The Roebuck in the Thicket

The Roebuck in the Thicket

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

 

Cochrane made it very clear that the Tradition of The Roebuck in the Thicket was a primary tenet of our Faith, one that bears links to a distinctly Anglo-Saxon root tradition. In a letter to the late William G. Gray concerning The Old Covenant, Cochrane mentioned The Roebuck in the Thicket, a concept older and larger than the modern Craft. Many cultures maintain tales of horned or antlered animals entangled and trapped in dense woodlands, sacrificed in place of human candidates. A popular example known to many, concerns the biblical patriarch Abraham. Ordered by his god to sacrifice his son as a test of his obedience, his hand was stayed by an angel, and so a ram trapped by its horns in a thicket was sacrificed instead.

By contrast, the Craft does not emphasize blind or brutal obedience. Our understanding of the inherent symbolism of sacrifice pits the willing self-sacrifice of leadership, against Fate; it can never be forced. We believe that the Antlered God rose to prominence as ‘Providence’ during the Palaeolithic period – a lasting principle upheld in the Craft through the Dryghton Lord. Sympathetic magic coupled with belief, led people to perceive this principle in tandem with that of fertility, linking them to the creative virtue of a feminine divinity. In time, our ancestors acknowledged the image of a Horn-ed man as that of the fecund Stag/God –  Her manifest Priest, empowered with Her gifts of Life and Death.

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The Magister parallels this role, becoming the mystical leader of the Clan, the psychopomp, protector and defender of the faith and of his people, a duty passed from the Old Horn King to the Young Horn King in succession.  The declaration of office is freely offered up every seven years, where each stage of his own wisdom and soul journey is given in willing self-sacrifice for the good of his Clan.  Just as each King Stag is succeeded by the next challenger in the herd, each Stag King is reborn as himself anew, re – incarnated and magically transferred to another, on through a long line of Priest Kings. This Mythos blends ritual praxis with spiritual metaphysics and spirituality.

Woden, the god both of death and of knowledge is the Divine Magician. Through self-sacrifice, he brought the gift of wisdom to mankind. Woden stands at the foot of all gallows’ poles, recognising his own, for they share a common fate. The hunter and the hunted are one and the same divine presence – borne as ‘Od,’ the spirit of sacrifice witnessed in the ‘hanging man,’ caught in limbo, the leaper between the worlds, existing on the liminality of both, a foot in each, and one eye in each, fore and aft, to fulfil his responsibilities as leader of the Clan, an appointment as Her Priest. And so, the libation we customarily pour to the Old Gods fulfils the honour bound within The Old Covenant to all our Mighty Dead .

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“The Old Covenant binds its people with a kinship bestowed by divine grace through time, beyond manifest form as a cohesive unit for its survival and continuity rather than its dissemination and diaspora.” ~Levy

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The Mighty Ones, being so remote and inaccessible, extended their qualities through interactions with the younger gods who inherited from them, the act of bestowing the Mè, Orlog, that is, the right to rule through divinely appointed [inspired] Law; through a ‘King’ chosen by Fate. In gyfu , ‘Kingship is maintained through the Sacred Covenant that secures the blessing of Hamingja, so that all may thrive in the Grace of a ‘sweeter fate.’ This fulfils the role of the Horn King, blessing those leaders who became ‘bound’ to Her Aegis, the Divine Creatrix.

“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.” ~ Roy Bowers

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Cup-bearer to her people, The Maid, to whom all Clansmen owe absolute allegiance, bears The Clan Stang, symbolising The Tree of Life and Death and the Guiden Pole, the altar of sacrifice for the Magister, and Head-Kinsman.  Bound in duty to its Law and Covenants, in turn, all duty under the Law is sworn to him. From this, he becomes the face of all beloved ancestors, Od’s man, imbued with the spirit and essence of all forefathers of his Craft. In ancient Cosmologies, the young solar heir was perceived as the theological ‘Lucifer,’ the evolving spirit of guidance and enlightenment – the light of hope. 

“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.’” ~ E. J. Jones

Robin-the-dart, our former Magister, in accordance with custom and tradition, has relinquished that duty to his beloved former Tanist, stepping back to continue his own service within the Clan as a much revered Elder. Encapsulated within the sacred transit betwixt the Old Horn King and the Young Horn King at the cusp of the new waxing solar year, Yule 2017,  the Maid and Matriarch of the Clan appointed  Ulric ‘Gestumblindi’ Goding, as the next Magister of the Clan. Chosen by the Grace and Virtue of Orlog, he is now  the sacred keeper and guardian of the People of Goda, of the Clan of Tubal Cain. Under his authority the sacral office of priesthood will preserve the Clan’s heritage alongside the Maid, combining Hamingja with Virtue for the continuity of duty and law.

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“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 that are within myself and exterior…, now you know what I mean when I speak of the burden of Time.” ~ Roy Bowers

This is the duty we each pay forward, to honour our ancestors the creators of our kind who gave us life and succour, faith, belief, purpose and the authority to hold these things in their name.

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