Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Angelic Letter Essences

The Angelic language, often referred to as Enochian, originated with John Dee and Edward Kelly in sixteenth-century England. This language is one of the key components of the Enochian system of magick and has proved very effective in my own magical work. It was communicated to Dee and Kelly as a series of "Calls" or "Keys" - short conjurations supposedly written in the true language of angels accompanied by pronunciation notes and English translations.

The only problem is that these conjurations are not long enough, and one of the frustrations of working with Angelic is the limited vocabulary. There are nineteen Calls, the longest of which is around 150 words. Furthermore, many of the words are repeated throughout the Calls, leaving the magician rather limited in what he or she can write in the language when constructing rituals. For exmple, there are words for Sun and Moon and the Earth but none of the other planets, no literal words for concepts like "invoke" or "banish," and a very limited number of nouns.

According to the Golden Dawn tradition, each letter of the Angelic language can be thought of as a force or energy in its own right, and there are sections of the diaries that agree with this supposition. If a method could be found to relate these forces to the definitions of words, it would be possible to translate just about any English word into Angelic and vice versa. Patricia Shaffer has proposed a system that she refers to as Angelic Letter Essences. She wrote a book entitled Tongue of Angels for Weiser in 1994 that includes the Letter Essence system, but unfortunately Weiser eventually declined to publish the book and it was never made available.

The Letter Essence system attempts to catalog the relationships between the forces corresponding to each letter and how those forces interact in groups of two and three letters and as subsets of words. Looking it over, I'm not sure what I think of it. Some of the associations seem to match the translated words pretty well, while other seem to correspond poorly. If it works or could be made to work effectively it would be a huge breakthrough that could improve Encohian ritual work immensely.

My ritual group is going to be testing the system out at some point by comparing words that we have received in the current series of Enochian rituals with their Letter Essence translations to see if there are any interesting correlations. If anyone else here has worked with this system and would like to post their results, feel free to do so.

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