Thursday, November 15, 2012

R - Robert Cohrane #paganblogproject

Robert Cochrane is the pen name of Roy Bowers, a British Cunning Man who was working his craft around the same time that Gerald Gardner was writing about Wicca. In fact, Cochrane was the one who coined the name "Gardnerism" or "Gardnerianism" for the form of Craft that Gerald was promoting. (The term came up in "The Pentagram" and other sources where Cochrane showed some disdain for the ceremonial-influenced Craft that Gardner was telling the public was "family heritage.")

Cochrane purported himself to be a member of a Craft tradition that had been handed down since the 17th Century, and he resented the false or watered-down version that he felt Gardner was presenting.

Glaux and I have always been drawn to the work and writings of Cochrane. In fact, it was one of the points of attraction for us. She had been trained within a reculed Gardnerian line, and my former HPS had a similar background. However, my HPS went from Gardnerian Wicca in the 60's and 70's to Druidry in the 80's and 90's, and she finally landed in a 1734 offshoot known as Roebuck  in the late 90's. I met her in 1998, at a time when she (my HPS) had formed her own Trad that was based on each of these lines of training, along with what we called Dragon Craft. While we always knew that we were "close cousins" to Roebuck/Ancient Keltic Church, it wasn't until I read the book written by the co-founder of that Trad that I realized we were really a sort of daughter coven  -- though a bastard, since my HPS hadn't taken her initiation with that group before striking out on her own. (The book is Forge of Tubal Cain by Ann Finnin. I highly recommend it.)

Okay, so back to Robert Cochrane.

He carried on correspondences with several people and wrote several articles that have become something like canon within Trad Craft circles. Doreen Valiente was the Maid of his coven for a period, in her search for authentic craft. That coven is called Clan of Tubal Cain, and it is still functioning today, decades after his death. Shani Oates is the current maid. (You should also read her book, Tubelo's Green Fire, if you have an interest in this type of Craft.)

His work has had a great influence on modern practitioners of Traditional Craft. His correspondence with Joe Wilson was a major influence in Wilson's establishment of the 1734 Tradition, which is an American adaptation of British Family Craft. From there, several Craft Traditions have sprung up, including Roebuck, which I mentioned earlier as a source of my own training.

The Mohsian Tradition, Blue Star, the work of Peter Paddon, Raven Womack, Robin Artisson, and of course American Folkloric Witchcraft are all influenced by Robert Cochrane and the writings that he gave the world.

Cochrane died by his own hand at the Summer Solstice when he was 35. He ingested belladonna -- some believe as an intentional ritual sacrifice.

No comments: