By Stone and By Call: Scrying in English Magic

Gazing into crystals, shimmering waters, polished metal, and even oiled thumbnails have each long been visionary means by which mystics and diviners discern underlying occult influences, predict the future, and glean knowledge-at-a-distance pertaining to any number of human concerns – from the internationally socio-political to intensely personal.

Such ways of knowing are most often facilitated by preparatory periods of purification and alignment leading to intense states of contemplation and empowerment, and commonly activated by incantations, prayer, song, and other forms of ‘calls’. Calling what, you might ask? Scrying not only provides knowledge but can facilitate action-at-a-distance too, by means of evocatory scrying techniques that call a spirit or angel into the stone (or bowl or whathaveyou) to present visions, to answer questions directly, or even be charged and bound through the stone to perform a task for its summoner.

The most famous of these sorts of operations are undoubtedly the angelical experiments of Dr John Dee and Edward Kelley. In this class, diviner, magician, and historian Dr Alexander Cummins will lead us on an investigation of the practices and results of not only these infamous Enochian works but also a variety of Dee and Kelley’s contemporary seers, scryers, and conjurors of the early modern period. From the more necromantic experiments of Gilbert and Davis’ The Excellent Booke, to the records of wise women and cunning men showing their clients the faces of future lovers in their stones and calling forth spirits of justice and vengeance alike from their glimmering enchanting mirrors. Join us as we explore not only the history and theory but also the practices of early modern scrying.


Dr Alexander Cummins is a contemporary cunning man and historian. His magical specialities are the dead (folk necromancy), divination (geomancy) and the grimoires. He received his doctorate on early modern magical approaches to the passions. Dr Cummins is the co-editor of the Folk Necromancy in Transmission series for Revelore Press and co-host of Radio Free Golgotha.

His published works include An Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke with Phil Legard (Scarlet Imprint, 2020), A Book of the Magi: Lore, Prayers, and Spellcraft of the Three Holy Kings (Revelore Press, 2018) and The Starry Rubric (Hadean Press, 2012) as well as contributions to collections by both academic and occult publishers on topics including talismanic objects, geomancy, planetary sorcery, cunning-craft, and nigromancy.

Dr Cummins gives classes and workshops online and in person. The Good Doctor’s work and services can be found at

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See all the events in the series – Dr. Al Cummins English Folk Magic Series