Morrison, Richard James (1795–1874)
The contemporary revival of interest in astrology reversed
a trend that saw astrology almost disappear from Western culture
by the end of the eighteenth century. Astrology began its
slow return in a format capable of existing in the scientificallyoriented
world due in large part to the efforts of a series of
nineteenth century British astrologers, most of whom wrote
under pseudonyms. Richard James Morrison was one of the
important writers and publishers who kept astrological knowledge
Morrison was born on June 15, 1795, in London. He joined
the navy at the age of 11 and rose to the rank of lieutenant in
1815 during the Napoleonic wars. He retired in 1817, still a
young man. He became interested in astrology through R. C.
Smith, better known under his pen name, Raphael. Morrison
adopted the pen name Zadkiel and began an astrological almanac,
The Herald of Astrology (later Zadkiel’s Almanac), modeled
upon Raphel’s The Prophetic Messenger. In 1835 Morrison completed
his major literary contribution to the astrological revival,
an abridged edition of William Lilly’s Christian Astrology.
Zadkiel’s career was punctuated by a series of incidents that
began in 1861 when his almanac predicted a bad year for
Prince Albert, the popular consort of Queen Victoria. When Albert
died unexpectedly at the end of the year, many gave ZadEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Morrison, Richard James
kiel credit for an accurate prediction, but Edward Belcher, a
writer for the London Daily Telegraph, attacked Morrison for
spreading superstition to the gullible. Morrison countered with
a libel suit and won, but was awarded only 20 shillings. His real
reward was the publicity the case attracted, which substantially
increased his sales. Morrison continued to publish his almanac
until his death on April 5, 1874, after which it was continued
by his students for many years.
Morrison, R. J. An Introduction to Astrology by William Lilly,
being the whole of that Celebrated Author’s Rules for the Practice of
Horory Astology . . . London, 1835. Reprint, Hollywood, Calif.
Newcastle Publishing, 1972.

Previous articleMariapovch
Next articleMovement (Paranormal)