Brief this week as I’m prepping a scene for a live reading on October 8 (details to come):
Infographic: Women Onstage and Offstage in Elizabethan England – includes Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady”, early actresses, and cross-dressing.
From Magic to Science: The Intriguing Ritual and Powerful Work of Alchemy – discusses the philosopher’s stone in the context of spiritual transmutation and eternal life.
More Bard: review of Ross Duffin’s “Shakespeare’s Songbook”. “Shakespeare’s audience would more likely have gained their knowledge of myth and history from popular song than from Ovid…” – parallels to the current popularity of the broadway musical “Hamilton”.
More magic: Academy of Arcana opens doors downtown Santa Cruz, aiming to be nexus for mystical community. Part school, store, library, museum, and salon, they provide “secular instruction in history, lore, [and] practice of mystical traditions”. And their proprietor bears a striking resemblance to Dumbledore/Dee.
Research for the Great Work (TM) includes a wide variety of subjects to get the details of sixteenth century life in a gentry household just right. My grip on the architecture, food, household economics, technology, and day-to-day life is firm enough to get the story moving. However, a magical household isn’t ordinary. I’ve run into a topic that is impossible to crash-course: Enochian magic.
Dee and Kelley invented (or channeled, take your pick) an entire magical system during their years together. “Enochian” includes:
Prophetic and apocalyptic visions are sprinkled in throughout, and don’t get me started on the ritual furnishings…
I’m never going to get my head around this material. There’s so damn much of it, and I lack the necessary background in Renaissance occultism and numerology/mathematics to appreciate its context. As such I’m confining myself to identifying the different parts, creating a timeline of their delivery, and figuring out their supposed functions.
When were they building furniture? Would a certain table lend itself better to Kelley faking it, or being possessed as the angels speak through him? Which visions made the biggest impressions? What did they expect to accomplish with all this stuff? These are the narrative questions I need to answer even if I never understand how the system works.
I’d love to be able to describe spoken Enochian as dramatic and musical, but I can’t. Recordings of the calls [YouTube] sound so ridiculous I have no problem believing Kelley generated the language while speaking in tongues. My dreams of writing Kelley weaving elegant angelic poetry are dashed!
So I plow onwards through waking dreams, countless tables of strange characters and names I suspect no one can pronounce. It’s interesting but brain-breaking, so I’m rereading the Dresden Files as a well-deserved break.