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The System of Enochian Magick, Part II: The Evolution of the Tablets

Reprinted from Voume 6, Number 4 of Lion and Serpent, the Official Journal of Sekhet-Maat Lodge, O.T.O. Reprinted here with Permission.

Figure 1. Edward Kelly


Figure 2. John Dee

The Tables that form what are commonly referred to as the Watchtowers were received by Dee and Kelly, during the Spirit Actions, from the period of Tuesday, April 10, 1584 through April 18, 1587. During this period their formation evolved and changed and produced a number of arrangements that often confuse the practitioner of the Enochian system. The Golden Dawn and such other modern systems as the Aurum Solis and A∴A∴ use only the final evolution of this structure and then impose upon it an hierarchy of governance that is only loosely based on the derivations of rulership given to Dee and Kelly by the Angles during the Spirit Actions. We shall first explain this evolution with some possible explanations for existence. Then we shall explore the hierarchies as given by the Angels, in the various visions of the Watchtowers (such as the well known one immortalized in the Golden Talisman), in the methodology for nomenclature formulation given by the Angels in the Spirit Actions and finally in Dee’s own development in his Enochian grimoire, Liber Scientiæ Auxilii et Victoriæ Terrestris.1

The material that is essential to understanding the development of the Watchtowers is contained in the following structural artifacts:

The Round Table of Nalvage

The 91 Governors

The Golden Talisman

The initial Watchtower reception and explication

The Reformation of the Great Table

though only material from the 91 Governors, Watchtower reception and Reformation are contained in the actual formulation of the Watchtowers.

Let us examine this formulation first.

First the various delineation of the 91 names that govern the parts of the Earth were given; correlated with Angelic King that rules over them, the Part of the Earth they are assigned to, the Aire in which they dwell and the number of ministers that serve them, etc.

The initial data for this can be seen collected in James2 101-115 This is important because the directional details that are derived herefrom will prove the essential key, the Rosetta Stone, so to speak, in ultimately unlocking the reasons for the various directional shifts. But it is critical to formulation because the names given here for the 91 Governors will prove to match exactly (within statistically acceptable variance) the letters that constitute the Watchtowers themselves. The student of Enochian can compare the lists of names with the sigils, which formulate their existence on the Watchtowers, and easily see the correlation. But realize that the names were delivered first and then the Watchtowers horizontally line by line and after having both figures at hand. The Angels demonstrated that, by discrete (7 letters, the number of letters in each Governor’s name) linear connections, all of the letters given in the Watchtowers could be accounted for from the letters that formulate names of the Governors previously given. This would require either a monumental and complex second and third order memorization (2 dimensions to 1 dimension then back to 2 dimensions and with directional correlation from a 3 dimensional origin to a 3 dimensional conclusion) on Kelly’s part or an elaborate and extremely obtuse deception on Dee’s part. This constitutes one of the chief proofs of the system.

Figure 3: The Characters upon the Original Great Table from Sloane MS. 3191.

To demonstrate this let the student carry out the following exercises:

  1. Let them construct 4 rectangles and subdivide each into 156 equal squares (vide post): 12 wide and 13 high. Let them fill in these squares letter by letter following the order of the Governors given in Liber Scientiae and correlated by the Table of Characters upon the Great Table. There are subtle details of set formation and the emergence of order out of chaos that can been seen by actually carrying out this exercise. Let the Watchtowers be identified by the first letter in each, that being the letter that appears in the upper left hand corner: r, b, d and T.  
  2. Next let the student formulate the Watchtowers (fig. 4) individually line by line in the order: r, b, D and T3 beginning with the Watchtower and compare the nature of each construction. Let them note how the capital letters in the Watchtowers are assigned. The student should use what Tables they have access to and compare those that they may find or have at hand. In theory those in the Cotton Appendix and in Liber Scientiae should be considered the most reliable. In practice the ones in Turner’s Elizabethan Magic are at present the most reliable in print.  
  3. A simpler form of this exercise can be conducted by copying a set of the Watchtowers or the Original Great Table and then tracing the sigils in order; correlating the order given in Liber Scientiae via the Table of Characters (fig. 3) unto the Watchtowers. It is useful to annotate the order of the Governors on the Table of Characters.

Figure 4. Watchtower


  1. This text exists in a number of versions and translations. It can be found in Dee’s original in Sloane MS. 3191 and in Ashmole’s copy thereof in Sloane MS. 3678. Crowley’s Liber 89 vel Chanock is a poor adaptation of it, Peterson’s “Tabula bonorum angelorum invocations,” (http://www.esotericarchives.com/dee/invocat.htm) is a reliable literal extraction of the material pertinent to this discussion, James vide post contains an excellent translation and analysis as does Robert Turner’’s Elizabethan Magic, (London: Harper Collins, 1990).  
  2. Geoffrey James edt. & trans., The Enochian Evocation of Dr. John Dee, (Gillette, NJ: Heptangle, 1983).  
  3. Note that in Cabalistic terms this order delineates the Heliocentric order, id est r = resh = Sol, b = beth = Mercury, d = daleth = Venus, T = tau = Earth. This represents the order in which the Watchtowers were received.

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