Following links a couple of days ago, I found a board called Pagan Nation and claims by author A.J. Drew concerning Gavin and Yvonne Frost. Yes, I posted on Pagan Nation. Yes I answered questions regarding ritual and rapists, not fully understanding why the questions were being asked. I thought, "Oh, a dude who cares about rape." Yeah, I have read some part of at least one of A.J.'s book and yeah, I am aware that in terms of historical research he does not come close to Issac Bonewits' marvelous skills at ferreting out information [nor is he as inaccurate as Ed Fitch, or Edain McCoy and the Irish Pumpkins]. I didn't know exactly what I had stumbled into until tonight, upon further investigation.
Gavin and Yvonne Frost, founders of the Church and School of Wicca have become embroiled with A.J. Drew in a controversy regarding material which appears in at least three editions of one of their books. Specifically, A.J. Drew is questioning the inclusion of instructions related to the use of dildos by adolescent girls [with the help of their dads if necessary] and a calender to do it with, and the snipping by mothers of any penile skin which potentially interferes with the sexual pleasure of teenaged sons. The problem is that the Frosts claim that these things were included within an historical context, that folks under the age of 18 should not be initiated into a coven, that A.J. Drew's quotes and webshots of the pages in question are not accurate. A.J. Drew counterclaims that these instructions are pedophilic in nature-- thus rendering the book unsuitable for marketing and distribution-- and that the Frosts are advocates of pedophilia. The larger issue is the insensitivity or blind acceptance by the majority of the pagan public without question. Complicating the issue is the many reprints of the book from 1972 through to the present day. The 1999/2000 printing contains the disclaimer regarding the age of 18, the 1995 printing does not.
Wikipedia [not considered to be good enough evidence] quoted bits of the disputed excerpts on their site and Percival has screenshots of three pages on a Freeweb site [again, not considered to be good enough evidence and no, not a sock puppet of A.J. Drew. I recognize Percival's name from another blogging venue]. Over on Live Journal, blogger Dionysusdevotee records both his disgust at the non-reaction of the NonFluffyPagans El Jay community and disgust with A.J. Drew for inserting other non-pertinent material into his complaint. [Whether or not the Frosts ever ran a bordello is irrelevant to the issue at hand]. One of the folks commenting states correctly that it is up to A.J. Drew to provide proof of his allegations and not up to us the audience to go looking for it ourselves.
There has been extensive name-calling and threats on all sides, which now also includes the Pagan Pride Project folks [not related to the larger national organization by a similar name] of Fayettesville, Arkansas. A.J. Drew freely admits that he called in the police and alerted them to the possible sale of a book containing instructions on sexual abuse of minors. A.J. Drew also is allowing a ritual at his Witches' Ball next weekend involving survivors of rape and effigies, possibly of the Frosts themselves as of this writing, being stomped into smithereens. He claims that 80 rounds were fired into an effigy of himself. With accusations flying on both sides, it is difficult to sort out culpability.
Here I must insert that Jack T. Chick is indirectly involved. [Head shake]. Gavin Frost had one student via his correspondence course whose name is John Todd. John Todd has gone back and forth between practicing Wicca and a form of fundamentalist Christianity. John Todd allegedly assisted a runaway over state lines and was convicted of statutory rape, for which he spent six months in county lock-up. He was further suspected or accused of using his coven in another state as a cover to garner ripe underaged females for sex. Todd's bad behavior was not limited to covens as there are reports that he also was trying for underaged females in Christian circles and indeed got one teenaged sister-in-law with child. Todd's army records were dug up through the efforts of the magazine Christianity Today and even way back then-- before his becoming a student of the Church and School of Wicca and before his involvement with preaching-- there were indications of trouble. One notation described Todd as a habitual liar. Various Christian ministries began to distance themselves from Todd, however Jack Chick didn't. Jack Chick featured Todd and his fantastic claims in several of his comic-style tracks. Jack Chick referred to Gavin Frost as "the pope of the occult" and to Issac Bonewits as some kind of strong armed muscle man or guard. Kerr Cuhulain wrote a striking article on Witchvox which detailed John Todd's fantastic claims regarding Wicca at: http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=cabc&c=whs&id=4669
[Read the whole thing. It is excellent].
When the Frosts referred to A.J. Drew as B.D.D., I wanted to speak out and I did so. A response from Shadowhawk and my response to the point Shadowhawk raises has been reproduced below. The original exchange can be found at: http://gavinandyvonne.blogspot.com/2007/09/plausible-evasions.html
I have a traumatic brain injury caused by an automobile accident.
I am not amused by the use of the initials B.D.D.
[a botched cut and paste job of Shadowhawk's quote followed by:]
Those of us who do have brain injuries-- whether from accidents or falls or physical confrontations [traumatic] or strokes, operations, poisonings, or tumors [acquired]-- do have BRAIN DAMAGE. In that sense, and in that sense only, "brain-damaged dude" is an accurate moniker.
Brain damage/brain injury is not who we are. I know that I cannot blame everything on my brain injury. I strongly doubt that A.J. Drew's actions can be explained [or excused] by his brain injury. All of us, with brain injuries or not, are more than our labels. To excuse our own personal bad behavior is to act as if we are our labels.
None of us are one-sided or all-bad or all-good or all-knowing. That statement includes A.J. Drew, the Frosts, and people on one side or the other or who wish to remain neutral, and the entire human race.
Name-calling cheapens all of us and weakens the arguments for both sides of this. That is something that I probably should have said first.
At this point, I believe this matter will have to be settled [as much as possible] by the courts. I think I read in this blog somewhere or in the comments that there is indeed a court date set. I must confess that I am astonished that A.J. Drew and the Frosts have not been told by their respective lawyers [or are ignoring the advice of their lawyers?] to stop trying the case electronically in the public arena of the internet.
Putting aside any personal feeling or experience or thought or opinion about the written material at the heart of this matter, I will close with the following statements:
I support the Frosts' right to write, publish, and sell their material. Part of the risk of having freedom of speech is that someone will come along and say or write things that are offensive to someone else. I am willing to take that risk in order to continue to live in a free society.
I support A.J. Drew's right to question inclusion of certain material in the book and subsequent revisions WITHOUT alleging that the Frosts have ever personally engaged in such behaviors or are in favor of such behaviors.
I support the Frosts' right to respond or not respond to A.J. Drew's questioning of the material as they see fit.
I do not support A.J. Drew calling the police in reference to possible selling of the Frosts' book at a pagan event in Arkansas. I think there are better ways to publicize that one has serious qualms about things which are written in a book.
Deciding that a book should not be distributed in the United States is up to the legal system, period. Our suppositions are conjectures only.
I do not support either side making claims or unsubstantiated allegations against the other without citing sources. Information without names and supporting documents is meaningless.
I do not support any blog which lists people or websites as supporters of pedophilia without proof, period.
I do not support name-calling of any kind by anyone. I do understand that this issue is emotionally charged and the difficulties [not excused by brain injury/brain damage or neuro-typical status] inherent in refraining from the name-calling.
I wish everyone the best in sorting this one out and in addressing the issues in a rational sane manner with the help of professional advocates within the legal system.
With respect to all,
Personally, I found the instructions for adolescent or pre-adolescent girls involving two homemade dildos to be disturbing. I don't like the idea of a dildo chart, two sizes of dildos, dads helping their daughters with these things, or of moms snipping intimate parts of their sons' anatomies to ensure their sexual pleasure. I'm not crazy about partner-swapping either but that does not involve the under-aged. The choice of monogamy or some form of polyamory is between the adults involved. Because I am not residing in a prison or other institution and because I am fortunate to live in a country which has freedom of speech, I support the right of others to write about things that I find disturbing as well as to express viewpoints which are contrary to my own.
It is not for me to judge whether or not the Frosts advocate ritual child or teen sexual abuse or even speculate on the whys of the decisions of authors and their publishers. I will say though unequivocally that I despise the inclusion of such information in a primer on any form of modern [hey, the 70s are not that far gone and the year 2000 is less than a decade gone by] Wicca. Quoting from historical documents and ancient texts is one thing, manuscripts preserved from antiquity is another, and fiction quite another. This book in all of its' reprintings is none of those things.
I was at a diner today for lunch. An acquaintance was talking about standards of reality. We as a society have learned to expect rudeness and lewdness. Consequently, when the Frosts' book was published in 1972, there was no public outcry. And that is when it should have happened. Oh, perhaps not by A.J. Drew if he wasn't around yet. [A.J. Drew's excuse about not his not blogging on the internet yet wears a bit thin in my estimation]. Certainly those who came along before us could have raised an alarm. I remember 1972. In 1972, the backlash against survivors of incest had barely begun. We knew what constituted child abuse then. We were aware of rape, even of date rape and rape by husbands. [Rape by women and mothers was not freely acknowledged. Rape of men was thought to happen only in prison cells]. In 1972, women were meeting in each others' homes to hold Consciousness Raising Sessions. The book Sisterhood is Powerful was in its' heyday.
I also remember, years later, Madonna's book with the metal covers containing her sexy poses. There was also a shot there of a German Shepard Dog between her legs looking up. The suggestion of beastiality was clear to the casual reader. "Oh, that is just a staged shot," a friend told me. I stopped listening to Madonna's music. I did not reconcile myself to her when she transformed into some macabre mother of the year. It was too late.
There is something to avoiding any appearance of. In failing to do so, the Frosts and Madonna have lost their opportunity to get a hold of my bisexual bucks. In other words, I have read the Frosts' book at the bookstore. I will not buy it. Plenty of other people will, paying astronomical amounts of money over on e-Bay. And that is how it goes in a free market economy. And I am sure that I have books on my bookshelves which other folks may find objectionable. No one is forcing anyone to buy anything. That is the beauty. We have become conditioned to the staged shots and the glossing over of what we do not wish to absorb. That is our shame.
Don't forget to read the comments in all of the blogs listed. They are not to be missed. *spike*
Customer reviews of The Good Witches' Bible, 1972 printing.
George Knowles weighs in.
A.J. quotes from the 1972 version.
comments very telling
John Todd and a few wild claims regarding witchcraft
John Todd [wikipedia may not be free from bias..
various christian ministers on John Todd
Excellent article on John Todd and other oathbreakers.
Christian detractors of Wicca and the Frosts
Two posts at the blog of The Pagan Temple who is one of the commentators at the Frosts' blog.
the Frosts' on wikipedia
coherent thoughts of the Frosts' without namecalling.
the Frosts' blogspot. Scroll through to find what you need.
A.J. Drew's site and board.
A.J. Drew's blog.
Minors without parental permission must pay a bit more.
Edited by sapphoq on 9/20/07 because of botched cut and paste of Shadowhawk's original response to sapphoq.
UPDATED ON OCTOBER 13, 2007
I have continued to think on these things and I suspect I will be thinking on these things some more. I have been reading the Frosts' blog tonight. Plus, a man took the time to e-mail me a message over at yahoo 360 concerning my cross-posting there. I thought his comment was important so I published it there, where it will remain unless he asks me to take it down.
The link is: http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-6zDXuBYiera.0qS4YeKj?p=2322
Please read the comments. One is by my friend David who was involved with the Frosts and neither had nor witnessed anything untoward and one includes the message I got from Essus.
So far Essus has not written requesting that I take down his words. If he does, I will. I do appreciate his corrections to my assumption/inability to find information about any protests occurring in 1972 after the first edition of the Frosts' book was published.
I visited the Frosts blog on blogspot where I found the battle still raging onward.
My newest comment there:
Here is what I do not understand:
Why is all of this stuff about a book coming up NOW?
The book wasn't published yesterday.
Having said that, I will now say this: the Frosts have a right to write whatever material they write in whatever context they write it just like any other writer; the publisher has a right to include, exclude or ask for a rewrite of any part of the book just like any other publisher; and people have a right to buy a book or not buy it.
The risk we run in a free society that has freedom of speech is that we will run into material that we may not personally agree with or like or understand.
While I do not understand the whys and wherefores of the material presented and thus may find it offensive because of my own individual viewpoints, experiences, and misunderstandings and I have exercised my right to say so...
I don't get to dictate to others what I think they ought to do.
Maybe we can all allow the courts and the lawyers to do their thing and just get on with it, shall we?
Over at A.J. Drew's blog, I found him discoursing on protected vs. unprotected speech. My civilian understanding of the law is that we do not get to decide willy-nilly what is protected, what isn't, what is obscene, what is pornographic...from a legal standpoint. I believe that is something that a court has to decide. I am not a lawyer so I may not be correct. I shall have to further research the question. At this time, I strongly believe that I am correct that legally a court has to decide this protected vs. unprotected thing.
And a blogger that has written a very level-headed post I found over at:
A pretty cool blog all in all and one that deserves a regular readership.
This is the end of my posting on the Frosts. I will publish any comments that are civil and refrain from name-calling. Rational discourse and intelligent discussion of differences are endorsed. This is my playground and I get to set the rules. The rules here are (a). no spamming, (b). no anonymous posts, and (c). no profanity, name-calling, intentional rudeness.
And if there are no comments-- perhaps that will be valuable information for me as well in terms of a somewhat non-existent readership.
spike of radical.sapphoq