Bacon, Francis (1561–1626)
Francis Bacon, generally considered the father of modern
science, is also revered by modern astrologers and occultists for
his incorporation of magic and the astrological arts into his
worldview. Bacon was born on January 22, 1561, in London,
England. He was but 12 years old when he entered Trinity College,
Cambridge, and three years later moved on to Gray’s Inn
to pursue legal studies. He was admitted to the bar in 1582.
Two years previously he had been elected to Parliament. His
political maneuverings would ultimately lead to his downfall.
He steadily advanced in office until he offended Queen Elizabeth
in 1593. He subsequently made some unfortunate political
alliances but recovered during the reign of James I. He was
knighted and became successively attorney general (1613),
Lord Keeper (1617), and Viscount St. Albans (1621). Then at
the height of his power, he was charged with taking bribes,
stripped of his offices, and cast into the Tower of London.
Bacon is best remembered not for his political career, nor
even the many essays he wrote on political life, but for the two
works produced near the end of his life, Maga Instauratio and
Novum Organum, both of which were published in 1620. In the
former, he laid out a plan for the reorganization of human
knowledge based on science. In the latter he produced a new
natural history and laid out a program for studying nature
through the empirical method. He complained that science was
not moving forward because it was based in false theories derived
from Aristotle and Plato rather than the observation of
nature and a process of induction reasoning developed out of
such observation. He thus criticized alchemy, for example, and
suggested that its few successes derived from mere change occurrences.
Bacon tried to rehabilitate himself during the last few years
of his life, but he died on April 9, 1626, without the full pardon
he sought from the king. In the twentieth century, Rosicrucians
have invoked Bacon’s name in their attempt to trace a lineage
of thinkers back to ancient Egypt, but there is no evidence
of his association with Rosicrucianism, which had just appeared
in Germany toward the end of Bacon’s life. On the other hand,
some modern astrologers have claimed Bacon in their drive to
recast their art in a post-scientific format based upon empirical
observation.
Sources
Anderson, Fulton H. Francis Bacon His Career and Thought.
Los Angeles University of Southern California Press, 1962.
The Works, Letters and Life of Francis Bacon. Edited by James
Speddong, R. L. Ellis, and D. D. Heath. 14 vols. London Longmans,
1857–74.

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