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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

History of Enochian Magick

This article was written by Gerald and Betty Scheuler on May 10, 2002
posted under Enochian Magick

Enochian Magick was first presented to the public in modern times by Sir John Dee, the court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth of England. Dee was born in England in 1527, and was a magician as well as an astrologer. Working with Edward Kelly (sometimes spelled Kelley), his psychic associate and partner, Dee "discovered" the system of Enochian Magick. According to Dee’s diary, the magical system was revealed to him by the Enochian Angels that inhabited the Watchtowers and Aethyrs of the subtle regions of the universe.

While Kelly conducted the psychic operations known as skrying, Dee kept meticulous records of everything that occurred. Kelly would look deeply into a crystal "shewstone" and describe aloud whatever he saw. Dee, in turn, carefully wrote everything down. The shewstone of Dee and Kelly is believed to have been a black crystal about the size of an egg. Although objects such as water and mirrors can often be used to skry successfully, the favored material is crystal. Dee is credited with having been one of the first magicians to use a large polished spherical crystal—a crystal ball.

The net result of Dee’s research was a series of tablets sectioned into squares with runes on each square. These runes were the letters of the Enochian alphabet. They spelled out the names of the deities who presided over the regions symbolized by the squares. The tablets were thus devised as maps of the invisible spheres that surround our physical world.

Figure 1. Four Great Watchtowers connected by the Black Cross

Little became of Dee’s work until late in the nineteenth century, when it was incorporated and adopted by a mysterious and highly secret brother-hood of adepts in England, who called themselves the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. They invoked the Enochian deities whose names were written on the tablets. They also traveled in what they called their Body of Light (a poetic term for the aura) into these subtle regions and recorded their psychic experiences in a scientific manner. One member, who left the Order to found his own, traveled through each of the thirty Aethyrs. His name was Aleister Crowley, and he carefully recorded his travels through the Aethyrs in a book called The Vision and the Voice. This book was written with highly symbolic imagery, and most people find it too difficult to understand or put to practical use.

The book, Enochian Magick: A Practical Manual (Schueler, Llewellyn Publications), was written in an effort to eliminate the unnecessary complexity of the Enochian magickal system and to combine its numerous elements into a single source. This book, published as a part of Llewellyn’s High Magick series, contains fundamental teachings of Enochian Magick such as the derivation of deity names, the rules associated with deriving signposts (known characteristics of the Watchtowers and Aethyrs of Enochian Magick), and step-by-step techniques for invocations. This book was followed by An Advanced Guide to Enochian Magick, which includes the main rituals and formulae of Enochian Magick. A third book, Enochian Physics, describes the structure of the Enochian magickal universe and compares that with the latest theories of modern physics. A fourth book, Enochian Tarot, was published in 1989.

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