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VMs: More thoughts on Kelly

Hi Folks.

So the Dee/Kelly stuff comes around again - and by chance I spent Saturday in the British Library in London looking over material I hadn't been able to see last time (Nick mentioned in an earlier email looking at Sloane 3188/9 and noting that the numbering on the VMs is in Kelly's hand.) I didn't reconfirm that - It can be done easily enough.

What occupied my attention was the early Dee diaries (the later ones are elsewhere - Wilding's book probably has all the details).

Some impressionistic thoughts (from memory - the notes are elsewhere) and then some detail:

1/ Dee was obviously susceptible to Kelly, and it was a tempestous friendship. Kelly was originally known to Dee as Edward Talbot - it might be good to check back to see what sort of background he really came from, and whether or not he continued to use the Talbot name alongside Kelly. It is not clear from the notes I saw in various documents whether Dee's wife was actually fascinated by Kelly and thus also susceptible, or whether she was coerced into the wife-swapping. Dee records her unhappiness at the proposal lasted 15 minutes.

2/ Dee was obviously an important/fascinating person to people of the time. This may just have been because of the notoriety surrounding Dee's 'conferences with the angels' (see below). Certainly when Meric. Casaubon published some details of Dee's interactions with the spirits in 1659 [see http://eebo.chadwyck.com/ and work your way to Dee and etc. - you may need to sort out access rights if not at a UK university] there was great interest in Dee. The edition at the BL of Casaubon's book is fascinatingly annotated by someone in 1683 who clearly had access to Dee's materials. I was also able to set alongside Dee's original, and the Casaubon a handwritten copy in 1672 of Dee's early diaries by Ashmole. The printed book from 1659 picks up the diaries at May 1583, so the earlier period covering sessions on the origin of the Enochian system are not included.

3/ Casaubon repeats the story about the ears and the death of Kelly (as recounted to him by Ashmole). It is in the preface in the Casubon book but intriguingly this is not scanned for text access - you have to look at the page image.

BUT to some detail. In the Dee diaries themselves there are some drawings (not like VMs) and a cipher (letter substitution) which involves new/distorted character shapes. Kelly was the source of this puzzle for Dee, so far as I can tell (the reference is to material found somewhere - can't recall where; others have noted this before). At the end of the bound volume, and apparently not in Dee's hand, is a lot of material in what looks like short-hand. There also appear to be some notes in Kelly's hand.

Also, and of greater interest, is evidence of Kelly's productivity. He devised the Enochian language system which for a while occupied Dee and Kelly (eventually it seems that Kelly just played the role of what we would now call 'medium' in summoning up the various angels Dee 'conferred with'). The system was COMPLEX. Kelly produced over one hundred 49x49 grids populated with letters. (49 because 7x7 presumably). These are meticulously drawn, sometimes elaborated (see the EEBO edition of Casaubon's book which has an illustration) with some sections written darker and with an angel's name written in the centre. (Kelly/Dee has no trouble determining 49 7-letter names for angels beginning with the letter B - some entirely unpronounceable). Of greater interest than just Kelly's inventiveness and productivity (30 such grids produced over the long Easter weekend in 1582) there is the material of the first such grid. This grid is actually not entirely set out as a grid - for reasons which are obvious. Each of the first 40 rows (why not more? boredom?) comprises 49 'words' in some sort of enochian phantasy construct. Maybe Rafal can help out here?

Below you can find the text of these rows, as printed up in Casaubon's book. There should be 49 words to each line, and indeed in Dee's diaries you find them all, and complete for 40 lines. A table of letters (9x49) completes the first of ~100 tables.

Has anyone looked at the letter distributions of this 'enochian' material to see how it compares with VMs. yes I know the material could have transcription errors - but it may be possible to find the fuller text somewhere on the web.



PS - I have just received my Microfilm of the VMs from Yale - the original does look in very poor shape. I'll see what's involved in getting the stuff scanned in - unless there is a really good copy out there.

--- what follows is taken from the EEBO

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</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>Author:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> Dee, John, 1527-1608.

</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>Title:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> A true & faithful relation of what passed for many yeers between Dr. John Dee ... and some spirits tending ... to a general alteration of most states and kingdomes in the world : his private conferences with Rodolphe, Emperor of Germany, Stephen, K. of Poland, and divers other princes about it ... : as also the letters of sundry great men and princes ... to the said D. Dee / out of the original copy written with Dr. Dees own hand, kept in the library of Sir Tho. Cotton, Kt. Baronet ; with a preface confirming the reality (as to the point of spirits) of this relation ... by Meric Casaubon ...

</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>Date:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> 1659
</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>Bibliography Name / Number:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> Wing / D811
</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>Bibliography Name / Number:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> Caillet, A.L. Sciences psychiques / no. 2878
</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>No. of Pages:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> [81], 448 [i.e. 352], 45, [1] p. :
</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>Copy From:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> Cambridge University Library
</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller>Reel Position:</x-tad-smaller><x-tad-smaller> Early English Books, 1641-1700 / 25:05

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<x-tad-bigger>A true & faithful relation of what passed for many yeers between Dr. John Dee ... and some spirits </x-tad-bigger>
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</x-tad-smaller>1. ARney vah <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
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2. Oxar Varmol pan sampas os al paus <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
audsu alsaph oncha, cosdam onzagofes natmamatatp max, oluah von ganse pacath alnoh vor <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> adnay nonsah oxansah Vals nodax vandqueth lan sandquat ox ardanh onzabel ormach donquin <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> arpahels ontipodah omvah nosch als maut quts, ar mad notgals.

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, oxah gethol val axel authath gorsan vax parsah vert <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> audamssah getheol, urchan nabadah oxembles armax lothar, vos antath, orse vax, alnoth, other mals olnah gethom <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>, allsa.

4. Orgeth or pasquah mzadah vorts, an enodah varsava onch aldumph, auget onsa val galta oth arveth ax pa gesne ovad ax orney aldumbages, Voscomph alze ax, orzad <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
astoh nadah Vortes, astmah notesima goth nathad omza, geth <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> ox degath ouda voxa gemnache adnv davsa als alst arsah.

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6. Vanlah oha demageus ou <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
, paphah <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>, ozadcha lax ornah vor adme ox Vastmah <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>, gamnac o <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> ochado <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> dridah <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> sah, lugho iahat nabscham nohads vandispa rossamod audroch alpoh <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> loh asnah gonfageph aldeh lo dah vax orh asnis gad av dan se qua deo, dath vax nograh vox segbat <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>.

7. Arni olbah galpa lohanaha gaupumagensah ollo var se darsah goho albvmielamacapaloth who nad veslah vors <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
imnony asqvam <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> als vasmah genda loggahah astmv.

8. Arnah notah lax vart lvhoh <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
eapraminacah oxandahvah gemveloriphitonpha attamplahnostapha ormaxadahahar orzemblizadmah panchefelogedoh aschah olmah ledoh vaxma.

9. Cans na Cap lan seda ax nor vorza vo. Las pral onsa gem gemah noph gazo na von saulfa nostradg ansel unsa pah <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
velsa or alda viax nor adroh semneh <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> vandesqual olzah nolpax pahahloth r ax rv <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> glminaph gath ardot ardri axa noh gaga leth arde maxa.

10. Carsal mabah nophch alps arford vord vanfax oriox nabat gemnepoh <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
nat vombalnams argeth alloah n phirt lauda <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> voxtaf ardno <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> labmageth <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> almaglo ardet nalbar vanse darto vorts parsan ur unrah vor gadeth <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> orze <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> vomreh gelpha, <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> or nembla ox ar vah su.

11. Zanchevmachaseph, olzaminoah Vals-buraah <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
orsapnago darsagnapha nobsiblith armipyth arsepolimitantons Jembulsamar <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> ornaza oldaxardacoah.

12. Semno ah al ehi do a cha da Selpagmodah a da hu ba mi ca noh dam pha gli as cha nor ox om pa mi na pho. lemp, na, gou, sa, pha ne co al pha as pa ge mo cal. na tu rage.

13. Sen gal se quar rus fa glau sur tast ormaca oxinodal ge brah nop tar na gel vom na ches pal ma cax arsess as don sadg asc lan fau che dah nor vi car max coh zum bla xanpha ad geh do ca ba ah.

14. Ar gem na ca pal fax, or nido hab cas pigan alpuh gagah loth zal sa bra dan go sa pax vol san ques tan ondapha opicah or zy la pa a chra pa ma les ad ma carpah oxalps on da pa, gem na de vor guse.

15. Lat gaus sa par sat lasteah lor adah nox ax ardephes nousou andoh gvmzi vor sab liboh ad ni sa pa loh gaho lar va nox ax oho lan sempah noxa Vriah sephah lusaz oldgalsax nottaph ax vernoc arpos <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
zem zubah, lothor gas lvbah vom xa da phi ca no.

16. Assotaphe ondah
Vor ban <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger>
pa loth agno jam nesroh am algors vrrabah geuseh alde ox nah vors <x-tad-bigger>[...]</x-tad-bigger> amphicato nostrohh admadg or napsv asmo lon gamphi arbel nof amphi on sembeloh aschi nar laffax las doxa pra gem a sestrox amphi nax var sembleh.

17. Angesel orcapacad onz adq ochadah olzah vor nah orpogographel al sa gem na ca pi coh. Ul da pa por sah naxor vonsa rous Erbauf lab dun zaph algadef loh gem vorta oh amph a ho ha za vaxorza lepteh oxor neob ab va dv na ca. pi ca lodox ard nah.

Dr William Edmondson
School of Computer Science
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston B15 2TT

Voice: +44-121-414-4763
email: w.h.edmondson@xxxxxxxxxx