Cunning Conjurations: Spirit Calling in English Folk Magic
The formal, often imposing medieval and early modern grimoires – handbooks of spirit summoning – are but one set of instances of the spiritworking protocols of the Old Countries of pre-modern Europe. From stories of haunted books, and even the Devil’s own tome of wicked magic, to magical ledgers from which spirits could be called, commanded, and even bound, there are many mythic and magical ways text and spirit interact.
Perhaps no other sources present so clearly the personal practices of early modern spirit conjurors as the ‘working-books’ of the various wise-women, fairy doctors, and village sorcerers collectively referred to as ‘cunning folk’. These working-books formed “personal grimoires” for these folk practitioners: indeed, these spellbooks were often piecemeal compiled through extensively copying and frequently shortening lengthy formal grimoire instructions down to a streamlined less “flashy” practice.
Such practical conjuring texts often include most everything needed to conjure spirits: from incense recipes and magic circle diagrams, to protective charms and knife consecrations, all the way to the correct words of conjuration, holy names, and nomina barbara to call forth angels, devils, the Good Folk, and the dead.
In this class, contemporary cunning man and historian Dr Alexander Cummins will present not only the history and theory of such practices, but also share some insights from his own professional practice – from what sigil to draw when you don’t know a nature spirit’s sigil, to how long you should let a spirit sit in a shewstone, etc – that today’s conjurors, callers, and charmers may find helpful in their own works.
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 www.alexandercummins.com
don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day
See all the events in the series – Dr. Al Cummins English Folk Magic Series