Morgan stared at the strange title, then shifted his eyes to the description of the book’s content that stood immediately below:
Being A Primer of the Enochian or Angelic Abecedary and Tongue
As Revealed to Doctor John Dee and Master Edward Kelly
“Enochian?” he whispered, wondering whether his tired eyes were deceiving him. “An angelic tongue—an alphabet invented by angels?” For a moment he could do nothing but stand there, his body tottering back and forth under the strain of this new discovery, his mind a cloud of confusion and disbelief. But in the next instant he was leaping around the room, clapping his hands, whooping for joy and shouting at the top of his lungs.
“I knew it!” he cried, his voice rebounding off the walls and echoing like a trumpet through the empty spaces of the church basement. “I knew it had to be here somewhere! This is the key to the power of the sword and the gateway to the Otherworld! Enochian—” once, twice, three times he mouthed the strange name softly to himself. It had a pleasing sound that made him smile. “All I’ve got to do now is learn to read it!”
He dived in at once, eagerly leafing through the pages in search of a list of the Enochian letters and their English equivalents. He hadn’t been at it long when his attention was arrested by a striking full-page illustration in black-and-white. Remarkably similar in style to the picture of Paracelsus and his sword, it depicted two men: the first, a dour, bearded figure dressed in a black skullcap and a long black robe fitted with wide bell sleeves; the second, a short, thick, sour-faced individual in a short Elizabethan jerkin, wearing a curious piece of headgear that covered his ears and encircled his face down to the chin. The Famous Alchemists Dee and Kelly, read the caption.
Famous? thought Morgan. That’s weird. Never heard of them. His interest piqued, he licked a finger, turned the page, and began to read:
John Dee and the Enochian Language:
A Brief Introduction
John Dee (b. July 13, 1527), consultant to Queen Elizabeth I and one of the most learned men of his age, was widely noted as an expert in mathematics, astronomy, and navigation. But his real interests lay in the field of alchemy, which he regarded as the gateway to divine power.
Dee’s thirst for higher knowledge was insatiable. While still a youth, he traveled to Poland where he met and conferred with the famous physician and alchemist Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, otherwise known as Paracelsus. No one knows what passed between the two men at this time.
Above all, Dee was obsessed with a desire to communicate with angels. From them he hoped to learn the secrets of creation and obtain the key to all knowledge. He said that they had taught him their speech and revealed to him their system of writing. This language, which he called “Enochian” (on the assumption that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, had been the last man to speak it), forms the subject of this short volume. The grammar and word lists presented here are based entirely on the nineteen Enochian “Calls” Dee is supposed to have received from angelic beings while sojourning in Poland.
It is true that Dee’s friend and collaborator, Edward Kelly—a London scryer of questionable reputation—disputed his story. Kelly claimed for himself the distinction of having discovered the Enochian alphabet while gazing into a crystal.
To this day the facts of the case remain uncertain. But of this much we can be sure: Dee and Kelly parted on less than friendly terms. Kelly died trying to escape from Hnevin Castle after having been imprisoned by the Emperor Maximilian II for his failure to perform a successful alchemistic transmutation. Dee, meanwhile, returned to his home in Mortlake, England where he spent his final days in obscurity. We have no record of the date or manner of his death. No gravestone exists, and none of the parish registers containing his personal information have survived.
On the facing page Morgan found what he was seeking: a table of the Enochian letters, each with its name, its English equivalent, and a guide to its pronunciation.* This was an unspeakable treasure. Gazing at it, he felt every ounce of sleepiness and fatigue melt away from his body as if by magic. Suddenly his mind grew clear, his eyes bright. Adrenaline went pumping through his veins like liquid fire. Filled with energy and enthusiasm, he made up his mind to commit the Enochian letters to memory on the spot. But then he happened to glance at his watch. It was past midnight.
“Rats!” said Morgan. He had school in the morning, and getting up on Mondays was a trial under the best of circumstances. He’d have to postpone his new studies until tomorrow. Reluctantly, he picked up his books, turned out the light, and went stumping up the stairs.
(To be continued …)
* You can find a couple of similar tables on the “Sword and Stone” page of this Website.