Enochian Magick: Chris Johnson’s Path into the Angelic Mysteries”

Introduction

In this the post we talk to Chris Johnson about Enochian Magick. Huge thanks to Chris for sharing his experience with us in such detail.

The Enochian system of angelic magic, first transcribed by scholars John Dee and Edward Kelley in the 16th century, is said to allow humans to communicate directly with angels. In this extremely detailed discussion, occultist Chris Johnson pulls back the curtain and shares their decades-long journey of mastering this powerful and controversial magical practice.

Chris provides a rare insider’s look at the complex components of the Enochian system, like the Enochian Watchtowers said to be guarded by angelic sentinels. In this discussion we discover the indispensable books and resources that aided Chris’s learning process over the years. From theories on the system’s origins to sharing his unique personal experiences working with the angelic forces, this is an in-depth glimpse into the modern practice of Enochian magic from someone fully immersed in its mysteries.

If you enjoy this discussion then please take the time to look at the links provided at the end of the post, where we provide you with further opportunities to follow Chris’s work.


Chris Johnson

Enochian System of Magick

PAA: How did you first become interested in the Enochian system of magic?

For those who don’t know, Enochian Magick is a system that draws upon the writings of Enoch and allows us to talk to Angels—in particular, those who helped humans rise above the level of animals to become gods. The system itself was received by Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley in the 16th century (approximately between the years of 1582-1587), but, arguably, it was intended for our times. In other words, their records provide instructions on how we can speak with Angels today. In their operations, Dee performed invocations and prayers while Kelley served as a medium (skryer) where he received visions using a reflective surface.

That aside, to answer your question, I’ll have to provide a bit of context and background. In my teens I found two influential books that led me to Aleister Crowley: The Illuminatus! Trilogy1 and Cosmic Trigger2 by Robert Anton Wilson. These led to the purchase of my first Crowley texts, namely Magick Without Tears3, The Collected Works4, and The Book of Lies (Liber CCC)5. (As fortune would have it, a store named The Wizard of Odds had just opened in my small hometown where I found them.) 

After finishing these texts and wanting to find out more about Thelema, I did research on various occult organizations on the Internet, finding out that only two were located nearby that actually performed initiations. The first was the S.O.T.O., which was in Tennessee at the time; the second was the O.T.O., which had just happened to open a camp in my hometown (I later found out, after meeting the Camp Master and his girlfriend at Applebee’s that they in fact lived one floor up from my apartment). The important point here is that both organizations seemed to provide initiations that would progressively open the chakras, which is one of the prerequisites for refashioning the body as a divine vehicle (although this reasoning was largely unconscious on my part in retrospect).

My next move was to take the Minerval degree of the O.T.O. in November of 1998, and over the next couple of years I took both I° degree and II° degree. It was during this time that I and the same camp master, Frater IWR, performed an Enochian ritual in the basement of my house around 2001. It was an immediate success. It was then that I began to realize that the system was no joke. It would be years before I would do anything more with it. 

Soon thereafter I took a hiatus from the O.T.O. Altogether, I continued my Work, but it was independent of any organization or group for approximately 15 years following the Enochian ritual and my II° degree initiation (I had self-signed the Probationer and Neophyte Oaths of the A.A., Crowley’s inner School, but I wasn’t associated with any lineage). Being married, having a child, and running a business with my father occupied my time during these years. Nevertheless, I continued to read and practice both ritual and meditation. For most of this transitional period it was as though I was on autopilot. That is, until the day came when I realized in an intense flash of self-awareness that although it subjectively seemed like only a few months had passed and that I was still a young man, the reality was that I had fallen asleep and I was suddenly in my mid-thirties. 

In response to this existential crisis, I stepped back and analyzed my priorities seriously. As a result, I renewed my association with the O.T.O. and began investigating the option of formally joining one of the existing A.A. lineages that I felt was calling me. In the meantime, I read and reread books by Crowley, Israel Regardie, and others. 

It was in the midst of this chaotic time that my interest in the Enochian system was rekindled. Specifically, not long after I closely read Crowley’s The Vision and the Voice (Liber CDXVIII)6, I began researching available source and secondary materials to learn what tools were specified by the Angels as necessary according to the often-contradictory instructions contained in the original system. Then I ventured to create them myself as far as my natural skills would allow.

Overall, I spent around five years researching and creating my own tools whenever I had the chance (or saving up for others such as the PELE ring and the Ensigns of Creation). 

Luckily, it turned out that I had intuited the overall importance of the Enochian system, which was further emphasized years after I began researching and practicing it regularly—especially when I learned that Enochian magick was one of, if not the, foundational system for both the Ordo Templi Orientis (viz. Sections X and XI in the VIII° degree document De Nuptiis Secretis Deorum cum Hominibus7) and the A.A. (see Liber Nu (Liber XI8) and Liber Had (Liber DLV9), among others).

As technology progressed, most of the “secret” documents had become available to qualified and unqualified readers both in print and on the Internet, so even though the highest degree I ended up taking in the O.T.O. was Perfect Initiate (P.I.), I had multiple copies of these and other upper-degree documents readily available for study since 2002 at least.

PAA: What were some of the initial hurdles you faced when beginning Enochian practice in terms of developing skills like concentration and visualization?

I’ve never had any significant problems with concentration or visualization given my extensive experience with Vipassana meditation, which I began by attending 10-day courses regularly starting in 2007, and practicing various Astral exercises since the late 1990’s.

The hardest part to overcome was ensuring that my transcription of the Enochian characters onto the Holy Tables I created were correct. I often found that I had skipped a character or made some other careless error despite the rarity of such mistakes for me when constructing magickal implements in other contexts. Luckily, I was able to overcome this tendency relatively quickly, although the first Tables I made ended up with multiple coats of paint by the time I was finished.

PAA: How central is the practice of scrying or traveling in the spirit vision to working with the Enochian system?

I would say that skrying is absolutely central. I work primarily with the 30 Aethyrs, so skrying is an integral and necessary component to the Enochian workings I perform. Nevertheless, the Elemental workings also rely upon skrying. It has also been theorized that the Angels will only speak with humans who manifest into visible appearance to them. If this is in fact true, the system is useless for the practitioner who doesn’t skry. 

PAA: What has been your approach to understanding and working with the Enochian Watchtowers?

Assimilating an understanding of the knowledge provided by the Angels has been an ongoing project—especially given that much of the material is either incomplete, contradictory, or missing altogether. For instance, the differences in the designs and measurements of the Holy Table itself range from extreme to extremely subtle, even down to determining the correct coloring and orientation of the letters; the latter confusion is apparent between two of the most similar designs, namely the version depicted in True & Faithful Relation (TFR10) and Crowley’s A Brief Abstract of the Symbolic Representation of the Universe Derived by Doctor John Dee through the Skrying of Sir Edward Kelley11. The Holy Table (or Table of Practice) is a sacred device used to communicate with the angels by means of ritual invocation. In other words, the Holy Table creates a space wherein man and angel can meet and communicate. The border contains 84 Enochian letters, and the middle contains the 12 larger Enochian letters that fill the center square. 

Even though the skrying of the Aethyrs does not necessitate many of the objects described in Dee and Kelley’s heptarchic communications, I do feel that these objects enhance one’s environment such that a divine sacred space is created wherein these communications become more consciously accessible.

As for comprehending the system itself, I’ve found that it’s easier to understand how Enochian magick operates by narrowing it down into three primary structures (partially constructed by a helpful summary of the system’s main aspects by David R. Jones in Volume 4, Number 2 of the O.T.O. journal Lion and Serpent, which was published in 2001):

  1. Zodiacal—The 30 Aethyrs/Aires—which represents the structure of their Universe—each of which has a hierarchy of Governors and their respective relationships to different Parts of the Earth (which ties the Zodiacal to the Elemental given that the structure of the Watchtowers correlates to the latter while also sharing relationships with the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 permutations of IHVH, and so on). Some believe it is necessary to recite the first 18 Keys in reverse order, one per day while oriented toward a specific direction, prior to beginning the exploration of the 30 Aethyrs; afterwards, one then performs one call per day of the 30 Aethyrs (preferably during the month of August according to Dee’s and Kelley’s angelic communications); finally, the last two days of this 50 day operation consist of vibrating the primordial unwritten key and then engaging in a “day of attainment”.
  2. Planetary—The Sigillum de Aemeth (“Seal of God’s Truth”) forms a sevenfold magical structure that relates to traditional sevenfold systems (the 7 days of creation in Genesis, the combinations in Revelation, the 7 Tablets of Creation on the Holy Table, etc.). It is a beeswax disk 8.5” diameter and 1” thick that is placed in the center of the Holy Table. The skrying crystal is positioned on top of it after placing a cloth covering over the surface of the table as a whole. It is the centerpiece, along with four identical smaller versions placed under the legs, through which all Heptarchic Magick is channeled. The most famous quote associated with this holy object is almost universally cited (here I’ve revised the original in favor of modern English): “Seven, rest in 7: and the 7, live by 7: the 7, govern the 7: and by 7 all Government is” (Peterson, John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery, Michael to Dee and Kelly on March 20th, 1582, p. 11712). The Sigillum also prevents the Angels summoned from telling untruths.
  3. Elemental— The Enochian Tablets are four in number, each referring to one of the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. In addition to these four, there is another smaller Tablet, which is called the Tablet of Union, referring to the fifth Element of Ether or Spirit. The Enochian Watchtowers represent how the interactions of the Elemental, Planetary, and Zodiacal energies manifest in the realm of the divine. A Watchtower or Guardian is a tutelary spirit of one of the four cardinal points or quarters (North, East, South, and West). They are also variously associated in many traditions with each of the four classical elements. They are sometimes also understood to represent the Archangels Uriel, Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel. The Watchtowers are “doors”, or “gates”, that elaborate the hierarchies of Angels that include the Elemental, sub-elemental, Zodiacal, and Planetary forces as outlined above via the arrangement of characters in the 156 squares of each. In other words, the Watchtowers are the roads that these forces use to travel from the Sun to Earth by means of emanations of the elemental tides, or Tattvas. Simply stated, the Watchtowers are where the angelic sentinels are stationed to guard against the profane entering into God’s Kingdom (i.e., “against the usurping blasphemy, misuse, and stealth of the wicked” (TFR, p. 170)13 as the agents of “Coronzon”). It is interesting to note that the words “Angel”, “Overseer”, “Castle”, “House”, and “Watchtower” are essentially synonymous.

When one attempts to put together the details of the Enochian universe, a Merkavah, as outlined in the book of Revelation, is thereby revealed:

A diagram of the zodiac<br><br>Description automatically generated

Together, the Throne of God (1), the Zodiacal (12), Planetary (7), and Elemental (4) comprise the 24 “Elders” that represent the forces of the Zodiac (i.e., 1 + 12 + 7 + 4 = 24).

PAA: How do you view the origins and source of the Enochian system – was it a genuine revelation to John Dee and Edward Kelley or something they constructed?

I believe that the Enochian system was genuinely received, but that it was also punctuated by manifestations of deception, so I would venture to say that it was both revelatory and that attempts were made, by Kelley in particular, to “construct” parts of the system out of self-interest. If the latter is true, then I am almost certain that Dee wasn’t a part of it, especially given his piety, reverence, and religious devotion.

This is all besides the fact that I have witnessed it in action many times. There has yet to be a single occurrence where my wife Erica and I didn’t receive a series of visions, most of them involving communication—half of which was in the Enochian language itself, which often required the somewhat frantic use of Aaron Leitch’s The Angelical Language dictionary!14

A common example that illustrates how it would be difficult, if not impossible, to fabricate the angelic communications was elaborated in the following manner by David R. Jones in “The System of Enochian Magick, Part II: The Evolution of the Tablets” (2001)15:

The student of Enochian can compare the lists of names with the sigils, which formulate their existence on the Watchtowers, and easily see the correlation. But realize that the names were delivered first and then the Watchtowers horizontally line by line and after having both figures at hand. The Angels demonstrated that, by discrete (7 letters, the number of letters in each Governor’s name) linear connections, all of the letters given in the Watchtowers could be accounted for from the letters that formulate names of the Governors previously given. This would require either a monumental and complex second and third order memorization (2 dimensions to 1 dimension then back to 2 dimensions and with directional correlation from a 3-dimensional origin to a 3-dimensional conclusion) on Kelly’s part or an elaborate and extremely obtuse deception on Dee’s part. This constitutes one of the chief proofs of the system.

David R. Jones in “The System of Enochian Magick, Part II: The Evolution of the Tablets”

For the more skeptically-minded, see the discussion in the Introduction to John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery by Joseph H. Peterson titled “Conclusion: The Evidence”16.

PAA: Do you incorporate other occult systems or elements into your Enochian work, or keep it strictly Enochian?

Unless the ritual used in conjunction with Enochian magick serves to banish, consecrate, or is preparatory to the ceremony then I tend to avoid mixing anything else with it. I’ve performed rituals such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) and various purification ceremonies that seem entirely compatible. The most radical thing I’ve done is perform The Mass of the Phoenix (Liber XLIV17) to positive effect beforehand. 

For example, I’m always surprised and bewildered by magicians who integrate the Goetia or Azoetia or similar incompatible systems into their Enochian ceremonies. There it’s only a matter of time until they are dramatically changed and not for the better. From what I’ve seen, many of the people who have misused the system end up realizing too late that the results are irrevocable in that one can be potentially affected for the rest of their life (and perhaps for one or more future incarnations). The bottom line: like the Ouija board or the practice of sex magick, the occult itself is not a game, least of all where Enochian magick is concerned, especially for mundane purposes.

A quote from the Angel Galvah comes to mind when I contemplate the folly of those who try to work the Enochian system for their own ends instead of in the service of Truth:

The Servants of darkness have their Garments stained: their mouths stink of blasphemy, and lies, but our Garments are no such, neither do our lips speak any untruth and therefore we are of God, for whosoever is of the truth, is of God…. [Further] the wicked Spirits always abhor this word Mercy. (TFR, p. 20)18

Angel Galvah

PAA: Are there particular ethical principles or guidelines you follow when working with the Enochian forces and energies?

Besides only using the system of Enochian magick for furthering the Divine Will, since the Enochian system is one of the most effective and powerful in existence, we find it to be our duty and advantageous to provide any of our students who express their interest in the system with information on the correct performance of rituals before skrying the Aethyrs or doing Elemental Workings. It is also our duty to clearly outline its potential pitfalls. Crowley indicates the potentially dangerous nature of the system in The Vision and the Voice (p. 7)19: “…the genuineness of these Keys, altogether apart from any critical operation, is guaranteed by the fact that anyone with the smallest capacity for Magick finds that they work.” 

If Crowley’s statement is true, in what way is this a dangerous proposition? Donald Tyson provides one very important reason in Enochian Magic for Beginners20

Enochian magic holds out the promise to reach beyond the sealed gates of the four Watchtowers and gain the authority and power of the higher angels who have never fallen from grace or walked the byways of the earth. Conversely, it also allows communion with the dark angels who have been cast down into the Abyss for their sin of rebellion. The gates of the Watchtowers are the gates to both heaven and hell. (p. 154)

Donald Tyson “Enochian Magic for Beginners

Currently I serve as the Inner Head of the Order (IHO) for the Grady McMurtry lineage of the A.A. One of the first important questions I needed to reflect upon after assuming this position was “Should the Teacher encourage students to engage in Enochian workings?” My response to the Adept who asked this question took the following form: 

I wouldn’t go so far as to encourage it, but I don’t think it should be discouraged. (To be clear, we are talking here about skrying the Aethyrs and not the elemental workings.) Even Jerry [J. Edward Cornelius] states, regarding the O.T.O., “how do they expect their Upper Degrees to be able to fulfill sections of the Grade Paper titled Deorum cum Hominibus, De Nuptiis Secretis or Of the Secret Marriages of Gods with Men where Enochian magick is required if they have not prepared their students along the way? In other words, it is totally impossible” (J. Edward Cornelius, Red Flame Issue No. 7 (The Magickal Essence of Aleister Crowley), “Epistle No. 8”, p. 90) [emphasis added]. (Private Email Correspondence, 3/11/2024)

PAA: Are there any indispensable resources – books, teachers, groups, etc. – that aided your learning of Enochian magic?

Here are a few books on Enochian magick that I’ve found helpful over the years:

  1. John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery by Joseph H. Peterson—Provides information on the various layouts of the Table of Practice, the requisite prayers, and visual representations of other ritual items (besides being the original record of his and Kelley’s communications with the Angels, which, in itself, is invaluable).
  2. True & Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits by John Dee and Some Spirits by Meric Casaubon—Provides a multitude of valuable information including the uncorrupted description of the Watchtowers and their intended coloring, etc. (although the Table version included therein is not accurate in comparison with those of similar design found in John Dee’s diaries).
  3. The Lost Art of Enochian Magic21 by John DeSalvo—One of the few sources that provides instructions for performing the call of the 1st Aethyr (which he feels he has discovered and had been considered lost, as well as too holy for humans to employ); moreover, the book includes a CD that demonstrates and offers guidance on the correct pronunciation of the Enochian calls.
  4. Enochian Vision Magick22 by Lon Milo DuQuette—An excellent book where DuQuette simplifies many of the theories concerning the Enochian system and the purposes behind each of the ritual implements used by Dee and Kelley (whenever possible). He gives well-researched instructions on how to perform both the Elemental Calls and the Calls of the 30 Aethyrs. 
  5. Red Flame No. 723 (The Magical Essence of Aleister Crowley)—Specifically, “Epistle No. 8” and “Epistle No. 9” (pp. 91-106), which give invaluable information on a hidden Aethyr (the 31st) that Jerry Cornelius attributes to LAXDIZI, which was discovered through his investigation of the seven unaccounted-for squares on the Watchtowers, which, in the end, ties in with the Watchers and accounts for the reason why the 30th Aethyr has four governors, but the 1st Aethyr only has three (an apparent imbalance). Simply stated, his discovery reveals that LAXDIZI perhaps refers to the fallen Watcher “who at one time sat by the side of God in the highest and supposedly resided in the 1st Aethyr” (p. 104). He explores other interesting facts throughout as well—such as the LAXDIZI square’s symbolism happening to be an X encircled, the same as the sign of N.O.X., and so on. We are currently in the process of preparing a re-release of this rare publication.

There are more books I could add—such as Gerald Schueler’s Enochian Magic: A Practical Guide and The Essential Enochian Grimoire by Aaron Leitch—but I think the above texts are enough to keep anyone busy for quite a while. Again, I spent over five years studying and constructing or purchasing the materials before skrying for the first time. In any case, the system never fails to work—hence the potential dangers.

PAA: Thank you for sharing so much with us.


This is the first installment of answers from Chris, and we look forward to posting his next batch of answers where we cover other subjects.


Useful Links


Footnotes


  1. Shea, R. and Wilson, R. A. (1975/1988).
    The Illuminatus! Trilogy .
    New York: Dell Publishing.
    ↩︎

  2. Wilson, R. A. (1977/1996).
    Cosmic Trigger: Volume I
    . Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Publications. ↩︎

  3. Crowley, A. (1973/1991).
    Magick Without Tears
    (I. Regardie, Ed.). Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Publications. ↩︎

  4. Crowley, A. (1905).
    Collected Works of Aleister Crowley with Portraits
    . Des Plaines, IL: Yogi Publication Society. ↩︎

  5. Crowley, A. (1913/1997).
    The Book of Lies
    . York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc. ↩︎

  6. Crowley, A. (1972).
    The Vision and the Voice
    . Dallas, TX: Sangreal Foundation, Inc. ↩︎

  7. Crowley, A. (1973).
    The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O.
    (F. King, Ed.). New York: Samuel Weiser, pp. 187-205. ↩︎

  8. Crowley, A. (1912).
    The Equinox, Vol. I, No. VII
    (M. D. Sturges, Ed.). London, W.C.: Wieland & Co., pp. 11-20. ↩︎

  9. Crowley, A. (1912).
    The Equinox, Vol. I, No. VII
    (M. D. Sturges, Ed.). London, W.C.: Wieland & Co., pp. 85-91. ↩︎

  10. Dee, J. and Kelley, E. (1659).
    True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits
    (M. Casaubon, Ed.). Kessinger Publishing. ↩︎

  11. Crowley, A. (1912).
    The Equinox, Vol. I, No. VII
    (M. D. Sturges, Ed.). London, W.C.: Wieland & Co., pp. 229-248 and continued in Crowley, A. (1912).
    The Equinox, Vol. I, No. VIII
    (M. D. Sturges, Ed.). London, W.C.: Wieland & Co., pp. 99-128. ↩︎

  12. Dee, J. And Kelley, E. (2003).
    John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery
    (J. H. Peterson, Ed.). York Beach, ME: Weiser Books. ↩︎

  13. Dee, J. and Kelley, E. (1659).
    True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits
    (M. Casaubon, Ed.). Kessinger Publishing. ↩︎

  14. Leitch, A. (2010).
    The Angelical Language: Volume II
    . Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications. ↩︎

  15. Jones, D. R. (2001). “The System of Enochian Magick, Part II: The Evolution of the Tablets” in
    Lion and Serpent Vol. 4, No. 2
    . Portland, OR: Sekhet-Maat Lodge, O.T.O. ↩︎

  16. Dee, J. And Kelley, E. (2003).
    John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery
    (J. H. Peterson, Ed.). York Beach, ME: Weiser Books, pp. 37-41. ↩︎

  17. Crowley, A., Desti, M., and Waddell, L. (1994/1997).
    Magick, Liber ABA, Book 4: Parts I-IV
    (H. Beta, Ed.). Yorke Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc., pp. 571-572. ↩︎

  18. Dee, J. and Kelley, E. (1659).
    True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits
    (M. Casaubon, Ed.). Kessinger Publishing. ↩︎

  19. Crowley, A. (1972).
    The Vision and the Voice
    . Dallas, TX: Sangreal Foundation, Inc. ↩︎

  20. Tyson, D. (1997).
    Enochian Magic for Beginners
    . St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications. ↩︎

  21. DeSalvo, J. (2010).
    The Lost Art of Enochian Magic: Angels, Invocations, and the Secrets Revealed to Dr. John Dee
    . Rochester, VT: Destiny Books. ↩︎

  22. DuQuette, L. M. (2008).
    Enochian Vision Magick: An Introduction and Practical Guide to the Magick of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley
    . San Fransisco, CA: Weiser Books. ↩︎

  23. Cornelius, J. E. and Cornelius, M. (1999).
    Red Flame Issue Number 7: The Magickal Essence of Aleister Crowley
    . Berkeley, CA: J. Edward & Marlene Cornelius. ↩︎

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frater p
frater p
21 days ago

This interview is awesome (like so many other interviews on this site). Thank you! Keep it up!

I would love to read here an interview with Chris Murphy from The Divine Science… Just saying… 🙂

matt vaughn
matt vaughn
18 days ago

amazing interview!

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