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British Library Additional Manuscript 3664 contains several short treatises, two of which should be of particular interest to necromancers. The Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke is a particularly instructive grimoire of the sixteenth century teaching one how to summon spirits- from the ruler of the dead, to the kins of the spirits, to the ghosts of famous magicians - complete with prayers, conjurations, and various 'nota' of injunctions and advice for the aspiring conjuror. The purpose of these conjurations is to make powerful knowledge available to the magical practitioner, whether delivered by subordinate spirit, recieved text, or express empowerment.


An appended document, referred to simply as Visions, is a magical journey accounting the experiments and scrying sessions of performed alongside the reception of the Excellent Booke itself. Read together, these interrelated documents are quite simply a unique record of early modern English necromancy, offering vital 'behind-the-scenes' perspectives on sorcery, magical texts, and spirits.


This lecture by professional diviner, consultant sorcerer, and historian of magic Dr. Alexander Cummins analyses some of the techniques contained within this manuscript source: from ways of working with spirits, to the expressly necromantic components of the work, to wider implications for approaches to spirit tuition, texts and taboos in conjuration.


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. He received his doctorate on early modern magical approaches to the passions.  His published works include The Starry Rubric (Hadean Press 2012), on early modern astrology and astrological magic, 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, and co-hosts the podcast Radio Free Golgotha with Jesse Hathaway DIaz of Wolf and Goat. Dr Cummins gives classes and workshops online and in person in the US and the UK. His work and services can be found at

The Excellent Booke: A Manual of 16th Century English Necromancy

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