compiled by George Knowles
the old English Witchcraft Act
of 1735 was repealed in 1951, a new and contemporary movement of witchcraft in
various forms and traditions began to emerge and spread throughout the U.K.
instigated by the likes of Gerald Gardner (Gardnerian),
(Alexandrian) and Robert Cochrane (Clan of Tubal Cain).
In 1962, Raymond Buckland an Englishman living in America and a protégé
of Gerald Gardner, exported the Gardnerian tradition to America and formed the
first Gardnerian coven in New York in 1963.
Since then contemporary witchcraft spread quickly around the United
States as other prominent leaders began to write about and form their own
of America’s most enduring leaders emerged in the early 1970’s.
Gavin and Yvonne Frost are openly professed Witches, authors of more than
22 books and monographs including the best seller:
‘The Witch’s Bible’ (Nash Publishing, Los Angeles 1972) rewritten as
the 'The Good Witch's Bible' (Parker Publishing, New Jersey
1976), and Co-founders of the first legally recognized School and Church of
Wicca in America.
Frost was born in 1930 in Aldridge, England, where his hard-drinking Welsh
grandfather had built the family’s galvanizing and canning business.
On a wooded ridge just outside of Aldridge he also built a home for each
of his children where they all lived together in a tight-knit family group,
helping and working together in the family business. After his grandfather passed away in 1936, Gavin was enrolled
in a boarding school to start his education.
Holidays were spent in Wales, a part of England steeped in mythology,
folklore and witchcraft, and it was here that Gavin’s interest in ancient
the war years 1939–45, the families canning business thrived, supplying much
needed canned rations to aid the war effort.
Granny’s kitchen garden also helped to stave off the privation caused
by food rationing, by canning and storing foods to help them through difficult
times and shortages.
school Gavin had excelled in mathematics and physics, and in 1949 was enrolled
into King’s College at the University of London to further his studies.
he joined an informal group under the influence of T. C. Lethbridge, the author
of ‘Witches: Investigating an
Ancient Religion’ (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1962), a laboratory
assistant at the time, Lethbridge was interested in magic, the occult and sacred
stone sites. In 1951 after the
witchcraft act had finally been repealed, the group decided to seek initiation. They sought the help of a previous student of the university,
now a pursuivant to the Duke of Norfolk, the heraldic head of England, who had
joined a coven in Penzance. After
receiving instruction the initiation was carried out at the stone circle site in
Boskednan, Cornwall. As part of the
initiation ritual, initiates received a mark cut into their wrists.
Also known as the Nine Maidens, the circle was mostly in ruins
until the authorities under took its restoration in the summer of 2004.
It’s isolated location on desolate moorland make it very attractive.
There were probably twenty-two stones making up the original circle, but
only six are still erect and most of those in the north are missing.
They average about 1.2m (4 feet) in height, although the broken one at
the north was over six feet when it was standing.
circle was restored after recent renovation work during the summer of 2004.
1952, Gavin graduated from King’s College London with honors, gaining a
Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, and after completing his post
doctoral thesis with the Department of Atomic Energy in Cumbria, he received a
Doctorate in Physics & Mathematics which launched him into a long and
successful career in the aerospace industry.
While in Cumbria, Gavin met and fell in love with Dorothy Whitford and
together they moved to Hatfield near London where Gavin had taken up a research
position with the de Havilland Aircraft Corporation.
Gavin and Dorothy were married in January 1953.
research for de Havilland involved investigating the effects of long wave
infrared radiation on missiles. As
much of the missiles testing took place at night on Salisbury Plain, this left
him time during the day to investigate the ancient monoliths of Stonehenge and
the people who built them, furthering his interest in ancient peoples and the
origins of the Old Religion.
Gavin’s next position
was with Canadair in Montreal, were initially he was to work on the Canadian
missile program but instead he joined their Training and Simulation group, a
position that allowed him to travel around the world. One trip took him to Chile were he had the opportunity to
spend four days in a remote village exploring their religious belief’s and
experiencing first-hand the powers of healing as practised by their shamans.
After moving to California, Gavin next began work as the senior project engineer working on the military F-104 radar systems, another position that allowed him to travel. On one a trip to Milan, Italy he was able to do some research into the truths and fiction that surrounds Charles G. Leland’s ‘Aradia: Gospel of the Witches’.
All his traveling and long hours at
work was beginning to affect his marriage and family life, which by now included
two children, a son and daughter. In
an attempt to ease his load and spend more quality time with them, he accepted a
new position as a Company representative in Europe, and in 1966 moved his family
to Munich, Germany. While his hours
at work were still high, what free time he had he failed to spend with his
family. Instead he became
fascinated in the subject of German sorcery. He joined a group of Zauberer’s (Zauberer - German for
magician, sorcerer, wizard) operating in der
Bayrischen Naehe just south of Munich and began studying for initiation.
After a grueling test of personal endurance, part of the initiation ritual, he qualified
to receive and don their Saffron Robe.
Returning to California in 1968,
his marriage to Dorothy began to deteriorate.
While in German, Gavin had started to write his first book entitled: ‘Pagans
of Stonehenge’ and on his return to California, asked one of the companies
secretaries Yvonne Wilson to type and edit it.
It soon became apparent that they shared a mutual liking as well as
similar interests in religion and spirituality; it wasn’t long before they
became lovers and together studied
psychic development with a spiritualist teacher.
Yvonne also studied for and was
initiated into a Celtic tradition. In 1969, Gavin and Dorothy
divorced, which was less than amicable, and he and Yvonne moved to St. Louis,
Missouri, there to start a new life and
pursue the craft together.
Yvonne Frost (nee Wilson)
was born in 1931 in Los Angeles during the early years of the depression that
was sweeping across America. Just a
few years earlier, her Baptist family and a large number of relatives had moved
from the poverty stricken areas of the Cumberland Gap in Kentucky, only to
suffer the privations
of the depression in Los Angeles. From
her early childhood as the eldest of four children, she quickly learned two
valuable lessons in life, frugality and economy, “never expect what you cannot
have in life, but embrace with joy every experience that enriches your life”.
This was an approach to life she never out grew.
Struggling through her teen years, Yvonne had a hard time coming to terms with her Baptist up bringing; she never seemed to fit in, and so began to question her Baptist faith. She then began an extensive study of comparative religions in search of something more compatible. She claims her family history includes two lines of witches that go back for generations, one to the Cumberland Gap in Kentucky, and the other to the Clan Gunn of Scotland.
In 1950, Yvonne married
for the first time to a military man, a marriage that lasted 10 years, part of
which time when stationed in Germany, she went and lived there with him.
After the end of their marriage in 1960, and with a need to better
support herself, Yvonne started a course in Secretary Skills at Fullerton Junior
College in Orange County, California. Graduating
in 1962 with an A.A. degree, she started a career as a secretary working for a
major aerospace company in Anaheim, California.
At that time Yvonne was still exploring alternative paths of spirituality. First she tried Buddhism, but found it too passive to meet her spiritual needs. She then became involved with Spiritualism and attended a number of séances. Her spirit guide she claims was Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace (who together with Darwin, had developed the first theory of evolution).
In 1968, after his return from Germany, Yvonne first met Gavin Frost in the Halls of their mutual employer. Gavin turn out to be the boss of her own boss, and asked her to type and edit a book he was writing ‘Pagans of Stonehenge’. In doing so, Yvonne could see that some elements of witchcraft overlapped with her beliefs in spiritualism. Given similar interests and a mutual liking they soon became lovers, and together studied psychic development with a spiritualist teacher. Yvonne also studied for and was initiated into a Celtic tradition. After Gavin’s divorce to Dorothy in 1969, they moved together to St. Louis, Missouri, there to start a new life and pursue the craft together.
Church and School of Wicca
St. Louis, Gavin took up a position as an international sales manager, which
again involved much travelling around the world and time away from home.
After one such trip to Australia, his return flight on the 24th
July was rescheduled so that the passengers could witness the re-entry of the
Apollo space module containing Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael
Allen Collins, the first astronauts to step out on the noon.
Gavin was naturally excited and couldn’t wait to tell Yvonne about it
hoping to surprise her with the news.
Yvonne was unperturbed by his news, for she had news and a surprise for him,
calmly she told him that: “My
water broke this morning”. Gavin
was ecstatic as he witnessed Yvonne giving birth to a new baby daughter, they
named her ‘Bronwyn’. Gavin and
Yvonne were married in 1970.
between trips Gavin and Yvonne co-authored the first draft of ‘The
Witch’s Bible’, but couldn’t find a publisher for it. Undeterred, while Gavin was away, Yvonne spent her time alone
nursing Bronwyn and reorganizing the book into a series of lectures, these they
used for a correspondence course, and the School of Wicca was born.
They advertised the School in magazines all around the United States and
soon gained a regular following of students.
and Yvonne spent the next couple of years banging heads with bureaucracy and
particularly the IRS as they sought legal recognition for the School as a Church
and a non-profit organization. In
order to meet their requirements they had to define the philosophy of the church
in keeping with the philosophies of other religions.
This they did by symbolising the five points of the pentagram within a
The Wiccan Rede – “If it harm none, do what you will”
Power through knowledge
The Law of Attraction and Threefold Return
Harmony with the Universe
The circle representing Spirit and Deity
the IRS issued the Church of Wicca with a “Letter of Determination” on the
31st August 1972, making it the first legally recognised Wicca Church
in America. It also helped to
redefine witchcraft as a bona-fide religion entitled to all the same benefits
and representation as all other religions.
Since then fifteen other Church of Wicca facilities were chartered across
the United States.
1972, Gavin gave up his highfalutin life style and together with Yvonne; they
took a vow of poverty and committed themselves to the full-time activities of
the School and Church, while living and teaching the craft as they perceive it.
They spent the next couple of years in Missouri restoring old buildings
and raising pigs, and then in 1975 moved on to New Bern in North California were
they lived for some twenty years. During
which time they were active members of the North Carolina Prison Chaplains’
Commission and among other books, wrote the ‘State of Oregon Prisoner’s
Handbook for Wicca’.
1980 they retired from active leadership of the Church but retained control of
the School through which they continue to teach. Over time they have developed some eight different
correspondence courses on such subjects as:
Astrology, Celtic Witchcraft, Psychic Development, Tantric Yoga, Healing
and Herbs among others, these are continually updated to include new trends and
wisdom. Through the school they
have published America’s longest lasting Wiccan periodical called ‘Survival’,
which today is edited by their daughter Bronwyn.
In 1996, Gavin and Yvonne moved to their present location in Hinton, West
the years the Frost’s have always been open about their beliefs and despite
much criticism from within the craft and without, have steadfastly followed
their own path. Together they have appeared on national
T.V. including: the ‘Phil
Donahue Show’, ‘PM Magazine’ and Tom Snyder’s ‘Tomorrow
Show’, as well as in hundreds of local T.V. and Radio shows, newspaper and
magazine articles across the country. As sought after
public speakers they have travelled up and down the United States, during which times
they have been shot at and encountered numerous hostile demonstrations against
them. On two occasions they have even had bombs planted in the hotels
where they staying at. I had to wonder
As sought after public speakers they have travelled up and down the United States, during which times they have been shot at and encountered numerous hostile demonstrations against them. On two occasions they have even had bombs planted in the hotels where they staying at. I had to wonder why??
After further research, I have found that their original printing of the ‘The Witch’s Bible’ (Nash Publishing, Los Angeles 1972), a book now difficult to get hold of, contained some extremely disturbing practices concerning the initiation of the 'Wicca Child' (i.e. children as young as ten years old). Indeed I find it quite astonishing that two such intelligent and worldly wise people would literarily try to commit suicide? Bare in mind they wrote this book in 1972, at the height of the so called "permissive society" (the sexual revolution of the 1960's), still, it is easy to see that what they wrote would be offensive to most people. Even today in 2006, many people reading it now would find it equally offensive. The 'The Witch's Bible' was re-issued as 'The Good Witch's Bible' (Parker Publishing, New Jersey 1976).
their life together Yvonne can be quoted as saying:
"We have made our life's mission the teaching of those who seek help
and healing. We are fulfilled that
by teaching them, they have been able to make their own lives and the lives of
their loved ones more comfortable. That
knowledge makes all those years of struggling and developing our Craft
awareness, well worth while".
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft
- By Raven Grimassi
The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-paganism - By Shelley Rabinovitch
The Witch Book - The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism - By Raymond Buckland
The Witch’s Bible - By Gavin and Yvonne Frost
Plus many websites too many to mention.
First published on the 04th March 2007, 18:22:05 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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