Mastering the Mystical Heptarchy – Scott Michael Stenwick
Pendraig Publishing. 2011. 178pp. 9781936922048.
“Dee’s obsession with scrying and communication has been picked up by many modern practitioners of Enochian magick, and from reading some accounts one might be led to think that this is all the system is good for.” (50) I admit, I was in this category, I wasn’t an Enochian magickian, but that’s what I thought the system was for, and my few experiments in the system with friends were for information. This book aims to dispel that idea, as well as the mono-focus on the Great Table which is even more prevalent in the magickal community.
The Heptarchia Mystica is a section of Dee and Kelly’s work that is often overlooked and separate from the Great Table. It is also closer in structure and usage to the grimoires of the time. If you’re a grimoiric/Solomonic magickian (like me) some of the mainstream Enochian system can see a bit much to get into, but the Heptarchia Mystica is more accessible and familiar in many ways. It gives a collection of planetary Kings and Princes, as well as the evocations for each figure, and how to work with them, in a style far closer to what you get from the Lesser Key than from most Enochian texts.
This book is more than just printing of the oft ignored text, but also a general book on how to work with it. It was written with the “intention that you as an aspiring magician should be able to pick up this book and begin working magick right away” (53). If not for the fact that it requires specific ritual items like rings and lamens, this goal seems to be hit. The reader is led through a cursory history of the system and then some preliminary magick. Stenwick takes the standard banishing 101 seemingly required in every magick book, and goes a step farther. Instead of just giving the standard LBRP, the reader is given to Enochian inspired banishing/invoking rituals based on the Pentagram and Hexagram rituals. These are not simple rewrites of changing a name you sometimes get in books where they replace a name and claim it is Celtic (or whatever), but actually fairly distinct rituals I found quite enjoyable. Also Stenwick mentions what he calls the various fields: the effects of combining the different invoking and banishing rituals of the pentagrams and hexagrams. I had toyed with what these combinations too, but he takes it a step farther and discusses each combination and what they are best used for. It was an unexpected inclusion, but I definitely got a lot from it. Aside from the meat of the text that is something I will definitely do more work with.
The Enochian system is Christian in inspiration, it is a fact you can’t really get around, as such a lot of the prayers and evocations are quite Christian. On the other hand Stenwick is not, he’s a Thelemite, so each prayer is presented in its original form and then followed by a more Thelemic form, which often didn’t require too drastic of a change. I really liked this modification, as my belief system is far closer to the Thelemic system in philosophy than the Christian, and I know a surprising amount of Ceremonial Magickians have issues working with an overtly Christian system.
The book had a few formatting errors that irked me. Many of the internal page references were off by a page or two, so when working from the book you have to mark it somehow so you know to turn to the right page. Also sections that were supposed to be italicized so the reader would know what to omit or change were not actually italicized. In the grand scheme these are minor, but interfere just enough with the text to be a gremlin in the book.
For seasoned Enochian magickians, grimoiric/Solomonic magickians looking to break into Enochian systems, or occults of any shade looking for something new to try, this book is a good place to start. Largely complete within itself, and focusing on an uncommon part of a popular tradition, this is an excellent book to explore.
Personally I’m going to harass friends and family to borrow some Enochian gear, and get to work. If you want to read more by Scott Michael Stenwick, you can follow his blog here or comment specifically on his forum post, which is a blog post that looks like it will be question and answer, and discussion with others who have enjoyed this book.