It is rare for a religious Tradition to write up a memoir of its founding. This is often for non-sinister reasons, how many of us know we are creating a Tradition as opposed to just a group? Moreover, by the time a Tradition has earned its capital T, the founders are no longer around to provide balance, background, and perhaps a bit of ballast to the stories. Fortunately for the Roebuck Tradition, Ann Finnin has written up its history and captured a vital piece of Wiccan history. Moreover, it’s a good read! 

The first half of the book is the actual history of the Roebuck Tradition including a lot of detail and food for thought. Ms. Finnin discusses the changes the group underwent as it grew and developed; the triumphs, the hardships, and disappointments since its formation. Any group lasting beyond a few years will face these challenges (I recognized many of them from my own group’s experiences) and for no other reason I would recommend The Forge of Tubal Cain as a way to prepare for these common problems.

The second half of the book is a collection of information about the Roebuck Tradition. It is not a course curriculum, but a practicum of the groups’s processes and procedures. The level of common sense is superb, as is the understanding of the joys and pitfalls of human nature. I call particular attention to the final chapter “The Roebuck Way” – one of the best discussions of what, exactly, an initiatory mystery tradition means in terms of the individual – and why it is not for everyone.

Highly recommended.


Author: Ann Finnin

Pendraig Publishing, 2008

pp. 250, $16.95