As part of my ongoing research into magic in the Renaissance, I have followed the lead of Catholic Historian William Thomas Walsh who suggested that there were revolutionary cells within Europe that directed and organized the Reformation.
One of my own theories (backed by some evidence such as letters from the magician Cornelius Agrippa to a Benedictan Abbot) is that these cells practiced magic.
However, while figures such as John Dee, Giordano Bruno, and Cornelius Agrippa are more famous, there are a number of lesser luminaries that I have come across. Furthermore, while much research has been done on Elizabethan magic, there is little work on magic being practiced by the previous generation of Tudors under Henry VIII.
Yet, in my research of the court of Henry VIII. I have come across an interesting figure in my research: the Carthusian monk, Dan Nicholas Hopkins, who acted as a “soothsayer” for The Duke of Buckingham, providing him with a series of prophecies. When Hopkins was arrested, the other Carthusians denied their connection to Hopkins’s magic.
As a result, we are left with a tantalizing hint that perhaps later magi such as John Dee did not appear out of nowhere, but were, in fact, links in a generational network of magicians who helped topple Christendom and build the modern world.