle folk who subscribe to the “And ye harm none, do what ye will” line of justification/thought, et al. I, do, personally, feel, and will gently execute “Irish Justice” on any predator/abuser who feels/thinks her/his actions are justified within my clan-circle-tribe-family. Just saying here… Aho. Bright Blessings. Aye! Capt. Rick. 😉

  46. Pingback: Sexual Initiation, Discrimination, Consent, and Rape | Pagan Activist

  47. mist

    Clearly aimed at comments I made on facebook after I unsubscribed from the page. Unfortunately the topic is once again dragged to my attention.

    (1) the ritual is clearly not for everyone, nor is it for parents who want their kids to achieve what the parents want. Nor is it for self-setup HP/HPS who don’t have the background (ie didn’t go through the ritual at that age, or grown up in a coven with that gnosis. that is why the information is _supposed_ to be kept in the Family. Those cases are familial or outright abuse.
    It is for young people who have the correct background and training and DEMAND the next step of full Initiation. Understand that, this ritual is not one that is -offered- to anyone. It is demanded by an individual who must find out the information on their own, to a group that is fully cogniscant of the rite and it’s psychological and spiritual meanings. They must also be intimate familiar with the person requesting the process. It is not their task to give this to people who ask for it, it is not a badge of honour or a sales process or a grade system – it is the covens job to turn away anyone who requests things. This is again something that the US mindset has never been able to grasp – in this matter or in similar things like stealing AmerIndian tribal culture and membership. You can’t buy a real position or office in a tribe, you can’t demand it, you can’t entitle yourself to it, and many of them aren’t even on offer to people connected by life or blood to the tribe.
    In many ways in doing the expose of these ways, Gavin did a disservice by provide information to a consumer and “I have to publish because I’m in the US” weirdos people who weren’t able to grasp what they were doing. Leaving in a TeePee won’t make you Indian, neither will staying on a reservation, and many people with the blood don’t feel the older ways.

    (2) It’s not your spiritual system or ethical framework so you don’t actually get a say. Remember in times past the neo-pagan and new-age heresies were “utter abuse of the soul” and the magistrates and clergy of the time would have you hung until dead, for your crimes.
    Stop the witchhunt – it’s not your belief structure – fine. It is in other peoples. Do us all a favour and stop the cultural theft and the real abuse, and leave the real stuff to the people who do it properly. No, you don’t get to sit in judgement on it any more than a born-again fundie gets to sit in judgement on your ways. If you actually learn the different between the rituals real use, and the abusers you might even learn something.

  48. mist

    Just picked this up from your previous blog entry ” We Pagans tend to flee when we see the words “rules” “restrictions” “regulation” “responsibility” because many of us came from religions which had far too many of these “r” words.”

    See this is what I was talking about (re:Frost issue). The people that practice that style initiation, they are ALL about responsibility, regulation, restrictions and rules. Incredibly powerful laws of coven contract and roles, who is has earned the responsibility of doing “X”, the rules are more like that of the old Scots familes (The MacDonalds, The Bruces, The McGregors… BTW that is three _individuals_ I just named, not families. The modern information is free and publish all exposes and lack of restrictions is the very _anti-thesis_ of the cultural path from which that practice comes from. Anyone who shows those modern neo-pagan traits has ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE to be practicing that rite !!! Those traits are the _opposite_ of what that rite is for !

    Another couple of signature traits/ideologies which show the coven doesn’t have the background or culture, is things like “harm none”, “gentle sacred circle”, equality, “the group has decided”, forgiveness, “love is greatest of all things”, “god/goddess is love/light”. If any of the members are following these philosophies then the rite is abuse.

    Just as a final note : It’s not a “religious” rite. It’s a magical contract, and is cultural, not religious.
    (again another sign that it might be misused, especially if all the people involved (especially the initiate) can’t tell you the difference).

  49. Jennifer Lawrence

    >>“You are destroying Wicca.”
    Still not sure how that follows. And–well, if calling out bad behavior destroys a religion, then I can’t say that I feel much remorse in that.

    Any religion that would advocate for child rape deserves to be destroyed.

    Yes, I am aware that this covers other faiths than this particular tradition of Wicca.

  50. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    Someone I respect talked with me at Convocation about this post. We didn’t talk for long, but in general she disagrees with my assessment of the Frosts. I asked her, “Did you read the chapter?” It was clear we weren’t going to agree on the Frosts issue, however, she did bring up a point that I think really sums up where I’m coming from. Though she disagreed with me, she said, “I didn’t join the group of people that attacked you when you posted this because I understand what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves, to protect the vulnerable, and I will always respect that about you.” And that’s really what it boils down to for me.

  51. mist

    One thing that I thing needs to be _absolutely_ clear.
    The Frosts really aren’t the big point of the issue, they’re the side feature.
    The piece written by them was a legitimate practice, used a long time ago, in a far different setting, by a culture which is almost extinct, by a group of experts that were community selected and with decades of training. A _very_ _very_ people even know of that background, let alone follow it properly. Yes there are a handful of people who _could_ use the practice today but there is very little reason to do so (with minors).

    As for the use of minors in sexual ritual below the age of consent, without that structure, or _anybody_ falling for the old lines of “you’re a goddess”,”you’re special/old soul/mature” or even just alcohol for inappropriate favours, then the matter needs to be address in the group AND referred to the legal authorities. A few legally recognised groups can offer “sanctuary” under certain circumstances but if such behaviours aren’t being dealt with then those people not paying attention are committing crimes and injuring others.
    This ritual isn’t about them.

    OK. I keep saying “if you have the culture, you know what it is for”
    My turn to pony up: The ritual is for *closed* covens. Real closed ones. When one or a few families have been tight knit for generations. They share land, equipment, they oversee each others children and laws. They are the Saxon against the Norman overlords, The Pict against the Saxon. This is from the time before legal due process, when the local Eorl or Mayor was magistrate and land owner. This is from the times when only the Head of the family had a surname “THE Bruce”, “THE MacDonald”. When tribal elders decided who married, who got what jobs, and everybody (and that means EVERYBODY) worked for the family.
    Your family was your life, it had the position in society, you gave work in your assigned path, you were guaranteed food and lodging and RANK and RECOGNITION for the responsibilities you oversaw. Yes some families still do carry these traditions behind closed doors. Those that do know just how much out on a limb I am going here.

    This ritual is from times when people worked with animals. A child of 8 would have already been birthing dogs, goats, cats, pigs, sheep and would have know most of their life around a close knit group of people, knowing who was getting married, who they fancied, and who was sneaking around with who (why yes, the new baby *is* the reincarnation of the neighbours grandfather..he looks just like him… 😉 ). These children had many chores and it was very important to be able to read animals, plants and the weather. Likewise family histories both public and private had to be remembered and was the Lore. Sex, reproduction, mating were all part of life on the land. The Land.

    The coven represent the hidden laws and the magical work. A child who showed high intuition or extreme leadership _might_ be shown things that held these secrets. The secrets themselves were _never_ told. The spirits and gods had the job of communicating the secrets. The coven would only acknowledge a possible candidate, a little information would be given (and certainly not why) it was up to the child to find the correct answer.
    This is why I keep saying “The person who knows will know and can tell you, tell me what the ritual is _actually_ for and why it is in that form” … because someone raised properly, and who has that relationship with the spirits, will have been told by the spirits/gods all the details. If you don’t know, then you don’t have the correct relationship with them, and so you’re not supposed to know !

    But that’s the problem. And that’s why I’ve been cleared to mention as much as I have.
    Those who make those calls have lost that relationship.
    The coven and it’s relationships IS power. It’s magical and political power. It’s also rank and recognition for those (roosters, dragons, Leo’s, Taurii, Capricorn, etc) who are drawn to such things. As the human connections have won seats at the table and outnumber those who know the answers and have that relationship, so the appointments and selections became even more political and more towards humanistic goals… and through that process those families decayed and lost their link with the Land and Spirit.

    Given all that, have you worked out what that ritual is for yet?
    Why it is challenged, not bestowed, by the coven – and why expecting it of every child and every initiate is totally inappropriate.
    Why the Frosts can’t retract it? or confirm/deny it?

    Yes we must expose our criminals and perverts … and our false politicians and false prophets/priests. But just as important is realising just how much you’ve lost, and how much more you’ll lose by following the written word of the State Church/Church State.

  52. Christopher Blackwell

    Interesting to see people to try to justify using teenagers sexually ad eve getting the tipsy to do it. Sorry but it happens to be illegal as well as immoral.

    Gee perhaps I can justify Female genital mutilation. It is still required in some counties and for religious moral reasons. Yet most of us would still recognize that it is wrong and moral anyway now.

    Could I justify human sacrifice? It was certainly part of religious practice for a long time.

    Note that all of these have a bit of a consent problem built in. After all all of the give someone else the right to decide this regardless of what the victim wants.

  53. Nikko

    I think it almost muddies the water to make this a Pagan issue. I see it as a pretty basic human issue. I also think it muddies the water to discuss the Frosts intent, their other good works and their possible reasons for defending the original writing. Ultimately the thing is question cannot be WHY they did what they did, but rather THAT they did it. Ultimately we cannot think their thoughts or feel their feelings, so they are irrelevant. What we can do is observe their behaviors and decide what that means for us personally and how our behavior in response supports our own values.

    So what is the behavior in question? Well, they published what appears to be a how to manual on holding a ritual that includes having sex with people as young as within a month of menarch (and presumably around the same age for boys). I do think that Shauna was being generous in saying this was typically the 12 – 15 age range, I personally think it is on the younger side of that scale. It also encourages use of alcohol for people of the same age range. They then refused to retract the description of the ritual and even defended it for many years.

    So how do I feel about that? There are a couple of things I don’t like.

    First, I think that it is too young to be having sexual experiences that are not self led or self exploration. At that age, a person is learning about their own body and exploring. To fast forward past that by having some older person walk you through results in missing out on some natural development. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for proper education about sexuality, but the actual exploration should come only as that person is ready. Being pushed too far outside of what is that individuals comfort zone can result in a lifetime of damage and an ongoing unhealthy relationship with sex.
    Second, I feel that it is inappropriate under any circumstance for two (or more) people that are at different points in a given power structure to become involved sexually. Teachers and students, much older and more experienced vs. younger and unsure – and in this case an elder in their religion as opposed to an initiate. When the power balance is off, there is never completely free choice and there is always at least some coercion.

    I see that many of the arguments go along the lines of “but they didn’t DO these things so it is ok”. No, it isn’t and here is why: sure, many people will be icked out by the thought of having sex with minors (or less mature people, or people who feel obligated). Those people are never going to follow this how to manual no matter what their beliefs about the rest of these people’s teachings are. But there are other types out there – yes, there are pedophiles, there are people whose own damage and insecurity makes them coerce younger adults that can be manipulated through their own lack of experience and immaturity. Because of that, because any reasonable adult knows there are these types of people out there, it has to be assumed that they also know that they are giving their implicit APPROVAL of this type of behavior.

    That is what these authors did. They said to those who would take advantage of another person and potentially harm them – it’s ok. If you can make a case for whatever belief system you want to hold up that says this is ok behavior, you should feel free to use whatever influence and power you have to push people into sexual encounters that they cannot fully be consenting to. Go ahead and use your superior position to push someone past their natural boundaries by getting them to trust you and assuring them it is good for them. They approved of people doing this and by presenting themselves as experts, they gave the kind of people that might secretly (or not so secretly) want to engage in sex with minors or enjoy destroying innocence full permission.

    These are the kinds of things members of NAMBLA say to each other. A person who would do that is not someone that I would go to as an expert in anything. Should they have free speech? Sure, but why would I ever listen to the opinion of someone who is so irresponsible with the well being of innocent strangers on ANY topic ever?

    And we are back to my value system. I would not listen to them. I would refuse to attend a presentation by them. I would pay close attention to the behaviors of their supporters. Should they be black balled? Not really – if people want to have those conversations, they should do so. For me it gives me insight into what their moral compass is, and it makes it clear that I will spend my time with other people that have values closer to my own. And by values, I do not mean people that agree with me. There has certainly been more than one occasion in which I have not agreed with Shauna (right, S?) but even in our disagreements, I have felt that she has a solid moral compass and so I continue with the conversations. I do mean people that don’t do or encourage in others behavior that I find morally reprehensible.

  54. Christopher Blackwell

    Well that is the reason we put In God We Trust on our money to identify our American God.

    However I don’t think that Nickki is forcing her values and belief system on anyone by pressing her opinion. In our country once you become a public figure, which the Frost surely are, you ope yourself for the court of public opinion, which may lionize you, or tear you down, as it sees fit. Once you publish you views, or put the o the internet, the it becomes open season. The only way to avoid that is to stay private. The Frosts have bee controversial since they became public and they started their Witchcraft school claiming that their tradition was based on old practice. That is true of most of the family traditions as well, the difficulty of proving than the traditions is older than Gerald Gardner. There is no paper trail of documentation, so no way to prove reliability or age of a traditions.

    I read Diary of a Witch by Sybil Leek and enjoyed it very much. But after I became an Alexandrian Initiated Wicca. I reread her book and noted somethings that came straight fro Gerald Gardner and I had doubts about it ever since. Sybil was a fascinating person, perhaps even good for witchcraft. But in general however I find the same reason to question her alleged traditions as I do for Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders. If a tradition works it may to matter which is why I a still a practicing Alexandrian, but I consider the founders to be part showmen, as perhaps all religious founders were.

    Now perhaps I should jump into my bunker as all the brick & brackets start to fly. But it is my own opinion and I won’t back down either. Remember the term Heretic was originally one who chose what he believed, rather than one who blindly followed what he was told to believe. Actually it was rather a compliment.

  55. Mist

    Comment to amarfa, you asked about the solution to the problem. Basically, anyone you hear of that uses this rite today should be treated with_utmost_ suspicion.
    Two reasons, it does not fit with right hand path, does not fit with modern Wicca, neo-Wicca, neo-Paganism or modern witchcraft …that counts out a large number of systems and groups. So chances are if you are hearing about then the coven or family practicing it isn’t as closed as it is supposed to be, which if you’re lucky it’s just a pedophile…it could be a cult with coercion or trapping people. Gavin got in a lot of strife for his expose, and if it wasn’t for the witch craze …he knows what his penalty would have been… Remember the stuff involved in that style magic that this rite deals with is happy to deal just desserts to fools who dabble or break oath.

    Second: As I’ve pointed out, a serious level of hands on living is a _requirement_ for this rite to function. Young people brought up in the culture of ignorance (ie where children are expected to be innocent) is unbelievably unlikely to have the right mental or spiritual development to make this work. Likewise the person _cannot_ be encouraged, taught or lead through the things they need to know for it, so if there are “hints” “training” “encouragement” systems you know that it’s not legitimate. They might be trying to be legitimate but if those things are being used to groom candidates or teach them, it’s not being done right. Pictures of normal human intercourse and normal level of alcohol aren’t grooming, If and only if, they are very limited and of the everyday level of consumption…. Yes in some countries and cultures minors do imbibe alcohol, but always in small amounts and never to loss in concentration (often the beer or wine is safer than the water). The pictures would never be to tittlelate but would be of the type you would find in a sex Ed book. Imagine explaining normal copulation about to be done, to a young person who has only ever watched animals, cousins and neighbors engage. The person must be focussed on the magical act, not distracted by what goes where or nervousness.

    I look forward to further comments from qualified people. I put in the codes, can’t show signs in Internet text. But before you argue… Ask yourself two things, things which apply to me that qualify me to speak and are required before others put forward their …noise. (1) Is _this_ part of _your_ culture …or are you stealing it..or worse not even part of it, (2) have you _actually_ been through it – because if you haven’t then you really don’t know what you’re talking about, you’d just be blowing off your own irrelevant opinion about other peoples’ culture and rites.

    So finalize. Yes it’s real, although the one listed by Frosts is a bit mangled.
    And No it should not be being done in this day and age, but it’s not abuse, and it is very consensual.

  56. Dana Corby

    Two points of contention, Christopher:

    First “In God We Trust” was only added to our money in the 1950s, as a political move to make sure everyone knew we stood in opposition to ‘those Godless Commies.’

    And there’s a reason Sybil Leek’s witchcraft looks a lot like Gardner’s — they both came from the New Forest, where that was the local form of the Craft.

  57. mist42nz

    It does not say “in God we trust” on my money (nor are my notes all green 🙂 ).

    Nikko was making value judgements, and expecting others to comply with them:
    “irst, I think that it is too young to be having sexual experiences that are not self led or self exploration. At that age, a person is learning about their own body and exploring. To fast forward past that by having some older person walk you through results in missing out on some natural development. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for proper education about sexuality, but the actual exploration should come only as that person is ready. Being pushed too far outside of what is that individuals comfort zone can result in a lifetime of damage and an ongoing unhealthy relationship with sex.”
    “That is what these authors did. They said to those who would take advantage of another person and potentially harm them – it’s ok. If you can make a case for whatever belief system you want to hold up that says this is ok behavior, you should feel free to use whatever influence and power you have to push people into sexual encounters that they cannot fully be consenting to”

    And things like :
    “These are the kinds of things members of NAMBLA say to each other. A person who would do that is not someone that I would go to as an expert in anything. ”

    Last time I checked, when researching similar matters, NAMBLA isn’t a witchcraft, pagan, religious, magical or spiritual group and have a total of *zero* to do with the topic or this rite. The fact that the two are linked just highlights the prejudice and complete lack of understanding involved by an outsider.

    Many traditions are older than Gardner. They just don’t resemble Wicca or neo-Wicca in any way, because Garder created the current form of Wicca (Wica). Which is why he knew Alex had got his hands on someones BoS. Patricia’s IIRC. The histories and exposes are out there and should be required readings for anyone going into their third.

    As for court of public opinion etc. pah. more US cultural BS, keep it to yourself.
    Get Richard Kaczynski’s book of Crowley, “Perdurabo, Revised and Expanded” to get an understanding of the cultural of publishing and how these things came to be published and why.
    I also have a file which is lifted from someones diary unabridged which shows how things (Outside of Messiah Gardner’s followers, the Gardnerians) were progressing – it might be educational on why the US was often disliked for their inability to keep oaths and secrets. Flash the cash and fame for a book, or stick a camera in an americans face and they’ll sell out everything in a flash.
    Take a look at your old Pentagram issues, see what was being discussed at the time.

    Etymology-wise “crisis” is closer to “choice”, “heretic” is closer to lie or falsehood (i.e. to diverge) in the Greek.

    Regarding Genital Mutilation: do the Jews still practice circumcision as a religious practice?
    Because that is probably the closest rite to what was discussed. And I don’t think consent of the newborn was required. As for FGM….last case I read about was a US tween, the operation was being done for cosmetic purposes. wow, that’s deep.

    Re: human sacrifice. who was sacrificed and why? To appease the gods? To help harvest and to protect the tribe and ensure safety and prosperity? I guess you don’t follow what the US cops have been doing lately…

    Frosts are US citizens. Do they have first amendment rights in your country?

    While I don’t object to Nikko or yourself or Shauna exercising what little freedoms your masters allow you to still have (while you still have them), what I do object to is that your opinions are of the ignorant and the prejudiced and are spreading and popularising falsehoods. Again, in itself, that is not a problem. Where the problem comes from is others in the tribes of ignorance take this to be truth and the more popular it is then the more they think it is the truth – which should be a warning sign in itself (especially to Wiccans and witches). So a child who goes through this rite, and does so properly, should they be subject to your ignorance?

    You people mentioned power structures – I know a young person 9-10years old. She initiated sexual curious relations with a young adult (24). She was treated with great respect, and even earned the jealousy of her peers, she received attention, training, a few appropriate gifts, mentorship. (She wouldn’t be suitable candidate for the rite we are discussing – far too innocent of the world and she’s rather non-mystical). Everything was fine for years after things were wound up, and the young adult found things more appropriate to their daily responsibilities, That is things were find until the young girl reached about 15. Then “the public” started teaching her *their* sexual values, their prejudices. It destroyed her life – the relationship which had sustained her and brought her much value, had to be redefined in the terms of the superego (the authority figure, her friends, the popular crowd). Suddenly she was soiled and dirty, couldn’t bear touch, was depressed and anxious… was it because of the young adult? no. It was because the public taught her those things were bad. It wasn’t the young adult that raped her, it was the ignorant public shitheads.

    So you do not get to pass judgement on this rite until you know what it is, what it is for, how it works, and why it is done as it is. Because to do so with out that information is clearly _ignorance_.

    And I will again close with the reminder; that if you hear of it being used today, ESPECIALLY in the format done in a written book, then you can pretty much guarantee it is abuse (as the people involved are almost definitely NOT qualified or cleared to do it, with the possible exception of the Frosts). Of the two others I know of, one is almost bedridden, the other has died in the last 5 years. I, myself, would not use it as I know alternatives that I believe are more effective. Just to keep that in perspective.

  58. Shauna Aura Knight Post author

    Mist, stop trolling my blog. I generally like to make space for dissenting opinions, but your posts aren’t serving the conversation. Post again and I’ll spam all your posts.

  59. Amulets by Merlin

    If we step aside and push to the actual topic of ethical behavior within the community, perhaps the first step would be to examine a set of core values. So far, most people within the community back away from the topic of ethics and only wish to discuss technique of Craft rather than “Right and Wrong”. In most traditions I have worked with I see little discussion about the topic and the covens, groves and circles tend to fall back on the ethics of their (parent) culture rather than thinking through behavior.

    Aside from “Be en it harm None, do as you Will” (borrowed from earlier non Wicca sources) what would be the core ethic of the Pagan Community?


    Lets talk about ethics. In my religion, “Do as you Will” is the guiding imperative ethical statement with the caution that your action should not be harmful to others. Attempts to force ethical standards from other religions or other value systems should be rejected as irrelevant and harmful.

  61. Dana Corby

    Merlin, I’ve never heard the Eight final words of the Rede in the form you present here. The traditional form is “An it harm none, do as ye will.” May I ask where you got yours, and what ‘Be en…’ means? Thanks!

  62. Amulets by Merlin

    sorry, that was a typo

    My question should then start with the Rede:
    Why is this important (to you or tradition)? Instead of taking this as a “given” let’s explore the “why” of the Rede. Is it (perhaps) inferring something even more fundamental?


    “An” is an archaic and perhaps local dialect way of saying “if.” Likewise “Be en” is another colloquial way of saying “if.” Sometimes its also written with a faux archaic “ye” instead of “you.” It all means “If it harms none,” or “if nobody is harmed.” The imperative main clause is “do as you will.”

    Our religious practice does not recognize the Christian concept of “sin.” Sin was the Sumerian Moon God for whom Mt. Sinai is named. We do not condemn people for enjoying life and pleasure as do the new Middle Eastern monotheists. The religion of Sin included reverence for pleasure and joy, and was condemned by the new monotheists who equated Sin with all forms of lascivious enjoyment. Other ancient polytheist religions also revered joy, love, and pleasure. The religion of Ba’al, the Bull God, the “golden calf,” was also supportive of love and pleasure. Whether one believe that Wicca and/or Neo-Pagan is a continuation of ancient traditions or a reclaiming of ancient religions matters little. Most pre-monotheist religions supported and revered joy, love, and pleasure. As the Wiccan Charge of the Goddess says, “All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.” I support and honor that moral standard. Love and pleasure is sacred. Sin is the Moon God. Asceticism is harmful to humans and other living things. It has no place in my religion.


    I’ve been reading through the many comments from mist42nz. She brings a very valuable and very pagan perspective, and she shows a wide scope of real life experience. Rather than criticizing her for offering her experience and perspective she should be thanked for taking time to write extensive comments on this important topic. That is not the same as “trolling.” Many of the readers could learn much by reading and understanding what she has said. Shauna Aura Knight, Ms. mist has been a valuable addition to this conversation.

  65. Amulets by Merlin

    Thanks you for your words.

    I think one of the keys here “do as ye Will”
    Will: as in “one’s spirit traveling on One’s Own spiritual Journey”. We all are in the process of growing and developing in our own way and at different speeds. As we work with our different faiths we use rites of passage to help strengthen and develop our spiritual muscles. In Shauna’s article she refers to a rite of passage outlined in one of the Frost’s book. Some of it has come to question as to how it conflicts with the Rede. “Harm” comes in several folds”: What if the child isn’t ready for the rite and social pressures force the issue? What if someone reads this book and (for lack of conscious) decided to use this as a rational for abuse? The Rite is now under public scrutiny, thus endangering the actual process of growth, canceling the actual intent of the Rite; and intent is one of the foundations of religion, Magick and Mysticism. The list can go on, but what we now have is a potential crisis in the community.

    In the “old days” a teacher had to take responsibility for a student’s actions. If a student takes advantage on an innocent, the Teacher is also brought before scrutiny equal to the transgressor. Now books can be published and if someone takes the words as a template for mischief, the author is protected. So the question before us, as Shauna states: “what shall we do concerning Big Name Pagans (my term, not hers) who have written or done unethical things?”

    If we do not have a solid foundation of what is ethical and what is not (here is a hammer, it isn’t my responsibility what you do with it) then we are faced with clever rational when it suits.

    And so, what I am asking is this:

    What is at the core of Pagan Ethics? What is it’s foundation?
    Could it be:

    “Be en it harm None, Do what ye Will”
    “life which is self aware holds both the power and responsibility decision
    Intent is the key to direction”

    These feel clumsy to me,
    can we think this through?

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  67. Atheopagan

    While the Frosts and sexual consent are the centerpiece of this post–with which I strongly agree–it bears saying that there are plenty of other moral and ethical “flexibilities” on the part of early-generation Pagan leaders that bear similar scrutiny. I spent many years in the community of the Church of All Worlds, and saw behavior in relation to money that curled my nonprofit-professional hair. There is something about the 60s counterculture’s ethic of “do your own thing” that discourages accountability to others and encourages rationalization of one’s own wishes as the right and proper thing to do.

    Ethics matter. They matter most in relation to subjects as personal and intimate as sex, but also in relation to the trust that is given to those in power when they are given the money of others to manage. Transparency is a value we should be lauding right up there with consent.

  68. Atheopagan

    it’s also worth pointing out that when Pagans talk about “what happened in the Old Days”, they are talking through their hats. No one really knows what happened in said Old Days, which would certainly have widely varied from place to place…nor has any conclusive evidence ever come forward which would suggest that modern Paganism is a direct descendant of any such “Old” ways, anyway.

    As Tim Minchin has it, just because ideas are tenacious does not make them worthy. There is nothing inherently sacred about something just because it is a “tradition”.

  69. Mist42nz

    Atheopagan… It is you who are talking through your hat.
    We know many things about days gone by. This isn’t the seventies where we might have one random anthropologist of little repute.
    Many customs are known.
    Yes many customs are localized.

    The difficulty we have is with “science” types who want everything to fit into their little worlds.
    If they did “real natural philosophy with mathematics” they might be worth listening to but far to many of them just parrot rubbish they hear from each other. And the more often they hear such things the more true they think it is. And even if we point out one or two flaws they just think they’re holding all the answers, the worst part is their shit never stinks , no matter how many holes we poke in their capes. We can po int out that they are repeating the “repression of compatibility” and their brains won’t even register it because they are truly the faithful in their little tiny worldview and their perfect righteousness. What possible defense can another raise against such blind fools.

    If my path says it’s ok to have sex with a sixteen year then that is the way it is.

    Just as if my path and religion says other things beyond your ken (or burden of proof you desire) then that’s just the way it is. We don’t have to explain our ways to you, our ethics are not yours, yours are alien and unethical to us, should we punish you for that, even if you have yet to commit more crimes to our rules?? Likewise your rules are not ours. I’ll repeat this for you in case theres a chance it will sink in your rules are not ours. I don’t expect you to grasp the importance of this any more than I expect a dog to understand or appreciate the rules for driving.

    Now let me ask you what each of you think makes you pagan? A fancy cloak? Like “myths”? Worship of real pantheistic gods? Work with REAL spirits and powers? Deal with people and ways beyond the standard human daily grind? Because if your just a dress up pagan then all the normal human rules apply to you. If you’re a real pagan then to make that real you know you are dealing with things outside of Horiatios world.

    So atheopagan..I ask you same as I’ll ask every time regarding the frosts ritual….do you actually know what it’s for and why it’s done that way? Is it part of your path? Or are you speaking from a position of ignorance, and adding to noise which all the ignorant take as “truth” and “proof”? Or do you actually know and have successfully worked the rite in question, because if you’re a science type you got some chutzpah going with a lecture if you’ve. Never actually performed it…in fact if you haven’t then just who is speaking through the hole in their hat.

    Apologies Shauna, but as long as ignorant “science” people keep valuing their opinion as equal to the informed, they need to be reminded.

    Atheopagan. Do the research. Learn the ritual. Then ask. Then comment. Just because you don’t current know something, it is a fallacy to declare that others cannot know the information. (Even if you personally don’t like their sources, and remember their path probably doesn’t recognize you in the role of judge In such matters!)

  70. Atheopagan

    Mist, your long-winded apologia on Shauna’s blog have already been noted. They defend a moral wrong, and as such, no further information is needed. You are simply in the wrong, and however many paragraphs you pound out, you will continue to be. It doesn’t matter if the ritual in question was indisputably practiced in the past–which is FAR from the case. Defending it is still wrong. Defending continuing to include it in a modern instructional work is akin to including instructions for human sacrifice in a book on how to practice Mayan religion. Many things from the past aren’t worth keeping. Your failure to understand this speaks even more volumes than your keyboard.

  71. Mist

    It is not a “moral wrong” , your “appeal from ignorance” as well as its blatant assertion based on your own moral grounds, is complete fallacious.

    And the ritual isn’t just something from the past, which if you knew what it was for you would understand. And yes cultural theft is common excuse for covering up abuse

  72. amarfa

    About the mayan sacrifice analogy-the onus doesn’t fall on a writer, it falls on the practitioner. we assume that since the frosts claim they are writing about real experiences that they have performed, that they are also practitioners.

  73. mist42nzmist42nz

    And still the witch hunt continues.

    Amarfa, your assumption is inaccurate and unfounded. One thing I can guarantee you is that they did not do the rite as it was written in the book – it is a book, it is not 100% accurate. Part of what is done was describe, parts were not.
    Like the Freemasons, what you read isn’t 100% accurate of what goes on in lodge. first up it’s oathbound.

    Unlike Mayan practicioners, the process involved is still part of living tradition, for a very few people.

    But like this rite, we should be very very wary of anyone claiming to do the full traditional practice – it’s not entirely impossible if they are an _actual_ pagan person. The gods call who they call, set service as THEY decide. If a person does not believe this then they are NOT pagan, they’re just a modern dress-up and ceremony fad.

    And that is part of the biggest danger and ultimate hubris; that certain experts set themselves, with complete ignorance and power of human tribal law to rule over the gods and powers. Cnut ordering back the sea and all that. Do you have the clairvoyance to grasp what the punishment is for that crime? Do you comprehend how it plays out?? Have you looked for the magical signs?

    Far too many “pagans” just worship humans and anthroposophical agendas of self-aggrandizement.

    So saying it again until it gets through.
    Not your spiritual practice, don’t do it. If you going to speak on it, then it behoves you to gain the mystery and actually learn what it is you’re passing judgement on. Is that concept too complex to grasp?

  74. Atheopagan

    Wrong. The onus falls on both. It is completely arbitrary to say “this is how X should be done” and then to feign innocence when those who take you seriously actually do it.

  75. Atheopagan

    I repeat: just because something belongs to a “tradition” doesn’t make it sacred in any way that trumps a modern sense of morality which has had the benefit of evolving past the years when human lives were nasty, brutish, and short. If a practice is morally wrong, it should be scrapped from the tradition and disavowed by those who claim to practice it. The failure to do this on the part of those who defend the Frosts speaks of a deeply twisted sense of moral priorities–at the very least–wherein the danger of promulgating such actions as “traditional” is somehow viewed as less consequential than the impact (horrors!) of dumping them as “traditions” best forgotten.

    Yes, you can abandon elements of traditions. It doesn’t hurt them. People have done it throughout their entire history. The idea that because something is part of a tradition means it must be preserved, in fact, is a very revealed-religion-style, stuck-with-the-unevolving-holy-book style mistake that most of Paganism, at least, appears to be avoiding. The Frosts’ tradition would do well to do the same.

    It’s not complicated. No amount of verbiage will make it so.

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  78. epicgwyn

    I’ve seen some fallacious arguments in defense of the Frosts and the very idea that anything they ever said, did, or wrote could possibly be wrong. But I didn’t think I’d see the No True Scotsman (almost literally!) fallacy waved around with such vigor. So the only real, certifiable (!) Pagans are those who can be identified by their… UPG? That’s kind of a problem because of what the U stands for! At this point it’s like Star Wars fans debating how Luke could possibly call himself a “real” Jedi when confronting his father and the Emperor given what the prequels, blah blah blah.

    Is Stephen King a “real” writer, or is he just a guy who sits at a typewriter a lot until all the Kemetic Pagans in the whole wide world, plus some soft polytheists, simultaneously hear, see, and feel Thoth proclaim King a “real writer”? No one would dare ask this, but when the incense gets lit, suddenly we’re down to a playground level of argumentation and using the Gods as imaginary friends and simultaneously, cudgels with which to win arguments. I don’t imagine they’d be too pleased by that, with the possible exception of Eris, but not being a Hellenist (or Robert Anton Wilson), I don’t know whether to grant that exception. I do know that my own ancestors would not have been thrilled by anyone’s using the Highland clan system and its secular rites to justify doing whatever the hell you want because Secrets!

    What I do know is that no matter what “ancient traditions” and theobabble died with Gavin Frost, in our modern society, by the rules we collectively agree to in order to make many people’s conflicting needs possible to handle, it is Not Okay to have sex with teenagers, especially drunk ones. This is partly because we intuited, and now know thanks to — horrors! — science, that their brains are literally not sufficiently developed to handle all the possible consequences of that. Nowhere does the rite in Chapter Four mention anything like the girl just past menarche learning to put a condom on those handy wooden dildos, and please don’t tell me that a 13-year-old girl pregnant by an adult male from her religious tradition is a good idea. Or pregnant by anyone. That’s some Warren Jeffs shiz, right there. Also STDs are an unfortunate reality that, very often, the gods do not see fit to prevent.

    Oh, I remember being a tween girl, and thinking older males were sexy, and having crushes. That doesn’t mean it would have been a good idea, even if I’d grown up in a Wiccan coven. If a very young Johnny Depp had climbed out of my teen magazine and into my bed, that wouldn’t have made the ensuing experimentation a good idea. It would have been especially awful in a situation of greater power imbalance, as with a religious superior. But it would have been awful no matter with what, or whom, because 13-year-olds still can’t consent. And when I hit my state’s ludicrously low age of consent, 16, and was preyed on by a 21-year-old boyfriend, had his behavior been enshrined in a religious book, I might never have realized how problematic it was and managed to break free of his heavy-duty brainwashing — fortunately not backed by “This is how you become a member of this religion.”

    And the “errors/parts left out” defense? Does. Not. Matter. If ONE coven abused ONE teen with dildos, booze, and premature sex because they read a how-to in Frost’s book, that is still one too many, and it doesn’t matter if one partner forgot to draw a Solomonic sigil on the other’s bum. The teen was still abused. There are more and more testimonies coming out in the blogosphere of people who were abused as teens in covens identifying themselves as “Wiccan.” It is not in a manner matching the “Satanic panic” of the eighties and nineties. People have recovered memories, which is possible in post-traumatic stress disorder, but very few of these patients were in therapy — and it turns out it’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to implant a false memory even if you’re trying very hard to do so. Real people have been harmed. One is one too many, and we have reached that number. Hey, maybe the Frosts left out something Deep and Metaphysical that would have prevented the harm! But silly speculation regardless, it’s still illegal. We have some annoying and pointless laws in the US. We also have the ones that cover things we don’t want done unto us: theft, murder, rape by coercion. The infamous Chapter Four, sans esoteric instructions from a Freemason family in the Scottish Hielans who have been witches since… etc., is an example of a how-to for that latter crime. Indeed, it would still be coercive if adult women were told this was the only way to initiation — and ALL THE MORE SO if the supposed payoff is top-secret. Again, I refer the querent to the FLDS and the alleged rewards waiting for an obedient woman of the Jeffs cult.

    I do not rejoice at Frost’s death — not a worthy opponent beheaded in war, for example — but I wish he or Yvonne had availed themselves of the many, many opportunities to say even something like, “Oops, that was part of the really esoteric teachings and it should never have gotten into the book for dress-up pagans to misinterpret! Let’s take that part out!”

  79. Mist 42

    “I do know that my own ancestors would not have been thrilled by anyone’s using the Highland clan system and its secular rites to justify doing whatever the hell you want because Secrets!

    What I do know is that no matter what “ancient traditions” and theobabble died with Gavin Frost, in our modern society, by the rules we collectively agree to”

    You ancestors would have expected you to obey the head of the clan and the customs of your family (and through that, your obligations as a Scotsman) – whether that be growing up drinking Irn Bru, and never hearing about a superbowl, or any other Scottish society stuff.

    As for your paragraph, the second of which I quoted, cutting it out of the run-on sentence it was part of. No.

    Those are not “rules we collectively agree to”. Anything but!!
    To denigrate such things as “theobabble” is US shortsightedness, which is considered by many to be a hallmark of US imperialism. Imperialism which your rules are inflicted as the “one true way” on others.
    The material which that controversial part is from, is clearly labelled as from a group of “social others” – from a culture of witchcraft. As social others, we have different social rules, different laws. One of which is silence. That is one that Gaven and Yvonne broke, but they were Us Imperials by upbringing and the chance to make many dollars and get famous had been culturally imprinted on them when very young. The same problem was faced by those US involved in Hart and Hare, and similar Trad customs. They wanted the ways of others (as some steal Kaballah and Indigenous peoples customs – the bits they want) and they wanted to make US style “big communities and schools” out of those ways; as a sort of romantism about the old ways, and as a counter-culture to the very imperialist culture they were practicing.
    It is partly that cultural imperialism which exposed them to the practices – that they weren’t children of the wild etc, they were part of old rural customs of the land – they weren’t the children of which they spoke, nor were they party to the customs.
    Another of (group) of those customs which might help you understand more: A person is who they are and what they do – they must not go back – to start “going back on what a person has said” is the way of liars, of merchants, of demogogues; to culturally accept that apologies exists, culturally implies that events can be undone. The Word is the word, and a being is only good as their word, words that when absolutely committed to “as it is said, so shall it be” shape the universe. In knowing such things, one never downplays or retracts.
    The offending material was printed at a time when Gavin and Yvonne were young, and when the movement was fresh and limits (and explosion) wasn’t expected, neither was the starry-eyed youthful expectation of Gavin and Yvonne that the obvious problem or idiots and perverts would start their own systems, stealing parts and justifying by someone else’s writings – yes they were idealistic enough to think that “Americans” would learn and develop a better culture through knowing about such things….and like a lot of “Americans” they couldn’t be told otherwise by anyone, especially those whose culture they were writing their books about. (Yes I’m looking at you other Wiccan author…). Bit no, they believed in “no secrets” , that telling everyone would be better, despite the centuries of traditions that survived blood and rulers alike. They believed they could just tell modern “Amercians” of these things and they would discover [all] of the old ways, in the weird belief that somehow that the US would accept other peoples’ religious and spiritual culture as an important particular practice (as opposed to copy, theft, and criminal acts). How were they to know that the “words” of the US is less than one of their dollars…That freedom and protection of religion and spirituality were commercialized, not respected.

    But they made their mistake, and must stand by the turht of what they said – for in itself, it is not falsehood. Only massively incomplete. Thus it falls in the law of such things, they either suffer with the burden (responsibility) of their choices, or rejoice in making better things of that burden. Retraction, or downplaying is not an option; any more than you’d expect a cardinal to renounce their Christ.

    One of the old problems, used to be that those who had the connections of the culture that Gavin and Yvonne speak of had great sway with natural and magic. This gave them temporal respect and thus their voice weighed heavily in counsel. The result of this is that those who had or desired to improve their worldly weath and/or social standing would court…or even send their own family members… to try to become one of those selected for those duties. Consider the process to be not dissimiliar to the way China currently treats Tibet and the process of the Dali Lama.
    The Law and lords etc, even farmers and rural communities would try to get favours, or judge the outcomes, or in some way seek to influence the choices such beings made – and obviously – that extends to who was “permitted” to be recognised for such “honours”. While all the time denying the very thing that separated those so “”honoured”” from the rest of the human society. Take a look at the lore – are witches commonly described as managers or employees, or labourers; are they famed for their position IN _your_ society, and obeying your social and legal rules??
    As it is developing now, as it developed then, those “privileged” to be “inside the society” could not bring themselves to admit that there was a true world _outside_ their society, with it’s own rules, with it’s own spirituality and religion. So rather than learn of their differences and seek to respect the rules of the other [hidden] folk, they would rather try to seek worldly and social advantage inside their society – declaring their society to be the only thing that mattered, and that everyone is their communities property and their’s to treat as they wish…. the very anti-thesis of recognition of the “other” society.

    Now if others, at least one whom I’ve talked to, now comprehend why things are the way they are; I’d appreciate you not speaking to describe the obvious steps I’m not adding – as we both agree, the last thing we need is more inside the more mainstream world (where familiar laws exist) trying to “bridge the gap” by inflicting more damage on the children who are not of the families and ways that understand such things.

  80. epicgwyn

    Oh ROFL. Blaming the Frosts on the entirety of US culture now, as though the US weren’t a product of the colonist culture that spawned it! That’s hilarious.

    If my clan leader (who, fortunately, does not advocate such things) said I must “obey” fucking children, I would damn well change my name and demand a refund on my clan society membership.

    (You quoted my paragraph 3, not 2, and have a number of embarrassing misspellings and usage problems yourself, but you were the first to resort to Internet proofreading, the last refuge of a scoundrel… and were wrong. The sentence is long. Not all long sentences are run-on, which is a technical term. Words mean things.)

    Yes, exactly, the offending kid-fucking material was printed at a time when the Frosts were young. And they had 40 years and loads of chances to recant what they said about fucking kids. But they doubled down every time. Maybe Gavin will prepare a place in the Summerlands or whatever for Roman Polanski when he goes.

    Maybe it’s just my Recon point of view on this, but we eschew LOTS of things our ancestors did in the name of religion. There is plenty of evidence that the original Druids sacrificed humans. Fortunately, subsequent generations had the good sense not to reconstruct that particular religious rite.

    And frankly, the lack of ability to apologize means you have just invalidated basically the whole of Catholicism; modern civility (countercultures, especially, even more than the dominant culture, need manners to survive); and 12-step recovery methods, in which one important step is the addict making amends for horrible things they did whilst addicted. The lack of ability to gainsay your word would also mean no divorce, even of abusers. I don’t think you’ve thought this one through. I think your knee is just jerking frantically to protect your idols.

    But you’re right in a sense — Gavin Frost’s legacy will forever include the freedom to abuse minors. There are actual, non-theoretical people walking around out there who were damaged by the existence of that book and the fact that people used it as a how-to. That, too, is his and Yvonne’s legacy. Kiddy-fiddling. It’s sort of like how Jimmy Saville’s charity is forever tainted.

    There is no initiation in the world that I want any part of that involves fucking children, who at 13 do not have the ability to understand or give meaningful consent, even. if. they. ask. and are far more likely to experience complications of pregnancy and childbirth, since I don’t remember any talk of condoms in Chapter Four. There is no religion that I would not renounce if I learned that child-fucking was a part of it. I do not ask a cardinal to renounce his Christ, but an apology for the Magdalene Laundries or the practice of shuffling around child-fucker priests instead of removing their spiritual authority and firing them, that would be nice.

    It really is abuser language to say that the problem with an established tradition of child-fucking is that someone told people about it! Amazing. The idea that “everyone is the community’s property to treat as they wish” (“community’s,” just saying) is also not the idea of those seeking some kind of recantation of the pedo chapter, but the idea of the full-grown men in a tradition who would volunteer for child-fucking duty. Or outside a tradition, for that matter.

    If, in the end, it is US cultural imperialism that causes me to say that the bodily autonomy of children is far more important than any esoteric initiation one might receive, and that the laws against child-fucking and incest (because Chapter Four suggests the father help the poor child-initiate get her dildos in) are sound ones, then long live the empire. The US (like the UK) also backs campaigns to make sure female children, in and out of the US, are not subject to genital mutilation. If that too is imperialism, then get me my crown and sceptre, because I shall happily be the Imperatrix of Not Fucking Any Children, or Cutting Off Their Bits With a Rusty Razor Without Anesthesia. And I will offer to the Morrigans each and every act of smacking a pedo in the head with my sceptre — Macha’s mast will be plentiful. And I will be absolutely fine with imposing my values on the skulls of anyone who would rape the vulnerable children of the world (it is legally rape to fuck a 13-year-old, no matter how the poor little mite has been conditioned to think she will become a very powerful witch by getting fucked, and that is for good reason also), who deserve far better than exploitation in the name of esotericism.

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