Good Witch's Bible

Question: Are there "fringe movements" within Paganism?

Good Witch's Bible (not to be confused with A Witches Bible Compleat by Janet and Stewart Farrar) was published in 2000. It's a re-working of The Witch's Bible which was first published in 1972. Both books are by Gavin Frost and Yvonne Frost, a couple of English witches who are now based in West Virginia.

One gets a sense of what this book is all about in the section of the foreword which deals with Christianity and Judaism. Gavin Frost (I am assuming that the male half of the team did most of the actual writing) seems to see himself as an embattled, persecuted hero who is surrounded by ignorant, deluded people who need him to lead them out of the darkness. A quote:

We of the Church of Wicca are often amazed and saddened at the lack of knowledge in both Christians and pagans regarding the real origins of much of present-day Christian thought and ethic [foreword, page xi].

Mr. Frost, of course, assumes himself to be a superior source of knowledge on the subject.

Throughout the book, he makes bold assertions and definitive statements that are backed up by only a few footnotes or references. Each chapter ends with review questions; it's obvious that he intended this to be a textbook. He uses the terms flamen and flamenca to refer to the Priest and Priestess of a coven. On page 52 is a diagram for a schottische dance step to be done within the Circle (with asterisks for where one should "hop").

Here are some selected passages from Good Witch's Bible:

Page 2:
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Therefore we do not believe that the Deity has power to operate on the earth plane; whereas the power that we store by prayer in (stone) god forms can be effective on the earth plane.

Page 11 :
Covens will go looking for spirits that are miserably clinging to the earth plane, unaware that their body is dead. These spirits can be trapped and used as workers.

Page 15 :
Are you so preconditioned that you can't admit to known, documented facts?

Page 73 (a description of a ritual) :
The woman cuts the man's forearm so that she draws blood. (The easiest way to produce the necessary cut is to pinch the flesh with one hand and cut with the other.) ... Man and woman each cut themselves; the man allows his blood to fall on hers.

Page 113:
Renewal of Female Desire
This very tricky procedure should be attempted only by a competent group. The problem, of course, is that the woman can easily be turned into a nymphomaniac.

Page 131 :
Some spirits are mavericks. Not wanting to go through development in Side, and also unwilling to be reborn, they possess available earth shells.

Page 145:
Jesus the teacher and healer was killed for his attempts to straighten out his church; the church has ever since killed off almost everyone who showed psychic or healing powers ...

Page 159:
It is inherent in Wicca belief that marriage is mainly a matter of the mind, not of sex. Can you allow the woman you live with to have sex with another in the perfect faith that she will return to you and you will feel more, not less, loving toward her? This tenet is obviously the reverse of the Judeo-Christian [sic] "thou shalt not." We are interested in binding the coven together with love and understanding; therefore, our rule is that twice a year every male and female in the coven will live with a female or male other than the spouse for one full lunar month. It is usual for the males to change homes, though in many cases, if more convenient, the women agree to change.

Folks, this ain't Silver Ravenwolf.

The most unusual section of the book is in Chapter IV, "Initiation and Fertility Services." It describes an Initiation service (beginning on page 66) in which "the female novice is given the sacred phallus and the instruction sheet in Table 5 so that she can learn to insert and remove the phallus quickly and comfortably. She is also taught how she should lie and what she should do during the initiation ceremony."

Table 5 (Instructions for Female Novice) begins thus:

You have been entrusted with two phalli; these are in our care until your initiation. We would like you to be initiated at the next coven meeting, which will take place on ... This means that, excluding your menstruation time, you have three weeks to prepare your muscles for introitus. Your father or your sponsor will help you if you have any difficulties or pain.

On page 99 are the instructions for making the phalli:

Each female initiate, whether virgin or not, uses the phalli. Her sponsor makes them for her, using hardwood gathered as for an ankh except that it can be gathered at any season of the year. A 4-inch length of 3/4 inch diameter, and a 4-inch length of 1-1/4 inch diameter are required. Each piece is peeled, carved, and smoothed into the shape shown in Figure 30. A nylon cord is passed through the hole and is carefully knotted or spliced. The assembled phalli are boiled in beeswax ...

Conclusion: This isn't just an early version of The Craft. This is an aberration. These folks are the Jehovah's Witnesses of Wicca.

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