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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Grand Sabbat
All The World Is the Country of the Wise

It once so happened that, in their travels, a Greek, an Egyptian, and a Northman came to the far-famed Sabbat of the witches.

There, with the others, they danced for the Horned, drank his wine, and made love for the corn.

...
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The Will to Resist

 Witches' Sabbat, n. the ecstatic adoration of the embodied Horned Lord

 

Although it has analogues among the rites of antiquity, the Sabbat is not, in and of itself, an ancient ritual.

Viewed as a genre of ritual—like the Seder or the Mass—we can say quite specifically that the notion of the Witches' Sabbat first emerged at a particular time in a particular place: in fact, in the western Alps during the mid-15th century.

In his book Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath (1991), historian Carlo Ginzburg traces the socio-cultural forces that drove the rise of the Sabbat. What he does not document—how could he?—were the Sabbat's internal driving forces. What is the inner theological meaning of the Sabbat?


The Sabbat is the true paradise...where there is more joy than I can express. Those who go there find the time too short because of the pleasure and happiness they enjoy and, having once been there, they will long with a raging desire [un désire enragé] to go and be there again. So said French witch Jeanne Dibasson in 1630.

 

The Horned gave us the Sabbat as an earthly foretaste of the Witches' “Paradise,” where one experiences the simultaneous dissolution and expansion of self, the very state of being out of which we emerge and to which, in the end, we shall return.

Nor need we wait to die to partake of this joy; for by His Main and Mercy, we may join the Eternal Dance on the Sabbat-Field of the Goat, the Grand Sabbat of the atoms, here and now.

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From: Invitation to the Grand Sabbat

This is a tribal gathering; as such, we operate as a tribe, under tribal thew (custom, law). If you attend, you are either a member, or a guest, of the tribe. This fact has certain implications. Everyone is expected to act responsibly at all times.

We police ourselves. If a situation arises, handle it. If you can't handle it, find someone that can.

There are many people in a tribe. Some you will like; some you may not. (Witches, of course, tend to be people with a lot of jagged edges, anyway.) It nonetheless remains everyone's responsibility to maintain the sacred moot-frith, the peace of the gathering, at all times. If you can't treat others with civility and respect, then you don't belong here.

At the heart of tribal democracy lies personal responsibility. If you don't like something that someone else is doing, it's up to you to say: Please stop. If someone asks you to stop what you're doing, please think seriously before continuing.

Note also that our people respect the power of intoxicants and regard them as sacred. If you're going to use, use in a sacred way.

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Beyond the Hedge

 I'm goin' to a meetin', do you want to come along?

I'm goin' to a meetin', do you want to come along?

I'm goin' to a meetin', do you want to come along?

We'll dance by the light of the Moon.

(Appalachian traditional)

 

We don't know whether or not the classic Witches' Sabbat—the Horned Lord enthroned on the altar, the frenzied dancing, the love-making in the shadows—ever existed anywhere but in the tortured imaginations of the witch-hunters.

But this much we do know: it exists now.

It doesn't much resemble what some call sabbats, safely indoors with their decorous quarter-candles.

The Sabbat-in-true is no indoor rite.

The Sabbat is a rite of the woods, the mountain, the island: what witches call the Outgarth.

And yes, there's the Horned Lord enthroned on the altar, and frenzied dancing, and love-making. It wouldn't be the Sabbat without them.

At the Sabbat, the firelight flash of a moving knife denotes no casting of circles.

It's the sacrificial blade, descending.

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What the Bones Said

At the end of each tribal conclave, we throw the bones to see when our next Grand Sabbat will be.

When a given event happens every year, people begin to take it for granted. That's why the Grand Sabbat—the great ritual gathering of the clans of the Witch-tribe—takes place regularly at irregular intervals.

The last was three years ago. Three years was far too long to wait between Sabbats. But that's what the bones said, and the full longing of those too-many years between, their course finally run, swept us together into a vast wave of fiery consummation.

In the usual way of things, one generally goes into the throwing of the bones with a plan: next year, or the year after.

But if you throw the bones, you have to listen to what they say. Sometimes they agree with you, and sometimes they don't. In the end, the bones have final say.

Well, the bones have spoken.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The Grand Sabbat is a private, invitation-only tribal gathering held regularly at irregular intervals in the matchless Driftless C
  • Tyger
    Tyger says #
    I would like to learn more about this gathering. Who can go and where is it?

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Thunder Prayer: Grand Sabbat 2018

On the first evening of this summer's Grand Convocation of the Midwest Tribe of Witches, we turned our faces to the West and chanted a prayer to Thunder (see below) asking for good weather during our get-together.

Among the gods, Thunder in particular is well-known to have a taste for hard liquor. At prayer's end, we poured out an entire bottle of Jameson whiskey in libation.

That, believe me, was a sacrifice felt by everyone.

Throughout the three following days of our gathering, the weather was absolutely beautiful.

During the feast on Sunday evening, we heard a roll of thunder from the north. A rainbow appeared in the eastern sky. This was followed by a second roll of thunder from the southern sky.

No rain, however, fell.

Monday afternoon, I had a phone message from a friend who had remained on-site, calling to report that (everyone having packed up and left), it had finally begun to rain.

Gently, as it happens.

If you ask me, the money laid out for that bottle of Jamie was money well spent.

Every single penny.

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The Witches' Paradise

“Mister, you want something that'll change your life?”

I've stopped to grab some take-out on my way home from the 2018 Midwest Grand Sabbat. My heart is so full, it hurts. If it weren't for the beauty, who could possibly bear the pain?

I look at the sad little man asking me his sad little question.

He's no way cool enough to be dealing, so I presume he's pimping for some religion or other. I wonder if his religion gives him anything like what mine gives me. Just that morning I had watched the Stag That Walks on Two Legs, clothed in white fire, step into the sky.

I hope for his sake that it does. Looking at him, though, I rather doubt it.

I smile, a little sadly.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I'm bug-bit, exhausted, and sun-fried, and everything that I own is covered with red ocher. I couldn't be happier! Love you longti
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I was thinking about you and this Grand Sabbat all weekend. xo

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