Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Tradition LIBRARY

The editorial team and I knew that a central resource for astrologers was not a new idea, but to dedicate it to Traditional astrological texts might be a little more novel. We had intended to bring this project to your attention in the New Year, but the extensive research done by Peter Stockinger and I revealed such a wealth of practical instruction that we couldn't let the moment pass.

The initial impetus for our taking on yet more work was that there is, as we are all aware, some very poor quality and poorly researched material out there upon which many have relied. As an example, the rather jaded opinions about William Lilly have persisted simply because no-one has published properly researched biographies. So many of those available rely on Derek Parker's William Lilly: Familiar to All published in 1975, even though it is clear that this is not and was not intended to be a definitive or in-depth biography. This is not to say that biographers aren't entitled to their opinions, but in order that those might be taken seriously, the reader needs to know the sources on which they are based. In the case of Parker's biography, sources are not provided, therefore those who rely upon this biography for their own derivatives perpetuate the errors and misapprehensions.

For me it was shocking to find that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – that singular source of biographical histories – has followed this same pattern with its biography of William Lilly. Furthermore, its biography of John Gadbury continues these very same failings and indeed is in contradiction to another of its biographies, that of Dr. Nicholas Fiske. Peter Stockinger and I didn't expect to find so much evidence of slanted views and inadequate research. It might be said that, as students of William Lilly, Peter and I are not the best people to be doing this work and that we would impose our own "slanted views". That is certainly a possiblilty and we did approach it from a far more sympathetic point of view than have other authors and commentators. However, we have produced *all* of our sources for the interested to investigate, so any suspected partisanship is easily checked and, if necessary, corrected by others.

It was for these reasons that we accelerated the Library project – we were fed up with the situation and thought that others might be, too, thus we have presented for you (and for animal welfare) source material which will assist your studies and understanding. I can say that without fear of contradiction because I have studied and transcribed so many of the documents. In my opinion, the various lists of aphorisms are essential reading for all astrologers. Written towards the end of Lilly's life – and he was very aware that it was the end of his life – they demonstrate an astrological and magical maturity to which we can only aspire. These abstracts are intended to enhance our understanding of astrology and its practise; we, the editors, gain very little from this, if anything at all. So, we need encouragement through your support to continue with this project.

Let's take the opportunity to look at the facts.

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