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The Renaissance Astrology CD library

Book Review

The Renaissance Astrology CD library

CD collections of traditional astrological texts in PDF format compiled by Christopher Warnock

Published by Christopher Warnock, 2004
Reviewed by Deborah Houlding

Available at

Price for 3-volume collection of 82 texts: $99.95 US (or equivalent) plus p&p.

Cost of Individual CDs: $39.93 plus p&p.

Christopher Warnock has been actively collecting, translating, and making available rare texts on astrology and magic for some time now. His website at offers English translations of books, some of which are unavailable elsewhere. In addition to his hard copy book collection, he also offers three CD collections of mainly 17th century texts that are of relevance to students of traditional astrological technique. As someone who has long been a lover of books of this genre; I was naturally interested in reviewing this collection and of discovering the pros and cons of accessing these time-honoured tones in such a modern, electronic format.

The first volume contains a library of twenty seven 17th century texts with an emphasis on esoteric philosophy, astrological magic and traditional natal, horary, electional and mundane astrology (see below for list of contents). The emphasis of the 25 texts on volume II is upon medical astrology and magic. Volume III contains 30 texts, again with a strong focus on medical astrology and divinational technique, but with the addition of two books that fall outside the 17th-century bracket to which the rest of the collection belongs: Al-Biruni's Book of Instruction in the 'Elements of the Art of Astrology' and Ibn Ezra's 'Beginning of Wisdom'.

Each volume is available separately, but considering the substantial 25% discount for purchasing the 3 volumes together, I'd recommend this as a worthwhile investment. The retail price certainly offers excellent value, and anyone who enjoys exploring 17th century technique will tingle at a breadth of material that will give years of enjoyment and provide more than ample source material for study. Practically all of the well known authors and priority books of the period are included. For Lilly enthusiasts volume I includes not only two editions of 'Christian Astrology' (the 1647 edition plus the revised 1659 edition - useful for checking suspected typos), but also his yearly almanacs for 1663, 1665, 1666, 1668, 1673, 1683, 1647 and 1659; and his 1644 treatise on 'Strange sights and apparitions seen in London'. Volume II includes a 44-page treatise offering 'An Easie and Familiar Method whereby to judge the effect of Eclipses' (1652); 'Annus Tennebrosus or the Dark Year' (1652), his 'Starry Messenger' of 1644; with his mundane text 'World Catastrophe' (1666) included on volume III. But enough of Lilly; this really is an extraordinary collection, with a wide collection of works by John Gadbury and Nicholas Culpeper and an absolute host of great works by other authors.

Each CD opens up within a web browser to an index page. This gives a well presented and informative introduction to the collection which features hyperlinks to the PDF files. These display facsimile reproductions of the original texts and by comparison to the standard one expects of facsimiles relating to this period, the reproductions are of first-rate quality; generally very crisp, clear and easy to read.

Of the disadvantages associated with these CDs there are only three points I can think of. The first is that the texts are graphic reproductions, so they are not searchable as some PDF files are; but then neither is a book, so I don't really consider this a set-back. The second is that some of the files are necessarily large - the smallest about 2MB; the largest (Coley's 'Key to Astrology') 130MB. The larger files therefore require a decent proportion of available disc-space and can be slow to load on older systems. Again this won't be a problem for the majority of users and if you have the disc-space available access can be speeded up by copying the contents onto your hard-drive where they will load more efficiently. The third disadvantage, if we can call it that, is that no one likes to curl up on the sofa with a computer screen, and some people will miss the look and feel of a book. But anyone who has struggled to obtain access to rare texts in the past will hardly find this a burden and many researchers will recognise the positives in being able to access texts through the computer, as well as being able to print them out for detailed study.

Such points are easily overlooked, especially when you get a sense of perspective on what is being offered. At a cost of $99.95 plus p&p (approx 56), a whole library of books for not much more than I paid for 'Christian Astrology' alone over 15 years ago. Viewed another way, each volume costs no more than you would expect to pay elsewhere for a CD of a lecture, whilst the 3-set collection works out at less than $1.50 (or 1) per book. I was genuinely delighted and excited with what I received and definitely rank it amongst my most highly recommended purchases for students of traditional astrology.

Contents of Volume I:
The Renaissance Astrology CD library: Volume I Anonymous, Ambras Merlins
Anonymous, The Book of 24 Stones
Anonymous, [J.B], Sacred & Divine Science of Astrology
Agrippa, Cornelius, Three Books of Occult Philosophy

Archer, John, A Compendious Herbal
Childrey, Joshua, Indago Astrologica
Coley, Henry, Key to the Whole Art of Astrology
Dariot, Claude, Judgement of the Stars
Eland, William, A Tutor to Astrology
Fludd, Robert, Mosaicall Philosophy
Gadbury, John, Doctrine of Nativities & Horary Questions
Holwell, John, Astrology of the Ottoman Empire
Kirby, Richard, Kirby's Almanac for 1684
Lilly, William Lilly's Almanac for 1663
Lilly, William Lilly's Almanac for 1665
Lilly, William Lilly's Almanac for 1666
Lilly, William Lilly's Almanac for 1668
Lilly, William Lilly's Almanac for 1673
Lilly, William Lilly's Almanac for 1683
Lilly, William Christian Astrology, 1647
Lilly, William Christian Astrology, 1659
Lilly, William Supernatural Sights
Maplet, John, The Dial of Destiny
Partridge, John, Mikropanastron
Ramesey, William, Astrology Restored
Russel, John, Russel's 1659 Almanac
Trigg, S. Strange Predictions
Cost for individual purchase: $39.95 plus p&p
[Contents of the CDs may change over time - visit vendor's site for further details]

Contents of Volume II:
The Renaissance Astrology CD library: Volume I Bonatti, Guido 146 Astrological Aphorisms
Causabon, Meric What passed between John Dee & Spirits
Culpepper, Nicholas Fall of Monarchie (Eclipses)
Culpepper, Nicholas Astrological Judgment of Physick
Culpepper, Nicholas Aurum Potabile
Culpepper, Nicholas School of Physick
Everard, John Divine Pymander (Corpus Hermeticum)
Gadbury, John Astrological Treasury
Gadbury, John Britain's Royal Star
Gadbury, John Cardines Coeli
Gadbury, John Collection of Nativities
Gadbury, John, The Horned Beast
Gadbury, John, Nativity of King Charles I
Gadbury, John Vox Solis
Gaffarel, James Unheard of Curiousities (talismans)
Griffin, Anthony Astrological Judgment of Theft
Heydon, Christopher Astrological Discourse
Lilly, William Dark Year
Lilly, William Eclipses
Lilly, William Starry Messenger
Merrifield, John Catastasis Mundi
Salmon, William Synopsis Medicinae
Saunders, Richard Astrological Physick
Scot, Reginald Discovery of Witchcraft
Wharton, George Complete Astrological Works
Cost for individual purchase: $39.95 plus p&p
[Contents of the CDs may change over time - visit vendor's site for further details]

Contents of Volume III:
The Renaissance Astrology CD library: Volume I Agrippa, Cornelius (attributed) 4th Book of Occult Philosophy
Albertus Magnus (attributed) The Book of Secrets
Al-Biruni Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology
Andrews, William Astrological Physician
Angelus, Johannes Astrological Optics
Anonymous English Herbal
Axford, John Astrological Secrets
Ball, Richard Introduction to Astrology
Blagrave, Joseph Astrological Practice of Physick
Blagrave, Joseph Supplement to Culpepper's
English Physician

Boulton, Samuel Magical Medicine
Brahe, Tycho The New Star
Case, John Angelical Guide
Cattan, Christopher Geomancy
Cock, William Meteorologiae
Culpepper, Nicholas The English Physician
Digges, Leonard Prognostication (Weather)
Ferrier, Oger The Judgement of Nativities
Goad, John Astrometeorology
Heydon, John Temple of Wisdom
Hunt, William (Copernican) Astrology
Ibn Ezra Beginning of Wisdom
Lilly, William World's Catastrophe
Turner, Robert Notory Art of Solomon
Paracelsus Supreme Mysteries
Partridge, John Defectio Genitarum
Turner, Robert Astrological Institutions
Vaughan, Thomas Magia Adamica
Weigel, Valentine Astrology Theologized
Wilsford, Thomas Nature's Secrets
Cost for individual purchase: $39.95 plus p&p
[Contents of the CDs may change over time - visit vendor's site for further details]

Deborah Houlding
January 2005