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John Dee and the Empire of Angels: Enochian Magick and the Occult Roots of the Modern World

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  224 ratings  ·  34 reviews
John Dee (1527–1608), Queen Elizabeth I's court advisor and astrologer, was the foremost scientific genius of the 16th century. Laying the foundation for modern science, he actively promoted mathematics and astronomy as well as made advances in navigation and optics that helped elevate England to the foremost imperial power in the world. Centuries ahead of his time, his th ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Inner Traditions
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Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is serious scholarship. Let’s get that out of the way from the beginning. If you are expecting a “how to contact your guardian angel in 5 easy lessons” book stay away! Divided into 3 “books” or sections Louv focusing on Dee’s early life, the actual angelic conversations and how this current has continued into modern occultism. Throughout there is careful and detailed attention given to the apocalyptic shenanigans that have taken place on behalf of extreme fringe cults and individuals a ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It was really well written, entertaining, and well researched. That said, I don't agree with the conclusions drawn at the very end. I won't put any spoilers here, but please message me if you want to discuss! ...more
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
My initial impression of this book was positive, as it's section about the lives and doings of Dr John Dee and his 'scryer' Edward Kelly gave a rounded, anecdotal view of their dealings and the historical (and courtly) context in which they moved and acted. As one reads further into the book an 'apocalyptic' theme emerges fully where the 'enochian angels' (the discarnate intelligences which the spiritual seances of Dee and Kelly contacted) are purported to manipulate humans to bring about the es ...more
Michel Ortega
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This masterpiece is an important body of work about the history of one of the greatest magicians from the last centuries. John Dee, the scientist, the magician, the prophet is a life that must be read, work to study and ideas to meditate.

Jason Louv made an astonishing historical piece. The importance of this work will last and hopefully inspire a lot of people.

Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good and really informative book for the most part, but Louv’s conclusions in the final chapter were so muddled and disappointing that they nearly killed my enjoyment of the entire book. It also got a little slow towards the middle. The Jack Parsons bits were my favorites
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just to be clear from the start — John Dee and the Empire of Angels is not a book for everyone. It provides an excellent and remarkably granular history of John Dee and Edward Kelly, and for that reason alone I would recommend it. However, this book (unlike any other historical record of John Dee), goes balls deep into Dee’s angelic scrying sessions with Kelly, and then goes even further to relate how those scrying sessions went on to influence the realms of science, as well as the Western Esote ...more
Cameron Seibold
Jul 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really fascinating and extremely in depth, detailed account of the life of John Dee and how his work in the field of magic influenced centuries to come. Jason Louv has done a great job shedding light on some lesser known figures of history here. Honestly a lot of the information in this book just blew my mind, for lack of a better term.
Phil James
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myths, biography
I thought before reading this it would be involved with an obscure corner of history but out of this dark corner a light of illumination shines. It helped me understand the context for the occultist revival of last century and the apocalyptic obsession of modern culture and politics.
John Dee and the Empire of Angels...

I became familiar with Jason Louv through his appearances on Duncan Trussell's podcast. At that time I was made aware of his book on the legendary alchemist, secret agent of Elizabeth I, John Dee. I added it to my list on here. Recently, with a push from someone special to me, it was moved up my list.

I was between a three-star and four-star rating for this, but I think it sits comfortably at four based on some sections that provoked what I would consider five
Edric Unsane
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in the life of John Dee, and how he influenced generations to come, then John Dee and the Empire of Angels is most certainly for you. The amount of scholarly work which went into this book shows, so bravo to the author! I found the book to be great, and it really flushed out quite a few things that I had no knowledge of. I highly recommend this if you are interested in occult history or John Dee as it's everything one needs to know of the man himself. ...more
Louv is a talented and competent writer but this book has flaws that might stem from its subject matter and make it hard to unconditionally recommend. Most of the book is about its titular subject and provides an enjoyable, if concise, overview of his life and career. But rather than attempt to be another Dee biography, the author positions Dee's apocalyptic vision quest at the centre of his life and this account of his life. This is a great approach. His motivation, intellectual background and ...more
R.J. Gilmour
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It really is hard to know what to say about Louv's book on John Dee. It is a fascinating although really odd book. Louv who is not a trained academic has done a lot of research into the life of Dee, but at the same time the book spends a great deal of time and energy on Dee's speaking with angels. The focus on magic and its relationship to modern science, the Rosicurians, the Masons and other such organizations is reminiscent of the connections made in books like The Da Vinci Code which made me ...more
Lynne Thompson
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Elizabethan John Dee, Queen Elizabeth I's science adviser, alchemist, spy (he was the original 007), the inspiration for Prospero in Shakespeare's "The Tempest," and Speaker to Angels, is probably not known by many. This book, written by a practicing occultist with a grounding in chaos magic, provides a good introduction to the man, his ideas (both scientific and occult), and his conversations with angels. It also includes how Dee's occultism filtered into the general society through the Pro ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars. A longform conspiracy theory--this is if Disinformation produced actual scholarly work. It's about a polymath/Renaissance man--

The Elizabethan era kind of led a through line to the modern world. The British Empire was a allegedly a meme John Dee divined from an angel. John Dee was as a through line between Copernicus and Newton, but took a left turn. It'd be like if Stephen Hawking became Terrence McKenna.

They presented the idea of the British Empire as necessary--as seen as a protes
Evadare Volney
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating read, and the most striking thing about it for me is the way it builds on earlier writers on Dee and his life and work like Dame Frances Yates and Benjamin Woolley to carry that legacy of, not just Hermetic magick but also his apocalyptic worldview, into the present day: through the Rosicrucian movement, the Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, and Jack Parsons (whom he compares to Dee as someone who was both a committed occultist and a pioneer in the cutting-edge s ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Weird and interesting book. I don't really read much about the occult but I was sucked in by the bold hypotheses that John Dee was pivotal to the formation of the British empire. Besides the fact he was likely the first person to use the term "British Empire", the evidence for this assertion was lacking. The book felt kind of fragmented, and it read more like a series of related journal articles than a coherent history.

On the other hand, the politics of Queen Elizabeth's court, and the bizarre
Dan Relluchs
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
An unusual read, exciting in some places, in others incredibly dull.

The story of Dee and Kelly was quite new to me. They're like a 1500s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas touring around medival Europe. I think there's some good material for a more interesting book or TV series about their various antics. John Dee wrote the preface to the first English edition of Euclid, so he's obviously a clever guy but then he spends an awful lot of his life trying to literally talking with angels (though this al
A.J. Jr.
Dec 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. The material alone is worth 5 stars. The author is a good writer and he has structured this book well. I've been interested in Christian Cabala, having read about it in Michael Hoffman's "The Occult Renaissance Church of Rome" and Francis Yates' books on "The Rosicrucian Enlightenment" and "The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age." It's fascinating to me that people once believed that Christian Cabala, and the summoning of angels, would replace Medieva ...more
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Louv’s work here is a massive undertaking, an attempt to not only document Dee’s importance to his times, but to connect his work to our modern situation in an unbroken thread. For the most part, he succeeds; the biographical portrait of Dee is full and complex, and the record of his angelic conversations does a great job at explaining an often mystifying and confusing collection of occult work. His connection of Dee to our age, through Crowley and Parsons, is also fantastic work. If you have an ...more
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Louv's Empire of Angels is an exceptional book. Rewind history 500 or so years to the court of Queen Elizabeth I and her chief astrologer Dr. John Dee.
At his home in Mortlake right by the Thames and other places, he along with his scryer Edward Kelley contacted some Angels.

It was a magical working that would change the shape of the political world from then until now.

Louv details what happened in a blow by blow account that is remarkable.
Great scholarship and fine storytelling.
Samuel Davis
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
took me longer than i thought it would as the subject matter is intimidating and i have little to no background knowledge on magick of any sort. was expecting to be very much out of my depth but despite my ignorance i found myself able to glean insight and ultimately follow Louv's historical narrative. he was very good at acknowledging subjectivity and objectivity, allowing space for dualism all the while pointing to that which transcends. ...more
Peter Morris
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: occult
Could be considered as the leading bio on Dee and the author clearly has made a concerted effort to present the man in a balanced way. Recommended as a good insight into the subject though the later stages of the book were perhaps lees convincing.
Peter A. Lio
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deep philosophical work

I love his approach here, with excellent writing, clear presentation, and plenty of thought-provoking philosophy. I got a little confused and derailed during the Aethers, but overall this is a foundational book that I cherish.
May 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
Obviously a ton of work went into this book, but it just wasn’t for me. I don’t feel that Louv managed to prove many of his assertions (chiefly that Dee was responsible for the eventual British Empire) and the end was kind of a muddle.
Anthony Ryan
Oct 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book, I had been eagerly awaiting getting a copy for some while, and it has not disappointed. The last chapter is either contentious or compelling, contingent on your perspective. Not a usual historical record, and not for every reader. Muggles beware! I personally loved it.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review pending over at at http://www.spiralnature.com/ ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Revealed an awesome world of magick and it's weird effect on culture. ...more
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perhaps the most grand conspiracy I have ever read. Certainly the most well sourced.
Well researched and interesting.
Ihsan Muderrisoglu
Intelligently brilliant

Angels and demons, did you think it was an era of the past? Absolutely not. Here now as ever was. Kudos to the book and author.
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Jason Louv is the author of eight books, including John Dee and the Empire of Angels, Generation Hex, and Thee Psychick Bible. As a journalist, he has covered surveillance, international trade and the dark side of technology for VICE News, Boing Boing, Motherboard and many more. As a futurist and strategist, Jason has worked on Buzz Aldrin’s international campaign to colonize Mars, Google's artifi ...more

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