Electing the time for a wedding, meditations on the planets, new moon wishes, and wearing a birthstone are all connected to a time when astrology and magic were inseparable. Dr. Al Cummins opens up the world of astrological magic with this three-part series on its fundamentals. Each workshop focuses on a different aspect of astrological magic, from sigils to services to spirits.
DATES: Nov 18, 25 and Dec 2, 2017 (Two-hour workshops on 3 consecutive Saturdays.)
TIME: 10 AM to 12 PM Pacific Time (1-3 PM Eastern Time).
Each workshop is designed to stand alone, so you can attend them all, or just your favourites, and in any sequence you like. That said, each mutually supports the understanding and utility of the others. If you cannot attend, you will still get a recording.
Historically, astrological magic has covered a lot of activities: performing ritual, constructing and empowering talismans, and even conjuring and speaking with spirits. In this series of online classes, we will explore the fundamental ideas and practices of these magical actions through pre-modern historical examples, philosophical inquiry, and professional personal experience.
Learn how casting astrological sigils is like making jam. Consider exactly how electional astrology can be utilised to best time your magical operations. Explore different materia of metals, stones, and herbs to analyse their fundamental occult virtues. Develop a keener sense of the magical medicinal remedies and regimens with which early modern astrologer-physicians served their clients and patients. Understand how dressing up like a scribe can help with your Mercury invocations. Learn about pre-modern consecration techniques and tools: from developing magical breath, to drawing on the sorcery of planetary terroir, to surveying the array of starry incantations available in magical and astrological manuals and other texts.
These classes will furnish attendees with apprehension and analysis of fundamental occult principles delineating the operation and organisation of the cosmos – cosmological concepts like the classical four Elements or twelve Signs, as well as metaphysical notions such as reflection, contagion, sympathy, and occult virtue – which will ground and provide a stronger base for personal astrological and sorcerous practice and experimentation, as well as offering a variety of operations, tools, and techniques.
The old saying that "an image is worth a thousand words" takes on new depth when the image is used in astrological magic.
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. Sigils 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 class, historian, poet, and diviner Dr Alexander Cummins will guide us through the history, philosophy, and sorcery of astrological magical objects, with particular focus on the exciting and tumultuous times of the 17th century. We will explore 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.
So 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, please join us in what promises to be a fascinating start to our Fundamentals of Astrological Magic series.
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 will tease out both underlying occult philosophical concepts and practical magical actions from this historical record. We will examine 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, please accompany us for this online class.
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 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, through to and planetary guides, astrological magic can be a thoroughly enspirited practice, strengthened, deepened and enlivened through 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 are 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, then please join us for this workshop.
Presenter: Alexander Cummins, PhD
Dr. Alexander Cummins has a PhD in History University of Bristol. His thesis was entitled Magical Approaches to the Passions in Seventeenth-century England. Al 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.
In 2016, Al presented a community webinar on the tumultuous times of 17th Century England, where astrology and magic walked hand-in-hand.
You can also find out more about his passion for magic and history from his 2015 interview by Rune Soup, where Al talks about the history of grimoires and the western magical tradition.
From astrologer and magician Goritsa Svortsan:
'If you want to learn what astrological magic is all about, this is the webinar to get. It is a comprehensive, very well-presented and informative course, discussing a broad range of topics: astrological talismans, pentacles, sigil bags, amulets, charm packets, lamens, kameas, spirit conjurations, the use of materia, and much more. Including my favorite topics of planetary dirt magic, exposing your talismans to specific planetary locations, the use of astrological magic in medicine, and the tones in which to summon the spirits of different planets.
The lectures are based in primary historical sources: Agrippa, Hiebner, Ashmole, Blagrave, the Picatrix, and others. I am not a beginner in this area, as I have been studying and practicing astrological magic for many years, but I learned a lot from Dr. Al Cummins. I enjoyed his interesting, clear lecturing style. This webinar is a must for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. The only question I was left with after listening to the recordings of his seminars was: "do salamanders dream of elemental sheep?"'
From another attendee at his 2016 workshop:
"I would strongly recommend Dr. Cummins' Fundamentals of Astrological Magic to people of all background and levels of understanding. I am coming back to the magic after several years pursuing other interests. My knowledge of astrology is a little rusty, and I was initially worried this course would be too advanced for me. Fortunately, it wound up being exactly what I needed to establish a foundational understanding of the subject.
Al does a really good job of giving a broad overview, enabling you to understand the larger framework, before diving into specific examples that get into the finer details. By going back and forth between a bigger picture understanding and concrete examples, he brings the abstract principles of astrology and occult philosophy down to earth, making it easy to understand how to practically apply them in magickal workings.
After the course was finished, I had an infinitely better understanding of how astrological affinities play out in occult workings, and that has helped me chart the future progress of my own magickal practice."
If anyone is rendered curious by the reference to "elemental sheep", make sure to sign up for the second workshop on astrological Spirits which goes into Paracelsus' ideas of elemental spirits - including the (frankly adorable) notion that they herd elemental cattle.