Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol 13, No 2 (2011)

Robert Cochrane and the Gardnerian Craft: Feuds, Secrets and Mysteries in Contemporary British Witchcraft

Ethan Doyle White
Issued Date: 14 Jan 2013

Abstract


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.

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DOI: 10.1558/pome.v13i2.205

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