Tanist: A Lineaged Tradition Continues

•September 26, 2015 • 2 Comments

The Fool on the Hill and The Dirty Rascal 


As Magister and Head-Kinsman, it is my privilege to know that The Clan is able to bear witness to a time-honoured duty of kinship at the higher levels of responsibility and service to our People. Ulric Gestumblindi Goding stands beside me now in the role of Tanist; to ‘live’ fully the ways of our ancestors, sharing in the marking our Knots and Tides in the ways of old, now and for many years to come, in preparation for his own eventual ascension as Head-Kinsman, that is to say, Magister of the Clan of Tubal Cain.”

Robin d’Arte –

‘May the Word protect you from The Lie.’

johnandroyThe Roles of Tanist and Magister are inexorably linked. They serve each other, the ‘Other’ and the Clan, without distinction. Clans are historically composed of various groups or collectives; though always in allegiance to the one Head-Kinsman. It can be no other way. We are not being exclusive so much as we are refuting inclusivity by desire, rather than by due election and admittance. This means, that, contrary to a popular opinion given elsewhere concerning ‘closed’ groups, we are not exclusive; though we deny access to those who are simply desirous of admittance.

Many words in common use now are used very much out of context, and without qualification. We do not exclude people based on their of measure privileged abilities, a rather elitist principle – but neither are we inclusive of all things, a naive licence. But we do exclude those who come to the gate out of desire or ego, and we do include those of a true heart. Therefore, election and admittance is a matter of ‘being.’

It was thus in 1966 and remains so now in 2015.

We, ‘The People of Goda, the Clan of Tubal Cain,’ hold that Tradition and its Legacy as Covenanted Heirs, in succession through its rich history of leaders, continuing directly, an unabated aegis of the Clan, from a Craft elder, through Robert Cochrane, then through Evan John Jones, appointed by Cochrane to be his Tanist (spiritual heir), an act vouchsafed by his wife as the Lady and Maid of the Clan, to be its physical heir and leader after him.


In like manner, Evan John Jones, past Magister and Head-Kinsman of the Clan of Tubal Cain, publicly bequeathed that authority to ourselves, naming Robin-the-dart as his Tanist successor.

In continuance of this arcane tradition, ‘Ulric “Gestumblindi” Goding’ now stands as Robin-the-dart’s appointed Tanist, in honour of our Ancestral culture and sacred custom.


Our appreciation to all who continue to look in here to read or comment on this significant and historical marker within the Robert Cochrane Tradition, a most profound assignment of continuity into and through the next generation, the promise of a heavy mantle indeed.

In keeping with the customs of our cultural forebears, gathered from across Scandinavia and northern Europe, the Saxon tradition especially is significant. The announcement of a leading male clan member of age to accompany, support and stand in for, advise and share leadership as ‘second,’ in the present leaders lifetime, found typical mundane reflection in the clanships of Ireland and Scotland. Known as the Tanist, this person would already be long sworn-in and duty bound to seamlessly succeed the leader upon his eventual death, sometime in the unforeseeable future (most commonly), very rarely before, in order to preserve full honour of their line. These roles also reflect those of the hereafter, a mirrored microcosm of the macrocosm, expressed in folklore, myth and rhyme. The Fool on the Hill is the King of the Castle in death, and the Dirty Rascal is his challenger in Wyrd, in life and in time.


In Clan family traditions, these tenets remain observed by too few. We count ourselves most fortunate that we do. For those uncertain still about this little understood and mostly defunct modus operandi, further explanation as to how this sits within ‘The Robert Cochrane Tradition.’ The dawn of a new era is upon us: ut luceant in lucem extensio

027 freyja

A deeper exploration will be found in the forthcoming publication: “Star-Crossed Serpent III”. The following link should satisfy until then (it ‘should’ hopefully be out for Yule 2015 – please watch Mandrake of Oxford’s Press’ release page for updates).

Please also see:





•August 13, 2015 • 2 Comments



Musae  Muse, Muse of all Inspired and Inspiring Artes

“The gods have given to men cunning arts and have put in them all wisdom. Other god is namesake of other craft, even that whereof he that got the honourable keeping . . . The gifts of the Mousai (Muses) and Apollon are songs.”

[Oppian, Halieutica 2. 16 (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd A.D.)]



Nymphs & Wraiths of inspiritus, the indwelling genius loci of all sacred water sources, grottoes, and wells. Mountains too were typically connected with their worship and all sacrificial devotions there were likewise transferred from the northern regions of Mount Helicon in Boetia (Thrace) to those more southerly. First,
as three, namely, Melete (meditation), Mneme (memory), and Aoede (song), they eventually became nine distinct forces, as they travelled to Mount Olympus, with no set virtue or name originally ascribed to them, excepting that which rang out the ‘repasts of the immortals.’



“The Mousai (Muses) who gladden the great spirit of their father Zeus in Olympus with their songs, telling of things that are and that shall be and that were aforetime with consenting voice. Unwearying flows the sweet sound from their lips, and the house of their father Zeus the loud-thunderer is glad at the lily-like voice of the goddesses as it spread abroad, and the peaks of snowy Olympus resound, and the homes of the immortals. And they uttering their immortal voice, celebrate in song first of all the reverend race of the gods from the beginning, those whom Gaia (Gaea, Earth) and wide Ouranos (Uranus, Heaven) begot, and the gods sprung of these, givers of good things. Then, next, the goddesses sing of Zeus, the father of gods and men, as they begin and end their strain, how much he is the most excellent among the gods and supreme in power. And again, they chant the race of men and strong Gigantes (Giants), and gladden the heart of Zeus within Olympus,–the Mousai Olympiades (of Olympus), daughters of Zeus the aegis-holder.”

[Hesiod, Theogony 36 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.)]

kissofthemuseby cezzane

Revered as feminine virtues, these deified goddesses of all inspired word, movement and voice, generated the creative stimulus of poets and authors, musicians and dancers. Yet they were also the champions of memory and wisdom, of all things past and yet to be. The Greeks listed these beautiful and uniquely gifted women as follows: Kalliope, epic poetry; Kleio, history; Ourania, astronomy; Thaleia, comedy; Melpomene, tragedy; Polyhymnia, religious hymns; Erato, erotic poetry; Euterpe, lyric poetry; and Terpsikhore, choral song and dance.[i]

Great poets and sages, bards and artists, if they be wise, dedicate their art to their Muse; and many, in times past, have professed to be the ‘son of’ (hence the recension within faerie lore to d’arte), often claiming an ethereal bonding, as devotees to their beloved Muse. Rather than Mothers, they are better known as virginal nymphs. Eventually, these divine ladies became the nine ‘Mothers’ of Apollo, whose prophetic qualities inspired the Pythia at Delphi. On Mount Helicon, they formed the mantic companions of Dionysus.

Grand statuary adorned the Temples of the Mouseia, and their followers, known as Thespians celebrated a solemn festival of the Muses on Mount Helicon and Mount Parnassus, even within the Academy in Athens. Spartan warriors offered sacrifices to these great spirits sacrifices previous to battle. Yet another Cult revered their influences in the dream world of Hypnos.


“Apollon journeys to] Olympus, to the house of Zeus, to join the gathering of the other gods: then straightway the undying gods think only of the lyre and song, and all the Mousai (Muses) together, voice sweetly answering voice, hymn the unending gifts the gods enjoy and the sufferings of men, all that they endure at the hands of the deathless gods, and how they live witless and helpless and cannot find healing for death or defence against old age. Meanwhile the rich-tressed Kharites (Charites, Graces) and cheerful Horai (Horae, Seasons) dance with Harmonia (Harmony) and Hebe (Youth) and Aphrodite, daughter of Zeus, holding each other by the wrist.”

[Homeric Hymn 3 to Pythian Apollo 186 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th – 4th B.C.)]



Apuleius,  relates to us in his second century Roman novel, ‘The Golden Ass’ [ii]  how the gods & muses danced at the wedding feast of Cupid and Psyche:

“At the wedding of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche (Psykhe):] Vulcanus [Hephaistos] cooked the dinner, the Horae (Seasons) brightened the scene with roses and other flowers, the Gratiae (Graces) diffused balsam, and the Musae (Muses), also present, sand in harmony. Apollo sang to the lyre, and Venus [Aphrodite] took to the floor to the strains of sweet music, and danced prettily. She had organized the performance so that the Musae sang in chorus, a Satyrus played the flute, and a Paniscus [a Pan] sang to the shepherd’s pipes. This was how with due ceremony Psyche was wed to Cupidos [Eros, Love.”

They were often accompanied by the Kharites (Charites, Graces), goddesses of dance, glorification and adornment, as Sappho eloquently expresses here:

“Apollon, the Leader of the Mousai (Mousagetos) himself as he appears when Sappho and Pindar in their songs deck him out with golden hair and lyre and send him drawn by swans to Mount Helikon (Helicon) to dance there with the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces).”[iii]

Homer similarly flavours his great epic with exploits of the graceful Artemis, here at play with the Kharites.

Artemis goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoibos Apollon, to the rich land of Delphoi, there to order the lovely dance of the Mousai (Muses) and Kharites (Charites, Graces). There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing.”[iv]



It is therefore quite remarkable that Plutarch (l. c.), in contradistinction, records the stoic tradition that persisted, which regarded the Nine Muses especially as the Mneiae, or ‘Remembrances.’ But this may be due to their association with the mourning of the dead in elaborate funereal dances of lamentation and dirge. They were frequently referred to as ‘Judges’ too in this capacity. Certainly, the power most commonly assigned to them is of inspirational insights for poet and choreographer alike. Homer cites the presence of the Nereides, the nine daughters of Nereus, in his Odyssey, the grand funeral of the mighty hero Achilles, equating them with the Mousai.

“The daughters of the ancient sea-god [the Nereides daughters of Nereus] stood round about you [Akhilleus], wailing piteously, and clothed you with celestial garments; and nine Mousai (Muses) sang your dirge with sweet responsive voices. Not one Argive you have seen there who was not weeping, the clear notes went to their hearts. For seventeen days and seventeen nights we lamented for you, immortal beings and mortal men; on the eighteenth day we committed you to the flames.”


Hubris before the gods, was met swiftly and assuredly with divine retribution, deformity and blindness spiting those whose vanity breeched the mark.  The bird-like Sirens lost their striking plumage to the Muses after losing a contest for their beautiful song who thereafter wore them as bright decoration, others were yet transformed from mortal (the nine daughters of Pierus) to bird.

Pausanias records the brutal contest between the Muses & Sirens:

“At Koroneia in Boiotia] is a sanctuary of Hera . . . in her hands she carried the Seirenes (Sirens). For the story goes that the daughters of Akheloios (Achelous) were persuaded by Hera to compete with the Mousai (Muses) in singing. The Mousai won, plucked out the Seirenes’ feathers and made crowns for themselves out of them.”

Ovid too, finds room to record an equally dramatic musical contest on Helikon:

“Whenever the daughters of Pieros began to sing, all creation went dark and no one would give an ear to their choral performance. But when the Mousai sang, heaven, the stars, the sea and rivers stood still, while Mount Helikon, beguiled by the pleasure of it all, swelled skyward till, by the will of Poseidon, Pegasos checked it by striking the summit with his hoof. Since these mortals had taken upon themselves to strive with goddesses, the Mousai changed them into nine birds. To this day people refer to them as the grebe, the wryneck, the ortolan, the jay, the greenfinch, the goldfinch, the duck, the woodpecker, and the dracontis pigeon.”[v]

“The Musa (Muse) was speaking [to Athena] when in the air a whirr of wings was heard, and from high boughs there came a greeting voice. Jove’s [Zeus’] child looked up to see whence came the tongue that spoke so clear, thinking it was a man. It was a bird: nine of them there had perched upon the boughs, lamenting their misfortune, master-mimics, nine magpies. As Minerva [Athena] gazed in wonder, the Musae began (one goddess to another) to tell this tale. ‘Not long ago these, too, worsted in contest, swelled the tribe of birds. Their father was rich Pierus, a squire of Pellae, and Euippe Paeonis their mother. To her aid nine times she called Lucina [Eileithyia goddess of childbirth] and nine times she bore a child. This pack of stupid sisters, puffed with pride in being nine, had travelled through the towns, so many towns of Haemonia [Thessaly] and Achaea and reached us here at last and challenged us: “Cease cheating with that spurious charm of yours the untutored rabble. If you trust your powers content with us, you Deae Thespiades [Mousai, Thespian Goddesses]. In voice and skill we shall not yield to you; in number we are equal. If you lose, you leave Medusaeus’ [Pegasos’] spring [Hippokrene on Mt Helikon] and Aganippe Hyantea [spring of Thebes], or we the plain of Emathia up to Paeonia’s snowy mountainsides; and let the judgement of the Nymphae decide.”


‘Of course it was a shame to strive with them but greater shame to yield. The choice of Nymphae was made; they took the oath by their own streams, and sat on benches shaped form living stone. Then, without drawing lots, the one who claimed to challenge sang of the great war in heaven, ascribing spurious prowess to the Gigantes, belittling all the exploits of the gods: how Typhoeus, issuing from earth’s lowest depths, struck terror in those heavenly hearts, and they all turned their backs and fled, until they found refuge in Aegyptus and the seven-mouthed Nilus. She told how Typhoeus Terrigena (Earthborn) even there pursued them and the gods concealed themselves in spurious shapes; “And Jupiter [Zeus] became a ram,” she said, “lord of the herd, and so today great Ammon Libys’ [Zeus-Ammon] shown with curling horns. Delius [Apollon] hid as a raven, Semeleia [Dionysos] as a goat, Phoebe [Artemis] a cat, Saturnia [Hera] a snow-white cow, Venus [Aphrodite] a fish and Cyllenius [Hermes] an ibis.” So to her lyre she sang and made an end.

 “Such was the song Calliope our leading sister sang; she finished and the Nymphae with one accord declared the goddesses of Helicon the winners. As the losers hurled abuse, “So then it’s not enough,” I said, “that your challenge has earned you chastisement; you add insult to injury. Our patience has its limits; we’ll proceed to punishment. Where anger calls, we’ll follow.” Those nine girls, the Emathides, laughed and despised my threats and, as they tried to speak and shout and scream and shake their fists, before their eyes their fingers sprouted feathers, plumage concealed their arms, and each of them saw in the face of each a heard beak form, all weird new birds to live among the woods; and as they beat their breasts their flapping arms raised them to ride the air.”



And so, our divine ladies, of wisdom, grace and death, of  three and nine are of the earth beneath and around, the living waters, that flow through and between and the skies above and beyond………… there’s a mystery here………

[i] http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Mousai.html

[ii] 6. 24 ff (trans. Walsh)

[iii] Fragment 208 (from Himerius, Orations) (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.)

[iv] Hymn 27 to Artemis 14 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th – 4th B.C.)

[v] Metamorphoses 5. 294 & 662 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.)


Henrietta Rae (1859-1928), “The Sirens”



•June 12, 2015 • 2 Comments

The Divil’s Crown


“The Hunter, Old Tubal and the Roebuck in the Thicket are one and the same!”

Upon His hoary brow, three curling flame-like strands dance in the hazy light; seen, unseen, gestural, metaphysical; this fire-brand of shin, the triple fire and triple horns belong to Him alone. Eponymous and eternal wanderer, He steps out, lowering his piercing gaze to draw down His favoured hat, to veil His Virtue, from profane eyes. Who today would see that blazing sigil; smiling inwardly, He yet bears the mark with pride!

The Jestor’s hat both mirrors and mocks the black felted Tricorn, much favoured by the Devil Himself

His trident, tight within the Fool’s grasp, is shadowed in that seasoned staff,  a-mocking by tinkling bell, His hayfork’s iron Tines. Three tangs. But why? What medieval jape obscures a mystery here? Robert Cochrane casually refers to two such characters, each completing in the other, two halves of one whole, not in opposition, but in harmony. In tandem. Denial of either one leads to madness. Embrace the whole, leads to discovery of the genius within.

Each new seeker is metaphorically a ‘fool,’ yet has much to teach us; the ‘blind’ lead the blinded. Perhaps the fool is simply blind because his eyes do not yet ‘see’ and we are ‘blind’ because, in seeing so much, we are often oblivious to peripheral activity – that is, we look but do not truly ‘see all that is hidden in plain sight.’


” the wise holy fool – the alpha omega zero point paradox, neither the end nor the beginning, androgynous hermaphrodite who is all and nothing. ..the ‘simpleton’’ who is yet all knowing; pregnant with potential for renewal, yet desiring it not, seeking freely, openly, guided ever from within, not being distracted from without; the self, connected in purity to the Source, inflamed with divine vigour, enfolded by the wings of Fate, the fool dances on.”

Connection with and through the Egregore is essential; intrinsic to a Clan/family tradition and its virtue through the tutelary deity, mediated by the totem. An Egregore, the ‘source of virtue’ facilitates a spiritual ancestry from which its ‘People’ descend, just as a common blood ancestor will be present if we look back far enough. To work with the weight of such history and heritage requires first an awareness of, an acknowledgment of who we are within and along that stream. How then, does anyone even begin to define themselves, less still, what they do? The Fool dances blithely along, oblivious of all title and label; the devil ‘advocates’ all, guised in plethoric obscurity.

“What do witches call themselves? They call themselves by the name of their Gods. I am Od’s man, since in me the spirit of Od lives.” And “Now, what do I call myself. I don’t. Witch is as good a name as any, failing that ‘Fool’ might be a better word. I am a child of Tubal Cain, the Hairy One.” 

The Head-Kinsman of a Clan stands as its Chief/Leader/Father, and in some cases, even as a minor king. A Chief may claim only what is given by this right of heritage, charged thereafter to ‘hold’ it within that virtue; no more, and no less than is deeded to his care. And for this, he must give all in return. Under the Law he has a solemn duty.


The use of the term king, as in Young/Old Horn King, stems from the Anglo-Saxon cyning, which breaks down as cyn = people; ing = originating from: giving us the meaning of cyning/king as a natural descendant from a specific ancestry, from an identifiable ‘people’ to whom ‘his’ family belong. Most probably, this concept will be unfamiliar to those whose perception of a ruler and a king has been defined by the Latin Rex/Regina adopted with much support during the medieval period and especially by the Church.  However, this was not how our Anglo Saxon forebears conceived of the relationship between a Clan and its King/ Head- Kinsman. His power rested not upon the virtue of land ownership but as leader of his People. One respected Anglo Saxon dictionary explains the concept of cyning thusly:

“He is the representation of the people, and springs from them, as a son does from his parents. The Anglo-Saxon king was elected from the people; he was, therefore, the king of the people. He was the chosen representative of the people, their embodiment, the child, not the father of the people.”

His sworn duty to them was to be their guardian, protector, leader and representative. It is extremely intriguing that this role was undertaken as the product/progeny of ‘his’ people; a position holding some contrast to the sole autocracy of being ‘parent’ over them. The ‘child’ is born of and through the ‘People’ it serves to represent, fulfilling the mysteries proper as a product of ancestry, a child of his historical parentage, and also father to generations yet to be… and so on in perpetuity by Virtue of the Group Mind and Group Soul.

A Head-Kinsman therefore functions as an intermediary known best by the honour and position of his ‘Father;’ hence the emphasis of the ‘Father’ within their name and the declaration: ‘I worship the gods of my Father’s Father…’  Hence many refer to Odhin as: ‘All father.’ Somewhat ironically the Church adopted this concept in naming each King a ‘son’ of Mother Church.

fool, book of hours -

Robert Cochrane’s understanding of these basic Craft tenets is very evident in his given descriptive of who he is within the path he embraced, its guides and its historical context under a Tutelary deity, clearly noted in the name of his Clan:

  • Clan Tubal Cain = descendants of Tubal Cain (an heretical line, spiritual heterodoxy, a civilising force of evolution)
  • The People of Goda = the priestly line (priesthood of)

Identity of an inherent cultural premise, a Faith its adherents are hereby avowed to uphold by sacred oath. ie: as ‘Od’s men:’

This signifies the Drighton principle of the Virtue of Suzerainty, implementing the right to rule by deed of ancestry, again a contrast to the Sovereign claim to rule by ‘divine’ right. It is a hoary stream indeed we follow.

History is replete with examples of dynasties and of dynastic wars. And yet, scant mention is given to the canny tribes peoples who developed and implemented a system to combat this, who were so successful, it endured in some places for 1200 years. From the 4th century onwards, these Blessed Isles witnessed the influx of migrating tribes from Northern Europe and the Baltic regions.

In this world, any attempt at clarification…

“… will be a difficult task, since talking about the People (We describe ourselves as such) is a matter that every hereditary group trains out of its members.’ The religion is also more, mystical than most – so words are very poor approximations of what we actually discover or feel about our beliefs.” 

History has preserved for us a wealth of material to draw example from that others may learn of their precedents in a forgotten and neglected heritage. Succession to leadership was never democratic. Neither was it initially dynastic, and least, not in the way we are accustomed to. Custom and tradition were carefully monitored, observing to the letter of the law their strongest tenets in order to avoid nepotism and despotism by encroachment or upheaval.  To preserve the virtue of a lineage and of a family heritage, the best protection resided in an official, and duly appointed heir, elected from amongst the senior, male adults within the family.  This was by far, the preferred rule, rather than the Regency of an infant child, later history has familiarised us with.


Within the Saxon Heptarchy, noted also amongst the Germans and the Scandinavians, the more natural system of Tanistry thrived, which raises the possibility that Scottish and Anglicised regions of Briton must have inherited such a bone-fide legacy of Tanistry naturally.

For any leader to place so much trust in his successor, he must first prove his worth. Trials and quests were set to inspire confidence in his choice to their people. Trust in leadership is primary. The Tanist, having completed his task and effected his display of loyalty, would then declare his trust, a troth avowed before the old gods. Those chosen would typically be drawn from a pool of men, whose own great-grandfathers, grandfathers or uncles had at some point been the elective ‘Tanist.’  As successor he must be of sound mind, a natural warrior, a learned man – a loyal man; one who reflects the virtue to hold the line of kin-ship.

Thereafter, he would be his leader, chief or Head-Kinsman’s ‘second -in-command,’ effectively his right-hand man, his surrogate even when called upon to serve  their people.  It is a heavy office that requires a very dedicated and gifted person to fully support his Head-Kinsman. An official declaration of his heir as far in advance of his own death as possible ensures smooth transference of duty – one to the other, vouchsafing the unity of the Clan, without disruption.

The Clan is likewise governed by this carefully monitored system of ‘Tanistry,’ to cover all eventualities possible in fate. Community is everything. Many myths and tales recall this arcane system of succession that binds all within an ancestral chain, wrought in their shared fate. Our mentor declared:

“The curse of Ol Tubal lies in the management of the Clan itself. You are stuck with it until you feel the need to download it on someone else and when you do, you’ll get a tremendous feeling of lightness and relief. In the end you find if you let it, it will rule your entire life and that quite simply is, the ‘curse.’

Again, Robert Cochrane invoked this arcane premise when he announced:

 “I carry within my physical body the totality of all the witches that have been in my family and their virtue for many centuries, if I call upon my ancestors, I call upon forces than are within myself and exterior…, now you know what I mean when I speak of the burden of Time.”


And so, the duty to commit to continuity was discharged. From within Cochrane’s Clan, Evan John Jones was the Tanist, the leader elected by Cochrane to succeed him as Magister of the Clan, heir to the tradition as its Head-Kinsman. Humbly and reluctantly, he valiantly ‘held’ a position so many have misunderstood. He said of himself, that it was ‘Hobson’s choice, and a poor choice at that!’ 

Well he knew though, how directly Clan Tradition held full accord with historical precedents, serving Craft and Cultural history; although there is no distinction of course.  Imperative roles assigned to each of three jewels in the divil’s crown continue to secure the merit of three distinct yet involved mysteries.

secrecy ….has nothing to do with protecting the Mysteries, since all that can be said about the Mysteries has already been written into folklore, myth and legend. What is not forthcoming is the explanation.”

Towards the end of its term as an embedded system of succession, medieval Barons struggled in the tide of sweeping change to maintain the high bar set by the Great Chiefs of Old, battling to observe even the most fundamental  Laws of hospitality, of protection, of duty and care to all those under their aegis. Their livelihood and well-being, ever at the behest of the Head-Kinsman, ensured a full purse, a roof over their heads, and a warm hearth around which to gather and feed their own families in return for their loyalty.

It is somewhat ironic how constriction generated freedom, a release that revived mercantile wealth, cultural tolerance, economic and artistic growth. These are the threads from which the extant tapestry of Craft hangs, threadbare, faded, but attached to roots that stand firm. Threads may be traced back, picked up and darned, re-working the bonds of the new upon and through the bounds of the old…as is meet to do so. And what do our skeins reveal?

In order of Hierarchy, after the Head-Kinsman, Chieftains, known better today as Earls and Barons from whom the Tanist/ Toiseach found selection, each headed their own individual houses or smaller family units, collectively forming a Clan. These positions were maintained as an hereditary right, again with each ‘chief’ elected to uphold his title. As an hereditary office and historical body politic, they established the court regime, consistent with their own era. In times of war and conflict, these would be the men the Head-Kinsman called upon. Though the Chief was the Laird, Liege Lord, and Drighton, he alone was the Ruler of Law. Devotion of duty, one to the other between him and those held in troth, established the compact of gyfu.


Nonetheless, these suffered erosion during the 12th century when English court influences connived to abandon those traditions in favour of another more dynastic, hereditary sovereignty. Those displaced men were the those same hereditary barons  and earls who fought and defended their rights against a tyrant king, forcing him to sign the now infamous ‘Magna carta,’ whence he attempted to dissolve those rights. That document has been woefully misrepresented ever since; one thing it was certainly never drafted for, was to protect the rights of all men – only free men of means.

“The fundamental difference between the clan system of society and the feudal system which was destined to supersede it, was that the authority of the clan chief was based on personal and blood relationship, while that of the feudal superior is based upon tenure of land.”

Clearly, the more spiritual aspects and the customs surrounding a leader, especially with deference to his ancestral links were maintained through Crafts and Frith Guilds.  Therefore a Magister/Master as Head-Kinsman and the Tanist are one and the same through that patrimony, and through their Lady and Maid who holds the virtue for the Clan, hence duty to him under the Law, and absolute allegiance to her, exactly as Cochrane stated under Clan Law.  She is not chosen by man, but man chooses his own successor. The Lady, in her role as Seer, becomes Cup-bearer, and if prompted to do so by her virtue, will accept and acknowledge him. By the ‘Godstone,’ she wields the ‘Cup and Stang,’ by the hearth-stone, she serves them. Through her, the Pale Guiden is the gift of life and death, wisdom and insanity.

“The Hunter, Old Tubal Cain, and the Roebuck, are one and the same divine presence in the shape of Fate or Wyrd.”

Evan John Jones selected and appointed Robin-the-dart as his Tanist, who in turn was vouchsafed by The Maid. Tubal’s Mill turns, and another is now named as the Clan’s appointed Tanist to the current Magister; vouchsafed by the Maid, as tradition demands, for the continuity of the People – Ulric Gestumblindi Goding.

One need not peer too deeply into these traditions to discover them, replete throughout the rich heritage of our folkloric histories and mythical historicity’s. Some of these developed from the mythical ages through into the medieval periods and into the eras of strong feminine cults from which arose ‘Marionism and Courtly Love.’


Above all, Cochrane notes 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. Underpinning his exemplary facet of magical enterprise, all is the grist for the Mill, creating the true context for the winding of its cogs.

Reiterated below is possibly the finest explanation of what Traditional Craft is and how it operates. Cochrane explores duty, the charge to the ancestors, the work itself, mentorship and tradition.

blood must be possessed to gain the ear of the gods, and that witch blood re-occurs every second or third generation, and in the same pattern physically.” 

The canny hierarchy of the Clans deftly re-organised into trades and guilds, each possessed of apprentices, customs, rites and lore; each possessed of strict ‘family’ codes of adoption and rejection.

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.”

Blood and Bone – source the virtue within every Egregore!

In Clan family traditions, these tenets remain observed by too few. We count ourselves most fortunate that we do.

Academic treatises have covered this historical peculiarity, and one of the most succinct is available free on Google Books here:




A Merrie May – Folklore celebrations

•May 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

 These works are compiled from various internet sources and almanacs. All links have been left in for ease of access to them. Thank you and enjoy!


May Day, Beltaine

It’s the merrie, merrie month, as the English have long called the beautiful month of May.

Their ancestors, the Anglo-Saxons, called it thrimilce, because at this time of year cows can be milked three times a day. The modern name is thought by some scholars to come from the Latin ‘Maia’ (consort of Jupiter, mother of Hermes, or Mercury), the goddess of growth and increase. It is also connected with major, because in the Northern Hemisphere, May is a beautiful time of Spring growth.

Despite the congeniality of the month, it was also an old belief that May is an unlucky month in which to be married. This superstition, current even today, is Roman in origin and was mentioned by the Roman poet, Ovid. Lovers should wait until the propitious month of June before tying the knot.

Those born in the first three weeks of May were born under the sign of Taurus, and from May 21 to June 20, Gemini is the ruling sun sign and represents the mythological twins Castor and Pollux, the twins of Leda, who appeared to sailors in storms with fires on their heads.


Many old sayings refer to May, but of course one must remember that they generally refer to the month in the Northern Hemisphere.

One old proverb goes, “Cast not a clout till May is out”, folk meaning, do not shed your winter clothing (clout) too early in the year, because cold weather can still come. Maia is one of the Pleiades which rises and sets at the beginning and end of the agricultural season. Another says “Wash a blanket in May/Wash a dear one away”, indicating that death will strike the family or friends of those who do so. 

Some other May proverbs are:

Be it weal or be it woe,
Beans blow before May doth go.

Come it early or come it late,
In May comes the cow-quake.

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay.
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.

The haddocks are good,
When dipped in May flood.

Mist in May, and heat in June,
Make the harvest right soon.

A hot May makes a fat churchyard. 
(Meaning that many people will die.)


Festivals in May

The Northern nations have many festivals in May because the weather turns to a suitable temperature and Mother Nature turns on her most beautiful colours and fragrances.

For example, the Macedonians, on the Orthodox Feast Day of St George (May 6), dance the hora and perform various ancient rituals and games associated with eggs, as we do at Easter.

At Helston, Cornwall, on May 8, the townsfolk have for centuries celebrated Furry Day, with dances, songs and rites whose origins and purpose have long been lost in the mists of time.

The English for two hundred years or more celebrated Shick-Shack Day (or, Oak Apple Day) on May 29, the birthday of King Charles II who brought back monarchy to Britain after the strict Puritan regime of Oliver Cromwell.

May, however, is known especially for May Day, the first day of the month, which in olden times was celebrated as the great, colourful Spring festival, with May poles that were danced around, and fairs at which dramas, often featuring Robin Hood and his “merrie men”, were performed. Morris dancers were and still are a delightful part of the English May Day. 

In the Celtic tradition, now popular with neo-Pagans, the day is called Beltaine (or Beltane). The Scots used to light bel-fires on the hilltops and drive their cattle through the flames in a ritual which was either to destroy vermin and protect the cattle from disease, or to prepare the beasts for sacrifice.

May Day commenced in ancient Rome, with youths going into the fields, dancing and singing in honour of Flora, goddess of fruits and flowers. The goddess Bona Dea, too, was celebrated at around this time, in women-only rites.

In recent years, May Day became an annual celebration not so much of the glories of Spring but of the traditions of the labour movement.

Some May Day folklore snippets

Chimney sweeps’ festival
May Day was in olden times the first day of the London chimney-sweeps’ festival, a three day revel in which chimney sweeps wore gold paper and flowers on their clothes and hats. They also had their shovels and faces lined with pink paint and white chalk. They chose a grandly-dressed lord and lady from some other profession, the lady often being a boy in extravagant female attire. 

As part of chimney-sweeps’ revels it was customary for a boy to move about in a framework of branches covered in leaves. He was called Jack-in-the-green. Jack, a Green Man sometimes also showed up in London suburbs, hailing from the country, amusing the public with rustic dancing. He carried a flower-decked walking stick.

From time immemorial, bonfires have been associated with May Eve and May Day in Britain. Originally dedicated to the pagan solar god Bel, or Balder, in Ireland these fires were once called Balder’s balefires. Until the nineteenth century, May Day bonfires were still lit in the Scottish highlands, Ireland and the Isle of Man, among the peasantry.

In Britain it used to be customary today to go a-Maying, or gathering flowers and branches, particularly of the May bush.


May Queen
In old Britain on May Day, folk elected the Queen of the May, a pretty girl to preside over the day’s events, which usually meant sitting in a garlanded bower all day and being admired by the whole village.

The old British (and French) custom the Queen of the May today came from the ancient Roman veneration of Flora, May Queen and goddess of flowers and youthful pleasures, for whom a sexually licentious festival was held at this time of year. In some villages, children carried around a finely-dressed doll called the Lady of the May. With little copies of maypoles, they went about the village asking for a halfpenny.

May cows
Up until the early nineteenth century in Britain, on May Day milkmaids would dress up a cow in garlands. They, too, dressed in flowers and danced around the cow. In earlier times they were accompanied by a man wearing a bulky frame on which were hung flowers, silver flagons and dishes. The silverware was rented out at an hourly rate by pawnbrokers.

May cosmetics
On the morning of May Day, Scottish lasses used to go out early and wash their faces in dew, a sure potion for preserving beauty. In Edinburgh the favourite place to do this was Arthur’s Seat. Similarly, at Anhalth, Germany, girls did the same to get rid of freckles.

Royal May Day
In medieval England, even the king and queen joined in with the May Day festivities. Chaucer wrote that early on May Day Forth goeth all the court, both most and least, to fetch the flowers fresh.

May scapegoat
In old Scotland and Ireland, May Day rituals were, among other things, an attempt to stop the spread of witchcraft. Whoever received a piece of cake marked with charcoal served as scapegoat for witches, becoming a figure of terror and being pelted with eggshells. (By way of comparison, in Germany it was customary to throw eggshells at a disagreeable stranger.)

Garland Dressing, Charlton-on-Oxmoor, Oxfordshire, UK
A wooden cross is bedecked with Yew and Box tree leaves.

Unlucky weddings

From as early as Roman times comes the tradition mentioned by Ovid, and still prevalent in Europe, that May is an unlucky month in which to be married. This is probably because in Rome this was the month for the festival of Bona Dea (the goddess of chastity), and the feasts of the dead called Lemuralia.


Fair Flora! Now attend thy sportful feast,
Of which some days I with design have past;
A part in April and a part in May
Thou claim’st, and both command my tuneful lay;
And as the confines of two months are thine
To sing of both the double task be mine.
Latin poet Ovid, Fasti, v, 185, for Flora (Floralia) Apr 28May 3   Roman calendar

Oak before ash, we’re in for a splash, ash before oak we’re in for a soak.
Traditional British weather prognostication saying for May

Hoar-frost on May 1st indicates a good harvest.
Traditional English proverb

The later the blackthorn in bloom after May 1st, the better the rye and harvest.
Traditional English proverb

Nut for the slut; plum for the glum
Bramble if she ramble; gorse for the whores.
[Traditional English saying]: one should preferably leave            hawthorn at a friend’s door for their luck, but other plants are an insult. I suggest you leave the gorse at home.


Mary we crown you with blossoms today,
Queen of the Angels
And Queen of the May.
Contemporary folk song sung by Roman Catholic schoolchildren in the UK. The month of May is dedicated to Mary.


May crowning

May crowning is a traditional Roman Catholic ritual that occurs in the month of May of every year. In some countries, it takes place on or about May 1, however, in many United States Catholic parishes, it takes place on Mothers’ Day.


And forth goeth al the court, both moste and leste,
To feche the floures freshe.
Chaucer, referring to the practice of gathering flowers on May Day

The hawthorn‘s later orgiastic use corresponds with the cult of the Goddess Flora, and accounts for the English medieval habit of riding out on May Morning to pluck flowering hawthorn boughs and dance around the maypole. Hawthorn blossom has, for many men, a strong scent of female sexuality; which is why the Turks use a flowering branch as an erotic symbol.
Robert Graves (18951985), The White Goddess, p. 176

Sin no more, as we have done, by staying
But, my Corinna, come, let’s go a Maying.
Robert Herrick (15911674)

Hark! The sea-faring wild-fowl loud proclaim
My coming, and the swarming of the bees.
These are my heralds, and behold! my name
Is written in blossoms on the hawthorn-trees.
I tell the mariner when to sail the seas;
I waft o’er all the land from far away
The breath and bloom of the Hesperides,
My birthplace. I am Maia. I am May.
HW Longfellow (1807 – ‘82); The Poet’s Calendar for May




•May 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment














One eye upon the world I keep

One eye within my soul so deep.

One soft heart that bleeds for all

One heart beating, till I fall.

One Mind to know the whim of fate,

One Mind alone, sensing the bait.

My arms about thee wildly flail,

My arms, hang taut ‘pon the nail.

My legs, now flaccid, dance no more;

My legs, wither slowly, to the core.












My body writhes in death’s embrace,

My body, soothed finds peace, apace.

One soul to flee this thriving hell,

One soul freed by the blessed bell.

One godhead calling out my name,



One godhead smiling, renews the game.

For Life is life, and death is death,

But death is life and life is death.

She pulls the cords and all must shift,

She pulls them not, to cast adrift.

One darkened night of the soul to bear

One darkened eternity of despair.

Reeled in, I am of no concern,

Reeled in, turn, and again I turn.

Upon Her great wheel, grinding, all,

Be swift, be sharp, drop not the ball.

Upon Her great wheel, grinding, all,

Be swift, be sharp, drop not the ball.

The Toad, Death and the Maiden

•April 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment


“Save Mushrooms and the Fungus race, that grow as All-Hallows Tide takes place”


Superstition is a curious thing.

It has been considered in some areas of the world unwise to pick fungi on All Hallows Eve, for souls reside within; so to kill a hapless toad or frog upon the road confers the same cause to humankind. A certain variety of fungi, hailed as the star of the north, the cosmic dragon, is of great beneficence to our race.


Anglo-Saxon lore lends mystery to this mix in their idiosyncratic spelling of tode (for death, in reference to poisonous fungi) but also for the warty creature we all know and love. Credence for the former pertaining to the latter is given in an obscure 17th century account by De Lancre when asked to investigate the usage of certain unctuous salves. As Magistrate for Bordeaux, his conclusion baldly reported unequivocal ‘witchcraft practises’ concerning the Basque community, blaming them for the manufacture of:

“solid and liquid poisons made out of toads for the purpose of ruining fruit crops, and even poison in the powder form made out of grilled toads which, when mixed with clouds, harms fruit trees…the strongest poison was used for killing, and even the old and skilled witches, those best able to change themselves into beasts and perform other feats, were cautious with it…”[i]

Fairy rings composed of puck’s foot, fairy farts and dragon’s breath are the baneful spores of everything ranging from the tiny champignon to the dryad’s saddle, with puff balls aplenty in between. Glistening and dewy in the pale morning light, they have been described in derogatory terms as witch’s spittle and fairy stools [also a pun on ‘stool’ as excrement!].


None of us are in any doubt as to the psychological processes afoot, whence poor Alice in all naiveté, consumes with glee her magical mushrooms at the behest of a stoned caterpillar, lounging on a prize specimen ‘tode’ whilst partaking smoothly of his own bubbling hookah! Witches brimstone spews pungent sulphuric spores o’er those who stamp where angels fear to tread. From peace to fury then.


Horses too, that trample faerie rings in the wetlands of the Somerset levels are cursed with scramble-foot (becoming lame) overnight! And on St John’s Eve in Sweden, special bonfires are constructed at crossroads of nine sacred woods into which onlookers fling the bäran, a type of impecunious toadstool to thwart torment from unpleasant sprites abound that night.[ii]

“ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves.. you demi-puppets that by moonshine do green sour ringlets make; whereof the ewe not bites; and you whose pastime is to make midnight mushrooms.”[iii]

 Portable fire, as magic flame, glows fiercely in the cunning hand that favours the threaded striations of autumnal puff balls, as noted in John Gerard’s ‘Herball’, and discovered by bewildered archaeologists at Skarae Brae. Anglo-Saxon Mycophobia asserts most fearfully how:

“Few are good to eat, they do suffocate and strangle the eater.. to those, that love such strange meates, beware of licking honey among the thorns, lest the sweetness of one, counterfeit the sharpness of the other.”

Ambivalent at best, deadly for certain, the devil’s own reeking carrion, the jellied eggs so prosaically named by Gerard as ‘Pricke mushrome,’have conversely been one moment a panacea; the next a plague. Raven’s bread, squirrel’s bread, earth calluses too, range in their efficacy, from the edible to the vitriolic – and yet, truly, are they the divine entheogen and food of the gods.  Infamous for inducing sexual frenzy in nun’s, hysteria in simple peasants, and holy fire among monks, their reputation precedes them most perturbingly.


“what d’ye lack, what d’ye lack? I can pound a toad in a mortar, and make a broth of it, and stir with a dead man’s hand. Sprinkle it on thine enemy while he sleeps and he will turn into a black viper, and his own mother will slay him.”[iv]

Toads play dead. Everyone must, at some time, have held up a sorry limp and warty creature, and thinking it dead, placed it back in the undergrowth, only to see it hop away with a canny wink. Cunning is its maxim. Its life oft depends on’t. Failing this ruse, they puff up or excrete unpleasant irritations. Changing even gender when necessary in their erstwhile determination to procreate; advancing wilfully upon a female to mate even when fatally injured. Maidens bathing in their seething lathers have been much lauded for their beauty and sexual prowess. Aphrodite, born from the foaming waters is indeed the most sensuous of maidens fair, leading to the legendary demand for elixir of toad as a favoured aphrodisiac.


Equally, toad venom has thrice been a ploy to kill a King of England.[v] Odd when we consider the toad (or frog) to be the prince himself, cursed to inhabit the body of the most despised and ugly creature of folklore, the most famous in legend being Grimm’s Prince, otherwise known as ‘Iron Henry.’ From blood, bile and bone, to breath, stone and foam, the poison of this magical creature purveys the doom of all hapless souls who merit its worth as measured in body parts.

Emblem of Merovingian Kings, the fleur de lys prevailed and won the field, when arteful enchantment too bright to behold as gilded fountain fell, a golden dew upon the lily of the maid.

???????????????????????????????Into Eve’s ear, Satan as the venomous toad, drips poison, quothe Milton in ‘Paradise Lost;’ yet Graeham’s renegade toad, for his sins, adores better the sleek body of his bright and noisy motor car! Though long and languid, his most amorous glare, from horny toad alighting upon a maiden fair, there to fascinate and bewitch; tis but chickens that hatch the basilisk, from eggs exposed to cockatrice, their virtue yet reigns in Medusa’spittle! –  for baneful woe, I’m told. And so, as famulus to amulet, in spite, are both applied; for wael then, or woe? All depends upon your purse of course!

As maiden fair, the Laidly Worm, a most curious tale of yore, of whispered breath that uttereth of exploits with knight, castle and rowan wood; the striking flinch of such a whip, soft with drops of water holy, secure the hag’s release in body, soul et all – sad victim of the devil’s brood, the fateful procurator of Charon’s packet land to land, with nought but Lethe between. Harnessed in number, they plough the fields at dawn, to blight the crops that ruefully stand upon the devil’s acre.


In Wotan’s rade, the flaming horses snort their frenzied spittle to the ground, the seed of next year’s crop of fungi spawn, of devil’s hat’s, hexenpils, and faerie fodder.[vi] Gruel for reindeer and soma for the shaman. This eye of Agni, doth enflame the mind, to frenzy and delight, to dance, and race, to join the devil’s flight. Palaeolithic Mother, with hybrid legs of toad, giver of life and death, love and ecstasy? Oh veiled emblem of sacred liminality, by manna do we shift, twixt everywhere and nowhere; all knowing all being; to cure and heal, of death’s lingering throes. Tis all in fate’s sweet bitter mix!

220px-SophieAndersonTakethefairfaceofWomanGreat King and leather bag, horse’s mane and brightest bairn, to wit or woe – it’s all the same! From chthonic god to burial bowl, cremation platter and lickspittle’s spade, all mock the great toad’s bulk, yet in vain magics doth weave the fate of one to the other in pale facsimile. African toads, the scapegoat become, when humankind festers at some unknown colic. Saturated in serotonins and dopamines, why seeketh eleswhere the god gene? Look no further, this toad can make you fly, dance, laugh and cry, swear, en-trance, affront to dare and chance, so follow moon and pool to seething in ecstatic communion, bold and clear.

Dead or fetish, oil or potion – and all to appease an angry god. Tenacious and sly, deadly and ecstatic, whose globular eye mirrors the insanity abound. Why lick a toad when you can milk it? But then, in scathing tone I rage, Why milk it when you can kill it? Right? Preserved thus forever, at your behest, its ‘olu’ virtue the ‘must have’ prize, a jewelled sceptre of sovereign might. For this the poor wee beast is cursed. Then Karma calls: for She is the beast that curses all.



[i] Toads and Toadstools Adrian Morgan p14, Celestial Arts, CA. 1995

[ii] P30

[iii] Shakespeare – The Tempest

[iv] Oscar Wilde – The Fisherman and His Soul

[v] Morgan, p61

[vi] Morgan, p96

all images courtesy of wiki commons

Mother’s day – a hallowing, a reckoning

•March 15, 2015 • 4 Comments


when falling, fall swiftly…..


fall swiftly and do pause not to consider the beauty of the heavens, lathing about you as celestial kalas dazzle all senses…..


in all things fall the hardest, the fastest, burn brightest, witness

Her dazzling beauty, in all shining colours, aglow upon the star: His are immediate, of the green and rotting earth, and of blackened deed..


when dancing, dance with the devil, follow the rhythm of the soul, take flight as the body aches for sweet scented straw, slumber upon silken pillows of dream….

 7._Luna_Księżyc_-_władczyni_Rakathere to dream the dark, dream the beauty of the aeons; seek visions of light and shadow, morphing all creation.. Fate draws all star-crossed lovers to the qutub of ablution, all is deemed fit, perfect feathers – the better for flying!



when hungry, feast upon the bounty of the gods, for humanity will keep you a starving waif, in all things strive….choose love, not hate… pit your wits against the enemy within..


how the body doth yearn for the joy and fulfilment of touch, for love’s sweet caress, and yet, many forget whose love sustains, whence all others fail?


who secures this, resounds in voice and deed – She for whom the desert enflames, for whom doth seas boil and mountains freeze into glacial shards, diametric prisms of light, refracted creation, falling upon the created…


when the Great Ma taketh me, be sure to take my heart, take my body – wrestle with it not, my soul is thine from the beginning – more I cannot give, less I may not….


who then are my brothers? who are my sisters, who are my gods – children spake the dream of man to itself of things to come, yet to be, …. from this moment hence, what wael and woe is woven thereof, what future do we gift?


in the cave of broken bones the wolf hustled the bear.. what of mankind, sayeth he to the bear, his time is up, he is no more. Not so responded the bear, all things are useful, are they not, our Mother did not tease all that breaths from Her loins for naught… there is a light, and purpose true in this especial breed ….. the wolf looked puzzled, and thoughtfully nodded..


in their dawn, they sought to master the moment – forgetting that infinity determines not their span of years; herein, upon the manifest plane, how do they play now their allotted time?

they err, they fuck, they eat, they sleep they war – repeat!

 william_bouguereau_-_el_primer_duelowhence She calls your number for the final dance, fear it not – blessed Mother, only the gift of life is precious, it is given to the best of men, that when they fall, they fall swiftly……



1  William Adolphe Bouguereau – Pieta
2 Hans Sebald Beham –  Venus, from The Seven Planets with the Signs of the Zodiac, 1539
3 Hans Sebald Beham –  Luna, from The Seven Planets with the Signs of the Zodiac, 1539
4 William Adolphe Bouguereau  – Charity
5  William Adolphe Bouguereau  – The First Mourning
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