The Arch-Conjuror of England, By Glyn Parry


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The Independent Culture

Elizabethan England may seem close to us in Shakespeare but this revelatory portrait of John Dee reveals a very different world.

Though a practical mathematician, Dee was also an energetic practitioner of alchemy, astrology and sintrillia, ("divination by reflecting celestial rays on to polished surfaces"). The Elizabethan court hedged its bets but the tide was flowing against magic.

Departing for Prague to advise the monarch, Dee pursued scrying (communicating with angels), culminating in "the 16th century's most remarkable account of angelic magic".