“We wanted to fuse the aesthetics, histories and values of witchcraft, the traditional ideas with a contemporary edge,” says editor and creative director of Sabat magazine Elisabeth Krohn. The publication covers witchcraft, feminism, ancient archetypes and instant art to paint a portrait of and offer insight into what the occult means today.
Issue one is called The Maiden Issue, taking inspiration from the Neopagan deity the Triple Goddess in which The Maiden represents the first stage in the female life cycle and the first phase of the moon. Designed by Cleber Rafael de Campos, the magazine is moody and atmospheric but steers well clear of pastiche. Although the typefaces are serifed and chunky, the layouts are sparse and the photo shoots are exercises in tone and shadow, heightening the sense of otherness. “We looked at things quite conceptually, as the occult is so often remains hidden, we have hidden elements of the magazine,” says Elisabeth. “The logo is hidden on the cover in varnish and there are repeated motifs throughout. We were looking at engravings from the 15th Century and the earthiness of the traditional aesthetic while at the same time echoing the modern ideas that we encountered through our research. We alighted on the concept of ‘the ancient and the instant.’”
The project started as a zine while Elisabeth studied a journalism at London College of Fashion before it turned into her MA project and was subsequently launched to buy. “A lot of witches have communities online, it’s where modern witchcraft lives. I found out about the Witches of Instagram and it grew out of that,” she says. “So much that comes out of the occult as an esoteric genre looks so dated aesthetically. I wanted to make a publication that would appeal to a younger, more design conscious audience, that related the idea to contemporary interests.”
There will be a new issue of Sabat in September. “We want to complete the Triple Goddess concept, so the Mother issue will be the theme of the next issue,” explains Elisabeth. “Then The Crone in March next year. The trilogy idea seems to fit the context well.”