Seventeenth-century England was a turbulent place to live. It was a century of civil wars, regicide, food riots and plague — a time of millenarian prophets and threatening witches, of radical sects and experiments in Commonwealth. It was also a revolutionary period. The lifting of printing press censorships created a veritable explosion of printed materials: from popular almanacs and calendars to handbooks of do-it yourself medicine, from vulgate Bibles to tomes of new, investigative natural philosophy and grimoires of occult science and ritual magic.
In the midst of all this, the astrologer-magicians of seventeenth-century England drew their charts of the heavens, divining answers and prescribing magical medicines.
In The Starry Rubric, Alexander Cummins shows how astrology and magic offered analysis, interpretation, and solutions — locating humanity in a shifting web of interrelation with the stars and, indeed, the cosmos as a whole. Through analysis and example, Cummins demonstrates the ways in which astrology and magic were crucial to early modern perspectives on human life, time, and meaning.