John Dee and Thaumaturgy

zsd232 wrote:

…John Dee is also a key author, but Enochian magic attributed to him was actually manufactured from a small portion of his surviving writings, recovered quite a long time after his death…

I wrote:

I’ve found I’m one of the few sorcerers who practice what John Dee meant tacitly by Thaumaturgy – what would be referred to as engineering abstractly. It seems like a lot of people practice Theurgy – Enochian magic, under the impression that’s what John Dee meant by Thaumaturgy. He was referencing the idea of the archetypal “black box” where a mechanism abstractly does something in such a way it intuitively seems miraculous but is due to the machinations of the box. John Dee, the mathematician and inventor interest me more than Dee the mage. As someone who works in an Applied Science, the alleged works of Theurgy don’t interest me as much as the Mathematics of his Thaumaturgy. You see this with Agrippa’s works. He makes usage of the magic square algorithm; however, that spread from China via Persian trade routes, if I recall correctly… In my research, there seems to be a grey area between sorcery and technology. That grey area interests me. I tend to raid classical works for their formulas and algorithms.

zsd232 wrote:

Thanks for the comment. Yes, I understood that Dee was a profoundly adept mathematician and that he was interested in “cube of space” concepts. So, was thaumaturgy to Dee the seemingly “miraculous” nature of Order/Design that does what it does regardless of the imposition of artificial human paradigms and interpretations?

As for theurgy, Neoplatonic theurgy was aimed at “returning to the source” almost akin to that found in Eastern spirituality whereas other occult forms, including those in the PGM, are often either about how the mage-operator can trick beings into thinking he is a god or how to usurp deification. Rather than contemplative practices, ritual and role play reign.

I wrote:

That’s reflected in the nature of Mathematics. No one quite understands the tie Math has to reality, to say it simply. The issue with Mathematics is we can’t empirically observe it and it never changes, but it precisely describes reality. If we can’t empirically observe the oddness of 1, how do we know it’s odd or that when added to itself it’s 2? You end up getting into noetic and Platonic ideas because you run into the issue of how we know the properties of mathematical objects. The miraculous nature of order and design is likely the intuitive and noetic sense of that design via Math. From a subjective sense, I find mathematical symbols and patterns pretty. But whether Math is “evidence” for the existence of Platonic Forms is a hot debate; however, it’s consistent with Platonic and Neo-Platonic ideas.

But no one quite knows how we know the properties of numbers which is the springboard into Platonic Forms because you get into noetic ideas and daemons. Sometimes I can’t tell if daemons are speaking to me or if it’s my own intuition. Dee was likely the same. He may have interpreted his intuition as daemons – angels.

It’s relatively easy to explain magic with Math because Math is more abstract than reality but not bound by the reality it can precisely describe. No one knows why Math is like that. For a very informative video on this check out the below video; I pulled some examples from there in this post.

Are Prime Numbers Made Up?

Personality-wise, mathematically inclined individuals tend to share experiences with people having transcendental experiences – loss of time, loss of self, feelings of the sublime, etc. It may just be a quirk of the personalities of mathematicians to view math as sublime. If you observe people into Math doing Math, you’ll likely notice them gesturing a lot as if they’re interacting with what you can’t see. The idea of Math and mathematical objects as being real fits the intuitions of how it feels to do Math, so Dee was likely subject to the same inclinations…

…At a recent Parapsychology conference, Jordan Kritzinger looked at the phenomenology of mathematicians when they are researching or teaching in the context of whether you could call it an altered state of consciousness. It may be that the intuition that makes you a good mathematician is the same type of intuition used in psychic experiences and magic. Mathematics sort of unifies the sciences with metaphysics since science finds practical applications for pure mathematical frameworks that are metaphysical….

zsd232 wrote:

…and I am guessing that mathematic mysticism played a large part in the magic table and Enochian script msgs, the latter of which was edited along the way by Dee who likely imposed and engineered more meaning and order to it than what Kelly is given acknowledgement for generating. This is what I mean by “history and psychology” of occultism in culture–getting underneath the hagiographic storyline to real context.

I wrote:

Algorithms dealing with enumeration and factoring play a large role in Dee’s work- it is highly algorithmic. For example, you can construct the Sigillum Dei Aemeth from nested loops of n-tuples. An exercise I recommend to anyone is to try and generate the Sigillum Dei Aemeth via nested loops of tuples via an algorithm. That will give you a tacit understanding of how the entities/symbols relate to each other in that if your algorithm is correct, it will reconstruct the Sigillum Dei Aemeth. The thing I find interesting about Dee is that Modular Arithmetic wasn’t invented until centuries after his death. Disquisitiones Arithmeticae came out in 1801. Mathematicall Praeface to Euclid’s Elements, written by Dee, was published in 1570. Before delving into cryptography, undergraduate Discrete Mathematics courses introduce students to Euclid’s algorithm. My historical knowledge only spans as far as my mathematical knowledge, though, so on the specifics of the esoteric traditions, you likely know more than me. The thing that interests me about Dee is that in a lot of ways, he was ahead of his time. He just didn’t have the computational technology we have now.

Check this out for how tuples, alphabets, scripts/codes, and languages relate to all of this: Coding Theory.

You might be interested in this video. It goes into how complex geometric shapes be constructed from multiplication tables via Modular Arithmetic:

Times Tables, Mandelbrot and the Heart of Mathematics
As far as how this relates directly to the idea of languages used in magic – such as Enochian scripts, you can find this studied in Computer Science:

…The definition of a problem is simple: a problem is nothing more than a set of strings. That is it. Problems often consist of Boolean strings, but we can allow arbitrary finite alphabets, since any alphabet can be encoded into a Boolean one.

This is one of the simplest definitions in mathematics, yet it is really quite important. The notion of a problem as a formal mathematical object allows us to study problems, without this definition a problem would be a vague notion. I think that one of the great achievements of theory is the formalization of the “problem” notion.

Before this definition people might have studied a problem like: “how do we assign tasks to machines?” or “how do we find the shortest path in a graph.” But they were not precise mathematical objects. So even though the definition is almost trivial, it is very important.

In the early days of theory problems were usually called languages. A language {L} was just a set of strings:


The reason they were called languages initially is based on the early motivations of the field. The initial questions were driven by two types of languages: natural languages and artificial ones. Certainly Noam Chomsky and many others were interested in trying to model real languages, such as English. Others were driven by their interest in computer programming languages. The questions raised in early theory reflected these interests, as did the results. For example, one beautiful idea is called BNF—and stands for Backus-Naur Form. John Backus was interested in ways to describe programming languages like Algol, which lead him to create BNF. Later he used related tools in his important work on FORTRAN; for this and other seminal work he was awarded the Turing Award in 1977.

Properly a language denotes a decision problem. There are also function problems, such as given a whole number {N}, find its prime factors. But these can be converted to decision problems over strings. But these can be converted to decision problems over strings, such as the set:

A fast way to solve F yields a fast way to factor numbers.

What Is A Complexity Class?

Because a lot of my magical practices are abstract and backed by mathematical theory, people tend to think it is not authentic of occultism. However, ironically, it is authentic in that it extends and abstracts a lot of what Agrippa and Dee were basing their magical systems on. People just tend to copy and paste the grimoires and perform the rituals without bothering to understand the metaphysical theory behind it. That understanding only comes from tacit knowledge from working out the problems and formulas yourself.

A Math professor of mine who had taught at Harvard – I didn’t go to Harvard, had sort of opened my mind up to what Math really was. When he explained to me that Math is the manipulation of symbols that point to entities, I intuitively saw the connection between symbols, magic, and Math. In Mathematics, you’re manipulating symbols that correspond to entities. That feels like magic. He also explained how Pure Mathematics is Philosophy and that the difference between Applied and Pure Math is whether you’re the carpenter – the Applied Mathematician, or the person who makes the hammer for the carpenter – Pure Mathematics…

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