John Dee's crystal, Europe, 1582

Made:
1582 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

John Dee's crystal, used for clairvoyance and for curing disease

John Dee (1527-1609) was an English mathematician and astrologer interested in divination using crystals and mirrors. This crystal was used for curing disease and predicting the future by looking for symbols or the ‘ghosts’ of people in the stone. Dee claimed that this crystal was given to him by the angel Uriel in November 1582, and that Uriel had instructed Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley (1555-1597/8) on how to make the Philosopher’s Stone – one of the goals of alchemy.

The crystal was entrusted to Dee’s son, Arthur (1597-1651) who passed it on to Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) as a reward for curing his liver complaints. Culpeper was a physician and alchemist who used the crystal to try and cure illness, until 1651, when he believed a demonic ghost burst out from it.

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A127915
Materials:
metal, quartz
type:
amulet
taxonomy:

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