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Ordines Descendens: or, The Descending Hierarchies of Dr John Dee

Ordines Descendens: or, The Descending Hierarchies of Dr John Dee (Out of Print)

by Dee, John (attrib)


Binding: Paperback

Book ID: A5663, A5663


Published Anonymously 2007 Limited edition of 200 each copy being individually numbered. Edited by Peter Mills Large format paperback book (12ins x 8.5ins) 98pp of text, printed single sided.

Mr. Mills supplies a 19pp introduction in which he places the text into historical context and comments upon it as well as describing how he was given access to the original document some thirty years ago which he carefully transcribed. Mr. Mills claims the document to date from the late 18th Century and he typeset the text to match the original printed document. The title page informs us that this was privately printed for a Jeremiah Hobbs for Sir Francis Dashwood and certain others, presumably the Hellfire Club. Jeremiah Hobbes gives a detailed account as to how some of Dee's papers parted company from those that found their way to the Ashmolean Museum and the British Library and how he came into possession of those manuscripts. He then capably explains how the names of Enochian Angels are derived from the Watchtowers before giving the text of Ordines Descendens.

This text is the lost counterpart of the better-known Enochian material. Whereas they describe the watchtowers, names and calls of the Angelic hierarchy Ordines Descendens describes its demonic mirror. A set of infernal Watchtowers are given from which are derived the four names of Satan and the rest of the infernal hierarchy. The process used is cognate but significantly variant from that used for the Angels. As well as giving the names of these diabolical beings their powers are described with detailed information as to how they may be evoked using a magic circle and a triangle or art. The invocation is sealed using some of the thirteen Descending Clavicules which are given in Enochian with the English translations. These evoke infernal forces in a similar manner that the Enochian Keys or Calls invoke Angelic forces. This is effectively an Enochian Grimoire of Satanic beings, the counterparts of the Angelic beings.

The question arises, is this text truly the work of John Dee transcribed and printed by Jeremiah Hobbs in the 18th Century. The text came from out of the blue, already typeset, and neither the publisher nor I have any information aside from that printed in the book. I would observe that there is a long tradition of false attribution of grimoire material. The Key of Solomon was not written by King Solomon; neither the Grimoire or Sworn Book of Pope Honorius has nothing to do with any Pope, let alone either of the two called Honorius; the Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus was not written by Albertus Magnus and of course none of the real authors of the various Necronomicons were actually torn apart by unseen forces in an Arab marketplace! In fact there is a long tradition of texts being falsely attributed to John Dee namely The Book of Rosie Crucian Secrets which was transcribed by E.J. Langford Garstin from an old manuscript which claimed Dee as author and was published with an introduction by Ithell Colquhoun.

Indeed, if the truth be known, there are question marks about the real authorship of the traditional Enochian material. Dee considered the information came from spirits, but sometimes wondered if they were truly Godly. Many think Kelly contrived the communications that suggested he and Dee swap wives and others think he contrived more than that. Others agree but speculate that, unknown to him, praeterhuman intelligences may have communicated via his contrivances. Moreover some consider Enochian a system that was only partly and imperfectly revealed to Dee and Kelly and suggest it is for others to add material. In the introduction to Ordines Descendens Mr. Mills describes how a practicing magician found the text frighteningly effective. Ultimately it will be for Enochian magicians to judge whether this text represents a useful extension to the corpus of Enochiana. Regardless of their origins texts can be useful to the magician. Everyone knows the Necronomicon is a fiction but for Kenneth Grant it is also represents a significant mindspace on the edge of human consciousness, a mindspace that can be evoked by books of the title. Fine

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