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Peacock Dreams

Clay Feet part 2

Clay Feet part 2

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Clay Feet part 2

I want to begin this round by saying some good things about the Frosts. They are warm, friendly, welcoming people. When Yvonne first saw me, she graciously inquired if I was T. Thorn Coyle and gave me a big hug. They have worked to teach their version of the Craft for 40 years and have always been open about their religious beliefs, including when they lived in rural Missouri in the 1970s. The sheriff, police and people at the local diner all knew the Frosts were Witches. For that alone, we can be grateful. They also have passed on sound advice about coven ethics, the consequences of doing negative magic, and sex magic among consenting adults.

I myself am sex positive. You will often hear me quip "I love my religion!" and part of that is the non-transcendent love and reveling in sexuality, good food, dance, music, connection with Nature and all of the other good things that come from embodied spirituality. As a baby Pagan, I had my own trouble with sexual coercion by a teacher but was later taught that sex was sacred and that sex and magic go together where coercion is absent. I was taught that leaders who use their teaching or magic as ways to get sex are suspect. Sex is natural. Sex is holy. Sex should be a joyous coming together and a reflection of the powers of Nature in full fecund swing, and of the processes of God Herself, ever creating, ever changing. There is nothing quite like a holy kiss. Pleasure is a sacrament to be celebrated. And the sacred should never be profaned by lack of consent.

So this is also where the Frosts and I part company. And this is where people start foaming at the mouth and threatening, as AJ Drew unfortunately did, to sacrifice them in effigy. There is still that book, written in 1970, filled with misguided instruction, the most flagrant of which is the ritual deflowering of adolescent girls, by themselves, with full instruction of how to use the sacred phalli... in order to ready them for sexual initiation into the coven. By adults. The pubescent boy goes with the female adult and the pubescent girl goes with a male adult. The Great Rite occurs.

This is not only illegal, it is not OK. There is no way that this does not involve coercion because a 12 or 15 year old simply cannot give real consent to sex with a 30 year old. The power dynamic is too skewed. This is why adults do not have sex with children (unless they are pedophiles, who have a specific mental illness that has wired them wish to do what is not right).

This instruction, to me, is a violation of the sacrality of sex, of the celebration of this glorious part of my connection with Nature.

Do I think the Frosts have sex with children? I doubt it. But as an author, who knows the power of the written word, I wish they would explain. I wish they would retract. The fact that they have not taints their work for me and makes me wonder why they are invited to festivals to teach... And I like the Frosts. Remember, they are gracious, kind, warm, funny, knowledgeable, and apparently dance a mean tango. I am not here to demonize them, but to voice concerns.

Here is my supposition of one way this writing may have come about. I repeat, this is only my fantasy of how this may have happened:

The Frosts rightly saw the sexual repression and hypocrisy of the US in the 50s and the attempts to change that in the late 60s and early 70s. They may have seen that the way children were taught about their bodies, physicality and sex was something that fostered systems of shame and oppression. "What if, as a culture, we taught our children that sex was good, healthy, natural, and sacred?" they may have asked each other. Good questions, and one that many Pagan parents likely ask. Then those Pagan parents likely try to figure out ways to teach their children appropriately.

The Frosts, drawing on some archeological evidence for sacred phalli (I got this from them when I asked about the controversy point blank over dinner one night), came up with the idea for the girl to ritually break her own hymen, by herself, with instruction from the parents. I said that I had trouble with the "children having sex" part of this, and was told it was not sex. As a sometime dildo user, I disagreed.

I was not, at that time, aware that the ritual hymen breaking was preparation for sexual initiation or I would have pressed the point more keenly. Then Gavin kindly gifted me with the book in question, so I could see what the fuss was about myself. Things became more clear.

As a sex positive magical practitioner, the segment on initiation of adolescents was hard to read. As an author and teacher, who tries to act as responsibly as possible, it seemed to be evidence of startling irresponsibility and the promotion of something very wrong.

And I still had a panel to sit on. And I still had to struggle with what my responsibility was. As we all do.

to be continued...
  • And the sacred should never be profaned by lack of consent.

    I love that line. It gave me tingles.

    Later you mention the "sacrality of sex" and I'd like to add the sacrality of childhood.
  • There is nothing quite like a holy kiss. Pleasure is a sacrament to be celebrated. And the sacred should never be profaned by lack of consent.

    Exactly so. If I know that the Divine is made manifest within my partner, it would be sacrilege to bring force or coercion into what we undertake. This is one altar to which we must come freely consenting, or not at all.
  • Clay feet part 2

    You've said it very well, that they need to explain. Maybe you can get them to do so for the rest of us, to ease our minds, so we need not fear that they really mean to interfere with children, or promote such interference. Now that you've done a good job of explaining it all to us, go and put pressure on the Frosts to come clear about what they really intend for the young.
    Dilators--I think each mother should give her daughter a full set, or better yet teach her how to make her own, and then back off. With proper care, I suspect any tight spots could be stretched without breaking anything--but this is not the job of anyone else, and any sexual activity that follows should not have a power difference messing it up, as you have pointed out.
    Sex educators are falling down on the job when they fail to tell young girls exactly how to make sure they are not injured when they start "penetrative" activity. Apart from that, someone with more skill than me--say, someone like you--should go and get an answer from the Frosts themselves.
    • Re: Clay feet part 2

      I sent the Frosts an email explaining that I was posting this blog. Whether or not they reply is up to them.
  • Reality Check

    As a troubled and confused teenager, I had sexual relationships with grown men who didn't even pretend to love me, by the way. From experience, I can say, wholeheartedly, that an adult having sex with an adolescent is TOTALLY wrong! The adolescent may think that is something he or she want, but the simple fact is that they are not mature enough sexually or emotionally to be sexually active with someone who is older than them, and the psychological damage is as damaging as the physical ones. I don't know if the Frosts truly understand what they are promoting, but they are in la la land to act like pedophilia is all peaches and roses and sacred and all that jazz. IT HURTS to be used by someone who holds power over you like that, to manipulate you into thinking it is okay. IT IS NOT OKAY. I am a very sex positive person and now I honor my body and others as well, but what they are promoting is not sacred sexuality. It is perverse fantasy that is dangerous in our society.
  • you wrote, "There is no way that this does not involve coercion because a 12 or 15 year old simply cannot give real consent to sex with a 30 year old. The power dynamic is too skewed."

    I am deeply grateful that there are people who will come out and say this and say it in a public space. I've said it in smaller spaces, and have had my head handed to me for suggesting that if a person in hir thirties is having sex with someone who is only fourteen, there's a Problem. I know that I felt desire when I was that young, and I know I had desires at that age, but the power difference between a fourteen year old child and an adult in hir thirties is so great that I don't see any way this can be done with meaningful consent.

    I may place a very high value on consent compared to some folks, but it's important enough to me that if I'm not sure of it I'll turn things down, even things that are offered me by another. The difficult part is... if you offer me -this- and I refuse because I don't feel you are in a place where you can consent, eventually there is a point where you may complain that I'm infantalizing you. How does that line get set?
    • How does that line get set?

      Oh, that one's easy: you listen to your heart, and to the Gods, and to that lone little voice in the back of your head, (the one that most of us usually don't want to tell other people about,) and then you try the very best you can to Act Rightly.

      Which doesn't mean that right action, even when we clearly understand what it ought to be, is necessarily easy.

      Like you, I have issues about consent. I decided long ago that I would have only partners who were my equals, and who came freely and joyously consenting to my bed, or who invited me into theirs in that frame of mind. Because to my mind to act otherwise says something unsavory about the actor.

      • thanks for the reply and yeah - I do have that voice, and when I listen to it, things go well. When I don't... not so well.

        I find that my issues around consent, or my preference for it, comes up around certain sub sets of people - there's a tendency for sub cultures that place a value on being sex positive (in a justified and good reaction to other cultures being very puritanical and repressed about sex) to be positive as long as the answer is yes. Since I am 90% of the time the person saying, no thank you, really, I often bounce into this.

        It is frustrating to not see no honored as much as yes. I end up telling folks that yes, I said no to -this- but that is in service to a bigger Yes that I would prefer to stay with. Sometimes that gets through.
  • Coericion

    This is not only illegal, it is not OK. There is no way that this does not involve coercion because a 12 or 15 year old simply cannot give real consent to sex with a 30 year old. The power dynamic is too skewed.

    This statement took me years to learn after being molested at age 11 in what I had thought of as consensual. Through a lot of self-therapy and study I finally learned that I could not possible give consent in my situation because the power held over me by this adult, a 30 something male. So many people never learn this simple statement as a truth. I cannot imagine coupling it with the power of a HP or HPS as viewed in the magickal community the child would be growing up in. It would seem the power ratio over the child or youth would increase. This is an example of power taken away from someone in a situation where we should be guiding them to discovering their own power in a safe community.

  • In a religion where Sex is held Sacred,
    then Sex that is not fully, freely, consciously consented to, is the closest-equivalent of blasphemy.

    And agreement to other posters about inappropriateness of age-gap relationships -
    when I was 15, I was an under-developed physically, and well-developed emotionally & mentally. Imagine my cynicism at who 'adults' thought of as 'mature' among my peers - did I think other teens who other adults seemed to think were 'mature' were really emotionally mature? No, freaking, way.
    At best, they were dressing (and wearing makeup) like adults.

    I encountered, in a New Age spiritual environment, adults who were complicit in the relationship of a 15yr old to a 30+ year old (didn't meet him, apparently he had grey hair, so almost certainly older), and who seemed to think it was consenting, 'healthy' or fighting the system, blah blah blah.

    Talking to her as a peer, she was very, very emotionally vulnerable. She was *not* mature, and I had grave concerns about the relationship.
    He had, as a neighbour, been inappropriately flirting with her for a couple of years (which she admitted had 'originally' made her feel uncomfortable).
    Then, within two months of her father dying, he moved in on her sexually within , and she was now living with him.
    Can I repeat the bit about her father dying?!?

    As a 15yr old, I wondered how freaking clueless the various adults were around her to not think that that was clearly predatory, instead of believing she was making her 'own choices'. I sincerely regret not getting her help myself, but was intimidated by the adult women & men who seemed to think it was 'ok'. I'm still not sure who or where I could have gone to. I just encouraged her to tell some of the same things she'd told me to - oh, anyone else.

    As a well-informed, sex-positive teenager, I never *didn't* get the willies when hearing about relationships between my peers & adults. The adults tended to be very, very immature. That'd didn't put them on the same level. :P

    For myself, I was also sexually interested in some adults as a teenager.
    However, I quickly concluded that anyone sexually interested in *me* would be a pedo, at the very least would be attracted to a physical body-type that I would not be within a few years, and at the most, would be displaying a major lapse in judgement and therefore not worthy of my attentions, so figured I'd have to wait a few years before branching out past my peers.
    I could be over-confident in continuing to believe I was capable of that kind of consent in a relationship - but I do, and ironically, consider it was best displayed by my choosing not to.
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