NEW Publication: William Lilly: The Last Magician

Born less than a year before the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, William Lilly lived during one of the most turbulent times in English history. Like so many of his generation, he had to deal with the plague, was drawn into the madness of the English Civil War and was forced to take sides, and witnessed the regicide of King Charles I. Lilly lived in a time of enormous religious and social upheaval, but his astrology remained the outer expression of a magical world-view, based on hermetic and neo-Platonic principles and rooted in the 16th century.

This book provides the reader with a thorough introduction to the world of William Lilly, the famous 17th century astrologer and magician. It includes his autobiography, transcribed from the autograph, with annotations, commentaries and biographical notes, including Elias Ashmole’s addenda. Nativities of some notable persons are appended.

Also included is the Nativity of Sir William Wittypoole, the transcript of a nativity, rectified and directed by William Lilly. This previously unpublished manuscript provides the reader with an exciting insight into the working methods of the master astrologer.

The book also includes Peter Stockinger and Sue Ward’s Monster of Ingratitude, an investigative journey offering new insights into the notorious contention between Lilly and the astrologer John Gadbury. Included are brief biographies of Lilly and Gadbury, and the results of in-depth research, showing how their enmity began, developed and ended, including details of the rather one-sided pamphlet war. An thorough study of published material, timelines and bibliographic entries of all primary sources used are also included and provide the grounds for a different explanation from that commonly proposed.

Lilly Magician Cover


To access the contents pages, click on the thumbnails below:

prelims 1

William Lilly: The Last Magician is available via Amazon, most bookstores, or may be ordered directly from Mandrake of Oxford. To visit their website, click the thumbnail below:

Lilly Magician Cover

There is also a dedicated Facebook page, which can be viewed and “liked”, following this link:

William Lilly: The Last Magician – Facebook Page

Readers who “like” this page will be notified of any new links to reviews, sample chapters, and more.




NEW – Astrologer John Gadbury’s Nativity

Sue Ward has just uploaded a new title to her web site – – under “Books”.

This is Gadbury’s Nativity, autobiographical information about Gadbury as he judges his own nativity. (Transcription and editing by Sue Ward)

This file is free of charge, but you are asked to show your appreciation by donating £3.00 to animal welfare charities (use link to payments page)

All your donations will help save animals lives, so please think of it as:


NEW – Chronology & Bibliography

A new file, the Chronology & Bibliography for the paper Monster of Ingratitude, written by Sue Ward and Peter Stockinger, is now available for download. This working document enabled us to create a time line, showing how the events were unfolding. An extensive bibliography of the original sources used is linked to the chronological entries, making it easy for the interested reader to undertake further in depth research.

The Chronology & Biography may be downloaded here:

Although download is free of charge, we would urge our readers to donate £3.00 for animal welfare charities – PLEASE DONATE BEFORE DOWNLOAD

The Astrologer, his Enemy, his Friend & the Autobiography

Amongst practitioners of astrology William Lilly is well known for his Christian Astrology, which is still one of the best astrological textbooks available. A thorough study of this work may inform the reader about astrology, but does not reveal much about the author himself. To rectify this, one has to search for other publications available. One of those is Lilly’s autobiography which he wrote at the age of 66, mainly to satisfy his great friend, Elias Ashmole.

A facsimile or transcript of the original manuscript has never been published up to this date. Now, thanks to the painstaking work of Sue Ward, the transcript of the autograph, containing the margin- and footnotes, written by Lilly, Ashmole and an unknown proof-reader, is available for the first time. With additional annotations, commentaries and biographical notes, including Elias Ashmole’s addenda and nativities of some notable persons appended, this work clearly supersedes all previously printed, incomplete and mutilated versions in existence.

Readers wanting to delve deeper into the relationship between Lilly and Ashmole may want to download Sue’s study Beyond the Great Fire.

William Lilly did not only have great friends, he had enemies, too. After an initial discussion about the reason for the well known enmity between Lilly and Gadbury, Sue Ward and I decided to fully investigate this matter. The answer to this question, which may astound some readers, is to be found in our paper Monster of Ingratitude.

Both Sue and I hope that astrologers will benefit from the publication of these papers but we hope that readers, downloading these files, will also make use of the ‘Donation’ facility. All your donations will help save animals lives, so please think of it as:


All the works mentioned may be downloaded from Sue Ward’s website:

NEW – Free Books to Download

Free Books to Download

Sue Ward has just uploaded two titles to her web site – – under “Books”. These are free of charge, but you are asked to show your appreciation by donating £3.00 to animal welfare charities (use link to payments page). 

The first title is Monster of Ingratitude written by Sue Ward and myself, it is a fully referenced investigation into and account of the well-known enmity between William Lilly and John Gadbury. The real reason for this is presented in detail; suffice it to say that it is not the reason most often given.

The second title is the much better known The Life of William Lilly, Student in Astrology, but this is my transcription from the autograph (his signed manuscript). Sue Ward has been faithful to this manuscript and has added biographical information of the various characters involved and other information. Where she has been able to find them, she has added relevant nativities andher presentation Beyond the Great Fire which looks at the relationship between Lilly and Ashmole among other things. It’s a bumper bundle!

“Monster of Ingratitude” – The Relationship between William Lilly and John Gadbury

Sue Ward and I have just completed a paper entitled “Monster of Ingratitude” which will be published in the forthcoming edition of “The Tradition” journal (due to be released in September).

Scholarship into the history of astrology has improved over the last ten or fifteen years and has brought us a huge amount of information regarding astrology’s development from many perspectives. However, biographical information about those who practiced astrology in centuries past is not of such a high standard. There are several reasons for this, not least an apparent lack of autobiographical material. It was from this point of view that Sue and I examined the relationship between William Lilly and John Gadbury.

This rather large piece of research has taken several months to complete, but still leaves many questions unanswered. However, what we did discover was that those few biographies of William Lilly are markedly flawed. Most researchers rely upon Derek Parker’s “Familiar to All” which, whilst it presents one of the earliest biographical texts about Lilly and which hasn’t been bettered, presents very few sources as grounds for the author’s opinions. Nonetheless, it is those opinions that we find most frequently in subsequent biographies of the astrologers of 17th century England, particularly those of Lilly and Gadbury. Indeed, much of the personal detail regarding Lilly’s life found in Parker, can be found nowhere else. It may be that Parker had access to material unknown to us, but there are no references with which to follow this up. (It may be that a full and detailed review of “Familiar to All” is required in order to test the assertions made there against known sources.)

We have attempted to address these, largely unsubstantiated, opinions and present source material which leads to alternative, and often very different, conclusions. As an example, the main theme of our paper is the infamous contention between Lilly and Gadbury and our research shows that it has been misconstrued by historians throughout. This study has brought to light a number of other doubtful areas relating to Lilly’s contemporaries, too, but our remit precluded going very far with that; we had already far exceeded our original intentions.

The paper contains:

  • brief biographies of the two men;
  • the beginning of their acqaintance and how it came about;
  • how the enmity began, developed and ended;
  • the rather one-sided pamphlet war;
  • others involved in the contention;
  • a study of the published material;
  • all sources of information;
  • alternative conclusions based on the above.

We hope to draw the attention of astrologers to an area which requires far closer attention than it has attracted hitherto, and perhaps encourage others to proceed in this research. Furthermore, we hope to demonstrate that Gadbury’s work is far from reliable and could easily be replaced by that of a better qualified author of the period, such as John Partridge. That is, if astrologers want to investigate the art as it stood post-Lilly and as it collided with the new science.

On the Astrall Vertue in Minerals

In 1594 George Hartgill published a book called Astronomical Tables. After  62 years, in 1656,  John and Timothy Gadbury wrote and published an updated version of it.  A letter, written by William Lilly,  is included in this edition. Therein he explains the importance of this new edition as the original tables were only valid until 1652 and states that Hartgill’s tables were in a way defective any way, as he, Hartgill, “….followed Copernicus and Alphonsus Tables, in the places of the fixed Stars which at that time were plainly percieved to be imperfect, and generally found to be erronious….” .

What is of interest here is the preface to “The Impartial Reader”, written by the editors of this work, John and Timothy Gadbury. Therein they are addressing  the “Astrall vertues” of plants and minerals. The following is a transcript of the portion dealing with these minerals, ie. gemstones.

“There is also an Astrall vertue in Minerals; as for instance, observe the Adamand or Diamond which of all Minerals is the most glorious, and amongst men is the most valuable! for the Richnesse of it, ’tis attributed to the Sun, as one is the chiefe of Minerals, so is the other the chief of Planets. Pliny saith it is the hardest of all stones, insomuch that it cutteth Glasse, and yeildeth nor either to the Hammer or Fire; it is observed to have a great Antipathy to the Loadstone, for it being laid neer it, it wholly destroyes the Loadstones vertue. Pliny makes six kinds of it, which we purposely omit, as not intending a Treatise of Minerals; we will next observe,

The Selenite or Moonstone, which is a very transparent Gem, like Glasse, and hath a remarkable spot in it, which beares the Image of the Moon, and doth appear more or lesse, as the Moon doth increase or decrease in motion, and thense it is (by Naturalists) called the Moonstone, for that it does so constantly dance after her motion; t is of a white, black, and yellow Colour, and Phisicians use the scrapings of it, as an excellent Remedy against the Falling sicknesse.

The next is the Turcois, being a stone of a dull Sky colour or greenish, which is of excellent use in helping those who are troubled with weak eyes, and spirits, it refresheth the Heart; and if the Wearer be not well, it changeth its Colour, and looketh pale and dim; but on the contrary, increaseth to its perfection, as the Wearer attaineth his health; whence came the Verse.

The sympathizing Turcois true doth tell,

By looking pale, the Wearer is not well.

Such secret MagnetiqueVertues are those Earth-imprison’d Creatures endued withall, that to treat of many, would cause us of a Preface to make a Treatise; therefore we willingly omit the exquisite Vertues of many;

as the Amethyst who (as Aristotle affirmeth) hath power to resist drunkennesse, and the Calcedon, whose secret vertue is such (if worn) that it prevents all fearfull Visions and Dreams; it is a Stone which would be much advantagious to the Epileptique Prophets of our [?]: also the Sardonix, which doth mightily corraborate the Body and Spirits of man, and in one preserveth Chastity. Then there is the Sardim, which maketh the Wearer cheerfull and merry, and some have found by Experience, that it restrains Anger; we could tell you of the Stone Etites, (which some say is found in an Eagles nest) and hath another Stone within it, therefore some of the Ancients have called it the Stone with child, whether that be true or no, we enjoyne no man to beleeve; but Phisicians affirme, that if the stone be hung about  a womans neck, who is with-child, it preventes Abortion. These excellent secrets in Vegitabiles and Minerals, do manifest the power of God in the Stars, beyond the reach of all objection; we will conclude this Astrologicall Phisicall Discourse, and admire what we cannot reach with the Divine Poet .

Oh mickle is the poweful God that lies

In Herbs, Trees, Stones, and their true Qualities,

For naught so vile, that on the Earth does live,

But to the Earth some secret good does give.

And naught so rich, on either Rock or Shelfe,

But if unknown, lies uselesse to it Shelfe;

Therefore who thus doth make his secrets known,

Doth profit others, and not hurt his own.”