This month's interview is with two of the world's most established and authoritative Wiccan authors Gavin and Yvonne Frost. We talked with them about their new book, A Witch's Guide to Psychic Healing: Applying Traditional Therapies, Rituals and Systems.
Gavin and Yvonne Frost co-founded the Church and School of Wicca in 1968, which earned federal recognition as a "religious association" in 1972. Together, they have written more than 20 books that have been translated into 5 languages. Many consider the Frosts to be the founders, or at the very least, two of the most visible advocates of Wicca/Witchcraft in the United States. In The Witch's Guide to Psychic Healing they explain how active, passive, and astral meditations can help your body repair. They also show how to develop your etheric sense, clairvoyance, and exploit your psychic advantages and use them as diagnostic tools. In addition, they present two methods of tarot divinitation, methods held as secret until now.
[PNN] You have been at the forefront of the evolution of Wicca for the past thirty years, with over twenty books to your credit. Most people would be resting on their laurels by now! So, what prompted you to write 'A Witch's guide to Psychic Healing?'
[GF] We needed to show that psychic healing works and that it can serve as an adjunct in any case of disease. I wanted especially to talk about the iniquities of the pharmaceutical industry and the very real dangers of genetically modified foods.
[YF] I hope the book will encourage people to learn more about Wicca; in doing so they will gain spiritual healing (as I have done) along with the physical. In making the Craft part of a healing continuum, we de-mystified it so that everyone would benefit.
Yvonne and Gavin Frost (Photo courtesy of Weiser Books)
[PNN] Why do you think people need to read this book?
[GF] From every side the pharmaceutical companies assault us with saturation advertising for drugs that are at best worthless and at worst dangerous. (The term chemical warfare comes to mind.) Many such drugs can be replaced with psychic healing, at much lower expense and with far less danger to the patient.
[YF] Our book equips readers to step back and get a new perspective on healing and on their very lives. People have lost sight of the fact that our bodies have great ability to heal themselves. Further, for thousands or millions of years humans lived on a diet that catered to all the needs of the body; so radically changing our diet with the addition of the four basic food groups--sugar, salt, starch, and grease--has been counterproductive to say the least.
[PNN] Do you have to be familiar with Wicca to benefit from the techniques described in this book?
[GYF] Everyone can benefit from the information in this book. No special Wiccan knowledge--or commitment--is required.
[PNN] We found a copy of your book 'The Magic Power of Witchcraft' from 1976. 'The cover carries the message 'Enjoy a life of unbelievable riches, lasting love and constant protection with the secrets in this startling 'WITCH BOOK!'. Fortunately for all of us, the days of having to sensationalize magick and wicca appear to be behind us - the internet has made spiritual information accessible to people all over the world, and more people are being drawn to Wicca and paganism as a result. But is there anything you miss from practicing your faith back in the seventies? Has anything been lost along the way?
[GF] In the early days there was a great deal of excitement and dedication to Wicca. People were willing to spend the time to learn the basics and then to practice, at the same time being open and candid about their choice of a spiritual path. They took the hard knocks and with intestinal fortitude stood up to their attackers. Today (at least in our opinion) the instant-gratification society has led to a lot of self-styled Wiccans who know very little about the underlying philosophical beliefs of the Craft and are not dedicated to the Craft.
[YF] In the 70s people were open, exploring and testing new ideas, having a joyous spiritual adventure. Today many groups are fossilized, having an absolute belief in their own path and open to no others. If Wicca is to expand and to grow instead of stagnating, its members need to remain open and inclusive and experimental and adventurous.
[PNN] As earth based religions continue to gain in popularity, do you think there will be a softening by the book religions in their attitude, perhaps giving Wicca the same grudging respect they give to one another or is that just wishful thinking?
[YF] If you read such publications as the monthly "Americans United for Separation of Church and State", you see that there is no softening at all in the attitude of "book" religions. They are fearful of Wicca for one simple reason. The number of former members who are walking away from their punitive threats means a diminution of their cash flow. We see little or no need for paid priests and elaborate buildings. My own suggestion for leaders of "book" religions is simple: Lighten up.
[GF] Recall that in the days preceding the election of 2000, candidate George W. Bush vowed to eliminate Wicca from the armed services and from all branches of the federal government, never mind what the First Amendment of the nation's Constitution explicitly provided.
[PNN] In recent years, there has been more of a cross-pollination occurring between Wicca, Spiritualism, the Qaballah, Reiki, even Christianity. Where do you think this is heading?
[GF] Open-minded mystics will always find literature of other mystical paths interesting. Studying it can have advantages. We have the impression that practitioners of Reiki do almost exactly the same healing work, hands-on healing with focused power, that Wiccans do. We would recommend to some Wiccans that they enroll in Reiki courses--if the courses were reasonably priced.
[YF] I think of Teilhard de Chardin's observation: The higher religions ascend into mysticism, the more they have in common. I came through Spiritualism to Wicca. Many of our Jewish members came through the Kabala. Of course it is true that in the 18th and 19th centuries the Kabala played a large part in all the early mystical lodges and quasi-secret "alernative" societies. A body of lore suggests that in the days when the Inquisition was at its height and in the Burning Times, Jews and Witches hid out together and hence some of the ideas of the Kabala became incorporated into early Wiccan thought.
The only result that we have seen from cross-pollination with Christianity is very negative, especially given the efforts by many "leaders" to control the sexuality of their followers. An example: Whereas "sky-clad" or "heaven-clad" spiritual gatherings were perfectly acceptable for the first 20 years of Wicca, now those practices have become marginalized. In summary: We believe open-mindedness and cross-pollination with the mystical side of other spiritualities is rewarding. When guilt, shame, and fear creep in from the Christian cults, though, the effects can only be negative and we should resist the creeping with all our being.
[PNN] Do you have any other projects coming up, or are you planning to take a break for a while?
[GYF] Next year "The Solitary Wiccan's Bible" should hit the stands. We expect it will be reasonably controversial. After that we have a couple of book proposals in mind. Remember, if we were to take a break you'd have no alternative to the pablum coming from other publishers--no one to criticize, no one to lock shields against. It is said that without Satan the Christian cult would die. And without us, Wicca would be far less interesting.
[PNN] What would you say has been your greatest achievement to date?
[GF] The founding of Wicca. That statement may require an explanation. We were the first to use the word Wicca, and also the first to underpin Witchcraft by articulating a philosophical, spiritual base.
[YF] Changing the western world's attitude to Wicca, and helping to obtain recognition of Wicca as a spiritual path and a religion in the Federal Appeals Court.
[PNN] If you could go back in your life and change one thing, what would it be?
[GF] I believe I made a basic error when I responded to Herman Slater's attack in the Green Egg. If I had not responded, then Carl Weschcke would not have "put us on trial" and the whole thing would have gone away as the ravings of a single egotistical wannabe leader. Admittedly I learned from that mistake; since that occasion we have never ever responded to attacks. A word of advice to your readers: Remember if you respond to attacks you are building the ego of the attacker. And if you believe in the Wiccan Rede, "If it harm none," then surely attacking someone else causes harm.
[YF] I would have saved myself much heartache if I had caught on earlier and had walked away from Christianity in my early teens rather than waiting until I was in my mid-twenties. Even now in my writing I occasionally see evidence that I'm still very bitter about the mutilating effect that fundamentalist Christianity had on my life. Though I try to transcend those feelings, they do still creep through.
[PNN] How would you want to be remembered?
[YF] As one who lived an examined and ethical life, to the best of my ability.
[GF] As the founder of Wicca as a new spiritual path based on sound research.
[PNN] Do you have a favorite group/musician?
[YF] My favorite composers: Joaquin Rodrigo and Tarrega. Favorite musician: probably Jimmy Buffett. My affinity for Spanish music stems from an incarnation as a teacher in Aragon (now Spain) at Ejea de los Caballeros
[GF] Sexteto Mayor of Buenos Aires. The group plays the fieriest, most passionate tango music in the modern world. All others sound like bland imitators. Of the Sexteto, the youngest member is past 70.
[PNN] Do you have a favorite bumper sticker?
[GF] "The Celts will rise again."
[YF] "You run yours. I'll run mine."
A Witch's Guide to Psychic Healing is available at better bookstores everywhere, or from the link above, or by contacting Red Wheel, Weiser and Conari Press at: (800) 423-7087 or