John Dee's De Heptarchia Mystica, a guide to summoning angels, 1582


This practical guide to magic is handwritten by John Dee (1527–1608/09), the Elizabethan scholar and magician. It records Dee’s efforts to communicate with angels through his medium Edward Kelley. The manuscript was transcribed and put together by Dee from earlier notes and diaries.

The Latin title, De Heptarchia Mystica (f. 33r), means something like ‘On the mystical sevenfold rule’. It shows John Dee’s desire to decipher God’s mysteries, by communing with the angels who rule the seven planetary spheres. In doing so he hopes to heal the rift between man and God that took place at the Fall.

How did the angels appear?

Chapter Four gives details of the seances which Dee conducted with Kelley. Using diagrams and drawings, Dee describes the costumes and gestures of the angels he claims to have seen. These reveal the magical status of the number seven, in its many different forms. Dee identifies the angels with individual names and titles, such as King Carmara.

According to Dee, King Carmara appeared ‘in a long purple Robe’ with seven princes waiting on him (f. 40r).

Hagonel showed himself with 42 ministers represented in the manuscript by seven rows of six dots (f. 40v). Some of them played catch with ‘balls of Gold’, but when they tried to grasp them, the balls were revealed to be ‘empty like a blown bladder’.

Prince Bornogo was also accompanied by 42 ministers who performed a series of magical feats, vanishing like drops of water or falling down like hailstones. At other times, they arranged themselves into formations of letters, as shown in Dee’s illustrations (f. 41r).

John Dee: Holy or heretical?

Chapter Five (f. 45r–v) is a prayer asking God to reveal his true knowledge, by allowing Dee to converse with the ‘Angels of light’.

Dee repeatedly insisted on his holy aims, but he was accused of sorcery. In 1604, he petitioned King James I to withdraw the claim that he was an ‘Invocator of Divels, or damned Spirites’.

Dee’s story gives us an insight into the world which shaped the works of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus abandons his study of divinity to make a pact with the Devil. He conjures up the Seven Deadly Sins and the spirit of Helen of Troy and is sent to Hell for it.


DE HEPTARCH[I]A MYSTICA (Diuinis, ipsius

Creationis, Stab[ilis] legibus) Collectaneorum

Liber pr[imus]

Cap. 1.

Of the Title, and generall Contents of this boke, some

nedefull Testimonies

A[nn]o 1582, Noves . 16. [Br]alges, the last [of] the 7 Princes [con]cluding the [_]st boke herof [w]ith his words

Beware of Wavering: Blot owte suspition of us; for We are gods Creatures

that have Raigned, Do Raigne, and shall Raigne for ev[er]. All our My=

steries shalbe known unto you . &c

Behold, these thing[es], and theyre Mysteries, shalbe known unto you:

Reserving, the Secret[es] of him, that Raigneth for ev[er] [the voyce of a

multitude, answered, singing] Whose Name, is great for ev[er].

{Ki]ng Carmara [eo]odem tempore

Open yo[u]r eyes, and you shall see from the Highest to the Lowest. The

Peace of God be uppon you.

[Kin]g Carmara - Noves . 17

Venite, Gradatim repetamus Opera Dei: &c

[Prin]ce Hagonel

Unius est Deus, et Unum est opus n[ost]r[u]m

Δ Nota:

[Δ lib[r]o Creationi . 1o . Principes, Loquebat[n]tur magnalia Dei : [et] Secundo, Reges Maxime hoc faciunt.]

Δ Note - very many cam uppon the Convex

superficies of the Transparent Globe,

and Sayd;

Parati sumus servire Deo nostro.

[K]ing Carmara - Novemb. 19.

This work shall have relation to tyme present, and present use. To

Mysteries far exceading it: And finally to a purpose & Intent: Whereby

the Maiestie and Name of God, shall and may, and of force, must

appeare with the Apparition of his Wunders, and Mervayles yet unhard

of. Dixi

Δ Note, As Michael and Uriel, at the begynning of these revealed mysteries,

Were present, and gave Authority to Carmara, to order the whole

Heptarosicall Revelation; so, at the Conclusion, they appeared agayn

and Raphael with them; and Michael ^ concluded the second boke (of this particular

Revelation Heptarchicall,) with these word[es] following

[M]ichael: Novb. 19.

Mercifull is our God, and Glorious is his Name: Which Chuseth

his Creatures, according to his owne secret Judgeme[n]t. This Art

is the first part of a Threefold Art, Joyning Man, (with the

knowledg of 1. the World, 2. the Government of his Creatures, and

3. the Sight of his Maiestie) unto him: (ô I say unto him,) which

is Strength, Medicine, and Mercy to those that feare him.


[Ki]ng Carmara: Novem. 21 in [t]he Appendix of [t]he second boke

Thow hast a Work of three proportions in Esse: of Seven in

forme, Which is (of it self) divided by a Number Septenarie;

Of the Course, estate, and Determination of thing[es] 1. Above, 2. thing[es]

Next, and 3. Thing[es] Below. Which of itself, is pure, perfect,

and withoute Blemish. &c.

[K]ing Carmar [N]ovemb. 21

O God, how easy is this first understanding. Thow hast byn told

perfectly, plainly, and absolutely, Not onely, the Condition, Dignitie,

and estate of All thing[es] that God hath framed: But allso,

Withall, Thow wart delivered, the most p[er]fect forme & use of them &c

Caput 4.

Some Notice of peculier formes, and attire, Wherein, the

Kings, Princis and Ministers Heptarchicall appeared,

and of som[m]e their Actions, ^ and gestures at their apperance &c


This King, (being called first by Uriel,) appeared, as a Man,

very well proportioned: clad in a long purple Robe: and with a

Triple Crowne of Gold on his hed

At his first com[m]ing he had 7 (like men) wayting on him: which after=

warde declared them selves to be the 7 Princis Heptarchicall,

Uriel Delivered unto this king (at his first appearing) a rod or straight

little rownd Staff of Gold: divided into three equall distinctions

whereof, two were dark or blak: and the third bright red. This

rod he kept still in his hand

This king onely, was the ordrer, or disposer, of all the Doctrine,

which I terme Heptarchicall, as first, by calling the 7. Princis

and after that, the 7 kings: and by giving instructions for use

and Practist of the Whole Doctrine Heptarchicall: for the first

purpose, and frute therof to be enioyed, by me: of the two other

there was onely Mention made.

King CARMARA sayd, ECCE Signum operis

There appeared these two letters, eversed and

aversed on a white flag, and a woman standing

by: whose armes did not appere. On the other side

appered the armes of England. The flag old.


- Note. All the Princis, seemed to be men, and to have red Robes,

but this Prince, his Robe was shorter then the others.

All the Princis, had Cerclet[es], of gold on theyr hed[es] : not crowns

nor Coronet[es]. This Prince held in the palme of his ^ right hand, as

yf it had byn a rownd ring, with a prick in the mydst: hanging

allso over his myddle fingers, which he affirmed to be his seale : and

sayd the name of it, to be Barees: and this it is

All the Princis held up to gither, Heptagonon stellars, (as I terme it) and it seamed

to be of Copper.

Subiects and servants to Prince Hagonel.

The Sonnes of ^ light men and theyr Sonnes are Subiect unto his

commanndement, and are his Servant[es].

7. Filij Lucis I. Ih. Ilr. Dmal: Heeoa. Beigia. Stimcul In Sigillo

7. Filij Filour[um] E. An. Ave. Liba: Rocle. Hagonel Ilemese Ǣmets

7. Filij Lucis A[nn]o 1582 Martij 21

The 7. Filij Lucis, appeared, like 7 yong men, all with bright countenance

white apparaled: with white silk on theyr hed[es], pendant behinde

with a wreth down to the grownde, all apparayled of one sort

Every one seamed to have a metalline Ball in his hand: the first of

Gold: the Second of Silver, The 3 of Coper. The 4th of Tynne, The 5th

of Jem; the 6th tossed betwene his two hand[es], a rownd thing of quicksylver

The last had a ball of lead. The first had on his brest a rownd Tablet

of Gold: and on it written a great I. And the second on his golden

Tablet had his name also written. And every one orderly comming furth

shewed theyr names uppon their golden Tablet[es]: At theyre Departing

they made a cursy & mownted up to hevenward:

7 Filij Filioru[m]-

Appeared like 7 little Childern, like boyes covered all with purple,

with hanging sleves, like preist[es], or scholers gown sleves: theyre hed[es] attyrd

all after the former manner with purple Sylk. They had three cornerd

Tablet[es] on their brest[es]: and the Tablet[es] seemed to be very greene, and on

them, the letters of their names written. The first had two letters, made

in one thus, of E and L: [_] . they made reverenc to Michael (who had

called both the first & these) and so mownted up to heven ward.


Prince HAGONEL : his 42 Ministers

At the Call of King Carmara (in the Second handling of this

Heptarchicall Doctrine) when he sayd Venite, Repetamus Opera Dei.

Appered Prince Hagonel: and after that, uppon the Globe his

Convex Superfices, appeard 42: who sayd Parati sumus servire.

Deo n[ost]ro. Eche of these , had somewhat in theyr hand[es]: and they stode

in this order, and Hagonel seamed to embrace the Cumpany.

Six of these seamed more glorious then the

rest: & theyr coates longer: and had Cerclet[es]

of Gold, abowt theyr hed[es]: and held in theyr

hand[es] p[er]fect Crownes of Gold. The Second

Six had three quarters of Gowns in theyr

hand[es]: The third six have robes or clothes in theyr hand[es]: All the rest

seamed to have balls of Gold: which they tosse from one to another

But at the Catching, they seame empty wynde Balls: for they

gripe them cloasing theyr hand[es], as yf they were not solid, but

empty like a blown bladder: The first Six made cursy

to Prince Hagonel. The second six made cursy to the first, &

the Third to the Second: And they all, and Prince Hagonel

made Cursy, to King CARMARA.

Eche of these uppon the place of theyr Standing, made a Table

and every Table had but one letter. The first of the first

Six did go away, and in his Table appered an O. & so of

the rest: but note that the Third Six cowred down, & was

loath to shew their Tables: but at length did..

The Third row, went of Lamenting: being com[m]annded by the Prince

All parted, in fyre, falling into the Globe.

The fifth Row did Synk into the Globe, every one in a sundry fyre

by him self. The sixth fell with smoke, down into the Globe.






L A B D G R E.

K[ing] Carmara sayde Remeber how they stode

when they were secondly Disposed unto the

They stode first in Six Rowes Rowes: and

next they were turned into 7. I speak of

the greater Number & not of the lesse. In

speaking of the greater I have comprehended

the lesser ⸫

Δ - Note. K[ing] Car[mara] There are but 6 names that are

in Subiection unto the Prince: The first 7

next him: are those which held the fayr & bewtifull Crownes

The first 7 are called by those names that thow seest O.E.S &c

Δ - Note. This Diversity of Reckening

by 6, and by 7, I cannot yet well


Ave E


- Appeared in a black velvet coat: And his hose close rownd hose, w[i]th

velvet upper stock[es]: overlayde with gold lace: on his hed a velvet

Hatcap: with a black feather in it: w[i]th a Cape hanging on one of

his sholders. His purse hanging abowt his neck: and so put

under his gyrdell, at which hong a gylt rapier. His beard was

longe he had plinufles & pynsons. And he sayd, I weare these

robes not in respect of my self, but of my government: &c

Prince BOrNOGO

- Appeared in a red Robe, with a Gold Cerclet on his hed: he

shewed his Seale, and sayde, This it is.

Ministers: 42:

Seven of the Ministers are apparyled like Bobogel the king: sagely

and gravely: All the rest are allmost ruffen or roysterlike.

Som are like to be men and wemen, for in the forepart they

seamed wemen; and in the bak part men, by theyr apparayle: And

they were the last 7. They dannsed, lept, & kissed

They cam afterward into a Circle: the Sage & the rest: But

the Sage stand all togither

The first of the Sage lift up his hand a loft, and sayde

Faciamus Secundum Voluntate in Dei: Ille Deus n[ost]r[i] , est

Vere Nobilis et Ǣternus.

He pluckt up his right fote, and under it appered an L.

& of the rest in like manner, appered theyr letters or names

1. The first 7 grew all togither in a flame of fyre, and so sonk

Down into the Transparent fyry Globe of the New World.

2. The second 7 fell down like drops of mettall.

3. The Third 7. Clasp togither, & fall down in a thik smoke

4. The 4th Seven, ioyne togither, and vanish like drops of water.

5. The fifth 7, fall down like a storme of haile.

6. The last vanished away.

At an other tyme, they came (being called by King Carm[ara]) all 42:

bringing a rownd Table over their hed[es] flatwise: and then they

layd it down & stode abowt it: the letters being as before.






A O I D I A B.


M / Liba


Appeared with a Crown of Gold on his hed: wyth a long robe whitish

of Cullour. His left arme sleve, was very white: and his right

Arme sleve was black, he seamed to stand uppon water, his name

was written in his forhed. BABALEL.


He appeared in a long red robe, with a cerclet of gold on his hed.

He had a golden girldell girdle: and on it written BEFAFES

He opened his bosom, & appeared leane: and seamed to have feathers

under his Robes ⸫

His Seale, or Character, is this

Ministers 42. .

Of his 42. Ministers, the first 7, had Cerclet[es] of gold on theyr hed[es]

and the King BABALEL called Befases, saying. Veni Princeps

et Principum, qui s[u]nt Aquarum Principes. Every one of the 42 had

a letter in his forhed: They were 7 in a row; and 6, Downward

But of the first 7 the letters became to be betwene theyr feet.

and the water seameth co[n]tynually to passe over these letters.

The first 7 take the water & throw it up, and it becom[m]eth clowdes

The Second throw it up, and it becommeth hayle & snow &c

The 42 dive into the water, & so vanish away. And

Babalel and Befases allso wer suddenly gone.

Theyr names and characters appeared to be these, which follow

in these squares.







Cap. 5:

Oratio, ad Deum, singulis diebus, tribus vicibus, ter dicenda.

Ô Almighty, Ǣternall, the True and living GOD: Ô King of

Glory: Ô Lord of Hoasts: O thow, the Creator of Heaven, and Erth, and of

all things Visible and Invisible: Now, (even now, at length) Among other thy

manifold mercies used, and to be used, toward me, thy simple servant John

Dee, I most humbly beseche the, in this my present petition to have mercy uppon

me, to have pitie uppon me, to have Compassion uppon me: Who, faithfully

and sincerely, of long time, have sowght among men, in Earth: And allso,

by prayer, (full oft, and pitifully,) have made sute unto thy Divine Ma[jes]tie

for the obteyning of som[m]e convenient portion of True Knowledg and under=

standing of thy lawes, and Ordonances, established in the Natures and pro=

preties of thy Creatures: By which Knowledg, Thy Divine Wisdome,

Powre and Goodnes, (on thy Creatures bestowed, and to them imparted,)

being to me made manifest, might abundantly instruct, furnish, and

allure me, (for the same,) incessantly to pronownce thy praises, to

render unto thé, most harty thanks, to avaunce thy true honor, and to

wynne unto thy Name, som[m]e of thy due Maiesticall Glorie, among all

people, and for ever. And, Whereas, it hath please the, (O God,) of thy

infinite Goodnes, by thy faithfull, and holy Spirituall Messagers, to deliver

unto me, long since, (throwgh the eye, and eare of E.K.) An Orderlie

forme, and manner of Exercise HEPTARCHICAL: How, (to thy

Honor and Glory, and the Cumfort of my owne poore sowle, and of others

they faithfull servants,) I may, at all tymes, use very many of thy good

Angels, theyr Cownsailes and helps, according to the proprieties of such

their Functions, and Offices, as to them, by thy Divine Powre, Wisdome

and Goodnes, is assigned, and Limited: (Which Orderly forme, and

manner of Exercise, Untyll even now, I never fownd so urgent

Opportunitie, and extream Necessitie, to apply my self unto,) Therefore,

I thy poore, and Simple Servant, do, most humbly, hartylie, and faithfully

beseche thy Divine Maiestie, most lovingly and fatherly to favor: and by

thy Divine Beck to furder this my present industrie and endevour to Ex=

ercise my self, according to the foresaid Ordrely forme and manner:

And, Now, (At length, but not to late,) for thy dearly beloved

Sonne IESUS CHRIST his sake, (Ô Heavenly Father,) to graunt

allso unto me, this blessing, and portion of thy heavenly Graces: That

thou wilt, furthwith, enhable me, make me apt, and Acceptable, (in body

Sowle, and Spirit,) to enioye allwayes the Holy and frendely Conversation,

of thy Mighty, Wise and Good Spirituall Messagers and Ministers

with the Sensible, playne, full, and perfect Help, (in Word, and dede,)

Generally: And, Namely, of Blessed Michael, Blessed Gabriel,

Blessed Raphael, and Blessed Uriel: And, Allso Especially, of all



those, which do appertaine, unto the HEPTARCHICAL Mysterie: Isago=

gically, (as yet,) and very breifly, unto me declared: under the Method of

Seven Mighty Kings; and their Seven faithfull and Princely Ministers,

with their Subiects, and Servants, to them belonging. And in this thy

great Mercie, and Grace, on me bestowed, and to me Confirmed, (Ô

Almighty God,) thow shalt, (to the great cumfort of thy faithfull Servants,)

approve, to thy very enemies, and myne, the Truth and Certaintie of

thy manifold most mercifull promises, heretofore, made unto me: And

that Thow, arte the True and Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and

Earth, (uppon whome, I do Call: and in whome, I put all my trust,)

And thy Ministers, to be the True, and faithfull Angels of light: which

have, hitherto, principally, and according to thy Divine Providence,

dealt with us: And, allso, I, thy poore, and Simple Servant, shall,

than, In, and By thé, be better hable to serve the, according to thy well=

pleasing: to thy Honor and Glory: Yea, even in these most miserable, and

Lamentable dayes. Graunt, Ôh graunt, Ô our Heavenly Father, graunt

this, (I pray thé,) for thy onely begotten Sonne IESUS CHRIST,

his sake: Amen, Amen, Amen

Full title:
Writers of Manuscripts: Dee (Dr. John): 1581-1585.John Dee, astrologer: Claves Angelicæ: 1584, 1585.: Autogr.
Manuscript / Illustration / Image
John Dee
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Sloane MS 3191

Full catalogue details

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