Alexander Cummins, PhD is an historian, poet, and diviner whose research centres on religion, philosophy, medicine, and magic. In particular, his work focuses on folk magic, necromancy, and divination.
His doctoral thesis from the University of Bristol explored the history of magical approaches to the emotions: from mapping personality with astrology, to managing emotionality with herbs and amulets, to the manipulations of aphrodisiacs and the evil eye.
He writes for both academic and esoteric publishers, facilitates a range of workshops, teaches in both universities and and virtual classrooms, consults privately with clients and organisations, and speaks at a wide variety of events. He is a proud member of the Grasping Kairos research network. His favourite animal is the octopus.
In which I am interviewed by Elizabeth Ruth of Big Liz Conjure and my dear godbrother Demetrius AKA Etwai Bryie Bo Oungan on their podcast, The Black Craft. We talk mostly about planetary magic, although we also try to squeeze in a little bit about geomancy at the end!
To celebrate the launch of our anthology, Cypriana: Old World (Rubedo Press) - concerning a particular patron saint of occultists, grimoires, and necromancy - myself and my co-editors Jesse Hathaway Diaz and Dr Jenn Zahrt were interviewed by the delightfully smart Gordon White for his Rune Soup podcast. Enjoy.
A multi-part workshop series focusing on three Fundamentals of Astrological Magic: Sigils (and other magical objects); Services (and other rituals); and Spirits (and other details of conjuration). Each session is two-hours long, and draws on early modern history and occult philosophy to explore traditional astrological sorcery.
Two-hour illustrated introduction to geomancy, covering the history, philosophy and sorcery of this form of divination. This webinar for Kepler College was recorded 18th June 2016. No previous advanced astrological knowledge required.
A free webinar given for Kepler College on the 26th March 2016, addressing various functions and uses of astrology in seventeenth-century England.
Seventeenth-century England was tumultuous, fraught with Civil Wars, Revolution, and Restoration. The stars’ influence was traced in all aspects of life: from planting crops, to political propaganda, to medical care and what might be considered early modern parallels with modern guidance counselling. This workshop will focus on three main areas of astrological analysis and action: environmental, political, and socio-economic contexts.
A spoken word show recorded at Scarlet Imprint's Pleasure Dome event. In which is discussed scissor magic in folk lore and occult philosophy, the cut-up technique of Gysin and Burroughs, and the manipulation of old text to create new. Performed using a chatterbox and various randomising elements.
I was interviewed by the Crown Prince of Chaos Magic himself, Gordon White. We talked about being a weird kid, grimoires, history and the dead.
'Transatlantic Cunning: English Occult Practices in the British American Colonies' - a chapter on what magics English colonists brought to the Americas: prejudices, prognostications, cunning-craft, geomancy, and nigromancy.
An anthology edited by myself, Jesse Hathaway Diaz and Dr Jenn Zahrt. This collection of translations, essays, and analysis explores European traditions connected to Saint Cyprian of Antioch: patron saint of occultists, grimoires, and necromancy. We are proud to include contributions from some of the foremost names in Cyprianic magic, including José Leitão and Jake Stratton-Kent. It is designed to be of use to historians, devotees, and magical practitioners alike.
My first book, The Starry Rubric examines the environmental, political, and social functions of astrology and astrological magic during a particularly turbulent period of England's history: from talismans to ensure a good harvest, to astral propaganda and prophecy during the civil wars, to a whole variety of medical diagnostics and treatments.
‘On Cut-up' - an essay on the theory and practice of the cut-up technique of Gysin and Burroughs in occult philosophy and magical practice. Contained in Mandragora: Further Explorations in Esoteric Poesis (Scarlet Imprint, 2012).
‘Textual Evidence for the Material History of Amulets in Seventeenth-Century England’, in Ronald Hutton (ed.), Physical Evidence for Ritual Acts, Sorcery and Witchcraft in Christian Britain: A Feeling for Magic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
‘The Three Purifiers: Asperging Herbs in the Grimorium Verum’ in Jake Stratton-Kent, Dis Albion and Erzebet Carr (eds.), Conjure Codex II (Hadean Press, 2013).
Writings on necromancy and the philosophy of history.
In which is announced the collation of the various recordings of my lectures and workshops delivered for Kepler College, on astrological magic, planetary sorcery, and geomancy.
In which Carol Keith reviews the recent conference on the theme of cursing ably convened by the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic at Boscastle. Details of my talk on curse-craft and humoural theory are discussed, alongside the presentations from my dear friends and colleagues Jesse Hathaway Diaz and Demetrius Lacroix.
In which is recommended a few (relatively) modern texts and resources on geomancy, contributing notes towards a more substantial bibliography.
In which a brilliant new work on Cyprian of Antioch and his legendary spellbook by José Leitão is introduced, and a case is made for May 14th as a lesser feast day for this Sorcerer Saint.
In which the recent conference on the theme of cursing at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic at Boscastle is celebrated, with breathless personal highlights.
In which is presented a sixteenth-century poem concerning Saint Cyprian which name-checks two very important grimoiric spirits, demonstrating further connections between the Sorcerer Saint and the Four Regents.
This short announcement-post about the new Conjure Codex from Hadean Press - featuring an article by myself on the dirt sorcery of Jupiter - is brought to you by the colour Blue and the number 3.
In which is announced a new seven-part webinar series on Planetary Incantation: considering the prayer, poetry and performance of magical speech acts in astrological sorcery, combining analysis of historical texts with practical performance and dramaturgy skills.
In which is linked the first episode of the podcast I am making with my dear friend Jesse Hathaway Diaz. Our journey into podcasting begins by celebrating Epiphany and the Magi, but includes talk of lodestone, heliotrope (both plant and mineral), the demon Bael, and the geomantic figure Via. Enjoy!
In which is presented a survey of experiments and operations to produce a magical substance which allows one to perceive spirits, drawn from early modern grimoires, 'books of secrets' and magicians' working-books.
A testimonial from the first (did I mention sold-out?) run of my Fundamentals of Astrological Magic webinar series. For anyone unsure if these online workshops are for them.
In which is introduced fairy traditions of the British Isles in fiction and history, using Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell as a rung bell calling us to Faerie.
Back by popular demand after its completely sold-out first run, here are the details of my Fundamentals of Astrological Magic webinar workshop series, returning from Saturday 26th November.
I have a series of three webinars on the Fundamentals of Astrological Magic coming up: focusing on Sigils, Services, and Spirits. Each will be a two-hour class with time for questions and discussion at the end. Each is stand-alone but also modular, assisting understanding of the others. Broadcast live, but also available as downloads after.
In which is discussed: mythologising historical figures, reception of (in)famous texts, rejection of Great Men, Agrippa's afterlife, and the babes in the sacred bathwater.
Review of the latest volumes from England's 'most notorious necromancer', Jake Stratton-Kent. Being the last in his Encyclopædia Goetica series, this review turns into a little bit of a summarising assessment of JSK's work in general, as well as my own notions of what goetia might mean in modern practice.
“Necromancer (necromantes) he that practises that wicked Art, a Master of the Black Art, one that seeks to the dead; or consults with Satan in the shape of a dead man. The Hebrews describe him thus; he made himself hungry, and then lodged among the Graves, that the dead might come to him in a dream, and make known to him that which he asked, &c. Others there were that clad themselves with cloathes for that purpose, and spoke certain words, burned Incense, and slept by themselves, that such a dead person might come and talk with them in a dream.”
- Thomas Blout, Glossographia (London, 1661)