The Vagaries of Tradition – What’s in a name?

The Vagaries of Tradition – What’s in a name!


Exact terms are requisite for reference, serving a recognisable application to any given thing. But when applied to extant, living traditions, people or organisations, it should be a rule of thumb to ask those concerned how they view and name themselves. Beyond that, any label offered is by default in error; at best imprecise and at worst, offensive.

And so, it has been recently noted, how, even with this vast media outlet, many things remain misunderstood and misrepresented.  This highlights the need for constant and unrelenting updates to check the steady flow of information, ensuring it remains firmly on track and secure in its dissemination.  

And yet, so very much has gone awry.

It is again fair to add and even more important to underscore, that the very Muse and Virtue that so inspired Robert Cochrane to express his thoughts and understanding within his few letters and articles during the final few years of his life, are the very foundational ‘source’ of his Clan and Tradition, known in the outer as CTC; these were {and remain} vitalised from its Egregore.  Cochrane is not known to have produced anything prior to that crucial and foundational input. Had he done so, then those works only would be classed as independent and could possibly then be described as being distinctly ‘Cochranite’ and thus viably be used to describe anything he may have influenced from that separate and personal source. This is I have come to realise, the very nux of these many problematic terms and applications. The man has been separated from his Muse, and that simply cannot be so. His works and visions evolved under the aegis of the Clan he headed. The Clan had been formed around that crucial source. The virtue seeded that aegis.

An earnest distinction therefore arises between the terms ‘Cochrane inspired’ and ‘Cochrane derived,’ the former which disseminates a public legacy and the latter a very vital imperative of his singular and direct, initiatory and closed tradition, that withholds its very private legacy to its own People of Goda, of the Clan of Tubal Cain.

In that regard, so much misunderstanding exists across the broad spectrum of Traditional Craft. I lament for what *should* be known as common knowledge. This is of course not the fault of any seeker or pilgrim along this wayfaring craft, but of those who would obfuscate the truth for their own self-serving causes. Sadly, much dis-information has been widely circulated that concerns this very matter.




There appears to be a fundamental lack of comprehension with regard to the operative system of Clanships, which are formed from one or more groups/families/people/traditions that shelter within an overarching body named for its leading exponent’s tutelary ancestor or deity {sometimes one and the same of course}. These peoples offer allegiance to a head kinsman , whose sworn duty is to serve THEM, to protect them, to provide for them and to be responsible for their bodily and spiritual well-being.

Therefore, the concept of many ‘Clans’ of Tubal Cain is impossible and absurd. There was and is only ONE CLAN of Tubal Cain, in Robert Cochrane’s lifetime and remains so within ours. There will also be only one to come.

Within its aegis however, one Cuveen of the Ram, exists in California, aligned to us and therefore of Tubal Cain Clan. Beyond that, we have kith and brethren too. Clans are historically composed of various others, all in allegiance to one head. It can be no other way.

It was thus in 1966 and remains so now in 2014.

Others that should have known better have pushed those who do not to assert otherwise. It cannot be so. To have more than ‘one’ Clan of Tubal Cain would be an absurdity, sheer nonsense, legitimately or illegitimately. The ‘gift’ of its succession is conceded and authorised, sworn and bound unto its Troth, according to its unique Covenanted Rule.

Again, it was thus in 1966 and remains so now in 2014.

To no other persons than ourselves has this ever been granted. Furthermore, even had this been so, still, all would subsist under one head – within the ONE CLAN. Evan John Jones, past Magister and heir to the Clan of Tubal Cain, publicly bequeathed that authority to reside here in the UK to ourselves and to no other, confirmed in person just three weeks before he died in 2003.

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It is of course a name, and like any other, may have been chosen by others to use. It is not copyrighted, after all. But, what is gifted in spirit, remains so and neither its authority and legitimacy, nor its unique and official status is challenged by those who have been foolish enough to assume that such authority accompanies the adoption of a name. Indeed, such persons would do well to study the arcane notions of naming and the burden of Wyrd that such engages. That Wyrd is forever bound within the Oath of it making. A most holy undertaking, and as John once said to me, not one to be taken lightly or falsely.

So, I am grateful to those who have pressed forth upon me to resolve this most pragmatic question. In addressing it here, it is hoped that swift and expansive clarification may remedy a lingering misunderstanding in, of and for those who have an interest in such matters. We are after all a Suzerainty not a Sovereignty, and that makes all the difference. That is a very different relationship and undertaking, a very different world view and requires an arcane yet living tradition to actuate its uniquely liberating universal camaraderie, not to mention a profound brotherhood

We are The People of Goda, the Clan of Tubal Cain, that same Clan led by Robert Cochrane and then Evan John Jones. At no time had Joe Wilson been or claimed to be a part of that. He independently formed 1734 as a way to influence the traditions and workings of the Craft in America based on his own understanding and responses from the six letters he’d received in private correspondence with Robert Cochrane.

But as stated above, these were by Cochrane’s own words, NOT teachings, not the gifting of a tradition and certainly not shared with those intents.  Joe Wilson devised his own way of absorbing from them what he understood and used that in correlation with other material and influences [a matter better explained elsewhere by those actually of those consequent lines of influence from within Joe Wilson’s 1734 stream]. Therefore, 1734 is the name Wilson chose to describe all he had created beyond the bounds of CTC’s closed initiatory teachings and tradition. This is very important and clearly yet another vital misunderstanding that seems to thrive in USA.

1734 is not CTC and CTC is not 1734. Neither exist within the other nor are they formed from the other. Simply put, CTC *IS* Robert Cochrane’s tradition and 1734 is not. Rather, 1734 is a way of viewing the notion of tradition formed from a variety of influences . Only one of those was Wilson’s independent and idiosyncratic understanding of Robert Cochrane’s Clan tradition as gleaned from comments expressed by Robert Cochrane within six personal letters in 1966.


Many here reading these words will be influenced to variant degrees by them. And to those with whom personal correspondence has been shared, certain wisdoms will be advanced. But in no way can such be deemed as, nor confused with the teachings shared and experienced in actuality within and through the tradition itself amongst its members whose individual initiations through the spirit of the Clan’s own Egregore concatenate that mutual gnosis.  Rather, it may at best serve to articulate a basis upon which they may build their own praxis.

The Mysteries present a complex mechanism for all pilgrims and seekers of spirit to be nurtured and guided through a host of beings and entities that are witnessed and experienced primarily through our ‘cultural’ lens as societal groups and secondly as individuals within and without those groups.

Therefore, the sea, the great depths of Marah, the unending and ineffable wellspring of all gnosis accrued in thought and memory becomes channelled into numerous streams that form the web of Wyrd across this amazing planet peopled by so many traditions, beliefs, faiths and religions.

Historically, these Mysteries have retained a strong initiatory presence in various but limited conclaves dedicated and committed to their furtherance and exploration. These are most successful when engaged by what may best be described as full-time ‘priests.’ From their works, the gnosis is absorbed into greater communities from which they exist. Thus the ‘One’ source finds ways via the few to influence the many. Again, this is not elitist, just as the miner digs for coal and that becomes distributed, for we may not all perform that task ourselves. We all serve, one way or another. We all share whatever bounty we as human beings generate in our daily lives.

The camaraderie of all such groups of ‘workers’ no matter the field of labour, gather and create ways of expressing attendant lore to reflect that work, in turn formulating attendant rites and rituals in their execution. These underpin the myriad traditions that encompass all aspects of our lives; and it is here vital to remember that there is no separation betwixt what is often [erringly] divided into classifications of the sacred and the mundane.


From within our communities these currents are sensed on varying levels and are often taken up as either superstitions, cults and less frequently, actual religions. But still, the initiatory priesthoods, though part of those communities continue their works in ever deeper and more discreet conclaves. And so it goes on.

There is nothing new under the sun, and it is for each of us to explore and discover our place within the above schema. And, though some may feel they ‘yearn’ for alternative modes of access to those mysteries, in reality they may only ever be achieved by gruelling work either as individuals acting upon a combination of their own instincts and personal contact with the spiritual currents of their own locale, or by acquiring admission to others [essentially a group of people] who have also honed their individual contact and instinct formed around and guided by a tutelary spirit.

This quite specific entity and the inherent guiding force behind such groups, is known as its Egregore. So, already it becomes clear that even within a community stream, there exists an Egregore that is not accessed by all of them, yet its influence is felt and will eventually reach all who are or choose to be receptive to that force. Importantly, both the individual and the group may achieve spiritual initiation. That does NOT depend on belonging to a group, nor being admitted to their practises.

So, even those few sensitive and focussed individuals aware and affected by the mysteries around them, and though they are nurtured by the underlying current [stream], they are not in receipt of its core guidance. This, by a process of mechanics, is achievable only by immersion, surrender and acceptance by that Egregore.

To bring this to meet the question of influence and access, I would add that all that becomes ‘known’ that may be shared in ways that do not encroach upon the individual’s own realisation and experience, continues via the ‘mystery schools’ that have existed and continue to exist in our time as forums and various media, including books and lectures. These facilitate enquiry and may accelerate the individual further along a particular pathway they feel especially drawn to.

Our modern society is now so deeply multi-culturalised , where centuries of cross pollination has embedded deep seeds within the soul, to the extent that many find their own spiritual locale incongruous to their soul’s deep yearning. This tendency has extended the distance plausible between direct ‘physical’ mentorship. Thus, influences felt across the web of Wyrd pull ever harder and tighter to sate the deep longing within. We reach out to those whom we feel may share their journeys. And so we may.  But still, the few must retain the core, be nurtured by the core sufficiently to generate a dissemination of teachings that will guide others toward the achievement of their own gnosis. This is what Robert Cochrane referred to as ‘The Faith.



This is, I believe, how the Mysteries become the fabric of a greater community, how they are felt and recognised, and how they are served.  ’ Again, this highlights the lack of ego required for such works.

And so it is that many of  have responded deeply to those works shared publically here and through our writings, whether they be books, articles or even personal correspondence, and so that vibrant core may vitalise one’s own connections to the greater force of it external current and through application of those works as the understanding they bring to bear through that synergistic focus.  

Yet, no matter how many books read, nor letters and correspondence shared, the actual ways and means of this and other traditions may never be fully comprehended or appreciated. They serve only to ‘initiate’ the individual’s own way of formulating a structure that will assist and evolve their own pathway to gnosis. No-one may give such, nor do that work for them. They may only guide. And within those numerous Mystery Traditions of this wondrous world, each priest, though their own endeavours, becomes just that, a guide, serving to reflect the greater guide they have come to know in spirit.


To use the image of the ‘Tree’ here by way of analogy. The root is formed by the force of spirit seeding the mind fields with inspiration. Once that seed is taken up  within that nurturing virtue, it grows a sturdy trunk. Its branches arch upwards to collect the nourishment it requires for growth from both its Source and from the winds that shape and form it. 

Those same winds blow its leaves across the landscape to be harvested by those with ears to listen to the subtle whisperings they carry. Its fruits likewise are gathered by those who stand close to the tree [its community] who may keep them for themselves or may choose to share such abundance with other communities, who in turn may enjoy that bounty by its consumption [immediate gratification], or if wise, will plant deeply those seeds, nurture them and partake of the source that inspired that first tree.

That fruit will hybridise and evolve its own strain, in ever increasing increments of genera.

CTC is such a tree, our branches are our own limbs, our lifeblood that draws through the sap all it needs to remain self-sustaining.   A tree remains a tree even when in a forest. It is entirely different from a network of railway lines or roads that can in contradistinction, be said to ‘branch’ off from the central trunk. This singular vision is what Cochrane termed ‘Naked Truth.’

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