Church and School of Wicca
|The Church and School of Wicca|
|Type||New Religious Movement|
|Headquarters||Hinton, West Virginia, USA.|
|Founders||Gavin and Yvonne Frost|
The Church and School of Wicca was founded by Gavin Frost and Yvonne Frost in 1968. It was the first federally recognized Church of the religion known as Wicca in the United States. It is well known for its correspondence courses on the Frosts' unique interpretation of Wicca. The Church and School are located in Hinton, West Virginia.
Pagan studies scholar Ethan Doyle White noted that the Frosts had adopted the term "Wicca" in the late 1960s, when it was gaining increasing usage within the Pagan Witchcraft community as a name for their religion.
The School's curriculum includes classes on a variety of subjects associated both with Wicca as a religion and with occult and metaphysical studies and practices in general. These classes begin with an "Essential Witchcraft" course, which lasts "a year and a day". Other topics include: Advanced Celtic Witchcraft and Shamanism, Astral Travel, Astrology, Graphology, Mystical Awareness, a Natural Wicca Survey Course, Practical Sorcery, Prediction, Psychic and Herbal Healing, and Tantric Yoga. Much of the course of study is available to the student on video.
The Church and School chartered several other churches and groups. In the early years of the Church, ordination to individuals and sometimes even charters to churches had at times been offered solely on the basis of the Church's correspondence courses. However, due to a few incidents of fraudulent use of Church credentials, misconduct by these individuals, and/or the use of course material to defame the Church and the religion of Wicca, along with public controversy about these instances, this practice was abandoned as of 1976. In some cases, charters have been revoked.
The Church and School's founders played a heavy role in gaining federal recognition of Witchcraft as a religion in 1972, making it the first federally recognized Church of Wicca in the United States. They won an appeals court case in 1985 stating that Wicca, as a religion equal to any other, could have churches that did not have to share their revenue with the IRS. Both these cases brought The Church and School of Wicca into the national spotlight.
In Dettmer v. Landon, 799 F.2d 929 (4th Cir. 1986), a prisoner named Herbert Daniel Dettmer who was following the correspondence course of the Church and School of Wicca, was denied access to knives which he said were necessary to his religious practice as a Wiccan. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided in Dettmer's favor, finding that Wicca was a religion, rejecting the argument put forward by the Department of Correction that it was merely a "conglomeration" of occult practices. This decision was appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was argued before the appellate court in April 1986, which ruled that although Wicca was a religion, it was not a violation of the First Amendment to deny a prisoner access to potential weapons.
- Clifton, Chas S. (2006). Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America. Oxford and Lanham: AltaMira. ISBN 978-0-7591-0202-6.
- Doyle White, Ethan (2010). "The Meaning of "Wicca": A Study in Etymology, History and Pagan Politics". The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies 12 (2): 185–207.
- Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - by Raven Grimassi (September 1, 2000) Llewellyn Publications ISBN 1-56718-257-7, ISBN 978-1-56718-257-6
- The Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley (July 1989) Facts on File ISBN 0-8160-1793-X, ISBN 978-0-8160-1793-5
- The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism - by Shelley Rabinovitch and James Lewis (October 1, 2002) Citadel ISBN 0-8065-2406-5, ISBN 978-0-8065-2406-1
- The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-Paganism - By Raymond Buckland (November 1, 2001) Visible Ink Press ISBN 1-57859-114-7, ISBN 978-1-57859-185-5
- The Good Witch’s Bible - by Gavin and Yvonne Frost (December 1999) Godolphin House ISBN 0-9630657-6-9, ISBN 978-0-9630657-6-6
- People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out - by Lawrence Bond & Ellen Evert Hopman (1996) (reissued as Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans & Witches Today in 2002 Destiny Books ISBN 0-89281-904-9) Interview.