“They do not compel” William Lilly, Astral Determinism and Free Will

Peter Stockinger's Traditional Astrology Weblog

William Lilly’s portrait,now housed in the Ashmolean Museum, shows him standing by a window, holding pen and paper. The sheet of paper has the wordsEtatis 45written on it, indicatingLilly’s age at thetime of the painting. It also contains a blank horary chart with the wordsnon cogunt (they do not compel) written in its centre, which, of course, refers to the stars. The picture was painted in 1646 and later given to Ashmole, probably in 1652.

Shortly after the painting was finished, in 1647, Lilly publishedChristian Astrology. The book’s frontispiece, which is based on Lilly’sportrait, again shows amongst other things a square chart with the wordsnon coguntwritten on it. It therefore has to be seen as themotto for Lilly’s ‘Introduction’, as he fondly called his book, but alsofor his view of judicial astrology itself.

Some of Lilly’s more outspoken but most likely not so well educatedcontemporaries were much in favour of…

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