John Dee was an eminent Elizabethan philosopher, astrologer, astronomer, occultist, imperialist and mathematician who lived between 1527 and 1608. The ‘Dee’, his surname, derives from the Welsh Celtic information ‘du’ which method black. Dee was born on 13 July 1527, his father Roland was a mercer and minor courtier. Dee devoted much of his life to study magic, astrology, alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy.
Being a bright scholar, he had been invited to lecture on progressive algebra in his early twenties at the University of Paris. In 1542 (age of 15), he entered Cambridge College and graduated in 1544 with a BA. He was made a fellow of Trinity College in 1546 and appointed the role of Greek underwriter.
John Dee is known for being the consultant and righthand man of Queen Elizabeth 1. Many people also believed that he was also a secret government agent (code name 007). Dee was employed teaching navigation to Naval Captains for 30 years.
Dee was arrested during the reign of Queen Mary Tudor, he was accused of attempting to kill the Queen with sorcery. In 1553, he was imprisoned in Hampton Court. The reason behind this may have been a horoscope that he cast, the horoscope was to ascertain when Mary would die. He was also imprisoned for heresy in 1555 but in the following year Queen Mary gave him a complete pardon. Dee found a new era of wealth in 1558 when Queen Elizabeth succeeded her sister. He was already commissioned to predict the perfect time for her coronation. Unfortunately, people nevertheless believe that his diabolical dealings nevertheless persisted.
John Dee was obsessive in collecting books and manuscripts. Dee collected so many of his favorite books that he produced the greatest personal library in England. His extensive library which he housed at his mother’s residence attracted visits from the foremost scholars in the country. In 1564, he published one of his many books, The Monas Hieroglyphica. He believed that the Monas Hieroglyphica was the ultimate symbol of Occult knowledge.
In 1581, he began his experiments in trying to contact discarnate entities, mainly fuelled by strange dreams and mysterious noises within his home. by the medium of his crystal ball, Dee recorded that he had finally made his first contact with the spirit world on 25 May 1582. This had taken him years of work to unprotected to, by studying the occult and crystallomancy. Spirit contact was believed to be Dee’s major driving force for the rest of his life.
Sometimes Dee together with Edward Kelley liked to sit down in front of the crystal ball and communicated with the spirits. It is said that angels had instructed them to make some magical charts and by the medium of the crystal stone and mirror, they would place certain letters, into column’s or magical graphs. You can also see their magical equipment and manuscripts including Dee’s obsidian scrying mirror and quartz crystal ball in the British Museum. The crystal ball was stolen in December 2004 but recovered shortly afterwards. Many imitations are in circulation.
There was one spirit in particular came to rule the scrying, she called herself Madimi. Dee described her as a spiritual creature, pretty with around 7 to 9 years of age, half angel and half elfin – Dee named his own daughter after her. The spirits taught Kelley and Dee their own Angelic language which they called Enochian. Strange enough that Madimi also instructed them to proportion all things including their wives.
In 1595, Kelley was killed while trying to escape from prison in Prague, while Dee died in poverty in 1608.