Agent 007 and Agent 666
Enoch: the language of angels and spies.
Published on June 23, 2015
Half a millennium ago, a German abbot wrote a book on communication with spirits. It gained instant notoriety. The author, Johannes Trithemius, was an adviser to emperors and a leading humanist. But he also was a magician, and his book was couched in the language of the occult. It outraged Renaissance intellectuals who said it showed that Trithemius was a dabbler in demonic magic and that he could conjure up spirits.
Trithemius's book, volume three of his trilogy, "Steganographia," circulated widely in manuscript form for a century before it was published by entrepreneurs in Frankfurt. Upon publication, it was banned by the Roman Catholic Church and attacked by Protestants. Yet it remained a cult classic, and, to this day, the book is pored over by believers in witchcraft and demons for spells to conjure spirits. Historians cite it as a prime example of 16th-century black magic.
But some people always thought the book was something more -- a cleverly disguised code.
As the article goes on to explain, they were correct. Two different doctors independently proved that the entire text was itself an example of steganography, which is the art of concealing a message within a message. The parallels to John Dee's angelic script are immediately apparent. While this could be dismissed as pure coincidence, we know from contemporary journals that John Dee acquired a copy in the early 1560s - and that he immediately alerted Queen Elizabeth I's chief advisor, William Cecil.
Examined in context, it's clear that John Dee's language of angels was, in reality, a language for spies.
While Enochian remained a fascination in the occult world for quite some time after John Dee's passing, it's likely that it would now be remembered in purely historical terms if its practice hadn't been revived by Aleister Crowley, who like John Dee was in service to the Crown, although the extent of which is still a matter of debate.
It's also unclear how much of the occult Crowley truly believed. Although he brought Enochian back into the mainstream of the occult world and he synthesized his own philosophy and pseudo-religion, his books also included quotes such as, "It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them."
666 and the Great Beast
While some view this as advice to young occultists, covert operatives, or intelligence analysts, others see it as his way of acknowledging that he didn't really identify himself with 666 and the Great Beast, and that this was all part of his larger than life cover identity. Regardless of where he draw the line for his personal beliefs, there's no doubt that his writings led to Enochian's reintroduction to the mainstream occult and that his extensive network of contacts would allow him to accumulate and pass on a great deal of information.
His revival of Enochian, complete with numerous "keys" to calling spirits, and the addition of a philosophy on top of that allowed him to communicate surreptitiously by hiding his true messages inside what appeared to be occult writings. He exploited his reputation as a magician and diabolist and his association with 666 by giving people what they expected of him. Who would think to look for hidden messages in the writings of a drug addled occultist and adventurer?
While there remain modern practitioners of chaos magic and some true believers in Enochian, it's unlikely that any modern intelligence services have infiltrated these communities to exploit them. Just as it was unlikely in John Dee's time, and Aleister Crowley's after him.