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Enochian Was the ‘Language of Angels’ Created by Two Occultists

Photo Credit: Fine Art Photographic Library / Corbis Historical / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Fine Art Photographic Library / Corbis Historical / Getty Images

Step into the esoteric realm of Enochian, a language steeped in mystery and spirituality. Rooted in the occult practices of the Renaissance era, Enochian has captivated the imaginations of scholars, magicians, and occult enthusiasts for centuries. Emerging from the works of John Dee and Edward Kelley, it is said to be the angelic language of communication between humanity and the divine. Read on to discover the origins, structure, and intrigue of Enochian.

John Dee and Edward Kelley

John Dee and Edward Kelley were the enigmatic duo behind the creation of the Enochian language. Dee, a highly respected mathematician, astronomer, and occult philosopher, sought to communicate with the divine and unravel the secrets of the universe. Kelley proclaimed himself to be a medium gifted with clairvoyant abilities. Their collaboration began in the late 16th century when Dee sought Kelley’s assistance as a scryer or seer.

Portrait of John Dee in a black robe, black cap, and with a long white beard.
John Dee, one of the creators of Enochian, when he was 67 years old, c. 1594. (Photo Credit: Unknown Painter / Ashmolean Museum / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

Over the years, many have called into question just how legitimate Kelley was, claiming that he engaged in fraudulent practices. Yet that didn’t stop Dee from working with him. Dee claimed that God sent good angels to communicate with prophets, so he sought out someone who could engage with them. Together, the men embarked on a series of intense scrying sessions, during which Kelley would gaze into a crystal or mirror and describe the visions he perceived.

Talking to angels

According to their accounts, the angels revealed to them a celestial language which the pair believed to be the language of the angels themselves. Beginning on March 26, 1583, the pair began documenting their findings, the first of which was a 21-letter alphabet that appeared in Kelley’s crystal ball. In the coming days, they would receive what they called the Liber Loagaeth or the Book of Speech from God.

Handwritten text over two rows of Enochian letters.
Copy of John Dee’s manuscript diary, including Enochian letters, May 6, 1583. (Photo Credit: John Dee / British Library / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

Despite it containing 98 tablets, the angels never translated the text to Kelley. Instead, while the pair were working in the court of King Stephen Báthory years later, Kelley received the Claves Angelicae, 48 verses which did have direct English translations, unlike the Liber Loagaeth. Called the ‘keys,’ Dee intended to use them to translate the earlier text. They thought this was of utmost importance.

‘Language of Angels’

The angels had told them that the book would open the gates of heaven and allow them to speak directly to God. Dee meticulously recorded and documented all of their communications with the divine throughout the years. From this, they developed a complex language system that became Enochian. It’s important to note that this is the modern term used to describe this language.

Line drawing of Edward Kelley in a robe, holding out an open book.
Edward Kelley, one of the co-creators of Enochian, c. 1975. (Photo Credit: Thomas Pennant / National Library of Wales / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

Dee referred to it as the ‘language of angels,’ or as Adamical, because he thought it was how humans communicated in the Garden of Eden before different dialects were spoken. Dee also claimed that it was the basis for Hebrew, making it the world’s oldest language. During Dee and Kelley’s interpretation of the texts, two different alphabets were established. The first was written in Dee’s personal journals, while the second was in the Liber Loagaeth.

Enochian Magick

The language itself is quite similar to English – one of the many reasons why its authenticity is called into question. This also occurs because many of the original manuscripts written by Dee have been lost to time. The idea of creating a fraudulent angel language is often raised when discussing Enochian, but it also leads to another question. Was Dee an accomplice to Kelley’s lies, or was he also a victim of them?

Magic seal of John Dee, with various pentagrams on it.
John Dee’s magic seal. (Photo Credit: Anders Sandberg / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Many modern cryptographers are in agreement that the scryer made it up, and Dee simply documented what a trusted friend and ‘scholar’ was telling him. Yet there are still those who believe it to be real. For them, the alphabet is used to practice what is called Enochican Magick. After receiving the ‘keys’ from Kelley in 1584, Dee wrote in his personal journals a series of magic incantations.

Co-opted by the occult

Believers consider them to be the strongest types of magic that exist. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that the language and this magic were adopted by various occultists hundreds of years after Dee and Kelley wrote out their findings. Of course, adaptions were made, particularly because of the loss of certain materials documented by the men.

Aleister Crowley in a robe and hat with triangle on it, holding up his forearms to the camera.
English writer and occultist Aleister Crowley, one of many to use Enochian, c. 1921. (Photo Credit: Keystone / Hulton Archives / Getty Images)

One of the best-known users of Enochian was the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a secret society that arose in the 19th and 20th centuries in the United Kingdom. They were an occult magical order devoted to studying Hermeticism and metaphysics. The society is also said to have invented Enochian chess. In this game, four colored chessboards without symbols on them are used. Each of the boards is associated with one of the magical elements.

Enochian was also used by others, including Israel Regardie, Anton LaVey – founder of the Satanic Church, and the infamous Aleister Crowley.

More from us: A Nun or a Little Boy? The Truth About the 17th-Century Demon Made Famous in Films

Despite years of scholastic study, the ‘language of angels’ has not been proven as legitimate, but there are certainly those who believe it to be.

Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.