Most would agree with Edward Fenton that “the events
of April and May 1587 form the most sensational part of Dee’s diaries.”
Let’s look at the whole record of what happens April 18, according
to John Dee:
18 Apr. Arthur was set to the Stone, but nothing appeared. E.K.
had brought the powder with him as he was bidden to do. Then I desired
him to apply himself to see as he was wont. And so he did.
E.K.: Here appear all in the Stone that appeared yesterday unto me
in the air in that most disorderly and filthy manner. They are in the
like apparel as yesterday.'
: 0 God confirm
us in thy truth for thine own honour and glory, and suffer us not to
be overcome with any temptation, but deliver us from all evil now and
E.K.: There appeared Madimi, II and the rest: and so they are here.
But now all the rest are gone, and only Madimi remaineth.
Madimi openeth all her apparel, and showeth herself all naked; and showeth
her shame also. Fie on thee, Devil avoid hence with this filthiness,
MADIMI: In the name of God, why find you fault with me?'
your yesterday's doings and words are provocations to sin,and unmeet
for any godly creature to use.
MADIMI: What is sin?
: To break
the commandment of God.
MADIMI: If the self-same God give you a new commandment, taking away
the form of sin which is limited by the law: what remaineth then?
: Then must
the same God be obeyed.
E.K.: She kneeleth, and holdeth up her hands.
MADIMI: Assure yourselves that whatsoever is seen and heard amongst
you is from above, and is a sign and testimony even this day before
you; for I that touched thy sons might also have taken away his breath.
But 0, you are of little understanding. But behold, I teach you: that
unto those that are accounted righteous (through the goodwill of God),
sin is justly punished, but not as unto the wicked. The Apostle Paul
abounded in carnal lust: he was also offensive unto his brethren so
that he despaired, and was ready to have left his vocation, until the
Lord did say unto him: "My mercy and grace sufficeth thee.
Believe me, that we are from above.
Behold, you are become free. Do that which most pleaseth you. For
behold, your own reason riseth up against my wisdom.'
E.K.: I see a white pillar, and upon the pillar I see four heads. She
teeth the pillar round about with a list.
The four heads are like our two heads, and our two wives' heads.
Now there cometh a thing like a white crown of crystal, and standeth
upon all our four heads. The heads seem to be enclosed by the necks
within the pillar.
Now she taketh the pillar and goeth up with it.
Now she bringeth an half moon down, and written in it as followeth:
Nothing is unlawful which is lawful unto God.
Now she goeth round about upon a thing like a carpet; she goeth now
beyond where is an orchard; she cutteth off branches of two trees, and
she seemeth to insert them or graff them into another.
Now she cometh again upon her carpet.'
MADIMI: Behold, if you resist not God, but shut out Satan (through
unity amongst you), thus it is said unto you: ''Assemble yourselves
together every seventh day, that your eyes may be opened, and that you
may understand what the secrets of the holy books (delivered you) are:
that you may become full of understanding, and in knowledge above common
E.K.: Now she is gone.
I was glad that an offer was made of being every seventh day to be
taught the secrets of the books already delivered unto us: thinking
that it was easy for us to perform that unity which was required to
be amongst us four; understanding all after the Christian and godly
sense. But E.K., who had yesterday seen and heard another meaning of
this unity required, utterly abhorred to have any dealing with them
farther, and did intend to accept at their hands the liberty of leaving
off to deal with them any more: which his understanding, as it was strange
and unpleasant unto me, so I earnestly requested to be resolved therein
in manner as followeth.
At the same time and in the same place this ensued.
Note. Upon Mr Kelly his great doubt bred unto me of Madimi her words
yesterday spoken to him, that we two had our two wives in such sort
as we might use them in common, it was agreed by us to move the question
whether the sense were of carnal use (contrary to the law of the commandment)
or of spiritual love and charitable care and unity of minds, for the
service of God advancing.
E.K.: Upon a scroll, like the edge of a carpet, is written: I speak
: The one
is expressly against the commandment of God: neither can I by any means
consent to like of that doctrine. And for my help in that verity, I
do call down the power of the Almighty God, the creator of heaven and
earth, and all the good angels. Assist me, 0 Christ. Assist me, 0 Jesu.
Assist me, 0 Holy Spirit.'
E.K.: 'It appeareth written upon a white crucifix, as followeth:
If I told a man to go and strangle his brother, and he did not do
it, he would be the son of sin and death. For all things are possible
and permitted to the godly. Nor are sexual organs more hateful to them
than the faces of every mortal. Thus it will be: the illegitimate will
bejoined with the true son. And the east will be united with the west,
and the south with the north.
Now it is vanished away.'
Actionis Tertia: finis.
Hereupon we were in great amazement and grief of mind, that so hard
and (as it yet seemed unto me) so unpure a doctrine was propounded and
enjoined unto us of them whom I always (from the beginning hitherto)
did judge and esteem undoubtedly to be good angels: and had unto E.K.
offered my soul as a pawn, to discharge E.K. his crediting of them,
as the good and faithful ministers of Almighty God. But now my heart
was sore afflicted upon many causes: and E.K. had (as he thought) now
a just and sufficient cause to forsake dealing with them any more, as
his prayer to God of a long time hath been (as in the former part of
this Action may appear).
After our going out of the chapel, and at our being at dinner, when
we four (whose heads so were united, in a pillar showed, as is before
set down), I found means to make some little declaration of our great
grief (mine chiefly) now occasioned, either to try us, or really to
be execured, in the common and indifferent using of matrimonial acts
amongst any couple of us four: which thing was strange to the women:
and they hoped of somemore comfortable issue of the cause. And so we
After dinner, as E.K. was alone, there appeared unto him little creatures
of a cubit high: and they came to the still where he had the spirit
of wine distilling over out of a retort. And one of them (whose name
they expressed Ben) said that it was in vain so to hope for the best
spirit of the wine, and showed him how to distil it and separate it
better, and moreover how to get oil of the spirit of wine as it burned
in the lamps: and began to ask E.K. what countryman he was. And when
he had answered “an Englishman”, he asked then how he came
hither. He answered “by sea”.
Then said he: And who helped you to pass the marvellous great dangers
of the sea? And so took occasion to speak of the benefits which God
had hitherto done for us, very many. And this Ben said then among very
many other things (as Mr E.K. told me on Saturday night after supper,
holding on his talk almost till 2 of the clock after midnight) that
he it was that delivered him, or gave unto his hands the powder. And
also he said either then, or the next day at the furthest, that unleast
he would be conformable to the will of God in this last Action declared,
that he would take the virtue and force of the powder from it, that
it should be unprofitable, and that he should become a beggar.
And of me also he said that I did evil to require proof or testimony
now that this last Action was from God Almighty, and said that I should
be led prisoner to Rome, &c. He told of England, and said that about
July or November her Majesty should from heaven be destroyed; and that
about the same time the King of Spain should die. And that this present
Pope at his mass should be deprived of life before two years to an end.
And that another should be Pope, who should be Decimus quintus of his
name, and that he would begin to reform things, but that shortly he
should of the cardinals be stoned to death. And that after that there
should be no pope for some years. Of England he said that after the
death of our dear Queen, one of the house of Austria made mighty by
the King of Spain his death, should invade and conquer the land, &c.
He said, one (now abroad) should at Milford Haven enter, and by the
help of the Britons subdue the said conqueror, and that one Morgan a
Briton should be made King of the Britons, and next him, one Rowland,
He said also that this Francis Garland was an espy upon us from the
Lord Treasurer of England, and that Edward Garland is not his brother:
and that so the matter is agreed between them, &c. He said that
shortly this Francis Garland should go into England, and that we should
be sent for, but that it were best to refuse their calling us home.
After all these and many other things told me by the same Mr E.K.,
about 2 of the clock after midnight, we departed each to his bed, where
I found my wife awake, attending to hear some new matter of me from
Mr Kelly his reports of the apparitions continued with him above four
hours, being else alone. I then told her, and said: Jane, I see that
there is no other remedy, but as hath been said of our cross-matching,
so it must needs be done. Thereupon she fell a-weeping and trembling
for a quarter of an hour, and I pacified her as well as I could: and
so, in the fear of God, and in believing of his admonishment, did persuade
her, that she showed herself prettily resolved to be content for God
his sake and his secret purposes, to obey the admonishment. At length
that same night in bed she yielded to do the commanded doctrine, and
requested that we might all have our lodgings in one chamber, that I
might not be far from her. I trust, said she, though I give myself thus
to be used, that God will turn me into a stone before he would suffer
me, in my obedience, to
receive any shame, or inconvenience.