Each volume contains a series of collated works, some revised or updated prior to his death, as well as a number of writings and illustrations previously unpublished. Together with his grimoire-texts of the magical order Cultus Sabbati , these 'minor works on magic' are the origination-point and foundation texts of Sabbatic Witchcraft and Crooked Path Sorcery, two of Chumbley's most important contributions to the Art Magical. With the intent to make these works more widely available to scholars and magical practitioners, the series is printed and bound in a fine book format by Three Hands Press.
Opuscula Magica is produced in cooperation with Xoanon Publishing, and the series editor is Daniel A. Volume I contains nine essays written between and , including one previously unpublished. Reflecting a degree of magical insight, vision, and creativity seldom equaled in occult writing, the works trace Chumbley's identification of the Sabbat as the interior metaphysic of witchcraft, as well as the sorcerous ontology of the Sabbatic Craft. Standard Hardcover: Cloth with letterpress dust jacket, art-paper endleaves, limited to copies.
Deluxe Hardcover: Quarter black morocco with felt-lined slipcase, art-paper endleaves, ribbon book marker, limited to copies pages, illustrated. Gnosis The Trickster.
He'll show up just when we least want him, to embarrass us on a first date, to prove us fools in front of the learned company we're trying to impress, to make us miss a power breakfast with that all-important business contact. An imposing figure in black raiment, he is most often pictured as a corpse. His other magical domains, less discussed in esoteric literature, include disruption, obscenity and -- importantly for the practicing sorcerer -- not only the arts of Magic but the very fabric of which it is made.
Emergent from the spiritual crossroads of traditional Vodou and English w Spare, Doreen Valiente, Margaret Murray, etc. To my mind the issue may be viewed directly from an initiatory stance, and from such a point I must posit both inner and outer aspects to the Magical Current transmitted by the Books and initiatory lineages of the Witch-Cult.
viaLibri ~ Opuscula Magica 1 Full Goat Private Ed 1/11 Andrew Chumbley Witchcraft Xoanon
The Sabbath of the Witches is the primitive and archetypal form of the Magical Rite. It is in this sense an eidolon in the Platonic sense of'form'; it is also glyphic in that its image of an Arcane Saturnalia 'twixt Gods and humans encodes a complete body of occult lore. It is a vast and profound personification of the most primal states of entity and force, convergent within the accumulated iconography of untold eras of believing.
Here I speak of'belief in a transmundane sense, a belief in the Otherness beyond our present ubiety. The inner aspect of the witch cult is a Gnosis of the Sabbatic Mysteries, transmitted both psychically and physically by the lineage of initiates and by oral and ritual means. This catena is preserved by a ritual act known as 'the passing on of the power', a gesture of contact between the initiator and initiate whereby the power is transmitted and channeled from person to person.
Where this line of initiatory heredity is broken the invisible thread 'the Path of the Returning Dead' -a covenant to perpetuate the cultus binds the chosen initiate to be reincarnated.
Occultists and historians alike have all too frequently refused to accept the possible existence of a catena of initiates stretching back from the present to far antiquity: they doubt the existence of the Traditional Craft, perhaps asking such to step forward and be counted with due historicity. This is almost grasped in Dr Carlos Ginzburg's Ecstasies -Deciphering the Witches Sabbath, where the micro-historical analysis of folklore, cult survivals, Christian Inquisitorial stereotyping of witchcraft et al. From an initiatory stance this ma y seem like a disseminative preserve against the loss of the whole as would be chanced if the cultus were constant in form and rigidly organized as an orthodoxy.
Even when the knowledge possessed by an initiate is fragmentary he or she must look into folklore, old books and paintings to seek out that which has been lost. In my own experience of the Traditional Craft there seems to have been a consistent re-integration of those techniques, symbols and myths unearthed by the occult revival of the 20th century back into the original framework of the tradition.
It is in this function of the 'preservers of wisdom' that the outer aspects of the witch cult have their value. The initiatory forms of the Craft which have become most accessible, i. Gardnerian and Alexandrian, have served, in a limited way, as a storehouse of images. Despite the ever-present problem of validating their historical integrity they contain key aspects of the Old Craft rites, such as the basic framework of the rites; exorcisms, salutations to the four quarters and a circlecasting chant.
Even in the preth century literature of ritual magic the same preservative function may be observed in the phraseology of certain texts. Rumours abound in the shadowy historical mythos of the modern occult revival, especially when it comes to the origin of certain cultic groups. For instance, there is the story that Mr Aleister Crowley was introduced at a fairly young age into the witch cult perpetuated by Old George Pickingill, but due to some uncertain disenchantment went his own way only later to have a hand in the reconstruction of certain Wiccan rites with Gerald Gardner.
Also, it should be noted that the late A. Spare, an exponent of the Sabbatic Mysteries, had contact with both Crowley and Gardner, but exacdy which formulae were passed on and by whom I very much doubt if. For those initiates of the Old Craft the emphasis is upon the preservation of a central body of principles and the constant refinement of the ways in which these principles are applied. It is in this respect that the distinctions between inner and outer aspects become apparent.
The outer forms of the witch cult are in the most part constituted from religious believers. The emphasis is strongly placed on the celebratory nature of the Mysteries and as such their rites are practised as the autotelic re-affirmations of religious beliefs.
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This is valuable as far as the traditionalist is concerned as it will ensure the preservation of the rites and symbols even when they are not fully understood by those practising them. Nonetheless it is diametrically opposed on one level with the deliberate and conscious use of humankind's religiosity as a technique encoding the transmutability of belief rather than an emphatic dogmatizing of the Forms in which we believe.
It is the power of believing itself rather than the power of icons in which we believe that is the key distinction. The initiate of the Old Craft will believe to make a thing true rather than because he or she, might consider a thing to possess an inherent truth. This is not to say that he or she disbelieves in the innate power of certain facets of magical iconography; rather that he or she will be led to the realisation that all such facets are expressions of the pure form known as The Witches' Sabbath.
Other important distinctions lie in the area of cultic organisation and the fundamental premises of intent and individuality. Even when the pagan faiths were those held by the majority of people in Britain it does not necessarily follow that the rites practised by the present day Wiccan or otherwise are the self-same rites practised by the orthodox priesthoods of antiquity. Perhaps the rites of seasonal celebration are very similar or are the cognate equivalents of. They were the rites of a religious faith held to bind our communities together.
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This same function is today perhaps aspired to by the Alexandrian form of the Craft. The secret practices of the priesthoods were, and still are, quite distinct from although interpenetrating with the outer veils of religious symbology. It might even be said that the majority of the social figureheads in a pagan community, although perhaps seemingly orchestrating certain rites and festivals, were not actually of the initiatory lineage, but nonetheless fulfilled such roles as that of a judiciary.
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I say this because from my own experience of the Old Craft, traditions are few in number and always have been due to the specialised nature of the rites. For instance, in Essex the majority of initiates were, and still are, solitary practitioners of the Arte, some coming together periodically to practise the Mysteries, but others remaining separate, only joining the other initiates in the regional coven when really necessary.
Because of the tendency of each initiate to specialise in his or her own areas of the Arte, such as wortcunning, mediumship or enchantment these specializations varying immensely from one village to the next, let alone from one county to another it is difficult to present a picture of organization.
To do so would be a superimposition of wishful thinking on the part of occultists with a penchant for romanticising about the past. In fact it is difficult to make accurate statements about the old witch cult since many teachings are passed on by word of mouth and each successive generation of initiates adds a little to the myth and manifests a little of the Sabbat's Grand Dream.
It is because of this loosely knit organisation of the cult, so loose as to appear non-existent, that it has consistently slipped through the fingers of many historians. Since they look for the footsteps of the old cunning men in the dust of libraries, it is not likely that they will have much luck! Despite this self preservational elitism ensuring the longevity of the cult, it has meant that from time to time a degree of knowledge is lost when an initiate dies and fails to pass on either their knowledge or power.
For instance, an entire body of lore relating to the reverential devotion of ancestral forms has been reduced to a single rite of remembrance, Samhain or 'The Night of the Returning Dead', but fortunately, thanks to a few people, this has been remedied. Two examples of the outer expression of the Sabbatic current are presently in the public domain: namely the coincidental publication in the same year of The Witches Sabbath by A.
Spare and my own book TheAzoetia: A Grimoire. It should also be said that there is a conscious intent to re-emphasise the techniques of Dream Reification, together with the reaffirmation of the vital ancestral and ophidian mysteries within the cultus. Spare's book details the basic ritual procedures and litanies as used in his own resume of a tradition passed to him via psychic induction and inspiration of his "witch-mother", Mrs Paterson.
Because of immense creativity and psychic aptitude Spare acted as a true reposoire and oracle for this current.
His book bears a strong distinction to almost every other account of the Sabbatic Mysteries; these other accounts being for the most part reflective solely of the outer aspects of the cult. This particular work of Zos exemplifies another important aspect of the witch cult. This is its emphasis upon individual vision and most importantly the necessity upon the part of the individual initiate to attain a point of direct and personal contact with the initiating intelligences of the magical current.
In Spiritualist terminology these are so-called 'spirit. Critics of my own book and that of Spare have often remarked upon its subjectivity and thus limited relevance to others. They are missing the point. Anyone initiated into a genuine tradition will realise that although the path of the initiate is underpinned by certain guiding principles or 'universals of sorcery', it is nonetheless true that his or her progress will be determined by the power of personal vision.
Each candidate must walk the path alone, until, his eyes being opened by the initiatory illumination of the Mysteries, will see about him his own subtle compatriots, a host of attendants each bearing an arcane truth of the Way.
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In much the same manner as the inner point of contact between the entity Shaitan-Aiwaz and Crowley, Spare achieved an inner contact with a guiding spirit of the old Sabbatic Mysteries; and it might even be said that such praeterhuman intelligences are yet the ministers or mediators between humankind and the Gods of an anterior worship to that of the worship of clay gods by humans.
For as both Crowley and Grant have stated, the true and honoured traditions of magick have their origins in and beyond the depths of Sumerian antiquity. The methods whereby the 'inner point of contact' is obtained are numerous. In Crowley's case it was via ceremonial magick and with Spare the means was that of an aesthetically-channeled mode of trance-mediumship.