Book Review: Enochian Magic in Theory – Dean F. Wilson

I do not generally discuss Enochian matters in public. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, one is apt to find one self in the midst of heated discussions between intelligent, young male  magicians centred on the minutiae of a how a particular letter should be vocalised. In his excellent and very readable book Mr Wilson addresses this matter head on with his advice that within obvious limits,

…pronunciation appears to be less important than it would at first appear, with magicians getting results regardless of how they pronounce the words”. (93)

The second reason I tend to shun public Enochian discussions is also directly addressed by Mr Wilson:

The truth about Enochian magic is that you do not have to put quite the same effort into getting results as you do with, for example, the Qabalah or Goetia. Even those who just read one of the Calls or listen to a recording of it frequently report unusual occurrences soon afterwards.

As a young naive Pagan teenager I discovered this for myself. Returning home with a rare copy of the out of print Golden Dawn by Regardie, I sat down at my desk and idly opened the book, my eyes falling on the strange Enochian in the middle of the Portal ceremony. Fascinated, I simply mouthed the words, hardly audible at all. The effect was weird, energetic but not dramatic.

Later that night however, as I began my Pagan circle in the middle of my room there was a strange scratching noise in the wall my desk lent against. As I turned the scratching intensified and moved up the wall, across the ceiling directly towards me. As it got above me I the sounds increased and the ceiling bowed as something seemed to be trying to claw its way to me. Fortunately, I had a modicum of sense and had already learnt the LRP so started frantically performing banishing pentagrams at the source of the noise, which soon subsided. Afterwards I was shocked and sweaty with an appreciation and awe of Enochian. However, as Mr Wilson continues:

…the results one gets when the energy is not properly channelled are entirely chaotic. Results does not always mean good results. Energy bouncing off the walls of one’s temple does not mean success in terms of achieving a desirable outcome.

This last piece of advice, I feel is crucial and is subtly re-empathised by Mr Wilson throughout the book, and I am sure will be expanded upon in the upcoming Enochian Magic in Practice. This very sensible approach is continued when Mr Wilson, calmly and patiently with logic, care and precision addresses the common concerns that Enochian magic is dangerous. He writes:

After working with Enochian for many years I came to the same conclusion as many others that there are definite dangers with using the system. However, these dangers are usually dependent on how a person approaches the system, as most of the horror stories surrounding Enochian revolve around someone taking on too much and trying to rush through the system. If the proper protocols are followed, with plenty of rest between workings, then there should be no significant risks. (37)

The first sentence of this paragraph shows one of the great strengths of this book: the author is within it. Throughout the work the aura of Mr Wilson, not just his intellectual opinions, but his magical presence, is very strong. It is a personal book, created from years of experience, experimentation, thought and above all spiritual practice. This book is not the fruit of intellectual and mental gymnastics but of careful exploration, humble dedication and receptivity to the purpose and spiritual lessons of the Enochian Angels.

Another great strength of the book is that the author consistently presents the various sides of an argument or discussion point, always with sympathy, before giving his own views and explaining why he holds them. When he presents material derived from his communion with the Angels, he says so. And, joy of joys, when he does not know something, or has limited experience, he also says so. What a wonderful thing to find in an occult book. 🙂

Sigillum Dei Aemeth

Somehow in 378 pages Mr Wilson does give an exceptional overview of this almost endless spiritual tradition. Naturally, I do not agree with Mr Wilson 100 per cent of the time but in matters Enochian that is normal, and I suspect the way it is meant to be. If modern magic is exegetical, as I affirm, Enochian magic is doubly so. The Angels commune with us personally to create a new variant, a new rendition of their eternal song. They certainly do so with Mr Wilson.

The book opens with a review of the lives of Dee and Kelley. This is very well handled, as it would be tempting to present a quick word portrait or to get lost in a biographical maze concerning these two extraordinary fellows. Mr Wilson steers us between these two extremes and the only fault I can find is his description of Dee and Kelley as a Deists. English Deism did not develop until after Dee’s death, and Deism specifically denies the intervention or influence of a deity upon creation through lesser beings such as Angels. Dee and Kelly were certainly un-orthodox, and perhaps heterodox Christians, but their piety precludes them being Deists.

Mr Wilson then gives a wonderful overview of the system, its origins and expansion, addressing concerns and criticisms in his patient, careful and personalised way. It is obvious Wilson loves this tradition but is not above accepting criticisms and concerns when they are warranted. While addressing the fears that the Enochian angels are actually demons in disguise, Mr Wilson sagely comments:

I am of the firm belief, from personal experience and in-depth study of both the source and secondary texts, that they are indeed angelic beings, though, at times, some demons may be are “nicer” and easier to work with. (59).

The same methodical, open and careful approach is used when Mr Wilson examines the Enochian language and then the various aspects of the system. Each aspect is covered in depth with appropriate linking to other chapters. This is the bulk of the book and there is a lot here, which for the beginner could be overwhelming. However, the way Mr Wilson carefully and with precision explains the system is perfect. If one does not read ahead before they are ready, even the most inexperienced reader will gain a solid appreciation of the entire Enochian tradition before finishing the book. The book is therefore very useful for anyone wanting to learn about the Enochian system but not necessarily practice it.

Throughout the book Mr Wilson presents the various different approaches to the system, that of the Golden Dawn, the original Dee approach and others. This is another great strength of the book and will ensure its appeal to a wide range of practitioners. I am very, very grateful for this approach, as being taught and practicing a GD based for most aspects of the tradition, I was able to compare and learn a lot from the book. 🙂

Mr Wilson’s discussion on the use of the various tools is a great feature of the book. It is sensible, real and based on personal experience.

Personally I would recommend that a magician working with Enochian employ this ring. While the system will still work without it, every safeguard helps in producing the best results and avoiding any unnecessary complications relating to intruding entities or an over-abundance of Enochian energy. (110)

Mr Wilson’s personal insights are peppered throughout the book, making it not only an enjoyable read, but since he obviously is a magician of some standing, a wonderful store of insights and hints for our own work and practice. Discussing the Sons and Daughters of Light, he writes:

The fact that Stimcul is used twice means that it is the name of both a Daughter of Light and a Son of Light. This might mean that Stimcul is androgynous and could provide some insights into the mysteries of the union of the feminine and masculine. (129)

Writing about the reverse of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth, Mr Wilson gives us his wisdom and writes:

The fact that this side of the Seal is so simple in comparison to the front suggest that it plays little role in the actual work itself. My own personal work has suggested that it is entirely designed to ground the energy, with the four sections relating to the four directions, elements and other correspondences that we find in Agrippa. (132)

The diagrams throughout the book are excellent. They clearly show the various tablets, letters, sigils, lamens, directions of reading and other essentials of the tradition. The drawing of them must have taken a lot of time and precision and they really make the book sing with delight and potency. They are some of the best Enochian diagrams I have seen and even the experienced Enochian magician of many years would be well served purchasing the book for them alone.

The inclusion of an Appendix on Enochian Gematria which details Mr Wilson’s  Enochian Order’s attributions is a great bonus to the book. This is followed by his own personal Enochian Dictionary in Appendix II, detailing the numerical value as well as the meaning of the words. A nice touch 🙂

Overall the book is an excellent new resource on one of the most intriguing and mysterious of magical traditions. I wish it (and its upcoming partner, Enochian Magic in Practice) had been around years ago; I would have been saved a lot of work and pain. For anyone interested in Enochian matters, the Golden Dawn or western magical in general, I recommend this book as an essential guide. In its pages you will find much to reward, intrigue, inform and delight you. It will not provide all the answers to all the questions, but for most it does and for the rest points us in the right direction. As Mr Wilson says, “it almost would not be Enochian magic” if mysteries were not pervasive throughout the system.

Enochian Magic in TheoryDean F. Wilson, Kerubim Press, 2012

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3 comments

  1. Rebsie · March 8, 2012

    Sounds fabulous! I wish it every success.

  2. Pingback: Enochian Magic in Theory, by Dean F. Wilson « WiccanWeb
  3. Pingback: Inner Work (or why I wrote a book) « Magic of the Ordinary

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