Cleary Bridget

Witchcraft Secret Spells Manual

Learn Witchcraft, Wicca and Magic

Get Instant Access

Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Valiente, Doreen. The Rebirth of Witchcraft. London: Robert Hale, 1989.

Cleary, Bridget See Fairy witch of Clonmel.

Clutterbuck, Old Dorothy (1880-1951) The alleged high priestess of a COVEN of hereditary Witches in the New Forest of England, who initiated GERALD B. GARDNER into Witchcraft in 1939. Little was known about Clutterbuck for many years, prompting some outside observers to speculate that she had never existed at all but was fabricated by Gardner. In 1980 DOREEN VALIENTE, English high priestess and an early initiate to Gardner's coven, undertook a search of records to prove that Old Dorothy Clutterbuck had indeed lived and died.

Clutterbuck was born January 19, 1880, in Bengal, to Thomas St. Quintin Clutterbuck, a captain (later major) in the Indian Local Forces, and Ellen Anne Clutterbuck. The Clutterbucks had been married in Bengal in 1877 at the ages of 38 and 20, respectively.

Virtually nothing is known about Clutterbuck's early years. At some point, she went to live in England, where she enjoyed an affluent life. Gardner said he became acquainted with her through the Fellowship of Crotona, a group that opened "The First Rosicrucian Theatre in England" in 1938 in the New Forest region, and performed plays with occult themes. Some of the members of the Fellowship revealed themselves to Gardner as Witches. In 1939, just after the start of World War II, Gardner said Clutterbuck initiated him in her home (see INITIATION). She was considered "a lady of note in the district" and had a large house, and a pearl necklace valued at 5,000 pounds, which she liked to wear often.

Clutterbuck died in 1951, leaving a considerable estate of more than 60,000 pounds.

Valiente began her search near Samhain (All Hallow's Eve), 1980. On the actual night of Samhain, Valiente said that she and three other Witches met in a wood in southern England and called upon Clutterbuck's spirit to show a sign that she wished Valiente to succeed in her search. An answer interpreted as affirmative came when the lantern at the south quarter of the MAGIC CIRCLE suddenly tipped over and broke its glass. Valiente also heard the deceased Gardner calling her name. It took Valiente two years to trace the documents proving the existence of Clutterbuck.

More recently, doubt has been cast on Clutterbuck's alleged role in Witchcraft. Scholar RONALD HuTTON researched Clutterbuck's life and background, and found no proof that she was or wasn't a Witch. Her diaries and the details of her life point to a woman who was a conservate Christian, a scion of society and active in supporting local charities. She was married to a Tory,

Rupert Fordham, a retired landowner. (There is some question as to whether the marriage was legal.) Her diaries, full of poetry and art, make no references to the Craft in either word or image. She had no obvious relationship with Gardner and was not associated with the Rosicrucian theater.

The argument can be made that Clutterbuck was following the convention of the time to be careful and secret about her Craft involvement. But if this were the case, she led an amazingly complex double life that fooled both her family and her neighbors and risked exposure that would have caused a monumental scandal. She is remembered by others as being a sweet, kind, compassionate woman who had no marked intellectual pursuits.

Gardner claimed that his initiation took place at Clutterbuck's home. This, too, is improbable, given Clutter-buck's social standing and visibility.

Hutton says that Gardner may have used Clutterbuck as a blind to protect his real high priestess, a woman known only as DAFO. Gardner had promised Dafo that he would never reveal her identity. Clutterbuck, who died before Gardner went public as a Witch, may have provided a convenient means for him to keep the promise.


Farrar, Janet, and Stewart Farrar. The Witches' Way: Principles, Rituals and Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft. Custer, Wash.: Phoenix Publishing, 1988. Valiente, Doreen. The Rebirth of Witchcraft. London: Robert Hale, 1989.

Cochrane, Robert (1931-1966) Controversial hereditary Witch at the forefront of the revival of Witchcraft in Britain in the 1960s. Robert Cochrane, whose real name was Roy Bowers, founded the CLAN OF TUBAL CAIN, which became the 1734 Tradition in America. Cochrane's flamboyant life ended in what may have been a ritual suicide. DOREEN VALIENTE called him "perhaps the most powerful and gifted personality to have appeared in modern witchcraft." Had his life been longer and more stable, said scholar RONALD HUTTON, a strain of "Cochranian" witchcraft may have emerged to rival the tradition founded by Gerald B. Gardner.

Cochrane gave his birthdate as January 26, 1931, at 3 A.M., to a Methodist family in London. Little is known about his early life; his own accounts in his surviving letters have been vague. At the time of his death, Cochrane had set down his life and work only in letters and a few articles; his widow, Jane, destroyed most of his letters.

Cochrane claimed to come from a line of hereditary witches that included his great-grandfather, great-uncle, grandmother, aunt and mother. At different times he claimed to have learned the Craft from his great-uncle, his mother or his aunt.

In a letter written to the English ritual magician William S. Gray, founder of the Sangreal tradition of magic— with whom he collaborated later in life—Cochrane said his great-grandfather was the last of the Staffordshire witches, a family tradition going back to at least the 17th century. His grandparents renounced the old gods and became Methodists, causing his great-grandfather to curse them. The curse decimated the family, and "nearly all of them died in misery or violence," he said.

Cochrane said he had his first mystical awareness of the gods at age five. One windy night of a full Moon, he was alone upstairs in his house and went to the window to gaze out. The eerie atmosphere of broken clouds racing past the moon and the sounds of the wind enabled him to have a mystical experience in which he knew that the old gods were real and that the goddess of the Moon was real and alive.

After his father's death, his mother told him the truth about the family. He turned to his aunt Lucy, who taught him the hereditary tradition. He said that only witches can bear witches, and that witch blood, which reoccurs every second or third generation, must be possessed in order to gain the ear of the gods.

By his early teens he was fascinated by ancient Celtic and Druidic lore. He may have found a mentor or teacher. He was in his early 20s when Britain's Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1953, and he formed his own coven, the Clan of Tubal Cain. Cochrane had worked as a blacksmith, and Tubal Cain is in lore the first in the trade.

A talented poet, Cochrane loved to teach in stories, riddles and poems rather than in straight instruction. His coven worshiped the Goddess and Horned God and practiced their rituals outdoors in remote areas. Unlike the nude Witches in Gardner's skyclad tradition, members wore black hooded robes. They "called down the power" in rituals and used guided meditation to create astral temples. Cochrane was particularly close to a man who went by the name of "Taliesin," who said he was a West Country hereditary witch.

Cochrane was married for at least 14 years to Jane, and they had a son. Jane practiced his tradition with him and helped him to develop psychic and healing abilities. He had no interest in money and status, but, after the arrival of his son, took office work as a designer. They lived in the Thames Valley west of London.

Cochrane was charismatic and, if not for the emergence of Gardner, might have become the dominant figure in the Craft revival. He held Gardner in contempt and was an open critic of him. He called Gardner "an out and out fake, who through various degenerative habits first came into this field." Gardner was "driven by a desire to be whipped and to prance around naked" and "devised his own religion which he called 'witchcraft.'" No real authority except one ever accepted him as the genuine article, Cochrane said.

He was equally contemptuous of Gardner's followers, stating that they gave witches a bad name, were thoroughly disliked by real witches and might be responsible for starting a backlash against witches.

In 1962, Cochrane, Taliesin and another person placed a newspaper ad inviting people interested in Robert Graves' White Goddess to contact them. In 1963, Coch-rane gained attention by writing an anonymous article for Psychic News in which he described himself as a hereditary witch and defended witchcraft against critics.

In 1964, Valiente met Cochrane, on the recommendation of friends. She had been looking for evidence of a pagan witchcraft tradition that was older than the one alleged by Gardner, and she initially was impressed by Cochrane's hereditary claims. She was initiated into the Clan of Tubal Cain. She went to his home and participated in rituals both outdoors and indoors.

Valiente, Cochrane and Taliesin were among the witches who became involved in the wiTCHCRAFT Research Association, formed by sybil Leek after the death of Gardner. Cochrane and Taliesin wrote for the WRA's journal, the Pentagram, which attracted the attention of an American witch Joe Wilson. Wilson wrote asking for correspondence, and Cochrane responded. Wilson founded the 1734 Tradition based on Cochrane's material.

Valiente soon became disillusioned with Cochrane, concluding that he was full of fiction about his hereditary lineage and probably made up rituals as he went along. She also grated at his sharp criticisms of her friend Gardner, his increasingly controlling and autocratic behavior and an extramarital affair with a coven member. And she discovered that Taliesin really had been a member of Gardner's tradition and was not a hereditary witch.

Cochrane said he was leery of Valiente and her intentions and engaged in an intellectual sparring with her via letters. He said she seemed pleasant enough, but she asked him so many questions about his interpretations of witch history, rituals, symbols and tools that he felt pressed to answer them and admitted dodging some of them. Exasperated, he said, "I shall have to work with the woman so that she will understand."

In his letters to Gray, Cochrane expressed an interest in giving Valiente fictitious material just to fool with her, ". . . each time I start fooling it up, she takes me seriously," he said. He shared secrets and rituals with Gray, but asked him not to pass certain information to Valiente because he did not want to see it in print. He did admit to passing fake material to Justine Glass, the pen name of a journalist sympathetic to witchcraft and the author of Witchcraft, the Sixth Sense—and Us (1965).

Valiente knew about the Glass situation and disapproved, and she also strongly disapproved of Cochrane and Taliesin's use of herbal psychedelics, which Cochrane referred to as "witch's potions." She was furious with Co-chrane when he performed a handfasting for a young couple and gave them a drink laced with deadly nightshade, telling them that they should drink it to determine if they were accepted by the gods or would be rejected, in which case they would die. Fortunately for the couple, they only became violently ill.

Valiente said that the breaking point for her came one day when Cochrane was railing against the Gardnerians to his coven. She told him she was fed up with his malice and had better things to do. She stopped working with the coven. Soon thereafter, Jane left, and the coven stopped functioning. Jane started divorce proceedings, but the couple never actually divorced. Later, Cochrane wrote to Valiente and apologized for his arrogant behavior.

Cochrane's relationship with Gray was an important part of his life; they shared ideas, rituals and material. He told Gray that he felt the two of them were brought together for a purpose, children of the Sun and Moon seeking the same truth. He diagnosed Gray's health problems via clairvoyance and even performed a healing at a distance on him. Gray suffered from an abscessed tooth, which he had removed, but his health did not improve. Cochrane conducted a magical healing circle ritual. He told Gray to be asleep by midnight on a certain night, to take no sleeping aids and to not be surprised by any dreams he might recall. Gray did as instructed. Sometime during the night he became aware of a sensation of being tossed around like a small ball by the coven while they chanted or sang. He then felt a piercing pain under his ribs, which moved around his body and then faded. When he awoke, he was free of pain, and his health was restored.

Cochrane was not so good with his own health. He pushed physical, mental and spiritual limits, skirting insanity by his own admission. The sacred Water of Life drunk in his rituals sometimes was laced with fly agaric or peyote to induce visions. Much of his spiritual pursuits were devoted to accessing the Akashic Records, the universal repository of all thoughts, emotions and events, to recover mystical wisdom.

In his work on the inner planes, Cochrane met his spiritual master and had a powerful encounter with "the Power we call God, or at least a representative of Her." He said he awakened in the middle of the night to find himself half in and half out of his body. A dark form was in the room, and it frightened him. He then was forcefully taken out of his body to a wood, where he saw his master for the first time. He was dressed in 16th-century clothing and a cloak. The master announced the arrival of "the Lass" and said, "Let us worship Her." All the colors around Cochrane were brilliant. A white light came through the oak trees and revealed a naked woman on horseback in pure light. Flooded with mystical feelings, Cochrane was shot back into his body with a "thundering crash." He got out of bed, trembling and shaking. Years later, he realized that what he had seen was "the cosmic power we call truth."

Cochrane lamented England as "psychically dead" and felt that he was one of the last of his kind. In a bizarre offhand observation in one of his letters to Gray, he foreshadowed the 1980 shooting murder of John Lennon in New York City. The noise and sexual hysteria gener ated by rock music was a dangerous force for teenagers to play with, he said, "and that is what the Beatles are doing. I would never be surprised to read that . . . one of the Beatles has come to a very bloody and untimely end, a la primitive magic as the God of Vegetation."

Cochrane came to an untimely end himself. Early in 1966, he began telling friends that he planned to commit ritual suicide on Midsummer's Eve. Few took the threat seriously, and Cochrane himself seemed to back off the threat a few days before the solstice. He followed through with it, though, and was found unconscious on June 21, 1966. He was taken to the hospital, where he died comatose. The cause was poisoning by belladonna leaves combined with sleeping pills. It is not known whether he intended to kill himself or his death was accidental. Some of his friends and supporters believed that he had committed ritual suicide by offering himself as a sacrifice on Midsummer Eve.

Valiente was not convinced that Cochrane actually intended to kill himself. Several days before the solstice, he wrote to her, saying that by the time she read the letter, he would be dead. Valiente believed that Cochrane intended for her to get the letter in time to send help, but it sat unread at home for several days while she was in the hospital. She also thought that he might have been playing a game to see if the gods accepted or rejected him. Either way, it was a gamble with a heavy price. Valiente composed "Elegy for a Dead Witch" in honor of Cochrane.

Cochrane's letters and papers that Jane kept were bequeathed upon her death in 2001 to Evan John Jones, one of Cochrane's original coven members; Jones died in 2003. Most have been published in two collections, The Roebuck in the Thicket (2001) and The Robert Cochrane Letters (2002).

Cochrane believed in an afterlife and in reincarnation. In a letter to Gray, he said, "When I am dead, I shall go to another place that myself and my ancestors created. Without their work it would not exist, since in my opinion, for many eons of time the human spirit had no abode, then finally the desire to survive created the pathway into the other worlds. Nothing is got by doing nothing, and whatever we do now creates the world in which we exist tomorrow. The same applies to death, that we have created in thought, we create in that other reality."

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Enneagram Essentials

Enneagram Essentials

Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment