Monday, 14 January 2013

Robert Cochrane and the Gardnerian Craft + two new book reviews

The long awaited issue number 13.2 of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies is now at the printers, but PDFs of the articles and reviews contained therein have already appeared on the journal's website. As most readers will probably be aware, The Pomegranate is the only academic peer-reviewed publication devoted exclusively to the multidisciplinary field of Pagan Studies, and is always filled with exciting and thought provoking research into contemporary Paganisms. Over the past few years I myself have had the privilege of publishing both an academic paper (12.2) and a book review (13.1) within this pioneering journal, but this issue marks quite a landmark for me, because it contains not only a brand new paper based on my ongoing research into the Traditional Witchcraft movement, but also two of my book reviews that critically evaluate tomes relevent to that very research area.

"Robert Cochrane and the Gardnerian Craft: Feuds, Secrets, and Mysteries in Contemporary British Witchcraft" offers the results of my research into the strange and contradictory relationship that Robert Cochrane (1931-1966), Magister of the Clan of Tubal Cain and founder of Cochrane's Craft, had with the Gardnerian Wiccan community during the early 1960s. Below I include the abstract, a taster to the rest of the paper:

The English occultist Robert Cochrane (1931–1966) has remained one of the most enigmatic figures from the burgeoning contemporary British Witchcraft movement, being the founder of the Cochranian tradition and a core influence on the “Traditional Craft” current that has blossomed in the West since the early 1990s. The magister of a coven named the Clan of Tubal Cain, Cochrane was known for his scathing criticisms of Gerald Gardner and the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca, but at the same time allegations have emerged in recent decades that Cochrane was himself an initiate of that very tradition. In this paper, the author explores the complex relationship between Cochrane and the Gardnerian Craft, examining the nature of his criticisms and the evidence for his involvement in it, utilising both a textual examination of his published writings and private letters, accompanied with information obtained from discussions with some of his contemporaries and later followers.

Unfortunately, at £12.00 for a downloaded PDF, it doesn't come cheap, but I have no control over the pricing - nor do I see a single penny of that price (contrary to what some might claim, academia is hardly a pathway to a prosperous future). However, such is the nature of academic publishing in the age of capitalism ! Several ventures, like the newly founded peer-reviewed Correspondences journal of western esotericism, will be releasing everything that they publish for free, and it will be interesting to see how the profit-run publishers will respond to this threat to their hegemony over academic publishing.

It's not all bad, and Equinox Publishing, who have published The Pomegranate since 2004, have thankfully agreed to release their book reviews online as free PDFs, and if you're interested, you can check out my two latest reviews of books discussing the Traditional Craft: Michael Howard's Children of Cain (2011) and John of Monmouth's Genuine Witchcraft is Explained (2011). Any well-mannered comments or constructive criticisms of any of these latest publications are of course welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous, congratulations on your publishing (and you know I'm jealous of your topic - so many interesting topics, so little time!)