Enochian chess

Enochian chess
Enochian chess is a four-player chess variant that is linked to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.


Enochian chess is similar to Chaturaji. Its name came from the Enochian system of magic of Dr. John Dee (magus and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I). It was adapted by Victorian members of the Golden Dawn into “a complete system of training and initiation”.
Enochian Chess was created by William Wynn Westcott, one of the three founders of the Golden Dawn. Meanwhile, the rules of the game were completed by S. L. MacGregor Mathers.


The game was four-handed because each set of pieces corresponded to one of the four classical elements and their several watchtowers and the game was used for divination as well as competition. The four sets of pieces were variously colored and identified with Egyptian deities or “god-forms”. The main identifications of the pieces were:
Osiris, represented by the king;
Isis, the queen;
Horus, the knight;
Aroueris, the bishop; and
Nephthys, the rook or castle.
The chess board itself was also varicoloured and divided into four sub-boards in which each of one of the four elemental colors predominated. The rules of the game were partially derived from shatranj and other historical forms of chess; the queen is played like a fers, with a two square diagonal leaping move. The four players would form pairs of two, with each player having a partner.

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