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Ross Christopher Feldman
A Problem of Authorship: John Dee, Edward Kelley, and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ Ross Christopher Feldman, B.A. University of Texas at Austin, 2009
This paper takes an in-depth look at the question of authorship of Dr. John Dee’s ‘Angelic Conversations,’ the private transcriptions of sessions conducted between 15811589 in which Dee purportedly made contact with spiritual beings through his ‘scryer’ or spirit medium, Edward Kelley. Particular focus is placed on Kelley’s role; this paper examines whether it was possible for Kelley to have perpetrated the entire affair as a hoax, the difficulties involved, and motivations he might have had for doing so. The paper will show what resources were available to Kelley, and whether these would have enabled him to have tricked Dee into believing the two men were receiving genuine communications from angels. I also examine the evidence as to whether Dee, one of the most educated men in England at the time, could have been fooled by such a hoax, and if so, why. The paper looks at the magical system received in the ‘Conversations’ in relation to earlier magical texts such as the Solomonic grimoires, the writings of Agrippa and Trithemius and other works known to have been in Dee’s library, and the possibility of Kelley plagiarizing them for his own work. Finally, I consider whether any other potential theory better fits the facts as presented. These and other related questions do not appear to have been so far addressed by either Dee scholars or popular writers, from Meric Causabon and Elias Ashmole in the seventeenth century to Stephen Clucas, Lon Milo Duquette, and other contemporary writers in the twenty-first. Most writers on the subject of Dee’s ‘Angelic Conversations’ have fallen into two general categories. Those writing from an academic perspective have in the main reported his sessions at face value, usually with the goal of placing them within the context of his lifetime of writings, or within the wider context of Elizabethan England at the dawning of the Early Modern era. When these authors have addressed the issue of Dee’s magico-religious focus, it has most often been with a faintly dismissive tone. Francis Yates and her followers first presented a view of Dee as the archetypal Renaissance ‘magus,’ a Tudor-era Merlin who spent his time poring over dusty tomes and conversing with disembodied voices on matters of statecraft, alchemy, and enchantment. More recent scholars have questioned this assessment, presenting Dee instead as the first great scientist of ‘Natural Magic,’ a proto-Newton with one foot in the tradition of the medieval conjurers and the other firmly planted in the dawning Scientific Revolution. Popular writers, on the other hand, have focused on offering instruction to readers interested the ‘how to’ of “Enochian Magick” (so called because the angels told Dee and Kelley the two had been chosen to receive knowledge lost to humankind since the time of the prophet Enoch). Beginning with the magical renaissance of the late nineteenth cen-
tury and extending through the ‘occult explosion’ and ‘New Age’ of the late twentieth century to today, these writers, like the academic community, have taken Dee’s spiritualism at face value (while deliberately downplaying or even ignoring his religious viewpoint), with the popular writers presenting Dee’s magical opus from the perspective of believers in such matters, and the scholars with skepticism. Neither has thus far examined to any major extent the question of authorship of these purported spirit communications. Although Peter French and others have offered the image of Dee as a foolish old duffer being manipulated by a scheming Kelley, they do not seem to have actually performed any research into the issue to provide evidence for their claims. By conducting a comprehensive investigation of the subject, this paper hopes to clear up at least some of the mystery surrounding this significant aspect of Dee’s life. The field of research into Dee’s life and his writing has expanded recently, growing far beyond the early attempts of writers like Edward Arthur Waite and Charlotte Fell Smith a century ago. In particular, significant scholarly studies have been conducted in recent years by Clucas, Clulee, Harkness, Sherman, Szönyi, Szulakowska, and others. In addition to providing significant material for research into, and theories around, the role of mysticism and millennialism in the dawn of the Early Modern period, Dee’s life and writing has had a direct impact upon esotericism that still persists today. His work has influenced—one might go so far as to say catalyzed—a number of occultist efflorescences, from the Rosicrucian adventure in the seventeenth century to the occult revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as witnessed by the growth of such groups as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (where the main emphasis in the Second or ‘inner’ Order was use of Dee’s “Enochian Magick”) and their various progeny in twentieth and twenty-first century occultism. The research for this paper relies upon both primary and secondary sources. I begin by placing Dee and Kelley within their historical background, tracing the life of each prior to the beginning of their collaboration, a brief overview of their work together, and their lives after their parting of ways. Having outlined some of the themes running through the ‘Angelic Conversations,’ the paper turns to an examination of the resources available to Kelley in such an endeavor. The succeeding section then examines in depth the types of material received. These fall broadly into the categories of prophecies, personal admonishments, and a complex, but for the most part coherent, magical system. I next examine theories of authorship, one of which is the hypothesis regarding deliberate deception perpetrated by Kelley upon Dee. This leads to an investigation of possible motives on the part of Kelley to commit a deception of this magnitude, and potential motives on Dee’s part for acquiescing in it. The paper examines Dee’s records of the ‘Conversations,’ looking for evidence for and against the hypothesis of fraud on Kelley’s part, and the ease or difficulty of such an effort. Concluding with a summary of findings, the paper reviews the argument for the viability of the hypothesis and the viability of competing explanations. By conducting this inquiry into the authorship of the ‘Angelic Conversations,’ I hope to demonstrate the previously underestimated role of Edward Kelley, and to add in some meaningful way to the growing body of knowledge around John Dee and his work.
.... 90 Kelley Was Manipulated by Dee .... 42 Kelley’s Education and Background ...................................................................... 7 KELLEY PRIOR TO MEETING DEE ................... 34 ANALYSIS ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 52 Personal Admonishments and Commands ............................................................................................................ 20 RECEPTION OF THE ‘ANGELIC CONVERSATIONS’......................................... 104 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 30 DEE’S LEGACY ................................................ 98 BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................ 80 Kelley Tapped Into Unknown Powers of the Mind ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................ and Predictions ................................................................................. 53 Magical Information and Instructions ................................................................................................................. 50 Allegorical Visions and Apparitions.........................................................................Table of Contents ABSTRACT...................................................................................... 47 Sermons.. 6 DEE PRIOR TO MEETING KELLEY ................. 5 HISTORICAL CONTEXT......................................................... 95 CONCLUSION......................... 4 TABLES AND ILLUSTRATIONS ........................................................................................................ 104 ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................................................................................. 87 Kelley and Dee Created It Synergistically ................................................................... 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 43 The Contents of Dee’s Library ................................................... 104 ....................................................................................... 94 Possible Motivations on Dee’s Part ........................................................................................ 94 Possible Motivations on Kelley’s Part....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 55 THEORIES OF AUTHORSHIP ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ Prophecies.............................................................................. 23 DEE AND KELLEY AFTER THE ‘CONVERSATIONS’ .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 74 Kelley Was In Contact With Angels................................................... 84 Kelley Was Deceiving Himself ............... 81 Kelley Was a Cynical Fraud .................. 45 THE CONTENT OF THE ‘CONVERSATIONS’... 42 RESOURCES ......................................................................................... 91 MOTIVATIONS ........................................................................... 74 Kelley Was In Contact With Devils .................................................................................................................................................
............57 FIGURE 3............................ GREAT TABLE (RECENSA VERSION........... TABLET OF SPIRIT ...................................48 FIGURE 1.... NUMBER SQUARE . ABRAMELIN SQUARE ...............71 FIGURE 13.......................................63 FIGURE 7.................................63 FIGURE 9.................................... ENSIGN OF CREATION .............. SIGILLUM DEI AEMETH ..................... ANGELS OF THE BONORUM ..JUPITER .............................................................64 FIGURE 10..........LIBER JURATUS ...................................................................................... SAMPLE PAGE ............................................ SIGILLUM DEI AEMETH ............................. CONTENT RECEIVED IN THE ‘ANGELIC CONVERSATIONS’ – RAW DATA .............63 FIGURE 8....................... SIGILS OF THE “GOVERNORS” ................................................ 1587) .......57 FIGURE 4........................49 FIGURE 2....46 TABLE 2...............72 ..................DEE & KELLEY . LIBER LOGAETH...............................................................59 FIGURE 5................ SATOR SQUARE ...........60 FIGURE 6....... ENOCHIAN TABLE (EAST) .... BREAKDOWN OF DEE’S LIBRARY BY TOPIC .FROM “BLACK CROSS” NAMES ...............................66 FIGURE 11..................................70 FIGURE 12.............................Tables and Illustrations TABLE 1................... CONTENT RECEIVED IN THE ‘ANGELIC CONVERSATIONS’ – DISTRIBUTION ................................................................................
exalted by Queen Elizabeth. 2008). and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ - 6 - Historical Context Dr. MS Ashmole 1788 also contains a copy of Kelley’s natal horoscope. alias Edward Talbot. Henry Holt. He had been imprisoned by Queen Mary. he had earned a reputation as a scientist. Benjamin. there are two copies of Dee’s natal or birth chart. knowledge which could be had no other way. he hired a would-be alchemist and convicted felon named Edward Kelley. presumed to be in Dee’s hand. he began a series of visionary operations. 1 Referenced by several biographers. 14. Christeos [pseud. or astral vision work. The first is MS Sloane 1782 f31. according to the horoscope he himself drew up. Edward Kelley. cartographer. The Queen’s Conjuror. as well as that of Dee’s eldest son. 1996). 1527. Having reached a point in 1581 where he set out to gain from God himself.].John Dee. John Dee was born. ©2009 R. as one writer put it. By means of crystal-gazing. James O. Dee hoped to contact divine intelligences. See Woolley. The Private Diary of Dr. cryptologist. 3 n1. astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. astronomer. See Halliwell. (New York: Owl Books. (Charleston: BiblioBazaar. conned by disreputable mediums and singled out by angels to receive knowledge lost since the time of the prophet Enoch. The Enochian Watchtowers of the World. (n. copied from Dee’s by Ashmole himself. Arthur.1 By the time of his experiments with Edward Kelley in the 1580’s.p. TMs. on July 13. a sort of quantum physics of the late Renaissance. the second is Ashmole 1788 f137. 14. Christopher Feldman . who appeared to have a gift for this scrying. and sorcerer. attacked as a sorcerer. 2001).2 As he had no knack for it. John Dee and Catalog of His Library of Alchemical Manuscripts. angels or even God himself – to gain insight into the spiritual operations of the world. or from God’s angels. in the literal sense. secret agent (he signed his secret messages to the Queen “007”). 2 Pir. 11.
or Jane. 1979). (London: Constable & Co. (London: Frederick Muller. 5 Deacon 14. Charlotte Fell. Dee Prior to Meeting Kelley Dee was born at Mortlake. England. meaning ‘black. (New York: Dorset Press. Routledge & Kegan Paul. or Dhu. Wild. Edward Kelley. Smith 5. and his surname is itself an Anglicization of the Welsh Du. This latter in turn had a catalytic effect on the Neopaganism of the Sixties. 20 n1. King of Wales before the Norman invasion.3 His mother was named Johanna.John Dee. influencing the Rosicrucian adventure of the seventeenth century as well as the magical revival of the late nineteenth century. 1972). 1909). French 20 n1. Christopher Feldman . French. John Dee: The World of an Elizabethan Magus. and money was scarce: it has been said he was raised in “genteel poverty.. though not ennobled. 3 ©2009 R. Smith. Richard. Peter. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ - 7 - Thus was begun one of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of esotericism. (London: Routledge Classics. 93. Smith 6.’4 They were of the gentility. The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. Dee was sent to the Chantry School at Chelmsford in Essex. John Dee. John Dee (15271608). Ddu. 6 Deacon 15. 4 Deacon 14. 1968). the ‘New Age’ of the Eighties and Nineties. 13. His father Rowland Dee was a minor functionary under King Henry VIII.”5 Around 1537. then a village on the outskirts of London. It would have far-reaching effects on occultism. Yates. while the monasteries were still being dismantled at Henry’s order. and has extended even to metaphysical religion in our own time.6 Here he would have learned Latin and the rituals of the Roman Catholic Church. Frances. Dee traced his family lineage back to Rhodri the Great. In 1542 at the age of fifteen he en- Deacon. 5.
French 24-25. 9 Deacon 17. Various editions of the latter are currently in print.p. (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books. John Dee [1851. 11 Deacon 19. Diaries 5. French 24. all based upon the same source material: John Eglington Bailey. John Dee. Cambridge. Dee began to concentrate on mathematics as well as navigation. Dee.11 While at Louvain.. reprinted in Dee. (n.]. French 22. ed.e. 7 Avoiding the partying that marked college life even then. Christopher Feldman . Private Diaries of Dr. Gerald. “Compendious Rehearsall” in Dee. and Halliwell. and the magic of Cornelius Agrippa. he imposed on himself a rigid discipline. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ - 8 - tered St. who had been there acting as sec- 7 Deacon 15. Suster also provides excerpts of the diaries in his book. then a relatively new science chiefly being advanced in the Low Countries. “Arab” (i. Autobiographical Tracts and Diary for the Years 1595-1601 of Dr. French 25. along with a number of new astronomical instruments. ©2009 R. Kessinger Publishing. John. Diaries 5.8 It was while in college that he was first accused of sorcery. John Dee. 10 Deacon 18-19. Smith 6. John Dee (1842). Dee visited there in 1547 to do research. Smith 8-9. Smith 6-7. 2003). James Crossley. 8 Deacon 15-16. There are several editions of Dee’s diaries. for a stage effect he designed for a production of Aristophanes’ Pax at Trinity College: a great winged scarab that carried the actor playing Trygaeus into the air and seemed to fly away with him. two for meals. Suster. JD 10. Muslim) philosophy. 9 (hereinafter “JD”). Western Esoteric Masters Series. Dee brought two of Mercator’s new globes. Dee was also exposed to the I Ching. Diaries 5. Warden of Manchester (1880). Qabalah. and all the rest—except when in chapel—to studying.John Dee. Smith 8.9 After completing the equivalent of what we would now call undergraduate studies. Smith 7. French 24. John’s College. 5 (hereinafter “Diaries”). 10 When he returned to Cambridge to complete his studies. attending the University of Louvain for a period and striking up a friendship with Gerardus Mercator. Edward Kelley. 2003). allotting himself four hours for sleep. Autobiographical Tracts. Diary for the Years 1595-1601 of Dr. reprinted in Halliwell.
Diaries 8. Diaries 7.13 While lecturing at the College of Rheims he gave a free course on Euclid which was so popular that students who found no room in the hall climbed nearby walls to listen to his lectures through the windows. at the age of twenty-three already publicly acclaimed on the Continent and with two books on logic to his credit. and Special Envoy from France to the Ottoman Empire. astronomy.15 Although he does not appear to have taken his Doctorate at Cambridge. Diaries 10. navigation. a move thought by all to have been indicative of a poor sense of money management. 13.John Dee. Smith 13. astrology. This included what we would now consider the foundations of modern medicine and what could best be described as holistic medicine of the type made 12 13 Deacon 22 French 28. logic. ©2009 R. Christopher Feldman . 12 Dee was well thought of and Louvain soon had him lecturing in logic. 14 Deacon 25. geography. These Dee exchanged for the lay rectorships of Upton-upon-Severn and Long Leadenham. Dee was offered a yearly pension of one hundred crowns by young King Edward VI. French 29. he did complete his Master of Arts degree. Smith 12. Edward Kelley. among them were the positions of Professor of Mathematics. ship-building. French 32. philosophy.14 Upon his return to England in 1551. Smith 11. Smith 11. Deacon 24. and was soon established as an authority on a wide range of subjects: mathematics. optics and medicine. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ - 9 - retary and librarian only twelve years before. and navigation. he was offered a number of posts (which he refused). astronomy. mathematics. metaphysics. When he stopped off in Paris in 1550 on his way home. 15 Deacon 26-27.
one of his first acts was to petition the Queen to establish a body that would have been. not as a right. had it gained approval (and funding). French 35. (Berwick. 20 Deacon 34. He apparently satisfied the Bishop. a combination of National 16 Deacon 27-28. French 52. rumors began to circulate. or else was honorific. Edward Kelley. ©2009 R. Certainly he was referred to in later life at the English Court as ‘Doctor Dee. but not until he had spent some months in a bare cell being interrogated on his religious tendencies. 18 Deacon 29. Diaries 20.17 Dee became well-known for his horoscopes. 17 “There is no record of his having graduated as a doctor either at Cambridge or Louvain. The Archidoxes of Magic. Smith 14-15. creating a great number of them for many of the nobility.John Dee. Robert Turner. his London apartments were searched and his papers examined.18 Unfortunately. Diaries 20. But see also French 28 n3. then that he was trying to kill Mary with sorcery. Paracelsus. Christopher Feldman .20 After his release. . first that he was plotting with Elizabeth to overthrow Mary. Suster (JD 99-100) also provides a brief recap of the controversy. even predicting the health problems that brought about the young King’s early death.10 - famous by Paracelsus. 19 In 1555 Dee was seized at Hampton Court.D. passim. and one must surmise that the title of ‘Doctor’ was given to him as a courtesy. trans. 1975). It was probably bestowed in a complimentary sense to one being regarded as doctus. since he was released the same year. but due to his Protestant (one might better say ecumenical) beliefs under a monarch who was a staunch Roman Catholic. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Maine: Ibis Press. where he argues for Dee as an M. and a charge of treason was laid against him.’” Deacon 22. Dee was acquitted on the charges. French 34.16 The title of “Doctor” must have either been earned later. 19 Deacon 32-33. when he was discovered to have discussed the new Queen Mary’s horoscope with her sister Elizabeth. or learned. he was remanded to the custody of the Bishop of London for examination in his religious attitudes.
21 ©2009 R. for the Recovery and Preservation of Ancient Writers and Monuments. see Dee. He published works on everything from astronomy— he was one of the first to claim that comets were outside of the moon’s orbit—to optics. 1990). Roberts. a collection of works many of which she considered heretical. Julian & Andrew G. Mirrors fascinated him. JD 15-19. For the text. and continued his studies. even suggesting that giant parabolic mirrors might be used in warfare. or he had already started spying for Elizabeth (vide infra). 24 Deacon 38. Watson. both scientific and occult. Second. often even pawning his silverware to buy important manuscripts. but it had two weaknesses.23 The remainder of his time spent under Mary’s reign seems to have been fairly quiet—either he chose to remain inconspicuous. and in some cases to purchase. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 22 Dee was forced to go back to building his own already impressive library.24 His interest in optics. 23 Deacon 36. Mary was not inclined to fund the undertaking. so much so that he actually proposed that a mirror be propelled into space at a speed exceeding that of light. 5-6 (hereinafter “R&W”). and one which perhaps laid the seeds for the Ashmolean collection (since as we shall see Elias Ashmole was fascinated by Dee and his works).” in Diaries 46-47. 22 Deacon 35.11 - Library and National Trust. she had no interest in a plan to collect.John Dee. Edward Kelley. and natural magic—a view in which the rays by which the cosmic spheres and their intelligences that influenced matters on the sublu- Deacon 35. John Dee’s Library Catalogue. Christopher Feldman . eds. drew up horoscopes.21 It was an interesting idea. He lived on his pensions. Smith 15-17. (London: Bibliographical Society.. as has been pointed out by Ursula Szulakowska. was tied to his ideas of Aristotelian cosmology. so that people could see events of the past. “A Supplication to Q. First. astrology. Mary.
12 - nar or material plane might be gathered through the use of catoptric lenses and mirrors. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ ..” 25 Szulakowska. Vol. Halliwell passim. Smith 19.. 29. Ursula. and the potential taint of being seen to support someone who was popularly thought to be overly familiar with the black arts. 2000). 28 Deacon 51. she could not afford to honor him too openly.27 Then too.28 Elizabeth had nicknames for many of her favorites—Sir Walter Raleigh was “Water. the day Dee suggested as having the best portents. Smith 18. 26 Deacon 46.John Dee. Diaries passim. Sir Christopher Hatton. Christopher Feldman . See also French 100-102. X. enabling humans to see and converse with those spiritual intelligences—i. Dee might have thought that his star was finally on the ascendant. Edward Kelley. ©2009 R.” for instance. Symbola et Emblemata: Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Symbolism. January 15.g. (Leiden: Brill. but there are indications that on several occasions positions Elizabeth wanted him to have were blocked by others at court. given his past. The Alchemy of Light: Geometry and Optics in Late Renaissance Alchemical Illustration. 24. She may have also been shrewd enough to recognize that his talents might be better employed in quieter ways.25 When Mary died. passim. Elizabeth I was crowned. (dotted circles). court intimate. Dee. Dudley.e. later the Earl of Leicester. 27 E. occasional “intelligencer. angels. was “Lids” the Earl of Leicester. was “Eyes” (dotted triangles). With his patroness on the throne. JD 10. call upon Dee for a horoscope to determine the most auspicious date and time for her coronation. These men often signed their letters to the Queen in a way that indicated these pet names. 1559.26 On Sunday. Elizabeth had Lord Robert Dudley.
It is to be noted that some writers have been skeptical. 1606.31 Dee made a number of journeys overseas. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Deacon is the most faithful to Dee’s diaries and records of the ‘Conversations. a work which appears to take the form of a series of invocations of angels and spirits. circulated privately. to put it mildly. 1499. Dee was excited about obtaining a copy of this rare work. Christopher Feldman . of all Dee’s biographers. sometimes to the Continent. Shumaker. First printed edition at Frankfurt.13 - was her “Secret Eyes” or “Ubiquitous Eyes” —the original 007. 31 Deacon 52-53. God is my witness. Elizabeth’s head of domestic intelligence. reporting on them to Sir William Cecil Lord Burghley. the ever-present threat of Spain.30 But the bulk of his intelligence work seems to have concentrated—perhaps due to his expertise in maritime navigation—on new voyages and freshly discovered lands.’ which may be circumstantial. See Trithemius. 33 Written ca. 171. sometimes to the further parts of the kingdom. 227. yet might be tentatively accepted as evidence of Deacon’s trustworthiness. never one to mince words. calls Deacon’s book “worthless fiction” and even French considered the claims sensationalist (see JD 97). Germany. On the other hand. particularly where they might be of strategic importance to England. At any rate. ©2009 R. Edward Kelley. 32 Deacon 69 ff. 32 In 1563 Dee acquired a copy of Trithemius’ Steganographia33 in the Low Countries. or the wooing of allies in the Protestant lands of what are now the Netherlands. 30 Deacon 51-52. The first part whereof. who Dee envisioned as becoming a dominant sea power. as well as to Sir Robert Dudley and even the Queen herself. or Poland.29 He was often away for months at a time.John Dee. note Dee’s careful wording in his Compendious Rehearsall: “I againe to her Majestie made a very faithfull and inviolable promise of great importance. about the portrayal of Dee as Elizabeth’s spy. There was much for him to be investigating. but is in fact a treatise on cryptography and secret communications. French 36-37. I have truly and sincerely performed…” Diaries 21. and some have speculated on the potential connection 29 Deacon 1-4. whether it was Roman Catholic plotters against the Queen.
38 Other works during this period added to Dee’s name as a scholar. as is Haynes.dtc. Edward Kelley. JD 20-23. Compete Enochian Dictionary: A Dictionary of the Angelic Language as Revealed to Dr. Mathematical Praeface to the Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara . International Archives of the History of Ideas. 39 Mathematical Praeface to the Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara (1570). 30. 1994). No.pdf). Penguin. Yates. 2005). “Solved: The Ciphers in Book iii of Trithemius’s Steganographia. See Shumaker. Alan. John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery: Original Sourcebook of Enochian Magic. 193. 40 Dee. also Reeds. (NP. 2004). Maine: Samuel Weiser. 2008. 105-106. Accessed 11 Aug. 37 Dee. especially 21-24. Wayne.John Dee. [Also quoted in Peterson.” (online article. etc. For more on steganography and other forms of cipher in this period. 35 See Reeds. John Dee and Edward Kelley. Maine: Red Wheel/Weiser. Christopher. Occult Philosophy. no such encoded messages have ever come to light. Yates. Kessinger Publishing. 1975). Deacon 58. 39 French 93 ff. (Dordrecht.14 - between the Steganographia and Dee’s own ‘Angelic Conversations. See also French 103 ff. For more on spying under Elizabeth. 34 ©2009 R. 1998.’35 Though it is possible that Dee used the “Tables of Enoch”36 of the ‘Conversations’ to encode messages to England’s spy chiefs. Christopher Feldman . 2008). (New York: Viking Books. French. Donald. 1978). 2003).’34 However.. French 38. Her Majesty’s Spymaster. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Jim. see Haynes. John Dee: Interdisciplinary Studies in English Renaissance Thought.: Sutton Publishing. (Boston: Red Wheel/Weiser. See also Whitby. Netherlands: Springer. 1988). a good source is Budiansky.. while modern cryptanalysis has managed to decode both Trithemius’ work and the Book of Soyga. Smith. 156.edu/~reedsj/trit.” in Stephen Clucas. Joseph. http://www. John Dee’s Actions With Spirits: 22 December 1581 to 23 May 1583. 54-58. thus far no encoded messages have been turned up in the ‘Conversations.37 a work said to have taken him 7 years to prepare and only 12 days to write. (Phoenix Mill. 2006). It was about this time that he first published his Hieroglyphic Monad. for a full analysis of this work.g.40 Paralacticae Conventiones Praxoosq: Nucleus Quisdam (on the Supernova and E. ed. (Garland Publications. JD 37-46.umn. among them his Propaedeumata Aphoristica (1568). The Elizabethan Secret Services. John Dee on Astronomy: Propaedeumata Aphoristica (1568 and 1668). Glos. “John Dee and the Magic Tables in the Book of Soyga. 36 Vide infra. See also Deacon. Latin and English. Stephen. University of Minnesota. (Berkeley: University of California Press. Suster. hereinafter “Quinti” and in Laycock. another of Dee’s prized possessions. 26 Mar. (York Beach. (York Beach. 38 Deacon 59. 94-96. The Hieroglyphic Monad .
Dee. alchemy.42 There is a clear progression discernible in Dee’s writing. optics. such as the Propaedeumata. Edward Kelley. See also JD. being concerned with mathematics. Kessinger Publications. 47-60. His later work. and those of the general public who had heard of him. Christopher Feldman . The Perfect Art of Navigation . heretic. Occult Philosophy. is taken up with the ‘Conversations. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . are scientific in nature.43 To the majority of the lords. (NP. Dee’s situation became precarious enough that he was moved to write a lengthy curriculum vitae in an attempt to Referenced in Deacon. 2003). and natural magic into a kind of ‘grand unified theory. 77. a veritable Dr. from his return to England in 1598 till his death in 1608. geography & cartography. At court Dee’s favor was limited to the Queen and a few of her spymasters. astronomy. 100. At worst. he seems to have written almost nothing at all. Faustus.John Dee. etc.15 - subsequent comet of 1572). 42 41 ©2009 R. in the period we will be here concerned with. beyond his personal diaries.41 and his General and Rare Memorials Pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation (1576). the original mad scientist. he was considered a sorcerer. as exemplified in the Monas. 43 Deacon 77-78. And in his final period. or to be in league with Satan. he was considered at best an eccentric. with spiritual research. His middle period. long on book learning—some of it rather dangerous—but short on common sense. Yates. for whom Dee made a number of journeys to Scotland and the Continent.’ that is. is focused upon bringing astrology. His earliest works.’ to borrow a term from our own era. Later.
n. Edmund. but that Dee. 45 44 ©2009 R. right wondrously aguiz’d.John Dee. in slightly altered form.44 Around 1574.htm). By his deepe science. Cto II. sacred-texts. What is certain is that he left his late Vide infra. Smith 35.” and a second time to another woman whose name and particulars are unknown. A number of writers (Deacon 100-101. The great Magitian Merlin had deuiz’d. 47 Spenser. we cannot now know. never one to miss an opportunity for showing some of his ideas to royalty. Dee married a woman about whom so little is known that even her name is not recorded.45 She died a year later. Whose vertues through the wyde world soone were solemniz’d. apparently on the same day that the Queen herself happened to visit unexpectedly. in Spenser’s Faerie Queene: By strange occasion she did him behold. http://www. 47 Whether these were scrying glasses as some have claimed.16 - obtain the Queen’s assistance both to regain his good name. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .. and some compensation for his books and personal effects ransacked from his Mortlake home while he was abroad.. Bk III. (online edition. . and Diaries 3 ff and JD 104-111. . first to a Katherine Constable. Edward Kelley. before marrying Jane Fromond (vide infra). Christopher Feldman . Suster (JD 10-11) says Dee was actually married three times in all. or parabolic mirrors for signaling over long distances.com/neu/eng/fq/index. A looking glasse. Accessed 12 Jan. 46 Deacon 80. 2009. brought out his “magic glass of which she had heard so much” for her to see 46 —an event that shows up. v18. The Faerie Queene. Dee’s diary records that Elizabeth refused to enter the house where Dee’s wife had died only four hours earlier. Suster 13. and hell-dreaded might. Yates 188) have also posited that Dee was the model for Shakespeare’s Prospero. “a grocer’s widow from the City.d. Diaries 17.
50 He also continued his researches into genealogy. As his plan 48 49 Deacon 80. Diaries 17. ©2009 R. 52 Deacon 82 ff. Edward Kelley.John Dee. archaeology. and she continued to protect him from accusations of being a conjurer and sorcerer. Abundant Wealth and the Triumphant State of This Kingdome (With God’s Favor) Procuring. being consulted by her on everything from a toothache to the appearance of a new comet in 1577. and developing a means of semaphore signals by use of mirrors and telescopes. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Smith (38) reads this as an offer of information on Eastern lore. 50 See Deacon 86-89.52 Around this time Dee also working on his proposal to the throne for his vision of a British Empire—a name we owe to Dee—in his work on “The Brytish Monarchy (Otherwise Called the Petty Navy Royall) for the Politique Security. That Dee was still involved in intelligence work may be seen from his mention of one Alexander Simon’s offer of information in his own “servise into Persia. comprising six different fleets with refueling and provisioning ports around the globe.”51 Dee remained in the Queen’s favor. See Deacon 82 ff. 51 Deacon 91.17 - wife’s body still cooling on the kitchen table while he went outside to put on his demonstration for the court. Smith 35. as well as historical research intended to prove that Elizabeth had a valid claim to possession of the lands being explored in North America. Smith 34. Christopher Feldman . Halliwell 13.” Dee’s concept was for England to become a world power based on having the world’s largest navy.48 His next few years were spent unsuccessfully treasure-hunting by dowsing49—even accompanying Martin Frobisher’s secret expedition to Labrador in present-day Canada to search for gold—and on navigational experiments including work on the search for the Northwest Passage. Smith 51-54.
she the devoted admirer. 47. Dee and his wife moved to the home he had acquired from his mother at Mortlake. somewhat odd but brilliant. Jane Fromond. 55 Deacon 106-107. divination by looking into crystal balls and blackened mirrors.John Dee. erected in the Strand at his expense. Edward Kelley. Christopher Feldman .18 - would have cost the government some £200. 56 Diaries ff. On February 5. at the age of fifty-one. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 1578. He also had a huge maypole. see also Smith. accompanied by guests who were treated to a meal with wine.55 This may explain. and mother to their eight children. Despite what some might have thought of as a wide difference in age and temperament—she was said to be vivacious. unselfish wife. he married Jane. where Dee was said to have started steeplechases at Mortlake and Richmond. why he still occasionally had to pawn the silver to pay the servants’ wages. scholar. then in her early twenties. Smith 41-44 Deacon 91. Due to his lack of ability 53 54 Deacon 92-95. fireworks and dancing. charming. at least in part. and to have revived the ancient Celtic custom of kindling a bonfire on May Day on the top of Richmond Hill.53 It was also around this time that he met his next wife. over 150′ tall.56 In the 1580s Dee began an even more in-depth interest in crystallomancy or scrying.000 per year (a sum he proposed might be raised by taxing the foreign fishing fleets in British waters). lady-in-waiting to Lady Howard of Effingham at Elizabeth’s court. and usually nearly penniless. ©2009 R. there was understandable resistance from the government. and quick-tempered54—their marriage seems to have been genuinely successful: he the older.
Alchemical Writings of Edward Kelley. (NP. Arthur E. Christopher Feldman . At any rate. and soon thereafter changed his name to Kelley. However. but consensus seems to be that his real name was Kelley (also spelled Kelly). he was fired. there is no more reference to Talbot. though there is no hard evidence. Dee’s personal diaries (see Diaries) also reflect this change. He had been drifting for some time—some say on the run—and had tried his hand at working at an apothecary Deacon 120-122. There is also some suspicion that he was planted by parties unknown to spy on Dee. Kessinger Publications. See Waite. Smith 68-70. Halliwell 22-23. only to EK or Kelley. and subsequently repudiated all the work he had done with Dee. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . but Saul was discharged after only a couple of months when it became known that he was a confidence-man with a criminal background. and that Talbot was an assumed name.19 - in this area. Edward Kelley. 58 There is a wealth of conjecture surrounding Kelley. xxi). xv. other sources presume that Kelley first appeared to Dee as “Talbot” in case his reputation had preceded him. or the Latinized Kelleius/Kelleii. whose background does not seem to have been so different from that of the man he replaced. See also French. and all further references to EK or Kelley. his real name must have been Talbot.John Dee. who was hired to replace Saul. Waite vacillates on the subject: first he opines that because Kelley was said to have attended Oxford (vide infra) and there is no record of an Edward Kelley there. or the Latinized spelling. saying that there is “no reason” to identify the references in Dee’s diaries to Edward Talbot with those referring to “EK” (footnote. Deacon is virtually alone in suggesting that Talbot changed his name to Kelley as “an attempt to start a new life and to bury an unsavoury reputation” (123). In 1581 he started working with one Barnabas Saul. he began to look for assistants with a knack for it. etc. with the last reference to Talbot on 22 March 1582. is a mystery” (Waite xvi). 1997). There is some speculation as to his correct name. a few pages later Waite says “whether Talbot became Kelley or whether Kelley merged for a moment into Talbot. 58 57 ©2009 R. Quinti 66.57 One of the people who had given Dee information about Saul was a certain Edward Talbot. Smith. A few pages later he again reverses himself. From Causabon 89 on.
60 Deacon 123. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . reprinted in the Diaries. that it is extremely difficult to know what to believe.John Dee.59 He was only twenty-seven. Louis Figuier. as the reader will see when the accepted traditions of this extraordinary man’s career are laid down. So began one of the most remarkable pairings in the history of esoteric religion. dowsing for lost articles. and so full of marvels. half Dee’s age. there are no sober facts. indeed. There is no disentangling the sober facts of this life from the romance attributed to him. Richard Deacon calls him “the most baffling. room and board. 61 59 The stories about Kelley’s dark past begin with Weever’s Ancient Funeral Monuments and are largely taken at face value by writers known for research that is slipshod at best. and.g. forgery and sheep rustling. and what little there is has been of dubious trustworthiness. e. Lenglet du Fresnoy. for which he had his ears cropped. see the introduction to Bailey’s 1880 edition of Dee’s diaries. 61 Smith 76. when he came to live at Mortlake. herself not the most reliable biographer. and Edward Arthur Waite. according to some sources. mysterious and enigmatic character with whom Dee was ever associated. he would have a regular income. but also a chance to learn from one of the best world’s educated men. treasure locating. See also Deacon 123-124 and Waite xxv-xxvi. Christopher Feldman . ©2009 R. it is so incredible. says: The whole of Kelley’s story is so wildly and romantically coloured. In working with Dee. see 77 n1. Edward Kelley. Kelley Prior to Meeting Dee Biographical information on Edward Kelley is scant.”60 and Charlotte Fell Smith.. For an example of Weever. Smith is justly scathing of such works as Waite’s Life of Kelley.xx.20 - shop.
John Dee. or else pretending to do so in or62 63 Vide sup. Deacon 124. Waite xiv. Harkness 20. 26 (hereinafter “TFR”). shows Kelley as having been born on August 1. Smith 77. John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala. ed. Peterson 21. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 68 Diaries. in Causabon.67 and according to some always kept his hair long or wore a hat to disguise his having had his ears clipped68 (though one might expect Dee to mention such a distinguishing feature). 131. Deborah.xx. and the portrait of Kelley that emerges through Dee’s records of the ‘Conversations. Waite xiii-xiv. He had some college education. whose habit it was to record birthdates of those important to him in order to cast their horoscopes. but had no Greek. write and speak Latin to an extent. and seems to have dabbled in treasure-hunting by means of dowsing. 66 Bailey. 20. French 113 n2.” (Diaries 9) See also Deacon 123. Smith 77. 9. adds that Kelley had been a lawyer as well as having “practised as an apothecary at Worcester. p 6. but again left without completing his training. 8. JD 68. 64 Diaries. xvii. footnote xxvii ff. 1555. ©2009 R. Kelley had occasionally used the alias of Talbot in his peregrinations. Meric. either for forging documents or counterfeiting coin.21 - Dee. “Biographical Preface” to Alchemical Writings of Edward Kelley. French 113 n2. xxvii.64 He could read. Christopher Feldman . Waite xv. 65 See the action of 29 June 1583. xiii. Quinti 21. French 113 n2. 1992). JD 67. 67 Deacon 124. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . JD 67.62 Aside from this. Smith 77. 1999). Waite.63 of working-class background. in his Introduction to the Diaries. 66 He had supposedly been pilloried in Lancaster. Waite xxv-xxvi. Edward Kelley was born at Worcester. JD 131.. Smith 77. Harkness. Deacon 123. Alchemy and the End of Nature. Edward Kelley. John Dee and Some Spirits . footnote 1. but left without completing his degree studies. Quinti 21.’ all the rest of the details of Kelley’s life that have been published are suspect to some degree—there is even controversy over how he died—and what follows here must be considered conjectural at best. A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr.65 He had worked as an apothecary’s apprentice (appropriate for one with an interest in alchemy). Quinti 22. (New York: Magickal Childe Publishing. Harkness 20.
Thomas Head who arrived at the same conclusion: “. 2006)] argues for a portrait of a loving family man on the strength of her thesis that Elizabeth Jane Weston was in fact Kelley’s stepdaughter and that her recollections of her father (presumably meaning stepfather) portray a much different person than that recorded in the ‘Conversations. a highly ambiguous personality. Waite xxvii. ed. footnote xxvii ff. And through this entire relationship. Christopher Feldman . and on the other hand to sudden spiritual conversions from which he promptly relapsed. swinging rapidly between extremes of anger. he needed the help of the most learned man in England. He was accused. (Dordrecht. or with a demonic spirit temporarily inhabiting it—the story varied. rebelliousness and drunkenness on the one hand. 69 ©2009 R.John Dee. 193. This story is first published in Weever. Smith 77-78.” in Stephen Clucas. “Absent Presences: Edward Kelley’s Family in the Writings of John Dee. Waite xvii-xix.. quoted in Deacon 124 and Bailey’s Introduction to the Diaries.’ Vide infra. and to obtain Dee’s help he needed to replace Barnabas Saul as Dee’s scryer. of having dug up a freshly buried corpse in order to converse either with its late owner. either in Wales or at Glastonbury. Susan Bassnett [Bassnett. . Edward Kelley. 69 He had supposedly broken into an ancient tomb. John Dee: Interdisciplinary Studies in English Renaissance Thought. 71 Suster (JD 67) quotes a Dr. Dee would often find Kelley’s attitudes and actions lamentable. Ancient Funerall Monuments. footnote to p 8.22 - der to convince wealthy landowners to pay him to search for gold on their properties. and devout penitence on the other.” Not everyone agrees with Dee’s assessment of Kelley’s character.71 Over the course of their relationship. . As to Kelley’s personality as revealed through Dee’s records of the ‘Conversations. unstable and picric. but not once does he ever seem to have doubted Kelley’s mediumistic capabilities. See also Smith 77. International Archives of the History of Ideas. p. 70 Deacon 124. and discovered an old alchemical manuscript and two vials containing a mysterious red and white powder which. would enable one to transmute base metal to gold.’ the picture that emerges is of a mercurial temperament.70 To break this ancient alchemical secret. Susan. 91. xxiii. Netherlands: Springer. prone on the one hand to terrifying fits of anger accompanied by physical violence. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . when once the manuscript might be decoded. though not during his lifetime. Kelley himself seems to have genuinely believed in his visions—or in convincing Dee that Kelley did. wary and mistrustful. No.
73 and forming a limited corporation to search for the Northwest Passage. calls Kelley a “practising Catholic”). for example.John Dee. Harkness 21. 73 Deacon 138. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . supra. In 1582 and 1583. it did not seem to stop him for long.. but during one of the early séances the angels told Kelley he should start a family.74 Dee was also busy with Kelley.” (Emphasis in original. and forsake the world. profession. Edward Kelley.) See Quinti 174. he might have already had a wife somewhere and been somehow more concerned about bigamy than counterfeiting. with its already shaky reputation. op. or conscience.72 Nevertheless. It seems unlikely in the extreme that Kelley would have been an ordained member of any clerical order requiring chastity. I haue no naturall Inclination: neyther with a safe Conscience may I do it. contrary to my vow and profession. 189.23 - Reception of the ‘Angelic Conversations’ While Dee expressed few misgivings about Kelley. Which thing to do. From the beginning of Kelley’s employment she told Dee of her premonitions that Kelley was untrustworthy and would bring only hardship and trouble to the Dees. especially in Protestant England (though Deacon. I love her not. and potential ruin to Dee’s name.’ We will discuss the actual scrying sessions in detail below. cit. while still working with the English government to place “intelligencers” (that is. and here in the house I am misliked because I favor her no better” – quoted in Deacon 169). also Deacon 168. the two began their work together. Jane appears to have been convinced from the start that he was a scoundrel. Deacon 180. That is that I shold marry. Despite his protestations that he had an abhorrence of marriage.75 he soon wed a girl of nineteen. 75 Dee’s diary records Kelley as reporting that the angel Michael “sayd that I must betake myself to the world.There are also numerous references in the Diaries to Jane’s anger and frustration with Kelley. but there is no evidence to support such a theory. Christopher Feldman . later recording that Kelley did not get along with his wife well (“I cannot abide my wife. recording the ‘Angelic Conversations. At any rate. a Joan Cooper See. spies) in Venice and other cities. It is not clear why Kelley would claim it to be contrary to his vows. But see Bassnett. nay I abhor her. 74 Deacon 138 ff. both Dee’s diaries and the record of the ‘Conversations’ indicate that Kelley did marry. 72 ©2009 R.
a place with a reputation for being home to a large number of witches through the ages77). Diaries 10. but also the threat from. TFR 33 ff.78 In 1583. We cannot know how much of Dee’s interest in Laski was spiritual. the angels. arrived in England. 79 Deacon 175 ff.79 By the time Laski was ready to return to Poland. moodily refusing to continue the sessions. Dee and Kelley accompanied him. 82 Kelley. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 80 Deacon 176 ff.80 When the angels said that Laski would soon succeed Stephen as King of Poland. Also around this time. representative of King Stephen of Poland. to the extent that some of the angelic work began to revolve around him. Deacon 168. 412. Smith 95-96. Smith 116. picking quarrels. Along with being formally received and royally entertained by Elizabeth. Laski was not only interested in what Dee’s angels might tell him. 78 Deacon 172-173. Quinti 393. he and Dee had become close.24 - from Chipping Norton76 (interestingly. expressing interest not only in Dee’s scientific work but also his angelic researches.John Dee. was becoming increasingly troublesome to Dee and the whole household. no doubt Dee found Laski interesting and important enough to accompany him on his return to Poland. but also in whether Kelley could make good on his claims to be able to make gold through alchemy. Edward Kelley. complain76 77 Deacon 168. and subsequent sinking of. TFR 1-30. 230 ff. Diaries 10. Thus when Laski left England in September of 1583. and how much was in his role as 007. JD 68. 82 Deacon 177-178. the Spanish Armada. Christopher Feldman . through Kelley. predicted not only the beheading of Mary Stuart. ©2009 R. Count Albert Laski (or Lasky). meanwhile. Queen of Scots (something most politically astute persons might have foreseen at the time). Laski found time to visit with Dee. 81 Deacon 183-184. Quinti 393.81 For his part. Smith 97 ff.
g. TFR 49. was beginning to tire of the English magicians and their costly 83 84 Deacon 178-181. Sherman. TFR 62. James 4. Laski was in fact nowhere near as rich as he had seemed. and that they should move to Cracow. At any rate. 88 Smith 129. for his part..85 They left after dark. Edward Kelley. Dee packed up his family. John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance. they are told to make preparations to gain audience with the Holy Roman Emperor at Prague instead. However.” 85 Deacon 183. 1995). 53-54. 87 Deacon 186. the angels are already telling Dee that Laski is not to be trusted. Bailey’s introduction to the Diaries. Smith 130-131. TFR 33 ff. Biographers (e. traveling past London to Greenwich. Kelley reported a vision of Dee’s house being burned by a mob. William H. providing an argument that it was in fact a few of Dee’s acquaintances who broke into Dee’s library and stole a number of books and other possessions. TFR 73.84 and the group left secretly for the Continent without telling their neighbors. Hamburg. their servants. M. 86 Deacon 185. and it is possible the sedentary life was beginning to pall. Roberts & Watson repudiate this story. ©2009 R. TFR 65 ff. R. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. R&W 49.90 Laski.87 By February of 1584. Smith 127. 89 Deacon 187. 86 In their angelic sessions at Lübeck. 15-16.88 then went to Cracow. 190. they finally arrived at the prince’s estate at Lasko. and thence to Lübeck. and the records of the ‘Conversations’ during this period could be read as suggesting that Kelley thought it was time to look for another patron.John Dee.83 Then too. Smith 104 ff. Christopher Feldman . 8) have suggested that Dee’s house was indeed ransacked about this time by an angry mob of villagers appalled at Dee’s sorcery. Deacon (184) erroneously says that Dee “took very few books and papers with him. and so on. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . and a large number of books. Smith 117 ff. See R&W 49-56. crossing the North Sea to Amsterdam. the Kelleys.89 Here it began to appear that perhaps Kelley’s dreams were not to be realized. By the time they have been in Cracow a few months. See Deacon 188. Perhaps he was hoping to leave Dee’s household for Laski’s.25 - ing of his treatment at Dee’s hands. Kelley had never settled in one place as long as this since his childhood. Massachusetts Studies in Early Modern Culture. 90 Not long after their arrival in Lasko. 135 ff. then Bremen.
Smith 150. Smith 165-166. 92 The interview. he was to become king. they would show Deacon 189. TFR 240-243.96 but again fell to rebuking their potential patron. TFR 212.94 The pair. who is often quite unreliable.” 95 Deacon 191-192. 93 Deacon 190-191. wrote to Rudolph that they had found the Philosopher’s Stone. not to mention the constant ambiguous answers from the angels as to how. Marshall (119). politely responding that he would think about the message and respond at some later date. 2006).” However. and that they had discovered “incredible mysteries” which they could show only to the Emperor. admonishing Rudolph to abandon his sins and heed Dee’s angels. The next time Dee asked for an interview. Marshall.. either at the behest of the angels95 or grasping at straws. Christopher Feldman . In 1585 they met with King Stephen of Poland and conducted an angelic session in his presence. Dee went into a lengthy tirade.26 - entourage. he concurs that “Dee was de facto dismissed. however. Diaries 10. TFR 229-230. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . however. Diaries 10. Marshall 118-119. did not go well. Deacon 190. Edward Kelley. French 124-125.John Dee. 247. he was told the Emperor was busy. French 124-125. 93 Rudolph seems to have taken this admonishment in stride. and all further communications were to be submitted through a minor functionary. (New York: Walker & Co. Dee and Kelley went to Prague to meet Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia. 110-24. 96 Deacon 193. but he remained indisposed to meet with them. TFR 236. Peter. or even whether. TFR 380-408. Kurtz or Kurz was Rudolph’s “Court Councillor and later Imperial Vice-Chancellor. and to a combination of blackmail and bribery: if he would become their supporter. The Magic Circle of Rudolph II – Alchemy and Astrology in Renaissance Prague. says that this Dr. 92 91 ©2009 R. 94 Smith 151. 91 Leaving their families in Cracow.
Deacon 194-195. Marshall 122. the angels. French 121 ff. they received word that they were instead being formally expelled from the Emperor’s lands.97 At this time. 121 n3. 101 Deacon 202 ff. the two began to have some success with their alchemical work. Diaries 10. they walked into a volatile political situation when they left Cracow for Prague.27 - him the secret of making gold. and how successful they were at this stage is not readily apparent. For some reason. Edward Kelley.100 Soon after. Diaries 10.”99 After a failed attempt by the Pope to have the two extradited to the Vatican. Diaries 11. they left Prague for Trebona in Bohemia. Marshall 122. and an annual salary of £2000 plus lodging. Dee turned down the offer. Smith 168. 99 Deacon 196 ff. 100 Deacon 200. JD 133. he would be eternally damned. Viceroy of Bohemia. French 122. despite their financial distress. Halliwell 29.John Dee. Stephen responded that the whole thing seemed suspicious. Christopher Feldman . TFR 419 ff. Smith 176-178. Marshall 122.101 He was interested in their work. JD 82. It 97 98 Deacon 193-194. if not. Diaries 10. They eventually found a new patron in Count Wilhelm Rosenberg (Vilém Rožmberk). Details are few and sketchy. and refused any further involvement with them. both their ‘Angelic Conversations’ and their alchemical claims. and seems to have been able to have their expulsion ameliorated to the extent that they were allowed to remain in the lands under his control. where the Court had been roused to religious indignation by Papal envoys fulminating against the two “notorious English magicians.102 At Trebona. 102 Deacon 202. his partner. 173 ff. JD 82. with no forewarning from the angels. JD 82. Dee was offered a position at the Tsar’s court in Russia. whether out of prompting from his wife. ©2009 R. Smith 168. Smith 174. TFR 402-408. Diaries 10.98 And. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . or his employers back in England. TFR 428-434. TFR 435.
and suggested that Dee’s son Arthur. TFR 4-9 (new). that their fortunes begin to pick up somewhat at this time. take his place as scryer.” including their wives. they must do as they were told. one thing is certain: it was the end of the ‘Angelic Conversations. The angels. 106 Deacon 206. TFR 9 ff (new). or sti- 103 104 Halliwell 29. Smith 178 ff. with a command to swap bed-partners for at least one night. Smith 185. This time. at whatever emotional or spiritual cost. There was much discussion about this. 107 See Deacon 207 ff. 24. Diaries 11. and what followed was the so-called “wife-swapping” session. TFR 382 ff. with Kelley professing to be horrified. his original interest all along. Smith 185 ff. Deacon 205. follows 448 of first section). Edward Kelley. however. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . and Dee insisting that if the angels would promise to hold them blameless (and sin-free).103 Kelley was by now fed up with scrying. Whatever happened between them. then about eight years old. working on their alchemical experiments. and wanted to devote all his time to this new project— which was. after all. however. Smith 184-185. Christopher Feldman . and seemed to have more money than before—whether from manufactured gold. TFR 9 ff (new). 1 (new numbering.John Dee.106 Dee of course insisted on knowing what Kelley had been told.28 - is clear.104 Arthur. 105 Deacon 205-206.’ They lingered on in Trebona for a while.107 Eventually this was carried out in May 1587. He flatly refused to participate in the angelic sessions any longer. Kelley returned to the scrying chamber once again. he claimed that what he received was so repugnant that he begged not to continue. much less to reveal it to Dee. Deacon (203) suggests they found some means of gold-plating. through Kelley. turned out to have no more skill for the task than did his father. TFR 388.105 Reluctantly. Smith 185. told Dee and Kelley to “hold all things in common between them. ©2009 R. JD 86 ff.
218. another of Dee’s predictions came true in the summer of 1588. Walsingham was sending Dee letters complaining that there was little budget for the Secret Service. and certainly none to spare for agents who were not producing any real intelligence data. first sinking a huge number of ships in the Channel. Deacon 237.111 Intelligence data or no. The English fleet. As both the angels and Dee’s meteorological and astrological skills had predicted. Edward Kelley. the weather crushed the Spanish Armada. with his own apartments and even an employee to run his furnaces. 111 Diaries 11. had all the means necessary for the gold. Certainly Dee’s letters and diaries hint at some success in these endeavors. Smith 193-194. ©2009 R. but had ridden the storms out safely in harbor.John Dee.29 - pend from their patron. then. Halliwell 29 ff. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Smith 198. 109 He also appears to have been busy turning Rosenberg against Dee. Halliwell 34-36. the storms sent most of the remaining galleons aground on the rocks in the bitter North. Smith 196-197.108 Kelley was much more independent now. Kelley. Smith 191 ff. is unclear. as the survivors attempted to round Scotland in order to attack Britain from the west. telling their patron that he. and that Dee was nothing but a nuisance who wasted his time—and Rosenberg’s largesse—on useless intellectual pursuits instead of the work at hand. Fewer than half of the ships that had left Calais returned to Spain. 110 Meanwhile back home. Christopher Feldman . 110 Deacon 239. 112 Deacon 245-246. had not ventured out to intercept the Spanish. at Dee’s suggestion. Halliwell 33.112 108 109 Deacon 236-239.
.114 He occasionally received messages from Kelley. is reported in various sources. or Kelley’s brother Thomas. in his Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. continued to promise an immanent return to England. Deacon (249) and Smith (202) quote but do not provide a citation for a letter from Dee to Walsingham stating that Kelley had been made a “Baron of the Kingdom of Boemia. and much of his precious library lost. . Halliwell 38. 116 Ashmole. whether for his contribution to the victory over Spain. Elizabeth’s Lord Treasurer.” At any rate. we cannot now know. was writing to Kelley and practically ordering him to send some of his gold. The story. See Deacon. Smith 219. Dee and various others refer to Kelley from this time forward as “Sir Edward Kelley. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . along with reports that Dee’s son Arthur had reported playing at quoits with gold rings made by Kelley. Smith.” ©2009 R. Halliwell 38. though once Thomas offered to loan him £10.30 - Dee and Kelley After the ‘Conversations’ Dee’s return to England in December of 1589 was less disastrous than the Armada’s. But he returned in style. No payment ever came. or for his espionage work. Suster. whose alchemical successes had caused him to be reconciled with Rudolph to the extent of being knighted by the Emperor. his house had been broken into and ransacked. Deacon 250. Christopher Feldman . Halliwell 36-37 Smith 199-200. At the same time Burleigh.113 He was soon received at Court with Elizabeth’s favor. conveying his household in three coach-and-fours and with a livery of 24 soldiers. French.116 an honor that made him socially Dee’s superior. etc. Edward Kelley. the which was then transmuted by Kelley into pure gold and then fitted back into the pan. Smith 220. 115 Deacon 251. which would “make your Queen so happie … surely as no subject she hath can do the like . helpe make Her Majestye a 113 114 Deacon 250. promising to send Dee a share of the monies earned on the manufactured gold.John Dee. cites a story of a copper or brass warming-pan having a piece cut out of it. True.115 Kelley.
”118 Kelley never did return to his “native countrie. He mentions various aches and pains. and his health was not the best.119 Dee’s diaries. “a firm date for his death has yet to be established. analysis. received visits by scholars and nobility.” 120 Deacon 257-258. merely report “Nov. 119 All of these possible endings to Kelley’s life have been proposed by various authors. tired of Kelley’s empty promises. Diaries 27. despite his age. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . only to die in 1595 in prison: whether stabbed. the newes that Sir Edward Kelley was slayne.121 If Dee pursued any scrying activities in the period immediately following his return. while trying to escape. JD 93. Christopher Feldman . Edward Kelley. or by his own hand. whom he had left in possession of his house at Mortlake.” After some years Emperor Rudolph.31 - glorious and victorious power against the mallyce of hers and God’s enemies. petitioning the crown for a position.123 His influential friends occasionally sent 117 118 Quoted by Deacon. Even the date of his death is in dispute. 255. we will never know. or. Smith 203-206.122 he and Jane kept producing children. and. ran out of patience and had Kelley imprisoned. Kelley was briefly freed for a few years. Smith 220. Meanwhile. and scraping by. Due to his financial situation. he borrowed money to get by. Dee seems to have settled down to his former pursuits: research. 121 Halliwell 38 ff.”120 After his return to England. with some arguing for as late as 1598. Halliwell 57. Smith 212. Dee was embroiled in a protracted legal action against his brother-in-law Nicholas Fromond. including attacks of ague.John Dee. and of kidney stones – the latter being treated by such means as “a draught of ©2009 R. no record has survived. eventually settling for having to rent it back from Fromond. As Harkness (23) puts it.”117 The Lord Treasurer urged that “Sir Edward Kelley to come over to his native countrie and honour Her Majestie with the fruites of such knowledge as God has given him. 25th. 122 Dee was nearly seventy by now. as many stories claim. always terse.
124 and his lengthy curriculum vitae. Strangely.” Halliwell 52. Diaries 17. See Deacon 211. but failed to win support).125 By midyear 1594 Dee finally gave up all hope of a position: “I take myself confounded for all suing or hoping for anything that was. as he had been promised so many times since Elizabeth’s coronation. the “Compendious Rehearsall. but his poverty was deepening.32 - him gifts. 127 Deacon 263. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 251. 240.127 It meant leaving Mortlake and entering a world of provincial politics. born 9 months after the alleged “wife-swapping” episode. and later a daughter. he was finally offered a position: that of Warden of Christ’s College in Manchester. 126 Halliwell 53. Smith 229 ff. 123 Including a son. Christopher Feldman . Halliwell 46. and after that crabs’ eyes in powder with the bone in the carp’s head. and to find some suitable position for him. Smith 259. the man who was once the intellectual light of his time seems to have produced no more writing. 1-45. consumed time he would have rather put to use in his researches. R&W 56-57. Smith 257. he had little white wine and salet oyl. 253-256. Smith 252.John Dee. See also Deacon 262-263. Halliwell 55.” This last he delivered to two of the Queen’s representatives in an attempt to persuade the court to recompense him for the losses incurred in the ransacking of his library. named for one of the Enochian angels. Theodore. already in use on the Continent. JD 104-111. and offered a pittance in salary. 124 Deacon 255. 125 Full text of the “Compendious Rehearsall” is in the Diaries. Edward Kelley. from this point on his diaries are a continual litany of money borrowed and only occasionally repaid. Madinia Newton Dee. but having failed to win his suit for restitution. however. other than a comparison of the Julian and Gregorian calendars (he had previously attempted to persuade the court to adopt the new calendar. And so adiew to the court and courting tyll God direct me otherwise. Smith 220. and … two great draughts of ale.”126 The following year. Halliwell 38-39. 267. ©2009 R.
prompted Dee to resign his Wardenship. Mary in Manchester. his advancing age and declining health. JD 11. petitioned King James to allow him a trial to defend his name against slanders past. cared for to the end by his daughter Katharine. three years after he finally took up residence in Manchester.129 In 1603 Queen Elizabeth died.128 he was once more pawning the dishes and silver. 131.131 The following year. 136 Deacon 272-73. perhaps in conjunction with the loss of Jane and of his son 132 Theodore. 132 Or Kelley’s? 133 Deacon 272. Smith 293-296.136 128 129 Diaries 29. Edward Kelley. 134 Deacon 272. TFR 37-38 (new). Christopher Feldman .130 In 1604 Jane succumbed to the plague epidemic and was buried at the Collegiate Church of St. Yates. 130 Deacon 270-271.133 Dee returned to Mortlake broken in health and spirit. Smith 300. JD 125-126.134 Dee sought out Bartholomew Hickman. but also his hope of a better placement. By 1600.33 - choice but to accept. even to the point of selling some of his books for food. and in the course of a new series of some half a dozen sessions the angel Raphael told him to forget about money and prepare for “a long journey to friends beyond the sea.”135 In December 1608. Smith 284-5. perhaps fearing that some Puritan zealot would bring up his past. 131 Deacon 272. but the king simply ignored him. Diaries 85. Smith 298-300. Diaries 24. 108-109. TFR 32-43. ©2009 R. an old friend who had occasionally scryed for Dee in the past. and in severe financial straits. taking with her not only Dee’s lifelong love for his queen. Dee. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 135 Deacon 272-273. Smith 297. Halliwell 57. Occult Philosophy. Halliwell 68. he died quietly at home.John Dee.
scholar and mystic. where they laid for years after his death. & being brought safely back. hanging at the end of them. because not easily to be removed. Jones died. and brought his wife with him. who formerly Dwelt at the Plow in Lumbardstreet London. Dee hid a number of the most important manuscripts in the false bottom of a cedar chest. from her I received the following account of the preservation of these bookes. yet the bookes were taken out & carried with the rest of Mrs: Jones her goods into Moorefields. invited them to buy it. thought they heard some loose thing ratle in it. she took care to preserve them. which being drawne out. they kept the rest more safe. & other like uses. when his goods were exposed to Sale. though the chest perished in the flames. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . They made no great matter of these bookes &: because they understood them not. being of extraordinary neate worke. & thereupon appeared a private drawer. & papers. which when discovered. Mr. shortly after they were married. were fully satisfied it was so: Hereupon her husband thrust a peece of Iron into a small crevice at the bottome of the Chest. Christopher Feldman . & by shaking it. and after marrying with the aforesaid Mr: Wale. therein were found divers bookes in manuscript. & when the fire of London hapned. The Master of the shop told them it had been parcell of the Goods of one Mr: John Woodall Chirurgeon (father to Mr: Thomas Woodall late Serjant Chirurgeon to his now Majestie King Charles the Second (my intimate friend) and tis very probable he bought it after Doctor Dee’s death. whose lock & hinges. The serendipitous manner of their preservation is worth quoting at length: On the 10th: of the said September Mr: Wale came thither to me againe. & therein a chaplet of olive beades. under the box or till thereof. where (at the corner house) they saw a chest of cedarwood about a yard & halfe long.34 - Dee’s Legacy Toward the end of his life. Twenty yeares after this (& about 4 yeares before the fatall fire of London) she & her good husband occasionally removing this chest out of its usuall place. They ended up in the possession of Elias Ashmole. together with a litle box. tooke her with him into Adle Streete among the joyners. vizt: That her former Husband was one Mr: Jones a confectioner. he came to the ©2009 R. & who.John Dee. to buy some houshold stuff. Edward Kelley. toward the right hand end. & a cross of the same wood. which occasioned their servant maide to wast about one halfe of them under pyes. even till they came to my hands. About two yeares after the discovery of these bookes.
141 Ashmole was fascinated by Dee and his work. 183. Churton. 140 Churton 190. (UK: Signal Publishing. 141 Churton 81. The Precious Stone – Excerpted Writings of Sir Edward Kelley on the Alchemical Mystery . Tobias.143 Under the pseudonym “James Hasolle.” an anagram of his own name. Sherman 209 n9. quoted in Quinti 47-49. 142 See Ashmole. Ashmole was delighted with the find. Sherman 30. 33. sent them to me.144 Ashmole published a collection of Kelley’s alchemical writings. (Austin: Scarlet Woman Publications.138 Like Dee. Christopher Feldman . 139 Churton 237 ff. spending hours transcribing Dee’s records of the ‘Conversations’ by hand. ©2009 R. 266-68. as Dee had been a hero of sorts to him for some time. 2006). MSS. Harkness 32-33. Elias. 146 He also experimented with alchemy and magic147 —there is some evidence that Ashmole may have been the first person to actually attempt to perform the magical practices outlined in the ‘Conversa- 137 138 Ashmole. 147 Churton passim. 146 Churton 144. even writing a copy of Dee’s Hieroglyphic Monad in steganographic cipher. 145 See Ashmole.35 - knowledge of them.: Inner Traditions. in the manner of Trithemius. as I haue before set downe. Edward Kelley. Harkness passim. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 2004 [as The Invisible Life of Elias Ashmole]. and sent friends to interview Dee’s son Arthur and grandson Rowland for recollections about Dee and Kelley. 145. 2003).145 Ashmole translated Arthur Dee’s treatise on alchemy. 144 Churton 144. Rochester. & there upon. 139 a skilled mathematician. 143 Churton 264-65. Webster 63-64. 140 and was fascinated with ciphers and encryption. Ashmole was a collector of rare books (as is obvious from his remarkable library-cum-museum: the Ashmolean collection is one of the great treasures of the British Library).137 We can only hope those pies were worth it. The Magus of Freemasonry. with her consent.142 and visiting Mortlake to interview its inhabitants about Dee. reprint. Vt.John Dee.
was to be influential upon Isaac Newton some years later.149 Meanwhile. 150 The full title is A True and Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers Between Dr. such as reversing the illustration of Dee’s ‘Table of Practice. Edward Kelley. See TFR.v. and King James their Reignes) and Some Spirits: Tending (had it Succeeded) To a General Alteration of most States and Kingdomes in the World.. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Ashmole and Causabon recognized the importance of Dee’s work in their preservation and presentation of his writing.. and appends the few surviving records of Dee’s last scrying sessions with Bartholomew Hickman shortly before Dee’s death in 1608. Unfortunately. 151 Vide infra. 76. as there is no other published version. 151 Causabon introduces a great many typographical errors. 149 148 ©2009 R. many of which have degraded over time. Churton passim.’ bringing in a significant number of changes from Dee’s original records. another seventeenth century scholar.36 - tions’148—and his magnum opus on alchemy. published some of the Dee material in his book. Harkness 127 n114. Causabon did not print the records in full. Webster 64. the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum. p. Meric Causabon. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. The book consists of large parts of Dee MS Cotton Appendix XLVI (q. A True and Faithful Relation. but exercised some editorial bias in order to support his thesis—presented in a 55-page preface to the work— that while Dee may have believed himself in contact with divine forces. Eliz. he was in fact the dupe of both Kelley and the deceiving Satanic spirits he had raised. the only choice available to scholars is to either work with Causabon or struggle through the task of reading Dee’s manuscripts. although Causabon edited and editorialized in A True Churton 259.).150 The book consists of the bulk of Dee’s records of the ‘Conversations’ from the first session in May 1583 through the end of the period of working with Kelley in April 1587. Christopher Feldman .John Dee.
’ Harkness (222-223) discusses a small group. P. in contrast. At some point either Mathers or another founder. 1994). records of whom are in the British Library. Among its founders was a reclusive bibliophile and occultist named Samuel Liddell Macgregor Mathers. Alex. 295 ff] discusses a circle of alchemical researchers either led. After this time. evidence has surfaced that may indicate that others in the seventeenth century were tempted to experiment with the magical system in the ‘Conversations. by Dee and Kelley. the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . The Sword of Wisdom: MacGregor Mathers and “The Golden Dawn” (New York: G. No. Jan. 1975). Edward Kelley.152 In the late 1880’s. 2006). The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern. discovered some of the Dee material.John Dee. who frequented various older libraries looking for obscure texts on magic. who conducted crystal-gazing sessions to converse with angels between 1671 and 1688. The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic. 154 See Colquohoun. Netherlands: Springer. which they then incorporated into the Golden Dawn’s magical studies and initiation rituals. W. 193. Regardie]. Dee’s reputation as a black magician. this time to have an impact Dee could never have foreseen. Wynn Westcott.” in Stephen Clucas. and Regardie.. ©2009 R. or inspired.153 one of the most influential seeds of modern esotericism. And Bäcklund [Bäcklund. 153 See Owen. “In the Footsteps of Edward Kelley: Some Manuscript References at the Royal Library in Copenhagen Concerning an Alchemical Circle around John Dee and Edward Kelley. (Dordrecht. Ithell. Christopher Feldman . which he would then translate. John Dee: Interdisciplinary Studies in English Renaissance Thought. was interested in pursuing the studies begun by Dee and Kelley.37 - and Faithful Relation… in an attempt to argue for. and Regardie. or perhaps cash in on.154 That they did not have access to all of the Dee corpus (and/or Ashmole’s transcriptions) is clear from the way they adopted the Enochian magi- 152 Recently. most of the Dee material lay hidden in a few libraries before once again being brought to light several centuries later. though it does not appear that they were interested in the angelical side of things. Putnam’s Sons. three Freemasons met and founded a new esoteric fraternity. International Archives of the History of Ideas. Israel [Francis I. (Tempe: New Falcon Publications. 2004). ed. Ashmole. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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cal system, 155 skipping entire portions, and changing things to suit their syncretic approach—for example, they incorporated Hebrew Qabalah, Agrippan astrology, Rosicrucianism,156 and Christian magical formulae into the way they used the Enochian magical system.157 Nevertheless, the importance they placed upon the Dee material may be seen in their incorporation of it into their advanced magical work; the entire tenth and last volume of Regardie’s Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic is concerned with the Golden Dawn version of Dee’s Enochian material. Despite not having access to all of the Dee material, the Golden Dawn created an extensive set of practices based on the Enochian system. They carried out their own scrying experiments, 158 incorporated their peculiar Hebraicized pronunciation of Enochian phrases159 into their initiation rituals,160 and even invented a four-handed chess game that
So called because the angels told Dee & Kelley they had been chosen to receive knowledge lost to humankind since the time of the Biblical prophet Enoch, to whom the angels said it had last been imparted. 156 As a tangential note, it is fitting to remark here that there is a clear, if indirect, connection between Dee and the ‘Conversations,’ and the Rosicrucian phenomenon that arose a generation later, and continues to this day. There is fertile ground for further research here, building on the work of Case, Churton, Clulee, Grafton, Khan, McIntosh, Newman, Yates, and others. 157 The evidence supports a theory that their information was limited to Sloane MSS 307 & 3821, and Rawlinson D 1067 & D 1363. (See Skinner & Rankine, Practical Angel Magic.) If they had access to Causabon, they either did not read it carefully, or else chose to ignore large portions of it. 158 See Farr, Florence, The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn, Darcy Kuntz, ed. (Edmonds, Wash.: Holmes Publishing, 1996), passim; King, Francis, ed., Ritual Magic of the Golden Dawn, (Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1987), 95-101.. 159 See Laycock 45-47, 59-61. 160 See Cicero, Chic & Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Secrets of a Golden Dawn Temple, (St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1992) and Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, (St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1995); Regardie, The Golden Dawn and The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic, Four Volumes in One, Fifth ed., (St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1986).
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combined elements of Enochian with nineteenth century notions about Egyptian deities. 161 In the course of its brief history, the Golden Dawn counted a number of famous figures among its members, including William Yeats, Maude Gonne, Arthur Machen, Bram Stoker, Evelyn Underhill, Edward Arthur Waite, and others. One of its most famous members was the author and occultist Edward Alexander (“Aleister”) Crowley. Crowley was a member for only a few years before going on to found his own magical order, the Astron Argon (A. A.), and later to become head of a Masonic fraternity, the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), but during his tenure with the Golden Dawn he extensively studied their version of Dee’s Enochian magical system. He wrote a compact manual for its practice,162 and performed his own scrying of the various celestial planes or “aethyrs.”163 In the late twentieth century, interest in alternative forms of spirituality exploded in the West: young people eschewed mainstream churches and synagogues and flocked to ashrams, Zen Buddhist retreats, and basement meditation temples. Along with a fascination with all things Asian, interest in the occult was growing, giving rise to the creation of dozens, if not hundreds, of neo-pagan groups, wiccan covens, and of organizations based on (and usually claiming, with varying levels of truthfulness, direct lineal descent from) the Golden Dawn, A. A., and O. T. O. In fact, all three of those nineteenth century orders
For description and rules, see Regardie, The Golden Dawn, 683-696. See also Colquohoun 254-268. Crowley’s work, which he titled “Liber Chanokh” from the Hebrew spelling of “Enoch,” is included in Crowley, Aleister, Lon Milo Duquette & Christopher S. Hyatt, The Enochian World of Aleister Crowley: Enochian Sex Magick, (Scottsdale: New Falcon Publications, 1991), 61-102. 163 See Crowley, Aleister, with Victor B. Neuberg and Mary Desti, The Vision and the Voice with Commentary, and Other Papers, Equinox 4, No. 2, (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1998).
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had survived, often in splintered factions, and their descendants also saw a rise in new members at this time.164 Interest in the Golden Dawn, and especially in Crowley’s writings, created in turn a new interest in all things Enochian. The secrets that the angels had imparted to Kelley, and which Dee had so painstakingly recorded, were suddenly being openly published and sold in bookstores around the world. In 1950 there were fewer than half a dozen books on Dee, most of them out of print and sitting in libraries at larger universities. By 2000, there were numerous books on “Enochian Magick” being sold in small occult bookshops, large chain bookstores, and through online vendors such as Amazon. This surge of interest created in turn a new generation of explorers of the magical system outlined in the ‘Conversations.’ Writers like Denning & Phillips, Lon Milo Duquette, Geoffrey James, Ben Rowe, Gerald Schueler, Donald Tyson, Pat Zalewski, and others began to offer not only records of their own scrying experiments, but also many “how to” books. Several editions of Causabon’s A True and Faithful Record… were published, Donald Laycock created a dictionary of the angelic language, and writers began to offer eclectic admixtures that Dee might never have imagined. Suddenly, stores were offering books on Enochian Yoga,165 decks of Enochian Tarot cards, 166 and, in what is probably the height of Enochian eclectic-bizarre, a Voodoo Gnostic Workbook that reads
A recent (January 2009) online search on “Golden Dawn” turned up half a dozen competing organizations using the name. 165 See Scheuler, Gerald J. and Betty Scheuler, Enochian Yoga: Uniting Humanity and Divinity, Llewellyn’s High Magick Series, (St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1995). 166 See Duquette, Lon Milo, Tarot of Ceremonial Magick: A Pictorial Synthesis of Three Great Pillars of Magick (Astrology, Enochian Magick, Goetia), (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1995); Genaw, Bill, et. al, A Guide to the Golden Dawn Enochian Skrying Tarot, (St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2004); Scheuler & Schueler, The Enochian Tarot, Llewellyn’s High Magick Series, Illustrations by Sallie Ann Glassman, (St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1989).
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google. Clulee. Michael. (San Francisco: Weiser. 576. and hence the words in the terrestrial “Enochian” language have many letters. Edward Kelley. It has been a long time coming.000 hits on “Enochian. ruled by the four elemental kings..169 but academia has finally begun to catch up as well. or Malcuth the most sounds are needed. H. 1930’s Hollywood grade-B thrillers. 2007).. with well-researched titles by Albanese. Szönyi. Owen. Sherman. Shumaker. and others.” and a staggering 350. John Dee. Vickers.000 hits on “Dr.v. Voudon Gnostic Workbook. and automatic writing: The Zothyrians are gnostics in the hyperspatial or metageometrical sense. This is necessarily so. are available in music stores.41 - like a mixture of Dee.. Clucas. and it has not involved the kind of Armageddon the angels threatened. 168 ©2009 R. Dee and Kelley and the ‘Conversations. Reeds. has perhaps provided the high-water mark in his Enochian Vision Magick (q.”168 CDs of Crowley reciting the Enochian “calls.com 169 Duquette. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . P. Roberts & Watson. and a recent (January 2009) search turned up 45. along with heavy metal bands with names like “Enochian Stormthrone. Lovecraft. For the spirits of the Earth. http://www. 167 Bertiaux.” originally recorded on wax cylinders. a prolific and highly informative yet entertaining writer on magic and occultism. Christopher Feldman . and interest in. 167 The advent of the internet age has predictably created an even greater dissemination of information about.).” The number of books on Dee and the ‘Conversations’ continues to rise: not only by popular authors like Lon Milo Duquette. for these entities must penetrate a very dense material sphere of power. expanded ed. Szulakowska.’ There are a number of discussion groups and forums dedicated to the topic. Harkness.John Dee. but the message first heard by Dee and Kelley is being passed on at last.
we need to look at Kelley’s personal resources in the form of his education and background. Resources In examining the question of whether Kelley was the author of a hoax at Dee’s expense. the purpose of this paper is to examine the ‘Conversations’ for evidence either in support of or against a theory that they were based upon an elaborate hoax played by Edward Kelley at the expense of John Dee. ©2009 R. we must ask whether there were resources available such that he could have pulled off a deception of this sort. Christopher Feldman . We will then examine in detail the actual content of the ‘Conversations. if that was indeed the case. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . it will be useful to discuss the resources available to Kelley in such an endeavor. as well as external resources such as the books and manuscripts to which he might have had access. and Dee. Edward Kelley. Dee’s family. Before beginning the analysis of the ‘Conversations’ with an eye to constructing a theory in regard to their authorship.’ and the possible theories of authorship.42 - Analysis As stated at the outset. and their various benefactors. Finally. To investigate this question. might have had for a relationship based upon deception.John Dee. we will investigate the possible motivations Kelley.
1583.” at no time do the angels’ capabilities seem to exceed Kelley’s. and spoke and read Latin. Runyon. Dee records: 170 171 TFR 26. Conybeare. Calder in Quinti. He supposedly had no Greek. Leitch.170 Further. sup. other than the abovementioned message in Greek. Mathers. Runyon. Kelley had received at least a partial college education. In fact. This raises some issues when the angel Madimi delivers a message in that language. see Mathers. and commands them to do his bidding. and scrying. not Hungarian—a language Kelley presumably did not speak. Christopher Feldman . Fanger’s Conjuring Spirits. as well as those presented in Best & Brightman. There are repeated references to Kelley’s familiarity with what is now called ‘Solomonic’ or ‘Goetic’ magic.John Dee. Kieckhefer.). and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . in the course of which Dee is warned not to trust Kelley (she also tells Kelley the message is in “Syriac.” which raises the question whether angels can lie).171 We also have evidence that Kelley was well acquainted with magical operations. Kuntz. Skinner & Rankine on Solomonic magic. Leitch’s Secrets of the Magical Grimoires. Goetia and other ‘Solomonic’ magical texts. Macdonald’s translation of Bacon’s De Nigromancia. we may find significance in the latter’s insistence that a message of admonishment to Rudolph be delivered in Latin. Weyer. long before he met Dee. Peterson’s translations of various grimoires. Betz. etc.43 - Kelley’s Education and Background As we have seen (Historical Context. if we suspect Kelley of being the author of the angels’ messages. Turner’s 1656 translation of the Ars Notoria.173 On June 19. 173 See especially Kuntz. though it does not seem he knew any other languages than Latin and English. and Skinner & Rankine for examples. F. 39. R.172 in which the operator conjures dead souls or fallen spirits to appear in the chamber. 172 For more on Goetic magic. Edward Kelley. séances. ©2009 R. Peterson. Hockley. and the delivery of the ‘Enochian’ language “Calls. See I.
and said. wherein these Geographical names are expressed. I replied.44 - Note.K. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Christopher Feldman . and brought in his hand one Volume of Cornelius Agrippa his works. I am very glad that you have a Book of your own. the work of Henry Cornelius Agrippa shows a number of points of similarity with Enochian magic—so much so that at one point Kelley complains about the angels’ cribbing from Agrippa: After half an hour and lesse. my Companion (E. and in one Chapter of that Book he read the names of Countries and Provinces collected out of Ptolomeum (as the Author there noteth).) would have caused personal apparitions of some of the reprobate spirits. 174 175 TFR 20. taken out of other Books : and therefore he would have no more to do with them.’ a familiarity with the former might be a useful experience upon which to draw if we posit Kelley as having invented the latter. thereby to shew some experience of his skill in such doings : But I would not consent to it. before the Prince Albert Laskie in my Study. that our spiritual instructors were Coseners to give me a description of the World. [Kelley] came speedily out of his Study. ©2009 R. 174 While there are considerable differences between magical operations of this sort and the Enochian system as received in the ‘Conversations. Whereupon he inferred.’ We must now therefore turn our attention to Dee’s library. such as (for the most part) our Instructors had delivered unto us… 175 Whether we read this as Kelley’s disingenuousness in order to head off any suspicions on Dee’s part. TFR 158-159. it demonstrates that the books available to Kelley form a very real resource upon which he might have drawn in order to craft the ‘Conversations.John Dee. Even more than the classical Solomonic grimoires. or simply another example of his mercurial nature. Edward Kelley.
Arabic) Roger Bacon PRESENT TO SOME EXTENT Art of Memory British History Demonology: Jean Bodin: Demonomanie Des Sorciers Malleus Malificarum Menghi: Flagellum Daemonum. Metallurgy) Angelology. It is instructive to take note which of these are best represented in the collection. Christopher Feldman . and their potential utility as a resource to Kelley. Given Dee’s religious attitude.John Dee. esp: Pseudo-Dionysus Trithemius Others (see R&W 29) Architecture and Perspective Aristotle Arts. and book collecting. In this remarkable book. Edward Kelley. except as noted176 Law Mysticism (except for Llull) Theology.” ©2009 R. we should have found copies with evidence of Dee ownership. esp. In addition to presenting a plausible theory as to which books accompanied Dee on that trip. unless he was careful to never mark them in any way. Fustis Daemonum Weyer: De Praestigiis Daemonom European History Magic: Agrippa (multiple copies) Liber Juratus LEAST REPRESENTED Dee’s own works Grimoires. reproduce in facsimile the library catalog Dee had created shortly before leaving for Europe with Kelley and Laski. and/or they were all destroyed. and describe the particulars and current whereabouts of every book that can be associated with Dee’s collection.45 - The Contents of Dee’s Library The definitive source of information on Dee’s library is the masterful work by Julian Roberts and Andrew G. Vitruvius Astrology (incl. now regrettably out of print. MOST NUMEROUS Agrippa Alchemy (incl. it seems more likely that he avoided all but the ones that might be considered either angelic or what we would now refer to as “natural magic. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Mining. Roberts and Watson provide analyses of Dee’s life. discuss the contents of the catalog. Roberts and Watson provide an extensive breakdown of the collection by topics. writing. Watson. other than angelology 176 Even if they were in the uncataloged materials. John Dee’s Library Catalogue.
177 the content of the sermons. Jakob Boehm. is one of the best represented authors on magic in Dee’s library. Furthermore. and could be created ex tempore by any ‘fire and brimstone’ preacher. and that Agrippa. millennialist harangues.John Dee. Edward Kelley. in Italian Travel. most of the sermons and prophecies Kelley recites are far from inspiring in their composition or delivery. or the medieval Sufi figures like Mansur al-Hallaj. Botany Navigation Neoplatonists: Ficino Iamblichus Pico de Mirandola Porphyry Proclus Psellus Pseudo-Dionysus Synesius The Poemander Paracelsus Turba Philosophorum Voynich Manuscript (briefly) Trismegistos (several works) Trithemius (1 copy) Book of Soyga (1 copy) Mythology. esp. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . incl. Torah) Ramon Llull Mathematics Medicine. he does not engage in the kind of mystical visionary writing of the kind associated with writers like St. 177 While the works of Ramon Llull occasionally discuss philosophy and theology in terms that border upon the mystical. Christopher Feldman . who is perhaps the closest in content to the early Enochian material. related to Navigation TABLE 1. and allegorical visions delivered by Kelley in the ‘Conversations’ are such that little background is needed in order for their production. While we do not find mention of works of mysticism or visions. Teresa of Ávila. BREAKDOWN OF DEE’S LIBRARY BY TOPIC We may see from the above that Kelley had access to a number of magical texts.46 - Geometry Hebrew Books (incl. ©2009 R.
“Dr. ©2009 R.’ and there is some evidence that he also used a polished obsidian mirror. in regard to whether the item displayed in the British Museum as Dee’s mirror was in fact his. while the record shows that visions were occasionally received spontaneously. Dee’s Mirror”. Often there was some dialogue with Dee asking questions or making comments. who recorded each session. Harkness 30. In the mean space. These might be occasioned by material matters such as pausing for mealtimes.John Dee. or whether it is a hoax perpetrated after Dee’s death.47 - The Content of the ‘Conversations’ The scrying sessions in which Dee and Kelley engaged were conducted in a variety of settings and conditions. Kelley would report what he saw and heard to Dee. Christopher Feldman . and make motion to God. (London: Routledge. Edward Kelley. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . in my Oratory did pray. See British Museum. Sherman 35. There were many days when the two would engage in multiple sessions on the same day. and Kelley reporting the angels’ responses. These generally began with the room being arranged for the purpose by setting up the table and its linens.’178 Then followed a period of prayer which generally lasted between a quarter to half an hour. Nicolas. while Kelley waited to see something in the stone. and placing upon it one of Dee’s ‘shewstones. [Kelley] than settled himself to the Action: and on his Knees att my desk (setting the stone before him) fell to prayer and entreaty &c. 1988). Clulee. I. 179 Quinti 66-67. 206-207 & Figs. Quinti 19 n54. too. again communicating the angels’ replies to Dee. John Dee’s Natural Philosophy: Between Science and Religion. He is known to have used a small crystal sphere much like today’s ‘fortunetellers.1. And within one quarter of an howre (or less) he had sight of one in the stone…179 When the vision began. or by the angels’ commands to rest for a while and return again later.2. and his good Creatures for the furdering of this Action. 8. 8. Kelley. there were some standard methods employed in the planned sessions. 178 The term “shewstone” (signifying a stone in which some vision is shown to the viewer) is used by Dee to refer to several different stones. There is some controversy over this latter. would occasionally speak to the angels.
Predictions Allegorical Visions. Prophecies. Christopher Feldman . Edward Kelley. furnishings and instruments they are directed to make. or Fludd.’181 various tables of letter squares. and (d) Instructions related to the magical system: the technical components of Enochian magic including the ‘Angelic language. Apparitions Personal Admonishments. England 1582-83 Sermons. and Woolley. (b) Various allegorical visions in imagery reminiscent of dream sequences or the sort of alchemical metaphorical images found in alchemical works. ©2009 R. Khunrath.180 (c) Admonishments directed to Dee. Maier. CONTENT RECEIVED IN THE ‘ANGELIC CONVERSATIONS’ – RAW DATA 180 181 See the illustrations published later in the works of Lambsprinke. Instructions TOTAL Europe 1583-89 14 (19%) 15 (21%) 17 (23%) 27 (37%) 73 121 (39%) 76 (24%) 68 (22%) 48 (15%) 313 TABLE 2.’ see Harkness. and even more to Kelley. on how to conduct themselves. Szönyi. For an exploration of the connections between Enochian and Early Modern concepts of ‘Adamic language. see Laycock 27-47. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .John Dee. occasionally interspersed with exhortations that Dee and Kelley had been chosen especially to deliver the angels’ message to mankind. Orders Magical Information. prophecies and predictions. For an in-depth analysis of the Enochian alphabet and language.48 - The actual content of the ‘Conversations’ falls into four broad categories: (a) Sermons. and instructions on how to use it all.
magic. and how they change over time. however. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . and last and least. then personal admonishments. allegorical vision. Visions Commands FIGURE 1. personal admonishment. Diaries. was noted. therefore the statistical data here provided must be approximate. prophecies and predictions. Edward Kelley. and TFR. etc. the type of messages received (sermon. 15% 37% 39% 19% 21% 23% England 1582-83 24% 22% Europe 1583-89 Magic Sermons & Predict.). magic. The analysis that follows was derived by in-depth examination of Dee’s records for the period. followed by allegorical visions. Christopher Feldman .49 - It is interesting to note the distribution of these content categories. and the information therein. then allegorical visions and apparitions. followed by personal admonitions and orders.John Dee. ©2009 R.182 For each record the date and location of the session. the order is reversed: sermons and prophecies predominate. the bulk of the ‘Conversations’ was taken up with magical information and instruction. Where a message 182 Primarily the Dee MSS. Once on the Continent. CONTENT RECEIVED IN THE ‘ANGELIC CONVERSATIONS’ – DISTRIBUTION There is considerable overlap of categories in any given session. Quinti. During the period of Dee & Kelley’s collaboration prior to leaving England for Europe. and lastly by sermons.
if any surmises as to the message’s impact upon our question of authorship may be adduced. 183 Among these sermons are a number of prophecies. Sermons. Neither shall there any that ruleth now. or reigneth as a King. and Predictions There were a great many sermons and prophecies. that fact was noted. that too was considered. Edward Kelley. shall Antichrist be known unto all the world. and seem much like the haranguing of a second rate “fire and brimstone” preacher: This moneth in the fourth year. and it would not have been particularly difficult for Kelley to create them. noted above. the sermons and millennialist prophecies seem to be fairly standard. Overall. Lastly. predominantly directed towards humankind in general rather than Dee & Kelley. ©2009 R. and the sinking of the Spanish Armada. and almost always of a millennialist nature. or Governor of the …le.50 - bears a relationship to other messages. or a resemblance to a potential resource. Prophecies. Most of these are frankly not of the highest quality. Certainly Dee evi- 183 TFR 60. live unto the end of the third year : But they shall all perishe. Then shall wo. both of great changes to come in the world with the dawning of a new age. wo. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .John Dee. Christopher Feldman . as well as occasional predictions of a more practical nature. such as those foreseeing the death of Mary Stuart. dwell among the Kings of the earth : For they shall be chosen all anew.
189 184 185 See. ©2009 R.185 The beheading of Mary Stuart and the sinking of the Spanish Armada are among the very few successes in this regard. 187 TFR 17. Elias again among you. . now cometh that day. and as many writers have pointed out. Examples of the latter include the angel Uriel’s prediction that Dee would live to be 111. the late sixteenth century was a period of great millennialist speculation. 188 TFR 139.187 but that if Laski failed to serve the angels’ purposes his bowels would fall out. such as this one: Behold. . 189 TFR 233. far more often Kelley delivers incorrect predictions. Christopher Feldman . of the various predictions recorded very few came true. that is known unto the Lord himself. Added to the list of failures are prophecies of the impending end of the world as they know it. Edward Kelley.184 None of the material of this type that was recorded in the ‘Conversations’ gives cause to question whether Kelley could have been its creator. wherein the Kingdoms of the earth shall begin to fall: thay they may perceive how they have run astray .John Dee. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . that this Prophesie shall be known. Then shall the rivers run blood: Then shall the wo be unto women with child: Then shall the time come to passe. Harkness passim. The Stars increase their light: and some of them fall from heaven. Behold I will send before that day.186 and a spirit named Galvah prophesying (repeatedly) that Prince Laski would be king of Poland within a year. In the year eighty eight.188 and so on. Furthermore. shall you see the Sun move contrary to his course. for example.51 - dences no great surprise at either their content or their style. 186 Quinti 66. See Quinti 40-41 for Peterson’s comments on the unreliability of the angels’ information.
Out of the total number of prophecies received probably less than 5% can be considered to have come to pass. Now he is turned into a water which goeth round about. or out of doors. Allegorical Visions and Apparitions Although fewer in number than the sermons. three times. and in the midst of it is bloud. During one 190 TFR 400. ©2009 R. though also among the hardest to interpret: E. Now he is returned to his former shape again. of some 165 predictions and prophecies. He standeth still. As far as this category of received material. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . and catcheth it againe. the allegorical visions remain some of the most striking of the images received. such as when the predictions of Laski’s imminent accession to the throne of Poland are subsequently replaced by warnings that Laski had fallen from heavenly favor and was in danger of early death – neither of which came to pass. much less for supposed angels sent from God. Christopher Feldman .K. Dee also records a number of apparitions which Kelley reports seeing in the room. The hair of his head is short as of an young child: He had a little Circle of aire in his hand: There is a light in the stone as if there were the shining of the Sunne in it… He throweth up the Circlet. then. with a white cloth scarf.John Dee. there is little that would argue against the likelihood of Kelley as its source. espied a little naked boy. roughly one third were later contradicted by subsequent sessions.52 - In fact. Edward Kelley. and saith nothing more yet. from under his Navel hanging down unto his knees. 190 In addition to the allegorical visions seen in the shewstone. not an impressive track record even for a human.
Dee records them without comment. Christopher Feldman . at least to present-day skeptical minds. Personal Admonishments and Commands The angels also delivered a number of personal admonishments and directives. the allegorical passages are within the abilities of someone as versed in alchemical texts as Kelley.53 - session Kelley claims that devils are pinching him. aimed at correcting Dee or Kelley’s actions or at ordering their next movements. Edward Kelley. much less skepticism. at another he claims to see angels hovering over the attendees. and there seems little reason to doubt that a convicted criminal with a record of counterfeiting and “cozening” or fraud would find sleight of hand beyond his capabilities. which were of the sort outlined in traditional Solomonic grimoires. Once again there is no reason to believe Kelley could not have created these messages and apparent miracles. Oddly. Dee evinces no doubt as to the reality of these reports. for various activities or attitudes. and shows the bruises to Dee. the angels several times scold Kelley for working with unclean spirits in his personal magical undertakings. Clearly. There is also a record of a gardener-like figure who allegedly restores to Kelley some of the books which the angels had previously caused him to burn. and who then disappears into the trunk of a tree. especially of Kelley. or the sudden manifestation of wicked spirits assaulting Kelley. Some took the form of scolding.John Dee. Whether it is the supposedly miraculous recovery of the books he thought had been burnt. ©2009 R. For example. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .
such as when Kelley is shown an image of two birds yoked together and told that it is a reference to Dee and Kelley working together. The angels also deliver a series of orders in regard to Dee & Kelley’s peregrinations on the Continent: they are told to move from Lasko to Cracow.192 The angels also deliver admonishments on larger life matters as well. is accursed. as when Kelley is admonished for his outbursts of anger. Edward Kelley. of my Companion his intent. thereby to shew some experience of his skill in such doings : But I would not consent to it : And thereupon Galvah gave judgement and warning of such an error. &c. leading to the ‘wife-swapping’ incident. along with Kelley’s actions that apparently prompted them. both in speech and in allegorical visions. the pair are reprimanded for not having carried out some previous order. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . They are several times told to work as one. my companion (E.John Dee. Time and again Dee records that Kelley’s mercurial nature prompted a rebuke being received in a subsequent session.54 - Gal: Whosoever taketh servants of the wicked. But O Satan.K. Quinti 215. 193 Quinti 175-176. during this period they are instructed to renounce their attempts to seek Emperor Rudolph’s patronage and concentrate on King Stephen of Poland instead. ©2009 R.) would have caused personal apparitions of some of the reprobate spirits. and later from Cracow to Prague. how many are they deceits? Dee: Note. These messages. One of the most curious is a session in which the an191 192 TFR 21. and his reactions to them. such as when Dee makes excuses for not having obtained the ring he had been told to make. are worth noting. Christopher Feldman . to prove the glory of God. 191 At other times.193 The most extreme version of this is the set of commands and allegorical images in which they are told to hold all things in common. before the Prince Albert Laskie in my study.
e. We will examine Kelley’s. At any rate. deception of this sort seems superfluous. we are left with a puzzle as to how he was able to transmit the message. but for the time being we may note this phenomenon of constant admonition as a possible anomaly to the theory of deception on Kelley’s part. the message in Greek. is problematic if we can believe that Kelley was ignorant of the language. i. Edward Kelley. the “Heptarchic. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .55 - gel Madimi—through Kelley—gives Dee a message in Greek (which Kelley supposedly does not speak) in which she warns Dee not to trust Kelley. and Dee’s. nothing here precludes the possibility of a hoax. If Kelley in fact did not speak Greek. Christopher Feldman . motivations in a subsequent section. or pretend to receive messages scolding himself.” and “Eno- ©2009 R.John Dee. If Kelley did in fact have some Greek and had been fooling Dee.. and many of the popular authors have treated it as falling into what have been called (for reasons we will see shortly). we are left with the problem of why he would deliver a message in which he characterized himself as unreliable. or even if he simply memorized the lines ahead of time. it seems more reasonable to expect such behavior from someone who is concerned about convincing his dupe. and so on.” “Logaeth. Yet given that Dee seems to have already been quite convinced of the veracity of the sessions. Magical Information and Instructions The magical instructions appear at first glance to be divided into three somewhat discrete sections. While it is plausible that a charlatan might (as Kelley did) threaten to leave. The one possible exception.
Edward Kelley. a wax seal carved with magical symbols to set under the stone. there is in fact a logical progression with each piece building upon the one before. Penn.”195 Yet only one week later. Christopher Feldman . or Liber Juratus. or “sigil of God’s truth. as when they tell Dee that the wax disk to be engraved with the Sigillum Dei Aemeth. While these are corrected and added to later on. This includes directions on creating the magical accoutrements—a table on which to place the shewstone. Conjuring Spirits – Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic. shows that there are more nuanced differences between the material received.’ All of this is familiar to any reader of medieval grimoires.. 1998). see Fanger. ed.56 - chian” magical systems. as well as demonstrating that. Claire. a magical ring and breastplate or lamen for Dee to wear. the bulk of this information is given at the beginning of the ‘Conversations. A closer reading. (University Park. The first magical instructions received deal with what we may loosely call the preparatory stage. in some of the early sessions the angels seem to be borrowing directly from material in Dee’s library.” may be done by using the version of the sigil printed in the famous medieval grimoire known as the Sworn Book of Honorius. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . which as we have demonstrated both Dee and Kelley were.: Pennsylvania State University Press. Kelley begins receiving a corrected version. 194 ©2009 R. In fact. rather than being neatly divisible into discrete parts. however. and so on.194 which Dee is told is “already perfected.John Dee. For more on this important work. Magic in History Series. planetary symbols to be placed around the stone upon the table of practice. 195 Quinti 66.
. &c. not in respect of my self. Edward Kelley. 196 196 Quinti 184-185.John Dee. SIGILLUM DEI AEMETH LIBER JURATUS FIGURE 3. Christopher Feldman . and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . SIGILLUM DEI AEMETH DEE & KELLEY The preliminaries in place. but of my government.. I weare these Robes. seven time seven) “good angels” who are related to the seven classical planets.e. the next set of directions has to do with further planetary magic. This is also known as the “Bonorum” material. [He] appeared in a blak veluet coat. elements. his purse hanging abowt his neck and so put under his gyredell at which hong a gylt rapier. days of the week. the “Heptarchic” system. And he sayd. The information received seems to be strongly reminiscent of the type of material seen in ‘Solomonic’ grimoires as well as the writings of Agrippa: King Bobogel. etc. a reference to the forty-nine (i. his berd was long : and he had pantofells and pynsons. ©2009 R.57 - FIGURE 2. and his hose was close rownd hose with veluet upperstocks : ouerlayed with gold lace : On his hed a veluet hatcap with a blak feather in it : with a Cape hanging on one of his sholders.
Kelley not only reports the arrival of the angel Salamian. it is Dee who reassures him of its veracity. Cheiromancy. sup. 1995). His Office is to teach the Arts of Philosophy. 54.John Dee. Maine: Weiser. Dee takes this as corroboration of the scryer’s abilities – a pattern found throughout their relationship: whenever Kelley raises an objection to the material he is himself providing. Logic. (York Beach. the archangel Michael names the angel NA as the “angel of [Dee’s] profession. Rhetoric.” 198 Kelley questions this. MacGregor. riding upon a pale-coloured Horse. edited by Hymenaeus Beta [pseud. 197 ©2009 R. He hath under his Power 20 Legions of Spirits. on March 15.). He is a Knight. L. and a new set of forty-nine angels known as the Heptarchia (‘seven rulers’).]. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . The bulk of the material received in this early period has to do with the various orders of angels whose names may be extracted from the Sigillum Dei Aemeth (vide. Another example of Kelley transmitting material found in the doctor’s library. Christopher Feldman . and illustrated by Aleister Crowley.. and perfectly. Edward Kelley. in this case the Intelligence associated with the Solar sphere. The Goetia – the Lesser Key of Solomon the King (Lemegeton Book 1. comes at the very next session.. who is found in Pietro di Abano’s Heptameron. edited. S. trans. 198 Quinti 73. 197 In fact. or the Mathers. who is listed in the Arbatel as one of the seven planetary spirits. Astrology. On Kelley’s second visit to Dee. Rather than suspecting Kelley of cribbing. much of this material is straight out of Agrippa and similar sources.58 - Compare with this portion of the Mathers translation of the ‘Solomonic’ Goetia: Furcas. and Pyromancy. where he is named Enay. 1582. Clavicula Salomonis Regis). in all their parts. annotated. but Dee reassures him that the angel is found in Reuchlin’s De Arte Cabalistica. with a Sharp Wea-pon in his hand. illustrated 2nd ed. In it. and appeareth in the Form of a Cruel Old Man with a long Beard and a hoary Head. but also refers to an angel named Och.
’ such as the fact that all of the angels’ names begin with the letter ‘B’ – perhaps a connection to the first letter of the Bible. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . a prince.’ rather than Aleph. the first word of the Torah is Bereshith. and several subordinates—here a grouping of seven angels for each of the seven days/elements/planets.199 FIGURE 4. This association between the seven classical planets. Whole works of qabalistic exegesis have been written about why the Torah begins with Beth. and seven elements. ‘B. ANGELS OF THE BONORUM The angels of the Bonorum fall into the standard hierarchical structure familiar to pre-modern society. There are some innovations in the Bonorum system as found in the ‘Conversations. Edward Kelley. the days of the week. and means much the same thing. ‘A. is a familiar formula 199 In Hebrew. Christopher Feldman .59 - “Bonorum” angels.” It is also the name of the chapter known in English as Genesis.’ ©2009 R. with a king. or “Beginning.John Dee.
passim. James Freake. a revision to the method is provided. are related to the seven planets. which the angels call the “Ensigns of Creation. trans.60 - going back to classical times and possibly to Sumeria.John Dee. Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Christopher Feldman . This time. the extraction is successful. Written by Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim . Paul: Llewellyn. When Dee tries to follow the directions and the method fails. a correction is received. (St.200 There are in these early sessions already a number of occasions where Dee points out errors in the system as received. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . but they bear little resemblance to any 200 See Tyson. FIGURE 5.” These. the angels tell the pair to rest for an hour. For example. Donald. Edward Kelley.JUPITER Another set of instructions received at this time is for an arrangement of seven diagrams to be placed on the table of working. ©2009 R. too. When the session resumes. at one session Kelley transmits a method of extracting angelic names from the Sigillum. ENSIGN OF CREATION . 1993). Llewellyn’s Sourcebook Series. whereupon the angels call a halt. and after a break of anywhere from an hour to a day. and is found in many medieval texts.
ceramic tiles.John Dee. the angels next provide instructions on a “Book of Logaeth” to be constructed of forty-nine pages. Marvin & Richard Smith. See Barrett’s Magus (which is itself largely a plagiarism of Agrippa). and such. or. 1994). Each page contains a grid of 49 x 49 letters. While most sigils from the medieval grimoires are created by drawing a line upon a letter or number grid to make a symbol connecting the letters of a name of power (see Figure 11.. Tyson’s translation of Agrippa. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . have an ancient history of usage going back at least to the Classical period or earlier. Each is filled with many repeated letters and random numbers that do not seem to bear any coded relationship to the alphabet. HarperCollins Publishers. Continuing the schema of revelations based upon powers of seven. from apotropaic amulets to devices for summoning spirits. and ‘charged’ or imbued with magical properties. Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power.61 - planetary sigils201 found elsewhere. etc. Coptic Magical Texts Project. it remains at core derivative. The fullest investigation into this new language remains Donald Laycock’s Complete Eno201 Sigils. they appear to be rather random. infra). if we do not take the skeptical viewpoint. Meyer. Institute for Antiquity & Christianity. between Kelley and some discarnate entities. The only potential objection might be Kelley’s occasional questioning of the messages received. ©2009 R. Despite the occasional variations and innovations in this material. metal plates. which are symbols drawn on parchment. or as a genuine argument between two sides of Kelley’s personality. There is nothing in all this to raise any doubts that Kelley could have cobbled it together from existing sources and an active imagination – and perhaps a bit of glossolalia. delivered row by row to Kelley in both English and what the spirits describe as the “angelic” or “Enochian” alphabet and language. these are something one might expect to see created by a purely random process. in fact. Christopher Feldman . They are used for a variety of purposes. which we may read either as a way to head off any suspicions Dee might have had about the derivative nature of the material. Edward Kelley. (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.
. and grammatical structure.: Ibis Press..John Dee. Georg. ed. . infra). and puts it all into the context of previous theories on the subject. The best modern edition is Dehn. for as this Work and Gift is of God. Later brought to wider notice when translated by Mathers in 1900. . the Logaeth squares contain a mixture of names. Thus you see there. so doth he open it in a tongue of power . the squares of the Abramelin are to be used to cause changes in the material world. trans. 2006). and there is no reason to believe Kelley would have been any less familiar than Dee. as seen in Figure 9. whereas in the Abramelin the squares are similar to classical number squares and the well-known SATOR square (see Figure 7. and numbers. . Furthermore. infra). “…this that we deliver. (Lake Worth. The Book of Abramelin by Abraham von Wurms .203 However. ©2009 R. Fl. that Adam spake in his infancy. Originally written in German between 1387 and 1427.” 202 The closest correlative of the Logaeth tables that I can find (aside from the incorporation of some of the names from the Bonorum. Christopher Feldman . and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . In it. wherein the power of God must work. 1458. both Szönyi and Szulakowska must be mentioned for their discussions of Enochian in the context of pre. In contemporary academic literature. and are to be employed only after the magician has completed the greater task of “knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel” and 202 203 TFR 92.62 - chian Dictionary. Edward Kelley. syntax. Laycock provides the results of some decades of research into the Enochian alphabet. and was never uttered or disclosed to Man since till now. random (or at least unordered) letters. which is all power. Stephen Guth. and wisdom in her true kind be delivered . the Necessity of this Tongue : The Excellency of it. And the Cause why it is preferred before that which you call Hebrew. is in the magical squares of The Book of Abramelin. Dee certainly would have been intimately acquainted with such ideas.and early-Modern concepts of an ‘Edenic’ or ‘Adamic’ proto-language spoken before the Biblical Fall. first published ca.
The Logaeth squares. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 11 24 7 20 3 4 12 25 8 16 17 5 13 21 9 10 18 1 14 22 23 6 19 2 15 FIGURE 6. ABRAMELIN SQUARE 204 204 Dehn 146. Edward Kelley. NUMBER SQUARE S A T O R A R E P O T E N E T O P E R A R O T A S FIGURE 7. are received as a preliminary step by which Dee and Kelley will. Christopher Feldman . craft the final set of tables by which all things in the world are to be controlled: the Watchtowers of the World or elemental tablets. ©2009 R. in contrast.63 - of subduing the princes and legions of Hell. under the angels’ guidance. Fig 23. SATOR SQUARE FIGURE 8.John Dee.
LIBER LOGAETH.64 - FIGURE 9. Dee and Kelley receive the so-called Enochian system. building upon all the material previously obtained. SAMPLE PAGE Finally. and deserves a more de- 205 It should be noted that Dee’s only reference to this term is in calling referring to Liber Logaeth as the “book of Enoch”. it is only later writers that use the term “Enochian” to refer to the magical system as a whole.John Dee. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Christopher Feldman . ©2009 R. Edward Kelley.205 This information is complex.
the calls are delivered backwards. and Christeos Pir.65 - tailed description than can be provided here. A In the thirteenth table. 207 TFR 79. 208 TFR 120. Each word is spelled out in the Enochian alphabet. ascending in his square M The 30th Table. the angels communicate a set of invocations. 2008). ZLIDA CAOSGI TOLTORGI OD ZIZOP ZCHIS Zod-lida Ca ós gi Toltórgi Od Zi-zop Zod chis 208 206 Recommended references include Duquette. one letter at a time. rather than by Kelley’s peering into the stone to see which square is being pointed to by the angel Nalvage. or “Calls. being extracted from the tables in Liber Logaeth: D 225 From the low angle on the right side.” At first. Dee asks that the Calls be delivered directly. The Enochian Watchtowers of the World. then the pronunciation of each word is given. Enochian Vision Magick: An Introduction and Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. Christopher Feldman . ©2009 R. and thereafter the angels simply tell Kelley words of the Calls. Edward Kelley. Continuing in the same and next square. permission is granted. 206 Drawing upon the tables of letters in Liber Logaeth.John Dee. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 740. Lon Milo. John Dee and Edward Kelley. from the low angle in the left-side Call it MAD. After the first few Calls have been recorded. 207 Finding the process unwieldy in the extreme. 13025. (San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser.
and associated with the directions of the compass.66 - Some time later. or Watchtowers of the World. These Calls.John Dee. There are four of these. each table consists of a grid of 12 x 13 letters: FIGURE 10. and the English translations are received three months later—yet the vocabulary. one for each of the classical elements. are to be used in conjunction with a new set of tables to open even greater secrets. ENOCHIAN TABLE (EAST) ©2009 R. the angels deliver the English translations. the angels tell Dee and Kelley. one letter at a time. syntax. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Edward Kelley. Christopher Feldman . and to obtain the obedience of various angels charged with effecting change in our world. This second set of tables is referred to as the Elemental Tables. and grammar of the Calls is consistent. This is an important point to remember: all of the Calls are delivered in Enochian.
each of which in turn contains a “Calvary cross” and surrounding letters. depending whether the desired effect is a work of Mercy or Severity (e. TOTT. RZLA.g. This is clearly linked to the symbol of the Otz Chaim. in Jewish Qabalah. per the angels’ instructions.g. and Balance.g. HIPOTGA. and five letters respectively (thus in our example above.g. or Tree of Life. Christopher Feldman . HABIORO. They are further told that the line of the Holy Spirit for each table contains the threefold Name of God associated with that table. the Angels of each Calvary cross (e. etc.. which is divided into three columns or “pillars” which are associated with Mercy. the ending letter. Dee is told. BATAIVA and BATAIVH in this example). There is a name of the King who rules each table (under God. whose names are extracted by drawing an inward spiral at the center of the square. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Each of these Kerubic and Subquadrant angels’ names can be further manipulated through rota- ©2009 R.). etc. FMND. the Name is ORO IBAH AOZPI). Severity.). consisting of three.. Edward Kelley. ARDZA and IDOIGO.John Dee.. SIAS.67 - Each table is subdivided. into subquadrants.). etc.g. and the angels of the subquadrant below the arms of each cross (e. and the horizontal line of the Holy Spirit. of course). and AVTOTAR). CZNS. AHAOZPI.. the “Kerubic” angels extracted from the squares above each cross (e. There are other associations for each of the subsections: six “Seniors” whose names are extracted from the three central lines radiating outward from the central squares (e. four. HTMORDA. Between each subquadrant are three lines: the two vertical lines associated with the Father and the Son of the Trinity. may be drawn from either the Line of the Father or the Line of the Son. AAZOAIF..
found in the vertical line (e. Compare. The Calvary cross angels. moving objects or oneself from place to place. To obtain lost books. beneath the arms of the cross): the first name. compels the subangle angel to do the magician’s will. Edward Kelley. and changes of form but not substance. a brief list from The Book of Abramelin on the uses of certain magical symbols: To create visions.John Dee. the second. These tasks or areas of concern are fairly standard and may be found in most medieval and later grimoires. hidden manuscripts.g. calls forth the power of the subangle. The angels of the subquadrants also have their particular natures: treating and curing of disease. For working mines. knowledge finding and use of metals. thus CZNS gives the names ZNSC. are employed to called upon to command their subordinate angels (the subquadrant angels. and SCZN as well. discovery of secrets and hidden knowledge. The Kerubic angels above the crosses of each subquadrant have their own functions: knitting together or destruction of natures. knowledge of elemental creatures. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Traveling in the air: On a ship On a cloak ©2009 R. for example. for example. Christopher Feldman . crafts and sciences. NSCZ. These various members of the heavenly hierarchy have their particular areas of concern.g.68 - tion of letters. from the horizontal line (e. and success in arts. IDOIGO). though we are not told under what circumstances or to what purpose this is to be done.. ARDZA).. and such.
and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Kelley was instructed to fill in the squares with letters. when the elemental tables were received. . in an extremely intricate manner: During the working of Monday. 1584.” or dots. which created sigils. each unique in form. Those 30 are the Calls of Ninety-one Princes and Spiritual Governors. Dee and Kelley found that the names of the governors were all encoded into the elemental squares. and vary the natures of things with the variation of every moment…210 The angels then delivered the list of parts of the world and their respective governors. When he was through connecting the dots. each covering seven squares. but most were not. letters began to appear to Kelley. Once the blank grids were filled with the lines of the symmetrical characters. . 155. A month or so later.” Herein lies another interesting complexity in the reception of the Enochian system. ©2009 R. unto whom the Earth is delivered as a portion. These bring in and dispose Kings and all the governments upon the Earth. began to appear in the squares. each ruled by a particular angelic “governor. each forming a curious pattern. 165. 209 210 Dehn 148. . as Dee copied them down. TFR 139-140. These grids were said to represent the four quarters of the unlettered Great Table of the vision of a few days earlier. but none of which intruded upon another character’s squares. “little pricks.209 Also related to their use is a list of some ninety-one geographical parts of the world.John Dee. Dee and Kelley were told: There are 30 Calls yet to come. June 25. Edward Kelley. When the Calls were received in Spring of 1584. Kelley was then instructed to connect the dots in groups of seven. one by one. Starting at the top left of each grid and moving to the right.69 - On a cloud. all but eight of the 624 squares that make up the four grids were covered by eighty-eight characters. Christopher Feldman . . 151. Kelley was given in vision four blank grids. As the vision proceeded. each of which was twelve squares wide by thirteen squares high. Some of the letters were capitalized.
John Dee, Edward Kelley, and the ‘Angelic Conversations’
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When all four grids were filled in with letters and characters, it became clear that the characters spelled out names. Not only that, but each of these eighty-eight names also began with a capital letter and contained no other capital letter among the remaining six. Within a few hours (and with helpful hints from the angels), the two magicians discovered, to their utter amazement, that the symmetrical characters spelled out all but three of the divine names of the ninety-one parts of the earth—names they have been given days earlier and in list format. 211
FIGURE 11. SIGILS OF THE “GOVERNORS”
Duquette, Enochian Vision Magic, 131-132.
©2009 R. Christopher Feldman
John Dee, Edward Kelley, and the ‘Angelic Conversations’
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Other information was also encoded in the tables. Dee and Kelley were told that a list of “Cacodaimons” could be constructed by using two squares from the subangles plus one from the “Black Cross” or letters between the elemental tables, but when Dee pressed the angels for exact instructions they put him off. The pair were also shown how to construct a new table from the letters of the Black Cross, the names of which in some way both bind together and rule over the elemental tables as a whole.
FIGURE 12. GREAT TABLE (RECENSA VERSION, 1587)
©2009 R. Christopher Feldman
John Dee, Edward Kelley, and the ‘Angelic Conversations’
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E X A R
H C O M A N A N T A B I T O M
FIGURE 13. TABLET OF SPIRIT - FROM “BLACK CROSS” NAMES
Interspersed with these instructions are various other interlocking pieces of the magical system: assorted lists of angels’ names extracted from other tables, advice for magical cures to their health issues, 212 orders to create a book with silvered pages upon which the angels would magically write after a nineteen-day purification rite (which Dee never performed), 213 and an encoded message of alchemical directions. This last may have provided the basis for the alchemical research that consumed their final days together: Take common Audcal, purge and work it by Rlodnr of four divers digestions, continuing the last digestion for fourteen dayes, in one and a swift proportion, until it be Dlafod fixed in a most red and luminous body, the Image of Resurrection…214
To Dee’s request for a remedy for some difficulty Jane suffers during pregnancy, Kelley relates a prescription from the archangels Uriel and Gabriel involving a pint of wheat, a live pheasant-cock, 11 oz of “masculine or white amber,” 1¼ oz of unwashed turpentine, and a gallon of red wine, with instructions on how to distill it; the results to be taken both orally and by syringe. When Kelley asks why the angels do not just cure her themselves, the answer more or less boils down to “you asked for advice, here it is – now do as you are told.” 213 The similarities between this and the Abramelin work are so striking that one can only hope some researcher will take the time to investigate the possible connections. Both of these include instructions on a graduated series of purifications, prayers, and invocations, at the climax of which the angels will write directly upon a silver or similar surface. Although the Abramelin is tentatively dated to the late fourteenth century, no connection has been yet proven between it and the ‘Conversations.’ I have not turned up any other medieval magical texts in which the angels are said to write upon a silvered or similar surface. The widely known Sworn Book of Honorius, also known as Liber Juratus, has a 28-day working, and its predecessor, John the Monk’s Book of Visions an 8 (or 9) week working, but neither mentions the creation of a surface for receiving miraculous writing. See Dehn 130-131; Fanger Conjuring Spirits 143 ff; TFR 159. 214 TFR 387.
©2009 R. Christopher Feldman
the angels’ supposed fits of pique when Dee questions an inconsistency. there does not seem to be any par- ©2009 R. He finds the crystal ball the angels have allegedly delivered by magical means. and several times hears knocks. often “received” by Kelley working alone in his chambers. We have noted two such problematic areas above. or the anagrammatical nature of angelic names with that of Notariqon. with the names of the 91 “Governors” of the various Agrippan Parts of the World..John Dee. One is the reception of the translations of the ‘Calls’ weeks after the Enochian version.216 215 216 TFR 138 ff. the occasional borrowings from known material. with the practice of Tziruph. The other is the intricate interconnectedness of the letters of the elemental tablets. the poetic skill of the Calls as compared to Kelley’s rather pedestrian writing. and the sheer complexity of the system as a whole. There are also a few points when Dee records hearing or seeing some physical manifestation himself. sees the marks on Kelley’s body where the devils have supposedly pinched him. For example. sup. with no loss of grammatical coherence. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . compare the rotation of angels’ names on p.’ the Enochian material presents the greatest level of difficulty to the theory of Kelley’s authorship. or feels something moving on his head. 175 ff. received on 21 May 1584. 65. received by rows on 25 June 1584. Against these several points a number of areas are certainly more indicative of the possibility of fraud: the constant corrections and revisions. Edward Kelley. Christopher Feldman . and the influence of other methodologies such as those employed in Qabalah. Oddly.73 - Of all the content received in the ‘Conversations.215 Other anomalies include the grammatical consistency of the Enochian language.
later exemplified by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the nineteenth century. we must believe that he was able to induce Dee to accept as genuine the physical manifestations noted above. Theories of Authorship There are a number of possible theories of authorship. In order to fit them into a theory of authorship by Kelley. beginning with Meric Causabon and Elias Ashmole in the seventeenth century. and each having arguments in favor of. Not all of these hypotheses are entirely mutually exclusive. of course. each of which has had its proponents. Kelley Was In Contact With Angels This is the position of the ‘believers’ of various stripes. and we must further suppose Kelley capable either of prodigious feats of memory. allel to Gematria. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . the widely-used exegetical method of comparing words or names by means of numerological analysis.74 - While perhaps not insurmountable.John Dee. ©2009 R. the anomalies encountered are at least not inconsiderable. and some writers have proposed theories combining one or more of the above. their viability. and extending up to the current generation of occultists attempting to perform “Enochian Magick” themselves. Christopher Feldman . or against. or of being able to hide some extremely detailed crib sheets from Dee’s unsuspecting eyes. Edward Kelley.
another believer. Christopher Feldman .”220 but since his book is a ‘how-to’ guide that details his own experiments with For Ashmole’s experimentation in this regard. which provides transcriptions of scrying sessions carried out by Farr and others. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . but it is clear that Ashmole’s interest in Dee ran beyond mere fascination into emulation: he created magical ‘sigils. xii. or he was a man of most ingenious invention.John Dee.75 - Causabon we will examine below. Arthur Edward Waite was also a member of the Golden Dawn. Aleister Crowley. Among those writing about Dee and Kelley.’217 was like Dee fascinated by crystal-gazing. and that they themselves set out to make contact with these spiritual creatures. 220 Tyson. “…it must be admitted that either he was a clairvoyant of advanced grade.”219 In the early part of the twentieth century. 218 217 ©2009 R. a large number of would-be magicians and occultists have been inspired by the Golden Dawn and Crowley to try their hands at contacting Dee and Kelley’s angels. see Churton 259 ff.’218 We have already demonstrated that the members of the Golden Dawn were convinced that Dee and Kelley’s angels were quite real. Edward Kelley. Donald Tyson refers to the angels as either “messengers of God or shadow personalities within the unconscious minds of the two men. Donald. Since then. as seen in Farr’s Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn. (St. and as noted above may have been the first person to actually attempt the performance of the Enochian ‘Calls. and opines in his biographical preface to Kelley’s alchemical work. Paul: Llewellyn. 1997). 219 Waite xxvi. performed a series of scryings of the Enochian ‘Aethyrs’ or celestial planes of existence surrounding the mundane world. Enochian Magic for Beginners: The Original System of Angel Magic. Churton 259.
ed. James. It is perhaps just possible that what happened was a combination of both these conclusions.e. & trans.John Dee.J.. because something that escapes normal explanation was occurring. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . xxi (hereinafter “GJ”). 224 Deacon 150 ©2009 R. Geoffrey..”222 Deacon is a bit harder to read. Edward Kelley. or as suspension of opinion. 1984). Either Kelley actually saw and heard the bulk of what he reported to Dee … or either one man or both were conducting an elaborate and complicated piece of make-believe for some special purpose. in some places Deacon seems to unequivocally indicate that he believes in the existence of Kelley’s angels: It is easy to dismiss this [i. Geoffrey James offers a number of possibilities.”221 which is not an entirely accurate portrait of the ‘Conversations’ but gives us some idea of his take on the issue. 223 Deacon 151.: Heptangle Books. At first his discussion of the ‘Conversations’ is couched in phrasing that can either be taken as belief. including that “the Dee-Kelley ceremonies contain some evidence that would seem to indicate the presence of the supernatural beings during some of the ceremonies. It would be wrong to do so because the whole system has a positive pattern which leads logically from one conclusion to another… One cannot dismiss the whole business as a fraud. Christopher Feldman . the ‘Conversations’] as meaningless gibberish. 223 However. we may presume he leans strongly toward the first interpretation. John Dee.” 224 Deacon goes on to say that: 221 222 JD 94. N. possibly a system of cryptography. (Gillette. The Enochian Evocation of Dr. Suster opines that “it is also very doubtful whether a mere trickster could have endured the boredom of taking down the Enochian alphabet for fourteen months.76 - the Enochian system.
©2009 R. at length. 07 Sep. 227 See. or at the very least in writing from a position of suspension of disbelief: “John Dee used Kelley’s gifts as an expert scryer. Christopher Feldman . and for Kelley’s bouts of resistance to messages received that were contrary to what he wished to hear. that discarnate spiritual entities exist and may be contacted by certain means. it seems absolutely impossible that he could have memorized so complicated a system. 2008. http://groups. “Can We Trust Dee’s Angels?” (online forum posting. is obviously of ancient origin and shows no sign of abating even in our scientific times. and the occasional warn- 225 226 Deacon 151. noting only that it is one that has been studied. Accessed 07 Sep. Owen 196. 225 Even professor of metaphysical religion Alex Owen comes across as either admitting the existence of the Enochian angels. Angelical Linguistics Forum. Edward Kelley.227 This theory. Even if he had. The theory would also explain the physical manifestations Dee reports.m.”226 And of course.77 - …there seems to be no question of Kelley having plagiarized. for example. Aaron. It would indeed provide adequate justification for Dee’s motives. and debated. 2008.com/group/ angelical_linguistics/). to vicariously enter into conversation with the angels in order to tempt from them the secrets of the universe. or cribbed from previous secret languages. the hundreds of self-styled ‘Enochian magicians’ among today’s occultists fall under the banner of believers. as well accounting for the occasional prophecies that were subsequently borne out. We need not go into a protracted discussion of the merits of this belief. 11:39 a. The question of whether it can adequately explain the ‘Conversations’ is no less problematic. Leitch. one who could ‘travel’ in the many realms of spirit existence. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .John Dee. though something of the sort might just conceivably have been achieved telepathically.yahoo.
flashes of imaginative genius such as one associates with the visions of William Blake. There is no reference to it prior to Dee’s time… So. one of the strongest objection being the unreliability of the messages received. ©2009 R. who invented it? It is a valid language of its own. flowingly and gracefully forward on occasions. Another point in favor of this theory is the complexity of the Enochian magical system itself. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . However. astonishingly sound and accurate Intelligence reports amidst a welter of obscure. As there is evidence to suggest that Kelley did not normally have access to the records of previous sessions when he was scrying. Edward Kelley. why would it be that someone as admittedly 228 Deacon 151-152. with its own alphabet. Aethyrs.John Dee. and. grammar. they confirm a transcription as being correct. Richard Deacon points out: Enochian is a complete language of its own. it is difficult to see how he could have accomplished this task on his own. tablets. but one needs a high intelligence quotient to attempt to decipher it… Yet sense there is. and they offer prophecies that do not come true. 228 As mentioned above.78 - ings addressed to Dee. there are just as many difficulties with this theory. Upon occasion the angels tell Dee and Kelley something. then disavow it. and. delivered by the angels through Kelley but in language that Kelley did not himself understand. and has a compete system of “Calls” of its own. that Kelley was not to be trusted—something we would little expect Kelley to have done of his own volition. Kelley communicated some extremely complex sets of seemingly random letters which were discovered to contain encoded sets of names that had been delivered some weeks before. then retract it later. Christopher Feldman . if the Enochian alphabet did not come out of Dee’s shewstone. Furthermore. more even that sense. colour and majesty of prose marching regally. philosophical-mathematical orations. kings. a religiously-minded inquirer might point out. here and there. seniors.
the only explanation I can think of that would resolve a belief in angels with this lack of accuracy is to believe that the angels must not be very reliable—in which case. I cannot see how this helps explain the problems encountered in the ‘Conversations. we are left with the question as to why someone would set much store in anything communicated by them. Edward Kelley. insurmountable—at least according to some.’ however. In the case of the ‘Conversations.79 - sinful as Kelley be able to see and hear the angels. perhaps of a seminary—as a theory. while someone as pious as Dee could not? These objections are not. for every objection to it the believer can offer some more. or less. “unfalsifiable. without having asked about it.John Dee. It is. in the scientific sense. however—indeed charged with doing so—he feels bound to offer what he hopes will be a plausible explanation. perhaps.’ some who might be classified with the “believers” have suggested that an angel. Christopher Feldman . ©2009 R. When Dee is told. being a specialist in the heavenly bureaucracy. Writers through the ages have offered explanations (some might say rationalizations) for the unreliability of spiritually-received messages. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . The biggest issue with this theory is simply that it is impossible to prove or disprove. it is not acceptable to most academic scholars—outside. has little knowledge outside of his area. For this reason alone. As there is no means to test the hypothesis.” That is. that Rome will be demolished within a matter of months and it does not happen. plausible justification. we are able neither to verify nor to invalidate it. being eager to help.
who through damnable curiosity have many times used the means (the best they could find in books. He addresses some of his remarks to those who deny the existence of spirits. as real things.John Dee. Preface.80 - Kelley Was In Contact With Devils In his 1659 publication of A True and Faithful Record . really as Divels and Spirits that use to appear unto men. 230 TFR. legal cases. Preface to MS Sloane 3188. . ©2009 R. 1st page of (un-numbered) Preface.”230 Causabon’s intent may have been in part to add to (or cash in on) Dee’s reputation as a necromancer. Edward Kelley. Nor will he let Dee and Kelley plead mental disturbance: We will easily grant … that a distempered brain may see. and Invocations)… 231 Causabon then goes on to cite classical authorities. full oft and in sundry manners. offering Dee’s records as evidence in refutation: If there were any such thing. yea. . Instead I have flown unto God through hearty prayer. patrons of lies and untruths. then to such. Christopher Feldman . in a “Work of Darknesse. and hear strange things. by Magical Circles. to prove his case. . 231 TFR. and devote their Souls and Bodies unto them by dreadful Oaths and Imprecations? And again. but his larger motive seems to have been to add to the growing conviction under King James’ reign that true Christians were under siege by forces of evil. without any real sound or Apparition. and church investigations of various cases of possession and exorcism. forgers.229 he allowed himself to be deceived by the devil and his minions. than so such as daily call upon them. But these sights and Apparitions 229 “I have always had a great regard and care to beware of the filthy abuse of such as willingly or wittingly invoke or consult with spiritual creatures of the damned sort: angels of darkness. and yet all but fancy. *5. Causabon transcribes and reproduces several hundred pages of Dee’s records of the ‘Conversations. reprinted in GJ xiv. and entertain them with all possible confidence. Characters. to whom should they sooner appear. in which he argues that for all Dee’s insistence on piety. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .’ To this he prepends a 50-page preface.” Dee.
”234 and to this we may add Gerald Suster. TFR. though possibly the Divel might represent divers of these things to the fancy inwardly which appeared outwardly.”235 Further. Kelley Tapped Into Unknown Powers of the Mind This is also a variation on the first theory. ©2009 R. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 232 In short. clairvoyance. Edward Kelley. who offers the view that perhaps “Kelley was able to activate the (still) little known powers of the unconscious. however: like the first theory. yet … these things could not be the operation of a distempered Fancy. Christopher Feldman . yea. The other objection remains. Dee gives here an account. who notes that the differences in the styles and creativity between Kelley’s alchemical writing and that received in the ‘Conversations’ argues for either genuine con232 233 TFR. The advantages of this view are that it does away with the issue of the spirits’ unreliability: the whole of the ‘Conversations’ may be seen as an elaborate manipulation of both Dee and Kelley by the Devil and his minions. *32. Preface. We have previously quoted Donald Tyson’s opinion that the angels were either “messengers of God or shadow personalities within the unconscious minds of the two men. It predicates that there are powers of the mind as yet unknown to science. and so on. are quite of another nature. which have been called magic.John Dee. it is unfalsifiable. 235 Suster 94. Causabon says that through “Pride and Curiosity”233 Dee allowed himself to be misled by Satan. psi. 234 See note 220. *28.81 - the Dr. we have Geoffrey James. Preface.
Christeos. “An Essay on Enochian Pronunciation” (online article. for example. if Kelley was the conscious author of all his ‘visions. show yourselves in power.82 - tact with supernatural beings. and make me a strong seething. Stronger are your feet than the barren stone. 238 GJ 68-69. Edward Kelley. “A Phonetic Guide to the Enochian Calls” (online article. the second of the First. accessed 10 ©2009 R. However. Pir. Yet shall these rules for ever praise their schoole. for I am of Him that lives forever. accessed 11 Aug. Hermetic Library. or some kind of unexplained mental powers: “In short. Pir. and mightier are your voices than the manifold winds. 2007. 13 Apr. this excerpt from his poem concerning the Philosopher’s Stone: Thou maist (my friend) say. May 2006. 238 236 237 GJ xvi.com/enochia/prcalls. the difference between the Enochian material and Kelley’s usual writing is marked. Whom the burning flames have framed with in the depth of my jaws: Whom I have prepared as cups for a wedding. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . saith the First.’ then he possessed a far greater literary competence than he ever exhibited elsewhere. Christopher Feldman . For you are become a building such as is not. 2008. TFR 99-101. 7-8. save in the mind of the AllPowerful.” 236 Indeed. 237 With this excerpt from the Enochian ‘Calls’: Can the wings of the winds understand your voices of wonder? O you.html). Yet in respect of this they teach thee naught: Thou mayst likewise be blind and call me foole. Arise. the subconscious mind is often capable of feats that are impossible to the conscious mind. Enochian Magic Forum. what is this for lore? I answer such as auncient physicke taught. Compare. move therefore unto his servants. And though thou read a thousand bookes before.John Dee. Waite lv. http://www.hermetic. or as the flowers in their beauty for the chamber of righteousness.
who despite clearly being a believer in spiritual communications. and composed this superb prose. well. Tyson.yahoo. and conclude that Hogg was therefore a knave.’ or ‘angelic’ world … regardless of whether that world exists outside or only in one’s subconscious mind. 242 GJ xvi.’ ‘visionary. asks “did Kelley have some form of mental illness that made him think that he actually did see angel visitants?”243 May 2006. who states: “Kelley was exhibiting signs of extreme stress and possible psychosis”241 and “may also have had multiple personalities. 241 GJ xviii. The Cenci must be drivel. ©2009 R. The Vision and the Voice.83 - To the Kelley-as-unknown-genius school we may add Crowley. To condemn Kelley as a cheating charlatan—the accepted view—is simply stupid. does not rule out the idea that they may be a form of mental power as yet not clearly understood. he may of course have been a common ignorant scoundrel.” and of the scryer who can “get in touch with the ‘astral.” 242 French. Edward Kelley. 239 Deacon talks of “flashes of imaginative genius. on the other hand. If. too. 243 French 114. but do not try to argue that Hogg. 228-229. http://groups. 239 Crowley. one of whose abnormalities was a faculty for seeing and hearing sublimities… Prove The Cenci to have been forged by Hogg. Enochian Magic. Kelley did not write this. Christopher Feldman .com/group/enochian/files/Essays%20%26%20Writings%20from%20 Members/). If he invented Enochian. 240 Deacon 152. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . 5-6. 7-8. he was at worst a Chatterton with fifty times that poet’s ingenuity and five hundred times his poetical genius.” 240 Another version of the theory that Kelley was possessed of an abnormal mind comes from Geoffrey James. not being a poet.John Dee.
sounds plausible to some.John Dee. or clinically schizophrenic at his most extreme. but once again there is no adequate means of testing the validity of the theory. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . It may indeed be that humans are capable of feats of telepathy. Edward Kelley. and the record does show him at odds. Charlotte Fell Smith ©2009 R. we are still left with another of the objections raised to the first theory: that is. Kelley Was a Cynical Fraud From early on. the proposition that Dee was the victim of Kelley’s manipulation has had the strongest support of any theory. but is still a pseudoscientific. Christopher Feldman . and so on.84 - The theory that there are powers of mind as yet not clearly known to science. and whether he might have been a “borderline personality” at the least. prophecy. There are some indications that might suggest.’ Furthermore. at least to the layman. the question of how to reconcile the idea of the angels as divine messengers with the unreliability of the messages received. with the voices that only he can hear. The question is outside this paper’s scope. sometimes violently so. is one that might be worth looking into. This is the position of most scholars from the modern period forward. nor whether it is the correct explanation for the reception of the ‘Conversations. that Kelley suffered from extreme personality changes or mood swings. Writing at the turn of the twentieth century. Whether or not Kelley was mentally ill in the clinical sense. The possibility that Kelley was suffering from some form of mental illness is deserving of greater examination. but worth noting as a possibility.
too. 1964. 249 GJ xxi. 247 GJ xix. and with Kelley in particular. raises the possibility that Kelley “was certainly guilty of some plagiarism.”244 and to Dee’s story of books that he believed had been burnt being miraculously restored. Francis. he also cautions that “the similarity between Kelley’s scrying and Gnostic magic. is not sufficiently strong to build a direct textual connection. as well as the stylistic variations in his work. 246 Yates. GJ xv. Edward Kelley. as “based on chicanery and fraud. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . who as we have seen looks to cover all bases. Christopher Feldman . in his essay on “John Dee and the Secret 244 245 Smith 124. whose portrait of Dee was to be of prime impact upon scholarship then and since.”246 Geoffrey James. while undeniable.”250 Deborah Harkness. 250 GJ xxi.”251 Ron Heisler.”247 and discusses similarities between some of the angels’ messages and other Gnostic texts. Smith 168. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ©2009 R. Smith responds “trickery of Kelley’s. states in her work on Giordano Bruno that Kelley was “a fraud who deluded his pious master. no doubt. 1979.”245 Frances Yates.John Dee. describing Dee’s relations with his scryers. 248 GJ xix-xxi. etc. paperback ed.248 concluding that “the possibility that Kelley did plagiarize large portions of the Enochian Evocation would do much to explain the presence of the Angelical language in his scrying.”249 However. 251 Harkness 24. Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition. 1991).85 - speaks of Kelley’s seeing “that he is able to dupe his employer considerably. quoted in French 114 n3. weighs in on the side of those favoring a view of Kelley as deceiver.
7. 39. 2004). and not by their titles or contents.”252 Györgi Szönyi quotes Wayne Shumaker’s comment that “Kelley was evidently not a man worthy of reliance.” describes Kelley as a “brilliant alchemical charlatan. 13 May 2008. and provides an account as to why Dee would need an intermediary. (Albany: State University of New York Press. 254 Szönyi 277.alchemywebsite. 277. Györgi. in imagination and thought. 258 Laycock 49. 255 Laycock 53. orig. as Peterson notes. John Dee’s Occultism – Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs.86 - Societies. accessed 27 July 2008. “the angels’ use of Latin seems to reflect Kelley’s limited schooling in that language. (http://www.”254 (It should be noted that Szönyi himself does not concur with this assessment.”256 as well as I. “John Dee and the Secret Societies” (online article. pub. The theory offers an explanation why.”253 and says that “Shumaker treated Kelley all along as a simple fraud and interpreted his relationship with Dee as a ruthless manipulator to his victim.”255 This theory answers the issue of the unreliability of the predictions. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Christopher Feldman .”258 Heisler. 1992).com/h_dee.) Donald Laycock notes that “we can acquit Dee of any deliberate fraud or mystification in this matter. The Alchemy Web Site. 253 Quoted in Szönyi.” and that they “show many of Kelley’s limitations.John Dee. and they tend to identify the many books on Dee’s shelves by the characteristics of their bindings. R. Calder’s claim that the angels seem to “increase in fluency through the years. The Hermetic Journal. 257 Quoted in Quinti. Edward Kelley. It is not so easy to acquit Kelley. 256 Quinti 39. Ron. 252 ©2009 R.”257 It would also account for Laycock’s noting that the angels “have read the same books as Dee and Kelley.html. F. since it is only through Kelley’s purported visions that Dee can be persuaded that he is the recipient of angelic messages.
Woolley 296. Benjamin Woolley asks “was. barring cribsheets or a photographic memory. there are some problems this theory cannot easily resolve. As we have mentioned above. Dee a dupe?” and says that “there is plenty of evidence that Dee had to some extent fallen under Kelley’s spell” 260—a remark that at first glance seems to imply deliberate deception on Kelley’s part. Kelley communicated some extremely complex tables of letters which were used months later to deliver equally complex lists of names drawn from those tables. It is difficult to see how he could have accomplished this task. which for Kelley to have invented would argue a phenomenal memory. or the keeping of notes (which would have been hard to conceal from Dee). As Laycock puts it: [T]here is a remarkable consistency about the whole system.John Dee. One noted earlier is the observation that there is a marked difference between Kelley’s normal speech and writing. for example. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Edward Kelley. are translated in their entirety often days after the original dictation: could Kelley have carried all this in his head? 259 Kelley Was Deceiving Himself Not all agree without reservation to the assessment of Kelley as cynical manipulator. Woolley goes on to point to the intellectual context in which the ‘Conversations’ occurred. However. Another is the complexity of the Enochian magical system itself. positing that these 259 260 Laycock 54. then.87 - At the same time. The Enochian Calls. Christopher Feldman . and that received during the sessions. and the magicoreligious environment of the late Renaissance in England and Europe. ©2009 R.
whatever other faults he may have had. Although Kelley often questioned the divine character of the angels. would be likely interpret their experiences in a religious light. and Dee. John Dee’s Natural Philosophy. Edward Kelley. Christopher Feldman .263 French and others who have advanced the idea that Kelley may have been deranged can perhaps be included among those who feel Kelley. cit. whether or not he set out to deliberately manipulate Dee for selfish purposes.261 Nicholas Clulee offers a view of Kelley as one who “may well have consciously fabricated everything to deceive Dee.”262 The image. 205. 263 Clulee. Along with Kelley’s experiences in working with magic of the sort outlined in various Solomonic grimoires. Also quoted in Quinti 38-39. Clulee. even to the point of arguing with them when they do not give in to his whims. but … more than conscious deception was involved. is nevertheless himself firmly convinced of his ability to see and converse with both good and bad spirits. then.John Dee. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . op.. The characterization of Kelley as one who. is one that has been proposed by a number of authors. Clulee says. 211 ©2009 R. but who sincerely believes in the reality of the spiritual beings.88 - environmental factors would have helped to create a situation in which Kelley. Clulee describes Kelley as a believer who combines his own imagination with what he perceives Dee expecting to hear. was sincere in his belief that he was genuinely in contact with spirits: “Though Kelley has usually been pictured as a blatant charlatan … it is very difficult to believe that he 261 262 Woolley 296-298. he seems to have believed in their reality as firmly as Dee. access to magical texts in Dee’s library would have assisted Kelley in this ruse. is of Kelley as someone who is clearly not above deception when it suits his needs.
Edward Kelley. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .266 In fact. then we must put all these down as examples of just how devious he could be. after all. A counterobjection to this is that there seems to have been no need for all these histrionics if Dee was already perfectly willing to continue with the sessions. that every time he claimed to be surfeited the work. at least to some extent. However.”265 Szönyi also notes that “we cannot help feeling that Kelley either must have believed. strikes a skeptical tone in referring to the possibility that while Kelley sincerely saw them. in the prophecies he was communicating.John Dee. the audience joining in. What better way. 266 Szönyi 278-279 ©2009 R. who in other places seems to be among those believing in the existence of Kelley’s angels. it may be that Kelley simply enjoyed asserting his power over Dee.”264 Suster.” Szönyi cites the example of Elizabethan actor Edward Alleyn who managed to get into character so completely during a performance of Doctor Faustus that he stopped halfway through the play and spent the rest of the evening in prayer. and swore he was ready to give it all up and leave. within a few days or a few hours the record picks up with the next scrying session. It is true. he successfully deceived himself as well. one might ask. if we instead ascribe to the image of Kelley as master manipulator. 264 265 French 114.89 - saw nothing at all. On the other hand. “Dee was fool enough to take them seriously. or if he pretended and invented. there seems to be good evidence to support a theory that Kelley himself believed in the spirits. sulks when they give answers that he did not want to hear. JD 94. rebels against their instructions. to keep Dee interested than to pretend to be ready to leave in a huff. Christopher Feldman . He argues with them. and so on.
Clulee 205. Christopher Feldman . as evidence of “the extraordinary and strained psychotic symbiosis in which the two men and their families spent their days.”269 It is certainly true that Dee often directed the flow of the ‘Conversations. as Joseph Peterson suggests. Not merely in a supporting role as devout believer. but does call Dee “more than just the passive recipient. is one that points to Dee’s own role as an active one. 269 Szönyi 278. or simply helped create with Kelley an 267 268 Quinti 39. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . and demanded explanations when he spotted inconsistencies in their messages. wherein a “hypnotist” puts the “witness” into a suggestible state. ©2009 R.’ He set up agendas for discussion with the angels. sincerely believed himself in contact with spiritual beings. and.90 - Kelley and Dee Created It Synergistically A further variation on the theory that Kelley.John Dee. Whether Dee was actually putting Kelley into a state of heightened suggestibility and then pressuring him to produce transcendent visions. asked them leading questions. through leading questions. this theory suggests that the ‘Conversations’ are the result of Dee’s active involvement in the process.” 267 Clulee does not offer an explanation for the remark. Dee and Kelley’s actions may be compared with so-called UFO abductees’ recovered memories. for all his flaws. against the latter’s unfailing faith in the visions. Rather than the view propounded by Yates and others that Dee was the passive dupe of Kelley’s schemes.”268 Szönyi points to the numerous times that Kelley attempts to convince Dee of the spirits’ wickedness. as Peterson suggests. manages to arrive at all sorts of “memories. but as a coequal participant in it. Edward Kelley.
we come to the logical extension of the last two theories: the idea that Kelley was in fact at Dee’s mercy.91 - environment in which the two fed off of each other’s beliefs. and rows upon rows of letters upon which the intricate visions provided in response. But the question is whether and to what extent Dee’s involvement might have catalyzed the complex visions Kelley reported. better known under the pseudonym ‘Westonia’ as the author of The Parthenicon (1606). Further. However much Dee may have provided questions for the angels to respond to. rather than the other way around. it still devolved upon Kelley to see and hear the angels. Dee also had much to gain from these sessions. would result in his spiritual and political—and thereby economic—elevation. winged solar disks. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .John Dee. was in fact Edward Kelley’s ©2009 R. castles. when God’s new order had been established. Kelley Was Manipulated by Dee Next. or from Kelley. the angels’ prophecies repeatedly spoke of coming political upheavals which. there is no doubt that both men were involved in the process. Susan Bassnett’s thoughtprovoking essay in Clucas’ John Dee: Interdisciplinary Studies in English Renaissance Thought explores the possibility that Elizabeth Weston. Christopher Feldman . trumpeters. We have mentioned that Dee was told the information he was hearing was heavenly knowledge lost since the time of the antediluvian prophet Enoch. Edward Kelley. In which case we are left with the conclusion that these visions could only have come from spirits.
It was Dee. or his disordered imagination. French speaks of Dee’s imposition of “psychological magic” upon Kelley. As to the picture of Kelley as kindly family man. with Dee insisting upon its reliability. ©2009 R. 272 French 115.”271 Although this gentle rebuke stops short of accusation. if he indeed was Edward Kelley. Christopher Feldman .John Dee. 271 Bassnett 292. comes across as very different from the volatile bedeviled alcoholic depicted in the ‘Conversations. devils.270 On the basis of Westonia’s poems and letters. this view is still dependent upon the problematic theoretical basis that Kelley is merely reporting what he is hearing. and Bassnett admits that there is no record of her existence either in Dee’s records of the ‘Conversations’ or his usually thorough personal 270 Bassnett argues that Kelley was remarried in the late 1580s to a Joanna Cooper.”273 Kelley comes across as the one questioning the validity of the information he reports.92 - stepdaughter. who was gaining the benefit from the magical ceremonies. There may be some evidence in support of the coercion theory. others are not so subtle. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .’ Bassnett asserts that “I find myself moving toward a reading of Dee’s version of his relationship with Kelley that is not altogether favourable to Dee. there is scant direct evidence that Westonia was indeed his stepdaughter. who had a daughter named Elizabeth from a previous marriage. 273 GJ xxv. not Kelley. Bassnett reconstructs the image of a man who. either from angels. See Bassnett 285 ff. but it seems rather thin. Edward Kelley. 272 and Geoffrey James refers to Dee’s coercion of Kelley through the threat of loss of financial support and by “playing on [Kelley’s] guilt and fear. However.
his wife’s menstrual cycle. sending Kelley’s stepdaughter to school with his own children. Whether that argues for Kelley becoming fed up with being Dee’s tool. Christopher Feldman . there does seem to be a pattern of Kelley’s threats to quit the partnership becoming more and more strident as Dee’s finances dwindled and their attempts to find patrons in the Holy Roman Empire fell through. the partnership with Dee was in fact dissolved and Dee was left to make his own way home to England.John Dee. and Kelley’s comings and goings. Bassnett 292. as Bassnett claims. Edward Kelley. 274 275 Bassnett 291. ©2009 R. or for Kelley as moving from one dupe to another.93 - diaries. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . is an open question. while Dee may at first have represented a sort of patronage for Kelley—at one point he is forced to agree in writing to a stipend of £50 per year—by the time the pair had spent a few months on the Continent they were already in financial straits. not to mention if Dee was. On the other hand. 274 It would seem strange for the man who records his children’s injuries. before the year was out they were both begging the angels for monetary support to be provided. And as soon as Kelley found in William Rosenberg a patron willing to fund the alchemical research that Kelley had wanted all along to work on.275 Furthermore.
to Laski. If it was Kelley and not the alleged spirits who directed their movements on the Continent. and finally back to Rudolph. Calling a man with aspirations to become an alchemist a “gold-digger” may be an unfortunate pun. It would be unwise. Certainly what we know of his story would indicate that he was an opportunist. however. Stephen. he seems to have been little more than an itinerant drifter with a shady background and questionable moral scruples. It is clear that Kelley was motivated by a desire for patronage. ready to follow wherever he thought he could better his position in life.John Dee. to assume that if Kelley was ©2009 R. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . we can see him switching his allegiance from Dee. but it seems warranted in Kelley’s case. Christopher Feldman . Rosenberg. Whether the matter rests there or not depends upon which of the theories of authorship one accepts. or whether he was in some ways driven by his own religious and spiritual beliefs. When he first met Dee.94 - Motivations Possible Motivations on Kelley’s Part It should be clear from the existing theories of authorship that a list of possible motivations on Kelley’s part can be adduced. It is less clear whether his participation in the scrying sessions was motivated solely by a willingness—at first—to do whatever it took to gain Dee’s patronage. Edward Kelley. Rudolph. perhaps even to rise above his initial social station in life. That he was a man who was not above telling people what they wanted to hear in order to make a living seems to be a plausible characterization if we may believe some of the stories about him committing forgery and dowsing for gold.
consulted by royalty and intelligentsia alike.John Dee. Time and again Kelley rebelled against the angels’ orders. after all. that he was then forced to act in certain ways as a result of that belief. described above. Possible Motivations on Dee’s Part What then of Dee? What would induce a highly educated man. Kelley showed no compunction about dropping the sessions and directing all his energies to alchemical pursuits. when the opportunity arose for Kelley to leave Dee and gain a new patron in Rosenberg.95 - himself convinced of the existence of his angels. who was paying Kelley’s room and board—at first. or sulked in his room and refused to continue the sessions. anyway. Christopher Feldman . Motivated by a need for patronage. or even deceiving potential patrons into believing in his spiritualistic gifts. abandon his home and force his family to follow him around Europe to harangue crowned heads of state? How could a man with one of the best minds in the land suddenly become so gullible as to let his life be guided by someone so clearly unreliable as Edward Kelley? ©2009 R. an author of works on the cutting edge of scientific research of his time. he was not above pursuing it through occult means. that in some ways Kelley was at the mercy of Dee’s insistence on continuing with the work of the ‘Conversations’: it was Dee. to leave everything behind and follow a spiritual will-o-the-wisp? Why would a man with the greatest library in England. Nor can we set aside the possibility. Edward Kelley. Later. The picture that emerges is thus of Kelley as an opportunist. a renowned scholar and polymath. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ .
no less than Kelley. passim. and it was he. he was continually petitioning the Crown for various rectorships and munificences that always seemed to fall through. Ursula Szulakowska notes in her masterful examination of the role of optics upon the Early Modern worldview276 that the idea that one could make contact with the celestial forces shaping life upon the Earth through lenses and mirrors was a logical premise given a combination of belief in “Divine Light. spent his life in pursuit of patronage. For a man like Dee. For all of Kelley’s argumentativeness.John Dee. it was always Dee who attempted to justify whatever the angels communicated to them. it is understandable that if he believed himself in communication with God’s messengers he would do their bidding. not Kelley. nevertheless he spent a great deal of his life on the edge of abject poverty and constantly seeking some official position whereby he might carry out his researches in some modicum of comfort.” astrology. Christopher Feldman . and that such actions were in fact quite in character for Dee. It would have been 276 Szulakowska. He was deeply devout in his way. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . though his own beliefs were never sectarian. ©2009 R. seeking to understand the very workings of the universe.” Aristotelian “spheres. It is also important to remember that Dee.96 - The answer is that it was not as sudden as might appear. As we have seen. who insisted upon the long periods of kneeling in prayer that opened each session. radiation. and of higher moral standards. Edward Kelley. and catoptrics. His means may have been less cynical. The scrying sessions themselves are in fact of a piece with Dee’s scientific views of the world.
97 - quite in character for Dee to jump at the chance to assist Laski. In many ways. ©2009 R.John Dee. or to refuse a lucrative position at the Tsar’s court in St. for all that he was a Christian. Lastly. given that there are indications that the latter was becoming impatient with Dee’s delays in returning to England. it seems likewise in character for Dee to do as the angels bid him. whose task it was to speak spiritual truth to power. Edward Kelley. Dee seems to have viewed himself as in the same lineage as the Old Testament prophets. though the proposition has to some extent been diminished since Deacon first argued for it. However. regardless of the personal cost. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . whom the angels told Dee and Kelley would be the next King of Poland. Christopher Feldman .” and that his movements to an extent were directed by Burleigh and Walsingham. If we assume that in Dee’s mind the instructions obtained in the ‘Conversations’ took precedence over worldly matters. whether it was to lecture the Holy Roman Emperor on his sinful ways. there is the possibility that at least some of Dee’s motivation may have been related to his work as one of Elizabeth’s “intelligencers. Petersburg. we may perhaps once again conclude that Dee’s first allegiance was always to Kelley’s angels.
Christopher Feldman .’ there is substantial evidence to support a theory of a deliberate hoax on Kelley’s part. the picture becomes somewhat less clear-cut. and the resemblances to the work of Agrippa may be found off and on throughout the ‘Conversations. or he had a prodigious gift for eidetic memory. and allegorical flights of fancy all seem within Kelley’s capability. if it was a hoax then Kelley either had some system of crib sheets unsuspected by Dee. The sermons.. given sufficient gullibility on Dee’s part. which raises ©2009 R. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . often after Kelley had spent time alone in his quarters.John Dee. When it comes to the Enochian magical system. And the evidence has certainly indicted Dee for his willing complicity. it would seem that the resources at Kelley’s hand would have been such as to have enabled him to perpetrate a hoax of this magnitude. coherence.g. In particular. visions. To put it plainly. e.’ The idea of an Edenic or Adamic language is not new.” Where the difficulty comes in is in the intricacy. The early sessions demonstrate a marked similarity to many of the medieval grimoires with which we know Kelley was familiar. nor are some of the instructions received in regard to practicing this magic. or at least for being gullible in the extreme. (and perhaps the sheer poetry) of the system.98 - Conclusion For the most part. Kelley’s angels either called a recess or left in a temper. the creation of a wax tablet inscribed with the “symbol of God’s truth. Edward Kelley. it seems that almost every time Dee raised a question over some inconsistency. Corrections were usually given hours or days later. In turning from the available resources to the content of the ‘Conversations.
all provide support for a theory of deliberate deception by Kelley. Even allowing for the occasional successful predictions there are some potentially baffling inconsistencies. and the many admonishments the angels administer to Kelley—even one supposedly in a language he does not understand—as well as what can only be described as Kelley’s repeated attempts to sabotage the sessions. including the occasions when Dee himself records having seen or felt some apparition. All of these factors point to human agency. particularly in regard to their predictive abilities which seem erratic at best. specifically the repetitive nature of the squares of the Logaeth material and the planetary “Ensigns of Creation” to be placed upon the table of practice – surely someone inventing magical symbols would try harder to make these seem less like glossolalia? While it is not impossible to devise explanations for any one of these objections. Edward Kelley. most likely on Kelley’s part. Another question is raised by the randomness of some of the material received. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . In order for Kelley to carry off such a hoax. The ease with which Kelley could have invented large parts of the material. he would have needed to be adroit at exploiting Dee’s suggestibility. Christopher Feldman .99 - the suspicion that he was going back over his notes in order to devise the requisite modification. it is harder to explain away their accumulated weight. aided by the resources noted above. and the many emendations and corrections received in subsequent sessions (indicative perhaps of Kelley’s struggles to manage the sheer volume and complexity of the system he was creating). Against these we must note some of the more egregious anomalies. We may also note the unreliability of the angels in other matters as well. skilled at ©2009 R.John Dee.
and possessed of an eidetic memory. A belief in spirits. and of course the scolding Kelley repeatedly receives for his disruptive behavior. and Kelley a skilled conman with a gift for memorization and an ability to take advantage of the available resources. As we have seen. and is not generally considered viable in any serious academic discourse outside of some seminaries. When we weigh the various theories of authorship. Christopher Feldman . dupe. Neither of these is completely satisfactory. An explanation based solely on a hypothesis of Kelley’s calculated deception.1 00 - sleight of hand. the manipulation of Kelley’s character weaknesses and the greater literary quality of the Enochian material over Kelley’s personal writing. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . those issues can be resolved if Dee was a willing. the intricacy of the Enochian system and its manner of reception. encouraged by Dee’s eager complicity or even coercion. The first immediately runs afoul of questions of plausibility and ‘falsifiability’ in a scientific inquiry.John Dee. The question then is how likely this scenario might be. It would explain not only the errors and constant adjustment. even eager. the disparity in poetic style between the Enochian Calls and Kelley’s rather pedestrian writing. however. The second must satisfy a number of questions mentioned previously: the consistency of the Enochian language. Edward Kelley. and as we have seen can be supported by the resources available for Kelley to draw upon. especially if we may posit that they deliberately deceived a believing Dee and Kelley. ©2009 R. however. no one theory seems to fit every one of the anomalies. and it would potentially address the complex yet consistent nature of the Enochian system itself. comes as an alternative. would go some way towards answering a number of objections.
one person has the strongest combination of motive. Kelley begins his association with Dee as an attempt to inveigle his way into a working relationship with the learned doctor. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . and opportunity: Edward Kelley. Christopher Feldman . means. to be sure. and begins reporting a series of visions that have clear precedent in material that is either already familiar to Kelley. much can be accounted for if we posit malicious agency. in order to gain access to Dee’s knowledge. To accomplish this. in regard to alchemy. and descriptions of angelic powers to convince Dee to take him on as a member of the house- 277 See Harkness. The composite portrait of Kelley that emerges from our study is one that combines elements from the various portrayals of the past—the scheming charlatan. the question then becomes “by whom?” And when spiritual entities are eliminated from the picture. This interest is motivated on Kelley’s part by desire for personal gain. Kelley draws upon his own religious fanaticism and Dee’s fascination with the magical underpinnings of the universe to craft a series of plausible visions.277 and Kelley is clearly willing to trick Dee to obtain it. unlike Dee’s more academic curiosity about the workings of “the book of nature. Edward Kelley.1 01 - In short. the demon-haunted necromancer. John Dee’s Conversations with Angels. passim. but then most real people are more complex than the one-dimensional characterizations that writers like Smith or Yates would have it.John Dee. So who was Edward Kelley? A complicated man.” as Harkness puts it. or accessible to him via Dee’s library. ©2009 R. sermons. the aspiring alchemist. Kelley presents himself to Dee as an accomplished scryer. and perhaps the brilliant fabulist—and presents us with a more human individual than we have previously seen. and perhaps his library.
and the harangues from his angels become more frequent and vituperative. Christopher Feldman . Kelley contents himself with pressuring Dee into a modest salary. in order to break free of his entangled relationship with Dee. Kelley is repeatedly frustrated in this endeavor. ©2009 R.1 02 - hold. begins to believe the stories he spins. Kelley creates an amazing tapestry of angels and demons in whose hands the fabric of creation is woven and directed.278 In the end. As time passes Kelley. like most good conmen. King Stephen. and is not above threatening to leave if Dee will not come up with the funds. This scheme of Kelley’s.John Dee. At first.’ I am indebted to Dr. Kelley hopes that things will come to a head and he can at last be free of the monstrous relationship he has created. of course. Meanwhile. becomes too successful. he manages to secure a patron in Rosenberg. what frees 278 A deeper exploration of the relationship between Kelley and Jane Dee might shed additional light on the interpersonal dynamics surrounding the ‘Conversations. particularly when a potential royal patronage falls through. as it becomes clear that he is gaining neither the knowledge nor the largess he desires. the result of Kelley’s own demonstrations of his mediumistic talents. and immediately sets about alienating Dee to the breaking point. he begins to look around for richer patrons: Prince Laski. In the meantime. Edward Kelley. as described in the Book of Revelation and the various eschatological texts familiar to both Dee and Kelley. Finally. However. Emperor Rudolph. and he is trapped in the web he has created. As his resentment and frustration grows. Steven Friesen for pointing this out. whether by the recalcitrance of the intended patron or by Dee’s Jeremiads – which are. however. By proposing the “wife-swapping” incident. his rebellious nature shows itself in frequent arguments. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . and who will soon rend it in order to begin a new aeon.
but his convincing first Rosenberg. re-incarcerated. is imprisoned (probably for failing in his alchemical proofs). It would not be like Kelley to be too easily deciphered. is in character. and explains Dee’s continued involvement in the ‘Conversations. Kelley. flamboyant to the last. Is this the ‘real’ Edward Kelley? There is much evidence in support of this characterization.’ What we cannot say with certainty is whether this is exactly how events transpired. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . It reconciles the apparent contradictions in the record. accounts for his conflicting patterns of behavior. Christopher Feldman . Dee returns to obscurity and practical exile in England. dying impoverished and marginalized. Edward Kelley. as perhaps better befits his nature.John Dee. that the secret of transmutation of metals is within reach. Perhaps this. No longer needed. too.1 03 - Kelley is not this desperate transgression (perhaps tainted with a bit of revenge). then Rudolph. ©2009 R. freed. and dies in a reckless escape attempt.
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VI. “Quinti Libri Mysteriorum Appendix. “Libri Mystici Apertorii Cracoviensis Sabbatiei”.aspx>.” 289 Reprints and annotates John Eglington Bailey’s 1880 edition of Dee’s Diaries for 1595-1601. 1594). John.” 288 Includes “49 Claves Angelicae Anno 1584 Cracoviae”. Dee. or The Book of Enoch revealed to John Dee by the Angels.aspx> _____. “Mysteriorum Liber Secundus”.” 286 Includes: “Mysteriorum Liber Primus”. “Mysteriorum Liber Quartus”. “Liber Scientiae Auxilii et Victoriae Terrestris”.org/explore/highlights/ highlight_objects/pe_mla/d/dr_dees_magic. “Jesus. Quae Pucciana Vocetor”. Artifacts in the British Museum. “Mysteriorum Pragensium Liber Primus Caesareusque”. [Online articles]: “Dr.p. and the following Dee manuscripts: A Compendious Rehearsall (1592). James Crossley. A Letter Containing a Most Brief Discourse Apologetical (ca. Fasciculus Chemicus.John Dee. Omnipotens Sempiterne & Une Deus. “Libri Crocoviensis Mysticus Apertorius Praeterea Proemiam Madimianum”.]. A Necessary Advertizement (ca. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Lyndy Abraham. ©2009 R.britishmuseum. Arthur. Edward Kelley. Pactum Seu Foedus Sabbatismi”. “Unica Action. “Mysteriorum Cracoviensum Stephanicorum Mysteria Stephanica”. Manuscripts in the British Museum [CD-ROM]: Cotton Appendix XLVI 285 Sloane 3188 286 Sloane 3189 287 Sloane 3191 288 _____.” 287 Includes “Liber Mysteriorum Sextus et Sanctus. John Dee [1851. Autobiographical Tracts and Diary for the Years 1595-1601 of Dr. ed. “Liber Peregrinationis Prime Videlicet A Mortlaco Angeliae Ad Craconiam Poloniae”. 1592).289 285 Includes: “Liber Mysteriorum (et Sancti) Parallelus Novalisque”. “Dr. Christopher Feldman . “Liber Resurrectionis Pragae.britishmuseum. “Mysteriorum Liber Tertius”. translated by Elias Ashmole . 1997. “Mysteriorum Pragensium Confirmatio”. Dee’s Magic. New York: Garland Publishing.” <http://www. “Mysteriorum Liber Quintus”. n.org/explore/highlights/ highlight_objects/pe_mla/d/dr_dees_mirror. Dee’s Mirror.1 08 - Dee. 2003. “De Heptarchia Mystica. Kessinger Publishing. English Renaissance Hermeticism Vol. “Mensis Mysticus Saobaticus Pars Primus Ejusdem”. ed.” <http://www. “Actio Tertia Trebonae Generalis”.
ed. Fanger. n. 2003. Christopher Feldman .html>. illustrated by Constance Duquette. Games Systems.1 09 - _____. John Dee and Edward Kelley. published by U. The Perfect Art of Navigation . Darcy Kuntz. 290 Companion book to tarot card deck created by Lon Milo Duquette.com/group/enochian/>. online article. 2008.John Dee. 2003. 1975. York Beach. _____. 2004. San Francisco: Consortium of Collective Consciousness Press. _____. Florence. Alchemy and the End of Nature. Dehn.: Ibis Press. trans. ©2009 R. Lon Milo. 1996. Kessinger Publications.: Pennsylvania State University Press. Articles for the Recovery and Preservation of the Ancient Monuments (1556). Fl. Mysteria Magica: Fundamental Techniques of High Magick. ed. My Life with the Spirits: The Adventures of a Modern Magician.p.: Holmes Publishing.edu/Reviews/harkness review.esoteric. Osborne & Melita Phillips. 2008. Maine: Samuel Weiser. Paul: Llewellyn. Magic in History Series. 2006. _____. Claire. _____. and the ‘Angelic Conversations’ . Goetia). Edmonds. 21 Jul. _____. Duquette. The Book of Abramelin by Abraham von Wurms . 2008. The Hieroglyphic Monad . <http://www. Esoterica. St. Edward Kelley. The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn. by Deborah Harkness [vide infra]. S. Accessed 13 Jul. Tarot of Ceremonial Magick: A Pictorial Synthesis of Three Great Pillars of Magick (Astrology. 1998. 1995.msu. 1555). Lake Worth. 2006. ed. <http://groups. Mathematical Praeface to the Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara . The Key to Solomon’s Key: Secrets of Magic and Masonry. 1995. _____. Denning. San Francisco: Red Wheel/Weiser. 1999. Penn. Stephen Guth.yahoo. _____. n. Maine: Weiser. York Beach. 3rd ed. Kessinger Publishing. Demons. University Park. 1997.290 Enochian Forum. Maine: Red Wheel/Weiser. Enochian Magick. and Gods of the New Millennium: Musings on Modern Magick. Conjuring Spirits – Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic. York Beach.p. Wash. Review of John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala. Boston: Red Wheel/Weiser. Enochian Vision Magick: An Introduction and Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. Farr. Georg. Supplication to Queen Mary (ca. Angels.
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