HERITAGE EVENT – MIDSUMMER 2016
Hosted at the ‘Galleries of Justice’ in Nottingham, upon Midsummer’s Eve 2016, the Clan of Tubal Cain held a special event to commemorate 50 years of its public HERITAGE, celebrating it as a thriving, ‘lived’ Tradition, honouring its forebears and their precious works, both as a private family and as a very public, external presence. It is a family tradition that has spanned five decades since the premature death of Robert Cochrane, the founder of the People of Goda, as the Clan of Tubal Cain.
Many people were invited from various occult modalities to share this event and to mark this historic day, in celebration of not just our own cumulative works as the ‘The Robert Cochrane Tradition,’ but as proponents of a collective Craft with whom we share an invested interest for the future well-being of all such works. Together with Druids, Thelemites, Enochians, Wiccans, Witches, Masons, Rosicrucians, members of SOL and the OTO, the Pagan Community, Luciferian Craft, Folklorists, Cultural Academics, Gnostics, Animists and Polytheists, we collectively paid tribute to all ancestors of Craft & Magick, our cultural forebears – the antecedents of our divers and multiplicitous companie.
As Clan members, we personally held tribute to our honoured Shadow Companie who have paved the way for us to follow, from those who inspired and guided Cochrane, through to Evan John Jones – the Tanist he appointed to carry it forward as the next Magister. In continuity, through ourselves as current Maid and Magister to hold the past, present and future members of The People of Goda, the Clan of Tubal Cain, from Cochrane, Evan John Jones, Robin-the-Dart & Shani Oates, to the current Tanist, Ulric ‘Gestumblindi’ Goding} – all in Wyrd and Kairos.
Short readings were presented by selected members of the Clan , highlighting our ethics and perceptions of the Craft within the current backdrop of world politics, of events that forge the destiny of this world and those who may remain to people it. The Event was opened by our first speaker: Louis Bourbon, who discussed ‘The Faith & Legacy of CTC.’ Although Louis briefly read selected passages from Cochrane’s own works, he set aside his paper and informally addressed everyone with relevant commentary that illustrated a visionary accord for all of us within the 21st century. He mentioned the potential pitfalls of ‘Faith’ and how things in we encounter in life may inspire us to it. Here is an extract from his original transcript.
“Like so many others, he [Cochrane] wished to re-create the hope of a bygone age, a golden age of honour and camaraderie – a Brotherhood of pilgrims seeking the art of Truth, Love & Beauty. But these are not mere words, for each represents the Force and form of the very Highest of all powers, above even the Gods. Fate, was absolutely central to his view of all magical possibility. He formed a Clan to establish a familial Hearth, a cohesive unit conjoined in one mission – to discover Wisdom, thereby understanding all worlds, all magics. His numerous correspondences are littered with references to those mystical realms, his favoured authors write and pronounce upon. Quite astutely he recognised how those castles and kingdoms are not the sole domain of a ‘Keltic’ (sic) based system, but a universal vision, clothed in cultural form. And those variances were crucial to their workings and to their gods. Those gods he kept secret, using only ‘vague approximations’ when speaking of them to others.
Cochrane remarked that:
“..as a sort of interesting side line, there is pretty good evidence that the gypsies infiltrated into the English clans, and for that matter elsewhere. They may have carried various Indian practices with them. The whole ruddy subject gets so confusing that I usually end up with fresh knowledge about something that I had no intention of examining. Still it is something that once picked up, you can’t put it down again. I sometimes feel when I am wandering around in the marshes of the old knowledge, that the dam upstream is going to burst and the whole of humanity is going to be submerged by fifty thousand years of pre-history, swamping the neat sub-topian conventions of the last thousand years. King Log has already sunk, but they still worship the memory.”
By the time he was writing to Robert Graves, sometime over 1963/4, he had begun to mention the ‘nine-fold unfolding of the spirit’ ( the eight manifest plus one un-manifest planes of being); ‘the Menhir of Brittany’ – Its Craft Mysteries and its associative relevance to the Kabballah; the importance of spiritual beliefs and mysticism; the Guiden Corn; the Dark Goddess; the Triple Stave/Stang; the ‘Old Man;’ mysticism; tribal animal totems, specifically the Stag the antler of seven tines, (to this day, much revered in Stafford), and how symbolism and iconography are visionary aids to entering the other-worlds. He was especially motivated by how his system resides overall in the Mystery of Tanhausser – the lover of the Muse.
The basic law behind the techniques of magic and fate is that nature abhors a vacuum, and it is with this in mind that mystics and magicians alike attempt to lift the world Fate – Orlog. They replace that which is empty or negative with that which is positive. The trouble lies in the interpretation many casual ‘mystics’ or divines put upon the word ‘love’.” Here Cochrane refers to not only the Highest love, but all love, for brother, lover, humanity and the gods. Certainly he felt there was too much self-love in the world, too much self-indulgence, and too much ‘I’… His view was simple…. this all served to diminish Faith, which for him and ourselves means a way of life, – the way to live in Truth. His ‘old world’ values were shared by Christians and pagans alike. Humanity evolves through their absorption, living in the rightness of things. He asserted his Heritage often, generally in a quite personal way, essentially to enforce how the old clan systems operated culturally in these Isles. He alluded very strongly to the peculiar anomaly of the ‘call’ to blood and bone, a feature he believed often missed at least one generation, becoming an irresistible force of life for the next to be fated into. This established his own vital role in the telling of his own history, as do we, here now.
In another letter Cochrane goes to great lengths to explain to Bill how his understanding and way of working is neither shamanism or paganism, but mystical – crafted as the Mystery Traditions of old. There is a great deal said between the lines of their banter. Cochrane speaks of medium-ship, of psi-powers and E.S.P., of the sciences of hypnotism and psychology, and of the Houzle in its true form as a sacrificial and Eucharistic Rite. This is a complex letter. It covers a lot of ground. He leaves hints for Bill to enquire further into concerning the nature of the range of ‘Otherworld’ elementals, angelic spirits as entities of sentience and of contact and interaction with them. What he is in fact saying is that, The Faith, as he called it, is composed into a symphony of different movements, from the basic rhythm of the countryside rural customs that observe the seasonal round; the arcane mysteries of Tannist Twin Gods of waxing and waning complement to light and void of light; and a mystical belief that centres upon a Sacred Hierodule, an initiatory tradition of hereditary Priestess who are seers – Sybils, prophetess’s, who nurture the virtues and potential graces of its adherents through an awareness and love of the gods, all of which are subject to fate – the higher law.”
This subject led seamlessly into the pattern adopted by the second speaker, Shani Oates, in her own original lecture entitled: ‘The Rites & Rights of Truth.’ The title was preserved, but the original script was again set aside and in its stead a personal letter from Evan John Jones on this subject was read out. Written in the form of Q&A between Shani and John, its anecdotal topics encompassed some of the major incidents in the Clan’s long history, concerning consequences of actions and notable personages who have approached its gates. This discussion on E. J. J’s personal advise to her as a pilgrim seeking guidance on the rough road ahead, included excerpts from his letters to other craft personages . This was a very rare glimpse of the closeness shared between those of the Clan’s family.
Again, the following extract from the original proposed paper, offers further views and knowledge of Clan history, Lore & Law, effected through its people — specifically, it tackled the controversial involvement and presumed ‘influences’ from others better known for their own quite distinct praxes:
“A ‘Mythos’ centralizes a particular series of cultural myths that aligned to a given topography (physical or metaphysical, dependent upon the myths and/or the philosophies of those peoples engaging in their current usage). En-fleshed further, all praxis is the vehicle for their meaningful exploration as a living, extant co-existence—in other words: a way of being, a way of thinking as the wayfarers’ exploration of sympathetic concepts inherent to and intrinsic of both soul and body. This medium is the province of guide, mentor, guardian and Companie in the accomplishment of that ‘Work.’ It is a way within the Way. For a while, Bowers had explored everything put before him. Then he began discriminating what he felt was ‘right’ for its trajectory and refined it:
“Since we have decided to follow strictly traditional patterns, we have had to scrap nearly everything that was valid previously. During the formation of traditional practise, it must be remembered that nothing has come to us as a bulk commodity, but as a series of small; but increasingly interesting information.”
In his own words, he said to Chalky:
“This is the way Jane and I have been working, and will work in future.”
Every missive, every document written from Bowers, initially to members of his early coven in Slough, established very soon after leaving the London based coven – the one that considered research offers as exhibiting the most probable circumstances for being the actual Thames Valley Coven, rather than this group actually being Bowers’ own, which very quickly became established as The Clan of Tubal Cain. He advises them all. He gives instruction. Stage by stage. His missives clearly indicate the information was a one-way stream, from him to those within it. No-one else was involved in his guidance of his early members.
No matter what factions splinter from an established Clan, the Clan itself as an office and a family, as a heritage and a duty, remain always and entirely with the Head-Kinsmen, (jointly or severally, depending upon whether the Clan is Matriarchal or Patriarchal) holding absolute authority, but duty bound to serve all his People within it, as kith or kin, be that one person or twenty-one.
‘Initially derived from the Gaelic form ‘Clann,’ meaning ‘children,’ it later embraced the term in a less metaphorical sense and began to encompass a broader sense of those children as a ‘family’—effectively a ‘People,’ being the larger unit of a kinship, a description that very much conforms to the social structure of the Scottish Clan/n system. As a collective, based within a specific culture, they shared common customs, most importantly of beliefs, superstitions, folklore and magicks.’ (quoted from Tubal’s Mill).
Bowers explores those duties, the charge to the ancestors, the work itself, mentorship and tradition. Above all, Bowers’ notion of the mechanics of Clanship, of fealty within the hierarchy as it flows from the Egregore through the principals of titular heads, and then the gyfu of ‘return,’ back towards the Egregore—a perfect symbiosis.
“I in turn recognise the authority of others who are higher than myself, and that authority, once stated, is absolute, do what we may… My job, is to train and organise, fulfil the letter of the law, and to function, to discipline and to curse, as well as to elevate and expound. We have to train any new members to a certain level, develop any hidden power they may have, and finally to teach them how to manipulate virtue. We may be the last of the old school, but we still uphold the old attitudes and expect the same. Above we two rises another authority whose writ is older than ours, to that authority, we give absolute allegiance, and whose function it is to train us and work with us. . . I was in the fortunate position of having been blooded, therefore I have some hold on their ears.”
Several documents highlight very neatly, how throughout the early stage, its members nonetheless failed to achieve his much strived for group harmonic, and how those attempts fuelled only by incompatibility, were doomed to fail. Bowers’ dream for his work even through the evolution impetus of Clanship, never reached fruition. Those disparate and diverse principles within the tenets of the beliefs held by Chalky and George created continual friction from the onset, are as noted above by E. J. Jones to ourselves.”
Of some concern, he clearly warns them of the fateful consequences of this:
“It is also a basic matter, unless this can be done successfully, we may as well work individually and forget all about a Clan, since we do not deserve one, or for that matter have the interest of the gods.”
Robin-the-Dart was the next speaker, relating to the Companie – ‘The Mask of Tubal Cain.’ Robin unequivocally discussed the duties and responsibilities of ancestry — how we honour it within the work and how we pay it forward. In this extract from the actual talk presented, we are able to grasp his intent to bring the under use of myth to the fore by example of culture and tradition.
“True myth is about Truth, a needful aide to permanence. The message held in myth is eternal. And, just as intriguing as the science that surrounds us at every instant of eternity, there is only one Truth owned by no one, yet shared by everyone. This light of Truth pierces the myths and scriptures of the world in a deeply profound manner, having no parallel in vapid or fanciful delusions; there is nothing trivial about understanding the very ‘reality’ of truth, or indeed compassion. Where possible, in a hostile world one has to be far braver than those we encounter who act with increasing dishonour and rapidly declining integrity. All true paths are refractions of the ‘One Source,’ the light exposes honesty and fault without exclusion. Myth deals with timeless truisms, ethical living, honour, integrity, all things difficult to put into practice. Such stories retain, intact, our heritage – those things that guide our lives in fact.
Myth is history masked as God, it is our ancestral map – a guide to take us beyond what we see. To understand the indescribable is to become a real human being. To live as best we may without the errors that separate brother from brother. Myth instructs us to retain our wits, to see clearly and above all, to listen intently. The old Myth cycles hold a great wealth of fascinating insight that allows us to acquire a better grasp of a very real ancestry, and of a dutiful code of ethics to avoid the chaos and vagrancy of a deviant life. Quoting from letter 9 to Bill Gray, we begin with a tirade Cochrane composed that takes just such a critical assessment of his world – HIS world, not simply the times he lived through – but the events and circumstances that shaped and challenged him – the influences that marked his mind and honed his scathing views and his passion for ‘The Work.’
“This century has had the effect of making everything genteel, clouding the pang of life in clouds of deodorant. Everything is so nice, everything is so grey and completely without taste. We are all Victorian gentlewomen neatly stitched into a twentieth century, that is not really nice or so easy going as the ad man and mass consumer redi-mix culture would have us believe. I feel that one day someone is going to kick over the scenery, then we will all see the bare brick walls of the theatre. ”
This might have been said yesterday. As a known anarchist, this rebellious behaviour appealed to his desire for liberation – for free thinking, for objective analysis and subjective demonstration:
“My own opinion is that this is the age of the drums, when somewhere from the inner planes a war drum is beating, calling all men of good intent together and to arms before it is too late. Sooner or later we must face the enemies of life and decide once and for all who and what is going to be the guiding light of this planet. Mars himself is esoteric at times, and I feel that there has been a dangerous infiltration from the Firbolg, the children of Dylan and darkness are covering the old human light.”
Historical records confirm how all peoples have instinctively called upon and celebrated their own cultural and religious heritage, through lineage, family and tradition. In studying themes around which poems, odes, chants and invocations are composed across and throughout all peoples across many thousands of years of evolution, a common thread is recognisable that supports the fundamental premise of ‘belonging’, primary especially to all tribal or clan systems. The ‘Call’ or invocation, expresses the very real bond between Clan, ancestors, and their tutelary gods. It expounds no great magics nor is it emotively spiritual. But in every sense it evokes a sense of ‘family’. It expresses in every sense a true ‘belonging’. These elements forge sentiments to which the modern pagan can easily relate to and resonate with. And it is far deeper and more profound than it looks. Context is always the prime mover.
Western culture has for so long limited conceptualizations of belief to a God upstairs with an erring humanity in the middle, and Satan awaiting in the cellar. Such rigid perceptions have added their own flavour to the more open and tangible beliefs of another ancestry, one evolved in a very different viewed a world vastly different in perception and understanding. Yet both held Virtue, and both have shaped Tradition, Custom and Belief. Now, when we sit within the Mead Hall to raise a cup, we honour all, and hope that the best of us can hold Her Banner with a ‘real’ sense of purpose and due pride in that token.
I too, like Cochrane am an anarchist [I am also a socialist]. He believed spiritual awareness was essential to balance the hardships of life. His ambitious drive, his eagerness for knowledge honed his vision, but blinded him to reality. To read the sadness in his heart towards the end of his life, his vision barely recognised, to feel his depression, where, just for a moment he had lost his guidance. Missing the mark, he slipped into the Mask of despair. Pain rips through his anger. His words testify his grief at the loss of the ultimate prize, once in sight but lost in the mists of worldly obsessions. Yet what makes him a truly remarkable man for me was his unrelenting spirituality.
“Take up works that are based upon truth, and you are a condemned man, for the human race as a whole does not want truth, but the comfort of illusion. We are still babies suckling at a breast whose milk is poisonous, yet we think that we flourish upon poison.
Truth, no matter how we interpret it, feeds demons as well as saints.”
The fourth and final speaker: of the day, Ulric ‘Gestumblindi’ Goding, spoke of ‘Wisdom’s Embrace: Living Craft & Upholding Tradition.” Following on in equal measure of challenge and controversy, Ulric’s alchemical treatise, gave pause for thought and contemplation:
“I speak as one who views his Craft as more than merely a technology to attain one’s desires. I speak as one whose Craft is his very Being. With this view in mind, I shall attempt to convey a culture witnessed through living Tradition. One should not be able to pick it up one moment, put it down the next like an item of clothing, merely worn for purpose. One’s Craft should inform how one lives; how they relate to the World, how they interact with fellow man, creature and experiences of Other.
As I have written elsewhere, “that which we do today will be tomorrow’s folklore”. If all stay conforming to what is in vogue for academics, then what really will we leave to all of our respective descendants? (After all, this is *Traditional* Craft and so by its very nature it must be inherited and passed on.) So in that instance, what indeed is passed on? An inoffensive, unobtrusive, safe-on-the-fence magnolia, just the same as everyone else who has read the same “research” as gospel. In fact, a phrase from the Bible if I may, “the letter killeth the Spirit”. Yes, academia satisfies the intellect… their discoveries may also inspire… but do not let it rule and dictate practice. Have courage to strip as much away as you can, return to centre, listen for that voice in the wilderness.
The Old Craft is very pragmatic, what we are after are *RESULTS*, nothing less than that. If what is undertaken to get those results, that communion with Other, flies in the face of textbooks and peer-approval, then so be it! The Old Craft has never concerned itself with back-patting and badge-collecting. Old Craft is very much an archaic beast, as suggested by its Clan-systems, it is tribal at its core. Yes, Old Craft is tribal in its nature, this statement will have me losing ‘brownie-points’ amid those who are enamoured by the rampant globalisation that has eroded culture after culture for the sake of evangelising an homogenous techno-industrial replacement, one that offers supposed ‘prosperity and democracy’.
As an example of this tribalism in practice; I am oathed to the Clan of Tubal Cain, the People, my kin; as nice as all of you sitting here are I’m sure, if this building was on fire who would your money be on that I am looking to save first?…. Of course, *my kin*, if there are people in the way then they will used as stepping-stones to get my own to safety, and step I shall. Granted, not a pretty example, but it highlights a rather unfashionable, tribal attitude. In this example, had I lost moral ground running over folk to save my own? In my view, it was neither a moral nor immoral decision; strictly amoral. After all, as many Trad Crafters like to state, ‘nature is red in tooth and claw,’ not out of vindictiveness or spite, but due to necessity in ensuring survival. Loss or harm to others is to be mourned, but sometimes it may just be necessary to ensure the survival of kin and continuation of the seed. Again decisions not made on a moral basis; malevolence is not sought after.
Behaviour, actions are dictated by cultural paradigm. If, as a member of modern society, what you are doing in the Craft doesn’t change you, then what you are doing isn’t rooted in the Old Craft. Modern society is but a mixture of individuals, if any of you know chemistry then you will appreciate the difference between something being a ‘compound’ and something being a ‘mixture,’ the former is chemically fused, the latter is merely sharing space. As we look about the world now, the smaller, intimate, “fused” communities are but a quaint memory. Instead we just share space, or cyberspace, a loose mixture of egos, contrived versions of self are presented and very little else offered. This modern society affords someone an identity based on their consumer preferences, hobbies, sports or political team. Within Old Craft, identity is found and nurtured through the collective of the tribe, the community etc. As Tanist of the Clan of Tubal Cain, to use my head-kinsman and Magister Robin-the-Dart’s words from the “Heritage” book:
“The Tanist, Lawful Son, holds the Priestly Rites and Law for the People. His charge is to be their spiritual guide, and share the Clan’s lore and customs, its Mythos, the dreams and aspirations of our cumulative ancestors, and its evolution through a millennia of change. His duties are manifold. He is the needful diplomat, spokesperson and envoy for the Clan.”
Robin also adds further that his own “duty is to the shadows. The light is held by my Tanist son, and he is my bridge to the outer world; for he is my eyes and ears there.” That, my role in the strengthening and survival of my Clan is my identity; I, Ulric Goding, am nothing outside of those parameters. There is the difference between archaic tribal values and today’s society which rewards and celebrates the individual, quite literally the shallow ‘Cult of Celebrity.”
You, are more than an individual, you are your ancestors and all of their collective hopes and dreams, you are also all of the inspiration and aspiration of Divinity. One could say plainly that we are “fully human and fully divine”. Yet it really is no use merely hearing these words echo from a stranger’s mouth, such a profundity will only be realised in the experiencing of it, this is what drove Roy (Cochrane) and this is what the Clan has offered its people from its inception, to the present day and beyond; when then immersed and lived fully within its culture, experiential knowing is Wisdom’s embrace upon the worthy seeker.
Thank you for your kind reception and attention. In the words of an Old Norse Blessing:
Til árs og fríđar! (To Good Harvest and Peace!)
(photo credit – Tammy Lynn Shaw)
To fully commemorate this HERITAGE EVENT, its Mythopoetic Legacy manifested in the official launch of two new tomes, specifically written for this momentous event by current Clan Members:
1 – A Clan Anthology, composed of works penned by The People of Goda— ‘HERITAGE’ which looks at how we have evolved within a ‘lived’ tradition. Each individual essay relates a personal account of their Craft. It is a beautifully composed collection of works, provided first-hand insights on this very public, yet enigmatically ‘closed’ Tradition.
2 – An auto-biographical account of the ‘Robert Cochrane Tradition’ authored by Shani Oates, Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain. ‘Tubal’s Mill’ lays bare the foundations of our Craft, opening a window into a legendary world, peopled by names of renown amidst unfurling adventure, tragedy and promise. Seen from the outside, we fall into their world for the first time in 50 years. As a critique, its truth is blunt and brazen, exposing the false and hackneyed tales of fiction and fantasy alongside the real events they have pretended to represent. Fully supported by a mass of primary sources and solid references, this promises to be a seminal work, academic, yet accessible for the serious student of the historicity and history of the Craft.
A further work, ‘The Star-Crossed Serpent III,’ the long-awaited concluding part of a trilogy that deals with the heritage of this tradition through three magisters, eras and modes of work as relevant to them. Using archival documents, oral lore, research and direct experience, this final tome adds a vital chronology of Cochrane’s literary works, explored and explained by those who continue his tradition. Though missing the date by a few weeks, this volume published at Lammas, in true measure of the Harvest, heralds the imperative of this anniversary event.
Upon conclusion of the talks, as books were purchased and signed, it was fascinating to note how convivial the mood, and how well perused the artefacts on display were; indeed they received considerable attention. Select ritual items included E.J.J’s Stang Head, the Magisterial Hand-staff, formed from Cochrane’s own Ash Stang; the bronze knife John and Roy forged together; a whetstone given to John from another significant craft member, the pewter chalice John and Doreen shared during the years they worked together after Cochrane’s death, plus photographs, diagrams, and letters, all of which were mounted behind glass for careful inspection. These Clan treasures had never been seen beyond our Hearth; and it was very rewarding to see how well they were received and the curiosity they aroused.
To Earth the Fire, Robin-the-dart led our guests down into the candle-lit caves beneath ‘The Salutation Inne,’ some 30 feet below ground level, to participate in the ‘Sumble Rite,’ with himself and other Clan members. In this natural amphitheatre, revered ancestors were honoured as Robin –the-dart exploited the marvellous acoustics there with ancestral calls, and his personal and enchanting version of the ‘Lord of the Dance.’ This highly emotive conclusion to the day’s energies was then fully grounded in the hearty feasting that followed in the oldest pub in Nottingham – an alleged overnight shelter for Templars and pilgrims on their way to the Holy lands, the 11th century alehouse – ‘The Old Trip to Jerusalem.’
Although the day had been remarkably convivial, it was also extremely profound. A memorable precedent had been set for specific mobile events linked to pertinent landmarks and relevant buildings that enhanced the emotive intent and purpose of the gathering. This is after all how Tradition and Culture are best celebrated.
The entire event was self-funded by the Clan, shared freely in gracious thanks to all attendees, in gyfu, as is meet for a Clan hosted gathering, and all monies raised from the generous donations were in aid of ‘Shelter UK’ to help raise awareness for , and assist in the care of Britain’s homeless. It was a true mark of acknowledgment and respect between everyone, who were able to enjoin the magick – a moment Roy, John and Doreen would applaud. With absolute sincerity – we humbly thank you all for this treasured moment of history marked in true Companie! Huzzah!