Friday, 11 August 2017

Review: The Devil's Crown - Robert Cochrane's Craft

Cochranian witchcraft is an important strand of modern pagan witchcraft in the UK. It is completely separate from the more widely known Gardnerian and Alexandrian forms of Wicca and still manages to keep most of its inner mysteries secret. It is named after Robert Cochrane (born Roy Bowers), who founded the coven of the Clan of Tubal Cain in the mid 20th century, but claimed to be a member of a family of traditional witches.

Cochrane died in 1966, but the Clan of Tubal Cain has continued and grown, despite its leaders discouraging publicity.

Shani Oates is Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain - a title given to female heads of the coven - as well as being a respected author on traditional witchcraft and Old Craft. Her main series of books is the Star Crossed Serpent series, which gives a history of Cochrane’s witchcraft and offers insights into its mythos and inner mysticism.

The Devil's Crown: Key to the mysteries of Robert Cochrane's Craft is the fourth book in the Star Crossed Serpent series and has recently been published. I was delighted to be sent a copy to review and learnt a huge amount from reading it. It is full of material from folklore, mythology and the teachings of Robert Cochrane, put together in a way that shows how the Cochranian system can offer a path to development as a witch and for personal gnosis.

However, don't do what I did and jump in at book four without reading the others first. It is not a beginner's book and I am sure it would make considerably more sense with a bit more background knowledge. Nevertheless, I liked it so much that I will go back and start at the beginning. Then, having read the first three in the series, I'll re-read The Devil’s Crown and, hopefully, fully understand the deep insights into Old Craft it has to offer.

On the title and contents of the book, Shani said:
The Devil’s Crown is the accolade of genius, awarded to poets, and leaders of men who would speak in riddles and puns the wisdom of ages. Whether Scop or Skald, the words inspired by the Muse live on in vibrant tradition under the shining aureole of the Holy Fool. It is the arcane mark of the ‘other.’ This book illuminates some of that light, sharing insights to the precious mysteries of the Robert Cochrane Tradition. His letters and works now collated finally into a single volume – ‘The Star Crossed Serpent III: The Taper that Lights the Way,’ find further expression in this companion volume.

You can view The Devil's Crown on Amazon.

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