Archive for the Alba Gu Brath Category

Welcome to Bob Freeman’s occultdetective.com

Posted in Alba Gu Brath, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on April 18, 2016 by Occult Detective

01 sigil magickBob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose previous novels include Shadows Over Somerset, Keepers of the Dead, and Descendant.

A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena.

He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

In addition to occultdetective.com, Mr. Freeman can be found online on twitter and facebook.

Another Magical Day in #Scotland

Posted in Alba Gu Brath on March 28, 2016 by Occult Detective

March 28, 2001

Another important milestone for us was to ride the rails, which we did when we caught a train to Stirling on the 28th. How perfect was that? Traveling by train allowed us a terrific view of the beautiful countryside as we rolled across the Highlands to the historic city. The rain was a bit heavier that day, but we soldiered on, hiking across this foreign place. Seeing the Wallace Monument far off in the distance, we walked toward it, pausing at the infamous Stirling Bridge, site of William Wallace’s greatest military victory and dining at the Wallace Pub for a spell.

We were spent. We’d walked hundreds of miles so far on this trip. To be honest, I was amazed at how well we held up. But we were starting to feel it. Still, we soldiered on and walked into Stirling proper, ate again, this time at Hog’sHead (where we had the best salmon I’d ever tasted), then marched on Stirling Castle, ancestral home of the Clan Stewart.

Stewart QueenStirling Castle was magnificent. Under heavy renovation, the Castle was a stark contrast to the one in Edinburgh. This Castle had the feel of being lived and fought in and it was really one of the high points of our trip. Stewart blood runs through my family’s veins and it was a thrill to walk the very battlements where my ancestors once did.

One surprise was coming upon a painting of Queen Anne, granddaughter of Robert the Bruce. Looking at that picture I couldn’t help but notice a more than passing resemblance to my own beautiful wife. I felt connected to my forefathers in a way unimaginable and it occurred to me that my connection to my wife was strengthened by this mystical bond that reached out across time, through our common ancestry, as if we were fated to be together.

Heading back by train, our hearts were heavy. This was the end of our trip. The next day we’d be flying back to the States. Back to the real world. One thing we knew for sure though — Scotland would be in our hearts forever.

A Magical Day in #Scotland

Posted in Alba Gu Brath with tags , , on March 26, 2016 by Occult Detective

March 26, 2001

We got up early and walked through a light mist and boarded a bus that set out across the Scottish countryside. When Kim and I first made plans to travel to Scotland there was one special destination that was at the very top of our “must see” list. We were excited and passed the time chatting with our fellow passengers, especially with a young Australian college student named Sophie who was backpacking across Europe. As we rolled into the village of Roslin, I felt an electricity in the air. It was a feeling that would become amplified as we disembarked and walked up the gravel lane and laid eyes on one of the most magnificent pieces of architecture ever conceived.

rosslyn3

Rosslyn Chapel is well known today, thanks in large part to Dan Brown’s 2003 literary phenomenon The Da Vinci Code.  I understand that it has since been overrun with tourists, but when we arrived on that cold, early spring morning, it was a small handful of us that walked the hallowed grounds. In fact, Kim and I spent hours in the Chapel alone, without another soul around.

Interior of Rosslyn Chapel - both Master and Apprentice Pillars visible

The Chapel was enveloped by a network of scaffolding as renovations were underway, but that steel cage did nothing to diminish its awesome beauty. Intricately detailed with Masonic symbols, gargoyles, green men, historic figures, and Norse gods, Rosslyn Chapel was as much art as it was a place of worship. It was the single most impressive structure I’ve ever stood in, and it was all ours… We just didn’t want to leave and we lingered about, gazing in wide wonder and poring over every delicate inch of this monument to the esoteric mystery traditions.

rosslyn1We marveled at the Apprentice Pillar, symbol of blessed Yggdrasil, and the inscription there — “Wine is strong, a king is stronger, women are stronger still, but truth conquers all”. We jumped the rope and descended into the lower crypt and explored the cells. We walked the graveyard and climbed the scaffolding to pore over the roof and the carvings there unseen from below. And we toured the on site Museum of Freemasonry…

It was sweet perfection.

rosslyn2

We met up with Sophie in the village and ate a quick lunch of garlic toast and exotic cheeses before  catching the bus back to Edinburgh. We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening wandering the city streets and making preparations for our next day’s journey. We ate haddock at Filthy McNasty’s and had sodas at Jenny Ha, then ate supper at the Bad Ass where I took a leap of faith.

badassYou just can’t go to Scotland and not submit yourself to a bit of traditional cuisine. While Kim acquainted herself with the Bad Ass’ version of a chicken enchilada, I ordered the Highland Chicken and Haggis. Haggis is the minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep that’s stuffed into its stomach, along with onions, suet, and spices… And it is unbelievable. I loved every bite of it. It had a very unique texture and was moist and savory. It immediately went to the top of my “last meal” requests.

It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Alba Gu Brath

Posted in Alba Gu Brath on September 11, 2015 by Occult Detective

stirling bridge 1The 11th of September, 1297

That Most Terrible of Days

Posted in Alba Gu Brath, Liber et Audax, Writing in Theory & Practice on April 16, 2015 by Occult Detective

The MacLeods were with me at Culloden, that most terrible of days.
— Bonnie Prince Charlie,
Highlander “Through a Glass Darkly”

The_Battle_of_Culloden

The Battle of Culloden
16 April 1746

It’s no secret… I’ve long had a fascination with Scotland. Today, on the 269th anniversary of the Battle of Colloden, “that most terrible of days”, I share with you an extremely short excerpt from my novel Keepers of the Dead, forthcoming from Seventh Star Press, presumably latter this year:

“Nestled securely in Cairn Wood for centuries, the hills of Scotland were theirs to prowl, but they were lured out of their den by the call of patriotism and our family faced defeat alongside the Bonnie Prince at Culloden.

“They had set out as shock troops, a lead band of wolves intent on striking hard and fast into the invading Hanoverian troops and weakening them afore the Prince’s meager militia would be forced to face them in open combat, but they were betrayed by their own kin.

“The children of Romulus,” MacGregor continued, “had allied themselves with the Duke of Cumberland in return for valuable properties in the midlands of Scotland and they served the Governmental Forces well by ambushing our kinsmen and, with the aid of a vampiress, kept the pack of Cairn Wood from the guerrilla assault they had intended. As a result, after a forced march through the night, the Stuart’s outnumbered and outgunned army was decimated by the Duke’s well-trained forces. The clans were scattered, tortured, and killed, the landscape littered with mass graves…

“Our forefathers sulked with their tails between their legs all the way back to Cairn Wood and, fearing retribution and depressed by the thought of a homeland stripped of its customs and culture, they left Scotland for the New World and the promise of a new life in the colonies.”

Burns Night 2015

Posted in Alba Gu Brath on January 25, 2015 by Occult Detective

burns

A Winter Night

When biting Boreas, fell and dour,
Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv’d glow’r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r,
Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi’ snawy wreaths up-choked,
Wild-eddying swirl;
Or, thro’ the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl:

List’ning the doors an’ winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O’ winter war,
And thro’ the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle
Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, – wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o’ spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o’ thee?
Whare wilt thou cow’r thy chittering wing,
An’ close thy e’e?

Ev’n you, on murdering errands toil’d,
Lone from your savage homes exil’d,
The blood-stain’d roost, and sheep-cote spoil’d
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats!

Now Phoebe in her midnight reign,
Dark-muff’d, view’d the dreary plain;
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,
Rose in my soul,
When on my ear this plantive strain,
Slow, solemn, stole:

“Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost!
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows!
Not all your rage, as now united, shows
More hard unkindness unrelenting,
Vengeful malice unrepenting.
Than heaven-illumin’d Man on brother Man bestows!

“See stern Oppression’s iron grip,
Or mad Ambition’s gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,
Woe, Want, and Murder o’er a land!
Ev’n in the peaceful rural vale,
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper’d Luxury, Flatt’ry by her side,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o’er proud Property, extended wide;
And eyes the simple, rustic hind,
Whose toil upholds the glitt’ring show
A creature of another kind,
Some coarser substance, unrefin’d
Plac’d for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, below!

“Where, where is Love’s fond, tender throe,
With lordly Honour’s lofty brow,
The pow’rs you proudly own?
Is there, beneath Love’s noble name,
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,
To bless himself alone?
Mark maiden – innocence a prey
To love-pretending snares:
This boasted Honour turns away,
Shunning soft Pity’s rising sway,
Regardless of the tears and unavailing pray’rs!
Perhaps this hour, in Misery’s squalid nest,
She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
And with a mother’s fears shrinks at the rocking blast!

“Oh ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,
Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Ill-satisfy’d keen nature’s clamorous call,
Stretch’d on his straw, he lays himself to sleep;
While through the ragged roof and chinky wall,
Chill, o’er his slumbers, piles the drifty heap!
Think on the dungeon’s grim confine,
Where Guilt and poor Misfortune pine!
Guilt, erring man, relenting view,
But shall thy legal rage pursue
The wretch, already crushed low
By cruel Fortune’s undeserved blow?
Affliction’s sons are brothers in distress;
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!”

I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer
Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hail’d the morning with a cheer,
A cottage-rousing craw.
But deep this truth impress’d my mind
Thro’ all His works abroad,
The heart benevolent and kind
The most resembles God.

— Robert Burns (1786)

 

Yes or No

Posted in Alba Gu Brath on September 15, 2014 by Occult Detective

FourthBridgesI don’t really have a dog in this hunt, but my insides are still torn up over the vote for Scots Independence that looms heavily on this week’s horizon. I can see both sides. I really can. While I’ve ancestral ties to all parties involved, I have a special affinity for the Land of the Scots.

Stay or go, yes or no, Scotland is forever.

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