A Mystic, Magician and Theologian meet an angel.
The Mystic asks to be one with God, the universe and everything. With truth. He goes away having become one with the angel.
The Magician demands to direct the power of God, the universe and everything. To create truth. She goes away having directed the power of the angel.
The Theologian asks to know God, the universe and everything. To know truth. He spends the next thirty years talking with the angel and learns nothing.
The obvious message here is don't go to a Magician, Mystic or Theologian for answers. The Magician can give you power, the Mystic experience. The Theologian will give you answers, but you better have thirty years to spare and low expectations. But my intended topic is Enochian magic and the Theologian's Mistake.
I've systematically and carefully explored the incomplete Enochian system for well over a decade and one fact holds universally true, the Enochian "angels" love to talk.
The best way to get a feel for the Enochian entities is to look at Dee's journals. What you see there are years of promises unkept. The angels promised power, the power that makes empires and tears down thrones. They also promised a complete system. They never delivered on any of it to Dee.
After you have feasted on Dee's disappointments, move on to Crowley's The Vision and the Voice and the collected work of Benjamin Rowe. All else aside, what you will see is what Rowe realized very early on. The Enochian entities are very good at playing up to your expectations and saying precisely what you need to hear to keep you interested even when it's not what you expect. This is a danger in magic in general, but the Enochian entities are masters of the genre.
In a previous post I discussed the occurence of what I called Cosmic Weirdness. Cosmic Weirdness can best be defined as impossible, unlikely or occult events which seem to have a deep or important meaning but which fail to fulfill the promises they imply. Cosmic Weirdness is the natural soil of conspiracy and the dedicated area of study of people like Charles Fort. Fish falling from clear skies, a seeming alien invasion of a military base which never amounts to anything, wild strings of synchronicity, strange patterns to Big Foot, Nessie or U.F.O. sightings - the list of Cosmic Weirdness goes on and on.
Enochian magic has an unsavory reputation. We are told it has driven people mad; caused all kinds of terrible backlashes; is generally accompanied by power outages, fires, lightening strikes, disasters; it leads to the Abyss and either triggers the formation of a Master of the Temple or the destruction of the unwary magician; it always works even if you know nothing about magic (a rather dangerous characteristic). I am of the opinion that much of this reputation is well deserved. Enochian magic is indeed often attended by striking physical manifestations, more so than most other magical systems. It does indeed seem potent irrespective of the practitioner's talent or skill. But much of its poor reputation, particularly the madness and disaster which is claimed to follow upon its use, I attribute to Enochian magic's fundamentally Cosmically Weird nature.
The Enochian System is deeply incomplete. Each and ever part of it is shot through with holes and inconsistencies. It is a vast worm eaten tapestry, a puzzle missing half the pieces. Most people practice the slight fragments made popular through the Golden Dawn consisting primarily of the Enochian Keys, Watchtowers and Aethyrs. The Golden Dawn created on its own an involved interpretation of the Watchtowers and invented entirely an application of the Keys to the Watchtowers. The rest of the supposed system (a large amount of material) is general left untouched and many people are unaware that Dee was never told, or figured out, how to use the Keys or Watchtowers. Indeed, he never used or had any idea how to use most of the system. The "angels" just promised, on and on, that they would explain it eventually. They never did. The very idea that the Keys apply to the Watchtowers is itself more an artifact of later speculation than a method explained by the "angels" or Dee.
With Enochian magic it is as if you have less than half a car spread about a garage in all manner of dissemble. People stroll in, use a tail pipe as a musical instrument, a door handle as a bottle opener, a steering wheel as a child's spinning top. But here is where the analogy breaks down. The system, unlike the car, is alive and interested. We don't know what it is, or is for. We don't know what it wants. But it is powerful and misusing the door handle nonetheless works in striking ways. Notice, as a side note, that I am not here jumping on the bandwagon that loves to rail against the dangers of misusing the system. The supposed "downfalls" of both Crowley and Jack Parsons have been blamed on the terrible danger of misusing the Enochian system in one way or another. For example, it is claimed Crowley mispronounced the Enochian Call to the Aethyrs and so was destroyed. Any grasp of the details of the system as delivered to Dee and its history makes clear that one can not use the system without "misusing" it. We simply know almost nothing about its mechanics and seem to be missing most of the important pieces. It can only be approached experimentally, through trial and error, and the system seems to accommodate this use such that even something that in retrospect seems incorrect nonetheless produces results and not, generally, disaster. This is a key characteristic of the system, it allows and responds to "misuse" precisely because, as I said, it is interested. Interested in being used. Interested in your using it. Interested in being interesting.
Don't get me wrong, like the disassembled car Enochian magic is not noticeably malevolent despite its reputation. But it is, I have found, inherently manipulative in precisely the same way it was with Dee. This is where the Theologian's Mistake comes into play.
If the mystic comes to Enochian magic he will reap amazing results in terms of transcendental experiences. Notice, for example, the ever growing literature of people working the Enochian Aethyrs. The system has led to some of the most striking experiences of enlightenment the recent history of the occult has to offer. But, to reap these benefits, the mystic must remain faithful to the experience and not the staging. The system will burden the mystic with endless visions, vapid explanations, mundane metaphysics all veiling the actual experience it makes possible.
If the magician comes to Enochian magic she will find a potent tool for the production of results. She will also find, often enough, unwanted side effects. Talk of power outages and fires are not just gossip and the unintended side effects can go well beyond this. But the point remains, Enochian magic is a tool unlike most others for achieving concrete worldly results. Its incomplete nature makes it hard to "aim", as one would expect from so obscure a tool, but it works and works both fast and deep.
If the theologian comes to Enochian magic, however, or if the mystic or magician slips into the role of the theologian he will run the risk of becoming another Dee. I mean this not in terms of helping to craft a famous and powerful system, but in terms of being led around by the nose for decades and flattered with promises while achieving little of his original goals and having learned next to nothing. One might say that the Enochian system has little to say, but loves to talk, and has little to show but loves to cast picture shows upon the screen of the mind of the magician. It is, in this sense, a perfect example of high Cosmic Weirdness. It causes such weirdness, is almost always accompanied by it, and its message is always in the form of cosmic weirdness. Lengthy speeches on cosmic nature that amount to nothing. The theologian's mistake, then, is seeking knowledge where only experience or power are possible.
There is a mystical interpretation to be offered of the above point. The realm of knowledge is not the realm of understanding. Knowledge would capture reality in words and images. Understanding, on the other hand, arises from an experience that goes beyond any possible collection of words or images. Against this words and images can, at best, hint. It is, then, perhaps likely that the Enochian system taps into very high or deep realms indeed but these are realms beyond the efficacy of word or image. Despite that, the system very easily lends itself to the production and reproduction of words and images like a factory run wild. Its true value, however, lies beyond these and is obscured or interfered with by the facade of knowledge.