A book both beguiling and illuminating…..
Most serious students of Traditional Craft will be familiar with the works of Shani Oates, Maid and Virtue Holder of the Clan of Tubal Cain, the Craft entity that has held and still holds safe the 50 year plus legacy and living Tradition originating from Roy Bowers (Robert Cochrane). Most I am sure will know that Shani’s books are always intriguing and enlightening, the sheer amount of detail and Lore packed within each of her works is always a challenge for the reader to retain and comprehend, generally requiring multiple ‘rounds’ with the book before full comprehension is achieved – or perhaps that is just myself and my own requirements of understanding….. Explanations and praxis are given throughout all of her works, although at a depth that requires thought and effort – ‘graft’ – for the reader to unlock the true gift of what lies within, which is as it should be, anything of value surely should take some effort to realise…. Yet the treasure available for those who do persevere is nothing less than the very soul of a ‘Lived’ Tradition laid bare, with a depth of Lore and practices that are simply overwhelming for anyone approaching for the first time.
In this latest instalment of the Star Crossed Serpent Series Shani has gifted the reader with many of the Keys to understand the Clan’s ethos and mythos, it is a book that will give back what is put into it by the reader – as with all of Shani’s works – much is readily visible to the reader, and yet the Keys themselves necessitate further effort on the behalf of the seeker to gain a true understanding, and no doubt the layers and levels of understanding possible will only become apparent after it has been digested and revisited, perhaps many times. This is no mere ‘spell book’ or ‘how to manual’ for those of the New Age, instead it is a source book of inspiration, intuition, knowledge and Lore, and an enabler for those who seek always to probe deeper, drawn on by the ‘driving thirst for knowledge’ to become more than they are…
Many aspects of the Clan’s methodologies, practices, mind-set, history, Lore and the individual nature of the Path that all work are explored in depth, understanding is freely given to those who read, although I have to wonder if my own understanding is due to a familiarity with Shani’s earlier works and the effort that has been put in, or a deliberate attempt to make this book more approachable to those coming to the Star Crossed Serpent books for a first time, as such only the reader will be able to discern this for themselves.
Many of the ‘classic’ pieces of writing from the Clan – from both Roy Bowers and Evan ‘John’ Jones – are revisited, and explanation and context is given that allow the reader to receive the insights, clarifications that in some points facilitate personal gnosis and moments of intuition, and of course as always with Shani’s work, all of the book is filled with a level of detail and understanding that both inspire and encourage the individual to continue their quest while also illuminating the gulf between where we are and what is possible – although again that could be a personal thing…. The words contained within speak their truth and ring with the integrity of what is being said, there is a beauty present within what is shared, and a sense of ‘gyfu’ – service – in the reason for their sharing, as with all that Shani writes this is delivered with humility and shared in the hopes to inspire others rather than for any reasons or need of ego, indeed, love is the driving factor, love and devotion to the Clan and to Divinity, both within and without….
There is much within this book that I find feels personally familiar to me, not from what I have previously read, but from experiential praxis and time spent out in the woods, after all, truth is truth, but it is all too easy to find oneself seeking the familiar praxis of our own workings and projecting them onto – or comparing with – the practices of others, yet to do so means we potentially miss some of the beauty of what is contained here, an in depth exploration of the heritage, Lore and praxis of the living Clan itself, a handbook to some of their ways of working and the ways of thought, an explanation of the depths that most will find fascinating…
Overall I would say that this book is fantastic, it is an easier read than some of the previous Star Crossed Serpent volumes, but still one that will require some personal effort in order to enable digestion and ongoing thought, I would heartily recommend it as a must have for anyone who considers themselves a true seeker, either of the Traditional Craft, or after personal gnosis and enlightenment.
Breacca of Albion