|Scholar and astrologer Henry Coley was born at Oxford in 1633, and was a contemporary and close friend of William Lilly. Lilly's famous work, Christian Astrology, has been reprinted many times, and today serves as a foundational text in Renaissance astrology. Long hoping to revise and enlarge that book, Lilly set this object aside when Coley's own introduction to the art was published in 1676, entitled Clavis Astrologiae Elimata: Or A Key to the whole Art Of Astrology New Filed and Polished.
In his preface to this work, Lilly declared that his friend "hath now with no small pains and Industry, saved me that labour, in presenting the world with this most compleat piece of Astrology." It is noteworthy for its depth and detail, and contains brief aphorisms translated by Coley, along with extensive tables and a study of the mathematics required for calculating astrological charts.
A worthy companion to Lilly's magnum opus, it has not (to my knowledge) received the same widespread interest in recent years. The text is interspersed with a great number of complex calculations and tables, probably of small interest to readers with access to present-day methods for drawing up a nativity. The rest of the text, however, is a trove of astrological and historical minutiae, and Coley's welcoming tone ensures that his subject remains approachable despite its complexity.
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About this edition
The digital transcription I have made is very simple. I have copied out most of the key charts and diagrams, but have included only samples of the longer sets of tables. I have tried to include handwritten notes from the manuscript, where legible, and have generally retained Coley's spellings except for a handful of definite errors in printing.
No doubt there are a great many errors of my own, made whilst copying the work, and the result is not beautiful, but I hope that it will at least serve as a beginning; at last there is a copy which may comfortably be searched through and reprinted.
I am in the slow process of revising this copy more thoroughly, and would be glad to provide the source text for anyone interested in proofing the work or adding to it those materials I have for the present excluded.
It has been my honor to provide this contribution to the preservation of the works I have so long enjoyed, and it is my hope that they will continue to be read and remembered for many years to come.
Laura Zimmerman has a great passion for old books and esoterica in general, and for Renaissance astrology in particular - the latter seeming to stand at a kind of crossroads where meet both ancient and modern philosophies and methods. She works in the IT industry, and is deeply interested in the ways in which digital technology can aid in the preservation and distribution of rare and unusual texts.
The articles and papers made available for download on this page - including all text and diagrams - are copyrighted to Laura Zimmerman and are offered here for private, non-commercial use. Published online March, 2013.