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John Dee

John Dee * Gerard Suster (2003)

The second book in the Western Esoteric Masters series that I review is about John Dee (1527-1608), well known to you if you have followed my website for some years. However I have quite some material of Dee myself, this book by Suster is the thinnest volume of the series. There are only about 100 pages with texts of Dee and Suster put a lot of his own commentary through the texts. Suster wanted to give a good overview about the whole figure of Dee, so the texts not only include small parts of Dee’s massive writings, but also parts of Dee’s diaries, including his personal ones. This makes that Suster’s book more gives an historical view of Dee than that the reader learns a lot about Dee’s ideas. What you can read are parts of Dee which are less well-known and/or not often available not as commentary of another writer: his preface to Euclid, Propaedeumata Aphoristica (an astronomical/astrological text) and his writings on navigation. Besides this, letters, the (spiritual) diaries and of course the Monas Hieroglyphica inspite that being but a short text, only in part. However gives a full-round view of Dee, Suster is genuinely interested in Dee’s best-known and darker side, so much even that the last part of the book gives other people’s ideas of John Dee and information about Aleister Crowley (including two texts of him!), the Golden Dawn and their use of Enochian magic. If I would have made the selection, I think I would have come to another one. If you have an historical interest in Dee, this is a nice addition to what is already available. Personally I hoped to read more of Dee’s “western esoteric” ideas.
2003 North Atlantic Books, isbn 1556434723

John Dee’s Five Books Of Mystery * Joseph H. Peterson (ed.) (1578631785)

The second half of the magical diaries of John Dee. Peterson gave them in the original old-style English, which does not read very well. The very detailed discriptions of skrying-sessions aren’t even that interesting. What is interesting is that things become a lot clearer with Tyson’s book Enochian Magic For Beginners and you of course get all the details. Anyway, 475 pages of magic, too much to mention. More about the system in my article about angel magic.

Monas Hieroglyphica * John Dee (isbn 157863203X)

This is the most famous work of doctor John Dee (1527-1608), the English occultist who travelled all across Europe after spending time in the court. This whole book explains the famous hieroglyph that not only inspired the name, but also the logo of these very pages. The work was originally written in Latin, I have got a translation from 1947 of J.W. Hamilton-Jones. It was originally published in Antwerpen, Belgium in 1564.

The work is not very long and is built off 24 “theorem”s, some short, some long. Mostly in quite a vague tone the theorems explain a part of Dee’s philosophy and/or an expect of the monad hieroglyph. There are a lot of drawings and tables and Dee uses a lot of different sources to underbuild his ideas. I won’t say too much about the text. I advice you to read it yourself if you want to learn more of the wonderfull symbol. The book is available online, so it is accessible for all of you.

-Also see my article about the Monas Hieroglyphica in the articles section-