John Dee - De Heptarchia Mystica (417.0 Kb)
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This book consists of detailed instructions for communicating with angels and employing their aid for practical purposes. It consists of excerpts, in Grimoire form, from Dr. Dee's detailed records of his "mystical exercises". This is a transcription from the original in Dee's own handwriting, now found in the British Library under the catalog number Sloane 3191. There have been two other published editions of this text, one by Robert Turner, 1983 revised 1986, and another by Geoffrey James, 1984 and 1994. While I can recomme... More >>>
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This book consists of detailed instructions for communicating with angels and employing their aid for practical purposes. It consists of excerpts, in Grimoire form, from Dr. Dee's detailed records of his "mystical exercises".
This is a transcription from the original in Dee's own handwriting, now found in the British Library under the catalog number Sloane 3191. There have been two other published editions of this text, one by Robert Turner, 1983 revised 1986, and another by Geoffrey James, 1984 and 1994. While I can recommend both of these editions, if one is able to find them, I believe the present edition reflects Dee's manuscript more accurately, as may be seen for example by comparing them with the photograph shown on pg. 28 of Turner's revised edition.
Compare this with Dee's Compendium Heptarchiae Mysticae, an earlier version but with some interesting additions and variations.
A note attached to the beginning of the manuscript reads as follows:
This is the original Ms. in Dr. Dee's handwriting. A fair copy by Ashmole is in the Ms. Sloane 3678.
This volume formerly belonged to Ashmole and on the clasps of the *** binding his coat of arms was impressed.
How Ashmole obtained this Ms. appears by his account prefixed to Ms. Sloane 3677.
John Dee (July 13, 1527 - 1608) was a noted British mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, occultist, and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He also devoted much of his life to alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy.
Dee straddled the worlds of science and magic just as they were becoming distinguishable. One of the most learned men of his age, he had been invited to lecture on advanced algebra at the University of Paris while still in his early twenties. Dee was an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, as well as a leading expert in navigation, having trained many of those who would conduct England's voyages of discovery. In one of several tracts which Dee wrote in the 1580s encouraging British exploratory expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage, he appears to have coined the term "British Empire."
Simultaneously with these efforts, Dee immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology, and Hermetic philosophy. He devoted much time and effort in the last thirty years or so of his life to attempting to commune with angels in order to learn the universal language of creation. A student of the Renaissance Neo-Platonism of Marsilio Ficino, Dee did not draw distinctions between his mathematical research and his investigations into Hermetic magic and divination, instead considering both ventures to constitute different facets of the same quest: the search for a transcendent understanding of the divine forms which underlie the visible world.
Dee's status as a respected scholar also allowed him to play a role in Elizabethan politics. He served as an occasional adviser and tutor to Elizabeth I and nurtured relationships with her two leading ministers, Francis Walsingham and William Cecil.
In his lifetime Dee amassed the largest library in England and one of the largest in Europe.