Greetings Enochian Students!
The following analysis of the First Angelical Calling (or Key) is excerpted from The Angelical Language: Vol I. I plan to release all 19 analyses over several weeks. Enjoy!
The Angelical Calls are more than just keys to mystical gateways. In fact. they consist of a kind of biblical poetry – psalms, really- that appear to outline a connected message about the life of the Universe. However, exactly what that message says has been debated by Enochian scholars for decades (if not centuries). Like proper biblical literature, the wording is obscure enough that different readers see entirely different messages. Over the years, many have offered their own explanations of the “meaning” behind or within the forty-eight Calls. Here, I will present my own analysis of the poetry, and attempt to demystify the obscure language.
The poetry of the Calls appears to draw from a range of biblical literature. The first. third, and final Calls each contain very Genesis-like aspects- describing the establishment of the physical world as we know it. Calls two, and twelve through eighteen, are reminiscent of psalms or verses from the Song of Solomon- being invocations of the Divine through praise.
The Calls are generally classifiable as apocalyptic writings – which, like Loagaeth, commonly focus upon the cycle of time and the life and death of the Universe. Apocalyptic texts include such canonical books as Ezekiel. Isaiah, Daniel. and the Revelation of St. John. Calls four through fourteen, especially, remind me of verses from the Revelation, Isaiah, and so on.
The word apocalypse is an archaic word for “revelation”- especially in the spiritual/mystical sense. It is through such an apocalypse that the prophets Ezekiel, St. John, and (of course) Enoch were able to glimpse the Divine Throne. It therefore makes sense that the Calls- and even Loagaeth itself- should be associated with apocalyptic literature. Not only were they received by Kelley and Dee via direct Angelic revelation (making them prophets in their own right), but the practice of the system (called Gebofal, see chapter 4) is intended to result in the revelation of mysteries. Not to mention the fact that the Angels associated the whole system with the Tribulation.
Finally, I must give some attention to the classical Gnostic influence upon these poems. As we have seen in previous chapters, there is an undeniable Gnostic imprint upon Dee’s entire system of magick. For example, the “thirty Aethyrs” are apparently based upon the thirty Heavens of the Gnostics. Just as we see in Loagaeth, the Gnostic aspirant was expected to ceremonially open “gateways” leading into the thirty Heavens, receive purification and baptism within each realm, and finally obtain ultimate reunion with God. (See the Gnostic text entitled Pistis Sophia for just one example.)
Meanwhile, the Calls seem to contain a direct Gnostic borrowing in their name for God: Iadbaltoh, translating as “God of Justice (or Righteousness).” This name is suspiciously close to the ancient Gnostic name of the Creator-Ialdabaoth. The etymology of this name is obscure: however, Gnostic scripture records Ialdabaoth’s title of honor as “The God of Righteousness.”
There is also a Gnostic literary style to the poetry. For instance, the Calls written from ladbaltoh’s viewpoint bring to mind such ancient writings as The Thunder-Perfect Intellect– wherein the Gnostic goddess Sophia speaks to her followers. (Remember that Sophia- or Wisdom- appears in Dee’s journals as the Mother of Angels: Galvah.) The treatment of the Christos (“He That Liveth and Triumpheth”) in the poetry is also very Gnostic in its imagery.
However, I must remind the reader that the classical Gnostic texts we know today were unknown to Dee and Kelley. During their lives, the classical (or Sethian) Gnostic sects had long since been exterminated, and the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts in Egypt was hundreds of years away.
In the meantime, Gnosticism had lived on in the very foundations of Western esotericism-at the hearts of such movements and philosophies as Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, and alchemy. Its imagery survived in medieval and Renaissance engravings and the Tarot trumps. Its literature was a heavy influence upon canonical biblical texts (such as the Book of John and Revelation). Many of its mysteries were shared with and adopted by Jewish Merkavah mystics and Qabalists. And its Doctrines were preserved and taught by isolated mystics and secret societies.
There had also been a Gnostic sect within the Catholic Church for a time-founded by a Christian teacher named Valentinus- until it was also exterminated. It would appear that Valentinian philosophy was the primary source of Gnosticism for much of the West, including for men such as Dee.
With all of this taken into account, it is no surprise that the forty-eight Calls should bear the mark of Gnostic symbolism, without being technically classified as Gnostic literature themselves.
For brevity’s sake, I will conclude this introduction and proceed to the analysis of the Calls. In what follows, I have provided the text of each Call. Then, each is broken into “sections” of related passages, and I have included my commentary with each section. The commentary will include further references to the influences upon the poetry we have already discussed.
“I reign over you,” sayeth the God of Justice, “In power exalted above the firmaments of wrath: in whose hands the Sun is as a sword, and the Moon a through-thrusting fire.”
Most of Call One appears to be composed of the words of God Himself. As we see in the line above, the speaker of the Call establishes that he is not speaking his own words, but those of the God of Justice (lad Balt or Iadbaltoh). By quoting the very words of the Creator at the time of their creation, the speaker is reminding the Angels of the promises they have made, and the commands given to them by God. (We shall see this elsewhere in the Calls.) The speaker is also proving that he knows these secret words, and thus establishes his own authority.
Remember that Call One is intended to move the “Kings and Ministers of Government” who are also the ‘First Seven”. These are likely the seven Archangels who “stand before the Face of God” as depicte’d in the Revelation of St. John and elsewhere. Among these seven planetary Archangels, those of the Sun and Moon stand as chiefs. The first line of the Call reveals that the God of Justice is so exalted (likely super-celestial as in Gnosticism), even the mighty Sol and Luna arc but tools or weapons in His hands- a sword and a “through-thrusting fire” (fiery arrow).
Which measureth your garments in the midst of my vestures and trussed you together, as the palms of my hands. Whose seats I garnished with the fire of gathering and beautified your garments with admiration. To whom I made a law to govern the Holy Ones, and delivered you a rod (with) the ark of knowledge.
In the first line above, the initial word “which” most likely refers to the Sun and Moon described in the previous line of the Call. In the study of astrology, the path of the Sun and Moon across the sky is used to distinguish the twelve principal constellations from among the chaotic mass of stars. Because of this, the Sun and Moon are credited with bringing order to chaos, as well as the government of the planetary and zodiacal Angels. From the standpoint of astrology it is Sol and Luna who “truss together” the signs and planets (the kings and ministers of government). It is they who mark out (measure) the paths of the stars through the vault of the Heavens- the vestures (territories) of ladbaltoh.
The next line suggcsts that God has garnished the seats of Sol and Luna with the “fire of gathering.” This makes sense when we consider that the Sun and Moon are said to burn with a mere reflection of the Fire from Heaven. The line then addresses the kings and ministers once again, and suggests that the Sun and Moon have “beautified your garments.” The planets in our solar system are beautified by glowing with the light reflected from the Sun.
The next line seems to refer to the natural laws set by Iadbaltoh- those that govern the Holy Ones (Angels), and those which they enforce upon the created realm. As the kings and ministers of the Universe, they both hold the rod (scepter) of rulership and represent the ark (or storehouse) of all knowledge. (Remember that Dee was an astrologer, and regularly read the stars for knowledge.)
Moreover, you lifted up your voices and swore obedience and faith to Him that liveth and triumpheth; whose beginning is not, nor end cannot be; which shineth as a flame in the midst of your palace, and reigneth amongst you as the balance of righteousness and truth.
With the word “moreover”, Iadbaltoh changes the subject of his speech. He is, of course, still addressing the kings and ministers, but He suddenly appears to refer to a Divinity distinct from Himself- “Him that Liveth and Triumpeth.” This would seem to be a direct reference to the Christos– the Anointed One who descends from Heaven to take on a body of flesh and triumph over evil (“liveth and triumpheth”). In the Book of Revelation, the Christos conquers the physical realm and is established as eternal King.
We have already discussed the Gnostic Christos (also called the Logos, or Word). It is both self-created and eternal, both distinct from and part of the Highest God. The descriptive terms used in Call One to describe “Him that liveth … ” are typical of the Christos. He is described as eternal, and (in the same spirit of the Call thus far) is associated intimately with solar imagery. He “shineth as a flame” in the midst of the palace of the Holy Ones, as the Sun shines in the center of our solar system. Both the Christos in Heaven and the Sun in the celestial realm are the central pillar and balance. (Interestingly, Gnostic texts describe the Christos’ first act as that of bringing balance to the realm of the Aeons. It then descended to the physical realm, to do the same here.). Therefore, Call One serves to remind the Angelic rulers of the Universe that they have sworn themselves to both Iadbaltoh and the Christos.
Move, therefore, and show yourselves. Open the mysteries of your creation. Be friendly unto me. For. I am a servant of the same your God; the true worshiper of the Highest.
Finally, the Call ends with an evocational formula – or conjuration. As we shall see, all of the Calls end with similar conjurations. All of them are spoken by the speaker of the Call rather than by a figure- such as God- being quoted within the Call. However, there arc a couple of instances where Iadbaltoh is quoted within the formula.
NEXT: Angelic Calling 2
Click here for The Angelical Language: Vol I at Llewellyn.com