Sex Magic: Austin Osman Spare and ‘The Sabbath’

Found this entry in Kennth Grant’s Images & Oracles of Austin Osman Spare

I’m currently reading Images & Oracles of Austin Osman Spare, published by, and available from Fulgur. I don’t know that much about Spare, but enough to mention him in my recent Fucking Magic article (also published in The Yoke) and that he was a noted artist and occultist of his day.
The following appears to be summarisation (By Kenneth Grant) of Spare’s The Zoëtic Grimoire of Zos. The original can be found online in many places, such as here, but I decided to quote the below version, as the language of the original is rather turgid. I’ll be reviewing the Images & Oracles as soon as I finish it.
I’ve bolded phrase which I think is of relevance to my original sex magic article:

    The Sabbath is neither black nor white but a highly colourful affair. Sex is used as the medium for a magical act, and for a divertive conation on a mass scale. It is the death of posture formula applied en masse, but instead of being rehearsed astrally it is enacted physically for the generation of great

    This, when released, is diverted from its ordinary object and directed toward the fulfilment of the mass desire. The latter would vary, depending on the pre-arranged objective of the coven or assembly concerned.

    It is not merely a matter of erotic satisfaction, though this is incidental. The sensualist is made detached, disciplined, until later and final sublimation. His entire training is submissive and obedient, until he can transmute, control and divert him or herself where desired, by cold amoral passion. The witches take the active part throughout; hence the symbolic levitation by besom [broom] handle.

    The witches usually engaged in such rites are old, grotesque, and libidinous, and are as little sexually attractive as the dead; nevertheless, they become the sole vehicles of consummation. This is necessary for the transmutuation of the personal asthetic culture.

    Perversion may also be used to overcome moral prejudices and conformity instilled by wrong upbringing, or a society pernicious to the heathy development of the individual. Mind and desire must become amoral, focussed, and made totally acceptive, so that the Life-force is free of inhibitions prior to ultimate control.

    The Sabbath is thus a deliberate orgy for the purpose of exteriorising a latent wish. It is the great realization of the autistic image; the scientific extrusion of thought and its embodiment as objective entity, tactual and visul to all present. In a word: the materialization of wishful thinking.

By the ‘Sabbath’, Spare is not referring to the judiac faith, rather a witch’s ‘sabbat’ – from mediaeval demonology, an event where a nocturnal assembly would occur, and demons and sorcerers were thought to celebrate their orgies.
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Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.