Edward Kelley, a Magician in the Act of invoking the Spirit of a Deceased Person

Edward Kelley, a Magician in the Act of invoking the Spirit of a Deceased Person (an 1806 artist’s impression):

“Edw[ar]d Kelly, a Magician. in the Act of invoking the Spirit of a Deceased Person.

Astrology, A New and Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences by Ebenezer Sibly, M.D. F.R.H.S., Embellished with Curious Copper-Plates, London, 1806

Pasted from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Magician_by_Edward_Kelly.jpg>

[There’s a better copy of the illustration below.]

[Here’s some text on Kelly/Kelley from Sibly’s 1826 A new and complete illustration of the celestial science of astrology…. It’s a different edition of the same book. Note that this is over 200 years old, and can’t be relied upon for historical truth. The above illustration is about 7 pages after, and shows Kelley and his partner in the churchyard. Note also the Faustian ending described! We begin with Sibly’s short biography of John Dee:]

Doctor Dee was another very extraordinary character of the same class [having just described Appollonius Tayaneus, from the time of the Emperor Domitian], and a native of this island. He was not only a famous magician, but a great author, having written upwards of forty-eight different volumes, the first of which was published in 1594. A full account of his conversation and intercourse with spirits is now extant, written with his own hand, and esteemed a very curious and singular performance. His company and acquaintance was much sought by the Emperor Charles V. and by Ferdinand his brother; and, during his travels over the continent, he had not only every respect and attention paid him, but his company was courted by all the learned and religious people wherever he went. He was certainly one of the most learned men of the age in which he lived, and had collected a library of upwards of 4,000 volumes of curious and valuable writings, mostly upon physical, theological, and occult subjects, which he had the misfortune to see burnt by the fury of a mob, who assailed his house, and conspired against his life, under an idea that by magical spells and incantations he had altered the natural course of the weather, and brought on storms, hurricanes, tempests, and, continual rain, in order to ruin the harvest, and destroy the fruits of the earth. Yet he bore the torrent and fury of this infatuated, multitude with the greatest composure, saying, “They would see their error soon enough to treat him with greater kindness hereafter than their persecution was now cruel.” And so it happened; for, having by means of his confederacy with spirits foretold and detected a fatal conspiracy against his country, he was then as much honoured and caressed as he had before been stigmatized and abused by the hasty multitude. He wrote the mathematical preface to Euclid’s Elements, and has left tables of the harmony and extent of numbers infinitely beyond the capacity of the present times, though so much more learned and refined.

Edward Kelly was also a famous magician, and the companion and associate of Dr. Dee, in most of his magical operations and exploits; having been brought in union with him (as the Doctor himself declares, in preface to his work upon the initiation of spirits) by mediation of angel Uriel. But Dr. Dee was undoubtedly deceived in his opinion, that the spirits which ministered to him were executing the Divine will, and were the messengers and servants of the Deity. Throughout writings on the subject, he evidently considers them in this light, which is still more indisputably confirmed by the piety and devotion invariably observed at all times when these spirits had intercourse with him. And further, when he found his coadjutor Kelly was degenerating into the lowest and worst species of the magic art, for the purposes of fraud and avaricious gain, he broke off all manner of connection with him. and would never after be seen in his company. But it is believed, that the Doctor, a little before his death, became sensible that he had been imposed upon by these invisible agents, and that all their pretences of acting under the auspices of the angel Uriel, and for the honour and glory of God, were but mere hypocrisy, and the delusions of the devil. Kelly, being thus rejected and discountenanced by the doctor, betook himself to the meanest and most vile practices of the magic art; in all which pursuits money, and the works of the devil, appear to have been his chief aim. Many wicked and abominable transactions are recorded of him, which were performed by witchcraft, and the mediation of infernal spirits ; but nothing more curious, or more apropos to the present subject, than what is mentioned by Weaver, in his Funeral Monuments. He there records, that Edward Kelly the magician, with one Paul Waring, who acted in capacity of companion and associate in all his conjurations, went together to the church-yard of Walton Ledale, in the county of Lancaster, where they had information of a person being interred, who was supposed to have hidden or buried a considerable sum of money, and, to have died without disclosing to any person where it was deposited. They entered the church-yard exactly at twelve o’clock at night; and, having had the grave pointed out to them the preceding day, they exorcised the spirit of the deceased by magical spells and incantations, till it appeared before them, and not only satisfied their wicked desires and enquiries, but delivered several strange predictions concerning persons in that neighbourhood, which were literally and exactly fulfilled. It was vulgarly reported of Kelly, that he outlived the time of his compact with the devil, and was seized at midnight by some infernal spirits, who carried him off in fight of his own wife and children, at the instant he was meditating a mischievous scheme against the minister of his parish, with whom he was greatly at enmity. (Page 1099)

A new and complete illustration of the celestial science of astrology: or, The art of foretelling future events and contingencies by the aspects, positions, and influences of the heavenly bodies … In four parts. by Sibly, Ebenezer, 1751-1800. See it at https://archive.org/details/newcompleteillus00sibluoft

Here’s the same illustration from the 1826 edition. It’s better quality.

Edward Kelly, a magician. In the act of invoking the spirit of a deceased person.
Edward Kelly, a magician. In the act of invoking the spirit of a deceased person.

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