The original Wizard
Who was John Dee? He is virtually unknown in modern times, although he has had a profound influence on popular culture-
without him, there would be no Harry Potter, no Gandalf, no wizard bearing a crystal ball.
As a brilliant magician, mathematician, scientist, and secret agent, John Dee was the original Renaissance man. Something
of a prodigy, Dee entered St. John's College at Cambridge at age 15. He achieved notoriety early on with a charge of sorcery,
which stemmed from a mechanical flying beetle demonstrated in a stage play. After spending many years studying mathematics
and cartography, he took an interest in natural magic, a pastime then accepted by the church. From his studies he developed
a doctrine that one could obtain knowledge of God from the applied practice of magick- a controversial idea that was to get
him into trouble on a number of occasions.
Tried as a Wizard
His notoriety as a skilled astrologer eventually caught the attention of Queen Mary's court, and he was asked to cast
horoscopes for the Queen and her prospective husband, Philip of Spain. During this time, he made the mistake of befriending
the Princess Elizabeth, then in captivity as a political rival of Queen Mary. Hysteria was roused, and he was charged, tried,
and acquitted of attempting to kill Mary with black magic. Shortly after his release, Mary did die and Elizabeth ascended
the throne. Elizabeth had not forgotten her friend, and Dee was asked to choose an auspicious date for her coronation. Their
friendship continued, although in much secrecy, due to Dee's growing (if undeserved) reputation as a black magician.
Her Majesty's Service
Dee eventually became Elizabeth's court astrologer, and soon after, her spy. As an agent of the crown, Dee conducted several
mysterious missions for purposes mostly unknown to this day. He relished his espionage duties, creating elaborate, sophisticated
ciphers. In his correspondence with the Queen during these episodes, he signed his communiqués "007," a moniker
that would be used again, as any fan of the spy genre will recognize.
In between spy missions, Dee continued his studies in mathematics, cartography, and alchemy, as well as his experiments
in magic. He developed state of the art navigational techniques, instituted the use of telescopes and navigational equipment
in the military, and developed secret codes for military communication. He also translated many important mathematical works,
and introduced the English speaking world to Euclidian Geometry.
Next---->Crystal balls and conversations with angels
images of John Dee