This month I broke the mold and attended the Morley Moot, a somewhat ‘local’* moot, to hear Alan Craw talk on the various tools of British Traditional Witchcraft (BTW) as inspired by Robert Cochrane. I don’t often attend moots because I struggle for child care and know my kids well enough that it is *not* appropriate to take them along to even the most child friendly of events but I heard about this talk a long time in advance and made a conscious decision to attend. I’m glad I did as not only did I renew a number of long distance friendships with people who had traveled from various locations across the UK but I listened to a very fascinating presentation from a learned speaker.
Alan Craw is the Magister of the Milesian Order of Clanna Gadelus, a Traditional Witchcraft Cuveen based in Yorkshire. Amongst his other achievements stands his knighthood within the Loyal Arthurian Warband and a long history of involvement in esoteric and pagan publishing and various pagan groups in Yorkshire. Alan has spent the last 12 years writing and refining the text that forms the basis of the lecture he gave and is currently looking for a publisher.
After briefly (and hats off to him for managing to do this with such brevity) explaining who Robert Cochrane was and the origins of BTW Alan presented the lecture in two stages, the primary tools and secondary tools of the Traditional Witch. Alan explained the origins of each tool and how they related not only to the Craft but their historical contexts as well.
For example, amongst the Primary tools stood the Witches blade. In BTW the knife is a practical tools, used for cutting herbs, preparing tools and inscribing. In comparison the Wiccan anthame is a symbolic tool, being an extension of the Witches will. In BTW it is also a weapon, an offensive tool both on the physical plane and the spiritual if carried across the veil in trance states. In contrast the Sword fell amongst the secondary tools and has been adopted by BTW and Wica from Ceremonial Magick. The sword is a symbol of nobility, power and justice and is a symbol of power and authority. Within BTW cuveen’s the Sword is a symbol of office and its transference from one Magister to another symbolic of the transfer of leadership within the cuveen.
I found myself nodding along to many of the points Alan made. There was that element of common sense and logical connection that I love as well as enough information to capture my attention but spur me onto learn more myself. The idea that I am my own Stang strongly resonates with me and is something I am hoping to explore in my own working. I was also very fortunate to be sat with Chattering Magpie and my friend Shullie who, being far more knowledgeable and experienced than I, asked Alan some very interesting questions and shared their own examples and experiences and opened the discussion out even further.
If you have the opportunity to see Alan speak, either on this topic or on another, you should snap it up pronto. He is back in Leeds in October 2014 for Day of Mysteries and Magic 2 and speaks at various moots and gatherings around Yorkshire. For more information about Alan and his work you can visit his website or find him on Facebook and MySpace
*when I say ‘local’ I mean it took me a bus a train and 10 minute wander through Morley to get there .