Evaluating Our Teachers

By September 19, 2013 Witchcraft & Magic 37 Comments

When I was very young and gullible, my first witchcraft teacher had convinced me they were exactly what I wanted and needed. It took a few months for the glamour to crack, but when it did I realized that my teacher was a very ill woman, completely sociopathic, and had been able to fool me (at least for a short time) because they 100% believed in their delusions. This is how many of us get suckered, no matter how clever and educated we are. When a very magnetic person in a leadership role fully believes in their delusions, other people will believe them too because they are so convincing in their faith. Such persons can be very dangerous to those believing in magic to the point that it inspired me to write an entire article on the subject a couple of years ago titled: “Maintaining a Healthy Level of Skepticism“. After having escaped the clutches of my insane first teacher, I quickly learned the importance of getting my hands dirty by doing some detective work before taking on a teacher or following a tradition by interviewing current and former students and doing a lot of fact-checking. It has kept me out of a lot of bad situations since.

Shortly after what I call “the Baba Yaga incident“, I was invited to join a coven of which many of my friends were members. I was very tempted because I was already so close to the majority of those in the coven and I loved that most of their rituals were performed out doors in the forest. Despite my temptation, I did some detective work anyway as my burn was still fresh. I talked to some past students of the high priestess and they did not have anything good to say about her. An elder in the local community admitted to me that it was a secret that the high priestess had gotten her third degree online and not from the physical initiation that was required to be a member and high priestess of the tradition she was teaching. I then met with her for tea one day and quickly realized that training with this high priestess would be like walking on glass due to her egocentric and controlling attitude. I knew about Isaac Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame and she met far too many of the factors for my comfort. I told her thanks but no thanks and continued to simply be friends with the members.

Less than a year after this, the coven self-imploded after the high priestess’ ego had gotten the better of her, leading to favouritism, infighting, members quitting, the ostracisation of members she didn’t like, the warlocking (the formal removal of a coven member and stripping of their degrees and lineage) of those who stood up to her, and a very public display of crazy at a large event. Everyone quit after they couldn’t take her erratic behaviour and drama-queendom any more. Needless to say, I was very glad I had done my research and dodged that bullet. I was sad that some of my friends were hurt, but it was even sadder that this woman was continued to be considered a respected elder in the community despite the harm she’d done and lives she’d ruined. Most of the former coven members disappeared from the community and there was no one left to call bullshit. I’ve seen this happen far too often –everyone being too afraid, too polite, too disappeared, or too ignorant to speak a bad word about a person in a leadership role who should not be.

In doing background checks on two traditional witchcraft paths I was interested in early on, I discovered that both male leaders were misogynists with unchecked egos who had lied about their source material (aka they’d thieved it). One was a secret racist and both had a secret desire to create a cult. To discover these unpleasant facts I had talked to their past students and acquaintances as well as the two men in question. The reality was a huge turn off, my interest was gone, and I walked away. Yet another path I was interested in was full of infighting, drama queens, and name calling — all of it coming from the leaders of the tradition and not the followers as one would expect. It was not worth sorting out who was telling the truth or not with such childish behaviour going on. It’s not a good sign when covens following the same tradition can’t get along. Again, I walked away. Eventually I did find a good teacher who restored my faith in the leadership of the magical community. It gave me hope that others wouldn’t settle and, instead, wait it out to find a good teacher who wouldn’t lie or abuse their leadership role.

The moral of these stories is that it is very important to look into the person behind the writings, teachings, and belief system you are following or want to follow. How balanced and grounded is this person in reality and every day life? What is the state of this person’s personal and home life?  Is it chaos, broken relationships, and a home that’s taken hoarding to an unhealthy level?  Have they lost friends and family due to unacceptable social behaviour? Do you actually like this person and agree with them, the things they’ve done, and how they live(d) their life? Are you okay following someone with an unchecked mental illness, someone who’s killed or raped, someone who is a pathological liar, a racist, or who stole all their lore? No? Then you should be aware that many of the founders and teachers of magical traditions, both well-known and obscure, had skeletons in their closets that we aren’t dealing with today. Some of their transgressions are forgivable, but many are not.

Gerald Gardner was such a sensationalist and media whore that half his original coven abandoned him, not happy about the bricks thrown through windows, after he went public and outed everyone. Wicca’s founder was an exhibitionist and not in keeping with Wicca’s reputation for secrecy. He was a notorious liar and thief when it came to his source material and he was also a reported creeper and bondage freak by the former female members of his coven, including Doreen Valiente. Today we laugh it off as him just being a dirty old man and nudist with a trickster’s heart — look at his crazy hair, isn’t he adorable?

Alex Sanders and Sybil Leek both lied about their background and initiation stories (which they had the gall to publish as books), were both shameless media whores like Gardner, and used the media to gain fame in a way not seen since (okay, maybe Fiona Horne and Christian Day come close).  The father of modern Traditional Witchcraft, Robert Cochrane (aka Roy Bowers), had a history of mental illness, dosed coven members with dangerous poisons without their knowledge, viciously blasted Gardner and the adherents of Wicca in early witchcraft periodicals under a pseudonym (possibly starting the first witch war), and continually cheated on his wife which led to her filing for divorce. Shortly after, he killed himself by taking an overdose of his antidepressant meds mixed with belladonna and hellebore. It took him over a week to die in the hospital as he didn’t take a strong enough dose and ended up in a coma. Not the mysterious and magical myth of his life and death most of his followers will tell.

Aleister Crowley was most definitely a sociopath as demonstrated by his lack of empathy for the people he performed magical and mind control experiments on combined with his egotistical and irrational behaviour which resulted in several deaths, including his fellow K2 climbers whom he let die in an avalanche because they had disagreed with him earlier, not wanting him as their expedition leader. Crowley left quite the trail of angry, broken, mentally ill, and suicidal people in his wake. Accounts of his life and personality, including his Wikipedia entry, have been incredibly white-washed for a modern audience to better stomach. Oh, and besides having a sexual scat fetish and a heroin (cocaine, hash, opium/laudanum) addiction, he also made one of his female followers have sex with a goat. Lovely poetry he wrote though… *coughs uncomfortably and looks for a brain eraser*.  None of this has stopped countless people from following his teachings or popular musicians from using him to sell t-shirts and albums or me from attending my Thelemic friends’ annual feast of Liber Al vel Legis. I don’t even want to get into Gavin and Yvonne Frost condoning pedophilia and incest to initiate children into the craft at puberty in their book The Witch’s Bible. I could go on, but it only goes downhill from here folks.

You’d ask around about a prospective teacher who you’re interested in training with in order to find out other people’s experiences and impressions about them – why wouldn’t you do the same for an author or a “Big Name Pagan” – alive or dead? There are so many authors who have either stolen or completely made up their content that they would take up an entire post on their own. There is far too much white-washing going on in the occult, pagan, and witchcraft communities for my liking when it comes to our leaders and teachers. It’s so much easier to conveniently forget and push aside all the unpleasant things a person has done and cherry pick the parts we like instead of questioning if we should be following and passing on that person’s teachings at all.

You can’t take the cards that scare you out of a tarot deck and expect an accurate reading and you can’t subtract an author or teacher’s negative qualities expecting the things you like to be an accurate representation of them and their beliefs. People are three-dimensional and, to understand them, you need to know the bad things too. We are all human and we all have flaws – teachers are not gods and should not be placed on pedestals — they are just people. Maybe one teacher is on an FBI watch list for a murder they can’t prove he did or maybe another made up their entire tradition and are passing it off as something ancient. In knowing the more unpleasant facts about a teacher, you can better determine what you will tolerate and what is unacceptable. From there you should be able to figure out which teachings you’d like to keep and which you’d like to douse with gasoline and set on fire.

In conclusion, please care about the people behind the books, teachings, and traditions of our greater magical community. Please care enough to do background checks and fact checks.  There is no need to immediately stop incorporating the teachings of anyone who was a degenerate or an asshole, but be aware of that facet of their personality alongside their magical teachings. When you recommend their works or teachings to students, please disclose the full context and make them aware of the bad along with the good. There is no need to perpetuate hurt and disillusionment in our students through silence and selective memory. The truth hurts, but it will set us free.


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Article © 2013 Sarah Anne Lawless. Do not copy or use this article without the express permission of the author, but sharing the link is welcome.

Join the discussion 37 Comments

  • Winter says:

    Thank you for this.

    One of the main reasons I’m a solitary practitioner is because I had such hideous experiences with teachers when I was first starting out. The Wiccan groups I sought out were uncomfortable as the high priests/priestesses were sexually forward with all members, and an Asatru group I had the misfortune of dabbling in had a gythia who was fiercely competitive with any female member, ensuring that she put them down often to establish her dominance.

    It seems as though any negative feedback is discouraged in pagan circles, as though criticizing elders and teachers is somehow verboten. Sigh.

    • This is when I don’t like where the post leads: a place where faiths are target in overall as focus of Y or Z.
      Some of us do happily belong to groups where our opinion, and even criticism, is not just allowed, but encouraged – specially with elders.
      I don’t like generalisations… It reminds me of “empowered woman” blaming 2,000 years of patriarchal opression on nowdays’ men: even though there might be some great truth on it… it ends up getting too personal and general.
      I can understand you had a bad experience but have in mind that there’s more, much more out there! :)

  • Cynthia says:

    Excellent post. Boy can I relate. When my first teacher bragged about killing someone magically, we fled. We still talk about “Uncle Tom’s Coven”. I checked his creds after only to find if I had done that first I never would have wasted my time.

  • Thanks for this insight and reminder. It seems easy to put on witchy blinders and be compelled by someone’s outward appearance or the cult of personality surrounding them. Your admonition to check them out makes so much sense, we should all have such wisdom!

  • noel says:

    Ug! Finally! Reading bios on some of these big names… they were all crazy pants. I’m glad you came out and said so.

  • This post is so fantastic I am beyond words. Thank you so, so, so, so, so very much for writing it. It’s a cold, harsh truth that we need – both regarding some of these individuals as well as forcing us to look outward (and inward) to ensure that those we look up to are worth looking up to.

    • S. J. Tucker says:

      What Shivian said. This post should be required reading for all seekers who can handle what’s real. We have to be careful not to blindly follow the leader, especially when we are hungry and desperate for someone to teach us. Much respect for those who came before, but with full knowledge of their imperfections.

  • Cara says:

    Yet another very well-written post. Thank you. :)

  • borealmum says:

    So glad you posted this! We’ve forgotten about the spiritual red flags. We don’t like to be warned of what can be harmful. We often hope we’d know when we are in trouble or danger and have control over our own choices, especially our spirituality, right? I’ve experienced what I call the “dick doctors” within the NAC (Native American Church) and people going under the name of midwife but really just wanting drugs, sex and money from the vulnerable. We have the examples of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and what about the 9 people who died in that sweatlodge in AZ? I’m sure people who were victims of these people may now wish someone had warned them of those red flags.

    I do feel really blessed that all my teachers have been non-ego bent and taught for free. The few followers the better when it comes to teachers. We are currently warning people about turtle lodge here in MB as it is ego driven and a known child predator is now associated with them. I have to say though there is also the other side of being teacher and having people out and out copy from you – something also written about. It’s important to know the difference between being inspired and being thankful for our sources of inspiration compared to wanting to be like your teacher and claiming the spiritual experiences and work of another as your own. Being similar and sharing in commonalities is so different then ripping off the work of another.

    Anyway, you spoke on those spiritual red flags and I hope people learn it is okay to say no as even when stuff may look good it does not always mean it is for us. Spirit does also warn us not just sending the feeling of being all awe struck and wonderful.

  • Scylderon says:

    “You can’t take the cards that scare you out of a tarot deck and expect an accurate reading and you can’t subtract an author or teacher’s negative qualities expecting the things you like to be an accurate representation of them and their beliefs.”

    Exquisitely stated, Sarah.

    I expect there will be some who are taken aback by how candid and explicit this article is, but that’s unavoidable. You could have easily pleaded with your readers to do their due diligence and hone their common sense without naming names and being so candid about specific figures – but without that, this article would have as much integrity as an open letter which calls for transparency and integrity and is signed by “anonymous”.

    I applaud you for your courage, and if haters are gonna hate, haters are gonna hate. I’d wager that those who do take great offense will also bear some uncanny resemblance to those teachers you describe.

  • Anna Greenflame says:

    ….and someday, I will write the corollary to this: “A Bestiary of Horrid Witchcraft Students, or, Why Well-Meaning Witchcraft Teachers End Up Giving The Bird To Everyone.” ‘Cause I’ve had them all, which is why it will be a hot day in Hel before I ever take on another student.

    By the way, have you read Phil Heselton’s works on Gerald Gardner?

  • Christina says:

    Thank you for this! So very important! Oh and all reading should be aware that this danger exists in all spiritual disciplines. Buddhism in the West is rampant with dangerous teachers (can’t speak to Buddhism in the East as I have no personal experience.) Hindu lineages in the West too. Native American lineages have been mentioned in the comments and let’s not forget the Christians. Everyone should take a page from your book on doing due diligence on all who purport to be Teachers… maybe pretend you are planning on hiring them to nanny your children… what precautions would you take then? Is not your own spiritual well-being equally important? Thanks again.

  • Alex says:

    I want to note that being mentally ill, taking medication, and having unusual sexual practices with consenting adults does not make one an inappropriate teacher–it makes one human and it is all in how a person works with their own stuff that makes them a good teacher. I’m sure you don’t believe that mental illness and sexual proclivities make one a bad teacher, but I didn’t see that mentioned–only the pointing out of a teacher with mental illness being bad in your experience.

    • Sarah says:

      I hope you made it further in the post than the first paragraph and followed the links to the full story about my very unpleasant teacher as well as my article on skepticism which treats the issue of mental illness within the magical community in the sensitive way you seem to be looking for. I didn’t want to repeat myself, which is why I included the link.

      It’s one thing to have a teacher with a mental illness who takes care of themself, medicates if necessary, and receives therapy, but it’s quite another thing to have a teacher with an unchecked mental illness who is spiralling out of control and taking all their students down with them as described further along in this post as well as in my skepticism article.

      The reality of people is that we are judgemental. Some will be okay with a teacher who is bi-polar, suffers from depression, or who is polyamourous and into the kink scene. Many will not be comfortable with this and that is their own personal choice. My point is that it’s their right to have full disclosure and decide for themselves. If one is a teacher who doesn’t want their personal sexual preferences or exploits to affect their students’ view of them, then they should keep it private. Unfortunately, most of the kinky coven leaders I know let it seep into their rituals and behaviour at events and can end up seriously disturbing even those who are familiar with and okay with kink… but that’s another topic.

  • Kitty says:

    What a perfectly timed message.

    I’ve been wrestling with mixed feelings over retreating from a group of wise women who I enjoyed communing with for the past few years. There was too many red flags to ignore; the shaman who led the group set my spider sense off big time. I trust this guardian and have learned to pay heed to it.

    Your words helped me feel centered again.

  • Kim says:

    Another wonderfully insightful article that was long due. My first ‘teacher’ outside of solitary practice turned out to be a controlling whack-job who caused a lot of trouble in our community. I ran as fast as I could. She has now completely abandoned witchcraft & has called some prominent leaders “cultists” even though they are ten times more stable than she ever was. Luckily, she moved away so our community could begin to heal.

    Last weekend I attended a class from a famous witch-author who was visiting. 25 people ooo’d & ahhh’d over her TOTAL BULLSHIT. She calls herself a ‘natural witch’ & ‘garden witch’ & spent most of her time telling us which chemical fertilizers & pesticides to use on our gardens, along with espousing the benefits of peat moss. After telling us she knew nothing about herbalism (except magical herbalism, in which she is an “EXPERT”), she cautioned us to NEVER use herbs on ourselves without our doctor’s advice & to NEVER, NEVER use herbs on anyone under 12. This woman has had many books published by the most powerful & popular esoteric publishing house (from which I will never buy another piece of witch-trash). She has a huge following & influence. At the end of her talk, she reminded us that we were ‘stewards of the land’. At that moment, I wanted to scream.

    We are surrounded by fools & fakes.

    I remain solitary, with a few wonderful, deep friends who all follow slightly different paths. I study by distance with teachers from England & Europe with reputations for environmental activism & land stewardship, who have stood the test of time with their teachings. I find myself drawing farther & farther away from the local, watered-down, dogmatic witch community.

    Thank you for putting in print what many of us struggle with.

  • Sarah,

    I will once again reiterate what I have often said about your words in the past : they are important, indispensable, necessary, enlightening, and enjoyable. I hope that this post gets read and read and re-read for years to come.

    Thank you for the time and energy you pour into these posts to help shed light on the path for newcomers and old souls alike.

    We appreciate it greatly.

    -Joseph Magnuson

  • Top notch.

    I had one of these teachers – happily not early on. Once it became clear that his goals for me were not in agreement with my goals for me…I was gone.

    I think people need to balance their desires to be trusting and compassionate and non-judgemental with equally serious desires for self-preservation, sense of self-worth, and realizing that judging someone as ‘bad for me’ is not the same as judging them a ‘bad person’ in a more global sense. But the outright ‘bad apple’ is out there, always. It doesn’t matter the culture or subculture, people are people…

  • Rebecca says:

    Well thought out and timely article. I have fallen into the ‘cult of personality’ with one group and you are right in that no matter how educated or smart you are, anyone can do it. Getting out becomes the true test of resources.

    Many of the situations you describe are why I am a solitary practitioner. It seems sadly most groups are run by ego centered sociopaths, racists, or people looking for a pool of prey. There are good lessons to be learned in healthy bits of skepticism, and learning to take things with a Siberian salt mine.

  • Harold Roth says:

    Hmm. Well, the two best teachers I ever had were when I was in grad school–one was a total drunk, and the other regularly had affairs with female students. And yet they were both extremely knowledgeable, were generous with their knowledge, and I learned a great deal from them. While I think it is important not to get buffaloed by any person or group, in occulture or out, I also think that a teacher is not there to be a life model but to teach a specific skill or limited body of knowledge. So IME, a person can be a fuckup in life and still be a good teacher from whom one can learn a great deal. Crowley is a good example. As a human being, he had some very serious faults and did some things that were genuinely awful. Whether murder was among them I am not sure. I do know he was a skilled magician from whom one can learn magic. I would not look to him for spiritual or ethical guidance, but then, I would not look to anyone for that.

    We all have our line in the sand. But IMO, magic is a skill to be studied and practiced, not a spiritual path where our soul’s betterment is the goal. I think it is important not to relate to teachers or leaders as if they were to be admired in general but instead to think critically about the specific skills they are teaching us. We do have to crack the shell of the nut to extract the nutritious meat. It is no different with learning from a teacher, I think.

    • Trothwy says:

      I whole-heartedly agree, Harold. If we judged every skill we learned by the source we received if from, we’d be guilty of looking at the finger pointing at the moon, rather than the moon itself.

  • Sometimes I think I must lead a boring life never having had any of this happen to me…

    Great article and very true, everything with a grain of salt and use common sense. I always dislike those who tout unbroken traditional lineages dating back to before the first Pharaoh of Egypt (ok slightly exaggerating but you know what I mean) because there is no such thing. We each build our own path and no one person is right and no one person is wrong – however there are many whackjobs out there who claim otherwise.

    I am surprised you haven’t had more people on here going over the top mental at the famous pagans mentioned in your article, I’ve seen some get positively rabid in their defense of them.

  • KesselundKerze says:

    There are yet so many great comments on your article. I made a similar experience like your BabaYaga story and thankfully never had to share a roof with that crazy ego-centered woman. This article is very couraged and you are one of very few people whose words mean something to me when it comes to witchcraft and experience.

  • Cymraes says:

    Very well said Sarah!

    We’ve all come across them in one degree or another, and yes, fallen for the glamour.

    In this day tho’, the old lesson the best of teachers should teach, seems to have been forgotten, or worse, outlawed as the New Age creeps into the magical community.

    Here, you revive it, and I know many will listen, thankfully.

    Question, question and then question some more, never taking anything at face value, nor believing what you are told… Then you can make your mind up and act accordingly.

  • Mike Howard says:

    As someone who has written extensively about Robert Cochrane I can say that I have not ignored his dysfunctional aspects. In fact pointing them out has led to criticism aimed at me from some of his more prominent modern followers! Likewise in he past I have written critically about Sanders, Gardner and Leek Therefore it would be wrong to think there is some sort of conspiracy of silence about these people. Really sometimes I think we have to judge people by what they have produced rather then who they were and their imperfections when incarnated. In that sense, whatever we think of Cochrane as a human being, in my experience the system he created presses all the buttons and works.

    Andrew Chumbley used to say “Sometimes the spirits choose unworthy vessels to continue their work” In his case it was not true but there are many of other teachers and leaders of traditions who were (and are) dysfunctional.

    Mike

    • Robyn says:

      Of course people who stick their necks out and go where no man has gone before probably will tend to be on the loony side, it’s the nature of people who do strange stuff to be strange, but there’s well meaning and there’s danger in looniness. And I’ve seen groups of people get very offended if something negative is said about their heroes, so it does happen, though I don’t know about a conspiracy of silence.
      And then with the popularization of Wicca etc, it’s opened the door wide to even more fruitloops who can use it to try to fill some black hole in their personality that can’t be filled any other way…. I wonder some times what these people did before wicca or the web became hugely popular.

  • Lucy reid says:

    Thank you Sarah, it is why I’ve always being solitary. That’s more to do with me being a bit too sceptical rather than a wise learned choice! it would have been great to learn with someone rather than finding my own way… but that’s certainly not said with regret!

  • Patricia Day says:

    It took me some time to find a group I could work with, and even then it was a very loose association. Most of us worked far better alone, and come together as a group for specific working.

    My first experience was with a group under the tutelage of a very experienced woman, but she certainly had her issues and they became manifest at winter solstice. It was unpleasant and scared the you-know out of me.

    I agree wholeheartedly with doing the legwork before commitment. Thank you for reiterating that.

  • When it comes to Wicca we get tired of repeating the same: Ask for vouch. To several people. That is not just related to the lineage verification, but also is that’s a “recommended” teacher. Always meet in public places. Ask. Ask more. Even more. Listen. Keep asking.
    And, if there’s even the slighlest sign of sexual harrassing behaviour, money charging, manipulation, people-getting-into-your-personal-life, [insert anything weird here], just RUN. Don’t excuse it. Don’t try to understand it, just get out of there.

    Now, regarding the “big names”… whether we like it or not, those people were crucial in the development of modern paganism and witchcraft. They were luminaries, and people who had the courage to do something excentric. People like Crowley are definitely not the best example of the person one wants to be. But there, I draw a big line between the pioneer and the creating itself.

    Look at most of the artists, musicians, scientists, they weren’t all precisely “role models”. They all had issues. And still, we are basing our latests scientific research, our inspiration for art, in their creations!

    • Mike Howard says:

      Alder makes a good point drawn from the mundane world of Abel. Most famous musicians and artists were and are flawed characters and sometimes dysfunctional but people tend to ignore their personality traits and appreciate the artistic works they create. It is also true to say that many well known occultists, witches etc have a strong element of the archetypal Trickster in their character. This does not forgive the lies, fantasies and unpleasant personality traits but it does help to understand them. However those of us who do not feel the need to fantasise or lie about our backgrounds or activities find it rather strange that others do!

  • AmBualan says:

    Excellent article, needed to be said. Impeccability seems to be the issue re: those who are teachers.

    ‘Would you buy a used car from this person?” might be a question to bear in mind.

    Also think we draw towards us what we need to learn, not necessarily what we think we need to learn.

    Someone who abuses our trust/uses our energy/hurts us/wastes our precious time is someone who has taught us a great deal. With a correspondingly high price tag.

  • Way to go Sarah!

    Thanks for slamming this post (and some bad teachers) out of the ballpark.

  • Peter Dybing says:

    Here are some great questions.
    Is the prospective teacher hesitent to take you on as a student/

    They should be it is a great responsibility.

    Are they really a teacher of the craft or just a BNP?

    Some consider me a BNP, but I would NEVER present myself as a teacher of the craft. While I tend to duck the lable BNP, the actions that have made the community aware of me have nothing to do with teaching the craft. I’m simply not qualified

    What do the teacher’s current students say is the teacher’s greatest strength?

    An important question as the condition of the Coven or organization in the here and now is of primary importance. Many great covens have evolved from a history of drama, stick to the teacher now, not the past.

    Does the teacher disclose her/his personal process, issues or trials?

    My experience is that those who have a public process, who can admit when issues are dificult for them, are the best and most authentic teachers. Those who present themselves as “evolved” or possessing “special knowledge” need to be avoided. This is not because they don’t possess such information, but because what their need to proclaim their status says about them.

    Just some tips.

  • Thorn says:

    Thanks for all the thought that went into this piece. I agree that we need to be careful as both teachers and students. We can’t just give over our life force – and anyone who asks us to should be questioned.

    BTW, I wrote a three part series on the Frosts back in 2009 (when I was still on Livejournal) in case anyone is interested. Here’s the Wild Hunt piece on it: http://wildhunt.org/tag/gavin-and-yvonne-frost

    blessings – Thorn

  • Thank you! Me and mine suffered from a tradition that really hurts people. Not lightweight hurt. One of my students went to study with them and killed herself; many members in the tradition justify pederasty; some of the trad’s teachers slip students drugs. And it breaks my heart. They also plagiarized massive amounts of my material. It is not that my ego hurts (by and large, LOL). It is that many people see the plagiarized use and resonate with it, which draws them into that tradition, bc they think it came from that trad, and then they get badly hurt. Thank you again!!!!

  • Yvonne says:

    Some years ago I came across a few websites on traditional witchcraft by one person that really had me enchanted for a while. What this person wrote down, the prose and poetry, the beings and rituals they told about – I never had read anything like it.
    It was only when I started to read more into traditional craft that I found out this person was mostly just echoing, and sometimes downright copying, other and older sources, without citing them. I also found out they were a rather controversial figure who had managed to make quite some enemies in a short time.
    This was all via the internet, so it didn’t do much harm to me. But I learend a few lessons: to check sources, and to stay away from drama whenever possible.
    I don’t agree with everything in this post (especially the details about sexual preferences and mental illness, but that has already been touched upon), but otherwise this post has really helped me remember why one has to keep their guards up.

  • Annwyn Avalon says:

    Thank you Sarah! Again a wonderful post, which continues to solidify my recent decisions from this year. It truly is terrible to find out ugly truths about your HP from other 3rd degrees, watch covens/traditions fall completely apart because the HPess is more into punishing people than actually helping them, and then watch a once wonderful teacher who you thought hung the moon, turn into a bitter angry person who you want nothing to do with. P.S. Missed you this weekend. Hope to see you next year!