Radio Free Golgotha

Radio Free Golgotha is a semi-regular podcast of the occult and esoteric ramblings of Al Cummins & Jesse Hathaway Diaz, and their guests.

Upcoming Talks, Conferences and Classes

January 2018

January 6th & 20th (Saturday Section) or January 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th (Monday Section): Intro. to Brazilian Quimbanda Seminar |  Speaker: Jesse Hathaway Diaz
Location: Online Webinar Series through Wolf & Goat

Devils and Whores, Murderers and Thieves, Clerics and Sorcerers. These are the 'Good People' of Quimbanda, the spirits of earth and fire that stir lust and desire, grant luck and vengeance, and protect those who serve them. Statues and iron tridents covered in palm oil and blood, the air thick with tobacco and the smell of cachaça and gunpowder in the air- what *is* Quimbanda? 

Quimbanda is a spiritual system born in and because of Brazil itself: a child of West African magic and world-view mixed with Indigenous plant and spirit lore and some glossings of European witchcraft and sorcery. Originally a possession cult focusing on spirit contact and pragmatic workings, it has become a complex system incorporated into Umbanda and some lineages of Candomble, as well as surviving as its own practice. It has gained increasing popularity in the past few years due to material now available in English, but initiates are few and far between here in the States. 

Drawing from his knowledge and experience as a Tata Quimbanda, Tata Apokan will explore the worldview and spirits of Quimbanda, going into the various Exus and Pomba Giras that find their home here at the crossroads of Fire. We will discuss its history and influences, and the nature and qualities of the Seven Kingdoms and how to approach them. We will discuss the importance of possession and divination, and showcase a few workings of traditional Quimbanda- everything from love and binding spells to protective and aggressive magics. Finally we will look at the day to day of the terreiro (temple) and as well as the tools, technologies, and initiatic rituals of this rich magical system.

This webinar will be taught in English.

The same information will be covered in each 'section', and the price is for a complete unit (either the two Saturdays, or the four Mondays). The information will build upon the previous session, so commitment to all the dates of a given section is important.

Cost: $70 for either the 2 three hour Saturday sessions, or the 4 one-and-a-half hour Monday sessions


Wednesday 10th January
Geomancy: An Old Art of Fortune Telling   |   Speaker: Al Cummins
Treadwell's, London

Rediscover geomancy, astrology's long lost sister!

Considered a “sister” to astrology, the system of divination known as geomancy was an incredibly popular and well-regarded form of divination in Renaissance Europe. Used by sages and monarchs alike, it was considered one of the most grounded and accurate oracles available. It applied what occult philosopher Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa called the “use and rules of astrology” (which is to say, the symbolism but none of the astronomy of astrology) to create answers using a process both apparently simple and deceptively subtle. 

Geomancy as a system consists of only sixteen figures, each attributed an astrological identity. These figures are combined in specific charts (known as shields) to render very particular answers, often employing the twelvefold Houses of the Heavens to answer specific questions, and locate deeper perspectives in the querent’s life.


February 2018

February 3rd & 10th (Saturday Section) or February 6th, 13th, 20nd, 27th (Tuesday Section): Geomancy Foundation Course |  Speaker: Al Cummins
Location: Online Webinar Series through Wolf & Goat

The Geomancy Foundation is a webinar-based training course designed to teach the art and craft of geomancy: from the basics of how to read figures, phrase questions, set a chart, interpret the results, and present judgments. It trains geomancers in how to perform divination for themselves and others through eight hours of study, seminar, and discussion.

Geomancy is made up of just sixteen Figures: The Gain, The Loss, The Joy, The Sorrow, The Greater Fortune, The Lesser Fortune, The Red, The White, The Dragon's Tail, The Dragon's Head, The Way, The Crowd, The Boy, The Girl, The Crossroads, and The Cell. From this simple vocabulary comes a complex and highly nuanced system of contextualized divination- one that many modern magicians know about, but many might like to know further.

At its height in the Renaissance, geomancy was one of the most popular and well-regarded forms of divination. It was the preferred oracle of monarchs and sages. Occult philosophers swore by it as one of the most accurate and insightful oracles available. While geomancy’s earliest origins lie in Arabic traditions, it swiftly became popular across Europe in the late medieval period, and bears many similarities to West African geomantic traditions of divination, and has spread all over the globe in various forms.

One of the foundations of Western Magic, the art and craft of geomancy has often been overlooked- and here Dr. Alexander Cummins will break down the values and virtues of this system to students of all abilities and experience. It offers tips, tools and techniques for learning and improving skills in divination, and is a vital expression of the Western magical concepts of the Four Elements, Seven Planets, and Twelve Houses of Heaven.

Geomancy examines the roles of the planets in our daily lives, and while it utilizes the language and expression of astrology, is not dependent on astronomical measure. Our questions are answered in this familiar language of the stars, showing how these titanic forces are playing out in our lives. It is not a replacement for astrology (rather, its "Sister" oracle), although many of the terms will be famliar to an astrologer. No previous knowledge of astrology or sorcery is needed to take this course, on the other hand, the Good Doctor's explorations and presentation of the art should refresh and enliven those already familiar with these crafts and even geomancy itself.

Geomancy is a versatile oracle, and can be be consulted using simple pocket tools such as dice, coins, or sticks; or by scribbling on paper; as well as in formal rituals of marking in sand, dirts and dusts. In addition to methodology, the figures, and interpretation, this course lays the foundation for future seminars expanding upon these fundamentals.

Drawing on his own professional practice and personal experiments with the system over the last decade, the Good Doctor presents this course as an introduction to the geomantic divination system, to divination in general, and to some of the practical as well as philosophical dimensions of geomancy and being a diviner. The course will include access to scans of primary source texts of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century geomancy, along with reading notes and further bibliography. All of these resources are of course additional support, as the Good Doctor will cover everything necessary to understand the fundamentals of geomancy in the course itself.

The same information will be covered in each 'section', and the price is for a complete unit (either the two Saturdays, or the four Mondays). The information will build upon the previous session, so commitment to all the dates of a given section is important.

Read a testimonial about the training from one graduate of the course here.

Cost: $100 for either the 2 four hour Saturday sessions, or the 4 two hour Tuesday sessions


Friday 9th February
Where the Bolt of Cupid Fell: Love Magic in History & Practice  

Speaker: Al Cummins
The Witch House, 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. 


Saturday 10th February
Love Divination and Folk Magic
Speaker: Al Cummins
Hermetic Arts Learning Center. Salem, Massachusetts

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.


July 2018

July 6th-8th: Viridis Genii Symposium   |   Speaker: Jesse Hathaway Diaz
Location: Center for Sustainable Forestry, Pack Forest, Eatonville, Washington

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 fourth year at the conference as a presenter, giving both a lecture and an optional workshop:

Iroko gbà mi o: Iroko, the World Tree Deified

Oba Iggi! Àtatú ni ti Iroko! King of Trees, the Iroko can never be knocked down.
My father Iroko said that I will prosper in this life, good luck is mine.
Iroko will speak in my favor. Iroko will let my words come true.
My father Iroko- bring me peace at home, bring me peace on the road, let my enemies never charge against me. “
-Praise Poem to Irokó

While the concept of a World Tree is common in many cosmologies, the Afro-Diasporic traditions of the New World have complex extant rituals and devotion revolving around the Tree, embodied within Cuban Lucumí, Haitian Vodou, and Brazilian Candomble including offerings, songs, myths, dance and possession by this spirit.

It is a spirit so unifying that all spirits can gather under it, and the tree itself is not just ‘home’ to a great spirit of time, space, protection and petition- it is the spirit itself. The tree is so imbued with ashé (grace/power) that every growing member of its species is the deity itself. This deity, called by many names, but here examined as Iroko, Loko, and Kitembo, is the product of African reverence and its mapping upon the sacred landscape of the Americas. In the absence of the original West African Teak, the World Tree becomes the Silk Cotton, the Ceiba, the Mapou; it becomes the Banyan, the Strangler Fig, the Figueira. Here the deity spreads new roots deep into the melding soils of our Land, strong and needed as he ever was.

This lecture will provide a rooted examination of Iroko and his unique manifestations in the persona, rituals, songs, myths, and dances of Lucumí and Candomble Orisha traditions, with references to its expressions in Haitian Vodou, Candomble Angola, and Quimbanda.

Workshop: Oba Iggi: The King of Trees
This workshop will continue the focus on the songs, dances, offerings, and prayers to Iroko on a more practical level. Because Iroko. the orisha of time, space, protection and petition is embodied in certain trees, he can be approached by anyone that knows how and treats him with respect. Providing basic food offerings prepared communally and teaching songs of honor and respect to the King of Trees, this workshop will provide further information on this orisha and its service.