Making Predictions: William Lilly

Born in 1602, William Lilly was the most famous and respected astrologer of his time. He was connected to making predictions associated with great historic events. In this article, you will learn more about the man who is considered on of the last of the great ‘occult’ astrologers.

When Lily delivered a prediction, he used mystical drawings with symbols and astrological pamphlets to get his point across. Out of all his predictions, the ones that received the most attention were the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. Both of these predictions were made 10 years before the events ever unfolded. He gave accurate descriptions, which were recorded and circulated to the public. Because of the accuracy of his prediction, there were some people who even felt that he started the fire himself.

The Great Fire of London gutted the medieval city of London within the old Roman City Wall. While the fire was great and destructive, it was recorded that very few lives were taken and could have possibly been in the single digits.

Lilly enjoyed a professional practice and made many friends along the way, who held him in high regard for his ability to make predictions. His astrological almanacs grew in popularity.

Astrological Predictions and Other Printed Works

Lilly published a book titled “Astrological Predictions” in 1648 that mentioned catastrophes that would take place in London. In 1651, Lilly published a pamphlet called Monarchy and no Monarchy that contained one of his well-known symbolic woodcuts. From his autobiography, he stated: “I had framed an hieroglyphic”¦representing a great sickness and mortality; wherein you may see the representation of people in their winding-sheets, persons digging graves and sepultures, coffins, etc. After the coffins and pickaxes there is a representations of a great city all in flamers of fire.” These words spoke of the Great Fire of London.

He also wrote rules that pertained to various actions, such as childbirth, marriage, curses, and even detecting witches. Lilly wrote in “Christian Astrology” the rules for identifying a witch, including: “If the Lord of the ascendant be Lord of the twelfth, and Combust, you must observe of what house the Sun is Lord, and in what Signe and quarter of Heaven he and the Lord of the ascendant are, and judge the Witch liveth that way; describe the Sun Sign as he is, and it represents the person. If the Lord of the ascendant be Lord of the twelfth, Combust, or”¦”

Political Controversy

With a close alignment to the Parliamentarian cause during the English civil War, Lilly lost his support and fell out of favor when the Monarchy acquired a reinstatement. After the Restoration, Lilly was constantly investigated as a Parliamentary supporter, but he was lucky enough to avoid any serious consequences. He lived out his days in the astrological field and died on June 9, 1681.