Born in London in 1527, this remarkable mathematician and astrologer is supposed to have been descended from a noble old Welsh House. He affirmed that among his direct ancestors was Roderick the Great, Prince of Wales. Dee's father appears to have been a gentleman server at the court of Henry VIII. Consequently, he was able to give his son a good education. At the age of 15 John Dee proceeded to Cambridge, and after two years there he took his degree as Bachelor of Arts; while a little later on his becoming intensely interested in astronomy and the like, he decided to leave England and go and study abroad.
In 1547 he went to the Low Countries, where he met with numerous scholars, and where he eventually brought home the first astronomer's staff of brass and two globes constructed by Gerad Mercetor.
In 1550 Dee spent several months in Paris, lecturing there on the principles of geometry. He was offered a permanent post at the Sorbonne; but he decline and returned home to England in 1551, where having been recommended to Edward VI, he was granted the rectory of Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire.
The astrologer was now in a delightful and enviable position, having a comfortable home and assured income and being able to devote himself exclusively to the studies he loved. The most romantic circumstances in Dee's life, however, are those which deal with his experiments in crystallomancy. Living in comparative solitude, practicing astrology for bread, but studying alchemy for pleasure, brooding over Talmudic mysteries and Rosicrucian theories, immersed in constant contemplation of wonders which he longed to penetrate and dazzled by visions of the elixir of life and the Philosopher's Stone, Dee soon attained to such a condition of mystic exaltation that his visions became to him as realities, and he persuaded himself that he was the favored of the invisible.
In his diary he records that he first saw spirits in his crystal globe on the 25th of May, 1581. In another year he had attained to a higher level, and one day, in November, 1582, while on his knees and fervently praying, he became aware of a sudden glory which filled the west window of his laboratory, and in whose midst shone the bright angel Uriel. It was impossible for Dee to speak. His tongue was frozen in awe. But Uriel smiled upon him, and gave him a convex piece of crystal, and told him that when he wished to communicate with the beings of another world he had but to examine it intently, and they would immediately appear and reveal the mysteries of the future. Then the angel vanished.
Dee found from the experience that it was needful to concentrate all one's faculties upon the crystal before the spirits would obey him. He could never remember what the spirits said in their frequent conversations with him. He resolved, therefore, to discover some fellow worker, or neophyte, who should converse with the spirits while he himself, in another part of the room, sat and recorded the interesting dialogue. He found the assistant he sought in one Edward Kelly, who, unhappily for himself, possessed just the requisite skills.
The renowned 16th century alchemist, theurgist and clairvoyant Edward Kelly began his early career practicing as a lawyer, though he was soon arrested for forgery and was sentenced to having both ears cut off. Ashamed and humiliated, Kelly fled to Wales where he went for some time under the name of Edward Talbot. In wales, he happened upon a withered manuscript which he, with his knowledge of Latin, discovered had been written by the Christian alchemist St. Dunstan of Glastonbury.
His enthusiasm sparked by the alchemical and hermetic contents of the manuscript, Kelly travelled to London to show it to his acquaintance, Dr. John Dee. The two started a long collaboration of alchemical and ceremonial experiments based largely upon the writings of St. Dunstan, and reportedly summoned angelic beings as well as produced significant quantities of gold.
Although the two men had very different personalities, Dee being the somewhat more rational and discrete of the two, Kelly and Dee found themselves embarking as companions on an arduous series of séances that would demand several years to undertake. Following an invocational formula, the two would contact and converse with angels and disembodied spirits. Seated at a table laden with various tools and symbols, Kelly would gaze into a crystal ball and report his visions to Dee, who acted as scribe. In this way they received the "secret angelic language" to which the initation ceremonies of the Golden Dawn refer. This complicated tongue, whether or not once actually spoken by an ancient race, is nevertheless a true language in every sense of the word, with a vast vocabulary and a syntax and grammar of its own. This language is the most important contribution of Dee and Kelly, although the magical work of the two men was not limited to that purpose alone.
Travelling through Central and Eastern Europe, Dee and Kelly found a suitable environment for their work among the famed alchemists' stalls at the palace court of emperor Rudolf II in Prague. Here, while Dee kept his Art mostly to himself, Kelly would hold public demonstrations of the art of gold-making and was even knighted after a showing off his powers to the court. So impressed was the emperor by him, that Kelly gained a prominent position and was put in charge of producing alchemical gold for the state. Unable to meet the demands of the emperor and having killed a local in a duel, Kelly was imprisoned. After two years in imprisonment , Kelly took a dire fall and broke his leg badly while attempting to escape, which led to a ghastly amputation. After another unsuccessful escape during which he broke his other leg, Sir Edward Kelly died, either by his own hand or suffering from the poor prison treatment. Dr Dee long outlived Kelly and died at eighty years of age in Manchester, England.
Enochian magic is a system of ceremonial magic based on the evocation and commanding of various spirits. It is based on the 16th-century writings of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley, who claimed that their information was delivered to them directly by various angels. Dee's journals contained the Enochian script, and the table of correspondences that goes with it. It claims to embrace secrets contained within the apocryphal Book of Enoch.
It is not quite clear how much of Enochian magic was put to use by Dee and Kelley. However, rediscovery of Enochian magic by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has sparked remarkable publicity for it in modern occultism. Enochian as an operative system is difficult to reconstruct based upon original manuscripts like the collection of Sir Hans Sloane in the British Museum, but contemporary occult organizations have attempted to make it usable. The Golden Dawn was the first, but their knowledge was based upon only one of Dee's diaries and their planetary, elemental, or zodiacal attributions have no foundation in the original sources.
Compared to other theories of magic, Enochian magic is strikingly complex, elegant and difficult to understand. Also, parts of the original manuscripts written by Dee have been lost, mainly due to a fire in his house after his death, thus key parts of the system are missing. This has allowed numerous interpretations to arise, some of which have solidified into schools of thought with individual bodies of interpretative literature.
Enochian Magic forms the backbone of both the Crowley and Golden Dawn systems of Magic. Latest theories include that John Dee knew of the Slavonic Book of the Secrets of Enoch, as well as the Ethiopic Book of Enoch.
Enochian magic is the system of theurgy, or angel magic supposedly given by a hierarchy of spiritual intelligences who identified themselves as the same angels that had instructed the biblical patriarch Enoch in the occult wisdom of heaven.
Enoch is the fabled author of a number of mystical and magical texts that deal largely with the fallen angels of God, known collectively as the Watchers (also known as (Nephilim) "those causing others to fall"), whose task it was to watch over humanity from the four Watchtowers at the corners of creation. These Watchers observed that human women were beautiful and lusted after them. A group of Watchers, led by an angel known by a variety of names, among them Azazel, descended to the earth and adopted material forms so that they could dwell with mortal women. Their consorts bore them sons and daughters (Rephaim), also known as "giants,") who were half-human and half-angelic.
The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.... There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:2,4)
What the Bible neglects to say is that in return for the pleasure of their company, these fallen Watchers taught the women they loved, along with their half-breed descendants, the beginnings of all the arts and sciences that have so transformed the world in the modern age. They also taught enchantments, spells, the making of talismans and amulets, bewitchments, fascinations, glamours, the knowledge of the occult use of herbs and stones, astrology, and other esoteric arts.
More destructively, the Watchers taught their descendants the arts of warfare in order that they could rules as kings over all the lands of the earth. The mighty sons of the Watchers fell into contention with each other, and chaos reigned. The sons of the fallen angels, of which the first generation were known as giants because of their great wisdom and power, were regarded as devils by ordinary human beings. From the union of the daughters of the Watchers with those same Watchers, mortal men and women of great power and intelligence were born; from the union of the sons of the Watchers with those same Watchers (who are both male and female, being angels) spiritual creatures of male and female appearance possessing the power to rule over the earthly elements came forth.
The rule in magic is that from the sexual union between a spirit and a man, a spiritual creature with human qualities is born out of the womb of the spirit; but from the sexual union between a spirit and a woman, a human child with spiritual qualities is born out of the womb of the woman. Merlin falls into the second category -- he was the product of a union between a mortal woman and a spirit. As a practical matter, the offspring between an angel and a mortal woman must have a physical matrix or basis to inhabit before it can fully become flesh -- it must possess an embryo within its mother that was conceived in the usual way with a mortal man.
There are interesting echoes in the Enochian mythos with the story of Atlantis, which intimates that the people of Atlantis gained access to a powerful knowledge they were unable to control, a knowledge that ultimately caused the destruction of the continent of Atlantis by its submergence beneath the waves of the sea -- in other words, destruction by a great flood. The knowledge of Atlantis that was misused is usually called a science in modern commentaries on the Atlantean myth, but in the time of Plato, who recorded the main features of the myth, there was no such thing as science. The knowledge of Atlantis was a form of magic, not a science.
The Nephilim ("those causing others to fall") & the daughters of men produced offspring known as the Rephaim, (also known as "giants,") half angelic beings and humans.
The God of the Hebrew Bible caused a flood (the Deluge) to destroy the Rephaim, but the seed line of them still survived through Noah's daughter in law and grandchildren.
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