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‘Coscinomancy is a form of divination utilising a sieve and shears, used in ancient Greece, medieval and early modern Europe and seventeenth century New England, to determine the guilty party in a criminal offense, find answers to questions, etc.’
The paired works of cutting away confusion and winnowing the truth. The cunning detection of thieves and the determining of guilt. The cutting of possibility into choice. By accuser and advocate, by St. Peter and by St. Paul– the arguing saints at the foundation of the Church – a two-headed judge’s balance of witnesses is weighed.
The folk magical divinatory practices of ‘turning’ the sieve, shears, or both have been remarked to be found all across the ancient world, and located by some scholars and plenty of practitioners in the present in a variety of forms.
In this illustrated class, contemporary cunning-man and historian of magic Dr Alexander Cummins explores the magics and mysteries of coscinomancy – the divinatory arts of working sieve-and-shears – from both pre-modern historical exemplars and analyses to contemporary scholarship and practice: examining everything from survivals of ancient Greek basket divination to the cut-up magics of William Burroughs.
By the winnowing lattice and closing blades of Atropos, we turn to the truth of things…
This is a 120 minute, foundational level lecture.
About the Presenter:
Dr Alexander Cummins is a contemporary cunning man and historian. His magical specialities are the dead (folk necromancy), divination (geomancy) and the grimoires.
His published works include 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 contributions to collections by 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

Coscinomancy: Turning the Sieve & Shears

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