Sabbat or Dark Interpreter, De Quincy Dreams of Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow
Oil on wood, 48 inches by 48 inches, 2016
Purchase the original painting from Saatchi Art
Since the Middle Ages, until comparatively recently, a conjecture of public opinion held the view that visits of witches and warlocks to the Sabbat were a physical experience.
In recent times this view has, by many, been transformed into a concept that attendance at the Sabbat is induced by hallucinogenic substances, ingredients often absorbed through the skin from the well known “flying ointment”.
The De Quincy connection provides another example of altered state religious experience induced by a mind altering substance leading to derangement of the senses.
Thomas De Quincy’s book, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, is a detailed account of the day to day life of an early 19th century laudanum addict written in chronological style.
However, in the chapter Levana and our Ladies of Sorrow we find a dramatic textual shift into one of a gnomic style that attempts to depict an alien phantasmagoric world.
For DeQuincy, his soul guide into this realm is the Dark Interpreter, a symbolic representation of the substance of psychedelic revelations.
In this world individuality is flayed away exposing raw primal soul integrated into the infinite.