Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 15, Vol. 2. Autumnal Equinox 2008
Angels in the DNA:
by Vincent Bridges
Language, the instrument of the spirit, has a life of its own - even though it is only a reflection of the universal Idea. - Fulcanelli, Le Mystere des cathedrals
In that article, I examined two attempts to reconstruct this dragon's speech, this green language of light's syntax, grammar and vocabulary: that of the ancient Chinese I Ching and the more modern Tarot symbolism, based in part on the Renaissance understanding of the Christian Kabbalah. As I noted in the article, the I Ching provides us with an alphabet and a way to spell out meaningful "words," the 64 codons, but it fails to provide a grammar and syntax that would allow us to use these "words" in sentences and metaphors, in other words, to turn the images into a discrete form of communication. The Tree of Life, of the Kabbalah and the Tarot, is also a way to organize the information of the DNA. We can see these two great information theories as emblematic of the eastern and western approaches: The Ladder-like approach of the Tree of Life complements the structural elements of the I Ching, and, by comparing these approaches to the architecture and processes of DNA, we can assemble a complex of photo-linguistic meanings that brings us closer to the ultimate goal of reading the divine language.
However, even the most in-depth explication of these comparisons fails to conclusively make the case for an innate connection between the DNA’s language of light and the nature of language itself. For that, one would need a very unique kind of experimental situation: one in which a small group with shamanic abilities actually “projected” a language from the spirit realms. Fortunately, history provides us just such a situation: the Angelic communications of John Dee and Edward Kelley.
John Dee was born in 1527 and his formative years were colored by the religious turmoil brought on by the Reformation. Dee's family, through which he would later claim distant kinship with Queen Elizabeth, arrived in London in the wake of Henry Tudor's coronation as Henry VII. His father was a gentlemen's gentleman for Henry VIII, and John Dee's character was molded in a climate of religious protest and reaction. By the time he went up to Cambridge at fifteen, he was searching for a resolution to the problem of religious authority, seeking a type of spiritual science that could supply insight into the workings of nature by infusing the natural world with mystical meaning.
After studying at Cambridge and Louvain, Dee achieved the status of Renaissance celebrity in 1550 with a lecture on mathematics and the spiritual aspect of number at the University of Paris. During the reign of Edward VI, Dee became involved in the political maneuverings around the throne and by the summer of 1555 found himself in prison on an unspecified ecclesiastical charge. Catholic Mary, "Bloody Mary," had succeeded the young Edward and times were tough for Protestant mathematicians and magicians, especially for those known to have cast horoscopes of the Queen. Dee spent three months in prison. His cellmate went to the stake, as did over six hundred others, for witchcraft and heresy.
Dee survived his trial and lived to joke about it with his new patron, Queen Elizabeth I, who was also accused in the plot. Soon after her coronation, he was proclaimed the Royal Astrologer and given, specifically, freedom from ecclesiastical harassment. Dee settled in at his mother’s home, Mortlake, which would eventually house the largest library of its time in all of Europe. Only the great national collections of the next century surpassed it. In the early 1580's Dee listed over four thousand volumes, three thousand printed books and over one thousand in manuscript. The libraries of Oxford and Cambridge together numbered less than a quarter of that total. Mortlake acted as the Elizabethan equivalent of a university research center, and it was said that the library contained the whole of Renaissance thought.
At the end of 1562, Dee departed on an expedition to the continent proposed by Lord Burleigh, Queen Elizabeth's chief minister, and Sir Francis Walsingham, the head of Elizabeth's intelligence service. The exact reason for this intelligence-gathering venture remains unknown, but in a previous article, my co-author and I speculated that Dee discovered during his travels several critically important manuscripts; texts that would shape the rest of his life and revive, through the resulting Rosicrucian movement, the esoteric traditions of the west. One of those texts was the Steganographica of Trithemius, the Abbot of Sponheim. He spent ten days copying a manuscript of this work and crowed to Lord Burleigh about its value. The Steganographica appears to be a textbook on codes and ciphers, all very valuable to spies and intelligence networks, but is really a hermetic text on angelic communication. Designed so that the codes and ciphers described in the first section of the book must be used to read the second section on angelic magick, Trithemius' masterpiece works like our modern interactive games. The reader has absorbed the mind-set or worldview of the book by the time the important information is reached.
In the winter of 1564, after almost a year of traveling and book buying, Dee wrote the Monas Hieroglyphica in one long twelve-day explosion of insight. In spite of its intentional obscurity, the Monas Hieroglyphica became the Renaissance equivalent of a best seller and attracted comment from the best minds of the next century and a half. Dee had many agendas for his trip to the continent, from espionage to book buying and publishing his own works, but after his discovery of Trithemius, his focus seems to have shifted. Dr. John Dee, secret agent and scholar, embarked on his search for the secret knowledge. The Monas is proof enough that he found it, but we are left wondering just what was the spark that kindled Dee’s flash of intuitive knowledge? In the article cited above, we speculated that it was the nascent grasp of higher dimensional geometry found in the seals of Anael in the Consecrated Little Book of Black Venus:
In a few months, this growing awareness would result in the Hieroglyphic Monad, and a few decades after, in the corpus of the Enochian material. All of these works hinge upon an understanding of sacred geometry, taken to an extraordinary level of insight. Dee gained that insight through an understanding of, and perhaps an interaction with, the structure of the Black Venus ritual. By visualizing the complex concept of a cube within a cube, that also unfolds into six cubes attached to the faces of a seventh cube, Dee had stumbled onto the key concept of the mathematical 4th dimension.
After 1564, Dee published only mathematical and scientific works. His edition of Euclid, with the "Mathematical Preface," appeared in 1570, and in 1577 his "Perfect Arte of Navigation" was published. Virtually nothing else appeared in print in his lifetime. From 1563 on, Dee had the tools and the basic understanding to embark on an exploration of angelic communication, the idea that had led him to copy Trithemius with such excitement, but he lacked the enthusiasm. The logic of turning to supernatural forces for knowledge about the universe seems strange to our modern scientific sensibilities. This is a category of experience that "science" has labeled subjective and therefore suspect. To Dee's contemporaries it seemed less unusual. The possibility of acquiring knowledge by revelation or inspiration was a vital component of the Renaissance paradigm. In the "Mathematical Preface" to his edition of Euclid, Dee asserts that man "participates with Spirits, and Angels: and is made to the Image and Similitude of God." He also notes that there are powerful precedents for angelic communication, the traditions of Enoch and Esdras, Abraham and Elijah and Moses, and "sundry others thy good angels were sent (to) by thy disposition, to Instruct them."
During the spring of 1581, John Dee had his enthusiasm reawakened by a close encounter with just such an angel. He was praying in the chapel of his Mortlake home when a sharp rapping sound drew him to the curtained windows. Throwing aside the drapes, John Dee came face to face with a shining being floating a full 12 feet off the ground. The being gestured for Dee to open the window, and when he did, the shining figure handed him a smoky quartz egg. Dee took the egg, and the figure vanished.
It is easy, from a modern perspective, to dismiss this incident as a superstitious legend, but the crystal still exists, on display in the Manuscript Room of the British Museum. Dr. Dee kept careful records and made notes almost obsessively. We have notes on the construction of his other scrying glasses, as these types of crystals were known, but nothing, except the above incident, about the smoky quartz egg. Even Dee's first biographer, Meric Causabon, who was anything but sympathetic, simply reports the origin of the crystal without comment.
John Dee's encounter with the angel was the defining moment in his life. As if he had been waiting for just such a sign, some token of divine favor perhaps, Dee launched into a search for a way to use the quartz egg as a means of communication with the shining angelic beings. His first serious attempt, on December 22, 1581, involved a man by the curious name of Barnabus Saul, one of Dee's servants, who acted as a medium or seer. Apparently, he was a better footman than a medium, for after a few sessions we hear no more about him.
By March 1582, however, Dee's seer had located him.
So begins Dee's notes of his first scrying session with his new seer, Edward "Talbot" Kelly. At first, Dee was suspicious of the young man, and rightly so. He appeared virtually unannounced, offering a fake name -- he might have been a spy seeking information on Dee's spirit conjurations -- and even when identified proved to have an unsavory reputation. Dee soon resolved his doubts however; and so, on an early spring morning roughly a year after Dee's angelic visitation, they sat down to a trial run with the scrying stone. It is hard not to be impressed by the vivid quality of the quickly written notes of the proceedings. Kelly fell to his knees before Dee's desk and began to pray over the stone; surprised, Dee took Kelly and the stone into his chapel, or oratory.
Within a quarter of an hour, Kelly began to see an angelic shape in the
crystal. This being identified itself as the Archangel Uriel, accompanied
by Raphael and Michael. Dee was hooked by this immediate success; and
so began a long strange relationship between these two men and the angels.
For the next seven years, they conducted almost daily sessions. Dee of
course wrote everything down in his "Spiritual Diaries," and
reading them becomes after a while an exercise in applied surrealism.
As an example of a dialogue with the deep unconscious Other, they are
The Sigil of Truth also functioned as a geometric foundation on which
the rest of the angelic system grew. Around the outer edge of the Sigil
is a series of letters and numbers. From these, the angels derived a series
of great elemental names, which were said to describe the forces ruling
each elemental tablet. The names of the angelic beings within the heptagon/heptagram
were transmitted in the form of letters arranged in squares. These squares
were then read in different directions to produce even more angelic names.
This gives the impression of a vast fractal universe in which the nature
of the intelligence consulted depends on the angle of symmetry of your
The alphabet appeared first; twenty-one special characters each with its own title. The titles are odd, with little relationship between title and the phonetic value of the character. Dee and Kelly were instructed to draw the characters they saw in an eight by eight square held up by the angel Ave. A faint yellow outline of an alphabetic character appeared on the page in front of Dee, which he then filled in with ink. The characters were somewhat similar to several magickal scripts, including that described by Pantheus in his Voarchadumia, but more refined. They are also vaguely reminiscent of Ethiopian characters.
The titles of the twenty-one letters emerged in three groups of seven; twenty characters spell seven titles in the first group, twenty-one in the second and twenty-three in the third, for a total of 64 characters. Since each letter is asymmetrical, the complete group of twenty-one forms three variations on the seven-fold symmetry set. Only eighteen letters are used to spell out the titles of the letters; the three left out letters, B, Q, and Z, one from each of the three symmetry groups, are the “mother” letters used to mark the three directions of space. The missing or hidden 22nd letter, corresponding to the Greek Theta, is the invisible center point of the cube, formed as in the Hebrew language. These characters or letters were then used to dictate the first texts in the angelic language.
On Good Friday, March 29, 1582, the angels began with a slow deliberate method -- the angel spelled each word, letter by letter, and then Dee wrote out the English and read it back -- to fill in a large 49 x 49 square, where each square was a word and each line a text. After two lines of text, Dee expressed a desire for a simpler method. Annoyed at the request, the angel departed. By the following Tuesday, when the session reconvened, the angels were prepared with a completed square from which Kelly could read off the text. Kelly however had not memorized the letters given the previous week.
Annoyed again, the angel intervened.
The answer seems to be yes to both. The tables shown to Kelley by the angels resemble the vast literary mandalas of Tibet, and like them are full of phonetic patterning, repetition, rhyme and alliteration. This type of verbal patterning is not found in normal speech, but is characteristic of poetry and magickal charms as well as "speaking in tongues," or glossolalia, that is language produced under trance conditions.
There is no question that Kelly was in some kind of trance during these sessions. Dee notes many occasions indicative of a deep trance state on Kelly's part. However, this does not mean that the "language" produced in these sessions was meaningless gibberish. The phonetic patterning is also similar to verb tense and other grammatical drills. Perhaps Kelly was constructing, in a trance state, the linguistic links his unconscious needed in order to receive a more complete form of the angelic language, one that developed from these original text-filled squares.
The squares of the Liber Logaeth, or the "Book of the Speech from God" as Kelly called the great book of his vision, did indeed form the basis of a new series of 49 invocations or Calls dictated in the spring of 1584, while Dee and Kelly were in Cracow, Poland. Unfortunately, the details of how this version of the Enochian language developed from the squares is very unclear. All we can be sure of is that it was generated somehow out of the previous tables and squares, and this time a translation was provided right from the start. With these translations, we begin to find a real language emerging. The Keys or Calls contain the purest example of the Ophanic Language that we have, and they provide a literary structure, the grammar and syntax of a real language. These are similar to English, perhaps because of Kelly's unconscious linguistic processes, but vocabulary elements, roots and prefixes and case endings, are not directly derivable from English, Greek, Latin or Hebrew. Some words suggest Sanskrit and ancient Egyptian roots, languages completely unknown to either Dee or Kelly.
The sessions continued until 1589, when Dee returned to England. They produced a vast quantity of material, including the Elemental Tablets ruled by the Great Kings named on the rim of the Sigil of Truth. Kelly remained in Europe and died in 1595 while trying to make his escape after a failed alchemical career. Dee survived until 1608.
And that, in a somewhat abbreviated form, is the story of our experiential situation. Dee and Kelley tapped into something deep within the structure of Mind, “the Speech of God” indeed, and perhaps even the original language matrix. In their work with the angels, we see an almost perfect example of “language” extruding itself into consciousness. The uniqueness of the experiment can be found in its growth and progression from an alphabetic matrix, through a transitional period of fractal-like chaos until finally resolving into a formal language in which complex ideas can be expressed. All of which makes it the best test case possible for our thesis.
At the beginning of the angelic sessions, Dee and Kelley received information on how to produce a seal of “truth” based on the idea of organization by means of seven-fold symmetry. This symmetry organization continued into the alphabetic grid, with it’s grouping of the letter titles, producing an eight by eight, 64 square, grid and a 21/22 letter/title pattern within it. This approach combines both the component “codons’ or alphabetic packets, the 64 codons, of three nucleotide units each, used by DNA and RNA to specify the amino acids needed for protein synthesis, as well as the ladder-like phrasing of the letter/titles, which correspond to the 20 amino acids and the two punctuation marks formed by t-RNA. As these are formed of words made of base pairs, we might think of them as possible sentence structures, or varieties of syntax, that allow for the "metaphor" of a physical body to be "written" or constructed. Like the Kabbalah/Tarot, the Ophanic language has the same possibility of syntax and grammar, one that matches innately with the structure of RNA/DNA.
Ophanic also exhibits a triplet-like three-fold quality with its three groups of seven letter/titles, which functions like the triplet code at the heart of transfer RNA, which creates proteins according to the DNA's blueprint. As we saw in the earlier analysis of the I Ching, each ordering of trigrams/triplets can be used to generate a sequence of the 64 hexagrams/codons, which describes the changes, or relationships, within that level of reality. Thus, the linear or binary sequence describes the diversity of life produced through the action of tRNA, the celestial sequence describes the quality of time as the evolution of the results of action, what the Hindus call karma, and the temporal sequence describes the unfolding of the life force, the Chi, through the year and the landscape. By referring to all three, a total picture of reality emerges.
One can read the Ophanic alphabetic matrix in the same way: three different organizational patterns with the addition of a fourth to include all corners of the grid. This results in a 4 by 4, or 16 different symmetry sets or patterns. Each pattern, or way of reading the letter titles, produces 32 different sub-domains, that is eight "names" or frequency signatures in each of the four directions. This gives us a grand total of 512, or eight cubed, individual symmetry set domains.
The 16-cell 4D figure, a 4D octahedron, or a pyramid within a pyramid, has the same relationship to the hyper-cube as a 3D octahedron has to a cube. Just as the vertices of the octahedron form the faces of the cube, so do the vertices of the 16-cell hyper-octahedron form the cells of the hyper-cube. Each of the basic sixteen symmetry patterns of the 64 square Ophanic alphabetic structure forms a cell of the 4D octahedron. The eight patterns formed on the horizontal or the vertical are the eight surface faces that show in a 3D octahedron. The eight diagonal patterns form the inside cells of the 4D octahedron. Within each cell, the 32 sub-domains form the faces of the 4D figure; the 16 directions and the eight categories of sub-domain form the 24 edges of the 16-cell figure. The eight vertices are formed by the same ranking as the categories of sub-domain, that is either eight across, eight down, eight names with one to eight letters, etc.
If we think of the three I Ching sequences as being biological/linear, temporal/karmic and local/chi flow, then the additions of a fourth ordering pattern takes us to a new level, one that be seen as that of the DNA intelligence/communication, or basically that of a higher dimensional quality. The Ophanic alphabetic grid takes the I Ching’s realization of a gnomic or geometric view of the universe's expansion from first cause to the reality event horizon symbolized by the 64 hexagrams, into new territory, 4D space.
In a very basic and direct way, Ophanic positively answers our original question: Does the experiential situation conclusively make the case for an innate connection between the DNA’s language of light and the nature of language itself? It seems that there really is a very sophisticated meme for transformation and gnosis that runs through all religions and spiritual traditions, all sacred languages, and the source of that meme can be found in the form of weak laser pulses from our DNA. Could the pattern itself, represented by the yin/yang polarity of the 64 hexagrams/codons and the syntax of the 22 amino acids, reveal the ultimate secrets of life, time and fate?
It indeed is possible to think of the Ophanic 4D octahedron alphabetic grid as a seed containing all possible DNA derived probability waves; in other words, a model of the literal matrix of creation.
Bridges, V 2003, "Reading the Green Language of Light", Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, vol. 1, no. 4. Available: Available: http://jwmt.org/v1n4/readlight.html.
Bridges, V and Burns, T 2007, "Olympic Spirits, the Cult of the Dark Goddess, & the Seal of Ameth" in The Consecrated Little Book of Black Venus attributed to John Dee, ed. Burns, T. and Turner, N., Waning Moon Publications, Ltd., Cold Springs, N.Y. Earlier version available: http://jwmt.org/v2n13/book.html.
Crowley, A. Originally a two part article in Equinox I;7, and I;8 by By Fr.: A.'. A.'. [Sol in Gemini, An. 88], Liber LXXXIV vel Chanokh: A Brief bstract of the Symbolic Representation of the Universe Derived by Doctor John Dee through the Skrying of Sir Edward Kelley. Available: Available: http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/liber084.pdf.
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Crowley, A, Regardie, I 1988, Gems From the Equinox: Instructions by Aleister Crowley for his own Magical order, New Falcon Publications, Scottsdale, AZ.
Dee, J 1570. Intro. to The Elements of Geometrie of the Most Ancient Philosopher Euclide of Megara, J. Billingsley, trans. London: John Daye. Available: available: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/22062.
Dee, J, Peterson, JH 2003, John Dee's Five Books of Mystery: Original Sourcebook of Enochian magic : from the collected works known as Mysteriorum libri quinque, Weiser Books, Boston, MA.
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Hulse, DA 1994, The Key of It All: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Sacred Languages & Magickal Systems of the World, 1st edn, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.
Trithemius, J, Browne, D 1685, Cryptomenysis patefacta:, or, The art of secret information disclosed without a key. : Containing, plain and demonstrative rules, for decyphering all manner of secret writing with exact methods, for resolving secret intimations by signs or gestures, or in speech. : As also an inquiry into the secret ways of conveying written messages, and the several mysterious proposals for secret information, mentioned by Trithemius, &c. Printed for Daniel Brown, at the black Swan and Bible, without Temple-Bar, London.
Regardie, I1984, The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, 1st edn, Falcon Press, Phoenix, AZ.
Regardie, I, Monnastre, C, Weschcke, CL 1989, The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic: The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites, and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Stella Matutina), 6th ed., Rev. and enl. / complete index compiled by David Godwin edn, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.
Walter, KM 1996, Tao of Chaos: Merging East and West, Element, Shaftesbury, Dorset England] ; Rockport, MA.
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Woolley, B 2001, The Queen's Conjurer: The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee, Adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, 1st edn, Henry Holt, NY.
Yan, JF 1991, DNA and the I Ching: The Tao of Life, North Alantic Books, Berkeley, CA.
Zalewski, P 1990, Golden Dawn Enochian Magic, 1st. Llewellyn edn, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.
 Crick defined the codon as “a group of bases that code for one amino acid. In simple codes a codon is a fixed number of consecutive bases, e.g., in a ‘triplet’ code it is three consecutive bases, but it is possible to conceive codes in which, for example, some codons consist of two bases and others of three. Again it is not certain that the bases making up a codon are adjacent on the polynucleotide chain.” For more on the molecular structure of nucleic acids, see Watson & Crick, especially the Double Helix 50th anniversary collection. For recent comparisons between the I-Ching and DNA, see Yan or Walter.
 For a more detailed analysis of this process, see Crowley Liber LXXXIV vel chanokh. available: http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/liber084.pdf. For a modern transcription of Dee’s original notes, see Peterson.
 Unfortunately only few since Crowley have attempted to map out the sacred geometry in any comprehensive way, and much of the mathematics used to describe symmetry angles did not exists in Crowley’s time. Since understanding the subject at all requires, for most, other initiatory knowledge in sacred languages such as Hebrew, see the building blocks presented by Regardie and others in the bibliography. Also note Crowley’s discussion of the I Ching in Liber trigrammaton: Sub figura XXVII; available on-line http://lib.oto-usa.org/libri/liber0027.html.