Learning to Die: Devotion to the Cause
The words of my mentor and Magister, Robin-the-Dart, echo in my ears;
“You are the Craft.”
As seems to be his trademark enigmatic style, a single seemingly-simple statement can contain worlds of possibilities within it.
The past 15 years or so has seen a marked increase in the interest in Traditional Craft. It offers something ‘different’ to the frequently milked cash-cow that Wicca has been treated as. Unfortunately, I have seen some try to steer Traditional Craft down this same route too. McWicca, and if some had their way, McCraft, a dish that I wish not to see served.
So let me get one thing straight and possibly be provocative;
There is NO such thing as a generic Traditional Craft.
Anybody who tries to sell a notion any different as a fact should be left well alone. Ignorance shall breed more ignorance and dogma shall be a result.
What Cochrane, John (Evan John Jones) did and currently Shani Oates offers to do now is highlight to seekers of ‘Other’ that there is another way to what is commonly espoused. In Cochrane and John’s time this was to make apparent a pre-existing alternative to predominately the invention and development of Wicca; whereas in the current time the main protagonist seems to be the ‘dogmatic’ and limiting ideas of what constitutes so-called ‘real’ Traditional Craft. Personally, I only know the Old Craft based on what was passed on to Robert Cochrane, Evan John Jones and Shani Oates & Robin-the-Dart. I can speak with full awareness that I have the support and guidance of my People and our ancestors. I cannot speak authoritatively in regards to any Craft tradition that I am a ‘Cowan’ to or any path that an individual wishes to carve out for themselves. This courtesy should of course, extend both ways.
The Old Craft as I know it, as one of the Clan of Tubal Cain, isn’t concerned solely with Thaumaturgical matters, with the sole utilisation of either Folk Magic or Ritual Magic; the aspiration of the soul, seeing and living in Truth is, in my experience and opinion, a much more laudable pursuit for Crafters.
To quote Robert Cochrane:
Magic is only a by-product of the search for Truth, and holds an inferior position to Truth.
Magic, in Cochrane’s opinion and so, by a necessary extension, the opinion of the Clan, is a product of the soul in its aspiration and therefore an ‘after-thought’. How ‘topsy-turvy’ those who declare themselves stalwarts of ‘Traditional Craft’ have got it in comparison to Cochrane’s view! Instead, people want to nurture a nostalgic infatuation with bottles of piss and rusty nails! All to declare themselves followers of a historic practise and supposedly therefore ‘authentic’ Craft! Not in my ancestor’s name I’m afraid.
The value of the Old Craft today is that in it lie the seeds of the old Mystery tradition.
~ Robert Cochrane
This doesn’t equate to superstitious tomfoolery that empowers the ego but a pathway in which the tenets of Truth, Love and Beauty are not only expressed but most importantly – realised. For one cannot fool the gods without fooling themselves first in the attempt. Without awareness, one at best will be enacting a mummers play without meaning, no matter how good one’s intention may be. At worst, one deludes not only themselves but also deludes others too, if done wittingly, a great dishonour to Life, to Truth, will be occurring, and may the gods and the ancestors of the perpetrator cast them out from their kinship.
The Old Craft I know, is a path of Devotion, Surrender and Sacrifice;
Take all you are given, give all of yourself.
Any magics thence forth shall be utilised to live fully in the awareness of Truth, not to encourage banal pursuits of lovers, wealth and creature comforts. Once we have learned to die, we will find Truth, once we have found Truth, we shall truly know how to live.
Flags, Flax & Fodder,
Ulric “Gestumblindi” Goding
Níwe Dæg – Níwe Léoht – Níwe Hopan