Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Sabat. Witches. Black and white photography. Potions. Dancing naked women. #WitchesofInstagram. Really, it’s almost too easy. Yet somehow, even for a complete non-Wicca atheist, reading Sabat: The Maiden Issue, can be spine-shivering fun. The first attempt at breaking into the tough world of magazine publishing and putting being a witch on the map as cool, fashionable, and very much ‘the new happening thing’, Nordic Elisabeth Krohn has done a smashing job.

But let’s be honest, didn’t everyone secretly sit in the broom closet of their parents’ house making potions and muttering spells? (No). Yet Krohn has taken ‘being a witch’ to a new level. It’s an actual thing, we’ve learned reading Sabat, witches on Instagram – it’s not just a TV fantasy anymore. If you’re a 90s kid, growing up with Buffy and the Charmed Ones, being a Wicca was probably something foreign, the idea of purposely branding yourself as an outcast (which was of course exactly what a lot of people liked about it). Sabat turns the tables though, and manages to unite kids (and adults) from all over and shows them a lifestyle, a community, a life. That’s why we’re excited to read the announcement for their second issue on the last page – this is just the beginning.

Sabat deals with every end of the hocus pocus spectrum: it takes the craft at heart seriously. In fact, it is quite definitely not hocus pocus. It’s satanic feminism, its hard-core high end fashion reminiscent of Owens, Mugler and Pugh, it’s about science, it’s about a world not everyone understands, which doesn’t mean it isn’t there. But most of all it’s about female empowerment. It’s about women taking control of their own faith, lives, relationships and future – about their position, their jobs, their souls. And all these loaded themes – albeit sometimes slightly predictable (Tarot, masks or prettily arranged flowers that aren’t just pretty) – are published by Krohn in amazing black and white photography, illustrations and graphics. 

Printed fully in black and white on a nice off-white matt paper, interspersed by pink leaflets, broken up by black pages with large white letters, and filled with mesmerizing illustrations by Tarin Yuangtrakul, Sabat is off to a good start. Featuring a re-publication of a classic fantasy-horror story by Arthur Machen on filter thin newspaper, a feature on magical stones, femme fatales in classic Hollywood cinema, fashion, Tarot, flowers, occults, art and Instagram, we’re extremely curious to see what’s left to tell in the second issue. Crashing onto the scene, Sabat is a mix of a zine, a glossy fashion mag, and a lifestyle journal that encompasses 21st century witches from A to Z, and that tells of a lifestyle complicated to understand, yet manages to keep it accessible without straying too far from the surface. [Insert cliché here:] It’s like magic.

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