DATE: May 5, 2018
TIME: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM PDT / 1:00 - 3:00 PM EDT
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Early modern astrologer-physicians and geomancers were some of the first medical practitioners to keep detailed patient case notes. These documents provide fascinating and edifying snapshots into the daily lives of these clients - showcasing the everyday concerns and hopes of a host of ordinary people, and highlighting some of how the divinatory arts of astrology and geomancy were used to attempt to answer such questions and resolve such concerns:
- Does this relationship have marital prospects?
- Will I get my stolen goods back?
- Is this illness going to be fatal?
- What is my fortune?
In this talk Dr Alexander Cummins, a historian of magic and a professional geomancer, will examine two sets of patient records of the seventeenth century - those of Doctors Simon Forman and Richard Napier - containing around 175 geomantic charts cast between 1597 and 1606 alone. Study of them reveals practical relationships between geomancy and astrology in the professional practices of diviners who were at once astrologers. geomancers, and physicians; as well as counselors, angel summoners, therapists, alchemists, and (in the case of Napier at least) clergymen.
By exploring the shield charts set by these professionals we will discuss some of their techniques which can be just as useful to modern geomancers.
Dr. Alexander Cummins has a PhD in History University of Bristol. His thesis was entitled Magical Approaches to the Passions in Seventeenth-century England. Al is an historian of early modern magic, astrology, and culture. His first book, The Starry Rubric: Seventeenth-century English Astrology and Magic was published by Hadean Press in 2012. He has also written on the cultural history of Apocalypse, occult botany and magical herbalism in the grimoires, the material history of amulets, planetary sorcery, necromancy, and various forms of folk magic.
Dr Cummins is currently based in Brooklyn with his spectacular wife and their vast expanse of cat. He is a consultant sorcerer and author as well as a teaching historian and a professional diviner. His work focuses on astrological magic, geomancy, folk necromancy, and the magical books of medieval and early modern Europe. You can find his bloggings, recordings, and publications at www.alexandercummins.com where you can also book consultations, speaking engagements, and private client-work.
In 2016, Al presented a community webinar on the tumultuous times of 17th Century England, where astrology and magic walked hand-in-hand.
You can also find out more about his passion for magic and history from his 2015 interview by Rune Soup, where Al talks about the history of grimoires and the western magical tradition.