It was a while back now that the first issue of Sabat Magazine, The Maiden Issue was introduced to the world, but, as usual, I was late to the party.
As it happens, I was broke when The Maiden Issue was unleashed, and it sold out so fucking quickly that I didn’t have chance to gather the coin I needed for it. But, thank the universe, it’s been reprinted.
Having read The Mother Issue before this one (I didn’t make the same mistake twice and ensured I had money set aside for that one) I had an inkling of what to expect. I knew I’d be getting a publication of the highest quality imaginable, with a durable cover and unyielding, gloriously thick paper inside. I knew that I’d be getting intelligent writing that would educate, entertain and enlighten me. I knew, that by the time I closed the magazine, I wouldn’t be the same woman as who’d opened it.
The front cover, as with all of the Sabat magazines, is spectacularly composed with the title on the spine running onto the cover. It’s the first example of the experimental design that I could expect to find. With it being The Maiden Issue, I was treated to a visage of the lithe, virginal Drew, photographed by Simone Steenberg.
It’s evident that editor Elisabeth Krohn has been submerged in art and design for eons, because her eye for detail is fucking extraordinary. Just skimming through the magazine, I could see little pink paper inserts used to introduce me to various articles and their creators, and on the flip sides, some stirring art.
Let it be known that Elisabeth Krohn knows how to write a really fucking decent editor’s letter, and introduces the theme of the magazine with an enviable succinctness. I can practically feel the energy of this witchy endeavour crackling!
‘This Maiden Issue of Sabat goes out to teen witches of all ages, exploring Witchcraft today. Encouraging a coven of thought, it preaches a fearless approach to finding the powers within. Sabat champions tactile creativity in this screen-orientated world.’
The first feature I want to bring attention to is What Does The Word Witch Mean To You? For it, Elisabeth asked a number of contributors to explain…I particularly liked the response from Katie Karpetz.
‘It’s who I am; I feel like I live and breathe it. Every day there is magic to be seen everywhere: the ever-changing seasons, the gleam in a rabbit’s eye, the last breath of a crow. I feel like people don’t look around themselves enough. If they did, they would see it too.’
I find the whole concept of #WitchesofInstagram fascinating and Elisabeth explores and explains it so beautifully in the feature #Witches
‘A new generation of Witches are embracing social media and making the Internet their own. Moody and monochrome, the aesthetics of the eerie squares range from the dark Victoriana to poetic renditions of nature or the more alternative and artistic…The level of photography and composition is so sophisticated it rejuvenates the world of occult aesthetics creating a new visual hierarchy the pushes the ancient into the instant.’
The next feature to blow my mind wide open was Bitter-Sweet by Pam Grossman, which explores the idea that the maiden isn’t actually all shimmering purity…
‘The “perfect” maiden is in the same category as the Dream Girl: an idealized version of femaleness completely lacking in dischord or grit…I think of the maiden energy that teems in nature: the viridescent vitality that sets the world aglow in springtime. Though we often associate this season with levity and flowers, first growth is anything but sweet. Spring greens taste the most bitter, and new fruits are acrid before they’re fully ripe.’
Divergent Deities was the next piece of enthrall me. Elizabeth interviews American artist and queer witch Fay Nowitz, who creates transcendental collages and photography. Wise beyond her years, the following interview segment really stood out for me.
‘An artist’s practise is a ritual itself – the way one goes about gaining knowledge, forming ideas, processing that information, and creating something out of it.’
And her first experiences with the occult as a child struck a chord, though unlike Fay, I was fortunate to grow up in a family that wasn’t ‘traditionally religious,’ and who embraced pagan ways.
Elizabeth: What is is about the occult that inspires you in your art?
Fay: The otherworldliness, the darkness, to put it simply: the magick. I’ve always been inspired by the unusual. Ever since I was a kid, I remember deeply resonating with the concepts and ideologies presented in Witchcraft and various neo-pagan traditions…
Earth Magician turned out to be one of my very favourite pieces in the magazine. I’ve been following the photographic work of Rik Garret for ages, and was over the fucking moon, to put it lightly, that I was in such close connection to his dark and distinctive art using analogue techniques and mixed media. Passionate about Witchcraft, feminine archetypes and humankind’s relationship with nature, this became the foundation for his Earth Magic series and book. It was a moving and exhilarating experience to see under this skin of this most talented visionary.
When asked about his first experience with the esoteric he replied…
‘The werewolves in Micheal Jackson’s Thriller video – I have heard enough people’s stories about being inspired by fiction to be ok with saying that.’
Segovia Amil is a poet I’ve been on the trail of for a couple of years now, and if I’m being honest, the fact that she had an in-depth article in this magazine is one of the things that first prompted me to get it. Describing herself as a product of solitude, poet Segovia Amil caresses the dark and lonely corners of the soul through spoken word and videography.
Segovia has a way with words that makes my heart tremble, I was especially enthralled when she was talking about her ‘raven-like aesthetic…’
‘As artists, it is our job to make people question their beliefs. I’m very often stereotyped, but when people meet me, they see that I am kind, bubbly…Even though I have this dark demeanor on Instagram, I’m actually really friendly.’
If you haven’t already encountered the work of photographer Nona Limmen, I’m proud to be the one to introduce you to her spectral work through her series Dark Lands shot in the Icelandic mists. Sabat dedicate large portions of the magazine to just photography and I just fucking adore it. Dark Lands is my favourite photographic feature from this issue, but there’s several others, each conveying the maiden in a unique and deeply thought-provoking light.
Lisen Haglund AKA Nattskifet is one of my heroines, so when I encountered Satanic Feminism when I was reading the magazine for real, and not just skimming, I recall thinking to myself, ‘and can it possibly get any better than this?’ Listen lists ‘the Witch, feminism and metal’ as just a few of the inspirations for her art, from which she created her very own brand of satanic feminism.
The final feature I was to unveil is Get Your Rocks Off, an illuminating insight into ‘the best stones to crystallize your inner Witch.’ Written by Elizabeth, it examines the powers of four crystals, including one which I always like to have in my presence, crystal quartz.
‘The most powerful healing and energy amplifying stone on the planet – channels and unblocks energies and heals all ailments. Throughout history Crystal Quartz has been valued by nearly every civilization…’
Closing this issue of Sabat felt like so much more than simply closing a magazine, it was almost as though I was closing a part of my life that needed to be laid the rest.
I’m almost 31 and I feel my maiden years are close to being rounded up, as I talk with my partner about children and the like. I closed Sabat and felt invigorated in the most precious of ways by this most magical of publications.