THE OCCULTIST FREDERICK HOCKLEY’S COPY
Speculum astrologiae.Frankfurt, apud Wolffg. Richterum, 1608
Small 4to. pp. (xvi) 191 (i) + 5 folding plates. Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, 3 folding plates with astronomical diagrams and 2 astrological tables, woodcut vignettes with personifications of planets, tables and horoscope diagrams, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p a little browned and dusty, first gathering yellowed, small water stain at foot of A3-4 and water stain to lower outer blank corner of N3-4, tiny worm trails to few blank margins, clean marginal tear to T2. A good copy in English polished calf c.1700, rebacked, remounted spine with morocco label (small loss), corners worn, small loss at head and foot of spine. C19 autograph ‘Fred Hockley’ to ffep, ms. book price (?) at t-p foot, C18 astrological notes to final blanks.
This copy belonged to Frederick Hockley (1809-85), occultist, Freemason and Rosicrucian. He owned one of the richest and largest collection of occult books, many transcribed by himself from obscure documents in European libraries. It was sold after his death by George Redway, with a catalogue we have not been able to consult. In 1853, he established the Croydon Circle, the first spiritualist organisation in London. He carried out extensive experiments on techniques of spirit communication, including crystallomancy.A good copy, of fascinating provenance, of the scarce third edition of this important work in defence of judicial astrology—‘excellent treatise of pure astrology’ (Cantamessa). Born in Brussels, Henricus Lindhout (1572-1620) was student at Leiden before practising as a physician. His most renowned work is ‘Introductio in Physicam Iudiciariam’ (Hamburg, 1597, see Bib. Belgica I-II, 456), reprinted in 1598 and, in the third edition, as ‘Speculum Astrologiae’. Lindhout begins by contextualising judicial astrology within theology and natural philosophy, to show how it is intimately connected with, and cannot go counter to, God’s plan. He discusses the microcosm and macrocosm, the principles of creation and three causes of human actions. He engages directly with detractors (ancient and Arabic philosophers) of planetary influence on the microcosm, with an explanation of theoretical and practical astrology, the nature of fixed and movable stars (handsomely represented in a large, finely-produced folding diagram), planetary motions, virtues and influence (portrayed as humans according to the traditional iconography, flanked by their ‘houses’), and the principles of judicial astrology for devising horoscopes. A large table details the division of the microcosm according to judicial astrology, and the basic information required for horoscopes—e.g., the subject’s religion, descent, children, continence/incontinence, physical appearance, medical conditions and ailments, time of death, etc. The second half is entirely devoted to ‘judicia astrologica’. ‘Interesting are his observations on the horoscopes provided in the text, one of which (on p.133) is certainly the author’s, which confirms he was born in 1572’ (Cantamessa 4597). The remainder form an interesting mixture of ‘greats’: Alexander, Henry of Navarre, the astrologers and occultists Pico della Mirandola, Cornelius Agrippa and Henricus Rantzovius, and Cicero, plus a couple unspecified. These are accompanied by half a dozen pages of detailed mathematical calculation. The later annotator of this copy was a skilled astrologer who elaborated on the horoscope of Alexander the Great.Only Harvard copy recorded in the US.Cantamessa 4597; Dorbon 2708: ‘très rare’; Thorndike VI, p.141; Bib. Belgica I-II, 456 (1597 and 1618 eds); Houzeau-Lancaster 4979.