Secrets and Wisdom of the Sorcerers: Spell Books, Scryers and the Philosopher's Stone

Brompton Cemetery Chapel

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Saturday 4 June 2016
15:00 - 17:00
Pop-Up, Something A Little Different, Theatre/Arts, Walks & Tours

From ancient Egypt to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, grimoires - books that contain a mix of spells, conjurations, natural secrets and ancient wisdom - have exerted a huge influence on religion and science. Their origins date back to the dawn of writing and their subsequent history is entwined with that of the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and the development of science and the cultural influence of print. Professor Owen Davies wrote the first ever history of these spell books and in his talk he illuminates the fascinating forms these mystical books by revealing the knowledge they hold.

Crystal balls, fire, shadows, water, mirrors and candle wax have all been used by scryers in their search to uncover the secrets of the future. Their technique relies upon acquiring information via extrasensory means through the unconscious mind, a mechanism described in psychology as automatism. In his talk, folklorist George Hoyle examines the vast catalogue of divination methods from the initiation ceremonies of the Ancient Egyptians to the water technique used by Nostradamus. and the crystal ball and wax tablets used by alchemist John Dee and his scryer, Edward Kelley.

Hoyle's talk will culminate in a description of the search for the ultimate secret, the quest for the philosopher’s stone, an elixir of life sometimes said to be a common substance, found everywhere but unrecognized and unappreciated.

Tickets £12 including a Hendrick's Gin Cocktail. Please click here to buy.


Owen Davies has been a student of tarot for over fifteen years. He now reads professionally and teaches at the Psychic College of London. Tarot is both his passion and his pleasure and he never leaves the house without a deck in his pocket. He believes that "tarot teached the reader that nothing is random, that chaos is alive and abundant."

George Hoyle is a musician, songwriter and folklorist. He runs the South East London Folklore Society, an organisation devoted to magic, folklore and forteana. Under SELFS, George has organised or co-organised events such as the 2009 Straycation walking festival, the London Lore with Bishopsgate Institute, the Magic, Mystery and Hidden History conference and the infamous night of the Horseman’s Word in Camberwell.

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Brompton Cemetery Chapel
Entrances on Fulham Road or Brompton Road, London, SW10 9UG

Nearest station:
West Brompton (Tube)


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