Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Swedish Review of Enochian Magic in Theory
Robert Halvarsson of cultural magazine Tidningen Kulturen has reviewed my book Enochian Magic in Theory. You can read the original in Swedish here, but the reviewer was kind enough to translate the review below:
16th century magic today
Irish author Dean F. Wilson have a strong inclination and interest towards the magical-religious system in modern times referred to as enochian magic. This is evident through Kerubim press release of the book Enochian magic in theory. Through this work Wilson makes a skilled attempt at laying down the theoretical foundation which is part of the system that came out of 16th century Christian occultism. Namely the work begun by astrologer John Dee and clairvoyant Edward Kelley, and their communication with a number of entities they thought to be angels.
Through the 19th century’s occult revival, this body of work and more non-rationalist systems were invented or conjured from the past. In the case of enochian magic this was done largely through the Rosicrucian influenced magical order of the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD), Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis and its later incarnations. These organizations popularized the works of Dee and Kelley, and also changed several aspects of it.
In our modern times Wilson is a modern heir to the original impulse coming from Dee, through his own Golden Dawn-oriented blog Mishkan ha-Echad and other writing he continues the angelology that made Dee’s name to be remembered. Enochian magic in theory is thought of as the first of a series of two books – the latter focusing more on the practical applications of the theoretical framework presented herein.
Now, it should be noted that Wilson is a practitioner of the system he here espouses. This is clearly evident in the way that he writes about the topic. He also doesn’t dismiss other peoples ideas of the system out of hand, that goes against his own theories of the nature of the enochian system, rather he argues and presents these ideas and then contributes his own theories.
This becomes evident when Wilson argues against the American qabbalist and hermetic author Paul Foster Case. Case believed that the system was inherently dangerous for the mental health of practitioners, these arguments are preserved in a letter addressed to Golden Dawn-author Israel Regardie. Wilson presents Case’s arguments, and then provides his own ideas in contrast.
Wilson also makes several arguments to support the claim that the enochian system is both working, real and not inherently dangerous if the right precautions are taken. The angels themselves though, are hardly the image we have of victorian kerubim, but rather firmly rooted of a larger biblical tradition. Also, which should be noted, some consider these also as part of an apocalyptic tradition as well.
Regardless as to what we choose to believe about the legitimacy of the angels existence, Wilson’s clear prose should make us understand his arguments without any second-guessing. A refreshing thing while taking into account the inherent complexity of the source-material itself.
Enochian magic in theory is a piece of work that should have marginal interest to the general public, but is well-written and collects a lot of knowledge in one place. Besides containing a background, there are also discussions of the nature of the language itself, as well as grammatical and phonetic speculations.
Fortunately, given the seriousness of the ideas and the argued danger of wrong application, Wilson always comes forward as approaching the system with a keen sense of respect for its volatile aspects. At all times he advocates safety-measures to be taken and right preparations. This posits him in stark contrast to some magical groups and individuals of today. And considering the ongoing popularity of esotericism, this is a good thing – and hopefully will provide somewhat of an antidote to the potential of reckless behaviour.
Text: Robert Halvarsson