At the age of three or four, I’d have my first set of reoccurring nightmares.
Taken at face value, it’s a hopeful nightmare. Intellectually, at least, I realize it’s hopefulness, but it’s never once felt right. I’ve only known panic and anxiety from this dream. It’s sharper than the memories, the lies, and other strange dreamings that happened at that age. I’m confident I didn’t invent a false memory of it later on because I’d have this dream stuck on repeat for two or three years.
It went like this:
My mother and I were at a strange multi-level supermarket that had so many floors it required an elevator. There was an emergency of some sort. Sometimes a TV tuned to the news would announce something awful had happened. It was the end of the world. Sometimes in the dream, no one had to tell us anything. We just knew the world was ending. Everyone in the store was evacuated by being corralled onto the elevator. The last place you’d want to go if something awful was happening. It would stop between floors. We were stuck. I was panicking. The air was thick or too thin. It was hot. We were having trouble breathing.
Then, an angel appeared in the elevator with all of the patrons huddled together. He told us if we pointed our flashlights at the ceiling of the elevator, we’d be rescued. Dream logic: we all directed the beams of flashlights we didn’t have moments before onto the ceiling of the darkened dead husk of a powerless elevator car. It was lifted up and out of the building onto the roof. The doors parted and orange light shone through. We stepped out onto the flat white commercial building roofing. I saw a vast city spread out onto the horizon. Other rooftops, other elevators. Beams of golden light broke through the orange twilight sky and angels flew up and down the rays. They were ferrying the elevator passengers up the beams of light to heaven.
The end of the world didn’t scare me. The angels did. Nothing they did made any sense. Their presence felt… incoherent. They weren’t supposed to be there. As I think back on that dream, I’m pretty sure the instinct I felt about the angels was because the truth was the world was supposed to end and no one was coming to save us.
1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast [it] into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth
Anyway, this all is a prelude to an exploration of the demonic, inspired by the angelic.
Or at least the angelic found within the pages of the book John Dee and the Empire of Angels. The ones super into the apocalypse. I’m finding a great deal of indifference in properly contextualizing, or categorizing these entities by other occultists. Normally I wouldn’t push for such things. However, I recognize a profoundly deep psychological need for the belief in an extra-dimensional force that as into me as I am. Entities that are way better at giving a shit about me than I could myself.
Recognizing and acknowledging this need makes it easy to see why we’re willing to give ourselves over to neo-platonic hierarchies in the light of how ego-strokingly sexy the proposition of the existence of such entities would be.
A problem with comes with its own internal set of contradictions that must first be addressed.
Firstly, presuming John Dee and Edward Kelly made contact with entities at all. For the sake of argument, let’s presume they in fact did. At least most of the time.
Secondly. Angels. Just, take a moment with that one. Take a breath. You good? I’m not.
Holeeeey shit. Holy-fuck-balls-shit-balls.
What a PR campaign on those cats, am I right? You have a hyper-feminized, softened, fluffy group of entities. They wield harps and fluffy, cotton wings of unicorn feathers. They rock some sort of golden halo of light and, I presume, normally only speak in a whisper.
Then you look into the pre-agreed upon ‘lore’ for these fuckwads and you’re in shit your pantsville, population: you and I, buddy. My favorite angel out of all of them is the Islamic one with all the eyeballs who’s apparently the size of a galaxy. That’s all that one is. Just an enormous, I presume throbbing, writhing, pile of eyeballs that is at least 300,000 light years wide. They’re generally clothed in some sort of vibrant invincible armor. Their voice… imagine a fog horn that could melt your face. No, not like Indiana Jones, but if a fog horn was so loud your skin just peeled off from the force of it. There’s a 85% chance most of them are constantly just on fire? Maybe that’s just Uriel but still, what the fuck.
Meanwhile, across the tracks in demon town, at worse we run into some animal human hybrids. So, the only thing on earth more unsettling then the demonic, might be the furry force (now on Fox Kidz!)
There’s an unspoken dissonance between how we commonly encounter the idea of angels and the angels themselves. Those generally preoccupied with angels seem to often find themselves exploring their nurturing, gentle nature. They are deeply maternal entities, enjoying adoration and enshrinement on many an oracle deck of tarot.
Let’s just agree that Angels come with some baggage. What am they even? Is that a classification of rank we invented for spirits? Which spirits? The ones who don’t seem to be tangentially related to a physical manifestation of some kind?
Within an animist system, it seems that spirits are associated to things which have some degree of physicality. Perhaps they had a body at one point, or are the embodiment or entification of a place, or a moment. Sometimes the material, the alien, has more in common with us on a spiritual dimension than we do in the physical one, like mushrooms, who seem to be on their own shit when we interact with them in capacities other than the taxonomical. Physically our entire existence is as far apart as they can be. Except for the annual emergence of their strikingly similar-to-dude sex organs.
So yeah, 95% of the cosmology (roughly ^_~) have materialist analogs. With the exception of principalities, archons, demiurges, angels, demons, abstracts, and currents. Who else falls outside of this category? Gods too old or too forgotten for physical affiliations?
These things seem to behave both outside of the material and outside of time. That’s the only thing I can immediately think of that distinguishes them from us. Even the human spirit, upon material death, will take a 4-year hiatus from corporeal manifestation, and on average only travel twenty miles from its last incarnation. Even our non-corporeal parts are governed by time.
These guys seem not to be. At least that’s what I’m putting out there. for now. Fight me. Please, seriously. Please argue with me on this.
Is the categorization ‘angelic’ it one they invented? Is it bestowed by a solar deity or by a demiurge? How do we reconcile Saint Michael as a form or appearance of the Gnostic demiurge, (Yahweh/Samael) in this line of thinking? We probably don’t have too if in fact, the angels are by nature evil. Does that by default make demons good by virtue of inference? E.G. Angels are normally the ones talking trash about demons. When, if ever, have you seen or read about a demon talking trash about angels. If demons are good and angels are evil, are esotericists like me completely beyond salvation.
Anyway this is what we know from the John Dee Edward Kelly experiments:
The angels lied to Dee at every opportunity they could lie. They provided a hyper-sophisticated alpha-numerical linguistic system for angelic contact we now call Enochian Magic. They would assault other spirits who would appear in the shrew stone. Some of those spirits pretended to be them, some spirits would warn Dee and Kelly against the angels themselves as being sirens, and begged them to come back to God via their own knowledge. There are a litany of other things but we’ll stop here for now.
There was also Kelly’s “manifold horrible doctrines” which were, according to the angels:
That Jesus was not God. . . . That no prayer ought to be made to Jesus. . . . That there is no sin. . . . That man’s soul doth go from one body, to another child’s quickening or animation.*51 . . . That as many men and women as are now, have always been: That is, so many human bodies, and human souls, neither more nor less, as are now, have always been. . . . That the generation of mankind from Adam and Eve, is not an history, but a writing which hath another sense. . . . No Holy Ghost they acknowledged. . . . They would not suffer him to pray to Jesus first; but would rebuke him, saying, that he robbed God of his honor, &c.†52 38
Louv, Jason. John Dee and the Empire of Angels: Enochian Magick and the Occult Roots of the Modern World (pp. 248-249). Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition.
There are other concerns I have. And we’ll get to them one by one. But real quick, why are we so quick to conclude the spirits who were “assaulted” in the shrew stone are lesser, or evil simply because they were defeated in whatever passes as combat in the spirit world? I’d hope not. There are some very knowledgeable people who live and breath that wouldn’t fair well against a city bus. I shouldn’t immediately privilege the advertising on the bus as authoritative because it plowed down the guy who wrote the movie speed. Or something. This analogy is falling apart. You know where I’m going with this.
What makes an angel an angel within a cosmology that distrusts dualism, empire, and Platonism. What makes a demon a demon? Is it us? Is it them? Since it seems they are without a metaphorical point of reference within an animist system are they ‘holy’ simply because they exist from without the universe itself? Or, should we consider their far more ancient origins in the metaphorical relationship between the dead and carrion birds who took corpses into heaven? Are what they are now merely the memory, the ghost of a long since forgotten metaphor. One that’s recently rolling back in with the tide.
For now, the best I can figure is to add the phrase “*bong rip*” before most things they tell John Dee and Edward Kelly, and then placing “NERRRRRRRDs” after anything they say. Which seems to help things quite a bit. Yes it seems the ‘angelic’ those two rascals encountered certain exist from without a relational, co-dependent system of interwoven life and mythology.
We’ll revisit this in time. Because their obsession with the apocalypse is dreadful. And it has me questioning the nature of evil. See you in part two, nerrrrds.