A Black Arts Foundation Course
taught by Dr. Alexander Cummins
This class is not currently being offered live. If you'd like to purchase the recordings of the most recent class, please feel free to purchase them below and after singing and returning the agreement, you will receive all the links and can communicate directly with the instructor should you have quesitons.
Few forms of magic are as subject to shadowy obfuscations, fearful misgivings, and downright denigration as the Black Arts of sciomancia and necromancia - that is, consorting with spirits of the dead, often through the manipulation of their material remains. Little has spilled more demonologists' ink barring perhaps witchcraft and its attendants hunts and hysterias... which are themselves related back to the norms of human society and authority challenged by interactions with ecologies of spirit and the exercises of often-forbidden power; accusations that also mark the necromancer. It can seem such practices are as tenebrous and mythic as the shades they seek after, as powerful yet intangible as a nightmare, and as removed from actual full-blooded sorcery as mere heresiographers' marginalia.
And yet, through this brackish morass of rumour and superstition concerning the nigromancy of Other Magicians, we do have some surprisingly cogent and consistent concepts and descriptions from which we can chart an exploration into practicable techniques of pre-modern European necromancy. In Thomas Blout's Glossographia of 1661, a necromancer is defined in the following manner:
Necromancer (necromantes) he [sic] that practises that wicked Art, a Master of the Black Art, one that seeks to the dead; or consults with Satan in the shape of a dead man. The Hebrews describe him thus; he made himself hungry, and then lodged among the Graves, that the dead might come to him in a dream, and make known to him that which he asked, &c. Others there were that clad themselves with cloathes for that purpose, and spoke certain words, burned Incense, and slept by themselves, that such a dead person might come and talk with them in a dream.
Far more than simply describing, this entry combines several approaches to such black magics and how they were performed, offering us rich avenues for pursuing not just what early modern necromancers did, but how they did it...
In this course professional diviner, historian, and folk necromancer Dr Alexander Cummins will lead us through this de facto nigromantic syllabus with a selection of early modern grimoiric and folk magical material for dream incubation, humoural diet, ritual garb, graveyard protocols, suffumigations, incantations, and spiritwork. This illustrated lecture will ground us in the practicalities of such pre-modern European necromantic approaches, operations, and procedures, that we might better engage with our necromancer forebears and learn - both directly and indirectly - from the dead magicians who came before us.
This course will also form the basis and prerequisite for further Advanced Necromancy courses, further exploring the stygian depths and efficacies of the Black Arts.
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