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Cunning Folk: English Occult Practices in Early America

  • The Witch House 310 Essex Street Salem, MA, 01970 United States (map)

From astrology to necromancy and back again, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century British colonies of New England and elsewhere seemed awash with sorcery. This is a talk about the ideas of magic which early modern English colonists brought with them to the Americas: from their preconceptions about Native ritual and heathenry, to almanacs of star-lore and prognostication, and from common forms of folk magic and divination to high-brow treatises on alchemy and handbooks based on medieval spirit conjuration. 

This talk is presented by the historian and diviner Dr. Alexander Cummins, himself an English magician now living in these United States. Dr Cummins will lead us on an exploration of what early American magicians did and how they went about doing it. Along the way, we will learn about how shadowy colonialist fears were projected onto indigenous peoples and their cultures, as well as much of the necessary background and context of "everyday practical magic" and arch occult philosophy alike that preceded the Salem witch-trials.

Tickets $10.00