Enochian magic is a system of ceremonial magic based on the evocation and commanding of various spirits. It is based on the 16th-century writings of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley, who claimed that their information was delivered to them directly by various angels. Dee's journals contained the Enochian script, and the table of correspondences that goes with it. It claims to embrace secrets contained within the apocryphal Book of Enoch.
Dee and Kelley claimed they received these instructions from angels and wrote them down. This account is taken at face value by most Enochian occultists. However, some of them have pointed out remarkable similarities to earlier grimoiric texts such as the Heptameron known to Dee. Doubts surrounding Kelley in particular have led many non-occultists to the assumption the whole system was originally a fraud devised by Kelley in order to receive more financial support from Dee. The system claims to relate to secrets contained within the apocryphal Book of Enoch.
A table of the Enochian alphabet.
It is not quite clear how much of Enochian magic was put to use by Dee and Kelley. However, rediscovery of Enochian magic by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has sparked remarkable publicity for it in modern occultism. Enochian as an operative system is difficult to reconstruct based upon original manuscripts like the collection of Sir Hans Sloane in the British Museum, but contemporary occult organizations have attempted to make it usable. The Golden Dawn was the first, but their knowledge was based upon only one of Dee's diaries and their planetary, elemental, or zodiacal attributions have no foundation in the original sources.
Aleister Crowley, who worked with, and wrote about, Enochian magic extensively, has contributed much to its comparatively widespread use today. His first work on the topic was his Liber Chanokh, a brief account of almost the whole system as the Golden Dawn saw it, but his most famous work with Enochian focused upon the Calls of the Aethyrs. His visions from these calls formed a document called The Vision and the Voice, also known as Liber 418.
Compared to other theories of magic, Enochian magic is strikingly complex and difficult to understand. Also, parts of the original manuscripts written by Dee have been lost, mainly due to a fire in his house after his death, thus key parts of the system are missing. This has allowed numerous interpretations to arise, some of which have solidified into schools of thought with individual bodies of interpretative literature.
Enochian magic forms the backbone of both the Crowley and Golden Dawn systems of magic. Latest theories include that John Dee knew of the Slavonic Book of the Secrets of Enoch, as well as the Ethiopic Book of Enoch. Many individual workers or very small groups prefer Enochian magic to other forms as the ceremonial scale required is smaller than needed for Masonic style ritual work.
Anton LaVey's book The Satanic Bible includes a section of "Enochian Keys" purported to have been part of the lost manuscripts of Dr. Dee's, though this has been proven to be false. LaVey simply took the original enochian keys but gave them another translation that fitted more into his satanic view of the world
Enochian magic is the system of theurgy, or angel magic, communicated to the Elizabethan mathematician, geographer, astrologer and magician, Dr. John Dee (1527-1608) through the medium of his crystal scryer, the alchemist and necromancer Edward Kelley (1555-1595) by a hierarchy of spiritual intelligences who identified themselves as the same angels that had instructed the biblical patriarch Enoch in the occult wisdom of heaven.
Enoch is the fabled author of a number of mystical and magical texts that deal largely with the fallen angels of God, known collectively as the Watchers, whose task it was to watch over humanity from the four Watchtowers at the corners of creation. These Watchers observed that human women were beautiful and lusted after them. A group of Watchers, led by an angel known by a variety of names, among them Azazel, descended to the earth and adopted material forms so that they could dwell with mortal women. Their consorts bore them sons and daughters who were half-human and half-angelic.
The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.... There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:2,4)
What the Bible neglects to say is that in return for the pleasure of their company, these fallen Watchers taught the women they loved, along with their half-breed descendants, the beginnings of all the arts and sciences that have so transformed the world in the modern age. They also taught enchantments, spells, the making of talismans and amulets, bewitchments, fascinations, glamours, the knowledge of the occult use of herbs and stones, astrology, and other esoteric arts. The use of cosmetics by women is ascribed to the teachings of the Watchers, who presumably wished their consorts to be more alluring.
More destructively, the Watchers taught their descendants the arts of warfare in order that they could rules as kings over all the lands of the earth. The mighty sons of the Watchers fell into contention with each other, and chaos reigned. The sons of the fallen angels, of which the first generation were known as giants because of their great wisdom and power, were regarded as devils by ordinary human beings. From the union of the daughters of the Watchers with those same Watchers, mortal men and women of great power and intelligence were born; from the union of the sons of the Watchers with those same Watchers (who are both male and female, being angels) spiritual creatures of male and female appearance possessing the power to rule over the earthly elements came forth.
The rule in magic is that from the sexual union between a spirit and a man, a spiritual creature with human qualities is born out of the womb of the spirit; but from the sexual union between a spirit and a woman, a human child with spiritual qualities is born out of the womb of the woman. Merlin falls into the second category -- he was the product of a union between a mortal woman and a spirit. As a practical matter, the offspring between an angel and a mortal woman must have a physical matrix or basis to inhabit before it can fully become flesh -- it must possess an embryo within its mother that was conceived in the usual way with a mortal man.
In this passage quoted from the Book of Enoch, the author explains these matters, though not so clearly as I have done, to his readers by having God speak to the fallen Watchers:
Golden Medallion: Kelley's Great Vision of the Watchtowers
"But you were formerly spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling. And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits upon earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offenses. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. From the days of the slaughter and destruction and death of the giants, from the souls of whose flesh the spirits, having gone forth, shall destroy without incurring judgement -- thus shall they destroy until the day of the consummation, the great judgement in which the age shall be consummated, over the Watchers and the godless, yea, shall be wholly consummated."
The biblical Flood was caused to cover the earth by God in order to cleanse it of the tragic creations of humanity, who used the occult arts taught by the Watchers to bring about chaos and destruction. However, Noah and his family survived, the animals and plants survived, and so did a number of the spiritual children of the children of the Watchers.
The Enochian angels informed John Dee that they intended to instruct him in the same magic they had taught to Enoch after his living ascent into heaven. This was similar to the original angel magic taught by the Watchers to the daughters of men and their children. However, the angels informed Dee that their magic was pure, whereas the magic taught by the Watchers had been tainted black magic.
The following was spoken by the Enochian angel Ave to John Dee through the voice of Edward Kelley on Monday (the Enochian sabbath), the 25th day of June, in the year 1584, immediately prior to his delivering to Dee through Kelley the Great Table of the Watchtowers, and the explanation of the use of the Watchtowers. I have transcribed it from page 174 of Meric Casaubon's A True and Faithful Relation.
"The Lord appeared unto Enoch, and was mercifull unto him, open his eyes, that he might see and judge the earth, which was unknowne unto his Parents, by reason of their fall: for the Lord said, Let us shew unto Enoch, the use of the earth: And lo, Enoch was wise, and full of the spirit of wisdom.
"And he sayed unto the Lord, Let there be remembrance of thy mercy, and let those that love thee taste of this after me: O let not thy mercy be forgotten. And the Lord was pleased.
"But behold, the people waxed wicked, and became unrighteous, and the spirit of the Lord was far off, and gone away from them. So that those that were unworthy began to read. And the Kings of the earth said thus against the Lord, What is it that we cannot do? Or who is he, that can resist us? And the Lord was vexed, and he sent in amongst them an hundred and fifty Lions, and spirits of wickednesse, errour, and deceit: and they appeared unto them: For the Lord had put them between those that are wicked, and his good Angels: And they began to counterfeit the doings of God and his power, for they had power given them so to do, so that the memory of Enoch washed away: and the spirits of errour began to teach them Doctrines: which from time to time unto this age, and unto this day, hath spread abroad into all parts of the world, and is the skill and cunning of the wicked.
"Hereby they speak with the Devils: not because they have power over the Devils, but because they are joyned unto them in the league and Discipline of their own Doctrine.
"For behold, as the knowledge of the mystical figures, and the use of their presence is the gift of God delivered to Enoch, and by Enoch his request to the faithfull, so thereby they might have the true use of God's creatures, & of the earth whereon they dwell: So hath the Devil delivered unto the wicked the signs, and tokens of his error and hatred towards God: whereby they in using them, might consent with their fall: and so become partakers with them of their reward, which is eternal damnation.
"These they call Characters: [blank space in the text, where the evil characters should have been printed] a lamentable thing. For by these, many Souls have perished.
"Now hath it pleased God to deliver this Doctrine again out of darknesse: and to fulfill his promise with thee, for the books of Enoch: To whom he sayeth as he said unto Enoch.
"Let those that are worthy understand this, by thee, that it may be one witnesse of my promise toward thee."
The above is an extremely important passage in the Enochian conversations, because it ties Enochian magic to the myth in the Hebrew Book of Enoch of the fallen angels or Watchers who descended to Earth to sin with the daughters of man. In the Hebrew Book of Enoch the only explanation given for the descent of the Watchers is lust, but Ave reveals that the Watchers were allowed access to the Earth in order to sow confusion among the kings of the Earth, who otherwise would have become godlike in their power through the perverted use of the magic delivered to Enoch from God, and passed on with God's permission by the deathless Enoch to humanity.
Magic Square from Book of Enoch: used by the angels to convey Enochian magic
God could not simply erase Enochian magic from human memory, so he introduced a flawed black magic that was more seductive than Enochian magic. This black magic was a fool's trap. Those who used it to enhance their worldly power damned their souls, and became prey to the demons of the Abyss.
Ave does not explicitly state that the introduction of this false magic and its wanton misuse was followed by the biblical Flood, but by connecting the Hebrew myth of Enoch with the myth revealed by the Enochian angel Ave to Dee, we may make this link. We may even speculate that the misuse of the black magic introduced by the fallen Watchers, the 150 "Lions, and spirits of wickednesse, errour and deceit", is what precipitated the Flood, or even more radical a thought, that the black magic of the Watchers is what enabled God to bring about the Flood.
It may well have been necessary for mankind to trigger the Flood through the abuse of this black magic, perhaps by using it in concert with the incredibly powerful original angel magic of Enoch. By this I mean that the power of destruction may not have resided directly in the black magic delivered to mankind by the 150 lions of wickedness, but rather this black magic may have induced the kings of the Earth to pervert the pure magic of Enoch into destructive channels, causing Enochian magic itself to bring about the Flood. Perhaps the black magic of the Lions was akin to a computer virus introduced into the source code of the original Enochian magic.
There are interesting echoes in the Enochian mythos with the story of Atlantis, which intimates that the people of Atlantis gained access to a powerful knowledge they were unable to control, a knowledge that ultimately caused the destruction of the continent of Atlantis by its submergence beneath the waves of the sea -- in other words, destruction by a great flood. The knowledge of Atlantis that was misused is usually called a science in modern commentaries on the Atlantean myth, but in the time of Plato, who recorded the main features of the myth, there was no such thing as science. The knowledge of Atlantis was a form of magic, not a science.
Dee was not strongly psychic. He needed a medium in order to communicate reliably with the Enochian angels. Edward Kelley was one of the greatest, if not the greatest medium of the Elizabethan Age. In return for Dee's help in creating the red powder of alchemy that turns lead and other base metals into gold, and also for the sum of fifty pounds a year, Kelley acted as Dee's psychic.
From 1582 to 1587 these men were in communication with the Enochian angels on an almost daily basis. Dee's practice was to sit at a table and write down exactly everything Kelley described seeing in the crystal ball, as well as all the words spoken between Kelley and the angels. Since Dee's diaries have, for the most part, survived, we possess a priceless and fascinating record of the angel scryings that have the accuracy of a court transcript. The latter part of Dee's diaries were published in 1659 by Meric Casaubon in A True and Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and some Spirits.
One of the angels took the non-threatening form of a golden-haired little girl in a green and red dress, who called herself Madimi. Her name indicates that she was a spirit of Mars (the Hebrew name for the sphere of Mars is Madim), and therefore a spirit of warfare and conquest, but she was careful to conceal her martial nature from Dee, who over the years grew so fond of her, he came to regard her almost as one of his own children. Indeed, Dee actually named one of his little girls Madimia after this spirit. Madimi was also quite fond of Dee, and treated him with the love and respect a dutiful child might accord her father.
The other Enochian angels were less endearing. If they can be characterized under a single term, it would be businesslike. They set about conveying the Enochian magic to Dee and Kelley as efficiently as possible. The most important teachings took place on successive Mondays -- Monday, the day of the moon, is the sacred day of the Enochian angels, just as Sunday is the sacred day of Christians and Saturday the sacred day of Jews. This indicates that Enochian magic is lunar in its fundamental nature, in contrast to Christianity which is a solar cult.
The angels who gave the teachings to Kelley so that he could pass them on to Dee called themselves by various names, among them Michael, Gabriel, Auriel and Raphael, the names of the four archangels associated with the four elements. The most powerful of the Enochian spirits was Madimi's mysterious Mother, who appeared rarely. Kelley was not able to see her directly, nor did she speak directly to him, but only through Madimi or another of her children. The Mother of Madimi appears to have been a moon goddess of great potency. She gave as her name only the words "I AM." It is significant that this is the same response given by God to Moses when Moses asks God for his name. In Hebrew the response of God was "Eheieh asher eheieh" (I am that which I am).
It is not at all clear why the Enochian angels communicated their system of magic to humanity. They intimated to Dee that it was given to him as a reward for his piety, and was intended as a bountiful gift from the angels to humanity. However, there is every reason to believe that they were not being completely honest in their motives. We know why they chose Dee and Kelley -- together, these men were perhaps the only men of their time capable of receiving and making sense out of the angelic communications. As to why the angels decided to give to mankind a knowledge of what they claimed was the same magic that had been taught to Enoch, but which arguably might just as likely be the magic that was taught by the Watchers to their descendants before the Flood, we cannot know, but it may well have some bearing on the coming period of transition from the present Age of Pisces into the next Age of Aquarius, which will be a period of great suffering and destruction and which is generally known as the Apocalypse. It was the magic taught to mankind by the Watchers that caused God to cover the earth with the Flood in Noah's time -- it is quite possible that the similar (or identical) Enochian magic is intended by the angels to act as a trigger for the coming Apocalypse. The angels intimated that this was the case to Dee and Kelley, but they never declared it openly.
The Enochian angels are not bound to time in the same way that human consciousness is bound to it. They exist in time, at least while they are in the process of communicating or interacting with human consciousness, but they do not perceive time the same way human beings perceive it. Consequently, the system of Enochian magic was delivered by the angels in pieces that are out of their correct sequence. When fitted together in the right order, they create a seamless whole. More than anything else, this is proof that Kelley did not invent the Enochian communications. It would have been beyond the capacity of normal human intelligence to do so.
On the question of whether the Enochian magic is a genuine spirit communication, there can be no doubt that it is after studying it's beauty and complexity. The English text of the Enochian Keys is a poetry far beyond the talents of Edward Kelley, as Kelley's other attempts at verse very clearly demonstrate. Some writers have postulated that Kelley invented Enochian magic so that he could deceive Dee and remain in his employ. Apart from the fact that Kelley did not possess the talent or learning to invent the Enochian communications, it is significant that Kelley hated the Enochian angels with a passion and always believed that the angels were deceiving Dee and himself about their true intentions.
Kelley remained with Dee only because he hoped Dee, and the Enochian angels, would help him to learn the alchemical secret of making the red powder. Numerous times during their years together Kelley almost walked out on Dee over the messages of the angels, which seemed to him devilish. He was only with great difficulty persuaded to stay and continue the work of scrying by Dee, and ultimately he did so because he valued Dee's friendship and respected Dee's judgement. For the angels he never had any other feeling than loathing. The angels, for their part, held Kelley in contempt, regarding him as nothing more than an instrument of communication through which they could reach John Dee.
There is no question that Enochian magic is the product of the hierarchy of lunar spirits who identified themselves as the angels of Enoch. There is also no question that Edward Kelley was completely incapable of consciously inventing the angelic communications. At times Kelley was even incapable of describing parts of the system he saw in the crystal, so great was their degree of complexity. Enochian magic is genuine. As to what the Enochian angels really were, or are, the question remains unanswered.
Enochian magic has several main structures. The early communications concern the angels of the seven days of the week, and the magic that may be worked by them when they are correctly evoked and instructed. They also describe the making of the magic instruments by which Enochian magic is worked. The later communications delivered the Enochian alphabet of 21 letters, the four Enochian Watchtowers, and the Enochian language in the form of 48 evocations known as the Enochian Keys or Calls. They are called Keys because they can be used to open the locked gates of the four Watchtowers; they are called Calls because they call forth angels and spirits, chief among them the angels and spirits of the thirty Enochian Aethers or Airs, which are non-physical levels of reality or planes of existence that lie beyond those gates.
The four Watchtowers themselves have no physical existence, since they are not actually a part of the earth, but they can be represented by means of certain magic squares of letters that have a complex numerical structure. Woven into the letters on these four squares are the names of the most important Enochian spirits used in Enochian magic. Collectively, the four magic squares are known as the Great Table of the Watchtowers.
Many of the most important symbolic structures of Enochian magic were delivered by the angels to Kelley through a set of incredibly complex magic squares that collective were known to Dee and Kelley as the Book of Enoch. The angels would point to specific cells in these tables, and Dee would write down the letters repeated by Kelley one by one until a structure emerged. Other parts of the system were simply dictated, or were revealed by means of symbolic pantomimes presented to Kelley by the angels within the depths of the crystal, or more rarely in the scrying chamber.
A limited, modified form of Enochian magic was included in the documents of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and in this form entered into modern Western occultism. It was created by S. L. MacGregor Mathers in the year prior to the establishment of the Golden Dawn, which opened its first temple in London in 1888. Mathers spent all his time doing occult research in the Reading Room of the British Museum, where Dee's manuscripts were then kept. This truncated Enochian magic has a proven effectiveness, but it should not be mistaken for the true system that was communicated to John Dee by the angels. This true system has been partially reassembled in such books as The Enochian Magick of Dr. John Dee by Geoffrey James, The Heptarchia Mystica by Robert Turner, and Enochian Magic For Beginners by Donald Tyson, all of which are recommended for further study.
In the popular lore of modern Western magic, the Enochian Keys have a very dark and fearful reputation. Many magicians are afraid to speak them, even in English. When John Dee received them, the Keys were delivered backwards by the angels, word by word, so that Dee could not inadvertently speak them to himself as he received them. Enochian magic is known in occult circles as a form of the art not to be played with. Even the speaking of Enochian names of spirits can be dangerous, and can have unexpected or even tragic results. Perhaps we should be thankful that the exact way to pronounce the Enochian language, which was communicated directly to Dee through Kelley by the angels, has been lost. As a result, the Enochian Keys and the names of Enochian angels are less potent when uttered by the unwary.
None the less, the Keys are quite beautiful as poetry. I will transcribe one of the shorter Keys, the Second Key, in the English translation communicated by the angel Nalvage to Kelley through the agency of the crystal ball that you see illustrated at the top of this page. This translation of the Second Key was given to Dee and Kelley on April 25, 1584, in the city of Cracow. I will reproduce the exact spelling from the book of Meric Casaubon, but will modify the punctuation for the sake of clarity:
Can the wings of the windes understand your voices of wonder, O you the second of the first, whom the burning flames have framed within the depth of my Jaws; whom I have prepared as Cups for a wedding, or as the flowers in their beauty for the Chamber of righteousnesse: stronger are your feet than the barren stone, and mightier are your voices then the many fold windes, for you are become a building, Such as is not but in the minde of the all-powerful. Arise, saith the first; Move, therefore, unto his servants, shew your selves in power, and make me a strong seething; for, I am of him that liveth for ever.