One of the items most usually associated to John Dee, the Elizabethan polymath, is an obsidian mirror, said to be used by him to skrying, with the help of at least three different psychics (Barnabas Saul, Edward Kelley and his own son Arthur Dee). Dee used the names ”shewstone” or “chrystallo” for some his scrying devices in the long process of receiving the instruction of the angels to establish the Enochian language and the magic system associated to the angelic language. Curiously, it seems that Dee was never satisfied with the results the obsidian mirror gave to him in the process and preferred to use other “shewstones” to work with the visions “in christallo”. https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/john-dees-spirit-mirror This is a remarkable artefact, supposedly a powerful magical tool used by the Aztecs, more accurately, by the priests of the god Tezcatlipoca. The dark mirror was a channel between worlds, where an human could see the images revealed by the gods. It was also where somebody could see his dark self, his dark reflection, and it was an integral part of the use of the mirror to master his dark reflection and become a master of the Clear Mirror. The fact is, Dee was in possession (and actually used) a magical tool form a completely different culture. How much Dee could know about all the legends associated with his black mirror? Had he some kind of instruction manual or was he forcing his traditional scrying techniques to a “rebel” object? It would be interesting to establish how much a meso-american artifact influenced the occult tradition that survives until the XXIth century (be it through Golden Dawn, Uncle Fest…, sorry, Uncle Crowley or even the limping deeds of Jack Parsons). Also interesting would be tracing how this mirror came in his possession. I suppose that three possible routes can be possible. One, the most natural, would be via Drake or Raleigh, both of them Dee’s friends, as boot on one of his attacks to the Treasure Ships coming from Mexico.The problem with this hypothesis is that both their seizing of Mexican treasures and their acquaintance with Dee date from a little later than the first skrying sessions. I prefer another one : the attack of the very first Treasure Ship, sent by Cortez himself, in 1522, by Jehan Fleury, a French corsair. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Fleury The treasure seized by Fleury counted with a number of obsidian mirrors, among many other treasures. If this is the good hypothesis, this particular mirror could have arrived to Dee’s hand while he was in Paris, in 1550, as a gift from an elusive character, William Pickering , English ambassador on François I court and friend of Dee. A third hypothesis is Dee having the mirror while he was visiting the Low Countries, during one his visits to Antwerp, for instance. Then again it could be a gift from the same Pickering , while he was, again, the English ambassador to the Low Countries. And, interestingly, the same Pickering is supposed to have “helped” Dee to find a rare copy of the Steganographia of Trithemius. The moment when Dee copied the whole book by hand (this manuscript can still be seen on the internet) is the probably his first contact with angelic magic. https://www.llgc.org.uk/en/discover/digital-gallery/manuscripts/early-modern-period/steganographia/ I like to muse about the history behind this mirror and the many links it draws between the western occult tradition and the meso-american magical tradition. Also, I feel remarkable the amount of coincidences around William Pickering : is him a real character or is his name just borrowed to the whole Dee history?