Cultus Sabbati: Provenance, Dream, and Magistry

The Sabbatic Craft is a name for a Nameless Faith. It is a term used to describe an ongoing tradition of sorcerous wisdom, an initiatory path proceeding from both immediate vision and historical succession.

In an historical sense, the Sabbatic Craft is usefully set against the background of both rural folk-magic, the so-called Cunning-craft, and the learned practices of European high ritual magic. The medieval and early modern magical observances of cunning-men and wise women were broad and varied in form, but invariably rooted in pragmatic deeds of healing, love-magic, wortcunning, curing and cursing.

Where the practices of cunning-folk overlapped with those of the high ritual magic traditions, the calling of angels, the apparatus of astrology, and Latin incantations were integrated into the magic of the everyday. Notably, these rituals, spells and formulae employed the idiom of the predominant religious culture, namely Christianity, often melding folk religiosity in a seamless blend unique to each individual practitioner. Although ritual magicians and cunning-folk alike used Christian formulae in their praxes, one could argue that this religious language was naturally the timely idiom of narration for magical rites. However, beneath the shifting of language and culture, the immemorial methodologies and tools of magical ritual – the spirit-evocation, ritual circle, wand, knife, sigil, cord, knot, charm, starry aspectation, flora and fauna, invocation, exorcism and so forth – remain more or less constant.

An important dimension of magical and folk religiosity was the oneiric or dream realm. Peripheral areas of European folklore retain vestigial myths which relate the oneiric location of witch-meetings, fairie convocations, and the nocturnal flight of the Wild Hunt. Merging with Christian theological conceptions the background of folk belief assisted in the formation of the stereotypical witch ritual we know as ‘The Witches’ Sabbath’. From an esoteric perspective it is considered that the Sabbath is the astral or dream convocation of magical ritualists’ souls, animal selves, and a vast array of spirits, faeries and otherworldly beings. It is considered that the true location of the Sabbath is at the Crossroads of waking, sleeping and mundane dreaming, that is, in the state of True Dreaming – the realm in which the Lady Moon, the nocturnal sun, illumines a world beyond the reach of the uninitiated.

The teachings of the cunning-folk have come and gone for the most part from modern European culture, but here and there fragments of lore have been passed down to the present-day. In instances where the custodians of lore and ritual have been ardent students of the magical artes, the fragments have coalesced to establish streams of self-conscious tradition. Where two or more of these streams conjoin a river is born, and thus it is that the present-day Cultus of the so-called ‘Sabbatic Tradition’ emerges.

Cultus Sabbati is a body of magical initiates who practise both solitary and collective rituals, whose lineal tradition/s descend, in both oral and textual forms, from surviving 19th century cunning-folk and ritual magic practice. It is not claimed that we practise the very same rites, spells and so forth of the 16/17th century cunning-folk, for it is the very nature of these things to change their form and manner. One must remember that rituals are ensouled with practise, that spirits as well as men and women pass on and teach the Arte Magical. As the generations pass, some lore remains constant, some does not – it changes, evolves and adapts according to time, need, and insight. In the last century the streams of custom and oral tradition have flourished in small circles of ritual observance, and in being passed from generation to generation, the simple teachings of rural magicians have grown, coalescing with their longevity to establish traditions with rites of initiation and formal induction. Readers here are well-advised that the Cultus Sabbati is a closed circle and according to long-standing custom, those who ask for entry are refused. Initiation is by invitation only. Where the spirits so will it, a path shall be found.

The circle of the Cultus Sabbati holds dear the spells and customs which generations past have bequeathed. The use of psalms, biblical divination, oral customs of ritual praxis have remained with us, merging amidst a greater body of lore, some old, some new – yet all constant in vivification from the timeless wellspring of dream. For as time passes, the circle hearkens to the spirit-patrons of its heritage, and through dream and spirit-mediumship the circle fleshes itself and moves forward. The authenticity of our work does not rest in antiquity, it is active through present and on-going vision.

Traditional Sabbatic Craft often employs demonological names and imagery as part of a cipher to convey a gnosis of Luciferian self-liberation. Similarly, and as aforesaid, rituals may utilise Christian forms and terms, both as a part of long-standing custom and as part of a sorcerous intent to willfully re-orientate cultural accumulated ‘belief’ to magical purposes. The positive and negative aspects of this arcanum are dealt dealt with in the book Azoëtia (Xoanon, 1992) under the name ‘The Iconostasis of Belief’ and readers are directed there for more detailed understanding. One must be wise to discern the use of veil upon veil: the use of demonological terms should not be misconstrued as advocacy for vulgar ‘Satanism’, ‘black magic’ or suchlike; neither should our positive use of Judaeo-Christian terms imply adherence in any conventional sense. The Sabbatic Craft uses sorcerous teachings of a specialised gnostic character, an outer part of which combines a coded use of both Luciferic and Christo-pagan terms. One must be careful to interpret this; it is a test! Few pass beyond it. (It is seriously recommended that all sincere students and seekers aspiring to any form of Traditional Craft be on due guard; test all those who speak of these matters, and hold fast solely to that which is of good repute, sound counsel, and demonstrable integrity.)

A defining feature of the Cultus is its specialised use of the mythos of the medieval and early modern European Witches’ Sabbath as the basis and idiom for its rituals and practices. This is not simply an indwelling of the past or human contrivance, but rather a spirit-taught reification of the Sabbath’s potent oneiric reality in an ongoing tradition of magical practice. The whole complex of imagery that is the Witches’ Sabbath is esoterically understood as the atemporal reality of our ritual. When perceived anew through praxis, dream and spirit-mediumship, the myriad motifs of the Sabbath yield new wisdom and serve as wholly apposite cyphers for the teachings of oneiric flight, atavistic transformation, wortcunning, divination, ritualisation, dual observance, spirit-worship, and so forth.

Sabbatic symbology has thus been utilised to encode and narrate the teachings accumulated and still developing in our tradition. Dreaming and the mutual translation of dreamt ritual and ritual-as-dreamt form the basic rationale and context for our work. The active discourse between initiates and our spirit-patrons inspires and motivates this dreaming. This is demonstrably manifest in the magical artistry of individual initiates, whether through text, ritual performance, song, tapestry, craftsmanship, or image. Where the spark of vision leaps, where inspiration is communicated….. the path strays anew.

So mote it be!