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Guy Frost

Biography

Guy Frost, Professor of Library Science and Catalog Librarian at Valdosta State University, is the founder of the New Age Movements, Occultism, and Spiritualism Research Library (NAMOSRL) in Valdosta, Georgia. 

Frost grew up in Georgia in the Southern Baptist religious tradition. He had his first experience with people raising energy while in college, and it was this experience that led him to a connection with the occult and pagan traditions later in life. 

Frost received a bachelor’s degree in music education (1990) followed by a master’s degree (1994) in the same field.  While working in the library at Valdosta State, his supervisor suggested he pursue a library science degree with the aim of becoming a music librarian.  He attended Florida State University obtaining a Master of Library Science degree in 1996 and Education Specialist degree in 1998. In August of 1998, he returned to Valdosta State as a librarian, where he has been for the last 25 years. 

Frost was introduced to the Pagan and occult worlds by his colleague James Clifford “Cliff” Landis, who worked in the library at Valdosta State University (VSU) from 2002-2004. Cliff was a part of the Faerie Tradition, a branch of McFarland Dianics, and was looking for someone to initiate and follow him into the tradition. He asked Frost if he would be interested, which he was, and the two began their journey together. In Frost’s own words, “Faerie Faith, unlike many other Wiccan paths, has five levels of initiation called Solars. Students that have achieved Third Solar are required to take on students of their own. I was interested and said yes to becoming his student.”

Landis was also a Faculty Librarian at Valdosta. As Frost has noted, the “occult in the library world has been ignored.” There is a great lack of people who are concerned with documenting and making accessible to the public pagan/occult writings. “In this early time period of studying Faerie Faith the topic of  Pagan periodicals and access to them was discussed. We both thought that, as professional librarians and Wiccans, we should look into doing something about the preservation of these scarce, hard to find resources and making them more accessible.” He does also note that “at this time, neither of us was aware of J. Gordon Melton’s American Religions Collection of periodicals at University of California, Santa Barbara.” 

Nevertheless, by 2005, they had clearly identified the work they wanted to do and how the project would take shape. In an email to Garth Reese at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, in February of that year they described it thusly:

I and another Pagan librarian at my university are working on creating an index/abstract database of New Religious Movement materials with the hope of eventually creating a full-text database of discontinued periodicals. We’re currently focusing on small-run, out of print Pagan periodicals. It is our goal to preserve and provide access for this information which has proven vital to the birth/growth of the Pagan movement. If you would like more information, or would like to possibly get involved, just let me know.

“Progress was slow” Frost notes. Over the next five years, Frost and Landis accumulated papers, and materials from all over the world. Some advancements were made in regard to getting information online (this proto-version was called NeRMAL, the New Religious Movements Archival Library). But in the end, it was far too much work for two people who were already working full-time however, and this iteration of the project was put to rest. “It was also in early 2009 that I stopped studying Faerie Faith with Landis. Soon after, Landis would leave Valdosta in 2010 to take a position at Georgia State University as a web services librarian.”

It would be many years before Frost’s work would culminate, but ultimately the New Age Movements, Occultism, and Spiritualism Research Library (NAMOSRL), was founded by Frost in 2016. As he notes, “although I had stopped studying Faerie Faith with Landis, I continued to study as a solitary. Using the resources in hand, I would learn of another resource that piqued my interest and that became a primary mechanism for collection development.” In other words, it was Frost’s own desires and passions for the occult that drove the creation of this incredible archive. “This method of collection development continues today. But other developments on the university campus would be instrumental in the next stage of the archive’s establishment.”

In 2013, Frost became the faculty advisor for a Pagan student group on campus, The Pagan and Wiccan Society, which was “a more diverse group than the name implies” Frost notes. As chance would have it, the president of the group, Jameson Edward Reeves, was writing a paper on Starhawk at the time and Frost had first-person materials that Reeves would otherwise not be able to have access to. This was a turning point for Frost: “A bell had been struck for me, and the time had come; the collection needed a new home.”

It wasn’t until 2015 that Frost decided to take action, however. That year, he “approached archivist Deborah Skinner Davis at Valdosta State about the possibility of donating my collection as an archival collection. She was very interested.”  On March 22nd, 2016, Frost began moving the collection to VSU with the help of graduate student Meghan Crews. “As an individual archival collection, it [NAMOSRL] contains all the resources that have been acquired from 2004 to the present…In addition to books and periodicals, included in this collection are art prints, games, CDs, DVDs, tarot decks, calendars, a box of twelve herbs corresponding to the Zodiac, and much more…The oldest volume is from 1811, Beauties of Occult Science Investigated by Thomas White and is a volume previously owned by Llewellyn George, founder of Llewellyn Publications…It is an open collection, [and] additions occur throughout the year.”

From the NAMOSRL website: “[NAMOSRL] contains individual archival collections, books, periodicals, ephemera, paraphernalia, and research notes related to New age movements, occultism, magic and witchcraft, personal transformation, astrology, spiritualism, & shamanism. There are two parts of the collection: 1. records and papers of people and organizations that could and do stand alone as unique archival collections which will be described individually; 2. books, periodicals, study notes, and other ephemera collected to support its scope.” 

Frost has had an unusual journey with his queerness. As someone with multiple gender characteristics present from birth and that also have changed over time, when I asked what pronouns he uses, I got a laugh and a non-committal response of “I usually go with he/him.” He shared with me how different gender and anatomical evolutions have affected his life, and after describing his journey to me asked “so what would you call that?” making clear to me that as expansive as the so-called “alphabet soup” is of the LGBTQIA2S+ acronym, we could never come up with enough words to describe the human experience of gender and sex. “What is male and female needs to be obliterated,” Frost told me, and he explained how he thinks about the spiritual power of his queerness. For those of us who transgress the boundaries of sex/gender, we gain “an embodied understanding of alchemy and transformation” which uniquely positions us to “create something different” in the world, “physically, spiritually, and culturally”. 

As of this writing, there are 50 different collections as a part of the NAMOSRL, comprising collections created by individuals and groups. The archive can be viewed online here:    https://archivesspace.valdosta.edu/repositories/2/classification_terms/264, or in person at Valdosta State University, where Frost is still employed as a librarian. He still works on the archive consistently, expanding, gathering, researching and collating. As it says on the NAMOSRL website: “Guy Frost, the creator of this collection continues to seek out, accept as donations, and grow with as much digitization of source material as possible for this library.”

(This biographical statement was written by Walken Schwiegert for a Queer and Trans Theologies class at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities from an interview with Guy Frost and edited by Frost.)

Biography Date: November 2023

Tags

Neo-Pagan/New Age Movements/Occultism/Spirituality | Georgia | Archives/Library/History Activism

Citation

“Guy Frost | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed May 30, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/guy-frost.

Remembrances

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