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view or download part I - the introductory pages
The introductory comments


view or download part II - pages 25-56
CA pp 25-56: chart calculation & use of houses


view or download part III - pages 57-68
CA pp 56-68: the superior planets: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars


view or download part IV - pages 69-86
CA pp 69-86: the Sun and inferior planets: Venus, Mercury, Moon


view or download part V - pages 86-105
CA pp 86-105: the zodiac signs and essential dignities


view or download part V - pages 86-105
CA pp 105-114: aspects and planetary configurations

An Annotated Lilly: Christian Astrology retyped, reset and annotated by Deborah Houlding

 pdf (300 KB)  Go straight to latest addition (part V): Aspects and planetary configurations (pp.105-114)

About Part I: The Introductory Pages (CA pp.i - 24)
About Part II: Chart Calculation & House Meanings (CA pp.25-56)
About Part III: The Superior Planets (CA pp.57-68)
About Part IV: The Sun and the Inferior Planets (CA pp.69-86)
About Part V: The Zodiac Signs and Essential Dignities (CA pp.86-105)
About Part VI: Aspects and planetary configurations (CA pp.105-114)
Download/ view appendix B & C (109 KB)
About Deborah Houlding
Terms & Conditions

About Part I: The Introductory Pages

William Lilly's astrology was a reflection of the man he was. Here we find his own personal account of how be came to be an astrologer, how he faced his adversaries, and how he gained the support of those in high parliament. Lilly's description of his life and sources are elaborated upon by annotations, filling the gaps that can make the work seem unapproachable to new students. We learn of the patron whose influence brought this work to prominence; we get the full insight into how this book came into being; and in Lilly's 'Letter to the Student of Astrology' we receive his earnest plea that the subject be approached with sincerity and compassion. If anyone wants to 'understand Lilly' - or Renaissance astrology generally - then this is the best place to start.

View / Download part I (2.71 MB)

Historical astrologers described in this document include:

Agrippa - Albubater - Alkindi - Argol - Bonatus - Booker - Cardan - Dariot - Dietericus - Duret - Etzler - Ezra - Ferrier - Garceus - Haly - Hasfurtus - Junctinus - Leovitius - Leupoldus - Pontanus - Lindholt - Maginus - Montulmo - Naibod - Origanus - Pezelius - Ptolemy - Schoener - Tanstettor - Wharton - Vincent Wing - Zael

This PDF file also features a cover, and all the preliminary material prior to the commencement of the instruction in volume I.

About Part II: Chart Calculation and the Meaning of the Houses
Lilly begins with a basic introduction to the main components of astrology: planets, signs, aspect and houses; their symbols and principal details. He then demonstrates how an astrological moment is calculated and represented in a chart form. This passage contains some very useful information about the historical approach to calculation techniques and the different systems used to record times and dates. After showing us how to 'cast' the chart, Lilly then begins his explanation of astrological symbolism with an account of the meaning of quarters, angles and houses. The section contains valuable definitions of terms which need to be understood by anyone wishing to make a study of astrology in its traditional application.

About Part III: The Superior Planets, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars

Lilly's description of planetary significations is essential reading, offering a comprehensive assessment of each planet's apparent appearance and motion, and signification over physical and temperamental descriptions, professions, diseases, herbs, savours, animals, minerals, weather, winds, orbs, friends, hours and angels. This section includes prolific annotations which help to identify and explain the use of herbs (and the general archaic terms) and provides explanation on the astronomical basis of planetary periods, the historical association of angels, and many other pertinent points which help to illuminate Lilly's planetary correspondences.

About Part IV: The Sun and Inferior Planets: Venus, Mercury and the Moon

Lilly's description of planetary significations continues with the natural associations of the Sun and inferior planets. Annotations include explanations of how the traditional astrological principles are embedded within the geocentric perspective of the cosmos, tables of planetary speed and motion, definitions of the terms 'oriental' and 'occidental', discussion of the planetary qualities, and how the planets received their mythological names and meanings. This section ends with Lilly's description of the meaning of the nodes in theory and practice, and leads into Lilly's 15th chapter: 'Another brief description of the shapes and forms of the planets'. This final survey of the planetary significations in physical descriptions offers valuable information for the technique of drawing up psychological and physical profiles of characters represented in a chart.

About Part V: The Zodiac Signs and Essential Dignities

In chapter 16 Lilly introduces the zodiac signs and their divisions into triplicities and various definitions, such as sanguine, choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic; moveable, fixed, and common; bestial, humane, feral, fruitful or barren. Along with the definition of terms, he gives examples of their use in horary signification. He then explains which signs are related to each other by antiscia relationships and demonstrates by use of tables the procedure for their manual calculation. This is followed by a catalogue of sign significations that Lilly describes as being "most necessary for every student in the art". The catalogue lists the significations of each of the 12 signs according to the predefined definitions, and in relation to the diseases and body shapes they represent, the places they signify for missing objects, persons or cattle; and the cities and countries they describe in horaries related to journeys. Annotations are included throughout to relate any archaic names and spellings, or historical regions, with their modern equivalents. Chapter 18 concludes this section with Lilly's introductory explanation of how to understand and make astrological use of the table of essential dignities.

About Part V: Aspects and planetary configurations

Chapter 19 is mostly given to the topic of aspects and planetary configurations. Lilly discusses what it means for planets to be in a state of aplication or separation, showing how to calculate orbs according to the moiety technique, and teaching which aspects are to be defined as dexter or sinister. He then begins a glossary of terms which relate to planetary configurations and which might assist or afflict the prospect of perfection. His terms include prohibition, refranation, translation, reception, peregrine, void of course, frustration, hayz, combustion, under Sun's beams, cazimi, besieging and oriental and occidental. Some of Lilly's definitions are vague and require elaboration based on the details of applied technique in his judgements. The annotations clarify the meaning or reasoning behind some of his comments, others point out where Lilly's explanations are controversial when compared with teachings found in the works of older authors.

Deborah HouldingUK astrologer Deborah Houlding has been instrumental in bringing traditional astrological techniques back to the forefront of modern practice. She was the editor of the award-winning Traditional Astrologer Magazine, which ran between 1993-2000 alongside her imprint 'Ascella Publications' which brought back into circulation many rare and out-of-print traditional astrological texts. Since the late 1980s she has actively researched the astronomical and symbolic basis of the techniques used in western astrology, from its earliest roots to its contemporary extensions. Deborah has over 20 years experience as a practicing horary astrologer, and - utilising the methods of William Lilly - has dealt with a wide variety of issues from a broad range of clients. She is author of The Houses: Temples of the Sky (Wessex 1996), host of the astrology site and a regular contributor of horary articles in The Mountain Astrologer magazine. Her personal website is at

The material made available for download is copyrighted to Deborah Houlding and is offered here for private, non-commercial use by individuals. No part - including text, tables and graphics - may be reproduced further, circulated in any other format, or made available for download elsewhere on the web. The last addition to this page was made: April 2013.