Talking to Angels

A True and Faithful Relation

In 1659, Meuric Casaubon, Doctor of Divinity published a book that purported to confirm the reality of spirits as well as show the several good uses a sober Christian could make of all of this.  The book was sold at the Little North Door of the Cathedral of St Paul in London.

Casaubon had taken the book from the original written by Dr John Dee, an Elizabethan polymath, advisor to the Queen, mathematician and magician and added his own lengthy preface.  The book was called:

A True and Faithful relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr John Dee (A mathematician of great fame in Queen Elizabeth and King James, their reigns) and Some Spirits: Tending (had it succeeded) To a General Alteration of most States and Kingdoms of in the World. His private conferences with Rudolph, Emperor of Germany, Stephen, King of Poland, and diverse other princes about it. The particulars of his Cause, as it was agitated in the Emperor’s Court, by the Pope’s intervention: His Banishment, and Restoration in part.”

It’s generally just called The Relation,  or A True and Faithful Relation.  When you look at that title, you’d be convinced Casaubon was keyword stuffing, but this was before the invention of SEO.

Casaubon’s Preface

Casaubon provides a lengthy theological preface where every s is f, and other poor spelling (nearly as bad as Chaucer) with chunks of Latin, some Greek and a tiny bit of Hebrew. It’s generally pretty tedious but he does try to defend Dee from the accusation of being a conjurer. You must remember that in 1604 King James I of England (VI of Scotland) enacted a Witchcraft Act that set out penalty of death to any who invoked evil spirits, or communed with familiar spirits. Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins operated under this statute. So, when Casaubon published his book, Dee was clearly in breach of this law and liable to the death penalty, except of course he got out of this by being dead already.  In 1649, the Scots extended their previous witchcraft act to give the death penalty to those who consulted with Devils and familiar spirits. That would be you at your Tarot reading.

Casaubon says that Dee had an Angelical Stone which he claimed was brought to him by an angel. It was this he used, or rather Edward Kelley, his scrier, used to see the spirits.  Casaubon also tries to excuse Kelley saying, “I would suppose that he was one of the best sort of magicians, that dealt with spirits by a kind of command…and not by any compact or agreement.”  This may be considered a splitting of hairs.  

We have 55 pages of Casaubon’s preface before getting to the good stuff. Or at least the better stuff

Dee’s Apology

The next section is Dr John Dee’s apology sent to the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury in 1594/5. (This was the time of the introduction of the new Gregorian calendar by the Catholic Church in 1582 and so years had different numbers and days had different dates depending  whether you reckoned in the new Gregorian, or old Julian calendar. Protestant and Orthodox Christians lagged in the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, the last country to adopt it was Orthodox Greece in 1923.)

Dee is basically trying to kid the arch-bishop that he is a straightforward Christian believer. He sets out the books he has written for the benefit of his native country and he makes a fervent protestation that all the methods of acquiring knowledge he used were good, lawful, honest, Christian and divinely prescribed.   He adds an epilogue, to me a sign that he guessed his fervent protestation and list of qualifications were unlikely to cut ice. He adds a copy of his degree in Latin to further show what a good egg he is.

A Table

The next section is the extensive Table of Contents in Three Parts, which briefly summarizes each entry in the following book. Then we have the Errata. I am unsure whether these parts were added by Casaubon as he edited the manuscript but he writes about Dee in the third person, so I guess this is Casaubon’s table of contents and note of errata.

We then have diagrams of The Holy Table with the Enochian alphabet and magic squares depicted, and the Four Watchtowers diagram with notes who which princes, trumpeters, ensign bearers stand where in Heaven.  On Page 96 of the PDF facsimile we get to Dr Dee’s own work the Liber Mysteriorum & Sancti written after the pattern of Noval.

Liber Mysteriorum & Sancti

The journal, for that is what it is, opens on 28th May, 1583 in Leiden between Amsterdam and The Hague on the Dutch coast. Dee has already set off from England.

Dee had originally been his own scryer from round 1581 when  he had strange dreams and noted odd feelings and mysterious noises in his house. He got a crystal ball, or show-stone and began scrying himself and on 25 May 1582 reported his first contact with spirits through the show-stone.

This reminded me of similar experiences recounted by Carl Jung in his autobiographical Dreams, Memories & Reflections, where he notes that in June 1916 he began to feel there were unseen entities in his house. One of his daughters saw a ghost, and that night another daughter had her bed clothes yanked off, and his nine year old son had a nightmare about the Devil. The next day at 5pm, the doorbell began ringing and wouldn’t stop until Jung looked out of the window to see there was no one there. Ghosts pressed round him and he wrote, perhaps channeled his Septem Sermones ad Mortuuos. “The Seven Sermons to the Dead.”

When prompted by this irruption of spirits into his life, Jung’s reaction was to write what they told him.  Dee’s was to stare into the show-stone to see what they wanted.  

Dee later employed a seer called Barnabas Saul so that he could take notes. It’s unclear whether Dee himself continued to see the spirits. Saul had some disturbing experiences and quit. After that Dee was on the look-out for a new scier and hired 27 year old, Edward Kelley (not his real name). Kelley appears to have been something of a rogue, forger and necromancer, but Dee was apparently satisfied with his skill as a seer.  Dee’s fortunes had diminished since his heady days with Queen Elizabeth and he latched onto Polish prince Albert Laski and travelled to Poland to enjoy his patronage.  

While Dee was away in 1583 a large mob burned down his house in Mortlake, Surrey and with it his books and occult paraphernalia.

28 May 1583, Leiden, Holland: The Spirit Madimi

When the Book of  Holy Mysteries / Liber Mysteriorum & Sancti opens, Dee and Edward Kelley are sitting around the show-stone. It is Dee is concerned that the Polish prince Albert Laski  will support him against the malice and envy of Dee’s fellow Englishmen. This is a time when Dee’s esteem has fallen markedly from when he was the Queen’s advisor and astrological confidant. From the way he writes it, it looks like Dee himself sees the spirit Madimi first come out of his Oratory. He describes her as a pretty girl of 7-9 years old. Her gown is a “changeable green and red” with a train that moves up down, so her image is in flux. This is what one would expect from a figure representing the Jungian anima: the Unconscious is always changing from one thing to another and is difficult, like a sub-atomic particle (another figment of the unconscious imagination) to pin down. Madimi is a bit sassy and when Dee asks her “Whose maiden are you?” She replies, “Whose man are you?”  There appears a voice in the background apparently warning Madimi that if she reveals who she belongs to, she shall be beaten.

But this whole scene is not the scrier, Kelley relating what he sees to Dee, at least not as it’s written, but Dee appears himself to see Madimi dancing in and out of his books.  Madimi appears to be negotiating with the voice off-stage to allow her to tarry awhile. Madimi is one of her mother’s children. That  could be construed to mean she emerges from the Matrix, the Great Mother that underlies all things. She can’t say however who she belongs to or where she dwells for fear that the off-stage personage will beat her.  Some trickery then.

Madimi has six sisters. She says they all must come to live with Dee. Dee says that Madimi’s elder sister is Esemeli, but she won’t confirm it. Instead she pulls out a picture book. From here it is Edward Kelley who is explaining what he sees and hears to Dee, as if Dee can no longer see for himself. We picture Kelley staring into the show-stone.  Madimi goes on about various members of the English aristocracy, pointing to them and naming them.  She focuses on an area Shropshire and names various towns around Ludlow.  Then Dee gets called for supper.

This is like me when I’m playing Elder Scrolls Online and I have to go and eat. Bummer.

They reconvene after super and Madimi is right there, showing them pics of the aristocrats again and saying things we presume Kelley, or anyone, would know. At one point, Dee asks her to give the same pedigree commentary to the Polish Albert Laski as she does to the English nobility, but she replies that she can’t do this for people in other countries.  We would guess it would be outside Kelley’s knowledge, if he was faking Madimi, and so couldn’t come up with anything verifiable. Madimi offers up some Latin saying that the one who sent her is true.

2nd June 1583

Kelley reports that a golden curtain hangs inside the stone, so nothing is visible, but a voice is heard repeating three times:  Holy, Sealed, for a Time. Dee wonders what exactly this could mean. The voice helpfully expands to explain that it is the Holy One’s will that it remain sealed for a time. A man in red appears, like a common husbandman. They ask him questions but he kneels and prays in a strange language: Oh Gahire Rudna gephna ob Gahire, looking at the stone and adds in Latin, I will not make mine. In answer to Dee’s questions, he says that all things are made ready – the 7 doors are opened, the 7 governors have almost ended their government he then goes into a spiel about the tribulations of the earth and the elements. “Hell itself is weary of Earth. For why? The Son of Darkness now comes to challenge right.” This Son of Darkness wants to establish himself a kindgom and thinks things are ready. “We are now strong enough.”

It all sounds rather apocalyptic.

He goes on to say “We are Seven” and that he seems to say he is equal with the greatest angels and his name is Murifiri. His name is to be found on all their tables.  He begins to spell out words, but it is not clear what they mean.

The Enochian Apocalypse

I should say at this point that the Enochian scholar, Donald Tyson,  believed that the spirits that talked to Dee and later revealed the magic Enochian language, were paving the way for an Apocalypse, whereby the gatehouses that guard this universe were to be opened and occult forces pour “usurping blasphemy, misuse, and stealth of the wicked and great enemy, the Devil.”

Go figure. I’ll probably post more about the angels at a later date.

See here:



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