You are reading the first blog post of a new Clann of 1734 Witchcraft in the Wilson Stream, one sourced in the lore of the Four Dragons, one form of the Airts, the Wind Gods. So, what is this Tradition about?
The '''1734 Tradition''' is a term first coined by Joseph Bearwalker Wilson, to describe the form of the Old Religion which he developed in America in the years between 1964 and 1968. He based it largely on the practices and philosophies of Roy Bowers (Robert Cochrane) a British witch with whom Wilson had corresponded. Other influences on this tradition were his teacher "Sean" who had shared with him some hereditary practices from his own family, which he referred to as "The Old Faith", and Ruth Wynn Owen, matriarch at that time of Y Plant Bran, a Welsh mythic tradition. Joe was aware before his death that the words "1734" had been applied to Wiccan traditions, quasi-Alexandrian traditions, other forms of Witchcraft than his own Stream, and had many associations with people whom he did not respect. He did not attempt, nor have the Holders of Virtue of his Stream attempted since his death, to counter any claims or to somehow establish that his own Stream was the "one, true, Way" of 1734. He understood fully that the Mysteries reveal themselves only to those of the Blood, and that people were free to create such constructs as they wished and call them what they would. He said, in his writings now published on the 1734 Witchraft web site, that it was not up to him to decide who was, or was not, 1734, and added the following:
''Those that claim to be the valid "heads" of 1734, and that other lineages are illegitimate on that basis, invalidate themselves. They may be heads of their own covens, and they may be inspired by 1734 philosophy, but that does not make them heads of 1734 any more than a Baptist minister being the head of his church is the head of Protestantism. I never intended 1734 to have an apostolic succession style lineage. Those who claim this or that group is less 1734 because they don't have such a lineage have also invalidated themselves. They may have such a lineage for their own coven. It is the methods of teaching, the philosophy, and the Spirits that is important, not who initiated who else. The "legitimate tradition" of 1734 is in the heart, not a lineage. It is the process of turning dross into gold, and acquiring wisdom that matters.''
(Quoted from the section "General Introduction" on the 1734 Web site)
Some have suggested that the term "1734" refers to the year 1734, and that Cochrane traced his "Witch-Blood" back to that date (ref.Vivianne Crowley, ''Wicca'', page 21). However, as a Holder of Virtue of the Wilson Stream of 1734, I can categorically state that this is not the case. In the correspondence between Wilson and Cochrane, the glyph of 1734 and the meaning of the figure was set as a task for Wilson to complete by Cochrane, who taught through induction. The actual results of that discussion and as much as is able to be written down about the actual meaning of the glyph and the cryptogram of 1734 are in the Letters, which again may be found on the 1734 Web Site. The interesting factor of the "meaning of 1734" as Joe envisioned it, was that there is more than one meaning, more than one riddle, and more than one Mystery, connected with the etymology, and that people must first encounter the Mystery, and then figure out its meaning for themselves.
There are many groups which have a background in 1734, but no one group which IS "the one true 1734." Coven Dragonveil is a coven in Maryland which is run by one of the Holders of Virtue of Joe Wilson's Stream of 1734, and there are covens in other US States, namely Washington, Oregon, Utah, Maine, and Florida, as well as working groups in Britain, Canada and France, as well as students and individual practitioners in other lands. Four Dragons Clann is a Mother Cuveen of the stream, located in Murray, Utah. The Clan of the Entangled Thicket is active in Britain, and there are other working groups in other parts of the British Isles. Wilson's Stream of 1734 is not Wicca...indeed, from Joe's own mouth it is
"...a mystical system. It is a tradition in the standard sense of passing on of customs and thoughts from one generation to another, not as a synonym for a denomination of a religion. I never intended 1734 to be secret. I never intended the letters to be secret, or to be used as some sort of bible. Roy's letters to me are examples of teaching the mysteries by poetic inference, nothing more. Those who try to claim them as secret totally ignore Roy's own teachings regarding secrecy, and therefore invalidate themselves. I never intended 1734 to have a hierarchal structure. There is no such thing as First, Second, or Third Degree 1734. Those who claim to be "Third Degree 1734" are invalidating themselves.
I repeat. The idea of three initiations in 1734 is an add-on by those who also feel that they need a "Book of Shadows" to make themselves feel really important, justified, and righteous. Initiation into 1734 consisted of a "kit bag" (copies of Roy's letters, sometimes in condensed form), an introduction to the spirits, and a boot in the rear. To quote Joanna, "Other initiations are given by the spirits-hopefully helped along by the guidance of a teacher. If the student is really working, there will (eventually) be more than three initiations marked in a person's soul."
(quoted from the 1734 Witchcraft web site).
Currently, Seekers who are interested in the Joseph Wilson Stream of 1734 should apply to be members of the 1734 discussion list on Yahoo Groups, or write to the contacts listed on the 1734 web site. There are books and materials which will assist, some of which are in the bibliography here and some of which one will encounter in speaking to the current workers of the Stream. Periodically, there will be specific lore of the Stream posted here as it relates to the work of Four Dragons Clann.