Fri, Oct 23 | Online Class

Cunning Libraries: The Magic Books of Early Modern Folk Magicians with Dr Alexander Cummins

Registration is Closed
Cunning Libraries: The Magic Books of Early Modern Folk Magicians with Dr Alexander Cummins

Time & Location

Oct 23, 2020, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Online Class

About the Event

The libraries of cunning-folk - those local village wizards and wise-women of the early modern British Isles - ranged considerably from scraps of spoken and written charms, to a single imposing personal grimoire to heaving shelves full of magical tomes. The magics contained in such books ran from pious prayers to more suspicious "black magic", and from the techniques of folk magic and witchcraft to (streamlined versions of) ritual conjurations of angels, devils, and the dead.

Such folk magicians employed a wide range of ephemerides, conjurations, and experiments. The sources they commonly drew on included potent astrological, alchemical, and nigromantic know-how. From Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft (an accidental best-seller which provided intricate details of the rituals of which it so disapproved) to (psuedo)Agrippa's Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy - which collected a variety of instructions on divination and spirit conjuring - there was a wealth of printed as well as manuscript sources upon which these practitioners cut their eager teeth and worked their craft. Undoubtedly the most prized texts upon their shelves were the working-books: the collections of spells, recipes, formulae, and correspondences gathered on the fly by enterprising and experimenting folk magicians. 

The "average" cunning-man and cunning-woman's reading material still presents substantial understanding and use to modern practitioners looking to understand our magical forebears and their days and ways better. In this talk, contemporary cunning-man and historian Dr Alexander Cummins will offer us a tour of such libraries, and present some key findings about the nature of magic, community, and knowledge along the way.

About the Presenter:

Dr. Alexander Cummins (@grimoiresontape) is a professional diviner, consultant sorcerer, and historian of magic. His work focuses on grimoires, divination, and folk necromancy. He co-hosts Radio Free Golgotha, and can be booked for talks, workshops, readings, coaching and consultation at His recorded classes can also be obtained from The Cauldron Black archives.

THIS CLASS IS ONLINE ONLY! This recording will be available for 30 days after purchase.

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This Agreement is between The Cauldron Black (“OWNER”); and the  Purchaser (“RECIPIENT”). WHEREAS, OWNER has developed through  substantial effort, research, time, and expense certain inventions,  design concepts, methodologies, technical know-how, copyrightable  material and trade secrets directed and related to this class.  (“INFORMATION”); WHEREAS, OWNER desires to disclose the INFORMATION on a  confidential basis to RECIPIENT.  The OWNER wishes to maintain the  confidentiality of the INFORMATION and the protection of OWNER'S  intellectual property rights. NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the  mutual promises, covenants, and conditions contained herein, the  sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the parties agree as  follows:  I. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION A. OWNER agrees to disclose  INFORMATION to RECIPIENT for the purposes of an online class.  B.  RECIPIENT agrees to receive such INFORMATION and to refrain from  copying, disclosing, using, selling, or offering for sale any and all of  said INFORMATION. RECIPIENT agrees to keep confidential and refrain  from disclosing any and all of the INFORMATION, and to take all  necessary and reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized disclosure or use  of any and all of the INFORMATION.  Failure to uphold this NDA may  result in legal action.

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