Beneath the Panels #2: The Enochian Themes of Nameless

img-grant-morrison-103316726745-109308If you haven’t read the first Beneath the Panels it’s on my personal blog here. Beneath the Panels isn’t going to become a regular feature, but I will probably continue it for the duration of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Nameless. After seeing how many words it took me to cover what basically amounted to just the first page of the book in that previous installment, I figured this column would be better served on Joup. That said, the idea of moving that first installment over, with all the re-embedding, setting links and what not seemed like a waste of time. Thus, I’m leaving #1 where it is and getting on with further revealing the MANY occult influences/ideas Morrison has once again worked into the ‘code’ of his new 6-issue book. Also, I’d like to note here that a major influence on my idea to do this column has been David Uzumeri‘s amazing annotations for other Morrison works, much of which can be found at Comics Alliance and also on Funnybook Babylon.

Okay, so last time I spent a great deal of time analyzing the unique construction of the panels on the initial pages of Nameless #1, as well as the symbol we are introduced to in the issue that is later referred to as the “Gate of Az”. This symbol is one of the first things we see in the book, it is in fact appears to be the catalyst for the entire story Morrison and Burnham are telling here; it pops up while our narrator – later revealed to be Nameless himself – is relating the outbreak of violent acts all across the world shortly before we arrive. Associated with these violent acts and the Gate of Az is a phrase that we see written in blood across the walls of one crime scene and barked by the perpetrator of another:

Zirom Trian Ipam Ipamis


Of course the first thing I did upon seeing these words and the context they are used in was fire up the ol’ Google. Here’s what I received for my efforts:

Zirom = Were

Trian= Shall Be

Ipam = Is not

Ipamis = Cannot Be

The words are all from the Enochian language, and suggest a state of coming undone, erasing or ending. Enochian is a language tied to these ideas. It was given to Elizabethan Philosopher/Occultist John Dee and his assistant Edward Kelley circa the late sixteenth century. I am somewhat familiar with the Enochian language; about ten years ago while at the Atlantis Bookstore in London I purchased The Disinformation Book of Lies. One of the essay inside, Donald Tyson’s essay The Enochian Apocalypse, kickstarted a period of somewhat intense study that informed my Occult practice for years afterward. Until, that is, my Occult practice became more a matter of writing and meditating every day than actively researching endless philosophical hypothesis. That’s the problem with the Occult – you can fall down a rabbit hole and wake up years later, only to realize you’ve just spent a large part of your time on Earth reading instead of doing.

But I digress.

Between the years 1582 and 1587 John Dee and Edward Kelley performed a series of rituals that invoked entities that identified themselves as “Angels” and which presented the two men – Dee handling the invocation and transcription and Kelley acting as the medium – with rituals known as the Enochian Keys or “Calls”. In order to better understand what the Keys could be used for – and to draw a possible connection to Nameless –  it is important to stop at this point and basically paraphrase Tyson’s article, which is far more in depth and really just a pleasure to read, despite the disturbing ramifications it leaves one with.kelley_and_dee

Enochian Magick takes its name from the biblical prophet Enoch – purportedly great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch has to his name several “Lost Books” of the bible, which although left out of the modern version of the best-selling religious text have been published separately over the last several decades. These books relate how Enoch was said to have been contacted by Heavenly forces and made something of an emissary to Their office. Here’s where we get into the very polarizing idea of whether or not there actually exists places such as Heaven and Hell and what exactly these places, should they exist in any capacity at all, might be. Questions like these are divisive at best, and they require grappling with an entirely different set of variables, ones that presently fall outside the scope of this already ever-widening treatise. For the duration of this piece let us presuppose that Heaven and Hell do exist, just not necessarily in the form popularized by organized Christian religion.

The way the literature reads, Enoch was contacted by Angelic forces and established as a prophet, a sort of go-between used by these “Heavenly forces” as a delivery vehicle for their messages. These messages Enoch preached were recognized by important third century AD religious scholars such as Tertullian and Origen and yet ultimately dismissed by the church. Dismissed despite the fact that an awful lot of those ideas end up in the ad hoc apocalypse manifesto we know today as The Book of Revelations, the fire and brimstone icing on the modern Biblical cake.

golden_talismanAlso in the Enochian paradigm given to Dee and Kelley is the idea that there are four Angels which act as overseers for the Earth – I’m cribbing here from Tyson’s essay which directly quotes portions of Dee’s transcriptions published in 1659 as A True and Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers Between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and Some Spirits. These overseers are associated with Four Watchtowers or Gates – seeing the connection? – that “God in his providence hath placed, against the usurping blasphemy, misuse and stealth of the wicked and great enemy, the Devil.” Tying directly into the theories I put down regarding The Gate of Az in the first iteration of this column, the Enochian Angels revealed that the Heavenly name for the Devil is in fact Choronzon. In his essay, Tyson goes on to set-up his personal theory that these Angels were not acting so much as Holy messengers but instead sought to put what Tyson calls a “ticking Occult time bomb” into the hands of humanity. Based on the correlations we’re already teasing to the surface of Nameless issue #1 I’d argue that there is a fair amount of this philosophy at work behind the scenes in the book. In The Invisibles Morrison hardwires in an intense crosshatching of occult code by way of Austin Osman Spare, William S. Burroughs, Peter Carroll and Phil Hine, to name but a few. It seems he’s using a similar method here, albeit one with a – thus far at least – distinctly Enochian bent. Morrison’s remark about Nameless carrying a predominantly “Anti-Human” context only strengthens my theory that the Apocalypse the characters in Nameless will be struggling with is one of the Watchtowers or Gates having been opened and the resulting apocalyptic madness that has come through. I am reaching this conclusion through analyzing Tyson’s theory that the Angels Dee and Kelley contacted sought to bring about the Apocalypse by placing the key to these Gates in human hands, but that the Elizabethan team was only a point of entry for these rites, and that it was actually Aleister Crowley who, as I also referenced in the previous column, performed the bulk of the actual Enochian rites in 1909 and actually began to pry open the Gates. Tyson’s theory goes on to state that being that Angels, Demons, The Watchtowers and all the other non-human agents at work in this story are not physical entities but mental entities that need human agents to affect the physical world, it follows that the Apocalypse may also be a mental or non-physical event. This then sets up Choronzon’s demonic influence seeping through the partially opened Watchtowers/Gates and beginning to negatively impact humanity in the years following Crowley’s work, the result of which can be seen in World War I (begun 1914, a scant five years after Crowley’s workings), WW2, and on down through the perceived and seemingly exponential insanity that has gained momentum in our world culture ever since. When I entertain these ideas I think of all the terrible news stories we’ve seen in the era since war began on a world scope, and specifically during the previous fifteen years, from 9/11 to the proliferation of school and public shootings, to the face-eating bath salts guy in Florida three years ago to the atrocities committed across the globe in the name of all religions. And then I go back and re-read those first few pages of Nameless and see this:



Way I see it, everything’s been fucked up since 2001 anyway. Since the towers came down – since the pylons fell on Trump 18 and Malkuth was gathered up into Yesod.”

We’ll deal with Malkuth being gathered up into Yesod in the next entry of Beneath the Panels, for now, if you’ve read this far you should definitely buy a copy of The Disinformation Book of Lies as well as The Book of Enoch. The following links may also be worth your time as well:

A True and Faithful Relation of What passed for many Yeers Between Dr. John Dee (A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Eliz. and King James their Reignes) and Some Spirits @

Edward Kelley

The Enochian Alphabet

Enochian Translator


NOTE: all images and any text accompanying them do not belong to me. Most herein are from the comic Nameless, published by Image Comics and created and owned by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham. I am reposting material found freely online via reputable (ie not torrent or other illegal download sites) journalistic/critical sources and using here only for my own analytical purposes.

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

5 Responses to Beneath the Panels #2: The Enochian Themes of Nameless
  1. CecilaMaxiek Reply

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  2. […] you on) and as such Grant merely uses the the fairly general-when-translated actual Enochian script ...
  3. […] Beneath the Panels #2: The Enochian Themes of Nameless […]...
  4. […] direct reference to the Qabalah is where I left off at the end of my previous entry into Beneath th...
  5. Tommy Reply

    This is fascinating stuff Shawn. Keep it up!

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