In The Starry Rubric, Alexander Cummins shows how astrology and magic offered analysis, interpretation, and solutions — locating humanity in a shifting web of interrelation with the stars and, indeed, the cosmos as a whole. Through analysis and example, Cummins demonstrates the ways in which astrology and magic were crucial to early modern perspectives on human life, time, and meaning.
Seventeenth-century England was a turbulent place to live. It was a century of civil wars, regicide, food riots and plague — a time of millenarian prophets and threatening witches, of radical sects and experiments in Commonwealth.
It was a revolutionary period. The lifting of printing press censorships created a veritable explosion of printed materials: from popular almanacs and calendars to handbooks of do-it yourself medicine, from vulgate Bibles to tomes of new, investigative natural philosophy and grimoires of occult science and ritual magic.
In the midst of all this, the astrologer-magicians of seventeenth-century England drew their charts of the heavens, divining answers and prescribing magical medicines.
The Starry Rubric: Seventeenth-Century English Astrology and Magic
ISBN 978-1-907881-21-3 (Hardback).
Published in November, 2012.
Alexander Cummins obtained his undergraduate and masters degrees in History at the University of Leeds. He is currently conducting his doctoral research into early modern magic and the emotions, as well as teaching at the University of Bristol.
He is Head of the Department of Historical Magic at Arcanorium College, as well as a published performance poet who runs creative writing workshops around the UK. He has written on topics ranging from 2012-centred apocalypse narratives to histories and philosophies of the cut-up technique.