is one of seven Archangels. According to the biblical tale presented
in the Book of Tobit, he was sent by God to help Tobit, Tobiah
and Sarah. At the time, Tobit was blind and Tobiah's betrothed,
Sarah, had already suffered seven bridegrooms perishing on the
night of the wedding. Raphael, disguised as a man named Azariah
(by which name the angel is often referred), accompanied Tobiah
into Media, helped him through his difficulties and taught him
how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. Besides Raphael, Michael
and Gabriel are the only other Archangels mentioned by name in
name means 'God heals'. This identity came about because of the
biblical story which claims that he 'healed' the earth when it
was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal
Book of Enoch. Raphael is also identified as the angel who moved
the waters of the healing sheep pool. He is the patron of the
blind, healers, happy meetings, and travellers.
the seven archangels Raphael is the one usually associated with
Mercury, the planet traditionally taken as the planetary ruler
of astrology; thus making the name of this angel particularly
attractive as an astrological pseudonym. As many nineteenth century
astrologers held day jobs and didn't want their true identities
to be known, choosing angelic, or angelic sounding names was a
popular means to protect personal information whilst making a
grand impact upon the astrological scene. At this time many leading
astrologers in England were members of occult societies whose
activities required an element of secrecy, so naturally the use
of a pseudonym also helped to ensure privacy for those activities.
Unfortunately, this has led to scant information being available
aboutsome of the names behind the mask, and so far no one has
been able to discover a photographic image of any of the 19th
do know that the first Raphael, Robert Cross Smith, was influenced
by the magical works of Francis Barrett who had stressed the association
between Raphael with Mercury, (and thus astrology). Cross Smith
also had the Sun in a partile conjunction with Mercury in his
horoscope and no doubt viewed this alignment as a token of his
astrological talent. The angel Raphael was already an easily recognisable
figure because of its popular portrayal in literature and art.
Through the identity that Robert Cross Smith was to lend to the
name, it was now to assume a widespread and lasting association
Cross Smith Robert Smith, the first Raphael, was born in the village
of Abbots Leigh on the outskirts of Bristol on 19 March 1795 and
died on 26 February 1832 at 4:15 PM. Nine days after Smith's birth,
his rival Dixon was born. On the 15 June the same year, Richard
Morrison, who was to come to fame as Zadkiel was born. This was
a good year for astrology.
the time there was limited interest in the subject. Very few books
had been printed since the 1790s, indeed there were few published
in the eighteenth century. Smith, a sickly child, maintained that
he began to study astrology at an early age and took some lessons
a carpenter, he moved to London in about 1820 with his new wife
to work as a clerk with a builder in Upper Thames Street, London.
One of his acquaintances was the balloonist G W Graham, who numbered
astrology and alchemy amongst his interests. As well as introducing
Smith to his friends Graham gave him financial assistance and
worked on building up his connections. It was unlikely that Smith
had the intention of becoming a professional astrologer at this
time. Such a thing didn't really exist. At a later date it was
recognised that his work had established a minor astrological
boom. Dixon wrote:
has, with indefatigable industry and perseverance, mainly contributed
to the revival of elementary philosophy; indeed, the rapid progress
it has made within the last six or seven years, is of itself
a convincing proof".
meeting Graham's friends, Smith decided to leave his job and begin
a career in astrology. He was supported by Graham and moved to
a house off Oxford Street in central London.
1822 Smith and Graham collaborated on writing The Philosophical
Merlin "the translation of a script formerly in the possession
of Napoleon Bonaparte". It was dedicated to the "Famous and Renowned
Mademoiselle Le Normand". Mlle Le Normand was a famous Parisian
Tarot reader, but there is no record of her having any connection
interests went beyond astrology alone; as did Graham's as he also
practised alchemy. In about 1825, he joined an occult group run
by Francis Barrett, founded to follow the traditions of the Abbé
Trithemius and Cornelius Agrippa. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton was
a member of this group, and later Eliphas Lévi joined. As Barrett
died in 1825, Lytton continuted running the group in London. In
1824 Smith was appointed editor of a new periodical, The Straggling
Astrologer, (later renamed The Astrologer of the Nineteenth
Century), in the twelfth issue of which appeared for the first
time his pseudonym 'Raphael'. He also introduced a weekly feature
predicting the planetary effects on love and marriage, finance,
business, travel - the first such weekly predictions to be made
in a journal. The Straggling Astrologer did not last long;
Smith had better luck with The Prophetic Messenger, first
published in 1826, which on his death in 1832 was taken over and
continued until 1858.
of the curiosities of The Straggling Astrologer was that
it featured the writings of Princess Olive of Cumberland. Olivia
Serres claimed to be the legitimate daughter of the Duke of Cumberland
and so have a claim to Royal lineage. Smith appears to have been
completely taken in by her
Royal Highness who has, we are persuaded, been most unjustly
Illusions of grandeur appear to have been rife. Although he first
used the pseudonym 'Raphael' on 21 August 1824, Smith also frequently
signed himself 'the Royal Merlin' and hoped to hit a popular note.
The third issue carried advice on how to judge if your future
wife was a virgin - though the publishers' consternation resulted
in a number of changes to the magazine. The next added a weekly
astrological calendar with headings for love and marriage, the
first such weekly feature in the history of astrological journalism.
Other writers weren't always impressed with Smith and the name
'Straggling Astrologer' provided mileage for humourous references
to his publication as 'the Stumbling Astrologer', 'the Struggling
Astrologer', and so forth.
year later Olivia Serres' name was to appear on the title page
of The Oracle of Human Destiny; or the unerring foreteller
of Future Events and accurate interpreter of Mystical Signs and
Influences through the medium of Common Cards, by Mme Le Normand.
was believed by Ellic Howe that Smith himself was the author of
this book. The name given in the book was Victorine Le Normand
but the famous fortune teller of Paris went under the name of
Marie-Anne Adelaide Le Normand. Smith's preoccupation with magic
was viewed badly by his contemporaries and many digs were made
against him by Dixon in The Spirit of Partridge, 1824.
In 1824/5 Smith published Urania or the Astrologers
Chronicle and Mystical Magazine showing the existence of another
group called the Philosophic Lyceum. Information was also given
about the 'Mercurii' - an astrological Society of which Smith
and Zadkiel are the only known members. Smith began to present
himself as an expert in magical rituals and wrote more widely
than his astrological heritage would indicate. It is also clear
that he wrote under the names of 'Medusa', 'Alfred the Inspired
Penman', 'Extraordinary Genius', 'Royal Merlin', 'Mercurius',
and 'Merlinus Angelicus Junior' (after Lilly).
favoured the Placidean system so wrote tables of house division
on that basis. In fact he is largely responsible for their spread,
since he issued Almanacs and Ephemerides of the time. For lack
of any other, they became commonly used in the British Isles and
the U.S.A., and remain so today.
to Zadkiel, Smith was hardly a typical astrologer of his day:
this character as a man of some education, he was quite a rara
avis, for, since the days of William Lilly, who flourished during
the commonwealth, most professors of the science have been extremely
illiterate, the necessary effort of the study having been placed
under the ban of public opinion."
Oxley (1830) also gives an insight into Smith's increasing repute
is a gentleman of great talents and scientific acquirements
and is well known, not only in the British Empire but also in
the United States of America and everywhere in Europe..."
the Straggling Astrologer ceased publication in October
1824, it was republished in bound form in 1825 as The Astrologer
of the Nineteenth Century; or Compendium of Astrology Geomancy
and Occult Philosophy. With additional material it was again
published under the grand title of The Astrologer of the Nineteenth
Century; or the Master Key of Futurity and Guide to Ancient Mysteries.
In reality, much of Smith's occult writing was simply reproduced
from Barrett's work, but by now his fame was rising, to the extent
that he was attracting criticism on the basis of his popularity.
Towards the end of 1824, J. English, a teacher of astrology, wrote
do not write as he has done for the purpose of exciting the
credulous to come to me to have their fortunes told.."
was so angry that he moved to a more secluded address off City
Road, although he was to return to his old home nine months later.
He took his revenge on English by publishing his horoscope with
a baneful prediction for the future. It was around this time that
Dixon published The Spirit of Partridge, which he used
as a platform for attacks on Smith,
of the Straggling Astrologer (stumbling Astrologer would have
been more appropriate...)"
short of clients, Smith didn't make a lot of money from his astrology.
As the Straggling Astrologer declined he decided to give
up astrology to open a coffee-house but failed due to lack of
funds. From his writings it is clear that he used astrology in
financial speculation. It was at this point that he began to edit
The Prophetic Messenger, the almanac of which was destined
to outlive him. A number of publishers availed themselves of the
advertising opportunities and commissioned Smith to write books
for them. In quick succession appeared The Manual of Astrology
(1828), Royal Book of Fate, (1829), Royal Book of Dreams
(1830), and Raphael's Witch (1831).
last major work was The Familiar Astrologer, an allusion
to Lilly. It gives an account of how on 21 June 1826 Smith met
his friend Captain B at the Royal Exchange:
sold a few thousands of consols by the following July account,
which, although I am naturally averse to 'high play' of any
description, I had been induced to do at the persuasion of a
friend, chiefly to convince an unbeliever in celestial lore
of the ample means possessed by an Astrologer for increasing
the store of this world's wealth."
is also the story of a visit from a well-dressed and imperious
gentleman wearing a valuable ring. Unwilling to give birth data
he asked for a horary and was told that he would die within two
years. King George IV obliged by dying on 26 June 1830.
1829 Smith was subpoenaed as a witness in a bankruptcy case, as
described below in a newspaper report.
and Traveller Butcher and Others v. Wroughton
"...Smart had committed an act of bankruptcy ...he should
call a witness of a novel description in a court of law, a "conjurer"
- he begged the gentleman's pardon, he believed he called himself
an astrologer, to whom the bankrupt went to enquire if there
was a writ likely to be issued against him. He (the learned
Counsel) would produce the horoscope drawn by the astrologer
(laughter) with all the unfortunate bankrupt's misfortunes clearly
shown (great laughter) he - (the astrologer) found the stars
in conjunction, therefore he believed it would be unfortunate
to go to law, so he advised him to threaten chancery (laughter),
but to avoid as he would a whirlpool that vortex of trouble
(laughter), so that the advice given by this astrologer was
sound sense, thou the premises from which he adduced it were
wrong. ...the shopkeeper of the bankrupt Smart...said he left
home in consequence of his communications with Raphael, the
astrologer, in Tabernacle Walk, City Road, who told him "he
smelt a writ so strong that he ought to leave home by the first
opportunity..." Mr Sergeant Tandy for the defendant...could
not conceive that a man would visit an astrologer to know his
fate. He would rather visit an attorney, who could tell his
fate much better than any conjurer, therefore he thought it
was impossible they could think that he left his residence to
avoid his discreditors. The persons in court appeared very much
disappointed that the astrologer had not been called... "
wrote of this occasion in The Familiar Astrologer and spoke
of a number of elegant females eager to see him.
died just as he was planning to move to another publisher for
The Prophetic Messenger as he was paid a fixed sum, whatever
the sales were, which were steadily increasing. In 1831 he moved
to 75 Castle Street and fell ill "caused by much study". He spent
a bad winter suffering from a violent cough and frequent fits.
He died at 16:15 on 26th February 1832 of consumption. He left
behind his widow, six children, an astrological legacy, and £1000.
Smith died there was an immediate interest in the future of The
Prophetic Messenger as the copyright had some value. The astrologer
Dixon approached Smith's widow and was informed that "two pupils
of her late husband had offered their services to write the Prophetic
Messenger for 1833". The first of this pair was John Palmer
who was employed in a chemists shop in Duke Street, Piccadilly.
He was born in Bristol on 28 May 1807 and had recently returned
from Paris where he claimed to have studied under Nicolas Vauquelin,
professor of chemistry at the Ecole de Medicine in the Sorbonne.
Palmer described himself as a professor of chemistry and mathematics.
His companion was P. Moody, Extra Door Keeper at the House of
Lords; (he later became Head Messenger and died c. 1876).
Moody had sent Mrs Smith a note objecting to a cast being taken
which would have preserved Smith's features for posterity:
object to a mask been taken of Smith's face - because it will
give his death too great a publicity at present - the full grounds
I stated last night. Mrs Smith will use her own discretion after
this; at any rate I should not agree to a cast being taken of
his whole head."
had hoped to become Raphael the second but had been pipped at
the post. But whatever, he decided to write a Prophetic Messenger
for 1833 anyway, not claiming to be Raphael
order to prevent the public from being so grossly imposed upon,
as I understand it is the intention of the two aforesaid young
men to write the Prophetic in 1833, for WC Wright, which publication
will be said to be written by Raphael! I thought it proper to
premise this much, and put the public in possession of the facts,
in order to prevent the dissemination of such trash as cannot
fail to emanate from the hands of those who have yet to learn
their ABC in astrology."
1833 the Palmer-Moody version of The Prophetic Messenger
contained a brief notice of Raphael I's death and the statement
that the present edition had been published for the benefit of
his wife and children. By the time of Palmer's death W.C. Wright
appears to have bought the copyright and he continued to publish
the almanac until his death in 1858.
was a member of the Astrological Society of London and the 'Mercurii',
the organisation started by Robert Cross Smith. He taught astrology
and gave the address of 75 Castle Street for correspondence; he
also held classes there. We don't know what happened to Mrs Smith
and the six children but Palmer's adoption of Smith's address
suggests that he adopted more from him than simply the name of
Raphael. Palmer's period as Raphael was not to last long as he
died in 1837.
is known of the astrologer Dixon - first name unknown - other
than he was born on 28 March 1795, nine days after Robert Cross
Smith, became one of his main rivals, and published an issue of
The True Prophetic Messenger in 1833. This so closely copied
Smith's publication it even used the same type and cover.
who edited The Prophetic Messenger from 1828 to 1847, was
also known as a dealer in occult manuscripts. He charged 5s for
"a horary figure for any event" and from 20s to £5 for a "horoscope
of the whole life". He also taught astrology and sold "correct
copies of curious ancient MSS on Alchemy, Magic &c. and all branches
of the Occult Sciences". No horoscope seems to have survived for
him as Robert Thomas Cross wrote in 1892 that he was unable to
to Howe, Wakely edited The Prophetic Messenger from 1846.
A former naval schoolmaster on HMS Victory he died in 1853. He
was the first to use the pseudonym Edwin Raphael. Little is known
about him but Cross states that he lost his mother at 16, his
father at 19 and he married about 20. He was a "pleasant and amiable
person; of excellent manners but his constitution was weak and
he was often ailing." Robert Thomas Cross states in the Astrologer's
Magazine (September 1892) that his editorship began in 1849
and that he died in 1852. His birth data is given as 10 May 1814,
7:26 am, with 23 cancer rising; this time actually gives 10 cancer
rising with 23 Cancer rising an hour later.
17 July 1820, London (Asc: 29 Scorpio; MC: 24 Virgo). Died April
began to edit the Prophetic Messenger in 1852, following
Wakeley's death, and continued to do so for 20 years. He was described
very good astrologer but negligent with his customers".
lived at the Elephant and Castle and advertised the usual astrological
services as well as his own remedy of special dyspeptic pills.
Curiously, Raphael's Ephemeris of 1861 states:
are several persons in London and in various parts of the country
who assume Raphael's name - such are impostors. Raphael resides
the same issue carries advertisements for "Raphael's" Dyspeptic
pills. Sparkes had the dubious honour of also being a Zadkiel.
He was a friend of R.J. Morrison for many years and on the latter's
death in 1874 the editorship of Zadkiel's almanac was passed onto
him. When the 1875 issue was published in the autumn of 1874 no
reference was made to the death of its founder. A simple notice
was placed discouraging correspondence. Unfortunately Sparkes
was to die in 1875 making his reign as Zadkiel a very short one.
from Raphael's Prophetic Messenger Almanack 1852, showing "Hieroglyphic
of the Eventful year 1852"
Born at Brockley Farm, Worstead in 1850, Cross was originally
named Frederick Robert Tuck Cross but later dropped the name Frederick.
He began studying astrology while quite young and by the age of
twenty five, married with two sons, he was living at Westwick,
where he owned land. He had already begun teaching astrology when
he started to edit The Prophetic Messenger. He obtained
the copyright to Raphael's Ephemeris in the 1870s and it is still
owned by the Cross family today. Owing to the similarity in names,
he is frequently confused with Robert Cross Smith. Born in East
Anglia, (15 May 1850 2:35 am), he published his own horoscope
in Raphael's Ephemeris for 1913 where he wrote:
has prospered with me except astrology. I have tried many things
but have ended in failure or loss. In Astrology, however, I
have succeeded beyond my expectations, and my life as a whole
leaves me much to be thankful for."
Guide to Astrology, published in two volumes in 1877-9 was widely
used for many years. Cross was renowned among his peers for
astrology in a cheap form, void of all abstruse technicalities,
before the masses, and thus endeavouring to prove it is not
specially for the well-to-do, who alone are able to pay the
high price charged for certain abstruse mathematical emanations,
but that it is a science for all, poor and rich".
never claimed to be a mathematician or scientist, unlike many
of his contemporaries. As with all Raphaels, Cross' interests
were wider than astrology alone and he was convinced that he was
able to mesmerise both animals and vegetables. He advertised the
Society of the Most Ancient Magi - "Institute for the especial
purpose of advocating Astrology in its purity and for the spreading
of occult knowledge", although it is unknown whether anyone actually
joined. It is clear that he also worked as a consultant astrologer
and teacher, the following advert appearing in an astrological
periodical of the 1870s:
taught and Nativities calculated Prospectus Sec. Mr Robert Cross,
15 Malvern Road, Dalston London NE
1885 he returned to Worstead when he bought Lyngate Cottage for
£440. As well as his astrology, Cross grew and sold exotic plants,
especially orchids which were sent to London. He built eight greenhouses
in the field to the east of the cottage and grew and sold different
fruit and vegetables which were sent to markets in the midlands
and further north.
1893 Cross's almanac sold 200,000 copies. A prolific writer, he
could not resist involving himself in every astrological argument
going. His name pops up incessantly in the correspondence pages
of periodicals. He particularly enjoyed locking horns with Sepharial
and it appears from his writings that he was opposed to the Theosophical
astrology that was emerging. However, a letter in the Astrologers
Magazine of January 1894 makes it evident that he was a member
at that time. Although he stated that he would discuss Theosophy
in Theosophical journals or out of them, provided I can get
on the right side of the editor"
can only assume that he didn't, since none of his writings appear
in the Theosophical press.
was never a problem for Cross. In April 1895 he wrote in The
Astrologers Magazine about the death of his granddaughter,
the previous November:
is unfortunate that the parents did not send for me instead
of their medical attendant... the chances are ten to one that
I could have saved its life by recommending suitable medical
also had a busy life in his local community. He was elected by
the largest number of votes to the first Parish Council in December
1894 and served as Church Warden for a number of years. He also
served on the Coal Board, which gave coal to deserving people
during the winter. Much of his time was spend on his weather station,
where he recorded wind directions and speeds, sun shine and temperature
at different levels as well as rainfall.
1889 in Raphael's Almanac, Cross suggested that an astrological
society be formed. This was a popular plea of all astrologers
at the time. In 1895 the Astrologer's Magazine cited Cross in
support of forming a society and he wrote several letters confirming
this. Finally, on 14 January 1896 Alan Leo founded a society with
himself as president and Cross as vice-president. Modern Astrology
was intended to be the society's official organ and Cross'
writings in it are notable only by their absence.
no doubt that Cross had a busy life. As well as his astrological
work, he filled his time with a variety of different activities.
He owned some of the first motor vehicles in the county starting
with a Trike, then steam driven cars and eventually he bought
petrol driven cars. He was instrumental in obtaining a War Memorial
for his local Church and in l922 he bought the land for the Cemetry
which he then gave to the Parish.
his death in 1923 an obituary appeared in the British Journal
of Astrology, where E.H. Bailey said
genial personality will be missed by all who knew him, and none
the less than by the little band of assiduous workers who assisted
him in the heavy and onerous work of compiling the Raphael's
ephemeris. Probably no one can write with better knowledge of
this than myself, as for nearly twenty years Mr Cross availed
himself of my assistance in connection with his astrological
E.H. Bailey shows a marked propensity for exaggerating his own
importance in the astrological world so the level of his "assistance"
can only be guessed at.
didn't make great efforts to increase his own popularity. Which
may go some way to explaining why Modern Astrology completely
ignored his death. He was a noted enough figure in his time for
his death to be reported in the press. Arthur Mee felt moved to
mention it in the August 10th issue of the Cardiff Evening Express.
did not know Raphael personally, but shall always feel grateful
to him because my first introduction to astrology was made through
the medium of his 'Key'."
Ephemeris had no hiccough in its sales with the death of Cross.
It continues to be sold today Cross died shortly after A.J. Pearce,
who was currently writing as Zadkiel. The reigns of Raphael and
Zadkiel began and ended together.
a closing note, I am indebted to Caroline Gerard who sent me a
cutting from Scotland dated 5 August 2001 where a horoscope column
appears under the name of Raphael. She described the heading photograph
as being of someone who "...looks like he's been told to stop
playing with his Play Station and go and tidy his room". Raphael
in all his incarnations has been petulant. I am delighted to see
the tradition continue. But I have yet to hear of the new Zadkiel....