John Dee Portrait- Ashmolean Museum

John Dee Portrait- Ashmolean Museum

February, 1582


Light flooded through the west window illuminating the simple study. The doors were closed against the noise of his toddler children. Within was sanctuary. Some especially interesting manuscripts had been hidden in a traveling bag secreted inside the chimney. The comings and goings at Mortlake had drawn many rumors which John Dee had carefully tried to sidestep. Owning one of the best libraries in Europe drew many scholarly types. Dee’s interests included math, astronomy, astrology, navigation, and the occult. He had access to the powerful ministers of Queen Elizabeth I’s court as well as to the Queen herself. Dee’s interests were not unique because many at court dabbled, but Dee hated the caricatured image created by the term “arch conjuror” he had been given in some circles.

Dee called his work optical science and for him crystal gazing was just another way of discovering how the universe worked much like using a telescope to understand the motion of the stars. But Dee had a problem. Not having the power to scry himself, he had to rely on others to do the gazing for him. Previously he had worked with Barnabas Saul but Saul had disappeared a few days earlier. Now a man named Talbot (later known as Edward Kelley) had appeared on his doorstep claiming to be able to do what Saul had done.

Dee’s expectations were modest but using a crystal ball, Talbot soon had a vision of the archangel Uriel. Unable to resist access to such a highly placed spirit, Dee asked about a coded manuscript he possessed. Uriel told him that The Book of Soyga (a copy resides in the British Library) was revealed to Adam in paradise and could only be understood with the help of Archangel Michael. In a later session, Uriel told Dee to construct a table to facilitate future angelic communications.

The table was to be set into four divine wax seals and each seal had to contain an image revealed by the angel. On the top of the table, resting on the Seal of God, a crystal ball or shew stone would be placed.

Objects belonging to Dee at the British Museum (photo: British Museum)

Objects belonging to Dee at the British Museum (photo: British Museum)


Later in the week, Talbot had a vision of the Archangel Michael anointing Dee. There was no doubt in Dee’s mind that some very special work lay ahead of the two men. Over the next decade Dee and Kelley would receive and communicate in Enochian, a fully developed angelic language. People still puzzle over those messages and their importance.

For more investigation:

John Dee’s Conversations with Angels– Deborah E. Harkness

The Queen’s Conjuror– Benjamin Woolley

John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery– Original Sourcebook of Enochian

Magic- Joseph H. Peterson

The Complete Enochian Dictionary– Donald C. Laylock

Enochian Alphabet- Vincent Bridges (YouTube- video, the importance of Dee’s

communication )


Filed under alchemy, Books, Spiritual/Mysticism

31 responses to “WHEN DEE MET KELLEY

  1. Thanks for the “likes”. I appreciate it greatly. Keep writing.



  2. That was really interesting. And I love the way you wrote it. You’ve got a great writing voice.


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  4. Wow! Very fascinating! It opens up an entire world unknown to me… Great post!


  5. An interesting read about John Dee – thank you for this. You made it easier with all that research and pointers.


  6. Currently reading a youth lit series (Kronos Chronicles) that has John Dee as a character. I’m really enjoying them, you should check them out if you have time. 🙂


  7. It’s some time since I read it, but I seem to remember that Frances Yates’ ‘The Rosicrucian Enlightenment’ had some interesting discussion on Dee’s occult interests on the Continent. Even if there’s only tenuous links, the whole study is full of fascinating insights on how Renaissance occultism interacted with European politics of that period.


  8. Dee in itself hath become a name to conjure with. Look at H.P. Lovecraft….


  9. Very inspiring to see someone that thinks like me – ( and does the research for me! ). My only question is – why did they only have male advisors? 🙂 This is coming from the 21st female scryer!

    🙂 lovely…I look forward to following you stories!


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  12. An interesting narrative.


  13. sophiebowns

    This was a really interesting story! I’d like to find out more! http://sophiebowns.wordpress.com/


  14. 24.7

    Ellis an interesting post.

    They had more to do with what might be called an English intelligence Service.
    England was at war with Spain , if you so much as mentioned spirits you would be burnt to death.
    So no one wanted to touch it. England had ditched the catholic church. A system of code like the Enigma of WW.11 each agent or angel had a name. And a specific cross for decode.
    It took months and years to organise the war machine of empire building.
    Spying they covered with scrying .


    • Yes, Dee had a very rich and complicated life. He did act as an operative for Elizabeth. He also had a lot to do with exploration of the New World and planning voyages to enlarge England’s realm. And then there’s the whole episode in Prague with alchemy.


      • 24.7

        He even went to Cambridge spy recruitment central .The plates above are like enigma typewriters of the day.
        Graet Post Ellis


      • The book I read was sketchy on the spying aspect and concerned when he was on the continent. In a synchronistic moment, I just opened or rather the book opened to the page talking about the intelligence network run by Sir Francis Walsingham. Around this period Dee had meetings with Walsingham about the northwest passage. I haven’t seen anything that connects the disks to Dee’s intelligence work but maybe my sources are… limited.


  15. Great job…I’m excited to do some more research!


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