The pages where I quote from the book are from 118-120. "Because of the ambiguous role of the magus in Western civilization-who is seen sometimes as a sage, often as a charlatan-these figures have risen and fallen in the esteem of history, much as they did in their own day. John Dee, court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I, the inspiration for the character Prospero in Shakespeare's Tempest, and the man who according to legend, conjured up the storm that sank the Spanish Armada, furnishes a vivid example. Dee (1527-1608) saw extremes of good and bad fortune in his life. At one point a close adviser to Elizabeth, he ended his years in poverty and disgrace. He espoused a version of the Christian Kabbalah that sought to reform the church; he also sketched out the ideal of a universal British monarchy that inspired the beginnings of the British Empire. And yet he became most famous for a strange series of encounters involving a medium named Edward Kelly (or Kelly). The record of these conversations with beings of the other world was published in 1659 under the title A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits by a debunker named Meric Casaubon, who sought to discredit Dee's reputation posthumously and largely succeeded. Dee was generally regarded as a plain fraud until the twentieth century, when scholars began to see him as a key figure in the intellectual world of the Elizabethan Age."
Smoley goes on to point out that Dee had invoked the supposed Arthurian ancestry of the Tudor dynasty and its mythical rights to lands overseas to lay the groundwork for Elizabeth to take possession of these vast territories. John Dee wanted England to rule over the European continent instead of the extremely powerful Habsburg dynasty that at the time was Europe's greatest power. 1583 was the year that John Dee and Edward Kelley, along with their familes, began a six year tour of Central Europe. Prague was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire at the time and ruled by Emperor Rudolf II. Rudolf II was known for his religious tolerance as well as his interest in occult and esoteric matters. Apparently, Dee discussed with Rudolf his vision of a reformed Christianity that would be guided by esoteric principles. Dee also seemed to be prophesying that Protestanism would triumph over both Catholicism and Islam. Emperor Rudolf II wasn't greatly intrigued by Dee's vision. Smoley also points out that similarities between Dee's failures as a prophet and those of his contemporary Nostradamus. Of course, the idea of Nostradamus being a failure as a prophet has been argued for centuries-and many believe in his work today. The quatrains of Nostradamus were used during World War II by both opposing sides predicting defeat for the other (so maybe that should tell us something of the fluidity of his prophecies)!
Unlike John Dee, Nostradamus was viewed with respect by the French court until his death in 1566, whereas Dee died in penury and near obscurity. Some reasons for this are that Dee's protectors had died. But even more importantly, hatred and suspicion of sorcerers and witches had grown. Smoley writes, "The public-and some of those in power-were not always able to distinguish a learned magus from a low sorcerer who trafficked in evil spirits. Indeed Christopher Marlowe's highly popular 1593 tragedy Doctor Faustus explicitly connected the two turning sorcery hunting into a popular craze. As a result the last two decades of Dee's life were a time of disappointment and impoverishment, made worse by the accession to the throne of James I in 1603. James was obsessed with witchcraft and had even written a tract against witches entitled Demonologie. Dee could expect no favors from him and did not receive any. In 1608, the old magus died in great poverty." The image is of one of John Dee's magical "sigils"-more about this later. I think I will write the next article on John Dee with the first source I had found-I don't know how long it will be but hope that it is interesting. From there maybe I can expand on the subject using internet sources and links that people like Justin Russell and Anadae have given. The articles below this one are all "history" but might be helpful explaining later events. Peace and be well to anyone passing through or stopping by!