"Practical Angel Magic of Dr. John Dee's Enochian Tables: Tabularum Bonorum Angelorum Invocationes," by Skinner & Rankine

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"Practical Angel Magic of Dr. John Dee's Enochian Tables: Tabularum Bonorum Angelorum Invocationes," by Skinner & Rankine

Post  Khephra on Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:45 pm

Review written by Aaron Leitch; full text available here:

This review is long overdue! In fact, I posted a rough version of what follows to an occult forum some time ago, and I have finally returned to expand the informal post into a formal book review. I think it is important to let folks know about this book, as it covers one of the most obscure aspects of Western Esoteric history: the Enochian Magickal tradition that existed between the lives of Dr. John Dee and the founders of the Golden Dawn Tradition.

I suspect all scholars can agree there are marked differences between the Angelic magick recorded in Dee's journals and the Victorian "Enochian" system developed by Wescott, Mathers and their brothers. Scholars of Enochiana have long debated the merits of the Golden Dawn (and later Thelemic) additions to, and alterations of, Dee's material. Many consider these changes to be "mistakes"- due largely to the fact that, in the lifetimes of Mathers and Westcott, Dee's journals were hard to find, even harder to read and occult scholars at the time had only a fragmented understanding of Dee's work.

Meanwhile, defenders of the Golden Dawn recensions insist that Dee's system remained only rudimentary and skeletal until Wescott and company arrived to elaborate it. Only then did Enochian magick become a fully sophisticated occult system and the backbone of the modern Western Esoteric Tradition. It is the Golden Dawn's version of Enochiana- and not Dee's- that has influenced nearly every magickal system that has followed- from Thelema to Wicca and beyond.

It was not until I read Practical Angel Magic of Dr John Dee's Enochian Tables that I realized both sides of this debate were correct as far as they go, but they were also both dead wrong in certain respects! A major piece of the puzzle was missing in the debate - and this wonderful new book finally completes the picture!

If you have read other reviews of this book, you have likely heard that it presents a "long lost manuscript" of Dee's- revealing more than we see in his published journals. However, I feel this is misleading, and the book may disappoint you if that is what you hope to find. In fact, the authors provide a list of several possible authors for the manuscript in question, and they do make a case for including Dee in that list. Yet, the book in no way hinges upon this one minor mystery. The bulk of the book, and the heart of its true value to modern scholars, is the discussion of the manuscript itself, and how it served as a bridge between Dee and the Golden Dawn.

The manuscript is known only as Book H- and the full text is (thankfully!) included in Skinner and Rankine's book. Book H did not appear until many years after Dee's passing, and- as it turns out- is an ambitious elaboration upon Dee's own Book of Supplication. (The Book of Supplication is part of Dee's personal grimoire, catalogued as Sloane MS 3191 and published today in The Enochian Magick of Dr. John Dee. Hardly long-lost! It contains prayers intended to summon and gain the familiarity of the Angels of the four Watchtowers.)

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Re: "Practical Angel Magic of Dr. John Dee's Enochian Tables: Tabularum Bonorum Angelorum Invocationes," by Skinner & Rankine

Post  amandachen on Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:02 am

The guy at themagickalreview has a quite a scathing review for this book. I guess he has his own agenda, not sure he read the introduction properly.

Yeah, interesting book and I'm glad I have it on my shelf.
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Re: "Practical Angel Magic of Dr. John Dee's Enochian Tables: Tabularum Bonorum Angelorum Invocationes," by Skinner & Rankine

Post  Khephra on Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:07 pm

Has The Magickal Review gone defunct? It looks like their last site update was in 04...

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Re: "Practical Angel Magic of Dr. John Dee's Enochian Tables: Tabularum Bonorum Angelorum Invocationes," by Skinner & Rankine

Post  rickyrick on Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:48 pm

Technically, this is not Book H, as discussed above. Book H was a book that copied some of this manuscript or was the source of part of this manuscript.

Book H came from this, just to clarify, and the "bulk of the book" is not a discussion, but actually the manuscript itself. The beginning of the book is a scholarly explanation of its origin and suspected persons who used this system, etc. Also showing that the GD Enochian system was from this, but not all of it was copied into their system.

This book explains an Enochian system that was used by people between the time of Dee and the establishment of the GD (or at least that is what the authors believe) and that it is different from either system. Their explanation is that this manuscript is the "refined" system developed after the times of Dee's famous diary (developed potentially by Dee himself or others).

So its interesting, but a lot of reading. I haven't read more than the introduction and slightly into the beginning, not sure about the system itself yet...

Just wanted to clarify, though, what the authors are saying.
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Re: "Practical Angel Magic of Dr. John Dee's Enochian Tables: Tabularum Bonorum Angelorum Invocationes," by Skinner & Rankine

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