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John Dee - Compendium Heptarchia Mystica English Version (362.0 Kb)

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This book consists of detailed instructions for communicating with angels and employing their aid for practical purposes. Written in the form of a personal Grimoire, or handbook of magic, it consists of excerpts and elaborations from Dee's detailed records of his "mystical exercises" found in Mysteriorum Libri Quinque. For the most part it is a draft version of Dee's slightly better known work, De Heptarchia Mystica, and like it describes details of Dee's and Kelley's magical workings that occurred prior to the well known re... More >>>
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Category 1:  Alchemical Works
Category 2:  Enochian Magic
Category 3:  Mystic and Occultism
Author:      John Dee
Format:      eBook
This book consists of detailed instructions for communicating with angels and employing their aid for practical purposes. Written in the form of a personal Grimoire, or handbook of magic, it consists of excerpts and elaborations from Dee's detailed records of his "mystical exercises" found in Mysteriorum Libri Quinque. For the most part it is a draft version of Dee's slightly better known work, De Heptarchia Mystica, and like it describes details of Dee's and Kelley's magical workings that occurred prior to the well known records published by Meric Casaubon (as A True and Faithful Relation of what passed for many yeers between Dr. John Dee ... and some spirits, 1659.) The latter, of course, was used and elaborated on by the founders of the Golden Dawn, and has come to be known as Enochian magic.

The present manuscript is in Dee's own handwriting, and is now preserved in the British Library under the catalog number Additional MS. 36674. While very similar to De Heptarchia Mystica, to my knowledge this text has never been published or studied at length. The manuscript is the most difficult to read Dee manuscript I've examined it contains some of Dee's worst handwriting, and is very faded and damaged in places. Nevertheless, I believe it has been worth the effort of editing, as it contains some valuable material not found elsewhere.

Of special interest are the details it fills in from the lost beginning of Quartus Liber Mysteriorum, which provide insight into the mysterious Covenant Table, the ornate chair, and the globe used thereafter. It also assigns planets to the Filij lucis ("sons of light") and the Filij filiorum ("sons of the sons"). There is also a table of letters with 24 columns and 13 rows, which I have not identified in any other source, and may be unique.

This text also allows us to fix its date, May 30, 1588. It was a time when few spiritual actions were recorded, while Dee was still on the Continent (he returned to England in 1589.) A few days earlier Dee recorded in his diary that Edward Kelley "did open the great secret to me, God be thanked!"

This manuscript also offers some insight into Dee's editorial process. I have consequently included all of Dee's editorial marks, crossed out text (here indicated in strikeout font), and intralinear corrections (here indicated in superscript font).

My editorial notes, and damaged text filled in from Sl. 3188 and Sl. 3191 are indicated by {} since Dee uses [].

About Author:

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.