My Little Sabbatic Project: Azoetia

Spirits of Mandrakes: Spring by Harold Roth

Spirits of Mandrakes: Spring by Harold Roth

This spring has been so busy with orders for seeds through my shop, writing an article, preparing a manuscript for submission to a publisher, working on an art site, and painting painting painting, that I’ve had no time or inclination to post. And my garden this year is much smaller than it has been in the past, so I have not had a lot of gardening to post about. There are major changes afoot in my life.

But I’ve decided henceforth to use this blog for a different purpose: to describe the beginning of my formal work in Sabbatic witchcraft step by step.

I’m waiting on my copy of the new edition of Azoetia, the first of the three grimoires written by Andrew Chumbley of the Cultus Sabbati. I’ve really liked a lot of the stuff I have seen come out of that group, esp. Viridarium Umbris, which I refer to a great deal and which I consider to be one of the very few worthwhile herbal magic books out there–one based on real-life working with plant spirits. I’ve read some of Chumbley’s essays and have v. 1 of his collected essays and I like the way he thinks and goes about magic. I’ve wanted one of his grimoires, but the resale prices have not been what I can afford and I don’t believe in piracy. So I’ve just waited, feeling that sooner or later, something would turn up.

And it has. Xoanon is republishing Azoetia, and it should be out at the end of June. The price was reasonable as these things go. I bought a copy and am just waiting for it to arrive. (Btw, if you are interested in acquiring such books, you need to send a snailmail request to Xoanon and/or Three Hands to be notified of new publications.)

I’ve never worked a grimoire from soup to nuts or joined any magical group and instead have cobbled together a magical path from this and that. I have almost no magical tools whatsoever. For instance, I used a root I found on the ground in the woods for a long time for a wand. But now that I am heading to semi-retirement, I feel I will have the time I believe necessary to devote to really working a grimoire and a specific path, and since I like Chumbley and the Cultus Sabbati’s stuff I’ve seen, I’m going with that. The Azoetia does begin with tool-making. I am so looking forward to that.

One thing I have noticed–although there is lots of talk about Azoetia on the internet and people torrenting the thing and jabbering about whether it is worth it or not, it is clear to me that pretty much nobody has worked it. I am sure it is a very demanding work. Even his writing style is demanding, requiring at least a very good vocabulary and a well-rounded education. But the book was put out there for people to read and work, so the material is in there. It is simply that the potatoes have to be dug up before they can be cooked and eaten.

I’ve got my pitchfork ready.

Some people might say, “NO! Don’t post about it! Because teh SEEKRITS!!!” IMO, secrets are overrated, especially secret knowledge. I see it more the way some general described how worrisome it isn’t for people to post plans online for making a nuclear bomb. The gist of it was that it doesn’t matter, because so much skill is involved in making them that almost no one can do it even with the most detailed directions. This is how I feel about the secrets of magic. IOW, magic to me is not about the power of a bunch of words or of an object. It’s a skill developed through actual working with energies and spirits.

The other reason why I intend to write about it is that I learn something better and in greater depth when I write about it and in particular, when I write not just for myself but for others and must express myself without any personal shorthand. That sort of writing clarifies concepts and experiences for me and almost always reveals unexpected connections and profitable rabbit holes to fall down. So it is a great benefit for me to write about my practice.

So if you are interested in this path, stick around.

3 comments to My Little Sabbatic Project: Azoetia

  • I am indeed interested! I look forward to reading about your digging in.

    On secrets: there is great power in keeping silence, in holding sacred, and in submitting to oaths regarding what may or may not be spoken, but secrets are a bird of a different feather altogether.

  • Michael Hooper

    HI Harold!

    I’m glad your posting in the ‘adult occultist’ forum again. Facestalk is like being sentenced to 8th grade home room – forever! I’m drawn to the variety of the craft your post is about, mostly due to paternal Cornish bloodlines.

    I also like feeling that I’m not culturally appropriating other people’s belief systems, (i.e.: getting my Goyim ‘cooties’ 😉 on an ancient Midrash or two) while still being able to play in a Library of Alexandria multi-cultural tech base.

    There’s a _lot_ of original, already published, stuff ’round here & it’s historically OK to be eclectic here too.

    Thanks for the links, looks like I’m gonna be buying more books.

  • I for one will be reading with interest and even pick up a copy of the book

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