Upcoming Talks, Conferences and Classes
January 24th & 31st: Practical Tips for Tarot Reading | Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Tarot Society, Brooklyn, New York
As anyone who has read Tarot for friends or clients an attest, being a skilled and effective diviner is about far more than simply knowing what Tarot cards signify. It is about how to set a good question, and how to avoid inadvertent doom prophecy or self-deception. It requires setting boundaries and meeting expectations. It can bring up questions of ethics, honesty, ‘bedside manner’ and confidentiality. It also frequently challenges diviners in aspects of their own practices: from spiritual hygiene, protection and empowerment; to more shifts in perspective and approach to their craft. In this 2 part workshop, Dr Alexander Cummins, a diviner, performance coach and historian of magic, hosts discussion and analysis of the wider practicalities of being a good Tarot reader. This will include exploring techniques for ensuring clarity, focus, insight, and eloquence in the readings we give, as well as investigating perspectives on spirit-work and sorcery as part of one’s divining. Learn how to begin to develop your own techniques for reading Tarot; how to use significator cards in image magic and spell-craft; how to divine and execute magical assistance and remediating rituals to clients facing difficulties and attempting to ensure their success. Discuss best practice methodologies and perspectives on being a professional and ethical worker. Celebrate Tarot’s mysteries and magic.
February 3rd: Where the Bolt of Cupid Fell: Love Magic in History & Practice
Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Knights Templar Oasis, Salem, Massachusetts
The links between love and magic, of enchantment and sympathia, have long been considered by poets, philosophers, and magicians alike. This talk explores the variety of occult theories and magical practices that seek to grasp both the divinity and madness of love, ranging from remedies of the ancient world, through to the love sorcery of Shakespeare’s day, all the way up to various techniques and ingredients of modern American folk magic and hoodoo.
It will consider medical ideas about the elemental Humours, as well as psychological notions of the passions, and both spiritual and physical mysteries of the heart. We will delve into the love magicians’ toolkit, examining means of seduction: from aphrodisiacal herbs to conjuring matchmaking spirits to more forceful bindings, leashes, and so-called “erotic malefic” workings.
This class is to be followed by a wine and cheese social (people are welcome to bring wine/snacks as well as a donation for the Temple) with the speaker, where opportunity to purchase his book will be available.
Open to Everyone - we have a suggested donation of $10 for non-members.
February 5th: Astrological Magic of Sigils and Images | Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Hermetic Arts Learning Center, Salem, Massachusetts
In this class, historian, poet, and diviner Dr. Alexander Cummins will guide us through the history, philosophy, and sorcery of astrological magical objects, with particular focus on the exciting and tumultuous times of the 17th century. We will explore the occult philosophy of marked objects in terms of glyphs, ideograms, semeiotics, and representation, as well as examining how and when they are made and activated, what they are made from, and for what purposes they were made in the first place. So if you are interested in learning the differences between an amulet and a talisman, where to keep your magic items to best consecrate and empower them, or why many Renaissance magicians thought creating astral talismans was like making jam, please join us!
February 7th: Divining Love in the Elizabethan Age | Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Tarot Society, Brooklyn, New York
Love is one of the most ubiquitous human mysteries - one which frequently inspires us to seek the honest appraisal and spiritual guidance that divination offers.
This class will concentrate on the history and philosophy of divination concerning love - from the folk ceremonies of St John’s Eve, to dream-incubation rituals, as well as more computational systems of diagnosis and counsel such as astrology, geomancy, and card-reading.
It will cover pre-modern occult approaches to love, examining the magical dimensions of infatuation, desire, reciprocity, and compatibility. Such magical methodologies for investigating love examined the body, mind and soul as well as underlining a central importance of the heart in early modern ideas about romance, healing and magic. This talk will also chart approaches to various associated pathological conditions, such as obsession, love-sickness, erotic melancholy and hysteria.
Magical comprehensions of the subject and object of affection in the early modern period combined humoural theory, star-lore, and emergent alchemical ideas - along with traditional occult philosophical premises and principles such as reflection, contagion and sympathy - to chart, negotiate, and fulfill our passionate affairs, proposals, heartbreaks and commitments.
While the heart may well “want what it wants”, this talk will explore how divination can act as a key to unlock a better understanding of those mysteries of Love.
February 8th: Love :: Magic :: Sex :: Spirit
Speakers: Al Cummins, Britta Love
Location: The Alchemist's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York.
A historical and practical overview of love magic, sex magic and the principles of embodied spirituality with Dr. Al Cummins and Britta Love.
Find out how apples were used to magically enchant a lover, how love charms were used to dream of one’s future husband, and how red-blooded love sorcery threatened historical gender roles and power structures. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ll upend the dualisms of spirit/body and sacred/profane. We’ll find spirit in the fetish club, goddess in the bedroom, and magick in our orgasms. Come discover how an embodied spirituality can have radical implications for both manifesting our dreams - and changing the world.
February 9th: Seven Herbs of Love | Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Remedies Herb Shop, Brooklyn, New York.
Seven is a powerful number – a number representative of all of the seven classical planets and therefore speaking of the entirety of the cosmos. But it is also one of the main numbers attributed to Venus and to Love.
In this talk, Dr Alexander Cummins – an historian, poet, and diviner – will lead us on an exploration of seven different herbs used in a variety of forms of love magic. We will come to know the botanical materials for spicing things up by stoking the fires of passion, and those herbs that can help us foster the calming intimacy of trust and fidelity. Sink into the intoxicating sensuality offered by certain plant allies, and consider the sweetness that has brought lovers together across human history. Explore the flora used in devotion to ancient goddesses of love. Bite into the seductive apple of the Garden of Eden. And, of course, celebrate the unending folds and thorns of the rose’s deep mysteries.
This workshop will facilitate discussion of materia as well as practical methodologies and techniques of collection, preparation, spell-craft and deployment for working with these plant allies of romance.
February 11th: Planetary Incantation - Saturn | Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Online Webinar with Kepler College
This is a webinar workshop on planetary speech magic. Two hours of investigation, analysis and discussion of the prayer, poetry and performance of astrological sorcery. First of seven independent modules, each focusing on a different planet. For more information on the series as a whole, go here.
Heavy leaden sorrowful Saturnine incantations lend themselves to the tonality of obituaries, to a grave way of speaking them. In observing such a manner of finality and sobriety, we stir the virtues and passions of the slowest and furthest of the Seven Wandering Stars. We also best attract its sombre spirits.
Understanding and engaging with the melancholy sympathies of Saturn - such as the cemetery of the city, the spleen and bones of the human body, and the wild desolate and barren regions of the earth - assists us considerably in Saturnine workings (protection, boundary-enforcing, banishing and even cursing) as well as our deeper comprehensions of the Mysteries of time and permanence, death and grief, and so much more.
In learning how to speak mournfully of and to Saturn - through tone and manner of voice, bodily stance, demeanor, and other embodied practices - we may better perform our Saturnine magics, and integrate this planet’s lessons into our lives and astrological practices. So join Dr Alexander Cummins - a performance coach and historian of magic - as we explore how to study, perform and even create new Saturnine incantations, in this first in a series of planetary magic workshops.
February 18th: Planetary Incantation - Jupiter | Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Online Webinar with Kepler College
This is a webinar workshop on planetary speech magic. Two hours of investigation, analysis and discussion of the prayer, poetry and performance of astrological sorcery. Second of seven independent modules, each focusing on a different planet. For more information on the series as a whole, go here.
Expansive pious and good-natured Jupiterian incantations lend themselves to the tonality of prayers and declarations, to a particularly politic way of speaking them. In observing such a manner of holiness and benevolence, we stir the virtues and passions of the largest and kindest of the Seven Wandering Stars. We also best attract the wealth of its noble spirits.
Understanding and engaging with the sanguine sympathies of Jupiter - such as the banks and churches of the city, the blood and seed of the human body, and the tranquil and bountiful regions of the earth - assists us considerably in Jupiterian workings of compassion, abundance and healing. Such an approach also deepens our comprehensions of the Mysteries of faith, hope and charity, and so much more.
In learning how to speak magnanimously of and to Jupiter - through tone and manner of voice, bodily stance, demeanor, and other embodied practices - we may better perform our Jovial magics, and integrate this planet’s lessons into our lives and astrological practices. So join Dr Alexander Cummins - a performance coach and historian of magic - as we explore how to study, perform and even create new Jupiterian incantations, in this second in a series of planetary magic workshops.
February 25th: Planetary Incantation - Mars | Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Online Webinar with Kepler College
This is a webinar workshop on planetary speech magic. Two hours of investigation, analysis and discussion of the prayer, poetry and performance of astrological sorcery. Third of seven independent modules, each focusing on a different planet. For more information on the series as a whole, go here.
Red-blooded bellicose and passionate Martial incantations lend themselves to the tonality of orders barked over a battlefield, to a commanding way of speaking them. In observing such a manner of ire and strategy, we stir the virtues and passions of the most war-like and motivating of the Seven Wandering Stars. We also best attract its battalions of spirits.
Understanding and engaging with the choleric sympathies of Mars - such as the furnaces and slaughterhouses of the city, the bile and gall of the human body, and the hot, dry and stormy regions of the earth - assists us considerably in Martial workings of defense, destruction, emergency healing, and energy. Such an approach also deepens our comprehensions of the Mysteries of courage, tactics, danger and so much more.
In learning how to speak boldly of and to Mars - through tone and manner of voice, bodily stance, demeanor, and other embodied practices - we may better perform our Martial magics, and integrate this planet’s lessons into our lives and astrological practices. So join Dr Alexander Cummins - a performance coach and historian of magic - as we explore how to study, perform and even create new Martial incantations, in this third in a series of planetary magic workshops.
May 6th & 7th: Museum of Witchcraft's 'Conference on the Topic of Cursing'
Speakers: Al Cummins, Jesse Hathaway Diaz (among many others!)
Location: Wellington Hotel, Boscastle, Cornwall, UK
The famous Museum will be hosting a two day conference on Saturday May 6th and Sunday May 7th 2017 at the Wellington Hotel, Boscastle. The theme is “cursing” to coincide with and augment their 2017 exhibition which has the title Poppets, Pins and Power: The Craft of Cursing. Both Al and Jesse will be presenting papers:-
The Devil’s Bath – Curse-craft and Humoural Theory in Early Modern England, presented by Dr. Al Cummins
Cursing in Colonial Mexico: The Rosary as Noose, the Saint as a Poppet, presented by Jesse Hathaway Diaz
June 9th-11th: Viridis Genii Symposium | Speaker: Jesse Hathaway Diaz
Location: Still Meadow Retreat Center, Damascus, Oregon
This is an amazing annual conference focusing on Plant Magic, Mysticism, and Medicine in Damascus, Oregon by Rosarium Blends' Catamara Rosarium and House of Orpheus' Marcus McCoy. This is Jesse's third year at the conference as a presenter, giving both a lecture and an optional workshop:
Ko si ewe, Ko si orisa: Without plants, there are no gods, discussing the herbalist orishá (deity) Osanyín, those spirits around him, and show examples of the manifestations of his power in the fruits of his ashé: charms, medicine bundles and the ritual waters that give birth to the gods themselves..
Ewé okún’má- Spiritual Baths in Lucumí, a workshop examining lustral baths in Cuban orishá practice, demonstrating traditional herbal baths for various purposes: love, money, peace, rebirth. Exploring the herbs and traditional methods of preparation and song. Ewé okún’má! Leaves keep us alive!