Thorn Coyle Examines the Feet of Clay

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  May 21, 2009 — 2 Comments

Yesterday the noted Pagan author, activist, and teacher T. Thorn Coyle, in a three part series on her blog, tackles the issue of teachers and leaders with “feet of clay”. Specifically, she discusses the controversy-loving Frosts (that would be Gavin and Yvonne Frost of The Church and School of Wicca), their ongoing defence of largely indefensible sexual politics, and processing a recent panel she ran where she allowed them to participate.

“I am struggling with the Frosts. Struggling because it would be too easy to do as others have which is to demonize them or relegate them to the “sweet old couple.” They are something far more varied than either of these. Some people want to sweep them under a rug, but I do not think they should be ignored. Why? We need to figure out our theolog(ies). We need to know where we stand on sex. Many of us would still rather just suppress it like the overculture teaches us, because abuse may happen otherwise, or we may need to deal with our own demons. I say that abuse happens because of the suppression. Our demons grow stronger the more we constrict around our fears. Abuse happens when we don’t deal with our own sexuality, and we don’t teach our children about their own. And abuse sometimes just happens … If sex is sacred, we need to figure out how that translates and is reflected in our own lives, and in how we pass on that teaching.  And this is why, Gavin and Yvonne, as two people who have taught many others, I wish you would explain. Or I wish you would retract. Or I wish you would apologize. We could use discerning words from you instead of simply a shut down or blustering defense, or the insistence that those who disagree with you are “plastic”.”

She closes with some questions for the Frosts to answer:

“What do you really think, today, about the sexual education of children? Is sex between adolescents with adults really the best way they should learn these mysteries? How did you teach your own daughter to appreciate the powers of sex, love, and Nature?”

And some questions for her readers:

“What do you think about your own relationship to sex? To magic? To life force? To our process? To mistakes? To feet of clay? To your own regrets? To the sacred? To teaching our children?”

The sexual politics, and controversies, of the Frosts is a topic I’ve covered more than once here on this blog. I applaud Thorn for bravely stepping forward to process her own participation and feelings regarding these issues. I agree with the sentiment that we need to have an ongoing and constructive dialog concerning sex in our wider community, to actively engage with tough issues instead of ignoring them or allowing certain individuals to frame the entire moral question. I urge my readers to go through all three of her essays, and to answer her questions at her blog. Then, if you’d like, feel free to answer them, and continue the conversation, here, too. You should also keep an eye on Thorn’s podcast page, where audio and video from the panel in question will soon be posted.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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