Tag Archives: John Dee

What are the best resources on Enochian magic?

Answer by Alex Sumner:

A good all-round introduction to the subject is Enochian Vision Magick by Lon Milo Duquette, which is essentially how one would go from being a complete beginner to a practising magician in all aspects of Dee’s system. Once you have that out of the way, you are ready for Dee’s original materials. I recommend John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery, edited by Joseph H Peterson, and Meric Casaubon’s “A True and Faithful Relation…” now published as Dr. John Dee’s Spiritual Diaries: 1583-1608, edited by Stephen Skinner.

Some years ago themagickalreview.org  even had high quality scans of Dee’s diaries online, but unfortunately their site seems to be down.

What are the best resources on Enochian magic?

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Enochian Magic in Tamworth

An open letter to the Enochian Magician who has been unwittingly discovered in Tamworth, West Midlands, England.

Dude! You may or may not have been reading the local papers recently but the brass plate which you buried in those woods has been discovered, and is in the possession of the West Midlands Ghost Club, who tried appealing for help in deciphering its contents. They would probably have got help a lot sooner if the paper had published a photo of the plate, but hey! This little detail seems to have been overlooked by the editorial staff.

I presume you meant the brass plate to be a talisman of some description. Whilst I admire your adventurous spirit, I cannot help but think you were over-egging the pudding by inscribing the words of the seventh Enochian key onto a brass disc and then burying it in the middle of the woods. The thing about Enochian magic is that you do not need to go to quite that much effort. Through my own magical work, I have found that there are only three things you need to do in order to get an Enochian Call to work:

  1. Beforehand – you need to have memorised what the English translation is meant to be;
  2. You need to keep in mind what the supposed effect of the Enochian call – i.e. what particular energies it is meant to be invoking; and
  3. You need to say (nb: not “vibrate”) the call in the original Enochian.

I personally find it best to memorise the actual Enochian itself. In addition to any magical virtue this might have, I feel it inconvenient to work from a script, so I reduce my reliance on one as much as possible. Generally this means it takes me at least a couple of days to prepare for each ritual, as I do not profess to have memorised all 19 keys by heart.

Once the hurdle of preparation is overcome, though, what is most noticeable is that an amazing feeling of power can be sensed almost immediately as the Enochian key is pronounced. So long as one has mastered the above three steps, one does not even have to be a particularly experienced magician. These are not just my own findings – other Enochian practitioners to whom I have spoken confirm its power as well.

Regarding pronunciation: I used to use the GD style, but I developed the conviction that the only real reason that the Golden Dawn developed this method was because they only had access to a limited number of Enochian texts, e.g. they worked from Sloane 307, which is not an original Dee text! Meric Causaubon’s A True and Faithful Relation, flawed though it may be, at least points out that Dee made marginal notes as he received the calls as to how each odd collection of consonants should be pronounced. What is immediately obvious is that the overall scheme is quite simply that each word is pronounced as it would have been in Elizabethan English, with odd consonants being pronounced separately. Moreover, Z is not pronounced Zode every time, but only when either smooth pronunciation demands it, or to add the connotation of “of God” to a word. The idea of interpolating vowels from equivalent Hebrew letters is entirely absent in Dee’s work.

I have much sympathy, though, with Geoffrey James‘ remark that Angels do not have vocal cords. Hence the manner of pronouncing a given Enochian key is rather academic at best. Hence knowing what the Enochian call is, and what it is meant to do, is possibly more important than how to pronounce it using the vocal cords of an “alien being” – i.e. a human.

The seventh Enochian key, which you used, in the Golden Dawn system invokes the Air Lesser Angle of the Water Tablet. From recollection, in the GD system again Air of Water refers to Pisces and the letter Qoph – which is magically associated with creating glamours, bewitchments and enchantments. Not sure that is what you intended but there you go. It is debatable whether this is what Dee intended for, having looked carefully at A True and Faithful Relation the only indication as to what the Enochian keys were to be used for was a single one-off magical working – and then never to be used again! Of course, there will be many Enochian magicians (including, it has to be said, me) who will counter that A True and Faithful Relation is not the be-all and end-all, as it would spoil a lot of people’s fun if it turned out that everyone had been doing it wrong for the past five hundred years or so.

As to why the Enochian language is so magical at all, the tradition supposes that it is the “Adamitic language” which was “spoken” in the Garden of Eden. But how can that be possible, especially if we follow James’ theory? One intriguing suggestion was put forward by the author Charles Williams. Whilst not referring to Enochian language per se, he posited the idea (in his book, The Place of the Lion) that the “Garden of Eden” is actually the Platonic World of Forms – and that the Adamitic language speaks directly to this World, thus invoking archetypal energies. Whether or not this is the case, the fact remains that Enochian is the closest thing we have to objective proof that magic actually works.


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Magick and Espionage

All this talk about Russian Spies this week has got me thinking about the subject of espionage generally.

Anna Chapman

Anna Chapman, alleged Russian Spy Mistress.

Magick has a strange relationship with espionage. It has been alleged that John Dee signed his letters “007” and that his gallivanting around Europe was actually a series of spying missions – and yes, Ian Fleming did have a book about John Dee in his library.

Certainly one of Dee’s most prized possessions was a copy of Steganographia, by the Abbot Trithemius – a book of secret writing disguised as a book of magick.

Fleming also once met Aleister Crowley. Crowley himself alleged that he was a spy for British Intelligence in World War I, although this may have been to deflect criticism that he had been working for a pro-German propaganda sheet whilst in New York.

Actually this has given me an idea for a new method of magick working. Instead of creating a sigil via the A O Spare method, why not take a pre-existing magickal image, and encrypt the statement of intent into it using steganographic software? More news about this if it works after I have tried it out.To find the secret message in the above picture, copy it and go to http://mozaiq.com to decrypt. Password = trithemius


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… but then we shall see face to face.

John Dee, the famous Elizabethan Mathematician, Scholar and Occultist, continues to exercise a powerful hold over the British imagination. So much so that British newspaper The Guardian this weekend featured a nice article this weekend about Dee’s “Shewstone” or black-obsidian disc with which he got Edmund Kelly to skry all the wonders of what we nowadays call Enochian Magic.

The article in question was about a new exhibition at the Tate St Ives (Cornwall, not Cambridgeshire) about magic and modernity. This proved to be somewhat ironic as according to the article, the exhibition neither featured the work of a modern magic practitioner, nor did it feature John Dee’s Shewstone. Ah well, serves me right for reading such a miserable excuse for a paper. Back to The Daily Telegraph for me in future!

But this got me thinking that I should take this opportunity to write a blog piece about Dark Mirrors and their use in magic generally.

A “dark mirror” or Speculum (not to be confused with the medical instrument of the same name) is not so much a conventional mirror but a black shiny surface in which one’s reflection may be perceived. It is used in magic for evocations.

Now a number of magicians seem to think that when performing an evocation, the spirit somehow materialises within the Triangle of Art out of thin air – but a survey of both classic magic texts and modern sources suggests that this is not the case. A great many texts suggest that the object of evocation is to make a given spirit appear in some sort of skrying medium: the most famous example of which would be the classic Crystal Ball.

However a number of other media have also been described as being used – e.g. Dee’s black-obsidian disc, or a bowl of water (a technique favoured by the Ancient Egyptians) or a small quantity of black ink held in the palm of one’s hand. Anything in fact which is black and shiny.

Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825 – 1875) advocated the use of dark mirrors for skrying purposes. He recommended using two sheets of glass, one flat and the other (the skrying surface) concave: the space between the two sheets of glass was to be filled with black ink. Randolph also wrote down practical instructions for getting started in dark-mirror skrying. (See his book Sexual Magic).

Eliphas Lévi (1810 – 1875) famously attempted to evoke the spirit of Appolonius of Tyana into a mirror. Technically he succeeded (he claimed that an apparition of Appolonius appeared) but for all the good it did him he might have just as well tried reading the tea-leaves.

Franz Bardon (1909 – 1958) in his book Initiation Into Hermetics also describes how to create magic mirrors for the purpose of skrying. According to Bardon there are several methods – such a mirror can be made from an actual mirror or glass bowl, a concave glass disc (such as can be obtained from clock-makers), or bowl which has been made by oneself out of plaster-of-paris. Knowledge of what Bardon calls “fluid condensers” – substances which attract magical influences in a kind of very simplified alchemy – is necessary to render the mirror effective. Once prepared – and assuming that one undergoes all of the other steps required for magical training – the magic mirror can be used for skrying the various planes of existence, contacting dead people, contacting magical entities, and numerous other magical effects.

The most famous practitioner of dark-mirror skrying today is Carroll “Poke” Runyon, founder of the Ordo Templi Astarte. Runyon has stated that he re-discovered the practice all by himself in the early seventies, and uses it to contact the seventy-two spirits of the Goetia of the Lesser Key of Solomon (whilst using a crystal ball for contacting angelic beings). See The Magick of Solomon.

What is being observed when one looks into a dark mirror? The reductionist-materialist would say that it is merely a dim reflection of oneself. However, in every case of evocation with which I am familiar, the magician does not just sit down in front of the object, but prepares himself with a great deal of magic ritual, which involves concentration and entering into an ecstatic or visionary state of consciousness. Runyon for example explicitly states that both raja yoga and self-hypnosis are necessary requisites for proper skrying in the dark mirror. Therefore although the physical cause of the apparition is the dim reflection of the skryer, what the skryer perceives is in fact the sum total of the influences at work on his or her mind at that particular moment, due to the magical ceremony in progress.

There is a description of a dark mirror skrying operation in my novel which I do not recommend readers carry out literally – it is meant to be the direct opposite of what a normal respectable magician would do in real life. On the other hand it is meant to convey an authentic flavour of what a vile, degenerate luciferian ceremony would consist.

Finally I should point out that several magicians claim that it is not necessary to “see” a spirit in order to evoke it properly. Lon Milo Duquette for example has claimed success with Goetic operations, but readily admits that when he evokes a spirit he feels its presence rather than seeing it. In Chaos Magick, an evocation refers to evoking the effects of a magical force to physical manifestation, not necessarily to evoking a visible appearance of the force itself.

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