Simon Forman and the ‘Prognostical Part of Physick’ – Barbara Dunn

24th April 2017 – 7PM

Examining a casebook entry for November 1597, this paper considers Forman’s methodology and practice, in particular his emphasis on changes in humoral physiologies wrought by the planets.

Astrology and Early Modern Medicine

…It is the cause of everi diseaze that we seeke, and that we ought to know, for Art sayth Tacke away the cause’: Simon Forman and the ‘Prognostical Part of Physick’.

Astrology was a culturally embedded and operationally critical part of early modern medicine,  invoked by a range of medical practitioners, such as astrologers, learned physicians, clergymen and various ‘irregulars’ and cunning-folk.  Invoking a patient entry from Simon Forman’s casebook (MS Ashmole 226 f.260r), this paper considers Forman’s methodology and practice, in particular his emphasis on changes in humoral physiologies wrought by the planets.

Having graduated from the London School of Economics, I was awarded a postgraduate scholarship from the Social Science Research Council. I subsequently undertook independent research into classical, Arabic and mediaeval astrological knowledge/practice, whilst pursuing a career as a freelance astrological consultant/columnist for UK/European publications. I am Principal of the Qualifying Horary Practitioner (QHP) and author of four astrology books, including Horary Astrology Re-Examined: The Possibility or Impossibility of the Matter Propounded, published in 2009.  In 2016 I graduated from Exeter University with a distinction for an MA in History. I am currently a PhD student investigating medical astrology, in receipt of a doctoral studentship from the Wellcome Trust.

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