John Dee

John Dee is sometimes reffered to as the last magician because of his services to Queen Elizabeth 1 as her astrologer. Dee was a renowned alchemist, mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. He was well learned in neoplatonic, kabbalistic and hermetic philosophy. His witings are said to have influenced Shakespeare.

Dee frequently consulted mediums in his attempts to communicate with spirits. Born in London, July 13, 1527, Dee enrolled at St. Johns College in Cambridge at age 15. He had an intense interest in magic and alchemy. Finding Cambridge a bit stifling he went to the Continent to study and lecture.

Dee had money problems and in some ways alchemy provided the answer. He thought that communicating with the spirits might also help him find treasure. Dee a Christian, sought only communication with angels and had no interest in black magic. He was also intensly interested in his dreams.

Dee returned to England and was given a pension by Edward V1. But Edward died at 16 and this once again left him in an awkward financial situation. Dee cast the horoscope for Queen Mary and later visited Marys half sister Elizabeth in jail to determine when Mary would die. Dee was accused of black magic and jailed. He was released in 1555. Mary died in 1558.

When Elizabeth became Queen she consulted Dee on many matters. He even gave Elizabeth mystical interpretations of his writings. Dee was granted a generous pension by Elizabeth and spent years travelling, some say as a spy for Elizabeth.

Dee had a large library of books on witchcraft, the occult and magic. He wrote 79 manuscripts but only a few were published.

Dee was married three times and had eight children.

Dee met Edward Kelly, an irishman who had lost his ears for forgery. Kelly was bad tempered, Dee was reserved. Together they had an uneasy partnership.Kelly held the upper hand in this unusual partnership. Kelly would gaze into the crystal and summon spirits using the secret language Enochian. He acted as intermediary for Dee.

In 1585 Dee and Kelly went on a four year journey across the continent conducting readings for nobility and royalty. But Dee and Kelly had many arguments and eventually parted ways. Dee returnede to England. Kelly was killed in 1595 while attempting to escape from prison in Hague.

Back in England Dee found his house ransacked with many of his possesions stolen or destroyed. Elizabeth gave him 2,000 pounds for the damage. Elizabeth made him warden of Christs College in Manchester in 1595.

Elizabeth died in 1603 and her successor James 1 opposed magic. Dee was forced to retire to Mortlake.

He died in poverty in 1608.