Pagan Who’s who 21: Nicholas Culpeper

The Pagan Who’s who series contains information about current and recent notaries which have contributed to, or influenced the modern pagan scene.  Some names you may know already, some you may not, but all these people are dedicated and hard-working in their own particular specialised fields.  For pagan, spiritual, occult or faith matters who from the last generation influences and inspires you?


For the last notary in our series, we’re cheating a little bit.  The series wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fabulous Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654 – so therefore not current or perhaps recent) and the publication in 1652 of his work  The English Physitian, or an Astrologo-Physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of this Nation.

Culpeper, a botanist, herbalist, physician and astrologer, held to a belief in the power of stars and plants and the magical relationship between them, and in Christianity.  He was keen to base his research on reason and experience.  After his marriage, he set up a pharmacy in Spitalfields, London, treating up to forty patients a day using a combination of astrology and herbalism.  Perhaps jealous of his success, the Society of Apothecaries accused him of witchcraft.  He joined the Republicans and fought in the English Civil war at the Battle of Newbury in 1643.  He carried out battlefield surgery, but was wounded and returned to London.  Following on from the success of his first book he published a second, Complete Herbal in 1653, before dying of tuberculosis at the age of thirty eight.

His first work, The English Physitian, has been in print continuously since the seventeenth century, and is now available with Complete Herbal in an extended edition.


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