Many thanks for your letter, which I read with great interest. You obviously have a deep interest for the Faith, and I will attempt to explain something of it to you - this will be a difficult task, since talking about the People (We describe ourselves as such) is a matter that every hereditary group trains out of its members'. The religion is also more, mystical than most - so words are very poor approximations of what we actually discover or feel about our beliefs.
A 'driving thirst for knowledge' is the for-runner of wisdom. Knowledge is a state that all organic life possesses, wisdom is the reward of the spirit, gained in the search for knowledge. Truth is variable - what is true now will not be true tomorrow, since the temporal truths are dependent upon ethics and social mores - therefore wisdom is possibly eternal truth, untouched by Man's condition. So we come to the heart of the People, a belief that is based upon eternity, and not upon social needs or pressures - the 'witch' belief then is concerned with wisdom, our true name then is the Wise People, and wisdom is our aim.
Some groups seek fulfillment in mystic experience - this is correct if one does not forget the duty of 'involvement' - the prime duty of the wise. It is not enough to see The Lady, it is better to serve Her and Her will by being involved in humanity, and the process of Fate (The single name of all God's is 'Fate'). In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated. There is no fate so terrible that it cannot be overcome - whether by a literal victory gained by action and in time, or the deeper victory of spirit in the lonely battle of the self, Fate is the trial, the Castle Perilous in which we all meet to win or to die - Therefore, the People are concerned with Fate --for humanity is greater than the Gods', although not as great as the Goddess. When Man triumphs, fate stops and the Gods are defeated - so you understand the meaning of magic now. Magic and religion are aids to overcome Fate, and Fate is a cradle that rocks the infant spirit.
Now you know what 'witches' are.
You are confusing 'Lay', a story told to music, with 'Ley', which means in Keltic 'Flat'. The Ley paths were drover's roads, used by the Neolithic herdsmen to drive sheep and other cattle. They were designed to go from one part of a country to another in an absolutely straight line. If you are in what was Indian country, and look along the horizon of hills or plains, you will sometimes see an artificial nick cut in the plains or hills, if you go to that point, you will notice that that mark corresponds to another within eyesight, and so on until you would have traveled either the whole length of Great Britain or Northern America. These ley paths are very strongly connected to the religion of the Wise, since the sheep-herders who carved out the hills also made the stone circles such as Stonehenge, Averbury, the Rollrights, and so on, and likely the great stone medicine wheels found throughout Northern America.
The Herme post is the solitary altar stone that one often finds upon these ancient roads, and if they are approached correctly may be used as places to gain whatever you desire by means of prayer and of magic. They are sites of ancient power now nearly forgotten, but still places where more than one world meets. I will see if I can send you some photographs later of such places, since they will help you to find the Amerind equivalent - and there you will find the answers to all your questions, although the form it will take at an Indian site will be somewhat different to how it comes to me. It is at such places that one may see the Goddess become Seven, and then return to One. The Seven are hinted at in the days of the week -- but consider those days as feminine not masculine.
Likewise the order of 1734 is not a date of an event, but a grouping of numerals that mean something to a 'witch'. One that becomes Seven states of wisdom - the Goddess of the Cauldron. Three that are the Queens of the Elements - Fire belonging alone to Man, and the Blacksmith God. Four that are the queens of the Wind Gods. The Jewish orthodoxy believe that whosoever knows the holy and Unspeakable Name of God - has absolute power over the world of form. Very briefly, the Name of God spoken as Tetragramaton ("I AM THAT I AM") breaks down in 1-lebrew to the letters IHVH, or the Adam Kadomon The Heavenly Man). Adam Kadomon is a composite of all Archangels - in other words a poetic statement of the names of the Elements. So what the Jew and the "witch" believe alike, is that the man who discovers the secret of the Elements controls the physical world. 1734 is the "witch" way of saying IHVH.
The language of the hands is complex and I will deal with it much later. The Oak, the Ash and the Thorn are the Names of the Three Elemental Mothers. All this is quite a complex philosophy - I will deal with it later.
Gardnerism is the title to the work of the late and unlamented Gerald Gardner - who, driven by a desire to be whipped, and to prance around naked devised his own religion which he called 'Witchcraft'. As you by now have gathered - we do nothing like this. Since the Gardnerians are very publicity conscious - they tend to give us a very bad name, and will one day possibly restart the persecution. Hence, they are thoroughly disliked.
Graves' "White Goddess" contains the Predui Annwn - this will answer many questions if meditated upon - not only does it speak of the seven worlds, but it also tells you how to get there. "Where the evening star and the dark of night meet" is one way.
'Green Grows the Rushes O' is an archers' song from the middle ages. It is somewhat corrupt now from the Christian influence but parts of it are still original - "One is One and all alone, and ever more shall be so". The Stars on the American Flag are Pentagrams - The steer skull of Texas is another "witch" sign -as is the star within a circle. Diagonal bars and 'V' shaped bars are also "witch" in origin, like triangles, fleur de us, roses, etc. of heraldic tradition. Coats of Arms contain many pagan memories.
The man I work with is called John Armstrong, and he is an actual descendant of the Armstrongs of Cumberland and Durham. Armstrong was not only a bandit, but also a chieftain of no small merit.
to yourself, wife and children.
Flags, Flax, Fodder
(I bless thee by Water, by Air and by Earth)
/S/Robert Cochrane This breaks down into 7 work out what it means.