Compendium Heptarchiæ Mysticæ

Compendium Heptarchiæ Mysticæ

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Compendium Heptarchiæ Mysticæ

This book consists of detailed instructions for communicating with angels and employing their aid for practical purposes. Written in the form of a personal Grimoire, or handbook of magic, it consists of excerpts and elaborations from Dee's detailed records of his "mystical exercises" found in Mysteriorum Libri Quinque. For the most part it is a draft version of Dee's slightly better known work, De Heptarchia Mystica, and like it describes details of Dee's and Kelley's magical workings that occurred prior to the well known records published by Meric Casaubon (as A True and Faithful Relation of what passed for many yeers between Dr. John Dee ... and some spirits, 1659.) The latter, of course, was used and elaborated on by the founders of the Golden Dawn, and has come to be known as Enochian magic.

The present manuscript is in Dee's own handwriting, and is now preserved in the British Library under the catalog number Additional MS. 36674. While very similar to De Heptarchia Mystica, to my knowledge this text has never been published or studied at length. The manuscript is the most difficult to read Dee manuscript I've examined; it contains some of Dee's worst handwriting, and is very faded and damaged in places. Nevertheless, I believe it has been worth the effort of editing, as it contains some valuable material not found elsewhere.

Of special interest are the details it fills in from the lost beginning of Quartus Liber Mysteriorum, which provide insight into the mysterious Covenant Table, the ornate chair, and the globe used thereafter. It also assigns planets to the Filij lucis ("sons of light") and the Filij filiorum ("sons of the sons"). There is also a table of letters with 24 columns and 13 rows, which I have not identified in any other source, and may be unique.

This text also allows us to fix its date, May 30, 1588. It was a time when few spiritual actions were recorded, while Dee was still on the Continent (he returned to England in 1589.) A few days earlier Dee recorded in his diary that Edward Kelley "did open the great secret to me, God be thanked!"

This manuscript also offers some insight into Dee's editorial process. I have consequently included all of Dee's editorial marks, crossed out text (here indicated in strikeout font), and intralinear corrections (here indicated in superscript font).

My editorial notes, and damaged text filled in from Sl. 3188 and Sl. 3191 are indicated by {} since Dee uses