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.
Sources
Heydon, John. Eugenius Theodidactus. London, 1655.