The Crone issue, the final chapter in Sabat Magazine’s life cycle, arrived in my mailbox this weekend. The timing is interesting; I’ve been reflecting often lately on this ancient archetype, ruminating on a chapter in my own life that has recently ended, with the loss of my own beloved crone, my 96 year old grandmother and family matriarch.
As I remove the magazine from the cardboard envelope, I note its heft and weight in my grip, similar to that of the previous issues I have received, The Maiden and The Mother, but with The Crone there is a grandeur and gravitas and air of finality that is remarkably evident before I even see the cover, before I turn the very first page. And so I pause. For many reasons, I don’t know that I am ready for this journey to end.
I’ve been keenly interested in Sabat’s offerings since whisperings of its inception; I delighted in wonder and excitement at the raw, unharnessed power of the Maiden Issue; I basked in the complex, mysterious vitality and mental/spiritual nourishment offered in The Mother. The Crone lies in front of me, beckoning and wise, and still I hesitate. I am afraid. It feels like fate. It feels like death.
But when I search my heart, (which feels ancient lately, and I am sure I am not the only one), I know better. With an act of creation, there must be a completion. Notes Sabat’s Editor and Creative Director Elisabeth Krohn,
“Sabat was born, came into power, blossomed, we harvested a lot from it — it seems natural that Sabat should die too.”
There is a transformative magic in endings, though, is there not? After the curtain falls, and in the quiet, stillness, and healing dark, we can reassess, revise, recharge, rebuild. There are revelations and renewals. And sometimes…rebirth. To that end I am happy to report that Krohn, in a recent communiqué with Haute Macabre has shared that, “…the Sabat soul will reincarnate in some other form in the not so distant future.” In darkness, light.
“What is Crone? This third and last issue of Sabat explores one of the most feared, ignored and ridiculed of female archetypes. Embodying a life lived, she is wisdom and audacity, the sacred trickster and dignified doyenne, and perhaps most terrifyingly, past caring about patriarchal proprieties.The one who stands boldly with her lantern in the night, her truth and experience are destroyers of illusion, and not for the faint-hearted. When we are close to an end she asks us: “do you want to fight harder or just let go?” identifying them both as viable options.”
An amazing community of artists, photographers, writers, and witches (including Haute Macabre’s very own Sonya Vatomsky) contributed their unique perspectives to this 164 page multi-faceted tribute to The Crone, the final face of the triple goddess:
“Pam Grossman holds a torch for the twilight years, and Jenna Opsahl looks for signs of the end in The Omen. We enter into the darkest of the woods with April Graham and the Baba Yaga. Queer feminist Witch and anti-ageist activist Dulcamara lets me in on a crone perspective and Elisabeth O’Neill investigates how to be a Virtuous Vampire. David Zunker explores the astrological connection between Saturn and fate and encourages you to Go Your Own Way, while Sophie Holmes and the #witchesofinstagram let us know when it’s time to #letitgo.”
Structured around that elegant monochrome design with which we have become familiar, and including a brooding, moody mix of atmospheric black and white photography and illustrations, The Crone issue also boasts a beautiful series of die-cut moon phase symbols on title pages, fiery red inserts, occasional, luminous gloss pages and the bewitching sorcery of that double fore-edge painting of the pages; when fanned one way: “IN DARKNESS LIGHT”, and the other: “EN EREBOS PHOS”.
With Sabat Magazine, and The Crone issue in particular, Elisabeth Krohn and those with whom she worked on these preternaturally powerful publications, has created splendid works of art that deserve a special place on your shelf, your altar, or where ever you keep your magical objects of power.
What comes next, then? The unknown. But “…meanwhile,” Krohn writes with hope and love, with both darkness and light,
“…the power of three will set you free.”