Heritage Review and Write Up

THE VISION AND LEGACY OF ROBERT COCHRANE

(image: Ulric ‘Gestumblindi’ Goding)

June 2016 saw the fiftieth anniversary of the tragic death of a remarkable individual, a man who posthumously was to become perhaps the most influential figure in Traditional Witchcraft and Occult thought, during the latter decades of the twentieth century and beyond. That man whose real name was Roy Bowers, is better known today under his pseudonym of Robert Cochrane. Although one should add the qualification that Cochrane slipped into a coma on Midsummer Eve and did not actually pass until the 3rd of July 1966. Since he did not regain consciousness however, many mark that date as his ‘symbolic’ death. He was thirty five years old and the Feast Day of Saint John, seems an appropriate time to remember someone of such standing.


(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

Founder of the People of the Goda, the Clan of Tubal Cain this man wrote no books and during his brief life, only a few of his articles ever saw print. He is today known through the famous letters written to Bill Gray, Joseph Wilson, Norman Gills and others, many are today available online and in print. His influence however, extends far beyond those available works. Due to the continued existence of his Clan and the circulation of his unpublished manuscripts, his memory still serves as a candle in the darkness. A lamp that guides those who seek to explore the deeper mysteries.

(image: Daniel Bran Griffith)

On Saturday the 25th of June (2016) an event of enormous import took place in the English city of Nottingham. Heritage and the Poetic Vision of Robert Cochrane (Heritage for short) was in fact a series of three linked events, each following on from the other. The first being an invitation only event to some sixty carefully chosen individuals. This happy few, this band of brothers and sisters, included not only Clan supporters and friends; this gathering included in its number the luminaries of the Craft and the Occult environment in Britain today. A somewhat smaller number were unable to attend and had sent their apologies. I had a small role to play in the organisation and running of the event, acting as one of the ushers on the day.

(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

Gathering at the majestic conference rooms of the Galleries of Justice, a large, ornate and stylish venue, the private part of the day began post lunch. Here in this room, with selected Clan artefacts and regalia on display, four lectures by Clan members were presented. The object to celebrate the heritage of the Clan, its place within the modern Craft movement and to look to the future.

(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

Our second venue of the day was the Old Salutation Inn on Maid Marion Way. This ancient building dating back to the thirteenth century, is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The cellar caves underneath date to the ninth century and are something of a historical feature. This building was set aside for the public phase of the event and here in the wood panelled Cromwell Snug, the Maid was to sign her published works.

(image: Daniel Bran Griffith)

This event marked besides that already mentioned, the publication of three new works published by the Clan of Tubal Cain. ‘Heritage’ is an anthology of writings by the People of the Goda (the Clan itself) and explores its evolution. ‘Tubal’s Mill: the round of life’ is an account of the Robert Cochrane Tradition written by Shani Oates, the Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain. To accompany that work there is a third publication ‘Tubal’s Mill: Legacy.’ This work being a collection of relevant scanned documents. All of these works together with other works by Shani Oates are available via Amazon or Mandrake of Oxford.

 

Our third and final phase of this remarkable day was an evening meal at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, that other famous Nottingham public house. Built under the shadow of the castle walls the main building dates to the seventeenth century, with ancient caves and medieval foundations built deep into Castle Rock. The origins of the site can be dated to the early Norman period of the eleventh or twelfth centuries. Here on the upper floors, which like the Salutation we filled, all who wished to, invited guests and members of the public, came together for a communal meal of exceptional quality. We gathered in fellowship, brotherhood and sisterhood. It was here, sitting under the shadows of the aptly placed Roe Deer carving and the famous Haunted Galleon, while enjoying the convivial company; that I could reflect upon the significance of this truly exceptional day.

 

(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

In both the United Kingdom and the United States of America, there are groups that claim on the most questionable basis, to be Clan, 1734 or even both at the same time. Although these pseudo-groups are disowned by both the Clan and representatives of the 1734, their claims are repeated with an unfortunate regularity. Why such individuals should feel that their traditions are so inferior or incomplete, that they need to claim spurious links to bolster their own ego, authority and validity, is unknown to me.

 

Yet this shameful, disreputable and dishonourable behaviour continues. It is a recognition of the respect and posthumous influence of Robert Cochrane, that such charlatans do need his name to further their own doubtful activities. Unfortunately this has forced the Clan as a body to take defensive action, to issue statements that in an ideal world should be unnecessary and to defend the Truth in a darkness deliberately created by enemies of that Truth.

For far too long people outside of the Clan have attempted to claim authority, some have even had the audacity to write books but they are of little worth. What can we do? What can we say? The Truth cannot be expressed in words alone. The world ever turns and we are all at sea. Yet the Truth is the light that like a beacon, will guide us safely to harbour.

(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

My own knowledge of the Clan of Tubal Cain and the name of Robert Cochrane came from two sources. The first being that famous chapter in the 1989 work ‘Rebirth of Witchcraft’ by Doreen Valiente. The second source was rather more important and far more influential. That was ‘Witchcraft a Tradition Renewed’ and it was written by Evan John Jones, the then Magister of the Clan of Tubal Cain. The work included an introduction by Doreen Valiente and was published one year later in 1990.

 

(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

This work more than any other, set me on a path away from the fashionable ‘new-age wiccanesque’ practices of the late twentieth century and on a search for something quite different. Something culturally relevant, something hidden deep in the blood and the soil of my heritage, my land and my ancestry. Soon I was and I remain still, a great admirer of the late great Evan John Jones, whose open style of writing and fresh presentation, subconsciously challenged me to evaluate my Paganism, my Craft and my identity.

 

(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

Later I was to read other works on what I now knew of as ‘Traditional Witchcraft,’ including that equally exceptional work ‘Tubelo’s Green Fire’ by Shani Oates. Yet this event here in Nottingham was not simply about books, it was about heritage, roots and the future. Words were spoken and objects seen, words that are not in print and items that may never be spoken of publicly.

(image: TammyLyn Shaw)

The Clan of Tubal Cain, whatever the roots and influences of the tradition, whatever it may share with other traditions, remains unique in its legacy, its manifestation and interpretation of craft teachings. This event; the Heritage and the Poetic Vision of Robert Cochrane, served as a public reiteration of the philosophy behind the only identifiable and true Cochrane Tradition. Seeking to both correct and challenge the misinformation sadly prevalent, whilst setting forth the less crooked path of this a living tradition.

We had gathered as friends, supporters and members of the Clan of Tubal Cain, to salute the memory of its founder Robert Cochrane, that of its second Magister Evan John Jones, to celebrate their achievements and to look forward in faith with the current Maid, Magister and Tanist of this living tradition. I am confident that the event made its mark with both the quick and the dead, that the beacon remains lit and that the harbour awaits.

                                     (image TammyLyn Shaw)

Daniel Bran Griffith the Chattering Magpie © 2017

For a full review of the event, please visit:

http://chatteringmagpie-summonerofthehearth.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/heritage-and-poetic-vision-of-robert.html?m=1

A few more selected images of the day by TammyLyn Shaw

 

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