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Paganism in the Australian Media

Witchs' Wand Dispels Magic

June 2nd, 2000 by Vivienne Stanton (The West Australian)

This is the witch at the center of a scandal turning Fremantle Covens into a boiling, cauldron of accusations, lies and deciet. Witches and warlocks are quitting Covens and casting accusations as well as spells amid revelations the archpriestess of the pagan Church of Wicca, Lady Tamara Von Forslun, is actually a bloke named Bill.

Ms Von Forslun, who has a sex change in the 1970's, says her sexuality has nothing to do with her duties as archpriestess. 'My sexuality has got nothing to do with my abilities to run the Church of Wicca' she said. "I've never made a secret of it. This is just one or two people out there with their noses out of joint who are getting quite nasty" But disgruntled former coven members say she lied about her sex change. "A lot of people who are...." (continued on page 2) (From Page 1)

TOIL, TROUBLE AT WITCH'S CHURCH "...vulnerable go to her looking for spirituality, seeking her advice. They're going in under false pretences" said Marion Coe, otherwise known as Astariam Rainbow Dragon, a priestess who used to work with Ms Von Forslun in her new age buisness, The Alchemy Herbal Center, In Fremanle .

Another witch, who refused to be named said "It's not that she's a transexual, it's that she lied about it." "A witch is only as good as her word, it's the first thing I learned in witch's training. " "She shouldnt be practicing spirituality. " "I joined the church seeking spirituality and was pretty naive" said another former coven member who performed the duties of Man In Black or guardian of the Coven. "I was a member for three years and I left feeling betrayed."

Ms Von Forslun, whose previous name was William started the Church of Wicca in 1989 with only six members. It now claims to be the biggest pagan organisation in the southern hemisphere, with headquarters in Perth and 6000 members. "Tammy or should I say Bill, has been great at self promotion", said Adrian van Leen, director of the Concerned Christians Growth Ministries, an organisation thar keeps an eye on the activities of cults. "I think those numbers are a bit inflated"

The church draws it's beliefs from various Wiccan Traditions and ancient religions. It calls on the duality of the god and goddess, reveres nature, believes in reincarnation and karma - the law of threefold return - and puts a strong emphasis on self-reliance. There are about 20 ordained Church of Wicca priests and priestesses in Perth who hold Esbats, or meetings, on the new and full moons to do healing work for the Earth and perform rites, which raised energies to end war and famine.

Mr van Leen said many traditional white witches would be concerned Ms Von Forslun was not a 'genuine' female. "This is a person who is in a role that is female-centered, a Priestess" he said " I'm sure some witches are quite concerned about that".

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