John Dee and the Empire of Angels: Enochian Magick and the Occult Roots of the Modern World

Jason Louv. Inner Traditions, $40 (560p) ISBN 978-1-62055-589-7
Louv (Hyperworlds, Underworlds) delivers an overwhelming amount of information in this sweeping attempt to reconcile two schools of thought about Elizabethan scientist John Dee (1527–1608). Historians concerned with Dee generally fall into two camps, writes Louv: the political historians embarrassed by Dee’s late-in-life angelic obsessions, and the occultists indifferent to Dee’s involvement in the development of British intellectualism and politics. By elucidating the “direct intersection between the forces of magic and the machinery of empire,” Louv, with moderate success, argues for the importance of Dee’s ideas throughout the last 500 years of Western history. The first section is a biography of Dee’s rise to the Elizabethan court as an astronomer and master of optics. The second section turns to Dee’s later relationship with spirit medium Edward Kelley (who claimed to communicate with angels) and the “Enochian” journals they composed together that were (purportedly) written in an angelic script. The final section contains Louv’s thesis that Dee’s ideas have persisted to the modern day as the grounding of “esoteric Protestantism,” which he expands on with portraits of organizations such as the Rosicrucians and the Golden Dawn. Written in breezy, informal prose, Louv’s overstuffed book will appeal to those interested in angels or the occult. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Ebook - 978-1-62055-590-3
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