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John Dee's Five Books of Mystery: Original Sourcebook of Enochian Magic Paperback – February 15, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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  • John Dee's Five Books of Mystery: Original Sourcebook of Enochian Magic
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Peterson has translated many esoteric and religious sourceworks. He has amassed a large collection of copies of rare and occult tracts for comparative research from the British Library and other institutions, which he shares at his awardwinning websites www.esotericarchives.com and www.avesta.org.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Weiser Books; Second Impression edition (February 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578631785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578631780
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For the true Enochian scholar, this is the ONLY book of its kind. John Dee's "Five Books of the Mysteries" was written hundreds of years ago- partly in English, partly in Latin, and even somewhat in Angelic(!). Since its rediscovery and publication, mystical scholars have poured over it in search of classical wisdom, magickal technique, and the hidden secrets behind Dee's "Enochian" system of magick.
However, like all of Dee's work, the Five Books remained very obscure and hard to understand. That is, until Joseph Peterson's publication of "John Dee's Five Books of Mystery." Here are the five books we all know and love- with ALL of the Latin translated, complete footnotes and commentary, and even an exploration of Dee's source material (ancient mystical texts from which Dee drew his own ideas about magick).
I cannot recommend Joseph Peterson- as an author and scholar- highly enough. His work is always top-notch and completely trustworthy (and this statement does NOT come lightly!). Just the same for his "John Dee's Five Books of Mystery." I hope we see more of Dee's work re-published by Peterson in the future.
In LVX...
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Format: Paperback
Kudos to Joseph H. Peterson, not only for this exceptional book, but to his service to the Occult community with his scholarly treatment of the classical literature that is the backbone of the Western Magickal Tradition.

Here Peterson compiles Dr. John Dee's "Mysteriorum Libri Quinque" from the original notes and documents written(and hidden - you could be burned at the stake for stuff like this back then!) by Dee himself, preserved in the British Museum. It adds much detail to Dee's politics, science, and his occult activities with seer Edward Kelly, especially during the years 1581-1583, widely considered the peak of Dee's career. That being said, I will caution casual readers that the archaic English used throughout the books can be abit taxing to read, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Peterson also translates many Latin passages, and includes copious notes and references.

If you are at all interested in Enochian, or 'Angel Magick', you will be very happy with this purchase. I would recommend this edition over Casaubons' "A True & Faithful Relation..." for readablility and accuracy. A "must-have" addition to the serious occultists' library.
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If you are interested in John Dee, "behind the scenes" of Enochian, Medieval/Renaissance philosophy or occult matters, this is a must have.

The editor did a great job of making the texts readable and clear in the layout. The footnotes (including explanatory, reference, and translation of the Latin parts) are extremely useful to the understanding of the text and related texts that Dee had access to.

The introductory information written by the editor is short and straightforward, and also fairly objective.

The book contains the 5 Books of Mystery that were found after Dee's death. These books provide a clear insight into the goings on around the Skrying done by Dee and Kelly; they are a journal or set of lab notes on what went on at each session detailing what was seen in the crystal as well as how the "angels" taught them to render the Sigilum Dei, the tables, and a few other things.

Whether you believe Dee actually talked with angels or not, this is a great insight into an Elizabethan Mage's project. A must have for anyone interested in such subject matter for whatever reasons.
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This book seems to represent a sort of magical diary of Dr John Dee (Elizabeth I's court astrologer) as regards his experience summoning angelic spirits. It is an interesting read whether or not one is interested in actually trying any of Dee's experiments.

This also provides a great deal of context to other Enochian works as well as a useful read to anyone interested in speculating on the psychodynamics of these sorts of things.

At the same time, this is not by itself a practical book. Here you don't find descriptions of exactly what was said or done, just records of results. It is mostly interesting to my mind as to how it lets us look inside the thoughts of Dee.

A word about the transliterations, etc. Peterson does not normalize the spellings in this work and the tradeoff is that of readability for atmosphere and accuracy. While I agree with this tradeoff, the book cannot be read quite quickly and it can be difficult to get used to immediately. The book is written in extremely early modern English, and seems to be to my mind just barely on this side of the great vowel shift that separates Middle from Modern English (actually the great vowel shift was ongoing at the time but I think we can safely put Dee on the Modern English side of it). It makes for interesting reading though.
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Excellent book...one of a kind. If you are interested in studying or collecting old occult texts then I recommend purchasing Joseph H. Peterson's translations of this and several other books. His translations are vastly superior to any that have come before...I only wish they had a hardbound edition. This edition was published by Weiser books, while many of his other works are published by IBIS, I recommend checking them out. IBIS has beautiful hardcover editions of The Sixth and Seventh books of Moses, Arbatel, and The Clavis or Key to the Magic of Solomon, all of them are amazing prints. If the material interests you then you will not be disappointed.
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