Thursday, July 30, 2009

John Dee & Edward Kelley & the Spirit World: Pt 12

What are the qualities of a "true seeing"? This is a hard question to answer because everything we can see and know is channeled through our perceptions. This is one area where Dee went wrong. He tried to discern between the real and false spirits but then expected the "real" spirits to give perfect guidance. We will never be able to talk about completely objective seeing. However, there are some 'landmarks' to help us recognize 'true seeings'. Clarity, power, and the integrity of the image are all important. Integrity used in this way would mean that the image holds together and appears to have a life of its own. "Meaning" is also important, although this can be tricky as it can have more than one interpretation, and also can be hard to describe in words. An event such as the hairs standing up on the back of your neck can be as good an indicator as any that something important is happening! Unfortunately our analysis of Dee will always be specualtive. The written records he left are very detailed and also shed light on the mood and other psychic and physical senses of any particular session. But we were not there experiencing these heavily charged events with the men. When using terms such as "psychical events" "spirits" or "inner planes" it is very useful to have a system to differentiate the different levels of being encountered and the denizens of them.

There are many different systems one encounters when exploring these inner realms of the soul. An unwritten tradition of women's seership gives a five level structure of the inner planes. These levels not only correspond to "seeing" but also to levels of our own psyche. The first level represents the primitive and elemental. This level is connected with the roots of humankind. Animals and birds may appear at this primal level. Such totemic appearances are also reported by shamans, alchemists and people practicing sexual magic. Because this level puts one in touch with primeval energies; manifestations of this level can include anger and sexual arousal, and igniting these energies would be one method of entering this realm. Kelley's frequent anger comes to mind here, and certainly appears to have added fuel to the fire and energized the sessions. However, it seems that Kelley's inability to keep a reign on his feelings meant that he could not interpret or handle material of greater refinement at this level. Dee, of course, wanted to visit the higher and more subtle realms than the first level, and it is a sure bet this likely influenced Kelley during the sessions. There is an example in the records that happened when Dee wasn't present: After dinner, as E.K. was alone, there appeared unto him a little creature of a cubit high and they came to the still where he had the spirit of wine distilling...And one of them showed him how to distill it, and separate it better."

These seem to be a kind of elemental spirit with a special interest in alchemy: one of them kept Kelley talking till two in the morning. An incident that also could have been connected to this level involves two "very great monstrous" bears which emerge in turn from out of a mighty forest; the first eats a black hawk and attacks a white one, while the second devours a moon from a castle sundial and shakes a castle into ruins. Though these images also have an alchemical atmosphere, they also resonate with the mighty power found in natural winds and earthquakes. The second level is the level of education, training and conditioning. It represents the social psyche. This level appears often in Dee's work and in 'modern' forms of visualization. A great many images and events can be witnessed at this level. It has movie-like attributes but is much more than just fantasy. Here people can meet guides and instructors, each being with a distinct personality. This realm also has a playful aspect, and certain Trickster archetypes can appear here. Madimi was one among many spirits who appeared to Kelley frequently on this level going by Dee's records. Madimi: Am I not a fine maiden? Give me leave to play in your house," says this "pretty girl" of 7 or 9 years of age" at Dee and Kelley's first session.

Also there was the ragged actor Il, who had an ironic sense of humor: Room for a player. Jesus, who would have thought I should find you here?" The third level is the level of magical initiation. At this level also, many fascinating things are encountered. Gateways between this world and the next and portents of birth and death are witnessed in this realm. Beings encountered here have both a majestic and mysterious nature. The seer may also witness rites or images of events pertaining to other esoteric traditions when passing through a door in this realm. The following "seeing" can definitely be said to be an alchemical parable: A woman cometh, and with a spade diggeth about (a large mound of earth). Now cometh a child...out of a dark place, with a fire shovel in his hand. The woman hath taken away all the earth, and there appeareth water, where the earth was. The boy casteth out of that water with the fire shovel. The woman laugheth at that. The woman is in green clothes, and the boy in red. Now cometh and old man with a crabtree staff on his back, his clothes of metley color. This old man taketh the glass from the woman by force, with his fist he breaketh the glass, and all the oil runneth about his arm, and out of that oil did seem a book to come, a very little book...?"

Once the book appears in this seeing, Kelley apparently rose to the next and fourth level. This level is dominated by creative, intellectual and abstract powers. Forms and images can appear at this level with crystal clear simplicity. The fourth level is where breakthroughs come in visionary solutions to mathematicians and scientists for example. Kekule with his dream/vision of the Ouroboros and the Benzene ring solution come to mind. The visions at this level can take on a dancing, indefinable quality, or to even appear as forms of light. In the esoteric systems of the major religions, the fourth level is where the realm of the angels would possibly begin. Dr. John Dee's angelic writing and number codes could very well have emerged from this realm: the session just quoted goes on to reveal "holy characters" and various sequences of letters and numbers. The fifth level is the highest that can be perceived through our inner senses and psyche. At this level the beings who are encountered and their activities are far removed from our mundane level of reality. Kelley spoke in awe of one of these visions: He is become a great pillar of Crystal higher than a steeple. He ascendeth upward in clouds, and the little circle remaineth.

Whether it is symbolic or not, it is not unusual for only the feet of such high beings to be perceived in Dee's records: I see two lions..and the lions' feet be waxen greater and greater...I see a great company of feet, and their garments' skirts somewhat above their ankles. The fifth level may give us a sense of 'what is,' a degree and a level of higher ordering in the universe that we can't influence in any normal fashion bu which we may try to embody in our work. An example of this in Dee and Kelley's sessions comes from the unpublished manuscript of one of their early workings. In this "divine necessity" as it was later to be described, becomes manifest: All is suddenly dark, and nothing to be seen, neither chair, nor anything else. A voice...like Michael...saying "It was a bird, and is a bird, absent there is nothing but quantity." A voice "...The world is of Necessity. His necessity is governed by Supernatural Wisdom. Necessity you fall and of Necessity shall rise again. Follow me, love me, embrace me: behold I AM." This was a very brief, simplified overview of the levels. The levels of reality vary greatly from one esoteric system to the next. I do think Professor Huston Smith in his book The Primordial Tradition, was correct in giving four major vastly different levels of reality. If reality is as wondrous as I imagine it to be at times, I could easily see how these four or five major levels could be infinitely subdivided into various hierarchies and gradations.

The image is a representation of the "magic table" Dee and Kelley used in their workings. There is more to come in this series-could just be one more article -not sure yet-and won't try to guess anymore! I so appreciate and enjoy your kind, intelligent and thoughtful comments. Peace and be well to anyone stopping by! Friedrich Kekule and his Benzene "ring" vision HERE I have tried to play with the Kekule link four times now-don't know what is wrong! You can get there by clicking on the first link on page that shows up and then the first link after that if you have any interest-all the best!


7 comments:

Ricardo said...

People practicing sexual magic? How can I use this to get Victoria's Secret models?

Alex Robinson said...

Hi Devin
It is good to see this looked at from all angles.
I do get tired of this idea of the 'mystery' of life, seeing as how we're doing the hard labour of living, I reckon we have the right to understand & direct it - I'm reminded of Queen Victoria's line when she was having one of her many babies, when told she shouldn't use chloroform... "It is said that Her Majesty declared 'It is we who are having the baby; and we will have chloroform!" - likewise with us, it's we who are doing the living, so we who should have access to the knowledge we need to truly live, surely it should be freely available to all who seek!
ok getting off my soapbox now :)
All the best to my favourite Mesaknight

Justin Russell said...

Fascinating visions and encounters those two described. Powerful stuff. Good post Dev!

Aggie said...

It sounds a rather dangerous pastime ... if interesting. You never know what could happen.

Devin said...

Ricardo-you are too funny!:) I would like to know the same for a number of guys I see/know-all the best to you my friend and thanks for stopping by!!

Alex thanks so much for stopping by and don't worry ever about being on your soapbox over here:)-sorry I am trying to rush thru the comments-they may have to shut power off here at the complex and I want to get my article in if they do-all the best to you forever my friend!!

Justin -I am so glad that you continue to enjoy this series-the last -well after today it will be four posts-99 percent of the information has come from a Gnosis magazine article from Summer 1995 by Cherry Gilchrist-so everyone should thank her for the idea for this series especially the info in the last 3-4 articles-I hope you are having a splendid weekend so far!!

Aggie-so great to see you here-and yes these studies did have a detrimental effect on Dee's life-especially in his later years-I wonder what he would have said if someone asked "Would you do it all over again?" best as always to you Aggie
and thanks again every one of you for commenting on this article-and hopefully there will be another up in a while here-crossing my fingers!

X. Dell said...

Ricardo, it's easy. There've got to be some VS models into alternative faiths.

Devin, I find this fascinating, in part because the conventional wisdom of the female seers seems to dovetail with psychodynamic theory. The animal nature, for example, was first explored by Mesmer (hence the term "animal magnatism"), but later finds itself described as the Freudian concept of 'id.' Today, neuroshrinks talk about the limbic system, the so-called "reptillian" functon of the brain.

The levels themselves echo the work of other theorists. In particular, it brings to mind Abe Maslow's theory of hierarchy of needs, especially in the higher levels. The fourth level in particular echos an awareness of self, or the ability of self-critique akin to self-actualization.

Fascinating.

Devin said...

Xdell -again I can't tell you how much I appreciate your interest in this series!! I also so appreciate your thoughts on psychodynamics, Mesmer and the reptilian part of the brain-I know very little of these subjects and had only heard of Maslow's "Needs" theory in the briefest instance -I am used to the "New Age" way of talking about the levels-which in a way is a silly way to put it as the "new age" just transplanted old beliefs (at least in many instances) and made a new garment out of the same old cloth-there are some original thoughts in new age thinking so i am not being overly critical -this was just something i realized in my early twenties when i realized how "THe Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance" and "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" used so much (among many others) from eastern mysticism-best to you as always and thanks again for being here thruout this series-I have enjoyed Ganesh immensely and will be sad to see it done with!!