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Cultus Sabbati: Provenance, Dream and Magistry

“In the Sabbatic Craft, solitary initiation or 'The Lonely Road' is recognized as a vital aspect of every practitioner’s path, and the understanding of ‘solitude’ is subject to many levels of interpretation. Autonomy is the key virtue, irrespective of whether one practice in a human convocation or 'alone' – in the ever-present company of spirits.”Andrew D Chumbley

Andrew Chumbley described himself as a Cunning Man. He lived in Essex England. Like A. O. Spare, Robert Cochrane, Evan John Jones, and Paul Huson, he was a traditional Witch, but most definitely not a Wiccan. He practiced what he called the Sabbatic Craft. Sadly, on September 15th, 2004 – his 37th birthday, Andrew Chumbley, aka Alogos Dhu'l-qarnen Khidir, passed from this world into the next, and I never got the chance to meet the reclusive Occultist.

A very private man, Andrew Chumbley presided as Magister over the closed circle of initiates known as the Cultus Sabbati, a group that uses the mythos of the European Witches' Sabbath as the basis and idiom for their rituals and practices. Chumbley’s somewhat reclusive nature led to much speculation about the activities and the Cultus Sabbati, a group that had a stated tradition of refusing entry to anyone that asked.

I am simply a cunning man myself, mourning the passing of another Sorcerer that I will not get to meet face to face within this lifetime. I wanted to reach an audience of people that perhaps had not heard of him, and provide a glimpse into the work of this incredible Cunning Man.

The Sabbatic Craft is the 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 a historical sense, the Sabbatic Craft is usefully set against the background of rural British folk-magick, the so-called Cunning-craft, and the learned practices of European high ritual magick.

The medieval and early modern magickal observances of cunning-men and wise women were broad and varied in form, but invariably rooted in pragmatic deeds of healing, love-magick, wortcunning, curing and cursing. Where the practices of cunning-folk overlapped with those of the high ritual magick traditions, the calling of angels, the apparatus of astrology, and Latin incantations was integrated into the magick of the everyday.

Notably, these rituals, spells, and formulas 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 formulas in their praxes, one could argue that this religious language was naturally the timely idiom of narration for magickal rites. However, beneath the shifting of language and culture, the immemorial methodologies and tools of magickal ritual — the spirit-evocation, ritual circle, wand, knife, sigils, cord, knot, charm, starry expectation, flora and fauna, invocation, exorcism and so forth — remain more or less constant.

An important dimension of magickal 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, fairy 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 magickal 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 magickal arts, the fragments have coalesced to establish streams of self-conscious tradition.

Where two or more of these streams conjoin a river is born, and it is from such a confluence that the present-day Cultus of the so-called 'Sabbatic Craft Tradition' emerges.

Cultus Sabbati is a body of magickal initiates who practice both solitary and collective rituals, whose lineal tradition(s) descend, in both oral and textual forms, from surviving 19th-century cunning-folk and ritual magick practice. It is not claimed that we practice 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 a practice that spirits as well as men and women pass on and teach the Art magickal.

As the generations pass, some lore remains constant, some do 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 and allied initiates of the tradition maintain a closed circle and according to long-standing customs, 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 has 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 spirits patron to 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 the present and on-going vision.

Traditional Sabbatic Craft often employs demonological names and imagery as part of a cipher to convey the gnosis of Luciferian self-liberation. Similarly, and as aforesaid, rituals may also utilize Christian forms and terms, both as part of long-standing custom and as part of a sorcerous intent to wilfully re-orientate culturally accumulated 'belief' to magickal purposes. The positive and negative aspects of this Arcanum are dealt with in Azoetia (Xoanon: 1992, 2002) under the name 'The Iconostasis of Blasphemy' and readers are directed there for a more detailed understanding of this matter.

One must be wise to discern the use of veil upon veil, The Sabbatic Craft uses sorcerous teachings of a specialized 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.

A defining feature of the Cultus is its specialized 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 magickal practice.

The whole complex of imagery that is the Witches' Sabbath is esoterically understood as the temporal 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 ciphers for the teachings of oneiric flight, atavistic transformation, wortcunning, divination, ritualization, dual observance, spirit-worship, and so forth. Sabbatic symbology has thus been utilized 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 magickal 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.

ii-wy em Hotep -Patrick Gaffiero


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