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”.
Gavin, when you brought up AJ Drew on the panel, you said you stand by what you wrote 30 years ago, and this troubles me as much as his plan to ritually sacrifice your images did. It is why I mumbled a sleep-deprived non-sequitur about consent in there somewhere – because I had no desire to derail the panel into an off topic shouting match about sexual ethics. Though come to think of it, that might have been entertaining. But shouting matches are not what I’m about. I would rather engage in dialog. But I do not know if you are interested. Are you? I asked you two about your controversial nature over dinner because I was hoping to hear something in your own words, but felt like things got a bit cagey. So I’ll ask a couple more questions now:
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?
I know what I hope your answers are. I hope you will say that those words written almost 40 years ago were a thought experiment that you have since rethought. That children should be taught their bodies are sacred, should be talked with about sexuality, pleasure, and reproduction in various age appropriate ways, and then left to sexual exploration with others of their own age group, with parents around to answer still more questions when the time does arrive. Oh, and that heterosexuality is not the only sacred option.
And how about the rest of my 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?
Thanks for bearing with me, and reading to the end of this long, three part post. We need to embrace the challenges that face us. There is, as always, a lot more that could and perhaps should, be said. There is a lot of conversation to be had about leadership, holding teachers accountable, and about sex, theology, and training in general. Hopefully we have a long time to help each other figure some of it out.
Addendum #2 (April 4, 2014):
For those who want to read the contested text for themselves without buying the Good Witch’s Bible (formerly the Witch’s Bible) I found it online. While the latest edition has a brief chapter disclaimer saying that no one under 18 is to be initiated, the Frosts have still not retracted or changed these chapters that clearly advocate sex with minors: