For those of you keeping score, this month (February 2014) marks
the release of my third title concerning the Enochian system of angel magick. It is called The Essential Enochian Grimoire, and—as its name implies—it contains step-by-step instructions for summoning some of the most powerful angels in the universe. It might just be the first and only Enochian book that you will carry around a magickal circle as you work, rather than stashing it away on a bookshelf as reference material.
In case you've never heard of Enochian magick before, we've got you covered. As a prelude to the book's release, I wrote a brief article called What is Enochian Magick? (The Two Mystical Traditions of Enoch the Prophet).
If you find interest in Enochiana (or if it should, perhaps, call to you in your dreams), then The Essential Enochian Grimoire is a great introduction to its history, cosmology, tools, and the angels themselves (their names, appearances, functions, etc). It will also serve as a study-guide for further research and, of course, provide you with a practical working manual.
Meanwhile, those of you who are already students of the system might have found the title of this article a bit curious. The Heptarchia (seven-fold rulership) is the name given to the Enochian system of planetary angel magick. Dr. John Dee and his scryer Edward Kelley left behind journals outlining the names of the Heptarchic angels, their appearances and functions, sigils, and even a grimoire (mainly a set of haphazard working notes) called De Heptarchia Mystica that provides the invocations for summoning them. What, exactly, needs to be restored?
The Heptarchia Problem
The problem lies with the functions of the Heptarchic angels. Dee recorded this information in his journals, but if you've ever attempted to make sense of it you likely ran into a proverbial brick wall. First, let's look at a chart of the angelic functions (which you can find online in the famous and incredibly useful Enochian Magick Reference) in its
Heptarchic Angel Functions (with Errors)
|Planet||King||King's Power||Prince||Prince's Power|
|Sun||Bobogel ||Wisdom, Science ||Bornogo||Metals, Altering Nature|
|Mars ||Babalel||Waters, Battle|| Befafes||Seas|
|Jupiter||Bynepor ||Life of all Things||Butmono ||Earth|
|Mercury||Bnaspol|| Earth and its
|Saturn||Bnapsen||Casting out Wicked
|Venus||Baligon||Powers of Air||Bagenol||---------------|
|Moon||Blumaza||---------------||Bralges||Air, Invisible Spirits|
The first thing about this chart that strikes the eye is that no functions are given for the angelic king of the Moon or prince of Venus. Then, a closer look reveals that some of the functions of the princes do not line up with their kings: The king of Jupiter governs the "life of all things," while his prince governs "earth." Yet the king of Mercury governs "earth and its contents," while his prince governs "life." It sure looks like something was switched around. In a similar switcheroo, the king of Venus rules the "powers of the air," while the prince of the Moon governs the "air and invisible spirits."
Those of you familiar with modern systems of planetary magick may have some secondary questions: Why would the angels of Mars (a fiery planet) govern waters and seas? Why should the king of Mercury (a planet associated with communication and travel) concern himself with the earth and what lies beneath it? Why should Saturn (an earthy planet) be assigned fire and casting out wicked spirits? And why would the king of Venus (fire and passion) govern the air?
You might imagine this apparently corrupted list of angelic functions would make many would-be Heptarchia magicians throw up their hands in despair and give up on the system entirely. And you'd be right. Even Dee never made the corrections; he compiled his De Heptarchia Mystica grimoire with the errors still intact. Before I could hope to publish my own Enochian Grimoire, I had to restore this information.
Restoring the Heptarchia
(Note: All page numbers and footnote references in this article are taken from John Dee's Five Books of Mystery by Joseph Peterson. I will also provide the dates of the entries
in case you are using a different source for Dee's records.)
It turned out fortune was on my side in this endeavor. Dee may not have made the corrections in his own grimoire, but he was certainly aware of the problem. As we shall see below, he addresses the issue—at least in part—in some obscure marginal notations in his journals. If we take those along with information scattered throughout his Heptarchia entries, we can correct the chart of Heptarchic angel functions at long last. So, let's take a look at the relevant journal entries.
The information we seek was revealed over the course of several days in November, 1582 by the ruling king and prince of the Heptarchia—king Baligon and prince Bagenol. However, these angels were working under their honorary titles at the time: king Carmara and prince Hagonel—the names they used as supreme rulers of the Heptarchic royalty. As Baligon and Bagenol, they govern Friday and the planet Venus.
First of all, Dee and Kelley held an audience with prince Hagonel (see p. 194 - 201; November 16, 1582). During this session, Hagonel reveals the powers and functions of all of the Heptarchic princes except for his own. The next day, he revealed a word-square containing the names of 42 ministering angels who, it appeared, directly served him (see p. 203-207; November 17th, 1582):
Over the next several sessions, king Carmara would reveal six further squares of letters—each one containing 42 ministering angels assigned to a king and prince.
Several days later, Dee notes in the margin of his journal that something seemed to be wrong with the information Hagonel had given him (see p. 236, footnote 273; November 20th, 1582):
Whereas in the former Treatise, there was a doubt of Butmono the fourth, and Blisdon their offices, being assigned here clear contrary. [...] Therefore I suspect some intruder to have first... [text missing].
As usual in instances where Dee's angelic revelations turned out to be wrong or corrupted, he assumed an evil spirit had intruded in the session.
This note also gives us our first correction, by telling us the functions of the princes of Jupiter and Mercury (Butmono and Blisdon) are transposed. If we switch them back in our chart, we find a major snag has been ironed out: the king and prince of Jupiter now both govern "life" and the king and prince of Mercury both govern "the earth."
That only leaves the angels of Venus and the Moon—where two functions are missing and two appear to be transposed. If we make another switch, we'll have both the king and prince of one planet governing the spirits of the Air while the remaining king and prince have no function. But which two should govern the spirits of the Air?
This is where the word-squares of angelic ministers come into play. It turns out the ministers who appeared to belong to Hagonel were not, in fact, his own. The ministers assigned to Friday and Venus would be revealed by Carmara three days after the session with Hagonel (see p. 243, November 20, 1582):
Carmara says of these ministers and his own powers: "Of these, I am Governor myself. [...] Look what may be wrought, in all aerial actions, I can distribute and bestow at my pleasure."
Thus, we know the powers associated with Friday/Venus are all things aerial. Looking back at our chart of angel functions, we see that king Baligon (Carmara) is properly assigned the "powers of air." This means that the error lies with princes Bagenol and Bralges. If we switch their functions, we find the king and prince of Venus both rule the "air and aerial spirits," while the king and prince of the Moon (Blumaza and Bralges) have been left without functions.
The final task, then, is to discover the missing functions of the Lunar angels.
First, we must consider the six word-squares revealed by king Carmara (see p. 216-243; November 17, 1582). Following in order, he gave Dee the ministers for Sunday (Sol), Tuesday (Mars), Thursday (Jupiter), Wednesday (Mercury), Saturday (Saturn), and Friday (Venus). Notably missing are the ministers for Monday—meaning that the square previously given by Hagonel should actually belong to the Moon.
As it turns out, Hagonel stated the powers associated with these ministers (see p. 206; November 17, 1582):
Therefore, if thou wilt work with Kings..., whatsoever thou wilt do in their estate.[...] all do serve to the intents and purposes appertaining unto Kings.
If this is indeed the Lunar square of ministers, then it should properly belong to king Blumaza and prince Bralges. And their powers—missing from the chart—are to govern the affairs of earthly kings.
Dee himself verifies this in a marginal notation he added to the entry for November 16, 1582 (see p. 201, note 78):
I conclude that Blumaza is the king, and rules the kings of the Earth...
Thus we can be quite confident that we have found the missing powers of the Lunar angels. Let us now take a look at a fully restored chart of angelic functions:
Heptarchic Angel Functions (Restored)
|Planet||King||King's Power||Prince||Prince's Power|
|Sun||Bobogel||Wisdom, Science||Bornogo||Metals, Altering Nature|
|Jupiter||Bynepor||Life of all Things||Butmono||Life|
|Mercury||Bnaspol||Earth and its
|Saturn||Bnapsen||Casting out Wicked
|Venus||Baligon||Powers of Air||Bagenol||Air, Invisible Spirits|
|Moon||Blumaza||Kings of the Earth ||Bralges||Kings of the Earth|
These are the Heptarchic angel powers as you will find them in The Essential Enochian Grimoire.
The last thing I would like to address are those secondary questions I mentioned, as many of these functions do not match the powers we commonly assign to the Planets in today's astrology. This is mainly because Renaissance magick and astrology often viewed things a little differently than we are used to seeing.
Consider the powers of wisdom, science, and alchemy—all of which we would normally associate with Mercury today. However, in Dee's time, these things could as easily be classed under the Sun. The Sun was the source of all light, knowledge, and wisdom to the world. All scientific and alchemical mysteries were assumed to be contained within its rays. The art of skrying was itself considered a Lunar practice, because the crystal ball was thought (like the
Moon) to reflect the light of the Sun, thereby revealing any knowledge whatsoever.
It certainly seems odd that Mars, the planet of warfare, should concern itself with water and the sea. Unless you consider that Mars is the ruling planet of Scorpio—the fixed sign of Water. Therefore, the battles mentioned in the chart are specifically naval battles.
And how about Mercury, the planet of invention, science, and communication, being assigned to the earth and "its contents" (i.e., whatever is buried in the earth)? This makes more sense when you understand that the god Mercury (or Hermes) was understood to be the psychopomp—the being who guides the souls of the dead into the underworld. Hermes was so intimately connected to his underworld role, that the later Greeks would combine him with the Egyptian god of the tomb Anubis, forming the god Hermanubis. In Dee's time, the association between Mercury and the earth/underworld would have been clear.
Saturn is a planet we normally associate with the Earth, due to its darkness and slow movement. However, in Dee's time Saturn had several negative connotations—it was connected with the dead (Saturn is another name for Chronos, who carries the scythe normally associated with Death), as well as with witches and demons. In Dee's journals, the forces of Saturn related directly to infernal spirits—especially those that guard buried treasures. Hence the association between Saturn and evil spirits and (hell) fire came naturally.
Venus is considered a fiery planet of sex and passion. Yet we find Dee has assigned to it the powers and spirits of the Air. This makes more sense when we consider that Venus is the ruling planet of Libra, the cardinal sign of Air.
The logic behind the remaining planets: Jupiter (the life of all things) and the Moon (kings of the earth) is less obvious. However, Jupiter is considered the planet of increase, abundance, and all things good in life. It is especially concerned with abundance in crops and livestock; therefore it is not a stretch to consider it the source of life on earth. Why the Moon should govern earthly kings is not immediately clear.
In any case, with the functions of the Heptarchic angels restored to their proper order, and the rituals intended to summon them laid out in detail, there should be no further hindrance for the student who wishes to put the Heptarchic Mysteries into practice. I wish you the best of luck in your invocations.