“The Hieroglyphic Monad” by John Dee (Weiser edition)

"The Hieroglyphic Monad" by John Dee (Weiser edition)

"John Dee's The Hieroglyphic Monad remains one of the most enigmatic works in the history of western Hermeticism. The best introduction still is C.H. Jostens, which declares unequivocally that it is a work of alchemy, suggests many possible contexts, but adds that the specific message which Dee tries to convey by his symbol of the Monad, and by his treatise thereon, is lost. His explanations are sometimes explicitly addresses to a mystae and initiati whose secrets we do not possess.

Composed by Dee in 12 days, the Monad was clearly accompanied by an oral teaching, and in his later writing Dee reminds the Court of his providing part of that instruction to Queen Elizabeth and perhaps, King Maximilian. Dee himself called the Monad a magic parable, and for many years there was certainly a group of initiates that understood it well. Frances Yates has argued that the more secret philosophy behind the Rosicrucian manifestos was the philosophy of John Dee, as summed up in his Monas Hieroglyphica."