The Enochian Calls, or Keys (the angels refer to them by both titles) are 48 spirit evocations delivered to Dee and Kelley in the Enochian language and then translated into English word for word by the angels. The overt purpose of the Keys, declared by the angels, is to enable Dee to establish ritual communication with the spirits of the 30 Aethers or Airs who rule over the tutelary daemons of the nations of the earth. There are actually 49 Keys, but the first, the angels inform Dee, is too sacred and mysterious to be voiced. The first eighteen explicit Keys are completely different in their wording; the last 30 are similar save for the name of the Aether inserted in the first line.
The angel Raphael declares the expressed purpose of the Keys to Dee:
“In 49 voyces, or callings: which are the Natural Keyes, to open those, not 49. but 48. (for One is not to be opened) Gates of understanding, whereby you shall have knowledge to move every Gate, and to call out as many as you please, or shall be thought necessary, which can very well, righteously, and wisely, open unto you the secrets of their Cities, & make you understand perfectly the contained in the Tables.”7
The tables referred to by Raphael are the 49 alphabetical tables from which the Keys were generated, one letter at a time, by the Enochian angels. The Keys are related in sets to the four Watchtowers, which contain the names of various hierarchies of spirits.
Dee’s blindness to the true function of the Keys is curious, because clues about their nature are everywhere for those with eyes to see them. The Enochian communications recorded by Dee are filled with apocalyptic pronouncements and imagery. Again and again the angels warn of the coming destruction of the world by the wrath of God and the advent of the Antichrist. This apocalyptic imagery is also found throughout the Keys themselves.
The very name of these evocations should have been clue enough. Surely if the Watchtowers stand guard at the four corners of our dimension of reality, keeping back the hordes of Choronzon from descending like “stooping dragons,” as the Eighth Key puts it, and if the evocations known as the Keys are designed to open the gates of these Watchtowers, we might be led to suspect that it would be a bad idea to unlock the gates.
Perhaps Dee believed, as the angels deceitfully encouraged him to believe, that the gates could be opened a crack for specific human purposes and then slammed shut before anything too horrible slipped through to our dimension of awareness,. He would have assumed that the harrowing of the goddess Earth and her children by the demons of Choronzon would not occur until the preordained time of the Apocalypse, an event initiated by God and presumably beyond Dee’s control.
What he failed to understand is that the date of the initiation of the period of change known as the Apocalypse is (in the intention of the angels) the same date as the successful completion of the full ritual working of the eighteen distinct manifest Keys and the Key of the Thirty Aethers upon the Great
Table of the Watchtowers, and that this date is not predetermined, but will be determined by the free will and actions of a single human being who is in the Revelation of St. John called the Antichrist.
It has always been generally assumed that the Apocalypse is in the hands of the angels of wrath, to be visited upon the world at the pleasure of God, at a moment foredestined from the beginning of creation. In the veiled teachings of the Enochian angels this is not true. The gates of the Watchtowers can only be unlocked from the inside.
Again and again the angels warn of the coming destruction of the world by the wrath of God and the advent of the Antichrist.
The angels of wrath cannot initiate the Apocalypse even if they wish today to do so. This is suggested by an exchange between Dee and the angel Ave:
DEE: As for the form of our Petition or Invitation of the good Angels, wh sort should it be of?
AVE: A short and brief speech.
DEE: We beseech you to give us an example: we would have a confidenc it should be of more effect.
AVE: I may not do so.
AVE: Invocation proceedeth of the good will of man, and of the heat and fervency of the spirit: And therefore is prayer of such effect with G
DEE: We beseech you, shall we use one form to all?
AVE: Every one, after a divers form.
DEE: If the minde do dictate or prompt a divers form, you mean.
AVE: I know not: for I dwell not in the soul of man.8
Spiritual beings must be evoked into our reality by human beings. We must open the gates and admit the servants of Choronzon ourselves. Evocation and invocation are not a part of the business of angels, but of humans. That is why it was necessary for the Enochian angels to go through the elaborate ruse of conveying the system of Enochian magic, with the Keys and the Great
Table of the Watchtowers,, to Dee. If the Apocalypse is to take place, and if it is necessary for human beings to open the gates of the Watchtowers, before it can take place, the angels first had to instruct a man in the correct method for opening the gates.
It is evident that Dee was to be restrained from opening the gates of the Watchtowers until it pleased the angels. The angel Gabriel, who purports to be speaking with the authority of God, tells him:
“I have chosen you, to enter into my barns: And have commanded you to open the Corn, that the scattered may appear, and that which remaineth in the sheaf may stand. And have entered into the first, and so into the seventh. And have delivered unto you a Testimony of my spirit to come.
For my Barn hath been long without Threshers. And I have kept my flayles for a long time hid in unknown places: Which flayle is the Doctrine that I deliver unto you: Which is the Instrument of thrashing, wherewith you shall beat the sheafs, that the Corn which is scattered, and the rest may be all one.
(But a word in the mean season.)
If I be Master of the Barn, owner of the Corn, and deliverer of my flayle: If all be mine (And unto you, there is nothing: for you are hirelings, whose reward is in heaven).
If the apocalypse is to take place, and if it is necessary for human beings to open the gates of the Watchtowers before it can take place, the angels first had to instruct a man in the correct method for opening the gates.
Then see, that you neither thresh, nor unbinde, untill I bid you, let it be sufficient unto you: that you know my house, that you know the labour I will put you to: That I favour you so much as to entertain you the labourers within my Barn: For within it thresheth none without my consent.”9
Surely nothing could be clearer. Throughout the Enochian communications the angels refer to the Apocalypse euphemistically as “the Harvest.” Here, Enochian magic is specifically described as the “Instrument of thrashing.” Yet Dee did not comprehend the awesome significance of the burden that had
been laid upon his shoulders. Elsewhere in the record the angel Mapsama is just as explicit about the need for Dee to await permission before attempting to use the Keys:
Despite these hints and many others, the angels never actually came out and told Dee that he was to be the instrument whereby the ritual formula that would initiate the Apocalypse would be planted in the midst of humanity, where it would sit like a ticking occult time bomb, waiting for some clever magician, perhaps guided by the angels, to work it. Dee evidently never received the signal to conduct the Apocalypse Working in his lifetime. It was to be reserved for another century, and another man. That man was Aleister Crowley (1875-1947).
Even as a child, Crowley became convinced that he was the Great Beast mentioned in the biblical Book of Revelation. He studied magic within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, then went on to construct his own occult system using an amalgamation of the ritual working of Abramelin the Mage, the Goetia, and the Tantric sexual techniques of the German Ordo Templi Orientis, among other sources.
Enochian sigil used by Dee and Kelley in their workings
He firmly believed that he was the herald for a new age of strife and destruction that would sweep across the world. He called this age the Aeon of Horus, after the Egyptian god of war. In 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, he received in the form of a psychic dictation from his guardian angel, Aiwass, the bible of this apocalyptic period, Liber AL vel Legis (The Book Of the Law). It sets forth some of the conditions that will prevail in the Aeon of Horus. In it is Crowley’s famous dictum: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”11
It is highly significant that Crowley never considered himself to be the Antichrist. He is not the central character in the drama of the Apocalypse, but the herald who ushers in the age of chaos. In a very real sense he was the gatekeeper of the Apocalypse. The text of The Book Of the Law clearly states:
“This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the key of it all.”12
No other man of the 20th century was better suited to initiate the Apocalypse Working.
Crowley studied and practiced Enochian magic more often and deeply than any other magician of the Golden Dawn; indeed, more deeply than any other human being who has ever lived. About the angelic communications of Dee and Kelley he writes: “Much of their work still defies explanation, though I and Frater Semper Paratus [Thomas Windram], an Adaptus Major of the A[rgentum] A[strum] have spent much time and research upon it and cleared up many obscure points.”13
The record of his working of the Enochian Aethers in 1909 in the desert of North Africa is preserved in the document titled The Vision and the Voice.14 He possessed a profound and broad understanding of ritual magic, an understanding not merely theoretical but practical. No other man of the 20th century was better suited to initiate the Apocalypse Working, even as there had been no man better suited than John Dee in the 16th century to receive it from the Enochian angels. It is significant that Crowley believed himself the reincarnation of Edward Kelley.
I doubt that Crowley ever succeeded in correctly completing the entire Enochian Apocalypse Working—that is, the primal occult Key which is nowhere recorded, the eighteen manifest Keys and the Key of the Thirty Aethers in their correct correspondence with the parts of the Great Table of the Watchtowers—but he may have succeeded in partially opening the gates of the Watchtowers. It is significant that he states concerning the African working with his disciple Victor Neuberg: “As a rule, we did one Aethyr every day.”15 About the method of working the Keys the angel Ave tells Dee:
“Four days … must you onely call upon those names of God [on the Great Table of the Watchtowers], or on he God of Hosts, in those names:
And 14 days after you shall (in this, or in some convenient place) Call the Angels by Petition and by the name of God, unto the which they are obedient.
The 15 day you shall Cloath yourselves, in vestures made of linnen, white: and so have the apparition, use, and practice of the Creatures. For, it is not a labour of years, nor many dayes.”16
It seems clear to me that the complete Apocalypse Working, which will be conducted by the Antichrist and will throw wide the gates of the Watchtowers, (if we are to believe the intimations of the Enochian angels) must be conducted on consecutive days, one Key per day. I would guess that the unexpressed primordial Key of the Great Mother is the missing ingredient that will complete the Working, but this is a matter of practical magic and there is no space to investigate the details of the Apocalypse Working in this brief essay.
Crowley remained firmly convinced until his death in 1947 that the Aeon of Horus had begun in 1904, precisely at the time he received The Book Of the Law. He may have been right. The Aeon of Horus is the duration of the Apocalypse, that period when Choronzon shall rule over the cosmos and visit destruction upon mankind. And the Apocalypse is a mental transformation that will occur, or is presently occurring, within the collective unconscious of the human race.
Despite these hints and many others, the angels never actually came out and told Dee that he was to be the instrument whereby the ritual formula that would initiate the Apocalypse would be planted in the midst of humanity, where it would sit like a ticking occult time bomb, waiting for some clever magician, perhaps guided by the angels, to work it.
It is common among fundamentalist Christians to believe that the end of the world will be a completely physical event and will be sparked by some horrifying material agent—globa! thermonuclear war, or the impact of a large asteroid, or a deadly plague.
This supposition is natural in view of the concrete imagery in the vision of St. John the Divine, the purported author of Revelations. It is in keeping with the materialistic world view of modern society. But nobody stops to consider that this destruction is described by angels, or that angels are spiritual creatures, not physical beings.
In my opinion the Apocalypse prepared by the Enochian angels must be primarily an internal, spiritual event, and only in a secondary way an external physical catastrophe. The gates of the Watchtowers that stand guard at the four corners of our dimension of reality are mental constructions. When they are opened, they will admit the demons of Choronzon, not into the physical world, but into our subconscious minds.
Spirits are mental, not material. They dwell in the depths of mind and communicate with us through our dreams, unconscious impulses, and more rarely in waking visions. They affect our feelings and our thoughts beneath the level of our conscious awareness. Sometimes they are able to control our actions, either partially as in the case of irrational and obsessive behavior patterns, or completely as in the case of full possession. Through us, by using us as their physical instruments, and only through us, are they able to influence physical things.