Cochrane’s Craft, which is also known as Cochranianism, is a tradition of traditional witchcraft founded in 1951 by the English Witch Robert Cochrane, who himself claimed to have been taught it by some of his elderly family members, a claim that is disputed by some historians such as Ronald Hutton and Leo Ruickbie.
Cochranianism revolved around the veneration of the Horned God and the Mother Goddess, alongside seven deities which are viewed as children of the God and Goddess. Cochranian Witchcraft has several features that separate it from other traditions such as Gardnerian Wicca, such as its emphasis on mysticism and philosophy, and Cochrane's attitude that it was not pagan, but only based upon paganism.
As in most forms of Neopagan Witchcraft, Cochranians worship both a Horned God and a Triple Goddess. The Goddess is viewed as the White Goddess, a term taken from Robert Graves' poem, The White Goddess. She is also viewed as a triad of three mothers or three sisters, which both Cochrane and Evan John Jones noted as having similarities with the weird sisters or Norns of Germanic paganism.
In Cochrane's Craft, the God is associated with fire, the underworld and time, and has been described as "the goat-god of fire, craft, lower magics, fertility and death". The God was known by several names, most notable Tubal Cain, Bran, Wayland and Herne. Cochrane's tradition held that these two deities had a son, the Horn Child, who was a young sun god.
Cochrane told of a cosmogony myth, which involved Night, "a feminine being with force, but without form, giving birth to man and with him she discovered love, and so all things began". He said that the Elder Gods had seven children who each created a realm to rule over from a castle, as well as creating the elements of earth, air, fire and water, each of which had a god ruling over it.
In a letter to occultist William G. Gray, Cochrane said:
Nothing is purely good or evil, these are relative terms that man has hung upon unacceptable mysteries. To my particular belief the Goddess, white with works of good, is also black with works of darkness, yet both of them are compassionate, albeit the compassion is a cover for the ruthlesness of total Truth. Truth is another name for the Godhead. Male or female doesn't really matter, what does matter is the recognition of neither good or evil, black and white, but the acceptance of the 'will of the Gods', the acceptance of Truth as opposed to illusion.
Around the time that the British 1735 Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951, and it became legal to practice witchcraft in the United Kingdom, Cochrane, who was in his early twenties, founded a coven, and named it the "Clan of Tubal Cain" after the biblical figure Tubal-cain (the first blacksmith), as a reference to his work in that profession.
Cochrane initiated his wife Jane and several others into the craft, and they then joined the coven. Among these was Evan John Jones, who would later become an author upon the subject of pagan witchcraft. Jones had met Cochrane through his wife Jane, as they both worked at the same company.
The group performed their rituals either at Cochrane's house, or, more often, at Burnham Beeches, though they also performed rituals at the South Downs, after which they would stay the night at Doreen Valiente's flat in Brighton.
Describing his creation of his Witchcraft tradition, one of its later adherents, Shani Oates, remarked that "Like any true craftsman, he was able to mold raw material into a magical synthesis, creating a marvelous working system, at once instinctively true and intrinsically beautiful."
In 2015 a feature film, The Coven was released based on the premise that "Robbie Cochrane founded a Wicca coven as recently as the 1960s" and that followers were meeting in Queen's Wood in Highgate. A Cochranian devotee, Uri Clef, is killed and the films plot reveals the killer in a subtle and complex story line.
- Howard, Mike (2001). The Roebuck in the Thicket: An Anthology of the Robert Cochrane Witchcraft Tradition. Capall Bann. Chapter One.
- Oates 2010. p. 228.