Review: A New Look at Enochian Magic

John Dee (possibly a model for Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest) was one of the most fascinating characters of 16th-century England: mathematician, navigator, occultist, etc.

Working with the trance medium Edward Kelley, Dee produced pages and pages of material, some claimed to be dictated by angels, about the supernatural realms.

Although based in biblical and non-canonical legends of the patriarch Enoch, this system of “Enochian magic,” complete with its own language (as melodious as Klingon) occupies its own space in the overall scheme of Western magic.

A new book on the system, John DeSalvo’s Decoding the Enochian Secrets, lets you see reproductions of Dee’s diaries and tables of “angelic” letters, photographed from the originals in the British Museum.

But as DeSalvo writes, “The angels never explained the use or application of these tables of Enoch that were transmitted to Dee and Kelley. Dee never recorded anything in his diary regarding these tables that could give us any insight into how to use them” (55).

A system  of meditations and invocations in the so-called Enochian language has been practiced over the centuries, and DeSalvo gives some instructions on how to begin with it.