This elaborately decorated wax disc is known as the ‘Seal of God’. Dating from the 16th century, it originally belonged to the Dr John Dee, a prominent English mathematician and sometimes adviser to Queen Elizabeth I. Dee was also keenly interested in the occult and this wax seal acted as a pedestal upon which he placed his ‘shew-stone’, a crystal ball used for ‘scrying‘ (spiritual visions). Indeed, Dee spent much of his later life trying to commune with angels, often in tandem with Edward Kelley, a self-confessed medium. Kelley claimed he could see angels in the ‘shew stones’ and these communicated with him by pointing at tables which contained words and symbols. According to Dee these messages were delivered in Enochian, an angelic language that he subsequently transcribed into a series of books.
The wax disc appears to have played an important role in these séances and it is engraved with magical words and diagrams that were believed to give it supernatural powers. It measures circa 23 cm in diameter by 3.5 cm deep and also contains decorative motifs on its reverse (see below). An interesting piece of occult paraphernalia, the disc now forms part of the British Museum‘s collections.