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On intention and sincerity

I want to take a moment to think about why I am working with the dragon book and the ‘sabbatic current’. I’m not in any way connected to the Cultus Sabbati, I’m not a ‘sabbatic witch’ nor am I in any way able to, nor desire to, speak for or with any knowledge of that magical current. I am, as I have said previously, a chaos magician or sorcerer, those are the only terms I accept as useful or in any way accurate as descriptions of my thought and practice. So what is it that motivates the work with the dragon book, what’s my intention?

If the ‘sabbatic current’, Andrew Chumbley or the Cultus Sabbati come across your horizon then one of the things likely to be heard is talk of obscurity, complexity, as well as mention of baroque and peculiar language. It’s also highly likely that some reference to the books that derive from the current, books that are usually very expensive. On the one hand, there is a dismissal of the work that surrounds the sabbatic current as pretentious, overly complex, or deliberately obscure, on the other a kind of elitism, self-selection and ‘holier than thou’ approach that seems out of sorts with an age in which everything is supposed to be accessible to all. Unless you have some direct contact with someone that cuts through this, where the face overwrites the image, it’s very easy for this current to appear as simply one amongst many that surrounds itself in devilish imagery, death soaked fantasies and overly showy transgressiveness. Whilst an aghori [1] practising their tantra in Indian Hindu traditions might make an exotic image to be revered, if you live in the Christian West (not all the West is Christian, hence the distinction) the site of black clothed trendies gushing over the latest super expensive tome of dark magic is presumably to be reviled.

I have no idea about the intentions of those who form part of the Cultus Sabbati, about their practices or personal status, nor do I have much interest. There is something of a ‘house style’ to the imagery around Xoanon Press but that’s the same with any sensible press who want to establish an identity, a presence. There is also something baroque about the language used by people like Chumbley and Schulke, although the baroque should not be dismissed quite so quickly as pretentious, something I’ll try and come back to at some point. There is also something mildly unsettling about the role of the books, their price, obscurity and influence on contemporary witch culture and ‘grimoire’ production, although as a long-standing bibliophile I have a conflicted relation to this and again it is something I will try and return to at another point. Despite all this, however, I’ve persisted for several years in drawing on and working with imagery and entities associated with and inspired by the work of the sabbatic current.

Some of that work has been deeply satisfying and enlivening, some of it disappointing and deadening, but there are perhaps two strong roots, and many other minor tributaries, that have gradually woven together a background to the dragon book working. The first is a strong luciferic tendency, one that crosses over into my communism. From Milton, through the iconography and imagery of the morning star, to the moments of ecstatic contemplation of Epstein’s Lucifer when it sat outside the tea room in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Lucifer has always been a friend. The second is a strong relation to Pan, which predates any encounter with words and is rooted in my childhood growing up in the Weald in Sussex but which returns regularly in various guises and forms. Amongst the other minor tributaries there is the love of lightning, a complex relation to words as carriers of ecstasy, the peculiar intimacy and activity of the hands and the exhaustions of dreaming.

Extract from diary, 21st dec 2016.

So, some brief notes on the first working of the Rite of the Black Sun.

Carried out at the allotment, recently obtained during the Hieros Gamos. Much of the preparation has been trying to organise a ‘picture’ of the rite from the texts, structure, rhythm, content, symbolism. The actual rite itself, in terms of the texts in the DBOE, are difficult to work with in praxes, lifted from the page. They read a little like an amateur dramatics, but at the same time contain a sincerity of will. So it’s this tha has to guide the work, that sincerity of will, in the grimoire, in the structures, in the incarnate reality of the dragon in the moment.

So, a process of study, clarification, simplification, I want to say “sharpening” but that’s too hubristic, yet touches on the right direction of hubris. Connected, interweaved, that might be better – and there’s that moment when you lick the end of the thread before pushing it through the eye of the needle. To do, is everything. Quite what it is you do can never be determined in advance, only guided, indicated, symbolised.

Bilo Bilo Hu () Bilo Bilo Hu.