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John Dee


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I am OBSESSED with John Dees obsidian scrying mirror!


It looks so mystical even in a photo!


"A very mysterious figure in history is the man they call John Dee. Born in the year 1527, the Anglo-Welsh figure would go on to become a prominent mathematician, astronomer, doctor, astrologer, teacher, occultist, and alchemist during the course of his rather strange life. He is perhaps best known for being an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, where he served in the capacity of guiding her in astrological and scientific matters, as well as on political business. He was very heavily into advocating for the founding of the English colonies in the New World, and he is in fact credited with coining the term “British Empire,” making him a very prominent historical figure, indeed. He is also known for having been deep into the realms of the occult and supernatural, engaging in alchemy, scrying, talking to real angels, and collecting some rather bizarre mystical artifacts. One of these was a mysterious crystal that purportedly held all manner of supernatural powers, including the ability to communicate with actual angels.It must first be understood that Dee was no nutcase or quack. He was a highly respected scientist, mathematician, navigator, and astronomer in his time, collecting one of England's biggest libraries during his life, yet his interests often veered off into the decidedly more fringe. He was very into astrology, Hermetic philosophy, magic, alchemy, and in particular divination utilizing various objects such as crystals and mirrors. He was interested in transcending what we see in the physical world, writing numerous tomes on such matters, collecting mystical items, and he also claims to have frequently spoken to both spirits and angels.


One of Dee’s favorite tools for reaching out to the world beyond the veil of our reality was the use of various crystals and mirrors in order to pursue the art of scrying, or divining the future and messages from beyond through looking into these reflective surfaces for signs and images. In the 16th century, the use of “crystallomancy,” or using crystals, and “catoptromancy,” using mirrors, were well established methods of scrying. Indeed, the practice of using reflective surfaces to conjure up magic had been going on for centuries before Dee had ever come along. Dee’s scrying mirror itself was a black glass mirror stored in a sharkskin case, yet rather than use it to find lost objects or treasure, as so many were wont to do at the time, Dee sought to reach out to summon spirits and communicate with actual angels, with whom he would allegedly discuss all manner of topics ranging from politics to the realms of the esoteric. It was during one such supposed exchange with an angel that he would allegedly come into his most prized possession.In the year 1582, Dee claimed that he had been using his personal “scrying mirror” when he was contacted by the angel Uriel. After an exchange, the angel purportedly gifted him with a large purple crystal, which was claimed to hold all manner of powers, from communicating with angels to the power to read the future or heal any ailment. It was even purportedly imbued with the secret to making the legendary “Philosopher’s Stone,” making it quite an important artifact to say the least. In appearance it was a clear-cut purple crystal attached to a chain and ring, very pretty but hiding its grand purpose and powers behind the façade of what was basically a trinket. Through this crystal Dee would claim to be in regular contact with angels, even saying that they had written several books through him using it. Dee and his colleague Edward Kelley even claimed that they were taught the language of angels through it, called Enochian


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"This obsidian mirror featured in the British Museum exhibition 'Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler' (24 September 2009 - 24 January 2010). Further details can be found in the exhibition catalogue for entries 71 and 103 (Colin McEwan and Leonardo López Luján (eds.), Moctezuma: Aztec ruler, London: British Museum Press (2009))

Museum number



Object: Object: Dr Dee's Magical Mirror

Object: Object: Dr Dee's Magical Speculum


Magic Mirror of Doctor Dee; obsidian; wood case covered in tooled leather with label in handwriting of Horace Walpole, quotation from a Samuel Butler poem.

From the description of the Item when on Display at the British Museum



Aztec (obsidian)

Production date

14thC-16thC (?) (?)

Production place

Made in: Mexico

Americas: North America: Mexico


obsidian (Confirmed by analysis to be from Pachuca, Hildalgo, Mexico (2019))




Diameter: Diameter: 21 centimetres (case)(case)

Diameter: Diameter: 18.40 centimetres

Height: Height: 22 centimetres

Length: Length: 25.50 centimetres (case) (case)

Weight: Weight: 881.95 grammes (mirror)(mirror)

Width: Width: 3 centimetres (case) (case)

Width: Width: 1.30 centimetres


Inscription type: inscription

Inscription position: label on leather case

Inscription content: The Black Stone into which Dr Dee used to call his Spirits V. his book This Stone was mentioned in the Catalogue of the Collection of the Earls of Peterborough from whom it came to Lady Elizabeth Germaine. H.W.

Inscription note: Thought to have been written by Horace Walpole

Inscription type: inscription

Inscription position: label on leather case

Inscription content: Kelly was Dr Dee's Associate and is mentioned with this very Stone in Hudibras, Part 2. Canto 3 v.631. Kelly did all his feats upon The Devil's Looking-glass, a Stone.

Inscription note: Thought to have been written by Horace Walpole.

Inscription type: inscription

Inscription position: label on leather case

Inscription content: [Quote from Samuel Butler's 'Hudibras' (1663)] Kelly did all his feats upon The Devil's Looking Glass, a stone; Where playing with him at Bo-peep, He solv'd all problems ne'er so deep.

Inscription note: Written by a different hand.....


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