Pointed Meditations: Initial Thoughts on Chumbley’s “Qutub”

Recently, I noticed that Ocean Delano mentioned a prayer called “Prayer of the Design”, which he used prior to one of his workings.  He links back to Brother Ash’s blog, Crossroads of Sorcery, where he talks about it in one of his posts, describing it as a prayer that can be “used in isolation or as an adjuctive/declaration in other such ritual/meditative procedures”.  Apparently, it’s taken from a ritual called the “Rite of the Opposer” as given in a book called “Qutub: The Point” by Andrew D. Chumbley for XOANON Press.  I don’t like just taking a prayer or ritual out of context, so I had to do some digging to figure out more about this ritual and text.

“Qutub” is a poem written and set of illustrations drawn (or, rather, received) by Chumbley over the course of a year, a 72 verse occult work (in 74 stanzas?) saturated with symbolism and meaning that, as Brother Ash notes, “one could write volumes trying to interpret the message and all of the symbolism contained in the 72 verse poem”.  In some ways, it reminds me of a cross between Khayyam’s Rubaiyat and Moore’s Promethea.  The book isn’t very large, comprising only 90 pages in hard copy, completed with the author’s commentary on magic and the poem, the Rite of the Opposer, and a small glossary.  The work bears a lot of influence from Hermetic, Gnostic, Sufic, and folk witch craft and lore, and is overall fairly antinomian in tone.  The big players in the poem are few in number, but important:

  • Khidir, the immortal wandering sage, the flash of enlightenment personified
  • Lilith, the first wife of Adam, the Witch-Queen, the giver of spiritual fire and power
  • Shaitan, or Satan, the Adversary, the modern name for the chaotic and oppositive Set
  • Azra’il, or Azrael, the angel of Death, closely associated with Shaitan
  • God, or more specifically the Demiurge ignorant of Creation beyond his sight

Despite the superficial darkness and evil implied by the personae dramatis, the text is supposed to be antinomian instead of antitheist.  Antinomianism, the breaking of established custom or law for higher ends, is a powerful tool when applied properly in spiritual endeavors, since it’s the founding of obscene or infamous acts that deal with the unclean, polluted, filthy, and plagued so as to surpass and conquer all mundane things.  It’s the basis for a good number of tantric practices in Hindu and Buddhist teachings, as well as Bacchic, Setian, and Luciferian traditions nowadays.  It involves the breaking of rules, the transgression of morality, and the usurping of ethics to surpass and rise above them all.  Done incorrectly, it drives one into darkness and vain profanity, but when done properly, it can be a fast-track to enlightenment and spiritual apotheosis.

This ties in nicely with Gnostic ideas of the cosmos: the God we know by names and images is just another idol, the Demiurge, but one that thinks he himself is the Highest.  He’s locked in by his own ignorance, and wants us to keep us ignorant and under his and the archons’ rule because that’s all he himself knows.  As prisoners, it’s humanity’s job to break through their ignorance and darkness and escape, becoming true powers of the cosmos and recalling our memory and birth beyond memory and darkness.  By breaking the established morality of the day, institutionalized by servants of the Demiurge, one will risk social and worldly normalcy and security for something much greater and higher, becoming an enlightened theurge on our own independent of the Demiurge and archons.  However, even being enlightened, one must still opt to choose truth over falsehood, which needs knowledge of both as one.

On a higher level, the title of the work, “Qutub”, literally means “Point”.  Points have no dimension, no size, no magnitude, no direction; they are without all these things, and as such have no comparison to anything else, and thus are infinite in all ways.  It is the Singularity, the Universal Center, the crossroads and hub of all things that exist.  It is the Monad, the thing and place where distinctions like “thing” or “place” cannot be made in the presence of divine simplicity, where there is no “Lover” or “Beloved” but only “Love”.  As such, it is the goal of the Adept and magician to attain and realize the Singularity, the Point, the Crown, the Qutub.  However, to attain this singular awareness of all things, one has to start with the perspective that there a multitude of things which one must oppose and begin to incorporate, including one’s entire self and selves.

This all brings me to the “Rite of the Opposer”.  It’s a simple two-part ritual, consisting of minimal equipment (a white candle) with few circumstantial requirements (to be done at twilight), and easily adaptable (changing the direction one faces, the direction of rotation, etc.).  The Prayer of the Design and the Formula of the Opposer, the two spoken parts, are both fairly short.  The only issue I had, after finding a copy of the text, is its stated purpose, or lack thereof:

The intent of this rite is solely that given unto it by its practitioner in reciprocation to the intent of the Current summoned through its practice.  The functions and applications of this rite are revealed solely through its practice and subsequent adaptation by the practitioner in accordance with such secret and unique directions as are revealed unto him.

How informative (nope).  One Geocities-esque outdated fluffy neopagan website has the ritual posted in full, describing it as a way to meet, confront, and banish one’s Shadow self.  While this ritual probably could be used for that, I have a feeling that’s not quite in harmony with the rest of the text.  However, without having performed it yet, I can’t say much more than that.

To say that “Qutub” is an interesting or beautiful work is doing it an injustice.  You might see me talk about it more in the future, especially as I meditate more on these verses and attempt the Rite of the Opposer myself, assuming I have the time and approval from my own forces and HGA to do so (I don’t want to try something this seemingly potent without some level of awareness).  I only have an e-book copy, since the actual book is exceedingly rare to come across and even more expensive than rare, but I eventually want a hard copy though it’s not necessary to start the interpretation and meditation on the poem.  Seeing how I have a large number of dark- and folk-craft worker friends, a few of whom actually work with the forces named above in contrast to my hitherto light- and ceremonial-craft work, this might not be a bad thing to try out and chat with them on.

I’m half considering starting a blog project devoted to Chumbley’s “Qutub”, interpreting the poem verse by verse and relating it to other aspects of occult craft, tradition, and symbolism, as well as detailing my experiences performing the Rite of the Opposer.  Whether or not this is suggested is another matter, of course; revealed things tend to like staying revealed instead of discussed publicly.  We’ll see.

Do you have any thoughts, dear reader, on Chumbley, his “Qutub”, or the UK-based Sabbatic Craft tradition?  I know he’s written “Azoetia”, but it’s not a book I’ve come across.  Post below in the comments, because this is all fairly fresh and fascinating stuff for me.

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About polyphanes
I'm a software developer and Hermetic occultist living near Washington, DC, USA. I claim that I'm youthful, dashing, daring, and other things. I make things and chant stuff, and periodically write about them.

7 Responses to Pointed Meditations: Initial Thoughts on Chumbley’s “Qutub”

  1. Sionnach says:

    Do you mind if I ask where you attained your e-book copy of Qutub? I lost mine when my last computer crashed and have been itching to find another copy to reread and give a closer study.

    Works by members of the Cultus Sabbati and its spawn for the witch forging her own path, Sabbatic Witchcraft, heavily influence my own witchcraft, though adapted to better suit my folk magic practices (as I have never felt deeply drawn to ceremonial magic except as something fascinating to study theoretically; folk magic and shamanism are the bones of my practice). If you can find a copy of Chumbley’s “Azoetia,” I recommend it, as it is a sort of primer on Sabbatic Craft with many rituals and supplications and is another exceedingly beautiful read.

    I agree that some mysteries are best kept quiet, but would nonetheless be very interested in reading your notes and experiences or at least a few of your thoughts as you meditate on the work.

    • polyphanes says:

      I got it from a friend, after I put out a few feelers for any people who had copies themselves. I’m sure one could torrent it or otherwise find it; I think it was an OCR-scanned in copy with the illustrations scanned in separately, since the text has a few formatting and typographcial quirks that I’m sure aren’t part of XOANON’s standard.

      I might start a private blog later on, offering the password to read it to those who’re interested in following along.

  2. runeworker says:

    I am intrigued that you call it “Sabbatic Craft” whereas the usual name given by most people I have met is “traditional craft” or “trad craft”. My own searches into so-called “trad craft” seems to be anything but traditional in any real sense. Most of the time it is more made up and poor then some of the fluffy neopagan fluff, in my opinion.

    I am fascinated by the title. I have gotten a lot of inspiration from table-top RPG’s. I don’t know if you are familiar with “Mage:The Ascension” by White Wolf, but they have a middle eastern group known as the Ahl-i-Batin and the leaders of that group were known as “Qitab” which is their version of the Islamic word use by Andrew Chumbley. They were the leaders and movers and shakers of the group, masters of telepathy and the ability to bend and reshape space to their will, and thus move to the central point. The group also had a main tenent known as the Doctrine of Unity, about coming from the One and how it would be possible to return to it. It made me some what interested in middle eastern mystical philosophy and thought.

    • polyphanes says:

      I only call it “Sabbatic Craft” because that’s the name they themselves (appear to) use. I know next to nothing about what they do, so I’m just repeating titles and talking points, at this point.

      Some of my friends have played MtA, but I haven’t. I know a little about the groups and factions involved, though.

  3. Rachel Izabella says:

    If you start a blog project devoted to Chumbley’s Qutub I “will from Hell have fallen … Up!”

    I first performed the Rite of the Opposer last week. I had recently purchased a copy of Daniel Schulke’s Lux Haeresis, and found it obscure, to say the least. As practicing the Rite of the Opposer is said to summon the “intent of the [Sabbatic] Current” in reciprocation to the practitioner’s intent, I thought I’d give it a try, as my intent was to understand first Schulke’s Lux Haeresis and, soon, Qutub itself.

    All’s I can say is I found the Rite intense, short as it is. Details aside, life has gotten interesting and complex, requiring “all [my] well learned politesse”, and then some…

  4. Old Crow says:

    I practised the Rite of the Opposer. I had some interesting results. I definately felt some reversers which forced me to stretch my mind.

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