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Rosemary & Revenants: Necromancy in Early Modern England – Dr Al Cummins

The early modern age of 1500-1700 was a period of European colonial expansion into the so-called ‘New World’, civil wars, famine, and plague: life could indeed be ‘nasty, brutish, and short’. Amidst such fragile mortality, people prayed for their deceased, petitioned elevated Christian martyrs, witnessed ghosts, and whispered of black magic in midnight graveyards.

This talk by contemporary cunning-man and historian Dr Alexander Cummins investigates the roles and powers of the dead in Western occult philosophy and magical practices: from magical funerary customs to corpses as spell components, and from the exorcism and summoning of ghosts and spirits to early sensationalist reports of the customs of various indigenous peoples of the Americas. Finally, this class investigates the diabolical associations of necromancy and “nigromancy” with witchcraft and demonology, offering analysis of a number of pre-modern rituals and techniques involving shades of the deceased, including the many uses of rosemary, sending ghosts to fetch other spirits, and warding one’s home and person against the returned and revenant dead.

Speaker Bio

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

Curated and hosted by Dr. Amy Hale

Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta-based anthropologist and folklorist writing about esoteric history, art, culture, women and Cornwall in various combinations. Her biography of Ithell Colquhoun, Genius of the Fern Loved Gully, is available from Strange Attractor Press, and she is also the editor of the forthcoming collection Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses from Palgrave Macmillan. Other writings can be found at her Medium site https://medium.com/@amyhale93 and her website www.amyhale.me.

Series from Dr Al Cummins on necromancy and cunning craft

Rosemary & Revenants: Necromancy in Early Modern England – 3 Aug 2022

The Excellent Booke: A Manual of Sixteenth-century English Necromancy – 10 Aug 2022

Cunning Libraries: The Magic Books of Early Modern Folk Magicians – 17 Aug 2022