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through the legacy of Robert Cochrane

Cain: an agricultural myth?
-- by Robin the Dart

After the rise of Boötes [the ‘ploughman’ – see Plough Monday TC 123] into the hoary, bleak skies of winter, a meteor shower rains profusely across the northern regions, poetically ‘seeding’ the hungry earth, ripe for the first ploughing. Emanating from the region known as the ‘Quadrans Muralis’ it may be located on some 19th century star maps [as it was rediscovered in 1835]. It occurs near the meeting point of Hercules, Boötes and Draco and is named the Quadrantids after this now obsolete constellation. Up to 101 meteors an hour fall between December 28 and January 7th, peaking around January 3rd-4th. They have done so for over 4000 years. The myths suggested in connection with this sacred act of ‘creation’ are reflected many times, throughout many cultures, across diverse eras even outside Europe and beyond. These include the plethora of myths which concern castrated fertility deities from Khronos to Attis, offering a tempting option for associate myths relating the ‘lost’ phallus’ aspect. Osiris is one such figure, also linked intrinsically to agriculture and a distinct ‘green’ deity. Myths are rarely to be taken literally; we must peel away the husk to reveal the kernel of wisdom within. The word is veiled and must be charmed from its refuge…………….paradise after all is a place of hidden wonders, bathed in eternal and effulgent light…………..such a garden once graced the pages of many sacred books. The mystic fire of heaven – divine grace, life, fertility, a gardener to oversee it all. The tree of Life and Knowledge. The garden earth. The truth is really very simple.

The ploughman rises in the skies above, a heavenly pedagogue, there for all with eyes to see. His tale is woven over the ensuing seasons as he moves across the skies and descends briefly before rising again. A perpetual reminder of the cycle of things; of life within eternity. But the seasons are merely a temporal cycle of life upon which is reflected the greater eternal cycle of the cosmos, of the stars and the heavens of both our ancestors and our descendants. Thus, the ritual year unfolds, a panoply of reflected gnosis:

  • Yule – Cain again begins to rise, slowly, N-NNE. [Reflected in ritual by the re-birth of the sun/son of light, of life and renewal of life].
  • Twelfth Night – Cain is risen! Arms extending outwards pushing the plough. [reflected in ritual as the celebration of the power of the father perpetuated in the cycle of the sun/son and the creation of mankind by the generative potential of a living sentient god-force within the universe] Curiously, a shower of meteors – the quadrantides [of four points] coincidently the most prolific and abundant burst forth from the east, the region of the rising Cain, seeding the universe with light and power, the semen of the god, for the ritual ‘ploughing’ of the earth into the receptive body of the Great Maar.
  • Candlemas – Cain, now a fully risen arc across the sky. [Reflected in ritual as the expansion and fusion of light and return to earth of the emerging powers of nature, growth and revealed potential].
  • Spring Equinox - Cain approaches close to optimum Zenith. [Reflected in the apogee of the Hieros Gamos, the epic tale of Creation, of ‘Zep Tepi’, the First Time when man knew the Gods.
  • May’s Eve – Cain reaches the Azimuth. He is at his strongest. [reflected in the verdant virility of the Green Man. He is both warrior and farmer, the gift of life, the male essence, the viridient spirit of the god without].
  • Midsummer – Cain begins his descent, dropping into the western half of the ecliptic. [Reflected in ritual as the sun/son moving into the aspect of the Father, of dormant/latent energy].
  • Autumn Equinox – Only half of Cain remains visible above the ecliptic, but the Council of elders, of seven, of the Corona Borealis remain in clear view. [Reflected in ritual within variant descent myths and mysteries: ie. the Descent of Inanna who follows her lover, Dumuzzi - ‘the farmer and the shepherd – the duality of priest and king’ to learn of the cycle of life and death, instigated and witnessed by the Council of Seven.
  • All Hallows – Cain almost sunk on the ecliptic, only his head can be seen. He effectively ‘dies’ [Reflected in ritual by the dismembered skull/severed head and sickle]. Oracular activity and prophecy.

As if to illustrate this union of smithcraft and agriculture, the two civilising forces of creative and expansive power that motivate evolution, a gift to mankind, one symbol alone remains outstanding in its simplicity and succinct deference to this principle – that of the soviet star. Yes, the red pentagram [star of Venus], within which are shielded the hammer [Tubal] and the sickle [Cain]. Russia of course was the greatest example of the union of these forces typified in the use and re-use of symbols and glyphs that generate new meaning driven by instinctive recognition of deeper truths. How easily we overlook the obvious. This is the true meaning of occult. To see, we already have to know.


Robin the Dart, Magister Clan of Tubal Cain

[Biographical note: the author is the current Magister of Tubal Cain, a non academic student and practitioner of the Arte who lives privately in Derbyshire, dedicated to his Craft. All works are copyrighted.]