Tuesday, July 28, 2009

John Dee & Edward Kelley & the Spirit World: Pt 11

What can be said of these spiritual conferences with angels and spirits? What tools do could we ever use to assess Dee and Kelley's findings? In any scrying session, a certain amount of imagery that comes from personal fantasy and association is likely to be encountered. Edward Kelley was an ill-tempered man and some of his visions reflect his own anger. One time in Prague, Dee had to call for help when Kelley turned against him with "great threats most terrible and dangerous." Three hours after this event Kelley's seeing begins with the following warlike imagery: Here appeareth Michael on your head...Hear appear 12 with him,4 behind him and 4 on each side of him, and all with swords of fire, and...all in red coats...Now they all kneel down about him. They look pitifully with their faces upward, as though they were praying, they be all in blood red Garments, and Michael his sword is as the sword I once did see him have; whose edge did open." Kelley's personality was unbalanced, and it is probable that the long and intense sessions with Dee troubled him even more. It seems that Kelley also had a strong sense of guilt. During Lent in 1585 Dee reports that Kelley was fasting to "ease his conscience of that burden of his sins, wherewith it was oppressed, and to wash away that filth which was contracted on his soul."

There were also times when Kelley believed he was possessed by evil spirits and desired exorcism from them. In an interesting vision from July 1583 Kelley reports: "Here appear 14 of diverse evil-favored shapes: some like monkeys, some like dogs, some very hairy monstrous men, etc. They seemed to scratch each other by the face. These seem to go about Madimi [one of their regular spirit guides]...[Madimi challenges the monsters and banishes them, saying:] "You came hither without license and seek to overthrow the liberyt of God and his Testament...Depart unto the last Cry: Rest with the Prince of Darkness..."They sunk all...downwards through the floor of the chamber, and there came a thing like a wind and plucked them by the feet away. Methinketh I am lighter than I was; and I seem to be empty, and to be returned from a great amazing; for this fortnight I do not well remember what I have done or said." This report came after a fitful episode when Kelley ran away from the Dee household in a sudden outburst of enmity for his wife and in fear that he would be hanged if he stayed there after being told this by the spirits. Once the exorcism was complete, Madimi tells Kelley calmly: "Thou art eased of a great burden...Love God, love thy friends, love thy wife."

Obviously it would not be wise to take everything that Kelley reported as a message from the angels. John Dee, who so much wanted to believe in Kelley was also cautious with the way he treated Kelley's information. Dee was esepecially untrustful of any workings that took place while he wasn't with Kelley: "I have found so much halting and untruth in EK his reports to me made, of the spiritual creatures, where I have not been present at an action." Dee was definitely not the unquestioning dupe that some commentators would lead us to believe. Some have called attention to the poetic quality of the communications of the angels of spirits. Many who note this seem to be implying that because of this there are divine truths behind the high-flown words of the "angels." Here we need to be careful. Many of the speeches are biblical, Kabbalistic and "stream of consciousness" outpourings. However sweet the words are, there is nothing in them that could not come from a familiarity with the Bible or the Kabbalah-which Dee and Kelley were undoutedly well versed in. In some of the communications Kelley goes from a balanced state to delivering messages that are increasingly apocalyptic as the session continues. Here is an example from 23 May 1587. at which the spirits of Understanding and Wisdom appear, maybe in the Kabbalistic sense as personifications of the sefira Binah and Chokmah: Here cometh another woman. All her attire is like beaten gold; she hath on her forehead a cross crystal, her neck and breast are bare under her dugs: She hath a girdle of beaten gold slackly buckled unto her with a pendant of gold down to the ground. "I am the Daughter of Fortitude, and ravished every hour, from my youth. For behold, I am Understanding and Science dwelleth in me...I am shadowed with the Circle of the Stone, and covered with the morning clouds. My feet are swifter than the winds, and my hands are sweeter than the morning dew...I am deflowered, and yet a virgin...I am a harlot for such as ravish me, and a virgin with such as know me not. For lo, I am loved of many, and I am a lover of many."

There is a pause and then Dee and Kelley receive further communication from a female spirit who proclaims: Wisdom is a piercing beam, which is the center of the spiritual being of the Holy Spirit, touching from all parts from whence the Divinity sendeth it out: and is proper to the soul, or unto substances, that have beginning, but not ending; so that whatsoever shall have an end, can never attain unto that which is called Wisdom." However, these thoughts on mystical philosophy are soon taken over by grim prophecies: Now cometh the time that the Whore shall be called before the Highest...And the hand of God shall run in vengeance, vengeance even though the Kingdom, and through Germany, and unto Italy; and in the twenty-third month in Rome shall be destroyed, so that one stone shall not be left standing upon another, and vengeance shall be on all the earth, and fear upon all the people...Woe be unto them, for they know not the time of their visitation." Pehaps Kelley's own inner demons could have occasionally provided the energy to shift the visualization to a higher realm of consciousness. In 1583 for instance, Kelley's brother had warned him that officers were on their way to arrest him as a counterfeiter. Kelley had already been convicted of forging money before he came into Dee's employ. The knowledge that Kelley's brother had imparted to him that morning put him in "a marvelous great disquietness of mind, fury and rage." When the two men began a spiritual conference that afternoon, Kelley heard "a voice about the show-stone very great, as though men were beating down of mud walls."

Soon there is a breakthrough: the "thumping" is swallowed up into a great silence, out of which a woman dressed in red, white, and green appears, who is said to be a Daughter of Light and who converses about the nature of pride in an enlightening manner. We can wonder what Dee could have achieved working with a wider circle of people. Kelley's volatility was, needless to say, not an ideal frame of mind to take part in these sessions. In more controlled conditions the shifts in consciousness probably would have happened less painfully. Dee also didn't have the advantage of greater objectivity that working with a group would have brought. In the best conditions, the group mind itself helps to empower and balance the work. I had to take a break and saved-or thought I saved a great deal of what was written to drafts. Well for some reason it only saved the material I had typed from the first break-so I could have got further today had that not happened! I still have more than 8 notebook pages of information written on both sides to put here-so it kind of seems-to me anyway that I am not going very fast. I am a terrible typist at the best of times usually and this also slows me down.

The image at the top is of Dee's "007"-this is the way he signed his communications to Queen Elizabeth-the double 0's meaning that he was the queen's "eyes." I am also going to give two links here to my friend Michael Skaggs' blog-The Hidden Agendas about "Enochian" information and provide a link about how this pertains to John Dee. Thanks again for your interest in this series and your wonderful and intelligent comments! I hope to be back soon with the rest-altho it may go to more than one or two more articles! Here are the links HERE and HERE and HERE is the wikipedia entry about Dee that tells a bit about his connection to Enochian magic under the "Later life" section (I might get into this aspect more if I keep going with the series) and if you scroll down to the "Reputation and significance" section in the wikipedia entry-the paragraph before the last in that section-there is a bit about a possible connection of his to the Voynich manuscript. That might be a subject worth a small series of its own-so thank you Xdell for commenting about it! Peace an be well to anyone stopping by!


Justin Russell said...

A fairly concise, yet indeed useful acount of Joh(an)n the Black so far Dev. Good stuff.

Middle Ditch said...

I see that I have loads to read here. It's a good thing I'm on holiday or I would not have the time.

Devin said...

Justin and Middle Ditch -so great to see both of you here!! I am going to try to attempt an article today-very tired so it will probably take me forever to type-I am glad people seem to be enjoying this series-now I am off to find Anadae's comment-did I accidentally delete it?-I hope not! prob just under another post-best as always to the both of you and hope to chat very soon!!

Michael Skaggs said...

Wow Devin!

I barely scratched the surface I see with Dee/Enochian at My blog!

Great work, lots here I did not GNO!

Be well bro!

Devin said...

Michael cant tell you how much i appreciate your comment! I think of myself as instead of being an original thinker-someone who sees things -wherever-the web, books, magazines and always wonders if people who come here will enjoy the information!! starting with post 10 in the Dee series 99 percent of the information is from an article Cherry Gilchrist did for Gnosis magazine's summer 1995 issue. So altogether there have been a great many sources used-but her article was the inspiration for this series-and if i continue with it i will thank Justin for his links!! best to you as always my friend!!

X. Dell said...

You're welcome.

(Cue guitar music, followed by title sequences with nude women in shadow.)

Forgive me for being a bit of a wet blanket here, but to me Kelley sounds as though he's entering prodrome, the stage between the onset of schizophrenia and the eventual incapacitation by the disease. During this time, one might experience psychotic episodes (e.g., his belief that he's possesed by demons--especially because it reinforces the prevalent knowledge and belief of the day; just as today's schizophrenics often believe the CIA is out to get them). In his late-20s at the time, he would have been at a typical age for this proression to begin.

That Dee second-guessed Kelley's "information" implies to me that Dee had already found previous tips inaccurate or unusefull. Because of his spiritual beliefs, and those of his fellow Elizabethans, Dee might not have readily seen it as an illness.

Just a thought.

Devin said...

Hey X-not only do I not think you are being a wet blanket-i think you are spot on!! why on earth Dee convinced himself to go thru things like the wife swapping episodes and others is beyond me-he KNEW Kelley to be a fraud or delusional or both in many cases!! -and BTW i can hear guitar music and dancing women-altho with me they would be nude men doing atrocious things to my body:) best to you as always and I love how you always come up with new "takes" on information here!!