A.J. Drew and the Frosts Effigy Update

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[This is part one of a two-part series that will update you on the fallout of A.J. Drew’s decision to “sacrifice” Gavin and Yvonne Frost in effigy at his “International Real Witches Ball”. Part two tomorrow will deal directly with the issue of the Frosts’ writing, and what to do about pedophilia, and writings that the community feels supports pedophilia. All comments are being moderated, so please be civil.]

When Wiccan author and event organizer A.J. Drew announced a couple months ago that he planned to “sacrifice” an effigy of Church and School of Wicca founders Gavin and Yvonne Frost, few could have predicted the level of controversy and fallout that would occur from it. While trying to combat the spread of pedophilia and abuse is a noble thing, it seems Drew’s tactics concerning the Frosts and their literature have polarized the community, burned a few bridges, and created a situation where former colleagues of Drew’s have abandoned him (and then been savaged as supporters of the Frosts).

“How many more will befriend these monsters? How many more will defend, befriend, and go out of their way to harm others to protect the Frosts? Maybe we should all ask everyone we know do you support the Frosts? Are you aware of what they wrote? Do you support the North American Man Boy Love Association? Are you aware of what they wrote?”A.J. Drew

Drew’s “International Real Witches Ball” has had every guest speaker drop out. This includes Lisa McSherry, Raven Grimassi, Stephanie Taylor, Donald Michael Kraig, and Ann Moura. Most cite Drew’s effigy ritual as the prime reason for backing out.

“Had we known that the RWB would focus (as indicated by the importance placed on it on the RWB website) on a political protest in the form of a negative ritual wherein living people are sacrificed in effigy, we would not have accepted the invitation. In our judgment the ritual is a type of black magic and vigilantism. The design of the ritual as described to us could have a negative impact on the community and may be psychologically deleterious to some participants. As a result, we have decided to not participate in this year’s event.”

Drew has also faced criticism from prominent Pagan leaders like Isaac Bonewits who came to the defense of the Frosts.

“I have known the Frosts for decades and they are good people. The overwhelming majority of their words and actions have benefited the Craft more than harmed it. Gavin put that chapter in his first book primarily for shock effect, to get people thinking and arguing about what our theories about adolescent sexuality should be. So he put something in that was as far from the mainstream as possible. This was a really foolish thing to do, as it has led to unfounded accusations against the Frosts ever since.”

Meanwhile others, like author and Wiccan elder Raymond Buckland, have praised Drew’s intent while criticizing the planned ritual.

“Let me get into the fuss over the proposed “De-Frosting,” if I may? Using effigies is fine if they are used for positive purposes (such as healing). But NOTHING should be condoned that is negative or is in any way working against someone. That can only be construed as negative magic (“black magic”). I think this is why some of your proposed speakers have bailed out from RWB07. It’s because they don’t want to be associated with working negative magic, not necessarily because they endorse what the Frosts do. If I had been able to attend this year’s ball, I would not have been a part of such a ritual … you’ve made a great statement, AJ, and something does need to be done. But it’s how to do it. There are always positive ways to work things, if you think about it.”

More recently, Drew has come into conflict with Peg Aloi, an author and media coordinator for The Witches’ Voice. The nature of their conflict is a bit labyrinthine, and it seems that the issue of Drew’s campaign against the Frosts is simply the latest bone of contention between them.

“For me, the “issue at hand” has nothing to do with your questions regarding my position on the Frosts writing or the support they have from other people in the pagan community. The “issue at hand” is your histrionics, designed to whip the visitors to the PN website into a frenzy. As well as your desire to stage a public psychic attack which may well end up having serious psychic and other sorts of consequences. As well as your self-serving attempt to draw attention to yourself by attacking two elderly people who have not done anything wrong.”Peg Aloi (posting as “nightshy”)

Finally, the Frosts themselves have started a blog, and have taken to attacking the attacks against them (though not by discussing the controversial material they have published).

“Public attacks on Wiccans/pagans are harmful; ipso facto the attackers are not Wiccans or pagans but instead are nurturing in their psyche an internalized sectarian Christian paradigm.”

As of interest are comments made by Bronwyn Frost, a daughter of Gaving and Yvonne Frost.

“I think open and honest discussion is welcome. This discussion has provoked more discussion between my parents, my husband, and myself and it reinforces for me that if I didn’t have Wicca as a faith and learned my faith here, from these blogs and the words of some of the writers represented, I would not be Wiccan. I am Wiccan and proud and I am proud to be my parents’ daughter. I am proud that they have taken the stand they did and that they have not wavered in their strength and faith that honest information about pagan practices are relevant to the discussion today.”

Drew’s responses so far have been to reiterate his opinion that the Frosts are encouraging pedophilia, and that they themselves have been participants as such. On his blog he has admitted to making a list of people and companies he feels are supporting the Frosts (and therefore supporting pedophilia and their controversial material) to present to the “national press and other media sources”, and has written to Charles “Chuck” Colson (one of the Watergate criminals who subsequently became a born-again Christian involved in prison ministry) about the Frosts’ book being available to prisoners.

“Did you know that there is a Wiccan organization, which has promoted the molestation, intoxication, and rape of children in the name of Wicca? Did you know that one of the leaders of Seax Wicca seems to promote violent hatred of homosexuals?”

So, if anything, Drew is certainly focused on his “goal” of casting out all who he feels are “supporting” pedophilia. But it remains to be seen if any of this will actually benefit endangered children, remove the controversial material the Frosts have written, or sway the greater Pagan community into action. So far it appears that the controversy of his ritual and quest may have overshadowed his full-throated defense of children. Tomorrow I will discuss the Frosts, their controversial material concerning minors, and what the Pagan/Heathen community could/should do about it.