Learn the fundamentals of astrological magic!. This package covers three workshops: (1) sigils and other magical objects; (2) services and other rituals; and (3) spirits and conjure. Historian, poet, and diviner, Dr. Alexander Cummins explores astrological magic, with a focus on the fascinating texts and practices of 17th Century England.
Dr. Alexander Cummins is an historian of early modern magic, astrology, and culture. His first book, The Starry Rubric: Seventeenth-century English Astrology and Magic was published by Hadean Press in 2012. He has also written on the cultural history of Apocalypse, occult botany and magical herbalism in the grimoires, the material history of amulets, planetary sorcery, necromancy, and various forms of folk magic.
He curates a storehouse of early modern occult texts scanned from archives at grimoiresontape.tumblr.com.
Workshops presented in the Fall of 2016
Sigils and other Magical Objects
If you are interested in learning the differences between an amulet and a talisman, where to keep your magic items to best consecrate and empower them, or why many Renaissance magicians thought creating astral talismans was like making jam, this workshop is the place to start.
The word sigils is perhaps most commonly used in modern parlance to refer to that infamous technique of Chaos magic. Yet long before Austin Osman Spare re-invented the term, sigils – medallions cast in magically potent materials at astrologically auspicious times – were the preserve of astrologer-magicians and physicians. These occult objects were thought to contain, cohere and radiate the volatile influences of passing stars as a fixed amulet, talisman or charm-bag, and were utilised for purposes as wide ranging as attracting the eye of a new lover, promotions at work, or even simply ridding your kitchen of domestic pests.
In this workshop, Dr. Alexander Cummins will guide us through the history, philosophy, and sorcery of astrological magical objects. He explores the occult philosophy of marked objects in terms of glyphs, ideograms, semeiotics, and representation, as well as examining how and when they are made and activated, what they are made from, and for what purposes they were made in the first place.
Services and other Rituals
Astrological magical ritual can be an elaborate endeavour of intricately-prepared costumes and theatrics and feasts. Or it can be a simple muttered prayer to the Sun, unassuming, but nevertheless perfectly suitable to one’s purposes. Ultimately, the goals are the same: to bring to bear astral forces to our benefit. From creating astrological ‘fallout shelters’ against the impacts of a malefic conjunction to incantations imploring the celestial realm for guidance and wisdom, the history of astrological ritual is a long and fascinating record of human endeavours to actually work with the stars. It also provides an excellent foundation to draw from in our own astrological work.
With this goal in mind, Dr Alexander Cummins teases out both underlying occult philosophical concepts and practical magical actions from this historical record. He examines the variety of potent invocations available to perform astrological sorcery: from the powerful ritual mechanics of the Picatrix, to the more grimoiric incantations of the Hygromanteia, to the paeans of the older Classical deities in the Orphic Hymns. Issues of timing, collaborating with partners, and the use of tools will also be addressed, as well as tips in creating one’s own incantations and extemporal astrological improvisations.
So if you are interested in how dressing up like a scribe can help with your Mercury invocations, which sort of body postures are good for receiving the insights of Scorpio, or what Renaissance magicians say about cultivating the power of magical breathing in astrological ritual, you will enjoy this workshop!
Along with energetic notions of astral influence, of ‘the starry dynamo in the machinery of night’, the history of astrology – especially astrological magic! – is full of endeavours to conjure astral spirits. From planetary ‘Intelligencies’ to the seven archangels standing before the throne of the Creator, to angels (and demons!) of the ever-revolving Zodiac, to the countless spirit catalogues ascribed to the divisions of the sky such as the haunted mansions and ancient decans, astrological magic can be a thoroughly enspirited practice, strengthened and deepened with a sort of astral animism.
In this online class, Dr Alexander Cummins uses texts and examples of this history of conjuration to offer perspectives, techniques, and tools for developing work with spirits in one’s astrological magic. Whether housed in charm-bags or spirit bottles, further empowering one’s magical objects, or assisting in one’s rituals, spirits were a fundamental and powerful part of Western magic.
If you are intrigued by ideas of being able to talk to tutelary spirits of Venus, of carrying a spirit advisor or bodyguard upon one’s person into difficult situations, or simply knowing how to treat a daimonic star-being if you happen to come across one in a dream, find the answers in this lecture.