Decoding John Dee’s Interactions with Spiritual Entities

Throughout history, few figures are as enigmatic and intriguing as John Dee, the renowned 16th-century scholar, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, and pioneering explorer of the esoteric.

A polymath who straddled the worlds of science and magic, Dee embarked on a lifelong quest to decipher the mysteries of the universe.

His most audacious endeavor, however, was his attempt to communicate with angelic entities, a journey that led to the creation of the Enochian system—a unique and complex system of angelic magic that continues to captivate scholars and occultists to this day.

The Spiritual Background of John Dee

The spiritual background of John Dee is a fascinating blend of Renaissance humanism, Christian mysticism, and esoteric philosophy.

Born in 1527 in London, Dee grew up during a time of significant religious and intellectual upheaval. The Protestant Reformation was reshaping the religious landscape of Europe, and the Renaissance was fostering a renewed interest in the classical knowledge of Greece and Rome.

Dee was educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he excelled in mathematics and astronomy. However, his intellectual curiosity extended beyond the realm of the empirical sciences. He was deeply interested in the mysteries of the universe, a pursuit that led him to delve into the realms of alchemy, astrology, and the occult.

Dee’s spiritual beliefs were heavily influenced by three major philosophical traditions: Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, and the Kabbalah.

Neoplatonism, a philosophical system developed in the 3rd century AD, posits that all existence emanates from a single, divine source.

This concept resonated with Dee, who saw the universe as a complex, interconnected whole, governed by mathematical and spiritual laws.

Hermeticism, another significant influence on Dee, is a philosophical and religious tradition based on the teachings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, a legendary Hellenistic figure.

Hermeticism emphasizes the pursuit of gnosis, or direct knowledge of the divine, a concept that would later form the basis of Dee’s angelic communications.

The Kabbalah, a mystical Jewish tradition, also played a crucial role in shaping Dee’s spiritual worldview. The Kabbalah’s intricate system of divine emanations and its emphasis on the power of language and names resonated with Dee’s own interest in angelic hierarchies and the Enochian language.

Dee’s spiritual journey was not an isolated endeavor but was deeply intertwined with the cultural and intellectual context of the Elizabethan era.

This period was characterized by a fascination with the occult, as the boundaries between science, magic, and religion were not as rigidly defined as they are today.

The Elizabethan worldview saw the universe as an enchanted place, filled with hidden correspondences and divine mysteries waiting to be uncovered.

In this context, Dee’s spiritual pursuits were not seen as contradictory to his scientific endeavors but were part of a holistic quest for knowledge.

His spiritual beliefs informed his scientific work, and vice versa, reflecting the Renaissance ideal of the “magus” – a wise man who seeks to understand and harness the hidden forces of the universe.

The Enochian System

The Enochian system is a comprehensive and complex system of ceremonial magic, named after the biblical figure Enoch, who was said to have walked with God.

Developed by John Dee and his medium, Edward Kelley, in the late 16th century, the Enochian system is considered one of the cornerstones of Western occultism.

The Enochian system was revealed to Dee and Kelley over a series of scrying sessions, which took place between 1581 and 1585.

During these sessions, Kelley would enter a trance-like state and describe visions of angels who communicated various aspects of the system to him. Dee, acting as the scribe, would meticulously record these visions and the information conveyed.

At the heart of the Enochian system is the Enochian language, a unique linguistic system that was said to be the language of the angels. This language, with its own alphabet, grammar, and syntax, was revealed to Dee and Kelley over the course of their scrying sessions.

The Enochian language is used in the invocations and prayers of the Enochian system and is believed to have a powerful effect on reality.

The Enochian system also includes a complex cosmology, which includes a series of celestial and elemental hierarchies.

These hierarchies are represented in the form of complex tables and diagrams, such as the Great Table of Earth, which is divided into four sub-quadrants associated with the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.

Each of these sub-quadrants is governed by a set of angelic entities known as the “Watchtowers” or “Tablets.”

The Enochian system is not merely a system of magic but is also a comprehensive spiritual philosophy. It posits that the universe is a reflection of the divine and that by understanding and interacting with the divine forces represented in the Enochian system, one can achieve spiritual enlightenment and transformation.

Despite its complexity, the Enochian system was intended to be practical. Dee and Kelley used the system for a variety of purposes, including obtaining knowledge, gaining spiritual insight, and seeking guidance on political matters.

The Enochian system was also used as a tool for exploring the higher realms of existence, with the ultimate goal of achieving union with the divine.

The Enochian system is a unique and intricate system of angelic magic that combines language, cosmology, and spiritual philosophy. Despite its complexity, it has had a profound influence on Western occultism and continues to be studied and practiced by occultists today.

John Dee’s method of communicating with angels was a complex process that combined elements of ritual, divination, and mediumship. This process was carried out through a series of scrying sessions, which took place over several years.

Scrying, or crystal gazing, is a form of divination that involves gazing into a reflective surface, such as a mirror, crystal ball, or bowl of water, to receive visions or messages.

In Dee’s case, the primary scryer was Edward Kelley, who would enter a trance-like state and describe the visions he saw.

These visions often included angels, who would communicate various messages to Kelley. These messages could include revelations about the nature of the universe, instructions for magical rituals, or answers to specific questions posed by Dee.

The angels would also sometimes communicate in the Enochian language, which Dee and Kelley would then work to decipher.

The scrying sessions were typically conducted using a “shewstone,” a polished piece of obsidian or crystal that Kelley would gaze into.

Dee would also use a variety of other tools and props, including magical seals, talismans, and the Sigillum Dei Aemeth, a complex wax seal engraved with various names of God and angels.

The Enochian Tables, a set of complex diagrams filled with letters and symbols, were another crucial tool in Dee’s angelic communications. These tables were believed to represent the structure of the universe and the divine language of angels.

By using these tables, Dee and Kelley could call upon specific angels, navigate the celestial hierarchies, and gain deeper insights into the divine mysteries.

It’s important to note that Edward Kelley played a crucial role in these communications. As the medium, Kelley was the one who would actually see the visions and hear the messages from the angels.

Dee, on the other hand, acted as the scribe, recording the visions and messages as they were relayed by Kelley.

The Language of Angels

The Enochian language, often referred to as the “Language of the Angels,” is one of the most intriguing and enigmatic aspects of John Dee’s angelic communications.

This unique linguistic system was revealed to Dee and his medium, Edward Kelley, over a series of scrying sessions in the late 16th century.

The Enochian language is characterized by its own alphabet, grammar, and syntax. The alphabet consists of 21 letters, each with its own unique name and associated glyph.

The language is written from right to left, and it has its own unique syntax and grammar rules, which differ significantly from those of English or any other known language.

Dee believed that the Enochian language was the original, divine language spoken by Adam in the Garden of Eden, and that it was the language used by angels in Heaven. He saw it as a powerful tool for communicating with the divine and believed that its sounds and structures had inherent magical properties.

The Enochian language is used extensively in the rituals and invocations of the Enochian system. The language’s complex symbolism and cryptic nature have intrigued scholars and occultists for centuries. Despite numerous attempts to fully decipher and understand the language, much of it remains a mystery.

The Enochian language is not just a system of communication but also a symbolic system. Each letter, word, and phrase in the language is believed to have a deeper, symbolic meaning, reflecting the divine realities and spiritual truths of the universe.

Dee dedicated significant effort to deciphering the Enochian language and understanding its deeper meanings. His meticulous records of the scrying sessions, including the Enochian Keys (a series of 48 poetic verses in the Enochian language), provide a fascinating glimpse into this unique linguistic system.

The Angelic Hierarchies

The angelic hierarchies form a central part of John Dee’s Enochian system. These hierarchies, revealed to Dee and Edward Kelley during their scrying sessions, represent a complex structure of divine and angelic entities.

The Enochian system posits a cosmology that includes a series of celestial and elemental hierarchies. These hierarchies are represented in the form of complex tables and diagrams, such as the Great Table of Earth, which is divided into four sub-quadrants associated with the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Each of these sub-quadrants is governed by a set of angelic entities known as the “Watchtowers” or “Tablets.”

The Watchtowers are overseen by “Kings” and “Princes,” who are considered to be powerful angelic entities. Each Watchtower is also associated with a set of “Seniors,” who are seen as divine elders, and a host of other angelic entities, including “Kerubs” and “Servient Angels.”

In addition to the Watchtowers, the Enochian system also includes a hierarchy of “Aethyrs” or celestial realms. These Aethyrs are seen as spiritual dimensions or levels of consciousness, each overseen by its own set of angelic entities.

The angelic hierarchies in the Enochian system are not just a static structure but are seen as dynamic and interactive. Dee and Kelley would navigate these hierarchies during their scrying sessions, calling upon specific angels for guidance, knowledge, or assistance.

The angelic hierarchies are also deeply symbolic, reflecting Dee’s belief in the correspondence between the macrocosm (the universe) and the microcosm (the human being).

By understanding and interacting with these hierarchies, Dee believed that one could gain insight into the divine order of the universe and achieve spiritual transformation.

The angelic hierarchies in John Dee’s Enochian system represent a complex and dynamic structure of divine and angelic entities. These hierarchies form a central part of the Enochian cosmology and are integral to the practice of Enochian magic.

The Book of Soyga

The Book of Soyga, also known as Aldaraia, is a Latin grimoire of the 16th century that held a particular fascination for John Dee.

This mysterious book, filled with cryptic tables and magical incantations, was believed to contain profound angelic knowledge and is closely associated with Dee’s angelic conversations.

The Book of Soyga is a complex work that combines elements of magic, astrology, and demonology. It consists of several sections, including a treatise on cosmology, a series of magical invocations, and a collection of 36 large squares filled with letters.

These squares, or tables, are one of the most intriguing aspects of the book. Each table consists of 36 rows and 36 columns of letters, forming a grid of 1,296 cells.

The significance and use of these tables remain a mystery, although they are believed to be a form of cryptographic or magical code.

John Dee’s interest in the Book of Soyga is well documented. In his diaries, Dee mentions several attempts to decipher the book’s mysteries, particularly the meaning and use of the 36 tables. Dee believed that the Book of Soyga contained hidden wisdom that could be revealed through his angelic communications.

One of the most significant events related to the Book of Soyga occurred in 1583, when Dee and Kelley conducted a series of scrying sessions specifically aimed at deciphering the book.

During these sessions, the angel Uriel reportedly revealed that the book came from Adam’s time and that its secrets could only be understood by the archangel Michael.

The Book of Soyga was lost for many centuries and was only rediscovered in the 20th century. Despite this, it continues to intrigue scholars and occultists due to its connection with John Dee and its enigmatic content.

Astronomical and Astrological Influences

John Dee’s angelic conversations and the development of the Enochian system were deeply intertwined with his interest in astronomy and astrology.

As a scholar of the Renaissance period, Dee was part of a tradition that saw no separation between the scientific study of the heavens and the spiritual interpretation of celestial bodies.

Dee was an accomplished astronomer and mathematician, and he used these skills to calculate celestial events and create horoscopes.

He believed that the movements and positions of celestial bodies could influence events on Earth and provide insights into the divine plan of the universe.

In the context of his angelic conversations, Dee used celestial calculations to determine auspicious times for his scrying sessions. He believed that certain celestial configurations could facilitate communication with angelic entities.

For example, he might choose to conduct a session when the moon was in a particular phase or when a certain planet was in a specific position.

Astrological symbolism also played a significant role in the Enochian system. The entities that Dee and Kelley communicated with were often associated with specific celestial bodies or zodiac signs.

For instance, the angelic hierarchies of the Enochian system include entities associated with the seven classical planets (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn) and the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Furthermore, the Great Table of Earth, a key component of the Enochian system, is divided into four sub-quadrants associated with the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.

These elements are in turn associated with the twelve houses of the zodiac, reflecting the astrological correspondences prevalent in Renaissance magic.

Dee’s use of celestial calculations and planetary symbolism reflects the Renaissance worldview of the cosmos as an interconnected whole, where celestial events could provide insights into spiritual realities.

The Practical Applications of Angelic Guidance

John Dee’s angelic conversations were not merely a spiritual or intellectual pursuit; they were also intended to have practical applications.

Dee believed that the knowledge gained from these conversations could be applied in various ways to improve human understanding and society:

  • Advancing Human Knowledge: Dee saw his angelic conversations as a source of divine wisdom that could expand human knowledge. He believed that the angels could reveal truths about the universe that were beyond human understanding. This included insights into the nature of reality, the structure of the cosmos, and the workings of the divine. Dee’s work on the Enochian language, for example, was not just an esoteric endeavor but also a linguistic and philosophical exploration.
  • Spiritual Insights: Dee’s angelic conversations were also a source of personal spiritual guidance. Through his interactions with the angels, Dee sought to understand the divine will and to align himself with it. He believed that these conversations could provide insights into the nature of the soul, the path to salvation, and the means to achieve spiritual transformation.
  • Political Guidance: Dee was not just a scholar and occultist; he was also a political advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He believed that his angelic conversations could provide guidance on political matters. This included advice on governance, diplomacy, and even military strategy. Dee’s angelic conversations were, in this sense, an early form of “intelligence gathering,” albeit of a very unusual kind.
  • Healing and Well-being: Dee also believed that the knowledge gained from the angels could have practical applications in the field of medicine. The angels often provided information about the medicinal properties of plants, the use of talismans for healing, and methods for maintaining physical and mental well-being.

John Dee saw his angelic conversations as a practical endeavor with wide-ranging applications.

He believed that the divine wisdom gained from these conversations could advance human knowledge, provide spiritual insights, offer political guidance, and promote healing and well-being.

Despite the esoteric nature of his practices, Dee’s approach was deeply pragmatic, reflecting his Renaissance belief in the unity of knowledge and the potential for human progress.

Controversies and Skepticism

John Dee’s interactions with spiritual entities and his development of the Enochian system have been met with both fascination and skepticism, both during his lifetime and in the centuries since his death.

During Dee’s time, his practices were controversial. The Elizabethan era was a time of religious turmoil, and practices such as scrying and angelic communication were often viewed with suspicion.

While Dee was a respected scholar and had the patronage of Queen Elizabeth I, his angelic conversations were seen by some as heretical or even demonic. This led to periods of disfavor and hardship for Dee.

In the modern era, interpretations of Dee’s work are varied. Some view him as a pioneer of esoteric knowledge and a visionary who sought to bridge the gap between science and spirituality.

Others, however, view his angelic conversations as delusions or fabrications. Skeptics point to the lack of verifiable evidence for his claims and the role of Edward Kelley, who was known to be a charlatan, in the scrying sessions.

There is also controversy over the nature of the Enochian system itself. Some occultists and scholars see it as a powerful and coherent system of magic, while others view it as a confusing and inconsistent collection of ideas.

The Enochian language, in particular, has been a subject of debate, with some seeing it as a genuine angelic language and others viewing it as a constructed language or even a hoax.

Despite these controversies, John Dee’s work continues to be studied and practiced by many. His influence on Western occultism is undeniable, and his ideas have shaped many modern magical traditions.

While his angelic conversations and the Enochian system may be controversial, they remain a fascinating part of the history of esoteric thought.

The Legacy of John Dee’s Angelic Conversations

The legacy of John Dee’s angelic conversations extends far beyond his lifetime and has had a profound impact on Western occultism, esoteric traditions, and the development of magical systems:

  • Influence on Western Occultism: Dee’s Enochian system, developed through his angelic conversations, is considered one of the cornerstones of Western occultism. The system’s unique language, intricate hierarchies of angelic entities, and complex cosmology have influenced numerous magical traditions. The Enochian system is studied and practiced by modern occultists and is often incorporated into ritual magic.
  • Development of Magical Systems: The Enochian system has been incorporated into several magical systems developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a significant occult organization of the late 19th century, integrated the Enochian system into its teachings and rituals. Aleister Crowley, a prominent figure in 20th-century occultism, also used the Enochian system in his magical work.
  • Impact on Esoteric Thought: Dee’s angelic conversations and the resulting Enochian system have contributed to esoteric thought in several ways. They represent an early attempt to systematize magical practice and to integrate magic, science, and spirituality. Dee’s work also reflects the Renaissance belief in the potential for human beings to access divine knowledge and to participate in the divine order of the universe.
  • Cultural Influence: Dee’s angelic conversations have also had a cultural impact. They have been the subject of numerous books, films, and artworks, and they have influenced the portrayal of magic and the occult in popular culture. The Enochian language, in particular, has been used in various forms of media, from novels to video games.

The legacy of John Dee’s angelic conversations is significant and enduring. Despite the controversies and mysteries surrounding his practices, Dee’s work continues to captivate those who venture into the realm of the esoteric.

His influence can be seen in the fields of occultism, esoteric thought, and popular culture, making him a pivotal figure in the history of spiritual exploration.

Similar Articles