John Dee – whispering to angels



Can children whisper to angels? That’s part of the plot of BBC One’s supernatural drama Requiem but it comes from the work of John Dee, a fascinating 16th-century figure, who was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist and alchemist. His life was dogged by rumours of treason, witchcraft, espionage and sexual licentiousness, which nearly saw him executed for calculating the birth charts of the Royal children Edward, Mary and the Princess Elizabeth. He was spared and when Elizabeth took over the throne she appointed him to be her philosopher; some said he was also her spy abroad (the first James Bond). He was even asked to find the most auspicious date to hold the queen’s coronation. He travelled extensively studying mathematics, astronomy and map-making. Because of his navigational knowledge he was consulted on the search for a north-west passage. In his latter days he employed a scryer to read the future from a black obsidian mirror and they travelled Europe together.

Born 23 July 1527 (NS) 4.02pm. The time is unverified but it looks sound enough from the chart. An 8th house Cancer Sun was opposition Pluto, trine a 12th house Mars in Scorpio, and square Saturn – so attracted to dangerous pursuits and a high-risk lifestyle, pursuing secret interests and looking beyond reality for answers. He also had Neptune in Pisces square Uranus in Gemini and trine Jupiter Mercury in Cancer – which would put his head in the clouds and make him both visionary and deceptive. The Uranus Neptune aspect would give him eureka moments as well as frankly off-the-wall notions.

Part genius, part opportunist probably.

His strongest Harmonic is the 7th – ‘traditionally regarded as a spiritual number, endowed with a different kind of imagination. Need peace. Perfectionism. A seeking soul. Attracted to alcohol/ drugs and occultism.’

His 13th is also well aspected – associated with exploration, genius and breaking with the orthodox.

And his 17th – leaving a legacy behind for history.

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