Monday, 20 June 2016
THE DEVIL’S SUPPER: A PRESENTATION BY SHANI OATES AT THE CASTLE BYTHAM SPIRIT CIRCLE NOVEMBER 2015
This evening presentation, a gathering of the Castle Bytham Spirit Circle, took place in the ever convivial atmosphere of the Castle Inn of that village. The evening was hosted by the landlord, that well-known and affable personality, Eamonn Loughran.
Castle Bytham itself is a quaint country village nestling deep in the Lincolnshire countryside. The village is rather isolated but it is all the more beautiful for that. Spread as it is across a valley and a steep hillside, it is dominated from the plain by the remains of a castle mound of Norman origin, the village has a relaxed atmosphere mixed with an odour of history.
Due to the distance required in travel, I chose to rent the rather pleasant Glen Cottage in the village and so make a weekend of the outing. The cottage was clean, pleasant and affordable. The owners were welcoming and helpful. Making a weekend of the trip meant I was able to spend time with friends, including Mr Loughran himself, a gentleman I had not seen in the flesh for far too long and therefore enjoy the excellent food at the Castle itself.
The evening lecture consisted of a beautifully read and seamless presentation of readings, incorporating specially selected poetry relevant to the Clan of Tubal Cain. The readings were given by Shani Oates, herself the Maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain and virtue holder in direct lineage from Evan John Jones and Roy Bowers, better known as Robert Cochrane.
This lady and she is a Lady, has a vast experience within the Craft and the Occult, less than half of which I know and most of which I cannot share. The Maid is the author of seven published works, with several more planned and is a contributor to numerous magazines and journals. The readings which had been chosen with great care, were all from her own works, both published and those awaiting publication.
The talk which I was honoured to introduce, was insightful, deep and at times challenging. It began with a question, what is the Tradition? In an attempt to answer this question, the Maid by necessity explored the enigma of Robert Cochrane, the origin of and the importance of Evan John Jones within that Tradition, the place of people and kin within the Tradition.
The Maid explained in far greater depth than I can possibly capture here, the place of personal devotion with the Craft as a Mystery Tradition. Aspects that have an important historical precedence found with Mithraism, Marionism and other cults, with a thread that winding by providence through folk-magic, leads us to Her, the Dame.
Going into greater depth as the evening progressed, the role of the Priesthood and the place of heteronormative initiation was explored by way of clarifying the Clan ethos. There was an emphasis upon the refutation of labels, the Clan is the Clan and although like many other groups, sharing and recognising influences, the Clan stands alone, separate and unique. There is only one Clan of Tubal Cain.
To emphasise this, the nature of the Clan and the meaning of Tradition, there was explanation offered defining the Covenant as a Sacred Contract, literally a kinship of the people in a state of grace. Faith is the Children of the Gods and the Clan are children of the Sun. All points that many will recognise within their own path and important points for all who are members of any coven, cuveen or coterie. Yet still containing something inviolate to the Clan itself.
One of the most memorable and meaningful statements made by our speaker that evening was; “Gnosis is the self-realisation of one’s own Divinity.” I felt a deep personal resonance within that statement, it captures something of the great depth and personal nature of the lecture.
Going deeper yet, the Maid introduced us to the tripartite representation of Deities within the philosophy of the Clan of Tubal Cain; Hekate, Hermes and Saturn. Cain the waning, lame luminary is a representation of Saturn the Father. Hermes is Tubal Cain, in which the stream of wisdom is preserved and the mediator we are told, of that internal spark the Promethean Stream.
Moving on, we were given an insight into elements specific and possibly unique to the Clan of Tubal Cain in this instance. Looking at Tubal Cain as the Wandering Ancestor, the magister’s staff of office, topped with his totem and the maxim; “Where the Clan Stang is, the Clan is.” I have said something similar in relation to our own Hearthstone and Hearthsword.
Elements of the presentation were replete with terms, maxims and phraseology, all designed to stimulate the mind and encourage further study. Art and artifice belong to the Devil, that patron of the artes. Pan the Allfather, is neither dead nor dying. The information was cast like pearls of wisdom upon the air and with the acceptance of the pilgrim, we treasured the moment to share this evening, as a Delphic Oracle spoke to us in allegory and metaphor.
We were taken on a journey from annihilation to evolution, from stillness and communion. It was explained that pacts should be performed and given insight into the Egregore, that heart and mind of the Clan. Past members remain forever Clan even in death, noting that we neither command nor summon the ancestors. For it is we who go to them, they do not come to us. Yet it a Clan teaching, that by knowing both sides of paradise, at death we are detached from either.
Bringing the evening to an end, spanning these readings and the exploration of many Clan concepts, we were reminded that future works would further examine the presented material and the subject matter therein. Whether Truth is a straight road or a crooked path, we are reminded that the Fool is a Holy Wanderer. In a search for Holy Sophia the Midnight Sun, the Seeker hopes to behold the beauty of Her who is beyond words, in awe.
This lecture like many is but one step, for we seekers that hope for the Gnosis promised. Like a well prepared feast, to be fully appreciated; the material needs to be both savoured and digested. A memorable, thoughtful and intellectual journey, shared by those who know a pearl when the eyes behold one.
The Clan of Tubal Cain
The Castle of Castle Bytham