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Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Beware The Christo Pagan And Wiccans

Beware The Christo Pagan And Wiccans Cover Over the last several years, we Frosts have sensed a cancer growing in the pagan/Wiccan (hereinafter pW) community. That cancer is the acceptance and promotion of a Christian-cult paradigm masquerading as pagan political correctness.

Only one or two maverick cells turning cancerous in an organism and then metastasizing can kill it. There are more than one or two maverick cells in the pW community.

In some ways, we Frosts, here in small-town America are isolated from the pW community. Thus until we went to Pantheacon on the west coast and listened to a couple of the speakers, we had not realized how far that cancer had already metastasized.

One presentation was well-attended. The speaker, purporting to be giving a history of Wicca, started off with the allegation that there was no evidence whatsoever of any goddess culture. What stunned us even more was that nobody objected to his arbitrary claim -- that is, nobody but Gavin. Once he raised the objection, others among the listeners (for example, Oberon Zell) joined him. Of course, there is more than ample evidence for goddess cultures, and anyone claiming to be a pW ought to have done his homework at least well enough to acknowledge the fact, and to resist any off-the-wall claim.(1)

Then the speaker went on to praise the "great" Law Code of Hammurabi. Again no one objected -- that is, until Gavin again said, "Do you realized that more than half of the Law Code dealt with the suppression of women's rights and basically enslaved them?"(2) On this challenge Gavin received no support at all. We began to wonder what we had stumbled into.

The speaker went further. Next he made the standard old threadbare claim that Caligula was a terrible man who had the fetus ripped from his sister's abdomen; wheras it is well known that caesarian operations were often performed in Rome. The previous emporer, miserly Tiberius, had allowed the Senate to assume more and more power and Caligula tried to redress that imbalance. Consequently, the Senate denigrated him with the worst, most lurid cheapest ad hominem attacks they could create. His struggle with the Senate came to a head when he said, "My horse would make a better senator than many of you two-leggeds presently seated here!"

Anway, back at Pantheacon, now the speaker trotted out the hoary old chestnut that the Malleus Maleficarum(1485) served inquisitors to torture Witches.(3) It didn't. It was what the publishing industry calls a one-hander. The inquisitors had far better and older books from which to learn their trade and conduct their interrogations. Chief among such books were Bernard Gui's Practica officii inquisitoris heretice pravatatis(1324) and Nicholas Eymeric's Directorium inquisitorum (1376). Just like your employer's manual of standard operating procedures, its SOP, these were regularly updated with the latest questions to be asked and techniques to be used in interrogations.

Finally, when the speaker said that Michelet had written a book about sorcerers, Gavin had to object one more time to point out that the book's title was La Sorciere, and to explain a little of what that meant. (4) Gavin decided that unless he wanted to be thrown out, he had better stop objecting to the allegations we were hearing, so he gave up and walked out; at least that way he didn't have to endure the standard garbage thta Gerald Gardner founded Wicca (5,6) and all the rest of the misinformation about Gardner's pasttimes in the New Forest.

After the presentation a couple of attendees came over privately to ask Gavin about some of the pseudo-facts they had just heard about the founding of Wicca. He tried to straighten them out, though without much hope of success, for they had all the might of Ronald Hutton on their side, and of course, the printed work is as infallible as the Bible.

You may say this was only one speaker at one gathering; but if you study carefully what is going on in the community, you will find that many other misguided individuals are spreading ideas which eventaully may destroy the truth of the pW way of spirituality.

Inevitably some attempts to change the pW way back to the male-dominated war/terror/hate paradigm have been aimed at ourselves, the Frosts, because we are so hell-bent against a pyramidal, hierarchical, dominator way of thinking. (We insist: no Vatican in Hinton -- not on our watch.) People simply cannot comprehend what a partnership way of life would be like. And the moment you suggest that a physician snip a girl's hymen so that her first sexual experience won't be bloody, painful, and traumatic, the moment you suggest the tiny snip of the membrane that holds the foreskin to the glans that would let the young male have an equally pleasant first sexual experience, in that moment all the self-appointed christo-pW's scream in unison, "Mutilation!" "Child molest!" -- even though, as we see at festivals, most of these same people traumatize their boy babies by having them circumcised, which causes them to cry out in pain every time they urinate.(7) And this, apparently, so that the parents have less trouble washing the child (as well as following a Judeo-Christian practice). Perhaps slightly less dreadful is the practice of piercing the earlobes of infant girls helpless to protest -- perhaps, though that looks an awful lot like child abuse. We believe that any minor medical procedure that allows yong couples more enjoyment in their first sexual encounters is worth while.

If you hear someone screeching about child molest, demand that they produce court documents so you can hear the words that came from the child's own lips. Hearsay is not evidence. If you hear people condemning Frost publications, ask such people, "What is the name of the most recent positive work you have published to promote the Craft?" "Which book of the Frosts' have you actually read?"

Nowhere do the christo-pWs have more to say than with regard to sexual freedom. Indeed, sometimes they sound as if they're channeling Billy Graham. They insist that everyone must have that little piece of paper(8) stamped by a pimply minimum-wage clerk in City Hall that gives them permission to (gasp) Do It. The threat of polyamorous arrangements or -- even worse -- polyorgasmic activity (9) drives them berserk ... not that such ideas stimulate envy. Oh gasp, no. To hear them tell it, teenagers are not in any way to be trusted, not alone, not together, certainly not in gender-mixed groups. These christo-pW's -- drama queens, as one campground owner has named them -- are those who take a situation and blow it completely out of proportion. Drama queens come in assorted genders, of course.

Another example of Christian-cult body hate creeping into Wicca is the bowdlerization(10) of such sacred traditions as the Charge to the Goddess. There are actually people who would expunge certain naughty words from that cherished passage. The original version goes:
And as the sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also; extinguishing the lights,
Ye shall make the game of love.
This shall last until the lastof your oppressors shall be dead.(11)

Centuries ago Hegel defined the spirit this way:
The nature of Spirit may be understood by a glance
at its direct opposite -- Matter.
As the essence of Matter is gravity, so, on the other hand,
we may affirm that the substance, the essence, of Spirit is freedom.(12)

The essence of the pW culture used to be freedom. Sad to say, though, many of you are giving heed to the christo-pWs, who claim that our culture has grown up (shudder) and that we must follow the Christian cult's rules of society. Those rules were laid down while Jesus still walked the streets of Chicago: laid down by invading Aryan dominator-male-god cultures with their outlook of scarcity. "There isn't enough to go around, so I'd better guard mine obsessively." They must have been scared to death that "their" women might "stray" to find something better. According to that outlook, women and children were to be regarded as pets, possessions, or prisoners, never as autonomous humans with rights of their own.

In listening to a recent series on the history of the Latter Day Saints Church, aired presumably to get us used to the fact that one of the wannabe presidential candidates is a (gasp) Mormon, the voiceover said (this is a paraphrase) "The Mormons are to be praised for being able to bring their religion into the mainstream of Christian through in less than two generations."(13) We have to wonder why aligning a religion with mainstream Christian thought is a good thing.

If we look into history we see that the Celts had some 283 named gods and goddesses, (14) each with a specific responsibility. If you wanted someone to protect your horse, you worshiped Epona. If you wanted success in the hunt, you might worship Diana or even Llew Llaw Gyffes. If you wanted to see the future, that was Cerridwen's department. When the genocidal Christian cultists forced everyone to worship a single god, then of course worshiping another god was considered traitorous; and traitors were ipso facto burned. By the way, most of them were burnt not at the stake but on griddles so that their parts could be thrown to the protein-deprived crowds.(15)

Nowadays, when the christo-pW paradigm gets its way, if you worship a specific pantheon of deities which does not exactly match the set worshiped by the group down the road, you are immediately ostracized, cast out, and excoriated verbally and on the web ever after. This sectarianism has no place in a pW community, yet it still serves as the excuse for many Witch wars.

Once we lived in Missouri; there two Baptist churchs in a single town got into a shootng war because one worshiped at 11 am and the other started its services at 10:30. Do we really want to follow the Christian cult example on the path of internecine insanity? When members of the community squabble and bicker and character-assasinate, we Frosts can picture Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and all the other fundamentalists doing high fives, hugging themselves because we're so busy fighting each other that we don't notice their stealth campaign against (for example) separation of church and state or for teaching intelligent design in public tax-supported schools.

In our regular series of presentations we offer a talk on relationships. We find that partners who "stray" are often actually straying from a dysfunctional relationship. However, in a strong relationship, where there are few secrets or hidden agendas, where the shared outlook is more partnership than dominator, straying is often interpreted as just having a little fun. Just no surprises, and what's fair for me is fair for you.

The other day a lady who was in a quite stable marriage had a pleasant experience at a festival. She confided in us that she didn't understand all these festival goers who as they say "got a little" and then went home and felt guilty about it instead of feeling pleased and getting on with their lives, pleased that they were still attractive enough to be able to have fun in this way. When women are set free and know they are free, and are in relationships that allow them freedom, they may indeed occasionally stray sexually -- as do most men -- but the relationship grows stronger therefrom. Think of it as comparison shopping. If the statisticians of the Wall Street Journal are correct, sex is freer today in conventional society than in the pW society.

Look around you at the Christian-cult society, so proud of what it calls moral values: child molesters who after a slap on the wrist get to live among us, not even neutered; a society where child and spousal abuse is rampant; where drug addiction and murder are everyday fare. When we were in France researching a book, on a train we talked to a lady who was obviously traumatized. She confided she was moving to Paris to live with her daughter because her home in the industrial port of l'Orient had been broken into at some time during the vast influx of visitors attending the enormous Festival Interceltique. She felt personally raped by the invasion of her property, and believed that Paris would be a safer place to live. In the United States we might compare this to a move from Virginia Beach to live in downtown New York City.

Or maybe a better example would be a murder that occurred in England's dock city of Portsmouth. The victim was a homeless person, yet the police set up a whole incident room and called in Scotland Yard to investigate this crime that was seen as horrific.

On the subject of horrific crime, we were in Devizes when the whole town was outraged because some teenagers had trampled the vicar's prize daffodils. It made front-page news in the local paper. In the United States, it seems we accept violence with our mother's milk. Even at pagan gatherings, children in the campgrounds can often be found playing quite violent computer games instead of getting out into nature and enjoying what the Mother offers us. Instead of simply running and breathing and having a good time, they are developing nothing but muscular thumbs and strained eyes. Of course American TV programs for "grownups" are even more instructive than the games in how to commit crimes without being caught.

Thirty or fourty years ago the pW community was a great place to be. Its up-yours attitude and resultant freedom made a heady mix. Yes, we fought; but we also loved and grew together. And the fights were not sneak efforts behind someone's back to promote books or videos or websites. They were honest and open. Would that we could return to those days. All we can do today is warn the newer members of the community to be aware of the cancer in their midst.

A word to pW leaders: If you are being attacked, it is wise to think about the possible motives of the attackers. Are they christo-pWs tring to bring the whole community to heel? To echo Jehovah's fiat: Live on my terms or go to hell? Or do they have something to sell that will sell more widely after a dispute reported in sensationalistic terms?

Recall the words of Tacitus (200-276 CE):
Neglected calumny soon expires;
show that you are hurt,
and you give it the appearance of truth.(16)

Most attacks are against leaders of the community. By taking note of them, you give the attacker notoriety and a considerable ego boost. Our recommendation, then, is: Ignore all attacks. Those who attack you are breaking the prime directve of the pW life path: If it harm none, do what you will. They are ipso facto not Wiccans.

If you simply cannot ignore the attack, then remember:
In an inward-looking society such as the "alternative" community has become, it is all too easy to observe the behavior of your associate and to put the worst possible Interpretation on it. Such assumptions benefit no one. May we offer a hope -- perhaps a dream -- of what might happen instead of backbiting and sniping and rumor-mongering.

If you learn that Ruby Wednesday is saying hateful things about you behind your back, a first step should probably be to examine her allegations to see exactly how valid they are. If they are valid, in a private communication say, "Ruby, I get the impression you don't like my behavior X. Help me find a better way to handle that aspect of my life or my teaching."

That is known as adult behavior.

If you figure out that her allegations have no validity, you might go to her privately saying, "Ruby, I get the impression that you are making false allegations, attributing behavior Y to me. Tell me how you arrived at those beliefs."

If she cannot back up her claims, you have the right -- indeed the duty -- to insist that (a) she tell you from whom she heard them in the first place; (b) why she feels compelled or entitled to spread them further; (c)who she thinks will benefit from hearing the allegations; and (d)why she did not come to you in the first place to verify or deny the allegations.

Such Communications can be handled in an adult way if both parties keep in mind the good they can severally do for the community.

Yes, this is a dream set of conditions, and call us dreamers if you will. It's been a long time since we imagined this world was kind to idealists. Yet we must live the life we see as harming none, the life that fits our set of examined ethics, harming none as best we can understand the concept.

Given the present state of turmoil in which this nation finds itself, our community is a prime target for scapegoating. We need to lock shields and support one another, not to cause glee in the ranks of Christian cultists by sniping at one another.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Shri Gurudev Mahendranath - Notes On Pagan India
George Lincoln Burr - New England Place In The History Of Witchcraft
Joanne Pearson - Wicca And The Christian Heritage Ritual Sex And Magic
Nevrom Ydal - Preparing The Ritual Area And Yourself
Richard Roy - 13 Questions On Paganism And Wicca