Heydon, John (1629-ca. 1668)

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Heydon, John (1629-ca. 1668)

English astrologer, Rosicrucian, and attorney. He was born in London on September 10, 1629, and was educated at Tardebigg in Worcestershire. Because of the outbreak of the Civil War, he did not go on to the university, but joined the king's army. He is said to have been successful as a soldier, but after the triumph of the Roundhead party he left England and for some years lived in various countries on the Continent, notably Spain and Turkey. He is said to have visited Zante, the island in the Levant praised by Edgar Allan Poe, but by 1652 Heydon was back in England. In 1655 he studied law and later established a practice.

Law was not his only study, however, for he became deeply involved in astrology. According to Thomas Carte in his biography of the marquis of Ormonde, Heydon was imprisoned for two years for his prophecy that one Cornwell would die by hanging.

In 1656 Heydon married the widow of Nicolas Culpepper, who, after fighting for Parliament in the Civil War, had devoted a wealth of energy to compiling elaborate treatises on astrology and pharmacopia, arts which went hand in hand in the seventeenth century.

Heydon became intimate with many of the great scientists of the Restoration but quarreled with a number of them, and although he always maintained that he was not actually affiliated with the Rosicrucians, he explained their theories publicly. In 1667 he was imprisoned for "treasonable practices in sowing sedition in the navy, and engaging persons in a conspiracy to seize The Tower [of London]." He died the following year.

In spite of the ups and downs of Heydon's life, while out of jail he wrote a number of books and pamphlets, those on Rosicrucian themes dominating any contributions to astrology. Among his Rosicrucian texts are A New Method of Rosie-Crucian Physick (1658), The Rosie-Crucian Infallible Axiomata (1660), The Wise Man's Crown, The Glory of the Rosie-Cross (1664), and The Rosie-Cross Uncovered (1662). In addition he was author of Theomagia or The Temple of Wisdom (1664) and The Prophetic Trumpeter, Sounding an Allarum to England (1655), the latter being dedicated to Henry Cromwell. According to Wood's Athenœ Oxonicsis, Heydon was also the compiler of A Rosiecrucian Theological Dictionary.


Heydon, John. Eugenius Theodidactus. London, 1655.