Overview for Chapter D: Perhaps the most well-known of the twenty-six figures I’ve chosen, this chapter integrates the life of the English astrologer, mathematician, and advisor to Elizabeth I with English foreign policy, early exploration for the Northwest Passage, the English Renaissance, and the practices of alchemy, magic, and witchcraft.
1. Was John Dee foolish to trust Kelley?
2. Why was Dee unable to secure the approval he sought?
3. Is John Dee a tragic figure?
1. John Dee constructed a scarab flying machine for a theatrical performance while at Cambridge, but it's unclear what this actually looked like. Draw or construct one that would have scared a 16th century audience.
2. Using a deck of tarot cards, find one with an image you find provocative. What role does this card play in tarot? What are the astrological connections?
• This thesis for the Master of Arts degree offers a detailed analysis of Dee's book Monas Hieroglyphica (1564). See:
Joshua Michael Zintel, Roots of Coded Metaphor in John Dee's Monas Hieroglyphica [Master of Arts thesis], ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2020, 28028538. https://search.proquest.com/openview/037dabece81748a22415d985b753e1e0/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=51922&diss=y
Map for Chapter D: This map by the author is in the print edition of the book and shows the places that where John Dee worked and lived.
“John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I,”oil painting by Henry Gillard Glindoni, before 1913, courtesy of the Wellcome Library, London, 47369i.
“Edward Kelley, a Magician, raising the Ghost of a Person lately deceased, in the Church Yard of Walton Le Dale, Lancaster,” by anonymous, before 1825, in Raphael, The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century: Or the Master Key of Futurity, being a Complete System of Astrology, Geomancy & Occult Science, London: Knight and Lacey, 1825, 228, courtesy of Public Domain Review.
Two examples of royal horoscopes from Raphael. The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century: Or the Master Key of Futurity, being a Complete System of Astrology, Geomancy & Occult Science, London: Knight and Lacey, 1825, 414-415, courtesy of Public Domain Review.
Dr. John Dee; Practica et accurtaciones, This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom.
This is a Claude Lorrain mirror in a shark skin case that may have been John Dee's scrying mirror. Original image is courtesy of Wellcome Library.