Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 10, Vol. 1, Vernal Equinox 2006
Angelic Invocations

by Alex Sumner

Angels have always played a major part in the religion of western civilization, and it is not surprising therefore that they have also played a large role in the Western Mystery Tradition. In the Christian tradition they are intermediate beings between God and Man, created to do the Divine Will. According to the Bible, as well as the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigraphica, they are:

  • Attendants before God’s throne.
  • Messengers from God to humanity.
  • Personal guardians.
  • Guardians of locations (Genii Loci).
  • Heavenly beings who perform a number of services for mankind: e.g. to protect, comfort and enlighten.

There is a tradition of Good spirits in all the ancient Semitic religions, and it is interesting to note that the Talmud itself says that the names of the Angels were introduced from Babylon.[1] Moreover, the Angels of the Judaeo-Christian tradition appear to share functional similarity with supernatural beings of the ancient Babylonian religion – e.g. as divine messengers and Genii Loci.

The practice of actively seeking out the help of the Angels is at least as old as Christianity itself. In fact, St Paul writing in the first century warned the Colossians about adopting a “religion of Angels”,[2] perhaps referring to works such as the Book of Enoch in which lists of Angels are given much attention. Nevertheless, Paul himself seems to have believed in them, and it was upon his writings that the Fathers of the Church were able to draw up a hierarchy of the Angelic Orders.

We know on the authority of Scripture that there are nine orders of angels, viz., Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Throne, Cherubim and Seraphim. That there are Angels and Archangels nearly every page of the Bible tells us, and the books of the Prophets talk of Cherubim and Seraphim. St. Paul, too, writing to the Ephesians enumerates four orders when he says: 'above all Principality, and Power, and Virtue, and Domination';[3] and again, writing to the Colossians he says: 'whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers'.[4] If we now join these two lists together we have five Orders, and adding Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, we find nine Orders of Angels.[5]
(My annotations)

By the time of Henry Cornelius Agrippa, these nine orders of Angels had been well and truly assimilated into the Western Mystery Tradition. Agrippa assigns the following correspondences between the Angelic orders:[6]
Seraphim The Primum Mobile Kether
Cherubim The starry heaven Chokmah
Thrones The sphere of Saturn Binah
Dominations The sphere of Jupiter Chesed
Powers The sphere of Mars Geburah
Virtues The sphere of the Sun Tiphereth
Principalities The sphere of Venus Netzach
Archangels The sphere of Mercury Hod
Angels The sphere of the Moon Yesod

By the late middle ages and Renaissance periods, one can find a number of grimoires which advocate what seems to be “Angel Magic”. However, caution needs to be exercised, in that some of grimoires which are supposedly about Angels are not dissimilar to grimoires which deal with demons! For example, in the Heptameron of Peter De Abano, the “Prayer to God, to be said in the four parts of the world, in the Circle”[7] is mostly cribbed straight from the First Conjuration of the Goetia of the Lesser Key of Solomon. Or indeed vice versa – but it does indicate that the author of at least one of these books did not make clear distinctions between Angels and Demons.

Other grimoires did manage to make the distinction, whilst still assimilating the cult of the Angels into their paradigm of ceremonial magic. The most famous of these is the Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, in which the central operation is a lengthy invocation of what is known as one’s “Holy Guardian Angel”. The concept of a personal Guardian Angel not actually part of the Christian faith at the time: the Church believed that Angels guarded people only in a general sense. However, belief in personal Guardian Angels was part of the folklore surrounding the Christian faith, and it was accepted as unofficial doctrine, even by the Church fathers. Unsurprisingly, the idea of each person having a personal spirit or tutelary deity can be found in many religions and cultures in the classical world and the near- and middle-east. In Judaism, a guardian angel is known as a Maggid; in Islam, Hafaza (of which each person has four); whilst a belief in the guidance of a Tutelary Spirit is central to Neo-Platonist philosophy.[8]

I thus intend to describe how three different people went about invoking Angels, and noting the similarities and differences in their work and results. In doing so I hope to draw out some of the realities of Angelic Invocation in the magic of the Western Mystery Tradition.

John Dee
John Dee (1527 – 1608) has already been described at length in the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition.[9] Dee is an example par excellence of one who used Ceremonial magic to attempt to contact Angels. As a Bibliophile and the creator of the finest library in Elizabethan England, Dee was almost certain to have been exposed to a great number of texts on magic. We know for certain that he was familiar with Agrippa’s Three Books on Occult Philosophy, for Dee mentions it specifically in his magical records.[10] Dee regularly used the Heptameron of Peter De Abano, which he kept laying next to his copy of Agrippa by the window in his oratory.[11] In addition, it has been pointed out that there are copies of key magical texts preserved in the British Museum, which have marginalia in Dee’s handwriting.[12]

Dee’s acquaintance with yet more grimoires can be inferred from his use of certain phrases within his magical records. For example, in the record of Thursday 15th March 1582, Dee recorded the following conversation with the Archangel Raphael:

I will shew thee, and I will shew you, the Angel of your Direction, which is called OCH.[13]

[Dee’s marginal notes] De OCH vide in libello Arbatel - D

I.e. Dee was obviously familiar with the Olympic Spirits, of which “Och” is the Solar spirit, which are mentioned in the grimoire known as the Arbatel. There are also references in Dee’s records to beings mentioned in the Lesser Key of Solomon, e.g. the Angels Anchor, Anachor and Anilos.[14]

Dee’s Angelic experiments were thus, at the beginning of his magical workings, heavily influenced by well-known, as well as perhaps some not so well know, magical grimoires. Although Dee’s records begin in 1581, I have stated elsewhere that Dee may have been practising angelic magic at least twelve years before that.[15] The only thing Dee said about his unrecorded Angelic workings was that he attempted to invoke Raphael and Michael at various times – there is no record of him attempting anything more ambitious.

From 1582 onwards – i.e. from the time he met Edward Kelly – his practice began to evolve, in that he started making contact with hitherto unheard of supernatural beings, calling themselves Angels. These beings revealed to Dee a whole new method of ceremonial magic, which Dee put into practice and began to make use of from that point on. This system was centred around, firstly, the Sigillum Dei Aemeth, which as a symbol had been previously set out in the Liber Juratus or the Sworne Book of Honorius. However, Dee’s “angels” re-vamped the Sigillum, so that it now featured the names of the new beings that were being revealed to Dee.

As well as the Sigillum, the angels gave Dee the design of a Holy Table, and revealed to him a hierarchy of 49 Angels who were associated with the seven planets of classical astrology – the Tabula Bonorum Angelorum (Table of the Good Angels). These 49 Angels consisted of seven “Kings”, seven “Princes”, and their respective Ministers.

In 1584, Dee’s angels also revealed unto him what has now become the most famous part of his magical workings, the Tablet of Nalvage, Liber Scientiae, the four Watchtowers, the Tablet of Union and the 48 Angelic calls, which is best known to us today as “Enochian Magic”. Although Enochian Magic was made famous (or notorious) by Crowley and the Golden Dawn, the irony of the situation is that Dee is not known to have used the system himself! Dee did however make extensive use of the Tabula Bonorum Angelorum, which may be described as proto-Enochian. He used his Angelic experiments to investigate the nature of the “Kings” and “Princes” in detail, and even to attempt Talismanic magic with the beings derived from the Sigillum Dei Aemeth.[16]

Throughout his Angelic workings, Dee did not see the Angels himself, or indeed any magical phenomena, except on rare occasions. Instead, he relied on others to skry the results of his conjurations in a Crystal ball, or black obsidian mirror-mirror. The people he chose to be his skryers were a colourful bunch, and included Barnabas Saul, whom Dee accused of dabbling in black magic, and most famously, Edward Kelly – who had his ear cropped for forgery. Dee also made use of his infant son Arthur on one occasion, and towards the end of his life, a servant named Bartholemew Hickman. It was whilst working with Kelly that Dee experienced the most productive phase of his Angelic Invocations. However, Kelly’s reputation has led people like Paul Foster Case to criticise Enochian Magic on the basis that real angels would not communicate through such a person.

For an Angelic working, Dee would make use five copies of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth: one to support each of the legs of the Holy Table, and the fifth to place on the table’s surface to bear the crystal ball. Dee wore a lamen and a magic ring, the designs for which were also given to him by the angels. Dee’s approach is thus entirely consistent with that of a ceremonial magician.

The Ceremony itself would consist of Dee praying, in Latin, for God to send visions into the crystal. Dee used various prayers at different points throughout his career, and often made variations in the wording, as he felt appropriate. For example, one prayer which Dee used towards the end of his life was:

Mitte lucem tuam & veritatem tuam Domine, quae nos ducant & perducant ad montem Sanctum tuum, & ad coelestia tua tabernacula.[17]

(“Send your Light and your Truth, oh Lord, which lead us and bring us to your Holy mountain and to your Heavenly tabernacle.”)

Upon the Angel appearing in the crystal, Dee would then give thanks to God. The skryer would then describe what he saw and what he heard, with Dee asking questions and recording the answers. When the session ended, Dee would conclude with another prayer of thanksgiving, e.g. the well known

Gloria Patri et Fillio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

(“Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen”)

We are lucky in that Dee left very many detailed examples of his magical workings, which is remarkable considering that Elias Ashmole thought many more might have been destroyed through ignorance. We are thus able to form a fairly accurate impression of what occurred in each skrying session. Once criticism from a modern point of view is that Dee might be accused of relying too heavily on the efficacy of his own prayers – and the good faith of the skryer – for attracting a benevolent spirit into the crystal. Dee did not, on every occasion, specifically test the spirits thus appearing to find out whether they were the correct ones, or were speaking the truth. On occasions that he did, he sometimes allowed the spirit to get away with avoiding Dee’s interrogations directly. Thus on one occasion he had to rely on the spirits themselves to tell him that another spirit which had previously spoken to him was trying to deceive him.[18]

Furthermore, on several crucial occasions, Dee apparently accepted visions received by Kelly from skrying sessions at which Dee was not present. These included revisions to the material on Enochian magic, and also the infamous Wife-swapping incident. It would appear therefore that Dee did not exercise as much quality control over his Angelic experiments as a modern magician would be expected to do, and his work may have suffered because of it.

As to Dee’s results, we have already seen that the Angels gave him extensive material and guidance on practical magic, of which Dee only made partial use. Dee also attempted to make use of his Angelic experiments for the purposes of practical (i.e. “grey” magic), although he appears to have little or no success in this regard. Generally speaking, there were three main types of result that Dee experienced. Up until August 1584, i.e. before Dee and Kelly relocated to Prague, their results mainly concerned the revelation of a new system of ceremonial magic. However, once they moved to Prague, the Angels stopped revealing new magical information, but rather urged Dee to get involved in European politics, under the guise of giving him messages with a supposed theological slant. The Angels thus persuaded Dee to confront the Emperor Rodolfus, which started a chain of events leading to Dee and Kelly eventually going into exile in Trebone in Bohemia.

Dee was willing to lap up new theological information from the Angels. However more and more the “Angels” gave information that conflicted with Dee’s religion, instead of explaining it. It was thus that Dee was eventually persuaded to enter into a “wife-swapping” arrangement with Kelly, on the grounds that the Angels had given them a dispensation to do so. Some have blamed Kelly being a scoundrel for this, but the truth is more complex than that. For example, when the spirits appearing in the crystal gave the first indication that they were no longer sweet-and-innocent angels, Kelly himself expressed shock and apparently no longer wished to work with them – but Dee urged him to continue.[19] Kelly may still have been manipulating him all the same, but it would appear Dee by that time had developed so much hubris that he couldn’t bear to believe that the “Angels” would be wrong.

After the break-up with Kelly, Dee continued to invoke Angels almost until the end of his life, using different seers. Dee seemed content to use the great Archangels not for visions of cosmic importance, but for answering questions of a rather mundane nature. It would appear that although during his time he achieved great things with Angel magic, Dee allowed a lack of quality control to spoil somewhat his exemplary work.

Emmanuel Swedenborg
Emmanuel Swedenborg was born in 1688 in Stockholm, Sweden. His life is an interesting one when compared with Dee’s. Both men came from a solid academic background: Dee having studied at Cambridge, Swedenborg at the University of Uppsala. Both men were Scientists. Dee was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer and alchemist. Swedenborg was a Metallurgist and minerologist, who later extended his expertise into Anatomy, astronomy, and geography.

In addition, both men were familiar with Hermetic and Neo-Platonic philosophy, and allowed it to colour their scientific researches. Dee, for example wrote several such treatises, such as “Propaedeumata Aphoristica” (1558), “Monas Hieroglyphica” (1564) and his "Mathematicall Preface" to Euclid's Elements of Geometrie” (1570), which exemplify Dee’s interest in Hermeticism, Alchemy, and Pythagorean number mysticism respectively. Swedenborg wrote “The Organisation of the Soul’s Kingdom” (1740) and “The Mineral Kingdom” (1744), in which he applied a neo-Platonic model to what was then known of the sciences of Anatomy and Physics respectively. In doing so, he was able to innovate a number of theories which were confirmed years after his death by later generations, and which in some cases pre-figure even modern research.

However the most important similarity, as far as the topic under discussion is concerned, is that both Swedenborg and Dee sought to commune with Angels, in order to attain insight into Theology. From 1743 onwards, Swedenborg (then aged 51) cultivated his inner psychic faculty, and claimed that Angelic beings were revealing to him truths about the such subjects as the mystical interpretation of both the Old and New Testament, man’s true spiritual nature, the future of the Christian religion, etc. Swedenborg foresaw that in the future there would be a “new Church”, based not on dogma, but on the internal mystical realisation of the Church’s members, and which would be universal enough to include people of all religions within it.

Swedenborg described the importance he attached to his visions thus:

Church people these days know practically nothing about heaven and hell or their life after death, even though there are descriptions of everything available to them in the Word. In fact, many who have been born in the church deny all this. In their hearts they are asking who has ever come back to tell us about it.

To prevent this negative attitude—especially prevalent among people who have acquired a great deal of worldly wisdom—from infecting and corrupting people of simple heart and simple faith, it has been granted me to be with angels and to talk with them person to person.[20]

Swedenborg wrote around forty books based on his Angelic communications, of which just under half he published within his own lifetime. So, what was his technique for communing with Angels? Primarily it appears that Swedenborg’s psychism was based around lucid dreaming. In his first spiritual writings, he relates how he gradually found the resolution to various spiritual problems besetting him by analysing in details the symbolism of his dreams.[21] He described his first entrance into the Spiritual world as a dream-initiation of dying and re-awakening.[22] In 1745 he related that he had a dream vision of being welcomed into the Kingdom of God “by the Messiah Himself”, and communing with various Heavenly personages and “with the dead who have risen again.”[23]

One has to be careful when reading Swedenborg in that he has his own definite ideas about what Angels are. To him, the Soul in its highest aspect is “Angelic”. Therefore, a person who becomes united with this aspect of their Soul is, after death, reborn in the spiritual world as an “Angel”. Moreover, two lovers who in the Earthly life have united with each other at the inmost level of their soul, are united in the Spiritual world and become one Angel.[24]

Therefore, when Swedenborg discourses on the nature of Angels, he is in a way also referring to the Angel-within. He is in fact describing what someone has to look forward to in the Spiritual world if he or she has managed to enter into the deepest and most intimate level of Divine communion.

However, although there are similarities between Dee and Swedenborg, there are important differences as well. Swedenborg managed to win a certain amount of acclaim for his spiritual writings within his lifetime. Although this was mixed with a certain amount of criticism against him for being perceived as a mad visionary, Swedenborg enjoyed enough respect for a healthy number of people to want to earnest discuss theology with him. When two of Swedenborg’s followers were charged with heresy, Swedenborg himself was able to petition the King of Sweden on their behalf – the case against the men was dropped. In short, it appears that Swedenborg was able to escape the “conjurer of devils” tag which blighted Dee’s professional career and forced him into poverty and obscurity.

A second important difference is that Swedenborg’s visions were purely spiritual and theological in nature, and avoided the political tones of Dee’s angelic conversations. So for example, Swedenborg was content to publish his writings and send them to libraries and religious figures of the time: but he avoided confronting the temporal authorities with apparent delusions of his own messiah-ship: which is what caused so much trouble for Dee. Swedenborg was also relatively open about his Angelic communications, whilst Dee was secretive. Although Swedenborg started to publish his spiritual works anonymously, his identity soon became an open-secret, and from 1768 onwards he publically acknowledged his own authorship. Dee never published his angelic workings within his lifetime, although this backfired on him in that his adherence to secrecy meant he could never effectively refute accusations of black magic that circulated.

A third important difference was that Swedenborg managed to exercise a greater degree of quality control over his visions than did Dee. Despite the fact that most orthodox religionists would regard Swedenborg’s teachings as unusual at best, at least one can say that overall he managed to maintain a generally authentic Christian character to them. To paraphrase Clement of Alexandria,[25] Swedenborg’s visions were an example of the Gnosis which proves Faith, not denies it. Contrast this with Dee, whose visions with Edward Kelley led him into being told that Jesus was not Christ, and that wife-swapping was permissible.

In short, by comparing the two lives of Swedenborg and Dee, one might be tempted to speculate that the former was the reincarnation of the latter. If this were so, it would appear that Swedenborg managed to resolve the spiritual issues successfully, which led Dee into error originally.

Frederick Hockley
Frederick Hockley (1808 – 1885) was a prominent Rosicrucian of the 19th Century, who was cited by the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as an inspiration. Hockley was a member of the SRIA, having joined in 1872. However, it appears that he was recognized as a Rosicrucian Adept for his work before entering the Society, as he seems to have been advanced to the grade of VIIº Adeptus Exemptus almost immediately upon joining it (he attained the grade of VIIIº Magister by 1877 at the latest). This recognition was due to the fact that Hockley was an experienced Seer, who had experimented with Magic mirrors and Crystals since the age of 16.

Hockley is an important figure, in that he has left us considerable details of not only his results in Angelic Communication, but also the techniques which he employed. Apart from his own writings on the subject, Hockley also publicly gave evidence to the “London Dialectical Society” on the subject of Skrying, in which he described some of his own experiences. It is clear therefrom that Hockley did not have any superstitious belief in clairvoyance, but derived his confidence in it from the accuracy of his experimental results.

Although he had a large library of magical grimoires, it appears that Hockley did not practice ceremonial magic per se. Indeed, although he was well acquainted with the Almadel of the Lesser Key of Solomon – a work on Angelic Magic – he specifically stated that he never used it. Needless to say he avoided any truck with evil spirits, and on the rare occasions that he encounter them, he banished them speedily. Nevertheless, Hockley’s working practice shows a structured approach, which does at least indicate that he was inspired by ceremonial magic even if he did not directly make use of it.

First of all, it should be noted that Hockley generally worked with a “Speculatrix” – a female seeress. In this Hockley, like Dee, did not gaze into the crystal himself, but relied on someone else to do so whilst he asked the questions and recorded the answers. Unlike Dee, Hockley is not known to have employed the services of a known rogue to do his skrying: instead his speculatrices tended to be chaste young ladies.[26]

According to Hockley, the first task when setting out on a Clairvoyant operation would be to consecrate a new Crystal ball. Hockley preferred balls of pure rock crystal, as did Dee, although he admitted that in the absence thereof, a round-bottomed flask filled with water would suffice. The consecration would consist of invoking a “Guardian Angel” from God to become the Guardian of the Crystal, and to prevent evil spirits from appearing. This approach is almost identical to that of the Ars Paulina, another part of the Lesser Key of Solomon, which also deals with skrying Angels in a Crystal ball.

Hockley, based upon the results of his Angelic experiments, believed that such Guardian Spirits were Archangelic in nature, and thus in the topmost rank of what he saw as a threefold-hierarchy: the other two categories of good spirits being “Heavenly” and “Atmospheric” respectively. He believed that the first session in a Clairvoyant operation should not last longer than half an hour, and consist exclusively of ensuring the Guardian Angel’s co-operation in future skrying sessions. To Hockley, Guardian Spirits were actual angels who protected the skryer from evil entities, watched over his life generally, and finally acted as a Psychopomp in death.

At this juncture, I would like to draw a comparison:

  • In the Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, the first task of the magician is to evoke the Holy Guardian Angel – and detailed instructions are given for the purpose of doing so.
  • In the Ars Paulina, the first task of the magician before attempting to contact any of the other planetary angels via the crystal sphere is to invoke a (the) Guardian Angel.
  • According to Hockley, the first task in a clairvoyant operation is to invoke a Guardian Angel to be Guardian of the crystal ball to be used.

Can it be, perhaps, that the occult world post-Crowley has fundamentally misunderstood the concept of “Guardian Angel”? Crowley believed that “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel”, a phrase he borrowed from the Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, was the quintessential task of Adeptship, and equivalent to making contact with ones own Higher Self. However, by comparing Abramelin to the Ars Paulina and Hockley’s own work, it would appear that this Guardian Angel is not the Higher Self, but a Guardian of the Clairvoyant process. I.e. when Hockley invoked a Guardian Angel to watch over his crystal, he would not have regarded this spirit in the same awe-filled reverence as would Crowley would regard his own Holy Guardian Angel. Hockley did have an Angelic contact whom he regarded as superior to all his other spirit guides, whom he called “the Crowned Angel of the Seventh Sphere.” However, it is clear from his records that Hockley regarded this Crowned Angel as a being apart from the Angel he invoked to watch over his Crystal Ball.

The Crystal having been consecrated with prayers and dedicated to the service of God, Hockley would go about an operation by first invoking Christ three times, so as to summon his spirit guide. Hockley was definitely a Christian magician, despite the fact that his practices probably would not have been approved by any Christian denomination at the time! Hockley was originally a Unitarian Christian, although as a result of his Angelic conversations, he was converted to a Trinitarian viewpoint. Thus, like Swedenborg, most of his skrying operations served to reveal to him an inner mystical interpretation about his Christian faith.

Before starting to skry, Hockley would banish the room of all evil spirits. This he did with a three-fold prayer:

In the name of the Almighty God in whom we live and move and have our being, I dismiss from this room all evil spirits that may be therein!

On purporting to make contact with a particular spirit, he would test its identity, and if unsatisfied he would banish it, with the following:

If thou, spirit, who art now in communication with us, are not really and truly the spirit of A.B. I dismiss thee hence in the name of our Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being.

A session being over, Hockley would discharge all the spirits by making a threefold invocation of Christ and His Angels, followed by a prayer of thanks. It should be noted that Hockley believed that to evoke the lesser spirits and the souls of dead people, it was not necessary to go through as elaborate a procedure as required for Guardian Spirits.

We can thus see the Hockley employed the same sort of structure when communing with spirits as would a modern magician; however he accomplished the same through the use of prayers and invocations, whereas a modern practitioner would use elements of ritual.

As to what he learnt from the Angels, the “Crowned Angel of the Seventh Sphere” taught Hockley much to do with religion, theology, the nature of death, and the inner meaning of the Christian Faith – in much the same was as Swedenborg’s angels taught him. As we have noted, his experiments obviously had a deep impression on him, as they eventually caused Hockley to convert from one Christian denomination to another. Hockley was operating at the time when Spiritualism first became popular. Like Spiritualists, who were much derided in occult circles, he contacted the souls of dead people; and even those alive, but far away! Unlike the Spiritualism, Hockley introduced the sensibilities of ritual magic into his practice so he could avoid the criticisms usually levelled at mediums by occultists.

The lives of the three men mentioned above demonstrate that the practice of invoking Angels is in a state of constant change, reflecting the times through which those invoking them lived. For example, for Frederick Hockley, the fashion of the time was Spiritualism, which in turn had been inspired by the great uncertainty first caused by Darwin’s new theories of evolution. Hence, Hockley fashioned his own form of Spiritualism, but instead of merely contacting the souls of dead people, which admittedly he did do from time to time, he also concentrated on contacting Angelic forces. Hockley’s approach married the structure of ceremonial magic with a scientific attitude to testing the validity of the spirits contacted. Hockley’s work is thus a blue-print for modern Angel-magic, even if modern practitioners would actually use different ritual techniques.

Swedenborg meanwhile lived through the (so-called) “Enlightenment”. Thus for him, seeking Angels to explain the mysteries of his religion was his own way of rediscovering the spiritual side of life in an increasingly materialistic world. Swedenborg’s world was very much after Newton’s work had been accepted, and therefore the intellectual fashion of the time was one of Determinism, based on science, and which ultimately excluded the Spiritual from its world-view. By relying on his psychic faculty to make contact with Angels, Swedenborg was not trying to strive for a form of religion which he felt belonged to the past. Instead he was looking forward towards how Spirituality would develop in the future: religion based on inner mystical revelation, and a faith which although nominally Christian would build bridges with all peoples of all races.

Dee, on the other hand, lived at a time when the ultimate reality of the Christian religion was not seriously questioned. There was thus no particular reason for Dee to prove to himself the validity of his own faith, unlike Swedenborg and Hockley for example. The result of this is that Dee’s Angelic visions have as much to do with mundane matters such as politics and events in his personal life, as they have to do with theology. That Dee thought this was permissible was due to a prevailing world-view that the Spiritual and material were linked together in one harmonious whole: it was thus natural to consult spiritual forces in relation to material matters. The downside of this was that at times Dee treated the Angels not so much as exalted beings, but more like lesser types of spirit guide that could be contacted via the grimoires of ceremonial magic of the time. There may have been a sinister reason for this. At the time, evoking goetic spirits would have been the fastest way to imprisonment, torture or death. Dee however thought that by invoking Angels, who by definition are good entities, he could escape the opprobrium of black magic, even though he tended to make use of Angels almost as one would make use of goetic spirits. It is perhaps for this reason that a lot of grimoires of the time talk a lot about invoking Angels, so as to avoid the censure of the Church and secular authorities.




AGRIPPA, H.C., April 11, 2004-last update, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa: Of Occult Philosophy, Book I. (part 1) [Homepage of Twilit Grotto: Archives of Western Esoterica], [Online]. Available:

DE ABANO, P., June 14, 2004-last update, heptameron [Homepage of Norton's Emperium], [Online]. Available:

DEE, J., 2003. John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery. PETERSON, J.H., ed. Newburyport, MA: Samuel Weiser, Inc.

DEE, J., 1942. True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits. Facsimile edn. CASAUBON, M., ed. Kila, MT: Kessinger Publishings.

GILBERT, R.A., HAMIL, J., eds, 1986. The Rosicrucian Seer: The Magical Writings of Frederick Hockley. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK: Aquarian Press.

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SWEDENBORG, E., 1962. The Spiritual Diary: Records and Notes Made by Emanuel Swedenborg,
B etween 1746 and 1765 from his Experiences in the Spiritual World Swedenborg. BUSH, G., SMITHSON, J.H., BUSS, J.F., trans. Bloombury, London, UK: The Swedenborg Society.

SWEDENBORG, E., 2000-last update, heaven and hell, DOLE, G.F., trans. [Homepage of The New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg], [Online]. Available:

SWEDENBORG, E., February 23 2004-last update, The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love
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1. The Talmud of Jerusalem, Rosh Hashanah, 56

2. Colossians 2:18

3. Ephesians 1:21

4. Colossians 1:16

5. St. Gregory the Great, qtd. in Pope 2006, Online

6. Agrippa 2004, Online. Book 2, chapter ii

7. De Abano 2004, Online p.7

8. Plotinus, 2006, Online. The Third Ennead, Fourth Tractate

9. Sumner 2003, Online

10. Peterson, 2003, p.77 et passim

11. Ibid. p.84n

12. Ibid., p.12

13. “Regarding OCH, see in the book ‘Arbatel.’” Ibid., p.83

14. Ibid. p.66

15. Sumner 2003, Online. See note #14.

16. Dee 1942, p.5

17. Actio Tertia. Ibid., p.41

18. Peterson 2003, p.72.

19.Actio Tertia. Dee 1942, p.5

20. Swedenborg, 2000, Online; from the preface.

21. Swedenborg, 1962

22. Swedenborg, 2000, Online

23. Op. cit. (n.d.)

24. Swedenborg (1768)

25. Born ?, died ca. 215 AD.

26. E.g. the Speculatrix with whom Hockley produced his best results was one Emma Louise Leigh, who lived from 1838 – 1858.