William Lilly’s History of his Life and Times, From the Year 1602 to 1681
300th Anniversary Edition
By William Lilly and Elias Ashmole, introduced and annotated by Wade Caves.
Foreword by Philip Graves.
Perhaps the last great astrologer, William Lilly (1602 – 1681) rose from modest countryside beginnings to the center of the London political scene during the height of the English Civil War. His astrological predictions were distributed in annual almanacs on the streets of London, and he earned the reputation of England’s cherished astrologer. His crowning achievement, Christian Astrology, still serves as the standard textbook of traditional horary and natal astrology.
In his later years, Lilly wrote his autobiography and passed it on to his dear friend and confidant, Elias Ashmole. The autobiography was published posthumously as the contents could be damaging to Lilly’s reputation given the volatility of mid-seventeeth century England’s political landscape. The volume is colored with peripheral stories of crystal-gazing, dowsing with Mosaical rods and the summoning of spirits and fairy queens. Today’s students will find the read most illuminating, uncovering with exquisite detail the nature of the astrological scene in Lilly’s day, how Lilly came to be acquainted with those in political power, and the sly humor with which he recounts the various highlights of his active London life.
This 300 year anniversary edition of Lilly’s History of His Life and Times has been introduced and annotated by Wade Caves to facilitate easy understanding, and is of interest to both historians and astrologers alike, and is sure to be a steady guide for those embarking on a study of the life of England’s greatest astrologer.
Available for purchase through Rubedo Press.
Reviews for the 300th anniversary edition:
“Inspired and written partly at the request of Lilly’s patron, Elias Ashmole, this autobiography of early modern England’s most famous astrologer is more than a personal account — it is a record of the days and ways of the various sorts of magical practitioners he encountered across the seventeenth century, and provides a unique insight into astrology and magic at a time of political, social, and intellectual revolution.”
— Alexander Cummins, PhD, author of “The Starry Rubric: Seventeenth-Century English Astrology and Magic.”
“Wade Caves’ Life and Times does what we expect of an annotator: help the reader cut through the fog of time by introducing us to the people, places and terms: antiquated phrases and words, as well as astrological references and allusions, which no longer carry meaning. … More to the point when it comes to the Lilly text, readers will relish some of Caves’ lengthier footnotes, which are often quite illuminating. … For anyone new to horary astrology, or Lilly’s idiosyncratic prose and seeming indifference to his reader’s comprehension, Caves’ extra information will come as welcome relief.”
— Kirk Little, Gorham, Maine November 9, 2015. Full review text here.
“… [B]oth entertaining and informative. Caves has taken pains to not only replicate the original with accuracy, but also to provide background on the socio-political tone of the times and a great many little details that make the text more understandable for those of us who are not history majors and maybe not even traditional astrologers. There are close to 300 annotations here that both clarify and inform. There is also particular attention to the included charts, which is certainly very useful for students of both traditional and modern astrology. So rather than feeling I was once again going over familiar ground — and sighing — I felt I was discovering fresh new nooks and crannies of a territory previously explored. This book complements previous editions and adds new information. … Scholarly, but by no means dry, this edition is perfect for anyone who has been meaning to read this book for years. And if you haven’t been meaning to read it, maybe you should bite the bullet and read it anyway.”
— Donna Van Toen, ISAR International Astrologer Journal, April 2016; Vol 45 #1, p. 17.
“Astrology as an Oracle.” Published in the Wellness Magazine’s annual astrology issue (2016). Five important tips for practicing as a horary astrologer set against the backdrop of a career/relocation chart, complete with vivid illustrations demonstrating the key principles discussed. To purchase an issue, click here for digital or here for print.
“Breaking Down Brexit.” Published in the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of the UK Astrological Association’s Astrological Journal. In what was described as a “‘trad’ masterclass” and “an exemplary demonstration of the traditional approach to the EU question,” this article explores methods of chart delineation relating to Brexit, and how the symbolism seemed to stack in favor of a “Leave” victory. To purchase this issue, click here.
“How did you come to astrology?” A compilation of fun, light-hearted stories from global astrologers about how they came into the astrological fold, and why they chose to stay. (To be published across two issues — the November/December 2016 issue & the January/February 2017 issue.) To purchase this issue, click here.
“Donald Trump Presidency Astrological Prediction.” A joint article from Tarot reader Desiree Mwalimbu & astrologer Wade Caves regarding the immediate aftermath of Trump’s presidential victory. Click here to read.