Shaker_coverJohn Dee warns the young Francis Bacon

“Your ideas are dangerous for you personally — you know that, Francis, don’t you? They are heretical in the eyes of the Church, and certain to be ridiculed in the halls of learning. You are challenging the very foundation of many academic careers and the religious beliefs of the majority of people at the same time, not to mention the monarchy. I hope you realise this. You must be very careful about who sees this. You will have powerful enemies very fast if you are not discreet.”
Dee leaned forward, as if to make sure he had Francis’s full attention. His thoughts turned to the secret of Francis’s birth, of which the boy was not yet aware. If and when it became known, he would be in even greater danger than a normal mortal. “Francis, you do understand that I am dead serious, don’t you?”
Francis nodded slowly, “I understand. But I will do what I feel is right, without regard for the consequences. Like Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita.”
“That is an admirable philosophy, Francis, but a hard one to liver up to in our day. Just promise me you will not be foolish. You are too valuable. This is unfortunately not a tolerant society.” He leaned back, held up Francis’s paper for emphasis, and changed the subject. “Will you really try to revive the secret society tradition? That is a big order, and full of risk.”
“Perhaps. I am not sure yet. I would like to travel abroad and meet with some of the small pockets of spiritual tradition you have told me still exist on the Continent. I have some ideas, inspired by St. George and the Knights Templar. I believe symbols are important.”
“Ah, yes. The knight who kills the dragon of ignorance is very fitting.”
“Yes. Quite appropriate I think.”
“Do you recall the story of the goddess Pallas Athena in the Greek mythology, which goes much further back? “ asked Dee. “She is the feminine equivalent of St. George.”
“Of course, Pallas Athena — shaker of the spear, shaking ignorance from the serpent and bringing knowledge instead — the tenth muse, which incorporates the first nine. Actually, I often dream about visiting her,” said Francis brightly.

“Really? Well, Athena and Apollo together were the god and the goddess of Wisdom and Intelligence, Inspiration and Illumination. Apollo was the patron of poetry, his sister Athena the patron of the arts and sciences. They were the only gods with temples at the twin-peaked Mount Parnassus, sacred mountain of poetic inspiration, and were often there together with their brother, Dionysus and Apollo’s son Æsclepius. Dionysus is the god of entertainment and is musician to the Argonauts, while Æsclepius is their physician. Actually all four are spear-shakers, children of light, all aspects of the Virgin Mother, Athena.”
Francis nodded enthusiastically. “The mythology is powerful, as are the symbols. They give us a way to communicate knowledge and wisdom to those who are not widely read, but can understand images.”
“Yes. In that regard, Francis, I have a question. Your notes mention the conscious use of plays and the theatre as part of your method. Most interesting. Most innovative,” said Dee quizzically. “Could you elaborate on that?”
“Yes. It is a novel approach in our time, and yet an ancient one. This relates to my final point, number five: how do we bring this all about in practice? My answer is what I call the The Great Instauration, a six-step strategy modelled on the Six Days of Creation. Knowledge presented should be half open and half concealed, because the only way to truly learn is to figure it out for yourself. Half the method should appeal to the intellect with weighty arguments for those so inclined, half should appeal to the feelings, the intuition, the sublime, to those so inclined. The latter, of course, is where poetry, allegory, and the theatre play a critical role. Intellectual arguments alone can never do the job.”
“And so that is why you say the arts and the sciences are equally important in your approach?”
“Correct. And Pallas Athena was the patron of the arts and the sciences. Therefore I have, in fact, adopted her as my personal muse.”