The Order of Scáthach is an Order of Wiccan knighthood founded in 2007 by Wiccan author Kerr Cuhulain, embracing Warrior philosophies as outlined in his books Wiccan Warrior, Full Contact Magick and Magickal Self Defense. It is now a registered religious society in the province of British Columbia and on the Steering Committee of the Surrey Interfaith Council. We are the sponsors of Vancouver Pagan Pride and are the chaplains for area hospitals.
The Order of Scáthach focuses on empowerment and effective magick, developing new rituals and magick associated to our warrior path. The Order of Scáthach has preceptories throughout North America and conducts on line training for members. Members of the Order of Scáthach must honor and uphold the Wiccan Rede in all its aspects and live according to our 13 warrior precepts and our code of chivalry.
Why did we form a modern order of knighthood?
More than four decades ago I started down this spiritual path. Back then the Pagan community was invisible: Virtually unseen, truly “occult”. Did you know that the word “occult” means “hidden”? There was no internet. Contacts were made from obscure notices left on book store cork boards. There were few books available. People gathered in secret, in darkness, looking over their shoulders, fearful of how those in the community would perceive them due to the massive amount of misinformation in circulation. Wicca and other Pagan religions were recognized by no level of government. Pagans gathered in secret circles, put up magickal walls to fence out negativity, called on the guardians of the quarters to protect and shield them, called on their deities to aid them, all of them turning away from the light.
In the early 90s I travelled to the Memphis, Tennessee, area to help a group of less than 2 dozen struggling Pagans establish themselves as a legal religious entity in a hostile environment. In one public talk in Jonesboro, Arkansas, I required 2 bodyguards, body armour, and the entire police department in the front row to survive. The next morning an 18 year old named Charles Taylor asked my advice on becoming a police officer in Tennessee. He was already public about his Wiccan beliefs. At my talk at the Memphis Police Academy I was approached surreptitiously by 2 officers who whispered to me that they were Wiccan and all but ran away. Like a flower, trying to turn their faces to the light.
A few months later I travelled to Heartland Festival outside Leavenworth, Kansas. Again, a small group of people struggling to establish themselves, having signed the mortgage for 136 acres, hoping to create a Pagan sanctuary, fearful of the reaction of the local populace. 80 percent of the people that showed up for that festival called themselves Pagan because they drank until they fell face down. The organizers hoped for something better. Trying to turn their faces to the light.
A year ago I was invited to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to conduct an Armouring ritual such as the one our Order of Scáthach performs nowadays. 400 men and women in uniform attended that ritual. All of them turning their faces to the sun.
Three months ago I returned to Memphis. I was picked up at the airport by Charles Taylor. Remember the 18 year old that wanted to be a cop? He was now Captain Taylor, a proud Pagan cop. He took me to meet the group that I remembered from decades earlier. They’d grown to 250 people, 3 generations, many of them legal clergy from 8 established Wiccan churches recognized right to the Supreme Court level. Several attendees were active Pagan military proudly wearing their religion on their dog tags. Every single person there turning their faces to the sun.
Two weeks later I returned to Heartland Festival. The original group had grown to 650 people, 3 generations, many of them legal Pagan clergy, many of them proud Pagans who had defended their country in the armed services. Their mortgage on their land at Gaia Retreat Center is now paid off, as of this month. Not a drunk in sight. You couldn’t point your finger at a single person including children and say they weren’t full committed to this spiritual path, all of them turning their faces to the sun.
The Pagan community has gained recognition, we’ve gained legal status, it is now our turn to shine. We no longer need to seek recognition: We have it. We no longer need the emphasis on “Wicca 101”. What people are looking for now is commitment. They don’t want to just practice occasional seasonal rituals. They want to live this path. They want commitment.