Review Copyright 2012 Freeman Presson, all rights reserved
I must begin this review by admitting that the subject of Enochian is above my pay grade as a practitioner at the moment (and will likely remain so for some time). You might also wish to read Bob Freeman’s review of this book; I will do so as soon as I publish mine (I never read anyone else’s review of something I intend to review myself).
For anyone unfamiliar with the history, Enochian (also known as Angelic) is a magical system containing an alphabet and a complete and consistent language (more or less so, depending on who you talk to), based on channeled material received by John Dee, Queen Elizabeth’s court astrologer, with his scryer, Edward Kelly. We have Dee’s journals containing the record of all his experiments because the philologist Méric Casaubon published them in the hopes of destroying Dee’s credibility and damaging the whole Hermetic project, just as his father, Isaac, had done by proving that the Greek original of the Corpus Hermeticum from which Ficino had made his famous translation was not pre-Christian, thereby shoving Hermes Trismegistus off the pedestal he had begun to occupy in the Catholic Church. Much later, we found the pre-Christian sources of the Corpus, so the father’s attempt eventually met a similar fate to the son’s.
This volume (nicely bound and printed on very good, unusually white paper) contains Liber LXXXIV vel Chanokh (Enoch), and The Vision and the Voice, which is Crowley’s excellent (and occasionally harrowing) magical record of working his way through the thirty Aethyrs of Enochian. This last is a fine text for scaring away people who probably don’t belong here, and making those who stay more enthusiastic. Its production values are outstanding; the only place it falls down is that the format, a little under 6×9, makes some of the diagrams hard to read. If you are planning to copy tables, etc., you will want your 4x magnifier at hand.
Enochian is rather en vogue recently, although it requires a serious commitment to pursue (Poke Runyon says it’s like jacking up your magical worldview and installing an Enochian foundation). It is important to know about, though, even if nary an “Ol sonuf vaoresaji …” ever escapes your lips.
DuQuette provides a brief introduction to the present volume, and reprints his introduction to the 1992 Magickal Childe edition of Dee’s journals. In the introduction, he recommends some other books and authors to study (naturally, just like every other branch of ceremonial magic, Enochian can bog you down for centuries just reading about it if you’re not selective). It looks like this book, DuQuette’s Enochian Vision Magick, and perhaps one of the editions of Dee’s journals (of which Skinner’s is reputedly best) would be a good start.
If you’re a student of the Western Esoteric Tradition, and especially if you don’t have another copy of The Vision and the Voice in your library, then you should have this. Not only that, at some point you should consider actually reading it!
The Best of the Equinox, Volume I
Aleister Crowley, Introduction by Lon Milo DuQuette
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
October 1, 2012
[Complimentary review copy from the publisher gratefully acknowledged, opinions my own, your mileage may vary, etc.]