Arguing with Angels: Enochian Magic and Modern Occulture (SUNY Series in Western Esoteric Traditions)
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An exploration of John Dee’s Enochian magic of angel contact, its reinterpretation over the years, and its endurance to the present day. This fascinating work explores John Dee’s Enochian magic and the history of its reception. Dee (1527–1608/9), an accomplished natural philosopher and member of Queen Elizabeth I’s court, was also an esoteric researcher whose diaries detail years of conversations with angels achieved with the aid of crystal-gazer Edward Kelley. His Enochian magic offers a method for contacting angels and demons based on secrets found in the apocryphal Book of Enoch. Examining this magical system from its Renaissance origins to present day occultism, Egil Asprem shows how the reception of Dee’s magic is replete with struggles to construct and negotiate authoritative interpretational frameworks for doing magic. Arguing with Angels offers a novel, nuanced approach to questions about how ritual magic has survived the advent of modernity and demonstrates the ways in which modern culture has recreated magical discourse. “Arguing with Angels is a major contribution to the study of Western esotericism in general, and to the study of Enochiana in particular. It places the history and reception of the Enochian tradition within the broader context of Western esotericism, thereby making Enochiana relevant. Egil Asprem not only shows a thorough familiarity with relevant theories, but also relates to them critically and argues convincingly for his own interpretations and conclusions.” — Henrik Bogdan, author of Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation Egil Asprem is a Research Fellow at the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Ásatrú community. For references, see Karlsen, “A Recollection by Runar Karlsen”; for the O.T.O. in Norway, see O.T.O. Norway's official Web site, http://www.oto.no/; for reconstructionist Ásatrú in Norway and internal and external polemics, see Asprem, “Heathens Up North.” 62. See Karlsen, “EM: The 9 Fire spirits,” Enochian-L, January 4, 1998. 63. Karlsen, “Re: Intro & New Questions—Paraoan,” Enochian-L, September 22, 1997. 64. Karlsen, “The Elements,” Enochian-L, December 13, 1997. 65.
“Knitting together and destruction,” “Moving from place to place,” “Mechanical crafts,” “Secrets of Humanity,” “Metals,” “Stones,” and “Transmutation.”99 What should we make out of this? Despite Westcott's final “discovery,” he does not seem to incorporate the specific and mundane functions of the angels and demons in the tables into his magical work. He drops it there and then, and continues entirely along the lines of the Order's vision quests. While acknowledging the more “medieval”
the Great Table, which lent itself easily to a fourfold interpretational scheme in which the elements and the Tetragrammaton figured centrally. Meanwhile, the Heptarchic system and the system of the Aires and the various calls in the Adamic language were left unused. Although the latter were mentioned in the Golden Dawn curriculum, they do not seem to have been implemented practically and deployed in rituals. The most influential contribution Crowley would bring to the development of Enochian
to any attempt to consider Dee as a significant figure in the history of philosophy and science.”4 That shortcoming he sat out to mend, showing how Dee's interests in natural philosophy were reproduced and continued in the course of the angel conversations.5 John Dee and Renaissance Natural Philosophy Seeing the crystal-gazing “colloquium of angels” on a continuum with the more readily explicable natural philosophy has proved a fruitful strategy. Clulee's approach was notably taken up and
“'Non est legendum.” For the Ars Notoria sigil, see Gösta Hedegård, ed., Liber Iuratus Honorii: A Critical Edition, 70. This and more links between Dee's work and earlier medieval sources and practices are explored in Clucas, “John Dee's Angelic Conversations and the Ars Notoria”; Claire Fanger, “Virgin Territory.” For a highly relevant contribution to the more general discussion of medieval sources' continued importance in renaissance magic, see Frank Klaassen, “Medieval Ritual Magic in the