William Lilly's History of his Life and Times

From the Year 1602 to 1681

By William Lilly and Elias Ashmole
Introduced and Annotated
 by Wade Caves
Foreword by Philip Graves

300th Anniversary Edition

“The present work is a newly annotated edition of the autobiography of a seventeenth-century astrologer: not just any seventeenth-century astrologer of moderate renown, but singularly the most influential astrologer to have written in English at any point in history. For both within his time and in the modern era, William Lilly (1602–1681) stands without peer. His extraordinary degree of influence can be seen in three key respects: his composition of astrological texts in English, the enduring popularity of his work, and his unparalleled access to the highest levels of power in British society”.

—From the Foreword by Philip Graves.

“Regardless of one’s philosophical leanings, it is important for today’s astrologer to be familiar with Lilly and his works. He was perhaps the last great astrologer before the break in the astrological lineage that happened after the seventeenth century. Anyone wishing to get a better understanding of our history should read and study Lilly’s autobiography, a vivid text that will cultivate appreciation for the difficulties our art has endured”.

—From the Introduction by Wade Caves.

“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.

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.

USD $15.00
Softcover, 5 x 7
Illustrated, B&W, 258 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-943710-04-1

About Wade Caves


Wade Caves is an astrological consultant, speaker and educator specializing in horary, electional, and classical astrological technique. Wade received his certification as a horary practitioner from Deborah Houlding’s School of Traditional Astrology (STA), and now serves as a faculty member and tutor for the STA. Prior to this he has was certified with honors from the Mayo School of Astrology in London, and is well versed in both traditional and modern psychological methods of chart delineation. He continues his training and focus on the historical application of horary astrology with mentor Deborah Houlding. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Caves teaches workshops on horary astrology around the world.