Enochian Magic - its position in classical angel-magic
Not much is handed down about the pre-christian, antique and prehistorical forms of magic that could enlighten us how the actual practice in those times would have looked like. The earliest resources on magic were found in the Near East, within the sumeric and babylonic cuneiform writings and the hieroglyphic texts of the middle-egyptian period. The term "magician" was derived from the persian term naming a tribe that was being persecuted and wiped out by the Persians. The knowledge of the Magi was preserved by the persian scholars. Antique forms of practical magic are preserved in some tractates and amuletts. In traditional ceremonial magic it is a myth that the king Solomon of the hebrews was one of the greatest magicians of his time. Many texts and magical tractates are being ascribed to his authorship. Today it is quite certain that Solomon is not the actual author of these grimoires. The mythological ascribtion however gives valuable hints that the solomonic angel-magic has indeed quite ancient roots.
So an analysis of the 72 daemons of the Goetia reveals that some ancient gods and beings appear among them. As the 29th spirit there appears Astaroth whose name can easily traced back to Astarte. The same can be done with Bel-ial and Bel. The term magical knowledge includes the ancient astrology and alchemy, as well as geomancy. Because I am not exactly a friend of modern astrology and there are plenty of excellent books and foliants on theoretical and practical alchemy already available I concentrated on the enochian angel-magic here on my website. To understand and to get a clear picture of its practice and scope it is important to have a closer look to its position in traditional angel-magic, as it is being handed down to us in modern times.
The oldest manuscripts preserved were compiled some time between the eleventh and thirteenth century. The oldest manuscript I know is the Liber Juratus. Its history is connected with decrees from the church, regarding magicians and angel-magic. In the year 1230, when the crusades were en vogue, Pope Gregor gave orders to the domini-canes to deal with heretical activities, which he considered a serious threat to the established dogma and the catholic church. So the inquisition was born and the stakes could be enflamed much more easily. It was a dark time for magicians, witches and all those that had other ideas then the curch allowed them to have. Magic and alchemy was banned from the universities and any form of non-sanctioned magical practice was damned and demonised. This led the most important magicians to the conclusion that their knowledge have to be preserved somehow and thus they came together in Napoli. As it is written in the Liber Juratus they travelled from all known regions of the Occident to the gathering. How many really gathered there is unknown. One manuscript mentiones 811 magicians, though the number 811 is an encryption of the greece god IAO (I = 1, A = 1, O = 800). The number varies. Another copy is mentioning 89 magicians that met in Napoli.
It is quite a certain assumption that the Liber Juratus existed well before 1249, when William of Auvergne died, who mentioned it in his "De Legibus" twice. On this gathering three copies of the Liber Juratus were compiled. It contents the evocations, prayers and practical instructions how to get a vision of god and to look into his very face. This instructions are unique in traditional angel-magic and also one of the main reasons of its classification as heretic. Another quite important reason was the fact, that the authors attacked the decadency of the pope in open and direct words in the introduction of this grimoire. Those three copies should have been handed down from master to pupil, when the master is laying down dying on his death-bed. A vow has to be taken from the pupil to do the same when his time has come. Without successor the copy has to be sealed and buried to avoid that it was falling into wrong or unworthy hands. Because this book is handed down to us we can asume that this tradition was working quite well for a time. The next magician of importance was John Dee that possessed a copy of it: Sloane 313 in latin language. In enochian magic the Sigillum Dei Æmeth has a certain role in its practice, which has its predecessor in the Liber Juratus where you can find a more primitive form of it. The angels corrected and improved it to the form we know today. Another quite interesting relation to enochian angel-magic is the number of 92 gouvernours in the Æthyrs and the 92 chapters of this Liber Juratus. The ritual of seeing into gods face lasts for 28 days, the number of the houses of the moon.
The enochian angels seemed quite familiar with the volumes and books of ceremonial magic that were known at the end of the 16th century - maybe because of Kelleys personality. Beside the Sigillum Dei Æmeth Agrippa's Occult Philosophy was used more then once to generate names of angels. It is quite difficult today to determine the quality of Edward Kelley as medium and to decide, how much of the informations he "has seen" to impress Dee and how much of it is authentic angelic in nature. You should keep in mind that a being that transmitts informations through a medium can actually use only the language that the medium knows. Thus a kind of filter is between the actual information and the one being written down or told by the medium. Enochian magic is partially embedded in the classical angel-magic, either because Kelley made it possible through his studies and materials he had at hand or because many parts of the traditional angel-magic were already channeled or revealed by angels much earlier. Be that as it will - John Dee used elements of the classical angel-magic in the enochian system.
It is not known whether the authors of the Liber Juratus invented the early Sigillum Æmeth or received it from angels or from much earlier resources. Much of the enochian materials were transmitted in Krakau. Geoffrey James has the opinion that Kelley had access to gnostic texts there, because there are some similar lines of thoughts found in the enochian transmissions. The name of the gnostic demiurge is Ialdabaoth - and the enochian angel of honesty is named Iad Baltoh. Further parallels you can find in the Pistis Sophia and the book on the great Logos. Much more interesting is a parallel with a female deity, found in the Nag Hammadi texts that were discovered in 1945. The speech of the Dowghter of Fortitude is in some passages quite similar to the "Thunder, Perfect Mind". I myself favor the idea that Kelley had really contact with those beings and angels and consider it impossible that he could find this material in Krakau.
Practical angel-magic was always a matter to the highest scholars and nobles. There is one interesting synchronicity around: many magicians involved into angelic evocations had some connections to Worcester in Worcestershire. This strange connection was revealed by Skinner & Rankine in their description of the traditional lines of angel-magic in England. John Dee hid his diaries and results in a false bottom of a chest, which was obtained by John Woodall in 1608, after John Dee died. Woodall was a paracelsic surgeon, who worked in various hospitals and was a friend of Elias Ashmole. He and the next three owners of the chest did not have any idea of the contents of this secret drawer in the chest. After Woodall's death his sun, Thomas Woodall, inherited the chest. He sold it to a "joiner" in the Adle-Street, where it was bought by Robert Jones in the year when Thomas Woodall died. Two decades after Jones acquired the chest, he and his wife found the secret drawer, but could not estimate the value of the books they found in it. They used much of it to start fires or other even less constructive activities. After some time they decided to keep the rest of the materials, however. In the year 1665 Robert Jones died and one year later the chest was destroyed in the great fire in London. However, the books were safed. Some years later his widow married Thomas Wale, who paid more attention to the manuscripts and sold them to Elias Ashmole. Ashmole immediately began to copy this valuable manuscripts. So the books "Libri Mysteriorum I - V", "The 48 Claves Angelicae", "Liber Scientiae, Auxilii & Victoriae Terrestris", "De Heptarchia Mystica" and "A Book of Invocationes or Calls" are preserved and handed down to us today. Thomas Rudd authored another quite elaborate copy of the last mentioned book, which he expanded and elaborated. Maybe he copied it between 1605 and 1608 and expanded it later on. John Dee's library was acquired by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton after Dee's death. The magical tools of John Dee you can see today in the British Museum were among them, too. Meric Casaubon used Cotton's collection as resource for his publication of a part of Dee's diaries in his work "A True and Faithfull Relationship of what passed for many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits" which he published in London, 1659.
The conjurations that were copied and expanded by Dr. Rudd in Sloane 3821 later appeared in the possessions of a baron Somers of Evesham, who handed it over to the husband of his second daughter, Sir Joseph Jekyll. Hans Sloane acquired it among other magical manuscripts and at his death in the year 1753 the manuscripts were archived in the British Library. Sloane did not acquired all manuscripts of enochian magic, because in the 19th century Frederick Bolay (1808 - 1885) posessed Rudd's eighteen enochian calls and used them in his practice. His results and sessions he documented in thirty volumes. Hockley handed the keys over to Kenneth Mackenzie, who was a member of the Freemasons and of the SRIA. Mackenzie was a closer frient of William Alexander Ayton, an early member of the Golden Dawn. Some time both magicians discovered the Sloane 307 and copied a little part from it, that was later named as "Liber H", that was used by many members of the Golden Dawn. The Heptarchia Mystica was not mentioned in it and thus nowadays many magicians only know a small part of the complete enochian system of angel-magic: The part that was elaborated and published by the Golden Dawn and its successors.
In the 20th century Aleister Crowley was the first magician that opened up all thirty Æthyrs and published his results in his famous work "Vision & Voice". Today the enochian materials of the Golden Dawn are part of the thelemitic line of tradition. Gerald Schueler is also referring to this line of tradition, who expanded the enochian materials in a constructive way. He constructed the enochian tarot, enochian yoga and an own system of initiation, based on the thirty Æthyrs. His results influenced my own work on the Æthyrs, as well as the materials of Skinner and Rankine. Donald Tyson's revision of the enochian magic and his thoughts are quite important to my own work, as well as the original manuscripts by John Dee and Edward Kelley. My first contacts with enochian angel-magic reach back into the 80's, but I was too young to understand much of it. Since 1995 I actually practice it. Between 1996 and 2010 I worked with the Æthyrs - currently I am putting together a quite voluminous book with results and further thoughts on these Æthyrs.