A Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley by Lon Milo DuQuette.
This was a surprisingly quick read for such a complex subject. As someone who’s quite familiar with DuQuette’s other writings, this perhaps shouldn’t have come as such a big surprise, since he’s very likely simultaneously both the clearest and most entertaining author of occult books… EVER!
However, at first glance, this book, with all its tables and diagrams and a page count of 304 pages, seems way longer and dryer than it actually is, which we will get into below.
Before you get into the meat of the book you are treated with not just one, but two forewords, a preface and both a prologue to the prologue as well as a prologue! This all means that there is already a lot of material to go through ahead of its main content. Nonetheless I urge you not to skip any of it, as there’s plenty of gems in there and a considerable amount of good advice to be gleaned along the way. Hidden away inside here you’ll also find one very amusing alternative take on the purpose of Dee’s manuscripts, but I leave that little nugget for you to discover on your own.
After reading all the introductory texts, you really shouldn’t be too spooked by all their warnings, because from now on uncle Baba Lon will safely guide you through this system, putting all your concerns at rest.
John Dee was of course the original 007, a well known fact you likely posses already, as it’s almost certainly amongst the first things people will tell you about him. Followed closely by how he was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, which included duties as a spy as well as being a royal court astrologer (he choose her coronation date for instance). Oh, and we’re not going to go into the infamous wife-swapping incident instigated by the angels themselves, except to mention that all the involving parties had to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Side note: When will someone dramatize these events and make it into TV series? It’s ripe with juicy details and hilarious happenings. This is an untapped gold mine!
I think it’s agreed upon that Dr. John Dee was conceivably one of the most, if not THE most learned man of his time, at a time where it might still be possible to know everything there was to know. He was the proud owner of the largest library in England, and undoubtedly was the perfect candidate to be the recipient of a multiplex magical system downloaded directly from an angelic source. A case definitely can made of him possible being the only person capable of making any sense what was picked up on and communicated to him by angelic entities via his scryer Edward Kelley (a dubious and unstable yet immensely psychically gifted individual).
Inside this paperback tome you get related all the important and significant circumstances of how those operations took place, with the added benefit of being presented with the actual information of which they got their hands on. All done in a remarkably understandable and entertaining manner.
Don’t Try to duplicate the Magick Dee and Kelley Did to Receive the System— Just Use the System They Received!Lon Milo DuQuette
Although the above quoted maxim is a sound recommendation, the author does intentionally contradict himself, suggesting that, in a way, you should imitate at least some of the original circumstances and procedures used by Dr. Dee and Kelley. So to a certain extent, it can be said that this manual acts as a provisional self initiation into all things Enochiana.
Which brings us to a highly important point, which is that not all of Dee’s manuscripts have survived after his death, making it evident that we sadly don’t have access to the complete system. Still, that’s not to say that this release in and of itself isn’t complete, because it is, and you basically get all you need to start practicing, and more. It’s just necessary, in my humble opinion, to know that some of the data given here is reconstructed and of newer developments. Mostly based off of teachings from The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley, amongst others.
Furthermore, we can’t even know for sure that what’s in the available manuscripts even was the final version of Enochian! Especially considering that Dee’s diaries has ample evidence showing us that the angels relatively frequently updated and revised their previously delivered information and material. Sometimes even years later, with the last documented transmission entry leaving an extremely essential piece of the puzzle. I postulate that there’s a high probability of further experimentation and research done on later dates (presumably with other scryers) yielded profound revelations that unfortunately have been all but lost. Unless they mysteriously manifests one day. Stranger things have happened. Especially where Enochian magick is concerned… I’m just saying…
I also believe that it’s crucial to note that the dear doctor did indeed promise the angels “never to disclose these Mysteries”! We actually don’t even know where Dee’s final resting place is…
This is magick for the Dungeons & Dragons geeks that love long exhausting lists, diagrams and tables chock full of rules. Enochian is a gloriously elegant and remarkably coherent system of vision magick. If you take pleasure in such beauty, then this surely is the book for you. And trust me, it’s way simpler than it looks on the surface.
All that being said, beware, several schools of thought exists, and there’s a ridiculous amount of disagreement on what is proper and not proper forms of conduct. There really is no consensus in this field. Be that as it may, you can do much worse than to start here, as as far as I’m concerned, this is possibly the best guidebook available for those that want to embark upon their own Enochian adventures. That is, if you are willing to put in the hours of preparation and assembly required to become a bonafide Enoch-a-naut. Which is no small feat mind you, but armed with the knowledge contained inside this book, you’ll be more than ready, and you’ll have all the instructions you need readily available at your fingertips.
Of particular use is the incredibly generous amount of appendices, the handy bibliography and thorough index (yay, index!).
End of Program
In closing I’d like to take a brief moment to discuss the changes made between the 2019 and 2008 editions of this title.
This book was first published in 2008, under the same name, but with one additional word in the subtitle (highlighted below in italics); a word which I’m curious as to why they decided to drop… It was as follows:
An Introduction and Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley.
In my opinion, retaining the introduction part would make much more sense, as that is what the majority of the book actually is (the practical parts, albeit great, are not really given to us until almost the end).
Aside from that, the main difference between the two editions is the cover (the new one is so much cooler and tasteful), and that the 2019 release has a brand new foreword by Jason Louv, a new preface by the author himself and it includes a revised bibliography.
To be completely fair though, the only revision of the bibliography that I can spot is the addition of three books. I mean, that’s not a huge number of new content, and layout-wise, there’s room for at least one other book listed in said bibliography. So let me, completely free of charge, seize the opportunity to mention a couple of books worth investigating (that is not mentioned in the bibliography) if you are more interested in just doing the Magick, rather than understand all its history and theory:
Both of which I plan to review sometime further down the line.