Monday, April 16, 2012

Cochrane's Craft

Over the last year or so I've had a lot of private email queries asking about the few things that Robert Cochrane (Roy Bowers) wrote, and where more information on his thoughts on witchcraft can be found.

So I felt it was time to sit down, and take a moment to pick five books I quite liked, and felt were somewhat reliable, and put them down in a blog entry for easy reference (especially if the subject should come up again). I want to make it absolutely clear that I am NOT a member of the Clan of Tubal-Cain and my perspective is entirely my own. Furthermore, some of the books I am about to reference may be a pain to find. One hopes that they are not, but certain materials tend to head out of print and then vanish at different times.

So here are five books I think will help any new-comer that thinks Cochrane's ideas are worth looking into.

  1. The Robert Cochrane Letters by Cochrane and Evan John Jones, edited by Michael Howard.
    A version of them appears online here. (Although I have seen some claim that online versions of the letters have been “edited.” If such is the case, I'm unaware of the specifics.)
  2. The Roebuck in the Thicket by Cochrane and Evan John Jones (again edited by Michael Howard).
  3. Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed by Doreen Valiente and Evan John Jones.
    Only SOME of the rituals are covered by this book, but it has so many goodies that I couldn't possible babble enough about it.
  4. The Rebirth of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente
    This book is essential for understanding a great many things involved in the rebirth of Modern Witchery, including why elements of Crowley show up in Wicca, to her comments on her time with the Clan of Tubal-Cian.
  5. Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton
    His chapter on Cochrane is entitled “The Man in Black,” and is very much worth reading.

Finally, the very cool folks over at the Clan of Tubal-Cain have a website up that last I checked had essays worth reading. Although, some appear to have disappeared as of December 2011, which is a real pity.

I have not read Michael Howard's Children of Cain, and thus have no opinion on it at all.

I do have an opinion on Ann Finnan's The Forge of Tubal Cain, but it isn't worth repeating as that opinion is somewhat low. The materials in the book are great. However their solution for the 1734 “equation” is not to my liking. (There is an essay in Abraxas #1 by another 1734 practitioner, but I forget his name and the title. If you own the volume, look for it.) I would not recommend the book to anyone who is not about to try and join their group, unless they wanted the material at the end of the book. This is not my passing judgment on their coven, group, or thoughts, however. They are clearly selective and clearly only looking for certain types of witches, which is their right, and one they have earned by being active as long as they have.

EDIT: If any of this interests you, then you'll also want to pick up a copy of The White Goddess by Graves, but if I tell you why... That will spoil the surprise of Cochrane doing it for me in his letters.

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