Scottish or British? Conflict or Harmony?

The peoples of Britain have a somewhat unique situation among other European countries in that while we all share the same landmass, language and government, our island is composed of three distinct nations; namely, Scotland, England and Wales. This state of affairs is something which doesn’t sit comfortably for the concept of the nation-state, as you have multiple, competing identities among the folk that are native to the island. Each of these nations have their own history and ethnic origins, which despite being unique in their own right, have constantly been aware of and interacted with each other. While the Scots have a history of Brittonic (including Pictish), Gaelic and Germanic cultures (namely, Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Flemish), it is the last that is dominant, while our Gaelic heritage and close ties with Ireland are what make us distinct from England and Wales. England and Wales are less confused in terms of ethnic identity; while the English have a Brittonic prehistory, their ethnic identity is firmly based in Anglo-Saxon culture, which was established after the Roman conquest (who, along with the Normans, had their own imperialist, elite culture that was apart from that of the common folk) and whose tongue forms the basis of both the English and Scots languages. Wales defines itself by its Brittonic homogeneity, although linguistically and culturally they have been heavily influenced by England. For the Welsh, their Brittonic culture and language, which was once dominant across the whole of Britain, is a source of pride.

From this brief summary of our peoples’ ethnography, we can see that the situation is complex and takes many things into account, which is a problem especially for modern politics. While the idea of being both British and Scottish, English or Welsh has not been an issue for previous generations, politicians have discovered that they can use such issues to polarize the public and vie for political power. Nationalism is a funny thing in Scotland; while British nationalists that prefer to see themselves as part of a united island (along with our old imperial hegemony) are associated mainly with the ‘right-wing’, so called ‘Scottish nationalists’ are politically dominated by the Neo-Marxist Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Green Party. The latter position tends to be characterized by a heavily watered-down civic nationalism, which is shared by the supposedly ‘right-wing’ Scottish Conservatives and UKIP. The main source of conflict created by such machinations are that those who lean ‘left’ or ‘right’ will let such partisan ideologies shape their preferred form of nationalism. Therefore, those who have Marxist tendencies and wish to break apart existing structures will generally side with parties that promote regional nationalism based on our more local identity, while those who support the old establishment will prefer to emphasize the similarities between the British peoples rather than their differences. The irony, especially for the former, is that all of these forms of civic nationalism are to varying degrees pro-EU, multiculturalist and not based in ethnic or racial similarities. Therefore, we have a situation where folk are forced to decide between two political structures that denigrate our genetic and cultural heritage in favour of globalism, while pretending that they act in our best interests.

This is especially true at the moment, where we have a party known to be ‘nationalists’ (the SNP) in power locally, who seek to define Scottish identity within a globalist framework, preferably as a small and irrelevant nation within the EU (though there is significant division on this issue within the party, as it is mainly the leadership that promotes this particular agenda). The other side offers no solutions, as UKIP and the Conservatives mainly appeal to English or Welsh voters and don’t really see Scotland as an equal to England in this regard. Thus, there is significant alienation in our country, possibly even more so than in England or Wales, whose own forms of regional nationalism are not as polarized as in Scotland (although Plaid Cymru in Wales are similar to the SNP ideologically, they face stronger competition from the other parties and are much less powerful than the SNP in Scotland, who maintain a slight hegemony in our parliament). There are National Socialists in Scotland, though they form a tiny minority and are irrelevant politically as well as a hindrance to the promotion of Folkish Tribalism through their touting of an outdated and unappealing political ideology, groups such as National Action and the British Movement.

What then is the solution for those of us who have grown sick and tired of this constant conflict concerning whether we should see ourselves as an individual people or as part of a wider collective within our island? It seems apparent that we will simply have to accept the dualistic nature of our folk with regards to who we are as a people. That the Scottish folk are their own is something which cannot be ignored for the sake of promoting unity, and we have always done things differently from the English and Welsh. For this reason, it is at least symbolically positive that we have our own parliament (hideous and pernicious as it is) and our own laws are somewhat different from our neighbours. However, to see ourselves as equivalent to a nation-state in its own right such as those on the continent is simply false. It is not so much that we are too small a country, there are many countries within Europe which are tiny compared to us, if not in size but in population (think of the fact that Scotland has a population higher than that of much larger Norway), but that we cannot realistically act outside of our place within Britain. There was a time during the Stewart era when Scotland looked to the rest of Europe rather than within the British Isles, but such periods are short-lived and resist the strong bonds that tie us to our fellow islanders. England is not our superior, but she is our nation’s sister, who we can rely on to recognise our shared interests. Aside from the contemptuous among the English who see us as a lesser folk, this is mainly restricted to the elites, who are themselves detached from other English people. Most of us in both countries would rather not see the other conquered or destroyed, despite our mutual conflicts in the past. We are not living at the end of the 13th Century, England is not attempting to annex us, we are both occupied by hostile forces that seek to enslave all peoples, and to destroy Europeans.

For guidance we can look to the Brittonic tradition and the Iron Age political structure of Britain. Our island was split between Cymru, Lloegyr and Alban, which correspond nowadays to Wales, England and Scotland (although back then Cymru was the largest of the three). In those days, these nations were distinct from each other, but united under one king and spoke the same language, which in those times was Common Brittonic. Nowadays, England is the largest and most influential of the three, and it is English that is the common tongue across the island, although we have our own native minority languages in the form of Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh and Cornish. We are three peoples with a shared land, we must work together but on our own terms as distinct peoples in order to unite against our common enemies. The British monarchy is one example of a symbol of our unity that has become corrupt and decrepit, a ‘royal’ bloodline descending from Germans should not be seen as something which helps us to define our shared identity. The land, its peoples and our history is what we share and what we can look to for inspiration. In this way it must be remembered that ‘Britain’ or ‘the British Isles’ (which includes the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight) is distinct from ‘the United Kingdom’, which is purely a political entity and is purposely confused with British identity for political reasons. In this instance, somewhere like Northern Ireland is included, even though they have their own political and cultural history and have a separate destiny from the rest of Britain, as it is in Ireland rather than Britain.

It is not enough to define ourselves under whichever authority is attempting to subjugate us, whether it is the ‘British’ establishment or false nationalists working on behalf of the EU, as our identity is not held within a passport or within a specific jurisdiction, but within our blood and memory. We are three peoples and one land, if that seems contradictory to you then this simply means that you do not understand our culture, even if you are from here. Whether I am Scottish or British matters mainly depending on the situation. When thinking about managing local affairs and creating laws, this can only be done within the context of Scotland, but with regards to trade, war and mutual interest with England and Wales, it is Britain that takes priority. We should be free to unite in times of war and then to divide in times of peace. I suppose it would make more sense to emphasize our shared identity right now as we are very clearly at war, even if many of us are unaware of it. England and Wales are in many ways in a more dire situation than Scotland, although if we are not careful and remain complacent, we may end up in an even worse state due to a lack of awareness with regards to the danger that threatens all of the peoples of Europe. Though Scotland has never been conquered before, this does not mean that it is not a possibility, and we must make sure that England is not conquered again. Their struggle is our struggle, what affects them affects us and Wales too. We have had enough Brother Wars throughout history, we do not need more.

Wulf Willelmson

How the Druids became Witches

 

Today, these mysterious magicians of the Celtic lands are generally understood in two ways; either as a class of priests or seers who basically governed their society through advising their chieftains, and only existed during the Iron Age, or alternatively, as a longer tradition stretching from the earliest times into the present day. The main problem with the former is that it relies on a restricted interpretation of the word ‘druid’ in an Iron Age context and ignores the use of derived terms during the Middle Ages with slightly different meanings. The word “dryw” meant ‘”seer” in Welsh, while the Gaelic word “drui” meant “wizard” or “magician”. Though some claim that the meanings of these words are not interchangeable whatsoever, this merely reflects the loss of religious duties of the druids after the invasion of Christianity. Instead of being the spiritual leaders of society, their role changed to that fortune-tellers and folk healers, many of whom would be burned as witches from the 15th to18th Centuries. Despite Christian propaganda claiming otherwise, the druids were said to have had magnificent powers; not only in prophecy, but also in controlling the weather and practising astral projection, such as spirit flight and shapeshifting.

The word ‘druid’ literally meant “oak wise” in Ancient Europe, but this name does not simply mean that they knew a lot about trees and other things in Nature (of which they knew a great deal), but also that they were generally considered powerful because of their knowledge and were ‘strong in wisdom’. They were described by the Romans as not only responsible for spiritual matters, but also as lawyers, philosophers, astrologers, doctors, scientists and politicians. They were also portrayed as a distinct social group along with “bards” (musicians and storytellers) and “owates” (seers) By the 1st Century BC, many Gaulish tribes had transferred political sovereignty from their chieftains to a ‘senate’ of druids, which functioned similarly to a republic and was led by a ‘wergobret’ (magistrate). The leader of the Aedui tribe who was allied to Caesar was knows as “Diviciacus”, and was described by Caesar as a ‘senator’ of the Aedui. This reflects how similar Gaulish society had become to that of the Romans, but the main difference between their societies was that the Romans had a city-state civilization, while the Gauls retained the tribe as the largest political unit. They were both run by the elites of their societies who formed a level of government above the common folk. The druids were also said to have performed human sacrifices, which the Romans saw as barbaric (as they only sacrificed animals). However, it is possible that these ‘sacrifices’ were actually executions of criminals and that the Druidic legal system was a thorough mixture of of religion and law, and so execution may have had a ritual aspect that was not shared by the Romans.

In Britain, the Romans became intent on destroying the druids as part of their invasion in the 1st Century AD, so they slaughtered them at their base on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales. It appears that the druids were too effective in stirring up resistance against the Romans all over Britain that they were exterminated or forced to swear allegiance to Rome and conform to the Romano-British hybrid religion. However, the druids evidently survived in Scotland, as they feature in Adomnan’s “Life of Saint Columba”, as antagonists. Though they are never mentioned again by the Romans, this is probably because the druids had previously had a centralized religious institution that had become localized after the eradication at Anglesey, and the remaining tribal druids would have no longer posed a united political threat to the Romans. The druids continued to act as the legal and spiritual leaders of their societies, but they became subjected to Christianity around the 5th Century AD. The first attemps to Christianize the Picts were carried out by the Britons in Scotland, who were likely to have practised Romano-British religion and would have been quick to adopt Christianity from the Romans. Missionaries like Saint Ninian (‘Winnian’ in Brittonic and ‘Finnian’ in Gaelic) converted the Southern Picts of Fife, Stirlingshire, Perthshire, Angus and Galloway in the early 5th Century. However, Saint Patrick’s “Letter to Coroticus” (probably a king of Strathclyde) calls the Picts “apostates”, suggesting that they had probably abandoned the Roman variant of Christianity by the late 5th Century.

Irish missionaries were more successful, as they preached a more syncretic form of Christianity, which was propagated by the Saint Columba in the late 6th Century. While Columba managed to gain converts among the Picts, he did not succeed in converting the Pictish king, “Bridei” (“bree-day”), but his work was continued by his monks at Iona and other parts of Scotland. Druids were also present in Ireland before Christianity, and they are described in more detail than those in Scotland. They are the ‘snakes’ that Patrick supposedly “drove out of Ireland”, as he made every attempt to undermine the wisdom of the druids by smashing statues of their gods and burning their books. Despite claims to the contrary, the druids did have an alphabet other than ‘ogham’ (a writing system used for carving inscriptions on stone and on wands for divination) known in Wales as ‘Coelbren’ and can be found on inscriptions across Europe. Modern academia asserts that Coelbren was invented by Edward Williams in the 18th Century, despite the fact that the reason we have no textual evidence of the alphabet is because the Christians burned the evidence. This is where the assumption that the druids were illiterate until they adapted ogham from the Latin alphabet comes from (which is also false). At the same time, the druids were still primarily concerned with oral tradition, as esoteric knowledge could not be written down (their writing was more likely to have been used to aid memory rather than record it) and druids were trained to memorize poetry, mythology, spells, songs, religious rituals with which they tried to understand Nature.

The Irish druids are described as wearing feathered clothing (in contrast to the Gaulish druids, whom the Romans said wore white robes), giving them the appearance similar to shamans in other parts of the world. The link between Druidism and Shamanism is one which has a lot of evidence to support it. The practices of soul flight and shapeshifting as well as detailed knowledge about plants and animals appear to be common to many such traditions, so it stands to reason that Druidism has been passed down to us by our earliest ancestors and inhabitants of these lands. In traditional societies, the shamans are the spiritual healers of their people, and will use their powers to fight sickness and protect their tribe. They also serve as advisors to their chieftains, though they live somewhat apart from the rest of society, despite being essential members. Another important similarity appears to be the lack of gender exclusivity among druids and shamans. The folk on Anglesey chanting curses at the Romans were women, and there is no evidence that the druids had a patriarchal institution like the chieftains, even if women were in the minority or were possibly part of separate orders from the male druids (it is said that Saint Bridget was a druidess who converted to Christianity).

The status of the druids diminished with the coming of Christianity and so they became a misunderstood and sometimes feared folk during the Middle Ages. To many, they became associated with legends of werewolves and curses than for their previously important contributions to society. In Ireland, the druids were said to have been able to cause madness, by blowing a powder (most likely a drug made from plants containing scopolamine) into somebody’s face, a practice still utilized by criminals in some of the poorest countries. The word ‘sorcerer’ comes from the Latin ‘sortiarius’ which also means a seer, and in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, the use of magic was known as ‘wiccecraeft’ or ‘witchcraft’. The male ‘wicca’ and female ‘wicce’ may have been the Anglo-Saxon equivalents of the druids and became the witches and wizards of Medieval lore; however, the common folk sought to distinguish between ‘witches’ and what they called ‘cunning folk’. The difference between them was that the former practised ‘black magic’ while the latter engaged in ‘white magic’. Black magic became known by the term ‘maleficium’ (sorcery) and consisted of hexing, poisoning, becoming invisible and changing folk into animals, while white magic was focused on healing, prayer and removing hexes. ‘Cunning folk’ were tolerated because they frequently invoked Christ and Semitic gods such as El and Adonai, while ‘black magic’ usually consisted of interacting with Nature spirits (wights, elves and dwarves).This was all seen as pagan superstition by the Catholic Church and was either ignored or ridiculed.

This was to change near the end of the Middle Ages, as the Church became concerned with the potential proliferation of occult literature with the invention of the printing press in the 15th Century. They reacted in a typically hysterical fashion and began to encourage secular authorities to hunt down and persecute ‘witches’. Whereas before, their policy had been to deny the veracity of supernatural powers attributed to or even the existence of witches, now witches became servants of darkness who worshipped the Devil and used magic to harm and to kill. The previous bigotry towards ‘heretics’, who held differing interpretations of the Bible, was now unleashed on all who practised folk magic (and many who did not). In Scotland, they did not burn them alive when found guilty of witchcraft (as was done on the continent), but rather strangled them first before burning their corpses (though there are reports of ‘witches’ being thrown off cliffs). Despite the holocaust that ensued throughout Europe into the beginning of the 18th Century (and later in some parts), some cunning folk survived and continued to be consulted by the common folk but were simply ignored for the most part by the medical establishment. The ‘Enlightenment’ had secularized science and medicine, and so druids and witches and all things ‘superstitious’ became memories of the past.

Druidism resurfaced in the 18th Century as a Welsh cultural movement, influenced by the work of Edward Williams and espousing a peculiar form of monotheism. The early Neo-Druid movement had a fraternal organization similar to freemasonry, though more recently, others have tried to discover more authentic Druidic practices. Druidism is a spiritual philosophy native to Europe and in places where Europeans form a majority, and is a tradition that can be incorporated into Wotanism. In contrast, ‘witchcraft’ is more of a method of experimenting with natural forces, which can be used for any purpose and is a cultural practice rather than a religion. ‘Wicca’ is a dualistic Neopagan religion that is based on a hotchpotch of European folk traditions and ceremonial magic, and is a universalist religion like Christianity. There are many New Age belief systems designed to trick you into thinking that you are reconnecting with your roots or the land, but still holding you in a modernist mindset. Our traditions are neither ancient nor modern, they are both since time is eternal, which is the cyclical view of the universe that was held by the druids.

Wulf Willelmson

An ethnohraphic history of Scotland, Part III: Highlander and Lowlander

Within the endless romanticism of Scotland’s past, the conflict between the Gaelic Highlanders, representing ancient traditions, pastoralism and a ‘noble savage’ mythos; and the Germanic Lowlanders, representing the ruthless expansion of modern ideals from the towns and cities of Scotland into her countryside, has been a recurring theme. While these notions are based on historical reality, the idea that the ways of the Highlanders (as portrayed by the modern tourist industry and false nationalists) represent authentic Scottish culture, while the Lowlanders embody an invasive imitation of English culture (or, at the very least, is largely ignored in romanticism) is as absurd as it is false. Much of the animosity surrounding the Jacobite Wars and the later Highland Clearances has more to do with the increasing domination of British state authority on all the peoples of our island than on the desire for Germanic Lowland culture to become dominant (though, realistically, this has become the case). They both represent two sides of our overall culture that are suited to folk in different parts of the country.

At the dawn of the 12th Century, this division did not exist; at this time, Brittonic culture had been extinguished in Scotland with the annexing of Strathclyde and Gaelic was the predominant language spoken in Scotland (with the exceptions of the Borders and the Northern Isles). This began to change with the reforms of David I, whose establishment of the burghs and invitations to entrepreneurs (mainly from Flanders) to settle them marked the beginning of what would become Lowland culture. This process had already begun beforehand, as English refugees fleeing the Norman invasion settled mostly in Southern Scotland and had influenced the local culture since the 11th Century. While throughout the Wars of Independence from England, the Middle English (French influenced) tongue was restricted mainly to the South-East and the areas surrounding the burghs, there was a definite preference for this language among the Scottish nobles (as well as, of course, French).

It is at this point that I wish to clear up a misconception about one of our national heroes from the Wars of Independence: William Wallace. Though sometimes portrayed as a son of the Highlands, he was from Strathclyde, a place geographically part of the Lowlands. As a member of the nobility, he was taught how to read French and Latin, but probably conversed in English on a day-to-day basis. His comrade, Andrew Moray, was also a nobleman (of a higher rank than Wallace) and would have also been immersed in the culture of the burghs. Yet many of the common soldiers and clansmen that fought for Scotland’s freedom were Gaels, as they all fought against the tyranny of Edward the Hammer of Scots, despite their linguistic differences. Though Robert the Bruce was of a French-speaking Norman family, as King of Scots he would also needed to have been able to read Latin, and probably also knew at least some Gaelic (which would have been handy during his campaigns in Ireland). This began to change, however, in the Late Middle Ages. As the Norman influence began to wane among the nobility, both the nobles and the common folk in the South-East, the Central Belt and the North-East coast adopted English almost exclusively. Conversely, the inhabitants of the rest of the kingdom would have spoken Gaelic on a daily basis.

This linguistic separation continued right through the 15th Century, as the Scottish form of English diverged from that spoken in England. This language came to be known as ‘Scots’ (known to Scots speakers as ‘Lallans’) and its distinct literature became a feature of Scottish culture during the reign of the Stewart dynasty in the 15th and 16th Centuries. In this period, Scots and English became mutually unintelligible; as English underwent significant changes, Scots retained more features of Middle English and displayed considerably more influence from Norse and Latin. Scots wasn’t the only new language to have emerged in Scotland during the Middle Ages. The variety of Norse spoken in the Northern Isles was known as ‘Norn’ and was distinct from Norwegian. However, with the granting of sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland to Scotland by the King of Scandinavia, Eric of Pomerania (who, apparently, needed the money), Norn came to be replaced by Scots, though it was not extinct until the 19th Century.

Gradually, throughout the Early Modern Period, Lowland culture expanded in Southern and Eastern Scotland and Scots became the language of the folk in the hills and on the plans, while Gaelic was retained by those in the mountainous regions (with the exception of Galloway), creating the Highland/Lowland dichotomy we know today. While at the beginning of the Stewart’s reign, the whole of Scotland was Catholic, this was to change in the 16th Century during the reign of the first (and, arguably, last) Scottish queen: Mary Queen of Scots. Though she herself was a Catholic raised in France, many folk in Scotland became disillusioned with the corruption and dominance of the Catholic Church and sought to emulate those in England and elsewhere in Europe who had challenged its power and established Protestant churches. Protestantism appealed more to the Lowlanders, whose lives in the burghs and more densely populated communities felt the need for change, as many could not reconcile the poverty among their folk with the power of the fabulously wealthy Catholic Church. The Highlanders, on the other hand, saw less need for reform as their own pastoral traditions had continued from heathen times and the issues surrounding wealth distribution had less impact on their largely tribal way of life.

The Protestant Reformation in Scotland was spearheaded by a fiery preacher named John Knox, who preached a deterministic Protestant doctrine known as ‘Calvinism’, which maintained that only those chosen by God can attain ‘Salvation’ and that God is the supreme authority. Calvinism also made allowances for usury, which facilitated the beginning of banking and capitalism in Scotland, and so was favoured by the merchant class. Eventually, he and his followers persuaded many Lowlanders with his teachings and an orgy of destruction of all that was ‘popish’ ensued, resulting in a loss of literature and damage of architecture not seen since Edward’s invasion. The Church of Scotland was reformed with English support, and the new doctrine was known as ‘Presbyterianism’, which came to distinguish the Lowlanders from the still largely Catholic Highlanders, whom this cultural revolution did not affect. Now a sectarian divide reinforced the linguistic and cultural differences between the Highlanders and Lowlanders, and relations between the two deteriorated over time.

With the ascendancy of James VI of Scotland (who was our first Protestant king) to the English throne to form the United Kingdom, the 17th Century marked the beginning of the end of Gaelic Highland culture. By now, the Lowlanders referred to the Highlanders as ‘Erse’ (‘Irish’), while the Highlanders used the term ‘Sassenach’ (‘Saxon’) to describe the Lowlanders. This reflected the mutual animosity between the two and their desire to cast the other as foreign and not ‘true Scots’. This situation wasn’t helped by the fact that James VI settled Presbyterian Lowlanders in Northern Ireland to ‘de-Gaelify’ Ulster, introducing Lowland culture there and setting the stage for future sectarian troubles.With the outbreak of the civil war in Britain and Ireland in 1642, most Highlanders rallied behind the king, while many Lowlanders considered themselves ‘Covenanters’ and resented Charles I’s attempts to impose Anglican liturgy on their Presbyterian services. Despite the fact that Cromwell’s victorious regime was overthrown and Charles II restored as king, this was not the end of the struggle.

His successor, James VII, was an open Catholic, which proved to be enough reason for the English parliament to force him to abdicate in favour of the bankers’ choice, William of Orange from Holland (who was married to James’ sister, Mary II). The ensuing struggle came to be known as the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 by Protestants and continues to represent the bitter hatred between Catholics and Protestants over the next few centuries. The men that supported James VII came to be known as ‘Jacobites’ (after the Latin ‘Jacobus’ for ‘James’) and became synonymous with the Highlanders, despite the fact that this was a political rather than cultural affiliation. The Jacobites were successful at first, routing their enemies at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. However, their subsequent defeats at the Haughs of Cromdale in Scotland and the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland (both in 1690) saw the end of the revolution and victory for William.

The following uprisings occurred several times in the early 18th Century in response to a new monarchy beginning with George I of Hanover. The ‘Hanoverians’ represented the dominance of a degenerated Germanic culture characterized by capitalism and secularism, which was encroaching on peoples all over Northern Europe and other parts of the world. The most notable Jacobite uprising was that of the ‘Young Pretender’, Bonnie Prince Charlie, in 1745, as this time they were more successful and briefly managed to gain control of Scotland. Unfortunately, the Jacobite army was unsuccessful in taking England and they were driven back to the Highlands, where they were defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Bonnie Prince Charlie fled to France, and the retribution against the Highlanders was that their clan system was dismantled and their way of life degraded.

Many clan chieftains were replaced and the system of landownership was reorganized so as to make the chieftain the landowner rather than the clan using the land communally. This eventually resulted in what became known as the ‘Highland Clearances’, a painful memory for our folk as much of Highland culture was destroyed following the displacement of folk from their ancestral lands that were now tenants rather than clansmen in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. This happened because the traditional practice of cattle droving was unprofitable and the lairds struggled to receive enough rent from their tenants. An available alternative was to invest in the wool industry by replacing cattle droving with sheep farming. However, because sheep farmers were of a different occupation than the cattle drovers, they had to be imported from other parts of Scotland, so many of the previous tenants were evicted and had to move either to other parts of Scotland, or to British colonies like Canada or New Zealand. A similar process also occurred in the Lowlands, however, this mainly had to do with land reorganization, so most of the affected simply moved into the cities or other parts of the Lowlands, and so many Lowland communities remained intact. Highland society, on the other hand, was drastically altered (along with the Highland environment, which has been largely made barren by extensive sheep farming) and English replaced Gaelic all over the Highlands with the introduction of standardized education. Again, the same thing happened in the Lowlands, but with less vigour and likely with less ethnic hostility involved.

What was it that made the Highland and Lowland cultures seem to incompatible over the last few centuries? The answer has to do with long-standing cultural differences between the Celtic and Germanic peoples in addition to the division and strife that has characterized the most recent phase of Kali Yuga. In my last post, I described some of the differences between Celtic and Germanic culture, and these differences still applied in this period. Cattle-raiding was not a feature of Germanic culture, a fact which became bothersome to Lowland cattle-farmers who saw the Highlanders cattle-rustling as mere thievery, rather than a time-honoured tradition of proving their manhood and leadership capabilities to their folk. There were also noticeable differences in fashion; for example, trousers were ubiquitous to all of the Germanic peoples and remain a feature of their culture even in modern times.

In contrast, the Celtic peoples (beginning in the Dark Ages) saw trousers as the mark of a peasant and so most Highlanders went bare-legged in accordance with this custom. It is from their cloak and knee-length tunic combination without trousers that the modern kilt derives. The weaving of ‘tartan’ was not exclusive to the Highlands, but it was certainly the norm there, in contrast to the Lowlands where clothes were more likely to be of one colour. Unlike in modern times, a particular tartan was the mark of a local weaver rather than a particular clan and did not have this significance as it does today. Highland culture was also exclusively rural and pastoral, while Lowlanders could be found in urban or rural places. This led to the perception of the Gaelic Highlanders as ‘country bumpkins’, whole uncivilized lifestyles conflicted with those of folk in Lowland Scotland and England.

The organization of each society also differed; whereas Highland society retained the tribal bond between kinsmen as the basic structure of a clan, the Lowlands were centred on the burghs, which acted as redistribution centres for the surrounding countryside and worked on a financial rather than familial model. However, despite these differences, one area where they shared many similarities (especially towards the end of this era) was warfare. Despite the fact that most of the king’s army was drawn up from Lowland knights and commoners, while the Gaelic clansmen were used more like mercenaries, their weapons and tactics in battle were very similar. Both consisted of elite, armoured skirmisher cavalry supported by lightly or unarmoured infantry (though the Highlanders were less likely to be armoured) consisting of spearmen and archers. During the Wars of Independence, the ‘schiltron’ came into use, a tactic where pikemen were arranged in an oval formation similar to a phalanx. This tactic was used unsuccessfully as a defensive formation by William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, only to be successfully utilized by Robert the Bruce to push the offensive at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

From this point on, Medieval European warfare came to be dominated by infantry, as innovation in creating new types of pole-arms resulted in a wider range of weapons that could be used against cavalry (including glaives, bill-hooks and war axes) in addition to pikes. In the Late Middle Ages, this necessitated the use of larger swords that could only be wielded with two hands, which paved the way for the creation of the weapon that signifies the Highland warrior: the claymore. ‘Claidheamh-Mor’ means ‘great sword’ and, despite its unique association with the Highlands, ‘great swords’ could be found all over Europe, even the Lowlanders had their own design. However, the style of the claymore was exclusive to the Highlanders, who were famed for their skills with the sword, which has come to represent strength and masculinity.

As firearms came to dominate the battlefield, armour became gradually obsolete, as it was more useful to be mobile than heavily protected in an age of long-range combat. The Highlanders never seriously lagged behind their Lowland counterparts and in the Early Modern Period, they used a combination of targe (shield with straps) and broadsword with pistol and musket. The fearsome ‘Highland charge’ gave the Jacobites many of their victories, but could be outmanoeuvred by cavalry. It was this factor that led to the Jacobite defeat at the Battle of Culloden rather than inferior military tactics or equipment. New research suggests that the Jacobites were as well trained as the British army, but that their lack of cavalry proved decisive in their defeat. The differences between Highlanders and Lowlanders were never so wide as so clearly show one society as superior to the other, and the perspective of Gaelic inferiority was simply used as propaganda by the British establishment to justify the suppression of the Jacobites and Highland culture.

Today, Scotland is somewhat more uniform in her culture; mass media and standardized education has made us more similar to the English and, more recently, to the Americans. The English tongue reigns supreme, as Scottish Gaelic is only spoken by a small minority of the population (mostly in the Western Isles), while Scots is still spoken interchangeably with Scottish English mostly in the North-East and Shetland. Yet, in addition to this, there are also immigrants from England and Ireland as well as other parts of Europe and the world. The large influx of Polish folk in particular is beginning to add a Slavic element to our culture. As the dichotomy between the Highlands and Lowlands now exists largely within geography rather than society, this current cultural climate will also change. What will the future of Scottish culture be? Hopefully it will incorporate our historical Celtic and Germanic traditions and help to reconnect our folk to their heritage in addition to borrowing customs from other Aryan brothers and sisters living on our land.

Wulf Willelmson

A new beginning…

Greetings,

The Creed of Caledon has been established as a response to the alienation and dissatisfaction felt by white Scots in modern society. Our institutions no longer serve our best interests, our communities have become fragmented and our nation is without direction as to how to benefit our folk. Our politicians seem to think that we are incapable of ruling ourselves, and must either be governed by the old imperial ruin that is the UK, or by the new corporate mega-state, the EU.

We can no longer look to external institutions to ensure what is best for our people, and so the Creed of Caledon focuses our efforts inward to grow morally and spiritually, as well as outward towards building new communities and establishing bonds of friendship between our folk. Our nation is not based on borders or flags, but is within our blood, and our ancestral memories are written on the very land that we live on. We now have the choice to become free folk, through reclaiming our heritage and by practicing the traditions of our forebears and adjusting them to the perilous times in which we live. We have no interest in being a political movement, as all attempts to change the broken system that have governed our lives within the past century have failed.

Our philosophy is known as ‘Wotanism’ and is based on the teachings of David Lane and Ron McVan, through we make no pretence to see men as gods or even holy in their own right, simply messengers who set an example for the rest of us through their words. Our specific practice is based on the surviving traditions and lore of the Germanic peoples, though unlike many ‘neopagan’ groups, we do not seek to relive the past or focus on a specific cultural group (such as Norse or Anglo-Saxon), but rather incorporate all of the cultures that have played a role in our history.

While our cultural outlook is predominantly Germanic, we acknowledge the importance of Gaelic culture in our past and present, as well as the vanished Picts and Britons whose memory still survives in our history and local place-names. Because of this, our particular strand of Wotanism is a syncretic mixture between Germanic and ‘Celtic’ elements, although the Germanic element is stronger simply to reflect the cultural reality that most of us speak a Germanic language and have done for hundreds of years. We feel that this will allow us to make our connection to the past more relevant to future generations.

We are at the dawn of a new age, the races of the world will be tested for their fitness to survive the coming storms. Only those who are determined enough in their will to carry on their seed for generations to come will pass the tests, and to do so we must do our utmost to improve ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. The gods are there to offer us a hand, but they will not do the work for us. We must strive to strengthen our bonds not just with them, but with the spirits of our ancestors, the wights that inhabit the land and the plants and animals that will be our fellow survivors who emerge from the wreckage of the old world. The internet has allowed us access to the information that we need to endure the coming struggle, now we can work to lay the foundations of a new society that is based on the Aryan ethics of trust, honesty and loyalty. I look forward to writing many posts for this website.

Wulf Willelmson