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Birds have long been considered to have things to tell the wise who can read their meanings, and to hold magical power that can be bestowed, bartered, earned, or stolen from them.
From foretelling fortunes – of mortal lives and ever-turning seasons alike – by the auguries of their flight to the chatter of their calls, the language of the birds and the meanings of their comings-and-goings have been considered magics of prognostication and prophecy. And from the feathers of their wings to the blood of their hearts, birds and their bodily components have also been employed in traditional cunning operations of baneful binding and blessed unbewitching alike.
In this class, contemporary cunning man and historian of magic Dr Alexander Cummins will lead us in celebration of the magics and meanings of birds in the techniques and approaches of the folk magics practiced by traditional British cunning-folk.
Along with observations of divinatory augury to predict weather and foretell both victories and disasters, seasonal English festivals of birds such as the hunting of the Cutty Wren will be paid respects. Grimoiric operations involving bird materia will be carefully and responsibly considered for their mythic resonances, ritual historiolae, emblematic meaning, and cultivation and deployment of occult virtues.
Three clans of cunning birds will be paid particular homage:
  • The corvids of crow, raven and magpie will be celebrated in their mischiefs and their tidings, their countings and their couriered cargos: from the raven’s invention of burial to the ’pie’s deals with the Devil, not to mention the larcenous black bird spirits in the English grimoires of cunning nigromancy.
  • The nocturnal owls - from barn to screech, snowy to tawny, through the night and out the other side – will be celebrated as both wise old birds and ghostly silent hunters, teachers of wisdom and omens of death.
  • Finally, we will celebrate the humble city-dwelling pigeon – the doves of the gutters – their iridescent necks the exact colour of Mercury’s magics and more.


About the Presenter:
Dr  Alexander Cummins is a contemporary cunning-man and historian of magic.  His magical specialities are the dead (folk necromancy), divination  (geomancy) and the grimoires. His published works include Nazarth:  Pillars of Gladness (Hadean Press, 2022), An Excellent Booke of the Arte  of Magicke (Scarlet Imprint, 2020) with Phil Legard, The Starry Rubric  (Hadean Press, 2012), A Book of the Magi: Lore, Prayers, and Spellcraft  of the Three Holy Kings (Revelore Press, 2018) and several chapbooks and  anthology contributions through Three Hands Press, Hadean Press and  Scarlet Imprint. He is a frequent speaker on the international circuit,  co-hosts the podcast Radio Free Golgotha, and is a founding editor of  Revelore Press’ Folk Necromancy in Transmission series. Dr Cummins’  work, classes, and services can be found at and in class archives.


THIS CLASS IS ONLINE ONLY! Class recording links will be emailed out within 3-5 business days of purchase. You will have access to the class recording for 30 days. You must be 18 years old to purchase this class recording. There are no refunds or exchanges.
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The Fowl of the Air: Bird Magic in English Cunning-Craft w/Dr Alexander Cummins

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