Enochian – John Dee and Edward Kelley

This is the second of my posts recognizing the spiritual side of Halloween (Samhain)

I’m sure there are more of you out there who have never heard of Enochian than there are who know anything about it, or its “discoverers” John Dee and Edward Kelley. So here is a little something to educate and entertain


John Dee  1527 – 1608/9

Highly respected mathematician and astronomer and leading expert in navigation.

Drew no distinction between scientific endeavour and occult endeavour.

Official astrologer at the court of Queen Elizabeth I and chose the date for her coronation

One of his greatest works Monas Hieroglyphica was based on the Kabala and cantered around a glyph he’d created.

In early 1580’s the failure of his attempt at gaining political patronage he threw himself into his occult studies and turned his attention to angels and the discovery of their ancient and universal language Enochian

He needed an intermediary, a visionary or scryer who would be able to act as the link between himself and the angels and, after many unsuccessful attempts, met with Edward Kelley in 1592. Through Kelley the angels dictated a number of incredibly detailed books all though the Enochian language

I appears Dee sincerely believed these discoveries would lead to a healing of the rift between Catholic and Protestant and to discoveries that would benefit England, and mankind as a whole


In 1583 Dee and Kelley left for Poland and subsequently gained favour with the Polish king. In 1587 Dee and Kelley parted company and Dee returned to England where he found his home in ruins and his possessions decimated. He was unable to gain support from his peers or former political mentors and died in poverty.

Edward Kelley 1555 – 1597

Was originally called Edward Talbot but changed his name when was accused of forgery

He claimed the ability to summon and speak to angels in a scrying mirror owned by Dee, as well as various alchemical abilities including turning base metals to gold and producing the philosopher’s stone

About a year into his service with Dee he presented an alchemical book (The Book of Dunstan) and red powder supposedly from a supernatural creature, with which he claimed to be able to produce a paste which would transmute base metal to gold. He apparently demonstrated a number of times


He was imprisoned in Prague in 1595 and he died from injuries received from trying to escape in 1597


´Neither Dee nor Kelley called the language Enochian, but Angelical. This was assigned later based on Dee’s claim that the biblical character Enoch was the last human to have spoken it. (In the book of Enoch, Enoch had a close association with angels and in late life was ascended to become the angel Metatron)

´According to Dee and Kelley Angelical was the language used by God to create the world. It was later used by Adam to name all things

´In 1583 the first text was ‘dictated’ – Liber Loagaeth (Book of Speech from God). The book consists of 49 great letter tables, or squares made of 49 by 49 letters (however, each table has a front and back side—making 98 49×49 tables in all. The angels did not provide an English translation

´The other set of Enochian texts was received by Kelley a year later for which an English translation was provided.

´The texts comprise 48 poetic verses, which in Dee’s manuscripts are called “Claves Angelicae”, or “Angelic Keys”. The Keys are assigned certain functions within the magical system. Dee was apparently intending to use these Keys to “open the 49 Gates of Wisdom/Understanding” represented by the 49 magic squares in Liber Loagaeth:

Enochian Magick


Although Dee and Kelley’s work attracted a lot of attention, little was done with it from a magical perspective until the nineteenth century when it was rediscovered by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mather of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the 1880s.

Mathers created a comprehensive magical system based on the work of Dee and Kelley. However, the main body of the work is based on only one of Dee’s diaries and the planetary, elemental and zodiacal elements are not based on their work

The major popularity of Enochian as a magical system didn’t come until Alistair Crowley took up the banner in the 1920’s. His work first appeared in his published journal and he went on to publish a number of pamphlets, books and recordings on the subject

Crowley’s first work “Liber Chanokh” basically set outthe Golden Dawn’s understanding of the subject but later works, such as “The Vision and the Voice” are based on his own work and visions.

Later occultists have gone back to study a wider range of Enochian texts, including more of Dee and Kelley’s original works and have developed a more detailed and balanced system


I hope you enjoyed the post. I think next time, I’ll take a look at how black cats got their bad rep

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