Some people believe in a higher power that controls all things and all beings existing in the universe, and in celestial and supernatural creatures – like angels and demons - possessing abilities beyond our capacities and understanding. And among them, there are those who have attempted or are continuing to attempt to make contact and interact with whatever or whoever lies on “the other side.” In fact, during the 16th century, it was believed that if one could speak with angels, one gains the ability to directly interact with them. Hence, it is not surprising that the concept of an Angelic language was quite common during this time.
One such language that was introduced during the 16th century was the mysterious Enochian language, which was allegedly discovered by occultists John Dee and Edward Kelley.
John Dee’s Background
John Dee – who lived from 1527 until 1609, was an occultist, mathematician, astronomer and astrologer who lived in Mort Lake, West London. Dee was an extremely well-educated and respected intellectual during his time. He graduated from the elite St. John’s College in Cambridge, and was renowned for his intelligence and wit. Eventually, he was accepted into influential circles of the ruling elite and served as scientific advisor and confidant to Queen Elizabeth I. He is also associated with coining the phrase “British Empire.”
During the early part of his life, Dee had little interest in the supernatural. However, he eventually got bored with science, and turned his attention to the occult and magic. Dee wanted to discover lost spiritual knowledge and recover the wisdom he believed was hidden in books of antiquity. Among these books was the then-fabled “Book of Enoch,” which he thought contained description of the magic system used by the Patriarch Enoch in the Bible.
In 1581, Dee began performing a long series of magical research. Earlier that year, at the age of 54, he had written in his journal that God had sent “good angels” to communicate directly with human beings. And so, he had set himself up to make contact with these angels. Dee’s only problem was that he was not a medium, and so he had no ability to “see” the other side. Therefore, he set out to find a gifted medium that would help him in his attempts to make contact with these supernatural beings.
Dee and Kelley’s Alleged Spiritual Contact With Angels
It was in 1582 that he met Edward Kelley, a little-known son of an apothecary who claimed to be a gifted medium and was very passionate about the occult. And so, the two created a partnership and began conducting sessions together to establish contact with the angels. Almost immediately, they claim to have established spiritual contact, and in their hundreds of sessions from 1582 until 1587, they allegedly communicated regularly with these angels.
During these spiritual sessions, Dee would act as the orator and supplicant. He would direct prayers to God and his Archangels and then, he would invoke them to manifest themselves in a scrying stone – which is a black obsidian mirror. Kelley, on the other hand, would act as the scryer. His job was to see the visions projected in the obsidian mirror and describe them to Dee so he could write them down.
For several years, the two managed to record several supernatural visions, incantations and even prophesies.
Discovery of Mysterious Ancient Language of Angels
In the year 1582 or 1583, John Dee and Edward Kelley claimed to have received communication from angels, who allegedly provided them with the foundations of a language which they can use to communicate with “the other side.” This mysterious “angelic” language had its own alphabet, grammar and syntax, which they recorded in their journals. The new language was called “Enochian,” which springs from John Dee’s assertion that the Biblical Patriarch Enoch was the last human to know the language. But Dee preferred to call it “Angelical,” the “Celestial Speech,” the “First Language of God-Christ,” and particularly “Adamical,” because he claimed it was the language spoken by Adam in the Garden of Eden in naming all of God’s creatures.
According to Dee and Kelley, these angelic beings they communicated with told them that being able to speak the language would unlock the doors to unlimited knowledge, wisdom and power. The language is believed to be helpful in executing the 19 Enochian Calls – a series of incantations which could supposedly summon powerful celestial beings.
The Enochian Language & Its Alphabet
Enochian is a language composed of a 21-letter alphabet. The Enochian script is written from right to left, and may also include diacritical marks. The alphabet is used in the practice of Enochian Magic on Angelical or Enochian Keys
There are two different versions of the Enochian Alphabet, with one script slightly different from the other. The first version is contained in Dee’s manuscript, the first five “Books of the Mysteries.” The second version – which is the more widely accepted version – is from “Liber Loagaeth” and is said to be based on Kelley’s original drawings.
The “Liber Loagaeth” contained the initial messages received by Kelley during his visions and contact with the angels. The book consists of 49 great letter tables or squares made of 49 by 49 letters, and is said to be the first corpus of texts in the purported Angelic language. However, Dee and Kelley said the angels never translated the texts in this book.
The other set of Enochian texts was received through Kelley around a year later. This time, the texts came with English translations, and has, therefore, provided the basis for the Enochian vocabulary. The texts contain 48 poetic verses, which Dee called in his manuscripts as “Claves Angelicae” or “Angelic Keys.” Each Key are assigned a specific function within the magical system. And Dee was apparently planning to use them to "open the 49 Gates of Wisdom or Understanding" represented by the 49 magic squares in ‘Liber Loagaeth.’”
Although these texts contained most of the vocabulary of the Enochian language, dozens of other words are found hidden in Dee’s journals, while thousands of undefined words are found in the “Liber Loagaeth.”
Skepticism Over the Enochian Language
Because of the loss of parts of John Dee’s original manuscripts, various interpretations have arisen regarding the meaning, validity and authenticity of the Enochian language. However, ever since its initial publication, the language has also been met with suspicions, skepticism and even hostility.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Enochian was widely considered to be the language of demons. This belief arose from the anti-Christian doctrines that the angels have supposedly told Dee and Kelley. For example, the angels that spoke with the two occultists denied the Godship of Jesus by telling them that nobody should pray to or through Jesus. They also discredited the existence of the Holy Ghost. Such claims shook the foundations of Christianity, which caused some people to conclude that the “good angels” that Dee and Kelley contacted are actually demons. And therefore, Enochian was not the language of angels but was a demonic one.
People that followed the Christian faith were not the only ones who questioned the authenticity of Enochian. Linguists and scholars had a two-fold basis for their skepticism over the language. First was Edward Kelley’s questionable character. Since he had previously been jailed for forgery, it was not impossible that the supposed Angelic language they discovered was just another one of his fabrications. The second was the fact that the so-called prophecies proclaimed by the angels they supposedly spoke with did not materialize. For example, the angels prophesized that Dee would be tried for treason. But in real life, that never actually happened.
Enochian has also been extensively analyzed by modern linguists, both enthusiasts and skeptics alike. However, until now, the results from any linguistics analysis have yet to be 100% conclusive. The conclusions drawn from their evaluations typically depend on whether the analyst is a believer or a skeptic.
Some magicians have asserted that Enochian is the oldest language in the world that predates all other human languages. In some circles, the language is also considered among the most powerful strains of magic, and is also a method of contacting beings from other dimensions.
Detractors and skeptics, on the other hand, have pointed out that the syntax of Enochian bears a strong similarity to the English language – which is Dee and Kelley’s natural language. For example, the word “lucifitias,” an Enochian term that translates to “brightness,” bears a connection to Lucifer, whose name translates to “Light Bringer.” Another example is “londoh,” the Enochian word for “kingdom,” which may have just been a representation of Dee’s connection with his royal patron, the Queen of England.
Computer analysis have reportedly shown Enochian to share a grammatical relationship to English. Aside from this, the texts found in the “Liber Loagaeth,” are found to have demonstrated phonetic features that do not appear in natural language. In fact, the Enochian language’s phonetic features are more closely related with “glossolalia,” or speaking in tongues.
Although the authenticity of Enochian as the language of angels remains heavily disputed until now, its current impact in our religious and spiritual communities cannot be denied. Even in modern times where science and technology is accepted by many to be the real key that will unlock the secrets of the universe, there are still many believers of the Enochian language’s supernatural association and magical power. In fact, many modern occultists have created a functional system of magic using the Enochian language, and to some of them, they consider it an extremely powerful magical language that should only be used by experienced occultists.