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Academic Beginnings
Dee's attempt at a National Library
Preliminary Aphoristic Teachings
Dee in Royal Favour
New Star
Calendar Reform
Angel Guidance
Notes & References
About the Author

Elizabeth I: The Virgin Queen

Mysteriorum Libri Quinque or, Five Books of Mystical Exercises of Dr. John Dee - view online

John Dee: The Inspired Melancholic - by Sue Toohey

In his introduction to Arthur Koestler's The Sleepwalkers,[1] Herbert Butterfield makes the point that we often read too much modernity into figures of the past. By selecting things that have a modern ring and taking them out of context we can give anachronistic treatment to those we have chosen to see in our own terms. Leaving behind anything that does not fit with our 21st century perception of what is valid and respectable, we often paint a picture that obscures the deeper truth of those we describe. It is for this reason that historians have largely ignored John Dee, except to describe him as eccentric and not to be taken seriously. Very few have been able to get past what they see as his peculiar and unreliable character to give him recognition as one of the great intellects of his time.

We cannot expect to understand Dee by taking him out of his own time and placing him within the understanding of our own, judging his works through 21st century considerations and dismissing them to be of no value. To have a true understanding of the substantial contributions that Dee made to Elizabethan England, we must first place him within the perspective of his own environment, in the 16th century, surrounded by his 16th century contemporaries, many of whom were developing similar beliefs and ideas. Known by many as the Queen's Conjuror, Dee was born on 13th July 1527 at 4:02pm near London. He left no record of interpretation of his own chart but we know that he managed to plot the positions to within a few minutes of arc, no doubt using one of the fifteen ephemeredes he had in his possession. Mercury at around 2° out and the Ascendant at around 1° out were the only inaccuracies.[2]

John Dee's horoscope

The only evidence we now have of Dee's natal interpretations is that of Sir Philip Sidney. It is a sixty-two-page nativity with several predictions. Dee predicted that Sir Sidney would have a wonderful career between the ages of fifteen and thirty-one. However, at this time, he would be in mortal danger from a sword or gunshot wound. If he survived this he would bring greater glory to himself. Sir Sidney was killed on 17th October 1586, aged 31.[3]

Dee was a true Renaissance man. He was a man who was immersed in the learning of such subjects as astronomy, mathematics, geography, history and science. He was a brilliant lecturer and demonstrator, probing the secrets of which his vast reading, his foreign associations and his unique library gave him an awareness that was perhaps more profound than others of his time. His interest in such subjects was legendary and his contributions to England in these areas were extensive. His writings included subjects such as navigation, history, geometry, astrology and many others. His work in navigation was of considerable advantage to England's efforts to forge new areas of dominion in the world. But, most importantly to Dee, he was a Christian Cabalist, one who was acutely aware of the supercelestial world of the angels and divine powers. Frances Yates commented that to truly understand John Dee, we must face the fact that he was a follower of Cornelius Agrippa and attempted to apply 'occult' philosophy throughout his life and work it into everything he did.[4]

Academic Beginnings

In November 1542, at the age of fifteen, Dee began attending St John's College at Cambridge. He became obsessed with study, sleeping only four hours a night and allowing two hours for rest and going to divine service. At this time, new learning had been adopted, largely introduced by Erasmus. Ancient writers began to be resurrected and studied and liberal arts such as geometry, arithmetic, harmonics and astronomy increased in popularity. Dee had a passion for mathematics, which, at that time, was still associated with the 'black arts'. Calculating was synonymous with conjuration but Dee found the cosmic combinations irresistible. This passion for the deeper mysteries would not only cost him a short time in prison but would lead to a mistaken impression of someone who had forsaken 'real' knowledge to pursue dangerous and malevolent practices.

In 1546, Dee obtained his BA. In that same year, Henry VIII founded Trinity College and Dee was selected as one of the original fellows. It was then that he turned more closely to the study of astronomy and astrology, taking thousands of skilled observations of the heavenly influences and operations. In 1547, he wrote:

"I began to make observations (very many to the hour and minute) of the heavenly influences and operations actual in this elemental portion of the world." [5]

The next year Dee journeyed abroad for the first time, enjoying an increasingly positive reputation everywhere he went. He had several offers and invitations for royal patronage and from learned scholars, spending time at Louvain University near Brussels where he encountered the ideas of Copernicus and George Rheticius as well as studying Euclid's Elements. At the young age of twenty-four he delivered lectures on Euclid with great success, something that had never been done previously in any university of Christendom.[6] While at Louvain he was encouraged in this study by Gerard Mercator, the famous geographer, and it was largely his influence that led him to eventually compose the Aphorisms (printed 1558), which he recommends in the Preface as the most compendious treatment of the basis of this science. Dee formed a close friendship with Mercator, bringing back to England some of the globes that were designed by the geographer.

Dee returned to England to the reign of nine-year-old Edward VI and soon became well established as an intellectual of some standing. He presented the King with two of his astronomical works, one on celestial globes, the other on the sizes and distances of heavenly bodies. However, Edward's reign was cut short when he died on July 6th 1553, aged only fifteen. Earlier that year, the Duke of Northumberland had called in Italian physician Girolamo Cardano (Jerome Cardan) to cast Edward's horoscope. After over one hundred hours of deliberation he gave his report. However, stories of this event differ. One was that Cardano saw the problems in the chart but decided not to declare them while others report that he failed to see the dangers in Edward's chart. At that time drawing up a horoscope for a monarch was potentially illegal, being considered a form of spying through magical surveillance. If Cardano had seen the problems ahead, he would have been well advised not to report them.

Upon Edward's death, his sister Mary, who came to the throne, set about restoring Catholicism while doing everything in her power to destroy Protestantism and those who supported it. One of these Protestants was Dee's father Roland who was financially destroyed by the accusations against him. Mary's supporters began to burn prominent Protestants and it was during this time that Dee was arrested, his house sealed and his books and papers seized as evidence. His living was also confiscated. He was identified as a member of a secret Protestant cell believed to be clustered around Elizabeth. The accusations against Dee focused on mathematics and magic and he was arrested on the plea of an informant who alleged that one of his children had been struck blind and another killed by Dee's magic. The informant also declared that Dee was directing his enchantments against the queen's life. Dee was examined before the Secretary of State by the Privy Council and brought to trial. He was charged with calculating, conjuring and witchcraft on the grounds that he had drawn up horoscopes for Mary, her husband Philip and Elizabeth. He was eventually cleared of all suspicions of treason and freed by an Order in Council. He was handed over to the Bishop for examination in matters of religion who was equally satisfied and freed Dee.

Dee's attempt at a National Library

It was Dee's dream to found a State Library of Books and Manuscripts of which England could be proud. He believed strongly in preserving the ancient wisdom of those who had gone before him. In January 1556, he presented Queen Mary with "A supplication for the recovery and preservation of ancient writers and monuments", proposing that a commission be appointed to enquire what valuable manuscripts exist, and that they be borrowed and copied if the owner won't relinquish it. He suggested that they commit to him the task of procuring copies of many famous overseas manuscripts in the great libraries abroad. To the detriment of English academia, his suggestion was refused and it was another 50 years before Thomas Bodley opened his collection at Oxford and close to 200 years before the British Museum was established.

Not to be deterred by this rebuff, Dee continued to collect books and manuscripts, acquiring an extensive personal collection. His library consisted of about 4,000 volumes at a time when the library at Cambridge University had a mere 200 books. The collection clearly reflects Dee's interest in such things as philosophy, alchemy, astrology, (including a substantial proportion dealing with Copernican and Ptolemaic astronomy), and medicine. Some of the books in his collection included copies of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus, Boethius' Consolations of Philosophy, Cornelius Agrippa's Occulta Philosophia, Pliny's Mundi Historia, (now in the British Museum), and Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, which was a manuscript copy from the library of the French King. Other books included works from such authors as Guido Bonatus, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon and Augustine as well as a substantial collection of works by Arabic and Persian writers. Dee was very generous with his collection and people would meet at his place to discuss ideas, often taking away books that they borrowed from his library.

Preliminary Aphoristic Teachings

During the time of Mary's reign, Dee started on a work of his own, Propaedeumata Aphoristica (Preliminary Aphoristic Teachings), a series of maxims explaining astrological powers by rational processes. He wanted to understand how celestial events influenced sublunar ones. Dee believed that when God created the universe, he let loose a divine force, which caused the planets to turn, the Sun to rise and the Moon to wax and wane. Magic is the human ability to tap into this force. The better our understanding of the way it drives the universe, the more powerful the magic. Dee theorised that every entity in the universe emanated 'rays' or a force which influences other objects it struck. He took as an example the forces of attraction and repulsion produced by the 'lodestone' - magnetised iron ore. This demonstrated in miniature what was happening throughout the universe. The important feature of the 'rays' for Dee was that they could be studied scientifically. He pleaded for more detailed astronomical studies, so that the true sizes and distances, and therefore influences of the heavenly bodies could be established. This became the basis of Dee's natural philosophy, and in several ways anticipates Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica.[7] Like Newton, Dee believed that the universe worked according to mathematical laws. Dee had planned the Propaedeumata to be his 'magnum opus'. However, two devastating epidemics of influenza in 1557/58 gave Dee reason to believe his days were numbered. He hurried to finish it and arranged for a draft to be published in the event of his death. However, belief in his imminent demise was somewhat premature and he went on to live another very fruitful fifty years.

Dee in Royal Favour

On 17th November, 1558 Mary died and Elizabeth ascended the throne. After Elizabeth's ascension, England was once again well on its way to becoming a Protestant nation. Dee was chosen by Robert Dudley to elect the best time for the coronation, a task that Dee took on with great seriousness. After much deliberation he chose 15th January 1559 as the time that would be most fortuitous to her reign. The selection of this time may well have contributed to Elizabeth's long and very successful reign and his involvement in this happy event assured Dee's position as a favourite in the royal household.

After the coronation, Dee spent a number of years overseas. On his arrival home in June 1564, he presented Elizabeth with a copy of Monas Hieroglyphica. He believed this to be his most important work to date, dedicating it to the new Holy Roman Emperor, Maximillian II. It was considered to be a risky work that was filled with magical ideas, deeply influenced by Continental thinking, and dangerously preoccupied with what many considered to be pagan matters, combining numerology, the Cabala, astrology, cosmology and mathematics. Even to study such things was to lay oneself open to the suspicion of being a magician. In the early years of Queen Elizabeth's reign it was thought necessary to pass an Act of Parliament decreeing that all who practiced sorcery causing death should suffer death. Any conjuration of an evil spirit was to be punished by death as a felon. Dee's relationship with English academia had been deteriorating since leaving Trinity in 1548. Publication of the Monas marked a decisive split in this relationship. The queen, however, was so fascinated by what was in the book that she became Dee's student, spending considerable time immersed in such studies.

In 1570 Dee was asked to write the Preface to Henry Billingsley's first English translation of Euclid's Elements. Some say it is one of Dee's greatest achievements. He felt that he had been restrained in what he wrote and was disappointed that the English translation of this work had taken so long, coming after editions in Italian, German, High Dutch, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Charlotte Fell Smith describes Dee's work on this preface:

"A study of this preface alone must convince any reader that the author was no charlatan or pretender, but a true devotee of learning, gifted with a far insight into human progress." [8]

Prior to becoming queen, Elizabeth had struck up a good friendship with Dee. Once on the throne, she depended on Dee as her astrologer so when he fell dangerously ill at Mortlake in 1571, after a tedious journey abroad, Elizabeth sent two of her physicians to look after him. She may have felt obliged to do this as he had been on a mission at her request. Some believe that this mission involved alchemic experiments that Dee had been undertaking. Every court in Europe had astrologers and alchemists. The idea of transmutation through alchemy was one that was taken quite seriously and Dee was granted special rights far beyond someone of his standing. It is believed that Dee became a secret double agent to the queen in England's war with Spain and in his private communications with Elizabeth, the secret name identifying him to Queen Elizabeth is reputed to have been that of 007. He is reported to have put 'For your eyes only' on the outside of any correspondence. It is said that Ian Fleming had been reading a biography of Dee while writing his first spy novel, leading him to choose 007 as the signature of his most successful character. It is hard to say how much truth there is in this account or whether it is entirely apocryphal. Some biographers mention it while others do not. There is certainly enough evidence to suggest that Dee's travels were often for reasons other than those stated and that he did do some work of this nature on behalf of the queen.

New Star

In 1573, Dee released a work that had been prompted by the appearance of something unusual in the skies the previous year. In November 1572, a new star appeared in the sky. Dee noticed it, as did the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, an admirer of Dee's. Both made extensive observations of this new star over the following months. It had appeared in the constellation of Cassiopeia, and was considerably brighter than the two main stars of the constellation, often being visible during the day. There was some dispute as to the last time a new star had appeared. Hipparchus had observed one in 125 BCE and the only other one to be documented was the Star of Bethlehem. While astronomers like Tycho Brahe were prepared to accept the star as a new creation, some like Cardano attempted to maintain more orthodox cosmological doctrines. Cardano was motivated to pronounce that the star had been present since the beginning of time in the heavens, essentially unaltered, and was in fact that which had guided the Magi, (the Star of Bethlehem), but had merely remained invisible due to causes that were unrelated with its own quintessential nature.

The implications for the appearance of this star were enormous. It went to the very heart of the existing cosmological order. This appearance would also lead to the upset of the existing theological and political order. If this was a new star, it meant that the great outer orb of the universe, unchanged since the moment of Creation, had somehow altered. If it had altered, then the real question was, how? People like Ptolemy and Aristotle had taught that the universe is unchanging. If, as it seemed by the appearance of something hitherto unseen, this was not the case, it would put in doubt everything that was known about the universe. This new evidence created the perfect environment for alternative theories to be considered. One of the most important of these was the heliocentric theory Copernicus had proposed thirty years earlier.[9]

Dee found the Copernican theory very attractive. In 1557 he and John Field, his cellmate when he was arrested during Mary's reign, published a table of star positions. It was among the first to use calculations based on the Copernican system. The attraction for Dee was that it fitted so closely with his own mission to recover the prisci theologi. The main attraction was philosophical as much as mathematical. To subsequent generations, De Revolutionibus is a work that wiped away an old worldview. But for its author, it represented something quite different: a return to an ancient, simple idea, one that the detractors of Copernicus considered pagan. The book is full of allusions clearly inspired by the Renaissance fascination with recovering the ancient theology - the prisci theologi.

Dee regarded the new star as important evidence in support of the theories proposed by Copernicus. He, along with his pupil, Thomas Digges, developed what was considered to be a very radical theory for the appearance of this new star. The fact that the level of brightness changed for the star suggested that the star was moving in space. This implied that it was not attached to a sphere and that there was space into which it could recede beyond the celestial sphere, traditionally regarded as Heaven itself. Dee theorised that the star was moving in a straight line away from the earth. Digges, who was even more confident and public about his belief in the theories of Copernicus, took itfurther by suggesting that it was the earth that was moving as it revolved around the Sun.

Calendar Reform

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued a bull commanding the Catholic world to remove ten days from the Calendar that had been adopted by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE. This calendar had been adopted by the Christian world at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, the first of the general councils of the church. The aim of this was to ensure that all Christians observe Easter at the same time, and thus to provide a basic unity in the church. Unfortunately, this was based on erroneous measurements of solar and lunar cycles giving the Julian measure a year that was eleven minutes too long. By the time of the sixteenth century, this had caused the calendar to drift ten days out of date. Holy and feast days had drifted out of alignment with the celestial events they were supposed to mark, most notably the equinoxes and solstices. One result was that Easter was no longer occurring on the date it was supposed to. These errors had been known for centuries and even Copernicus' De Revolutionibus (1543) had started out as a contribution to the project of calendar reform.

Francis Walsingham acquired a copy of the Papal Bull and asked for the opinion of Dee, who wrote a 62-page treatise, delivering it to William Cecil on 26th February 1583. Dee agreed that the calendar needed to change, but rather than the ten days proposed in the Papal Bull, Dee was advocating a change of eleven days. The Gregorian proposal was based on the calculations that reached back to the Council of Nicaea. Citing a range of authorities, including Copernicus, Dee argued that this was the wrong starting date. The calculations, according to Dee, were based on an artificial foundation - the Council of Nicaea - a political rather than cosmic occurrence. Dee took the calculation back to what he considered to be a universal moment, the birth of Christ.[10] Dee saw religious truth and arcane science as aspects of the same revelation, and it was essential to maintain a common framework for both. The calendar was part of this framework. Genesis 1:14 states:

"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." [11]

Correct numbering and measurement were the way for humanity to achieve not only correct knowledge of the divine order but also the right management and exploitation of the world in accordance with divine wishes.

Dee believed that an accurate calendar is essential and should be based on astronomical observations and mathematical principles. Walsingham and Cecil supported Dee's proposal. However the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund Grindal, whose feud with Elizabeth had reached a new intensity, blocked it. The dividing line on the issue of calendar reform lay not between England and Rome but within England, between church and state. As long as there was major disagreement over whether the calendar was a religious or a civil - or even a scientific - issue, it was unlikely to be reformed. As a result of this decision, England (and its colonies) remained outside the Gregorian calendar system for another one hundred and seventy years.

Angel Guidance

In his later years, Dee was to join forces with Edward Kelley, a man of questionable ethics who was later found to be a fraud. He was the scryer in Dee's communication with angels and it was Dee's involvement with Kelley, and their activities involving angels that was the main cause for Dee's less than favourable reputation towards the latter part of his life. However, the existence of spirits and the fact that they involve themselves with human activity was regarded fairly generally in Dee's time as an almost necessary belief both on religious grounds and for reasons drawn from natural philosophy. In many standard texts that were popular during the Renaissance, writers often declared their belief in spirits or angels. Plutarch classified spirits as either good and immortal or lower, evil ones who were mortal. Apuleius agreed with Plato that there are divine powers holding a position and possessing a character intermediary between gods and men. Johannes Trithemius had written Steganographia [12], a book largely related to Cabalist angel magic. The first part is about summoning district angels, or angels which rule over parts of the earth, the second is about time angels who rule the hours of the day and the third is about the seven angels higher than all of these who rule the planets. [13]

It was partly under these circumstances that Dee saw his involvement with Cabala as a natural extension of his scientific work. Dee always believed that there could only be good spirits and therefore did not fear involvement with lower spirits. He never denied his involvement, only the interpretation that had been put on them by others. Dee's angel-summoning activities were directly related to his Christian Cabalist beliefs. Through Christian Cabalism, he believed that he was protected and safe in the knowledge that he was conjuring angels and not demons. Yates says that this conviction was at the centre of Dee's belief in angelic guidance, and explains his pained surprise when alarmed and angry contemporaries insisted on branding him a wicked conjuror of devils.[14]

Yates describes Dee as the 'inspired melancholic'. She cites Agrippa's description of the melancholic as a Saturnian immersed in those sciences of number, which could lead their devotees into great depths of insight.

"Surely Dee's studies were such as to qualify him as a Saturnian, a representative of the Renaissance revaluation of melancholy as the temperament of inspiration." [15]

On his return from Europe in 1589, Dee discovered that a substantial part of his library had been stolen, along with many of the scientific instruments. The place had been vandalised and much of what wasn't stolen had been broken. In 1591 he lobbied the queen for the job of Mastership of St John's Cross, wishing to set up a research institute which would offer a secure place for thinkers who, elsewhere accused of atheism and necromancy, would here find a safe environment to pursue their work under the protection of the queen. The matter was considered and Dee was finally given a vague answer of the possibility of being given one of the new posts that were soon to be granted. Dee waited in hope but word never came.

Dee, once a man of outstanding stature, found himself virtually alone in his later years. Elizabeth had become increasingly concerned about association with a man who had been repeatedly accused of conjuring devils. Throughout her reign she had promised Dee much but delivered very little. Dee had spent a fortune of his own money in service to the queen and never saw it returned. It is difficult to know whether Dee should have taken this personally, given Elizabeth's reputation as someone who rarely rewarded those who deserved it most and was very sparing with financial appreciation. In the last years of his life Dee found himself rejected by the previous monarch and completely shunned by the new one.

When James 1 ascended the throne in 1603, Dee was an old man. His reputation was in tatters and he was living in poverty. In 1604 he applied to James to have his name publicly cleared of any accusations of conjuring devils. This pardon was unlikely from a man who zealously believed in the demonology of witches, personally oversaw the burning of hundreds of witches in Scotland and even wrote on the subject. James published a treatise, Daemonologie, in which he encouraged the use of torture and claimed that all witches must die by fire, even children. Within two weeks of James' ascent to the English throne, Parliament passed a new and stronger Witchcraft Act. Prior to this, witches could only be executed for causing death. With James' approval, witches could now be executed for a long list of offences including causing hurt through evil spirits, finding stolen property through magic, causing unlawful love, or by merely intending to hurt someone.[16] It became a dangerous time for those who, like Dee, immersed themselves in studies that may have been considered questionable by those in power.

The man to whom England owed so much died alone and in poverty in 1608 while his reputation suffered ridicule for many years to come. However, attitudes towards this remarkable man are changing. I.R.F. Calder, in his fascinating PhD thesis, described Dee's involvement in various activities as quite justifiable.

"It is to be observed that many of the apparent eccentricities of Dee's thought, the intricate and unprofitable mazes of Cabala and occultism in which he inextricably involved himself, were, in some respects, no more than rigorously derived consequences of the general philosophy he had so heartily embraced."[17]

Historians such as Charlotte Fell Smith and, most notably, Frances Yates, have done much to restore his reputation as a man worthy of serious attention. Dee embodied the idea that Renaissance thinking, rather than being overcome by rationalism, was suffused with magic. Rather than accepting the widespread belief that the nature of this thinking forestalled the scientific revolution, it would be more fitting to consider that, without the efforts of these thinkers who pushed beyond the limits of what was perceptible, the scientific revolution might never have happened.

John Dee

Notes & References:
  1 ] Herbert Butterfield in Arthur Koestler, The Sleepwalkers, Arkana , London,1959, p.15.
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  2 ] Benjamin Wooley, The Queen's Conjuror, HarperCollins, London, 2001, p.9.
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  3 ] Ibid.
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  4 ] Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1964, p.97.
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  5 ] I.R.F. Calder, Studied as an English Neoplatonist, Unpublished Thesis, University of London, 1953. An online copy can be found at
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  6 ] Many of the new ideas being proposed were antithetical to the teachings of Aristotle. At this time Louvain's university regulations were very explicit. The doctrine of Aristotle was to be sustained at all times and no one was able to reject an opinion of Aristotle unless it had already been declared eretical through the Faculty of Theology. To do so was to bring immediate rejection from the university.
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  7 ] Benjamin Woolley, op cit. p.54.
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  8 ] Charlotte Fell Smith, John Dee, Constable & Company, London, 1909. An online copy can be found at
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  9 ] Copernicus was not primarily an astronomer and preferred to spend his time studying books. While studying one of these books, he noted that Aristarchus, a Greek astronomer, had suggested in the 3rd century BCE that the Sun was the centre of the universe. Copernicus set out to prove this theory through his own work De Revolutionibus. It was a book that he was reluctant to publish for fear of ridicule. However, Retichus was able to persuade him and in 1543 Copernicus received a copy of the published book only hours before his death.
See David Plant's article: The Copernican Revolution
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  10 ] Albumaser had attempted to prove in De Magnis Coniunctionibus that the world had been made when the seven planets were in conjunction in the first degree of Aries. Roger Bacon agreed with this saying that the Sun was placed by God in the Ram at the beginning because it has the most dignity there. Dee, going along with this, states in his Almanac of 1591 that Christ was conceived at the Sun's entrance into Aries, the Vernal Equinox.
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  11 ] Genesis, 1:14; King James Version
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  12 ] Even though this book was not published until 1606, it was freely available in manuscript form to those who wished to read it. Dee had a copy of this manuscript.
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  13 ] Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, p.145. The angels that Trithemius lists are Oriffied (Saturn), Zachariel (Jupiter), Samuel (Mars), Michael (Sun) Anael (Venus) Raphael (Mercury) and Gabriel (Moon). William Lilly lists the almost the same angels as ruling the planets in Christian Astrology but uses the variant spellings of Cassiel for Saturn and Zadkiel for Jupiter.
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  14 ] Frances Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, Routledge, London, 1979, p.96.
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  15 ] Ibid., p101.
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  16 ] It is estimated that around 7 million people throughout Europe, mostly women, died as a result of accusations of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries. Giordino Bruno, a contemporary of Dee, was burned at the stake in Italy in 1600. The danger of falling prey to accusations of witchcraft is said to be one of the reasons that Dee did not continue his travels through this area.
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  17 ] I.R.F. Calder, op. cit.
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Sue TooheySue Toohey is an Australian astrologer with a degree in history and philosophy. She is currently enrolled in a Masters degree, researching the history of astrology and religious thought. Sue also has a Homoeopathy degree, using awareness of all these areas to further her understanding of astrology. Her main areas of interest lie in traditional astrology and philosophy, seeking to understand how they contribute to our current appreciation of these disciplines.
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© Sue Toohey, October 2004

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