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Edward Kelley- Scryer to John Dee
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Edward Kelley- Scryer to John Dee


Edward Talbott was born at Worcester in 1555 but changed his name to Kelley on being employed by Dee.

Kelley was an apothecary's apprentice for a short while, which may have fueled his fascination with Alchemy. He studied at Oxford at around the age of 17, but was not there for long and left for one reason or another.

Edward Kelley led an unsavory life and is said to, with the help of Paul Waring a friend of his, have dug up a corpse form the Lancashire graveyard at Walton Le Dale, invoked the spirit of the deceased by practicing necromancy, and used it for the purpose of predicting the future. He is also have said to have had his ears cropped after being accused of forgery while working as a notary. Kelley was restless in his search for the illusive philosopher's stone.
On March the 8th 1582 , Dee was introduced to a skyer called Edward Kelley and the two became aquatinted. At first Dee was unsure of Kelley's intent but when Kelly, using Dee 's shewstone, saw the vision of an angel, the partnership between the two men was sealed. What Kelley had seen was the angel Uriel, and Uriel gave Kelley the instructions for the making of a powerful magickal talisman. With this talisman the pair would be able to access the world of the spirits. Uriel also told them that the world contained four watchtowers, and each of these watchtowers has twelve gates. These gates are the entry points to angelic dimensions. To open these gates, one of the forty-nine angels calls must be spoken in the language known as Enochian, the language of the angels, the language spoken in the Garden of Eden. All the information given to the two men by the angels was written down word for word in an orderly fashion by Dee.

What the angels told Dee and Kelley was sometimes radical, hard to take in and often difficult for them to believe. On certain occasions the angels spoke to the two men telling them that, "no prayer should be made to Christ, there is no sin, and that Christ had robbed God of his honor. More and more contact was made with the angels over the coming years, and the language of Enochian, and its accompanying magickal system grew. In April 1582 Kelley was told, by another angel called Michael to marry. Kelley did not wish to, but in May of the same year the angel Michael insisted on it, and so Kelley obeyed marring a young nineteen year old girl called Joan Cooper. In 1583, and speaking through Kelley, Uriel prophesied that Mary Queen of Scots would be executed and an attempt would be made to invade England . In 1587 Mary was beheaded and in the following year, 1588 the Spanish Armada attempted the invasion of England . Uriel was right. Dee was introduced to Albert Laski, Prince of Siradia in Poland at a reception in Laski's honor. Laski was already aware of Dee 's magickal exploits and was keen for Dee to tell him of his future. After hearing about Dee and Kelley's experiences with the angels, Laski begged Dee and Kelley to accompany him back to Poland to continue their magickal experiments. Dee and Kelley consulted the angels, and to Poland they went, wives and all. In Poland , Dee and Kelley became well known, and were invited out to dinner with some of Poland 's rich and famous. Even gaining a place at the King of Poland's table. But alas it did not last long, and in May of 1586, Dee and Kelley were expelled from Prague after the two were accused of sorcery. The two men and their wives were then lucky enough to be invited to take up residence, at the palace of Count Wilhelm Rosenburg in Trebon. While here things took a nasty turn for Dee and Kelley in the form of a child spirit called Madimi. Madimi appeared to Kelley telling him and Dee that "by the will of God, to share all things" and this meant even sharing their wives. This did not go down to with Dee and Kelley and even less so with their wives but the angels insisted and so it must be done, and it was. From here on in Dee and Kelley argued more and more and within two years Dee had decided to return to England without Kelley. Back in England Queen Elizabeth allowed Dee to continue with his experiments and alchemy unhindered, but when Elizabeth died James 1 would no longer permit it, and so Dee moved back to Mortlake in retirement. In 1608 Dr John Dee passed away, and was buried a disappointed and penniless man at the place of his birth, Mortlake.
Meanwhile Mr Edward Kelley had been knighted in Germany by the Emperor but, in 1593 Sir Edward Kelley fell to his death while trying to escape from prison. Aleister Crowley was a firm believer in Enochian magick, and it is still at the heart of the Golden Dawn's magickal practices and systems.


Edward Kelley (Talbot)


After Dee's appetite for spiritual conversations had been kindled, a ,an claiming to be Edward Talbot arrived at his door at Mortlake on the 8th of March, 1582. This was later proven to be a false name, his real name being Kelley, not Talbot. Kelley was about 27 when he arrived at Mortlake, and his life prior to this remains as a mystery. He has a reputation for travelling England, living as an Occult charlatan. He was not an uneducated man though, being an undergraduate at Oxford, but for some reason dismissed. He was able to speak Latin, although he often made grammatical mistakes. This comes to play in the wife swapping incident at the end of Kelley and Dee's time together.

The wife swapping incident was apparently showed to Kelley (Dee was not in the room at the time) through a simple cipher from the Elemental Table. The Elemental Table contains 624 letters, each of which were taken as a number from the cipher given by Kelley. The decoded cipher was written in Latin, not Enochian, with some errors (missing verbs, misspellings), a major one of which was that he numbers were one out. Many people have been led to believe that this was a construct of Kelley, to have his way with the attractive and young Jane Dee. Little is known about Kelley's wife, Joanna Kelley.

Kelley did not gain Dee's trust from the outset, as he was apparently reported to the authorities by Dee. This lasted not very long, and there was another chance given to Kelley on March 10 of the same year. The seance gave such results that the pair remained close friends for seven years, performing numerous seances.

Kelley went on to produce most of the information for the Enochian System for Dee. These began with a dictation of the Sigillum Aemeth (Aemeth being the Hebrew word for truth), given to them by Uriel for later use in other seances. Early pieces of information in the Enochian system include two tables of 7x7, which contain the names of various angels. The validity of this as new information was not to be affirmed initially, as these names could be found in any number of texts of the period. In fact Dee makes a marginal note of this in his transcripts of the seances. Other names were made from these squares though, including Madimi, a spirit which would spend much time with Dee and Kelley during their seances.

During the seances, Kelley was to speak in more than a few tongues, including Latin and Greek as well as the Enochian language. As to whether Kelley actually understood them still remains to be seen. At one stage Kelley, from the spirit Madimi, is reported to have warned Dee about Kelley's departure in Greek, which Kelley protested to, saying that he would no longer convey such gibberish. He could quite as well have actually understood what he was saying, and done this to keep up his elaborate ruse. Since Kelley's life is shrouded in mystery, we may never know the full extent of his knowledge and hence his rightful place in the creating or revelation of the Enochian System.

After his split with Dee, Kelley went on to set himself up as an alchemist, possibly with the information given to hum by the angels. He eventually ended up in Prague, working for Emperor Rudolph to produce gold. While there, he died under obscure conditions in 1595, at the age of 40. The angel Uriel had given him a life expectancy of some 87 years, which, as in Dee's case, was far more than his actual age at death. The general consensus surrounding his death is that he was imprisoned for not producing gold, and fell from the tower while trying to escape. This will probably remain only as speculation, and his death will remain as mysterious as his life prior to his association with Dee.


The Enochian language


Kelley's "angels" sometimes communicated in a special "angelic" or Enochian language. Dee and Kelley claimed the language was given to them by angels. Some modern cryptographers argue that Kelley invented it. See for example the work by Donald Laycock. It is not clear whether Dee was a victim or an accomplice of this farce. Because of this precedent, and of a dubious connection between the Voynich Manuscript and John Dee through Roger Bacon, Kelley has been suspected of having fabricated that book too, in order to swindle Rudolf.

The angelic language was supposedly dictated by angels that Kelley claimed to see within a crystal ball. The angels were said to tap out letters on a complicated table, something like a crossword puzzle but with all the cells filled in. The first third were tapped out with each angelic word backwards; the following two thirds with each word forwards. There are no significant errors or discrepancies in word usage between the first and following parts. The English translations were not tapped out but, according to Kelley, appeared on little strips of paper coming out of the angels' mouths.

The reasoning that Kelley fabricated the language is based upon the claim that the angelic is just a word-for-word substitution for English translation. This is not entirely the case, however, and there is tantalizing evidence of some other linguistic source. For example, the angelic word "telocvovim" is glossed as "he who has fallen" but it is actually a Germanic-like combination of two other angelic words: "teloch" (glossed as "death") and "vovin" (glossed as "dragon"). Thus "he who has fallen" would be literally translated as "death dragon", both rather obvious references to Lucifer. However, neither Kelley nor Dee appears to have noticed or remarked on this.

Another argument against Kelley's fabrication of angelic is that the English translations are in a very different style of writing to that of Kelley's own work, exhibiting an eldrich quality that seems beyond Kelley's own modest ability as a writer. This raises the possibility that Kelley might have plagiarized the material from a different source. However, no similar material has ever surfaced.

Dee considered the dictation of the angelic material as highly important for three reasons. First, Dee believed the angelic represented a documentable case of true "glossolalia" thereby proving that Kelley was actually speaking with angels and not from his imagination. Second, the angels claimed that angelic was actually the original prototype of Hebrew and the language with which God spoke with Adam, and thus the first human language. Third, the angelic material takes the form of a set of conjurations that are supposed to summon an extremely powerful set of angelic beings who, he believed, would be able to reveal many secrets, especially the key to the philosopher's stone.

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