Sunday, October 18, 2015
Spirituality is one of those words that's easy to say but very difficult to define. What does it mean to you? Do you think you're spiritual? Does spirituality mean simply that you think there's Something beyond the mundane world where we live? Especially at this time of year when we're seeing beautiful pictures of autumn colors and quiet river scenes that give an uplift to what is today a very dreary crime-infested world, we urge you to get past the scenes of horror and to realize that beauty and spirituality still exist in nature? Can you get a similar uplifting spirituality from a book? --especially a book published in a time completely different from the world of today? No, we ourselves do not get any spiritual thoughts from the black books so beloved of millions of Abrahamic devotees. Does the idea of the wonderful interconnection of all people through the medium of electronics give a feeling of spiritual uplift, or a feeling of dreary resignation about the humanity of the world where we live and the future of that world? Surely spirituality is something beyond negativity. The chief place where we Frosts feel spiritual is at times like those when we see the moon over pine trees in the New River Gorge where we live. Perhaps there's a slight mist in the air. It is quiet, and all we can hear is the water going on its eternal course toward the sea, as part of the eternal cycle, to be returned to us as rain. So what turns us on to those feelings of wonder that we all sometimes get, at moments that are very difficult to preplan? I know that many can get an uplifting spiritual feeling when they listen to music, or when they see a group of ballerinas dancing in their perfect grace, and through many other moments. How then do we bring spirituality into our life? To start with, we must believe that we can find it. And it seems to us that the best place to look for it is in nature. Consider the sight of newborn deer in our local state park; as we mentioned, the sight of the moon, the sound of the water in the river. Be quietly contemplative, and you will open yourself to the wonders of the spiritual side of your being. Spirituality cannot be taught. Above all, it cannot be forced down your throat by some self-appointed spiritual leader who insists that his (or her) way is the only one acceptable. Bring your spirituality into balance with your mundane world by continually looking at nature's wonders. Breathe slowly. Find something to be grateful for. Be where you are. Blessed be G & Y
Thursday, October 15, 2015
ake Love not War The title of this blog is an old familiar bit of the nineteen-sixties with their marches in this or that cause, yet it's still worth coming to understand what it really means. The Abrahamic religions have set up a scenario which encourages hate but discourages deep friendships and any sense of adventure, using joyless rules confining any sexual activity to one pair of monogamous adult human couples of two genders, alone in the conventional bedroom, in missionary position, with the blinds drawn. Such sex is all well and good ... but ... remember that old thought? If it harm none, do what you will. How can people become real committed friends? You might say the common interests they share create a friendship, though probably only at a shallow level. Nobody gets harmed much. When a committed couple has a loving relationship, their brains actually change. What are called the mirroring centers become stronger and understanding between the individuals increases, so that they will do such things as finish each other's sentences and will have common interests. What if we were to follow the Tantric path and enjoy relationships with several people, and what if nobody got hurt? Obviously these deep relationships would preclude arguments and fights--that is, once the initial phase of artificial, culturally-inflicted jealousy is past. Take a step back and reflect. Such jealousy is cultural only: it's taught to us as an absolute given, not as a cultural option, never subjected to a rethink. Nobody ever says, "Hey! Wait a minute!" Because of assumptions taught to everyone who lives at the mercy of Abrahamic religions, we are not allowed to develop such deep, long-lasting relationships. Thus when a man or a woman sees another person that they'd like to be friends with, they're forbidden--culturally, mind you--to extend that friendship into the bedroom. In fact when they have such thoughts they dutifully feel guilty. If they do (as the common parlance has it) stray, it can have disastrous effects on family relations, and in fact on job situations. If we were honest enough to recognize that we're quite often attracted to someone apart from our recognized partner, then things would be entirely different. Most of the time the extracurricular friendship will not cause a permanent rift in a family relationship. (This assumes that both partners are playing by the same set of rules: that any research, let's say, is not one-sided.) The cost of separation and the loss of relationships with children are far too high for most sensible people to extend the situation into a long-term arrangement. Yes, this new partner may be exciting and attractive for several months, and of course it's especially exciting if one is straying and trying to avoid detection. Just like a new car, though, the novelty wears off and pretty soon the new relationship palls. But now boats are burned, and going back is not a possibility. Well, we're here to tell you--and we are both in our 80s--that permission to stray and honesty about having a new friend can be very rewarding; and if it's honest and aboveboard, it need not cause a disastrous disruption of lives. Think of it without its cultural labels. Who is harmed? And again: If it harm none ... We two have never been totally, officially monogamous, and we've been happily, productively together for almost fifty (50) years. We remind you one more time of a fact that you're forbidden to know: Sex is good for you.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Why Bomb Women's Clinics? Some possible causes can be imputed to the woman-haters: 1. Male monotheistic jujus are impotent to carry out their own vicious woman-hating crusade. 2. Male monotheistic jujus aren't moving fast enough themselves to suit the bombers' perception of the holy thundered diktats. 3. The bombers hate and fear and envy women: women's power; their innate, unconscious,instinctive altruism; the high regard in which family members and others thus hold them. The bombers want the high regard without the nuisance of earning it. 4. The bombers feel themselves losing the millennia's worth of iron control they've held over women through brute strength. 5. The bombers' testosterone is running low. 6. Male bombers will never find themselves knocked up with nowhere to turn, so they don't have to care. Tra-la. 7. Female bombers have bought into the alpha-male attitude, signing on because it saves the trouble of thinking. And misery loves company. 8. The bombers can't keep their noses out of my crotch. 9. The bombers care nothing for this ravaged planet and the despoliation wrought on it by human activity, most especially the promiscuous reproduction of low-grade human beings. Witness the self-appointed mouthpieces of the jujus and the thunderings of said mouthpieces thundering despite all evidence to the contrary, "If you want to get to heaven, you'll never entertain the idea of contraception." (Can you say, "Quality, not quantity", guys ?) 10. If male persons want to be confident they will never be responsible for an unwanted pregnancy and never prompt any woman to want an abortion, they need only make an appointment at the nearest veterinarian's office for a half-hour procedure ensuring that they themselves will no longer be able to cause any further pregnancy. Yvonne
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
The earliest appearance of night-flying, sabbat-attending "witches" is found in the Swiss canton of Valais in 1428 CE. The "confessions" of record resulted from extensive torture. Many women died under the torture by being literally torn apart on the rack. Now, though, the fanatics had a definition by which to judge women (and some men) as witches. In 1459 the city of Arras was the first peak of this new "knowledge" being applied wholesale to a city: Arras was brought almost to a standstill. The Parliament of Paris finally investigated the phenomenon and most of those who had been sentenced were officially rehabilitated. We may surmise that the fact mattered more to the survivors than to those who had perished. Most still in prison were released. In 1482 the new Pope, Innocent VIII (generally regarded as a person of very low moral character), appointed two monks, Krämer and Spengler, to write a work which could be used to ferret out witches. That work became the Malleus Maleficarum. The book dwelt heavily on the purported sexual habits of witches, who were supposedly able to cause both impotence and satyriasis. Krämer went back to his monastery and we don't hear of him again. Spengler was appointed accuser in a trial of a group of young women in Switzerland; but was dismissed because (again) he took an interest altogether too salacious in the sexual predilections he attributed to the accused. All the women were released. Every industry has its internal jargon. In the publishing trade the Malleus is today called a one-hander. Many copies of it were published through 1660; it was not, however, one of the books employed to murder women (and a few men) by defining them as witches. The Inquisition had at its disposal many books much better suited to the task. Probably chief among them was Bodin's Demonomania. In fact there were two inquisitor's handbooks: Bernard Gui's Practica officii inquisitoris heretice pravitatis (1324) and Nicholas Eymeric's Directorium Inquisitorum (1376). Both books remained in print until the late 1800s. The problem is that people who have not read the Malleus persist in ascribing to it things which it does not say. It is popularly mentioned by writers of fiction, especially those writers with apparently no valid, healthy knowledge of true relationships between men and women today. It is a woman-haters' manual--but it did not cause widespread deaths through its use as a witch-finders' handbook. It simply was not and did not. Titillating? Yes. Dangerous in the overblown imaginations of hard-breathing celibate clerics? Yes. Still, before quoting it we wish that people would take the time to read it (oh gasp), boring though it is. Honest scholarship has some merit even today. Blessed Be Gavin and Yvonne
Thursday, August 27, 2015
In forming the Church of Wicca almost a half-century ago, one of the guiding principles was that male and female affiliates would have an equal voice in its direction, and that in fact it would be more female-friendly than most existing self-styled places of ‘worship'. Yes, there existed groups like the Unitarian-Universalists who were more female-friendly than many Abrahamic groups; but it was our express intent to make sure that we were totally female-friendly. Many of the Abrahamics have within their ranks, and are supported by, female congregants; yet the basic assumption of male supremacy informs all their teaching and all their hierarchy. We are dismayed to think that males do not realize (or that they deny) the advantage of allowing females to have their say and to govern themselves. It looks to us as if even today--whether they can face the fact or not--men are totally afraid that they will be shut out from governing and from controlling their women ‘friends' (make that dupes). This whether they can even bring their attitude from the unconscious to a level where they can articulate it, let alone address it. Relationships should not depend on dominance--and yet the Abrahamic franchises constantly insist that females be subservient in every way to males. Even in today's culture of ostensible sexual freedom, one is always forced to ask why it is that men require subservience rather than honest partnerships. Living with someone who is subservient and has no will is far less rewarding than living with someone who is free and more than equal. Winning a race is no achievement if the person against whom you are racing is hobbled and denied any real chance to win. Indeed ... why not make it a joint trip? Ever since the time in ancient Greece when males arrogated the dominant position to themselves, women have been required to be subservient in every aspect of their lives. Jehovah and Allah, the great male archetypal gods, repeatedly require such subservience. Nobody really wins. Only in Arab countries are women's rights and liberty suppressed more than in the so-called ‘red' states of the United States where the negative effect of the Abrahamic churches is most notable. Allah (or his mouthpieces, the ayatollahs/imams/mullahs) approves the capture of hundreds of young women and their use as sex slaves. In a complementary move, Jehovah has apparently decreed the bombing of women's health facilities. At least, that's what his self-appointed mouthpieces have told us. Is this because these false-god figures are afraid of losing their power? Or is it because some of their priesthood and followers use them as an excuse to rationalize their various ongoing female-hating crusades? In France women gained equality way back after the Revolution. In most of the western world women gained a semblance of equality during and after World War II. Then, of course, factory owners were unwilling to give up their cheap female work force. But then, awkwardly, a number of women refused to go back to obeying Allah's and Jehovah's thundered commands. In this world the human race needs all the positive help it can get, whether it be in abating war or in encouraging new scientific discoveries. In this latter case, never has the work of women been so suppressed, denied, unrecognized. Only when men stand up for the womenfolk (and what a term that is!) have Nobel prizes been awarded to the women who did the work. A typical non-winner was Einstein's wife. She did all the research on photoelectricity--for which he received the Nobel; though he did at least give her the money if not the honor. If men were to get past our fear of female power, what other discoveries might be made? Is it by chance that Germany under Angela Merkel is the most prosperous country in the world and is accepting more refugees than any other? We need more of women's instinctive altruism and less of orders passed on to us by ancient priests and ministers who are only mouthing the same old threats unchanged since before the Inquisition of the Dark Ages--Jehovah and Allah and their vicious commands date from the Bronze Age. How stupid can we be? Even the Army, in graduating two women from the Ranger School, has finally recognized that we can't ignore 51 percent of the population. With the advent of the Pink Pill, the rules of the game are changing. Ladies will start demanding things which previously they were not supposed to want. We in at least one household plan to sit back and enjoy the fury (the terror?) of Jehovah's self-apppointed master's voice in the face of this new reality. Anger masks fear, after all.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Many years ago when Gavin first got involved in what we then called Witchcraft, we became interested in the confusion that reigned over the size of the Circle within which religious services should be performed. There seemed to be two general opinions: 1. A circle with a diameter of nine (9) feet 2. A circle with a diameter of eleven (11) feet. Neither dimension fitted the dimensions of the ancient stone circles that dominate the landscape all over Europe, from Shetland/Orkney to Malta. When Professor Alexander Thom went out and measured many of those circles, he came to the conclusion that they were all built to a standard that he called the Megalithic Yard: 2.71 feet in the English measure of today. Four times that dimension gave him (and us) a circle with a diameter of 10.84 feet. Thus Gavin decided to use that dimension as part of the Church of Wicca's teaching. Later popular thought said that the dimension of the outermost circle, the one designed to keep back the abyss, should have a dimension of an indivisible number of units, ie 17 Ft. and that circles cast within that outer circle should be representative of the earthplane and the spiritual plane respectively as the worshippers who met at the circle site moved from the outermost circumference toward the center. A conclusion became fairly obvious: that those two circles should have circumferences of 16 Ft and 15 Ft respectively, because with circles of such dimensions it would be easy to construct a square representing the earthplane and a pentacle representing the spiritual plane. Such an approach equates nicely with the idea that the hearthstone (Welsh pentanfaen) also represents earth and spirit. In the 1970s further reflection led to the idea that for modern Wicca a "circle" should in fact be an ellipse, because that would give two foci: one for the male flamen and one for the female flamenca. It became a mathematical nightmare when we tried to make the circumferences of the ellipses 17, 16, and 15 MY. Indeed, we are hereby setting this out as a problem for you to solve. Drawing an ellipse is easy: Drive two stakes into the ground. Take a rope loop around them and out to a marker. By simply keeping the rope loop taut you can draw an ellipse. Let us suppose it would be nice to include the Megalithic Yard in your construction. We (the Church of Wicca) hereby offer a free Advanced Course (value $220) to the person who can come up with a workable mathematical solution to this challenge. To summarize: If you put two stakes into the ground separated by a distance of two Megalithic Yards (5.44 English feet), how long must the cord be to cast ellipses with circumferences of 17, 16, and 15 MY? Practically, you can do it by actually taking a rope and some pegs and changing the length of the rope a little at a time until you get an answer. What we're asking for here is a mathematical expression of the solution. Good luck. Send your solution to PO Box 297, Hinton, WV 25951.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
We are often confused when we participate in someone else's ritual at a festival. Many people seem to have little idea about what they're doing, when, and why. When participants set out to begin a ritual, we should come to it with some sense of excitement; and that excitement can be enhanced in many ways: dancing, drumming, chanting, you name it. After the first phase, then, there has to be a release of the energy that has been raised. This is the time to do your magical work, which currently often consists of a healing or an attempt to change the path of history so that things get better. Alternatively, a very simple release of the energy is to send it into the ether or the earth : this is often called grounding. Grounding may not bring everyone down, so in a Frost ritual it is usually arranged that an orgasm occurs (in private outside the circle itself). When we come back into circle, we're relaxed. It is the obvious time for deep meditation. For some, this also involves astral travel; thus competent leaders will often arrange a talkout that helps facilitate detachment from the physical body. After this, some prayers of gratitude are in order. They are usually quite simple. The ritual closes with thanks to the elder ones. In summary: 1. Get ‘up' through excitement 2. Do ‘magic' 3. Ground 4. Meditate or astral travel 5. Close The order of the ritual is very important: the sequence in which the steps we name are performed. The excitement at the beginning is mastered and used for what are termed magical purposes. This brings the participants down so that they can meditate and (if they wish) escape the body. There are literally thousands of ways of completing such a ritual as this, but the order--the sequence of using the original excitement and then a complete grounding followed by deep meditation--should not be violated. While I'm on this rant, a word about athames and swords and ferrous metals: A young man of our acquaintance is actively looking for a spiritual path, investigating Wicca on his way to a commitment. On his quest he is reading very widely indeed. He informs us that many books now available talk positively about black-handled athames with blades of ferrous metal (metal responsive to a magnet). When I heard his statement, my insides shrank and a silent shriek convulsed me. Black-handled??! Magnetic??! Oh, my Goddess, why do I try? Over 2,000 years ago Julius Caesar reported from northern Europe: Before a ritual the Druids collect all ferrous metals and weapons in the village or town and remove them from the area. When Gavin worked with a Cornish coven, he found that they followed the same ancient rule, in discussion with Sybil Leek and her mother, he learned that in their experience the same rule applied; that the only exception was surgical tools. If a worker of hoodoos wants to do a magical or sorcery circle; wants to wear a robe of fabric printed with stars, comets, planets, and all manner of whiz-bangs; a robe of which the pointy sleeves touch the floor when he extends his arms; wants to summon spirits (oh gasp) from inside his black-draped chamber of horrors; wants to occasion sulfurous smells and blue balls of fire ... well, you get the picture. If such a worker wants to deal with spirits that probably have negative intent on their agenda, such a worker is welcome to do just that--and to face the consequences. But. If a group of people want to meet in a spirit of reverence and gratitude, want to reach upward toward the realms of the Guides and Elder Ones while the group opens in a spirit of reverence and gratitude to the information they may receive, they will ensure (a) that no magnetic material is within their circle; (b) that their athames have handles formed of natural wood, (c) that ideally the wood of the casting wand comes from a tree that was once struck by lightning; (d) that--if they cannot be skyclad--their robes are made of all natural fabric without synthetics, cut to an utterly simple pattern not to impress the hoodoo entities but to provide covering and warmth. Have I stated this thought clearly enough so that it cannot be mistaken? I encourage the visitors to this Site to examine their practices while they thoughtfully recall the Law of Attraction. Actions have consequences; not every discarnate entity has benign intent. Once you open that door, whether in a circle or through a ouija board or by some other means, shutting it may not be easy. Blessed be those who seek. Yvonne
Monday, June 8, 2015
During the rutting season, males of all advanced species fight for the right to mate with the females. The males who win the rut win the females. In humans such behavior seems to be a year-round phenomenon. It's not only the right to mate, of course, but the right to be the boss too. However, studies in baboon troops show that some of the smarter, trickier baboon males mate more often than the alpha male does. This pattern shows that occasionally intelligence wins out over brawn, at least in baboons. Incredulous? See the work on baboon troops of Robert Sapolsky; then compare those patterns with human leaders of solar-deity cults. Nowadays with the rise of female power, rutting behavior seems to have become partially transferred to the females. We're finding that, given the chance at dominant positions, females can be just as ruthless as males in gaining their goals. The question is: What can be done to ameliorate these dominant behaviors and substitute instead intelligent behaviors? The answer seems to be: very little. Politicians will continue to volunteer us to go to war--from behind their comfortable polished desks--so that this nation can re-make other countries in our image and can get them under our control. It doesn't matter whether they want to be under our control or want to change; the man with power will exercise it. In Wicca we deliberately try to level that playing field, refusing to cede leadership positions gained through brutality and strength. Instead our leaders have to exhibit intelligence and compassion: not only for other people, but also for the earth on which we live.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
The question is: Why are young people leaving the US (or more often, European countries) and going to support ISIS? When it's boys, perhaps their instinct to fight anything and anyone, especially authority, is the root cause. How do we convince them that when they get into a Muslim terrorist army, the rules are going to be much stricter, more rigid, and enforced at the point of a gun? The more juveniles are encouraged to play what we have to call thumb games of a violent, destructive nature, the more their wish to fight is enhanced. We need somehow to give boys and young men outlets for their naturally aggressive instincts. The aggression continues, of course, until they discover that most women will not put up with it. And with the first good sexual experiences, the aggression tends to evaporate--that is, until they're placed in some situation of competing for the local arm-candy/bimbo(s). So as we see it, it's up to the young ladies to calm the aggressive behavior of their beaux and show them how much better it is to stay home and make love ... The realistic question each family has to answer for itself is: When should our children be taught how to enjoy sex? The advice given to young people is, "Don't do it. It's a sin. You'll go blind or go crazy ..." unless you are signed off by the local, priest, minister, or magistrate to a life sentence of monogamy, with all that Research undone, to remain the stuff of (wet) dreams. Why such authoritarian approval makes the difference is beyond our comprehension. Who stands to gain? Cui bono? Hmm. Yet it's the rules of the game as we know it in the western world. You parents, telling your children that sex before marriage is off limits, consider: Would you rather they stay at home and do the forbidden in the comfort and security of their own bedroom, or would you prefer they go out into the wilds of Syria or Iraq or perhaps even darkest Africa--and become who knows what? The situation with young girls leaving to become Muslim trophy concubines or sex slaves or wives is in many ways more interesting--and more troubling. Many such young women set out from what have come to be called broken homes, where there is at best a succession of father figures whom they can or cannot talk to, and a mother who is doing exactly what she tells her daughter is forbidden. The first way out of this mess is obviously that sex education must be improved and rules must be modified so that the young ladies can get a natural release of their hormonal tension--a natural release of their natural drives--a release that harms no one. In the real world, denial is not a river in Egypt, nor is the clitoris an island off the coast of Greece. It is real and it is present, even if not quite so obvious as a young erect penis. Mother Nature has a plan to increase the race--a plan that the human race and the planet can no longer afford to honor. Contraception is not that difficult. Marriage performed by an Abrahamic church supposedly joins two people both spiritually and mundanely for life. Marriage by the local county clerk is only a mundane f---ing license: not a spiritual joining, but only a gesture to satisfy the legal profession and to protect property. In the Church of Wicca we distinguish between the physical and the spiritual. We think in terms of two ceremonies: (a) a f---ing license from the civil authorities and (b) a spiritual ceremony that we call a handfasting. In neither case do we inquire into the spiritual gender of the participants. After all, if it harm none ...
Saturday, May 9, 2015
There is much confusion in thinking and talking about "God/ess"--that is, god-or-goddess, meaning a deity of all/any/indeterminate gender. Here today, then, we propose a simplistic but powerful view that (we hope) helps you understand what a god or goddess really is. Imagine a time past, so long ago that there is no record. Imagine a small group of people worshipping--that is, putting energy into--a tribal god. Fairly soon that energy nexus would contain sufficient power to make some small thing happen (gasp). It could be something as simple as turning water into wine ... or it might be that prankster god Coincidence, or defeating the next tribe along the creek. Immediately, then, the whole tribe begins to worship--that is, put energy into--their specific god. They might even name it: maybe Juju or Joshua or Shiva. Pretty soon you have a huge store of psychic energy contained in the juju. The more people worship the juju, the more energy is collected under the chosen name. Other tribes in other areas are doing the same thing. Pretty soon you have many stores of energy with many different names. If we think of such stores as positive, then we can also think of them as potentially negative. As word of the new procedure gets around, some people store hate, as contrasted with love. These become the negative stores. When people tap into the energy, whether positive or negative, many different things--"miracles"--can happen. People can absorb so much of the energy that they become "possessed" ... and therefore not responsible for the acts performed by their possessed physical being. Thus you have the phenomenon of drawing down the god/ess into a person. All you're doing is getting a charge as if you had received an electric shock--and indeed many of the after-effects of drawing energy down (when it works properly) are very similar to the effects reported with electrotherapy or shock treatment. So let's stop the BS. Let's understand that, stripped of the gasping, gods and goddesses are nothing more than energy. Now certain sects will also tell you that they can form elementals. Elementals are small energy stores. There is no difference except in size; or you might think of it as in voltage potential. "But we have to control elementals!" they pant. Yes, but because the energy stores are small, you can control them. But can you control an energy store that has been formed over centuries and regard it as a god/ess? You probably don't have enough energy to do that, although some of the medieval magicians tried very hard to. As the stored energy is used for more and more earthplane tasks such as healing, so the energy store is depleted. Imagine a battery. You use it to light lights or to run an engine, and it loses its power unless it is continually recharged. The gods are just the same. We have found recently that the energy store popularly called "Jesus" is much depleted. It behooves you to use a different god/ess in your healings, maybe even one that you and your group have constructed. There are many well-known ways to put energy into a god/ess form. Chief among them seems be loving sexual relationships. Okay, guys and gals. So this is a different way of thinking about gods, goddesses, and elementals. We have applied it for many years and have found that it explains "psychic" phenomena. The god/esses we discuss here are not a juju-on-a-stick. The god/esses we discuss here ae not a juju-on-a-stick. They are real and can be harmful when used improperly. This, by the way, is not a new idea. It has been extended to explain "dark" energy. Seventy percent of the energy in the universe is the so-called "dark" type, the astrophysicists tell us. Then it follows that it expands; because every living entity contributes its bit of spiritual energy to the system and the multiverse will continue to expand. A suggestion from Yvonne: When you tell your Guide daily of your gratitude, mention gratitude for the level of understanding we're beginning to attain. I find that gratitude and humility are not bad habits to practice. Just a personal observation ... Blessed be.
Monday, April 6, 2015
We're on the road again. Our engagement is in Springfield MO on April 11 at Phantasmagoria, 1950 S. Glenstone (Tower Shopping Center) between 5 and 9 p.m. There will be dancers, drummers, chanters, guest speakers, and perhaps even a movie. There will be a panel discussion on what's going on in the world and what we can do about it. This is a free event, though donations are very acceptable. Our thanks to the Greenleaf Coven Church of Wicca for arranging the event. We're certainly looking forward to seeing long-time friends and to meeting new fellow-Wiccans. Blessed be each one who seeks. GY
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Many years ago--more than forty now--we had a gathering in Durham NC, where we invited the Bishop of Durham to speak. In the Q&A period someone asked him about reincarnation and resurrection and about Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians seeming to give a view of resurrection diametrically opposed to that reported in the gospels as given by Jesus. Only many years later did I look up the references to the two topics. I found that the Bible seemed to be saying two different--opposite--things. In Corinthians it is obvious that Paul is trying to substantiate a belief based on the total regeneration of the physical body. In fact he said "...[H]ow can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there be no resurrection, then Christ was not raised; and if Christ was not raised, then our gospel is null and void, and so is your faith. But the truth is, Christ was raised to life--the firstfruits of the harvest of the dead. For since it was a man who brought death into the world, a man also brought resurrection of the dead." [I Cor XV:13-15] * In Matthew's version of the gospel, we find Jesus answering a question about resurrection: ‘Master, Moses said, "If a man should die childless, his brother shall marry the widow and carry on his brother's family." Now we knew of seven brothers. The first married and died, and as he was without issue his wife was left to his brother. The same thing happened with the second, and the third, and so on with all seven. Last of all the woman died. At the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be, for they had all married her?' Jesus answered, ‘You are mistaken, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. At the resurrection men and women do not marry; they are like angels in heaven.' [Matthew XXII:24] * When thinking about reincarnation, we think about spiritual resurrection, though we are told the spirit actually proceeds to inhabit a new and different body. It seems to us that if the Christians would take the next step in the teachings attributed to Jesus (that is, that angelic spirits can now come to earth), Christianity would align itself with all the major eastern religions--and it could have no argument with Wicca. This begs the question, though, of actual raising of the "dead". The miracles of Jesus come to us purely as hearsay. There is no hard evidence. Surely it's not possible that a group of people trying to establish themselves as a new religion would actually fake it? The question of Lazarus is somewhat different: Supposedly there were many witnesses. We also have the myth of Sir Lancelot del Oc reanimating a knight whom he had just killed: a myth based on a myth. * All quotes from The New English Bible Oxford University Press 1970
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
You probably recognize that your spirit (some call it soul) is separate from your physical body. When you leave your physical body and go out into the astral planes, the physical part is left idling while the soul travels. I use the word soul because our friends in the First Nations tend to use it instead of spirit; spirit is usually reserved for the Great Spirit (otherwise Manitou). It is a strong belief among many groups that the soul can be split into many parts and that, whether you realize it or not, you may leave such parts at distant places or with people you love. You are still connected to such parts with what has come to be called an aka thread. "Or ever the silver cord be loosed or the golden bowl be broken ..." and so on in old poetry. So did you ever think that your soul could be split into several pieces--that you could give away, as it were, fragments of yourself and still limp along? Often human beings may leave behind or give away parts of their soul, perhaps to a former lover or to a deceased relative. Soul retrieval is one name for the experience in which you may get back that fragment and become whole again. The underlying idea here is that your soul is divisible, and that when you fall deeply in love with someone you give away part of your soul to that person--and you probably receive part of their soul in return. Many of you have had such an exchange. So what happens if the relationship ends? "Oh, when s)he left, I felt as if part of myself went with them!" It's the stuff, all too familiar, of unnumbered love stories and torch songs, non? --that feeling of loss associated with any major separation, whether it be by death, divorce, military events, or even when a child goes to college. You feel as though there's a hole in your life. Such a hole is the missing part of your soul that has remained with the Other. When you meditate on the over-all situation and on the idea of becoming whole again, you can get over that feeling of loss in a more rapid, more wholesome way. Our friends of the First Nations say a thread remains, that joins you to any part of your soul that you have left somewhere, and that in meditation you can follow the thread and find the piece of your soul that is missing--and can bring the fragment back with you to become whole again. This is a straightforward approach to what a psychologist or counselor works toward with you in grief counseling ... though it does not happen in a single sitting, goodness knows. In meditation you can grief-counsel yourself (thinking of your loss in terms of a piece of your soul that is temporarily lost or absent). We have had experiences with work such as this. One which was truly amazing was with a young woman who had been comatose for six weeks. With the aid of a shaman we communicated with her astrally as she lay in her comatose state and told her to follow the spirit thread leading to the place where she had left her soul. It turned out that she had been driving late at night with a carload of her young friends, that she had missed a curve and had run head-on into a tree. A very good friend had been killed. She blamed herself for the accident, so deeply indeed that her soul had remained at the scene though her body had been carried to hospital. In less than 15 minutes the shaman had helped her release her self-blame and had talked her out of her comatose state, by leading her soul to rejoin its body. She became whole again. When you lose someone, you need to think in terms of becoming whole again. Dwelling on what you have lost and weeping over old mementoes and such things doesn't hack it. You have to take a pro-active approach and determine that you will get all pieces of your soul back and go on with a full life. Indeed, the most wholesome step to take is to purge your dwelling of any and all traces of the departed one: all photos, artifacts, old garments and possessions ... when you can bear to do so, get rid of it all. I, Yvonne, promise you this: Your tears are the first sign that your healing has begun. Blessed be.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
We have just watched "The Wicker Man", that old, old film. The joyful deeds and dances those actors performed prompted these thoughts. Of course to sell the film back in those days, the story had to have at its climax (ahem) a human sacrifice. The christians were the leading proponents of human sacrifice, having burnt alive maybe as many as 10 million heretics (their own backsliders) and a hundred thousand or so pagans who wouldn't toe the line. People were much to valuable to be burnt; and pagans did not have burning in their catalog of punishments, despite what the christians tried to imply. In the dim dark past when we started Wicca, the Craft was a happy, joyful spiritual path. We simply had a lot of fun. But gradually over the years the attacks by sociopathic members of the Abrahamic religions forced us to become more serious and in some ways almost to resemble them! Most of the attacks centered on such things as nudity and sexual freedom. " I don't believe in it, or I can't do it, so you can't do or have it!" Today many Wiccans feel bound to live within boundaries that were never imposed by Wicca but are the self-imposed result of trying to avoid censure from the uptight hangers-on of joyless religions. To say the least, it's ironic when we realize that originally christianity itself was originally a joyful religion, sexually free, whose adherents were simply having a good time. When christianity was approved as a permitted religion, one of many, by Constantine, Connie's co-Consul Lineus said, "Yes, that's okay, but men and women can't meet in the same building because the religion is too licentious." So we can see that from the early days of christianity it guarded itself against this accusation and became uptight, not to be bested in the inflicted-uptightness sweepstakes until Islam came along. When christian leaders had families, they had a tendency to leave the church property to their relatives, so the church decreed that its leaders could not marry. Now misery loves company; thus the requirement of celibacy meant that those who were forced to be celibate didn't approve of sexual activity for the rest of society. "If I'm not gonna get any, you aren't either--at least not without a lot of furtive guilt." Members of the Craft are doing the same thing to ourselves that the christians did to themselves. A sexual initiation (gasp) is no longer approved. In an attitude that we Frosts can hardly bring ourselves to believe, it is labeled "old-fashioned". People of the Craft, self-styled Witches: We are here to tell you that if you continue down this path, puckering ever more tightly, all the joy will be gone forever. Others may live such a tight-ass, constricted life, but that's not enough. They live to inflict their way on others. If you want to be celibate: be celibate. But don't do it because someone with an ax to grind says you must or you'll go to hell. Can you repeat after me, "If it harm none, do what you will" ? We are not hustling movies; we just want to get the joy back. Don't be so bleeping serious, boys and girls: It's all research, after all. Come dance and drink and ... with us. Blessed be Gavin and Yvonne
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
When you have spent some time (maybe a lunar month) meditating, many things that people label "odd" may start to happen. The first: You will sense the presence of an entity: a discarnate being, let's say, who may be someone who has recently graduated ("deceased"). Such awarenesses are often called spirit guides. You may have heard people joke uneasily about their "fairy godmother" or their "guardian angel". Try to welcome your discarnate visitor(s) mentally and, when you get to know them, give them a name. If you live in a city large enough to support a Spiritualist church, seek out that church and attend some meetings: Sunday morning maybe, but do try to investigate the things they do on weeknights. You'll be surprised. Once a link is firmly established between you and your guide, you can stop using the protective salt circle and maybe the affirmation. Many of us, though, never stop affirming our intent and our gratitude with each sitting. Now is the time to decide what you want to use your meditation for. Just to update any incoming bulletin from the other Side? That's fine. Basically meditation relaxes everything and improves your health; but it can also serve for what is called astral travel: You leave your body idling while your spirit goes to a different level of awareness. For lack of a better comparison, it's as if you had double-parked outside the store and popped in to run a quick errand. The car is idling, ready for you to jump back in and drive away. Before you sit down to meditate, you need to think of something that we call an urgent necessity: something you need to know which is not easily looked up on the internet or easily determined by using your latest electronic gadget. When we taught a class on all this at a seminar; one attendee decided that her urgent necessity was to ascertain whether her cat was all right with the cat-sitter. She was actually able to travel on the astral plane and to see the cat and to be assured that it was doing well. It's fashionable right now to investigate your genealogy. Many people doing it have found that they can overcome gaps in their family line where they got stuck and were unable to progress through normal procedures. This often happens because records had been destroyed, and was especially prevalent in the post-Civil War period; example: when courthouses and all the records they held were burned. Southern records of emancipated slaves often do not include any specifics of past owner/slave histories. Slaves were regarded as property, not people; and they were described simply as "field hand" or "house slave" or the like. Such gaps can be filled in through astral travel: going back and "seeing" your ancestors. Astral travelers quite often notice that travel into the past eventually gives them pictures in sepia tones, and then fades out as they go further back in time. Further, the travelers can make no changes in the scene(s). This is reversed in travel into the future: There the colors of the scene brighten and the travelers' every thought makes changes in what they see. Here the Buddhist quiet mind is most important--vital, in fact. It's natural enough to feel confident that you can keep your mind quiet; but when you go into the future, if you think about a white bear standing in the corner, it will suddenly appear. This may be dangerous: When you get to that point in your future "real"--temporal--life, you may verily be faced with a white bear that you have unwittingly placed there. ... All of this may sound extremely weird--but when you try it, you'll find that instead of being weird, it's fact. And never forget about the Law of Attraction: When your intent is benevolent, good experiences will come to you. When it is negative ... need we get explicit?
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Almost everywhere in the world people have made small fortunes teaching one form or another of what they call meditation. Recently we saw a course of twenty-three lectures advertised for $249--reduced to $49. So maybe there's a chance that some people are catching on to the fact that to meditate, you don't need a 23-lecture course. Quelle horreur! We believe that this blog today will teach you all you need to know. We have been teaching meditation as a small segment of our extensive course on Wicca for nearly fifty years, so here is your one-page instruction sheet. Ideally you will begin all this on a night when the moon is not full--best of all is right after new moon. 1. Find a comfortable chair, preferably of wood and with no ferrous metal parts. 2. Find a place away from every electric cable and free from such distracting things as a bookcase full of books and pictures of loved ones or family. 3. Get a shaker of salt, and a small wooden bowl of water, and a quiet-running timer, and a candle of white or pale yellow. 4. Have handy a pad of paper and a pen or a pencil. 5. On an evening when the sun is below the horizon, sit in the chair facing north or east. (We don't know the reason, but it seems to work better if heterosexuals face east, the place of new beginnings. For everyone else, north might be better. There is no law saying you can't try both. More research is needed. 6. Light the candle and turn off the lights. 7. Moving in a sunwise direction, sprinkle salt in a circle around the chair. Sit in the chair with the bowl of water at your feet. 8. Set the timer for 15 minutes. 9. Affirm, Nothing but good shall come to me. Nothing but good shall go from me. I give thanks. 10. Close your eyes and sit without moving. Let the mind wander where it will. If you get a lot of job problems floating in, or other thoughts, stop. On the pad write down the thoughts. Put the list of problems into the deep-freeze or under a flatiron. Promise yourself, "I'll deal with all that after I've had time for myself." 11. Sit in your chair. Start the timer again. Wait. If more problems arise, deal with them as you dealt with the first batch. It may be that on your first trial run you won't get past the jangle of problem-solving. Be persistent. 13. Shutting down! When the timer sounds, thank the Guide and promise that you'll be back tomorrow, same time, same place. Make this commitment inviolable. That's it. You have learned to meditate. It does help to be relaxed. The best form of relaxation is having an orgasm within thirty minutes of the time when you start the sitting. A glass of red wine doesn't hurt either. It may be that nothing seems to happen. Remember: You may receive impressions through any one of the five senses. You might see pictures; you might hear voices; you might "feel" things such as emotions, or find yourself thinking of a place where you've been, or hum a phrase from a song. You might feel physical things such as temperature changes. Accept them all. After the timer rings and you come back to this level of awareness, simply say, "I give thanks" and try again the next night at the same time. Now. Was that so difficult? You may want to start your investigation at new moon, the time of new beginnings ... or you may not. Persistence and regular timing make meditation work. Those who know us know that we regularly meditate at 10 p.m. each day, so we ourselves no longer need to take the phone off the hook. Reflect on this fact: Grandma meditated while she was washing dishes at the kitchen sink. Grandpa meditated while he followed the plow.
Friday, February 20, 2015
The five points of a pentagram and its center serve to recall the basic ideas behind this new/old path. 0. Deity At the center of the pentagram is the concept of Deity. All genuine religions and spiritual paths require an unknown, unknowable Deity at their center. So-called "religions" that require their followers to worship named deities are cults. The Wiccan Deity is beyond thought. Trying to define It inevitably, arbitrarily limits It. If you want spiritual or mundane help for yourself or others, it is better to imagine a lower-level deity who has power on this temporal earth-plane of existence. Such power comes from the millions of people who have prayed to such named god-esses and have put psychic energy into the concept of, say, Shiva or Shakti or Mars or Aphrodite or a million other named god-esses. 1. The Wiccan Rede, If it harm none, do what you will, has become almost a catch phrase in the Wiccan community. The drawback is the defining of harm. Harm must surely include not just physical harm, but also developmental harm, as well as the stunting of spiritual growth. If you make someone feel guilty--especially in front of his peers--you have harmed them. In a similar way, if you shame someone, you harm them. If you frighten a child with a bogeyman, or stifle creativity, you have harmed them ... Thus it goes on. 2. The Law of Attraction. In a social context people of like mind are attracted to each other with an attraction transcending gender. Of course this is the opposite of physical laws of, for instance, electromagnetism, in which like repels like. The Law extends as well to spiritual planes. If you are negative, you will attract not only other negative people; you will attract negative spirits and perhaps negative experiences. 3. Power through Knowledge. You have a power that you may not have felt. Everyone has it to a greater or lesser extent. The power can be felt if you carefully move your fingers past the palm of the opposite hand. It can be shown to exist with a child's toy: a Crooks radiometer. Karate experts call it ch'i; Germans name it vril. When you develop the power through knowledge, you can do many things with it: healing physical ailments and healing even your life. 4. Harmony. Here we consider getting in tune with the natural cycles of our Mother the Earth as She moves through the cosmos. For example, we understand that movement in a sunwise direction is better than going against Nature in moving anti-sunwise. The drive toward harmony gets Wiccans in tune with the natural cycles of the seasons, the moon, weather, and food, and stops them trying to resist the cycles. We welcome the changes of season as signs that at base all is really well in the universe. 5. Reincarnation. Reincarnation was a basic precept in Christianity before Emperor Constantine's mistress, Deborah, threw it out. As she pointed out, "Connie, the threat system of hell doesn't work if you believe in reincarnation." Reincarnation is a basic precept of Hinduism and many other world-wide spiritual systems. Wiccans subscribe to what we call progressive reincarnation. A tiny piece of divine fire inhabits a minute life form. By the time that living thing "dies", the piece of divine fire has grown slightly and qualifies to inhabit a larger, more complex life form. This constitutes a progression of the spirit from smaller to larger. Reincarnation can be considered a system of learning and growth: The spirit learns in each lifetime, and thus grows. It is as natural as the progress of a child through various grades in school.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
A thing that puzzles many people when they first come into Wicca is the fact that we use gods and goddesses to delineate things such as emotions. Of course many people are used to this practice because they regularly look up their horoscopes in the newspaper. Let's imagine for a moment that you want to do a ritual to defend your home. You'd like to have the procedure center around some protective elements. So could you say "Great wonderful protective elemental, defend my home"? Or would it be much easier to say, "Mars, defend me"? The god name is just a way of summarizing the attributes you want to use. What we do when we use god/ess names is to personify ceertain aspects. You want lustful love, so you use Scorpio. You want admiring love you might use Venus to personify such love. All we're doing when we use god/ess names is using their attributes. We use the name. Instead of using some vague phrase such as "I'd like a good business-like relationship," we say, "Capricorn, help me." We are so accustomed to thinking in terms of old Roman deities that it sometimes surprises people when we switch over to deities that are appropriate for our cultural background. We might use Epona if we wanted horse-like attributes; but if we're Celtic, it might be more appropriate to use Rhiannon. Whatever name contains the image you wish to portray is the name you should use. Using an unusual name, for instance Ameratsu, as the Great Goddess is meaningless if you are not a Japanese who grew up in Japanese culture. Hindu worshippers make their god/ess images unusual: give them multiple heads or arms so that you will not confuse them with human beings and will recognize that they have more power than mere humans do. The problem with using all protective names of great gods such as Odin or Jesus is that they do not represent a specific attribute but instead are purported to contain all attributes. If you believe that even though they contain all attributes they have more power in each attribute than the appropriate single deity, then by all means go ahead and use them. Personally, if I want to do a lustful sex spell, I'll use Scorpio rather than an aspect of Jesus. Different strokes for different folks, as the sculling crew says. In order to help people who are beginning their study of astrology, instead of using the Roman names we use family members. Everyone can understand sexy young Gwendolyn or funny Uncle Albert. So if you have trouble, use names or descriptions that are meaningful to you and don't worry about it. We think the Wiccan way makes sense and is easy to understand. Blessed be Gavin and Yvonne
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The question often asked is: Why are we here? Wicca offers a remarkably simple answer, namely: We are here to learn and to grow. The growth is in our awareness: some might call it our consciousness. We believe that every living thing has some level of awareness, even if only the awareness of how to reproduce or how to avoid danger. The most elemental living organism gains awareness by simply being alive. After it dies, that awareness (or, if you like, its spirit) reincarnates at a level slightly more advanced or complicated, and thus is able to have more experiences and gain more awareness. We could say, its spirit grows. The process of life/death/growth continues as the elemental being develops through many levels and eventually inhabits a body suitable for the level we know as homo sapiens. We are not willing to say that homo sapiens is the highest life form on this planet--or elsewhere in the multiverse--but just for now let's say that it might be. The spirit that inhabits you has been many things. At the human level it starts with lower awareness and gradually develops more. In Wicca we have a tendency to say that because the female has the opportunity of giving birth and of nurturing a child, she has the opportunity to gain more awareness than does the male. It behooves us to gain awareness by experiencing as many different things as possible during each incarnation. That may take the form of several different jobs in several different levels of prosperity; it may take the form of several different relationships. The old-fashioned Abrahamic idea of one man and one woman being married and experiencing only each other for a whole lifetime is contrary to the spirit's need to gain awareness and experiences. ... Unprofitable ... stultified/ stultifying?? And overall a non-win? The feelings of love and comfort must be some of the most important in the development of a full awareness of the meaning of your existence. We do not mean that you can't be firmly committed to one other person, but nor do we mean that you should forever endure a relationship so archaic and rigid. Once you have completed all your assignments and have gone on, it is generally believed that you meld with other spirits to become a larger awareness. Such an awareness may inhabit some other life form than human, perhaps in another sphere or realm of existence; then once it has cleansed itself of individuality and selfishness, it may re-join the Ultimate Great Spirit. There's more. From being a part of the Great Spirit tiny pieces are continually separating, once more to inhabit life forms at the lowest level and repeat anew the cycle of growth. Thus we say that the whole system is just a method of growth and awareness. It's simple. It's easy. It's obvious, once you extract it from the billowing clouds of piled-on guilt, shame, and fear. It's a game everyone can play. Don't cut off your chances at growth by following the teachings of any one self-appointed guru or moldy old book. Don't follow even us and our ideas. Examine the claims. Ask yourself, Cui bono? Who stands to gain if I follow this path? Blessed be Gavin and Yvonne
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Recently we heard a Spiritualist minister discuss grace. In the subsequent discussion it became apparent that no one present really knew what grace was or is. In my own mind grace is very similar to consciousness: (a) It is something we all recognize as being real, though we don't know how to get it, and (b) We don't know whether conscious animals and living things have it--or even whether they wish for it. If I built an automaton from parts that replicate a human being and its functions, would the automaton have consciousness? Would the consciousness be built in? If it does not have consciousness, why not? If it had conciousness would it also have grace? Having consciousness has been compared to knowing the color red (or, for that matter, any other color) if I were to be completely color-blind and could see only in black and white and in shades of gray. Could you describe to me, your bereft friend, what red is--or what seeing red feels like? Does a mouse, who is not color-blind, understand red?, whereas I have no hope of being able to do that. Does a mouse have consciousness--at least more than my replica human being, the automaton? Are consciousness and grace emergent traits? We know that, for instance, flocking for birds is an emergent trait. As soon as you put a group of birds together they form a flock and act in unison. Yet a bird and even two birds do not seem to be naturally friendly with one another. Somewhere in their genome, over ages birds have learned that flocking has advantages. Therefore when a group forms, they flock. Does consciousness have a survival advantage? If you can dream up an advantage for consciousness, can you for grace? Obviously in time past, when the Inquisition was rampant, being able to say that you had grace was an advantage: You hopefully wouldn't be burned. But today? Blessed be G&Y
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The ostensible sacred writings of Craft people often quote the Wiccan Rede: An it harm none, do what you will. But what is an? We've seen it misunderstood by journalists, by office staff, by a range of individuals. So far as we can search out, its only current use is by Snuffy Smith of the Sunday comics, when he addresses Lowizee: "if'n". Apparently that 'n was once an, though it survives now only in the remotest reaches of the Smoky Mountains if at all. An may appear in the King James version of the you-know-what, though I haven't taken time to pursue that possibility. And in fact, I heard once somewhere that James himself insisted his scholars use a style of English already archaic, in a quest to make their translations (and incidentally his own Daemonologie) appear to be sanctified by age. So anyhow, in my personal thinking I have dropped an altogether and replaced it with if. What you retain or drop is a matter of your own choice. Yvonne
We hear that the United States Supreme Court is thinking about revisiting the constitutionality of gay (same-sex) marriage. As a taxpayer I ask, "Why, Your Honors?" I detect the iron hand in its iron glove of conventional Abrahamic religions throwing their weight around again--and the Wiccan in me mentally shouts, "Wait a minute!" Let's reflect on some facts here. Whether they be welcome or unwelcome, they are true. 1. Optional is not mandatory. If you choose not to participate in a gay marriage, you don't have to. 2. Even gay people pay taxes. Recall the placard from the days preceding the American Revolutionary War: Taxation without representation. Does all this feel fair? If not, make your thoughts known and put a little of your money where your thoughts are. Send the package to Americans United for Separation of Church and State 1301 K St NW / ste 850 E Washington DC 20005 What do you say we all join those good people at Americans United* in their valiant efforts to maintain said separation? If I wanted to live in a theocracy, I'd go to Saudi Arabia or to Iran. The time is come (indeed, is way overdue) for somebody to get a reality smack. Blessed be Y'all Yvonne *au.org
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Call me befuddled. From time to time we hear of how an ethnic group known as Uighurs are persecuted and bullied by the Chinese government. Apparently the Uighurs long to be something apart from the official Chinese communist government in Beijing, and Beijing won't let 'em go. As we understand it from reporters on BBC America's newscasts, * Chinese army troops are stationed long-term in one of the westernmost provinces of China, * geographically closer to Baghdad than they are to Beijing. * The troops constantly are shooting dead, beating, and imprisoning menbers of the Uighur population--elderly, children, women, what have you-- * at enormous expense in military wages, ammunition and equipment, and who knows what else --for the fact that said population resents the Chinese presence. * Uighurs are largely Muslim, not communist or whatever other "faith" they are officially supposed to espouse. * Uighurs and Chinese communists hate each other for the above reasons and probably for many others which the BBC reporters are not allowed air time to enumerate. I don't understand. Can someone suggest a rational grounds on which China clutches that population and those square meters of land, refusing to let it go, either (a) to independence or (b) to affiliation with some other contiguous nation ? I'd be grateful for some fact that would help me understand such behaviors. Blessed be. Yvonne