Lilly, William - Prophesies the Great Fire of London
Type of Spiritual Experience
One reason for Lilly's persisting reputation is, that to him is attributed the correct prediction of both the Great plague and the London fire. The grounds for this credit which Lilly has received for three centuries are considerable.
When Parliament was enquiring into the causes of London's great fire of 1666, the members of the Commission sent for Lilly and demanded to know whether his "hieroglyphic" represented purely astrological knowledge, or guilty knowledge. Had he come by information of any conspiracy to set London on fire? Lilly was able to satisfy the Commission that his predictions were based wholly upon astrological calculations.
A description of the experience
Astrological Predictions 1648
In the year 1656 the Aphelium of Mars, who is the general signification of England, will be in Virgo, which is assuredly the ascendant of the English monarchy, but Aries of the Kingdom. When this absis therefore, of Mars, shall appear in Virgo, who shall expect less than a strange catastrophe of human affairs in the commonwealth, monarchy, and Kingdom of England?
There will then, either in or about these times, or near that year, or within ten years more or less of that time, appear in this kingdom so strange a revolution of fate, so grand a catastrophe and great mutation unto this monarchy and government, as never yet appeared; of which as the times now stand, I have no liberty or encouragement to deliver my opinion,-only, it will be ominous to London, unto her merchants at sea, to her traffique on land, to her poor, to all sorts of people inhabiting in her or her liberties, by reason of sundry fires and a consuming plague.
Monarchy or no Monarchy 1651
I have framed an hieroglyphic representing a great sickness and mortality; wherein you may see the representation of people in their winding-sheets, persons digging graves and sepultures, coffins, etc......after the coffins and pickaxes, there is a representation of a great city all in flames of fire.