EDWARD BULWER LYTTON (1803-73) … geomancer

Edward Bulwer Lytton, the novelist, was a serious student of geomancy, carefully studying earlier works on the subject in an attempt to build geomancy into an overall philosophical and magical system.  Bulwer Lytton, best known as the author of a number of historical romances and occult novels, was a successful playwright and a politician who rose to be Secretary for the Colonies.

His marriage in 1827 against his mother’s wishes resulted in the withdrawal of his allowance and the subsequent need to write to support himself and his wife.  In 1838, two years after separation from his wife, he was created a baronet.  Greater financial freedom gave him time to study the medieval and Renaissance writers on divination and magic.  His novels increasingly reflected his interest in these subjects.

During his life, his novels dealing with the supernatural were dismissed as aberrations that would soon be forgotten. Today his occult works such as Zanoni, A Strange Story, Zicci and Last days of Pompeii are as well known, if not better known than his other works.

His favourite method of divination was geomancy, combining this method with astrology. He wrote a long prediction of the career of Disraeli, which proved to be amazingly accurate, and drew up horoscopes for various personal friends.

Amongst the books of his library was a well-thumbed copy of The Geomancie of Master Christopher Cattan published by John Wolfe in 1591, together with John Heydon’s Theomagia.

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