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".