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Robert Fludd

Robert Fludd




Robert Fludd, born on January 17, 1574, in Milgate House, United Kingdom, and died on September 8, 1637, in London, was a prominent English physician, astrologer, and mystic. He is renowned for his contributions to the fields of medicine, philosophy, and esotericism during the late Renaissance period. Fludd's work often intertwined science and mysticism, reflecting the broader intellectual currents of his time.

Fludd was born into a well-to-do family; his father, Sir Thomas Fludd, was a high-ranking official in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. This affluent background allowed Robert Fludd to receive an extensive education. He studied at St. John’s College, Oxford, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1596 and his Master of Arts degree in 1598. Following his graduation, Fludd embarked on a grand tour of Europe, a common practice among the educated elite of his time, which allowed him to study a variety of subjects in depth.

During his travels, Fludd immersed himself in various fields of study, including medicine, alchemy, and the occult sciences. He spent time in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, where he encountered a range of intellectual traditions and met several influential thinkers. These experiences profoundly shaped his later work.

Upon his return to England around 1604, Fludd enrolled at the University of Oxford to study medicine, earning his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1605. He subsequently established a successful medical practice in London and gained a reputation for his unconventional methods, which often included astrological and alchemical elements. His medical approach was heavily influenced by the Paracelsian tradition, which emphasized the use of chemical substances in treatment and the belief that health and disease were governed by spiritual and cosmic forces.

Fludd's writings are extensive and cover a wide array of topics, including medicine, alchemy, astrology, cosmology, and the occult. One of his most significant works is the "Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica, Physica Atque Technica Historia" (The Metaphysical, Physical, and Technical History of the Two Worlds, namely the Greater and the Lesser), published between 1617 and 1621. This massive compendium of knowledge reflects Fludd's holistic view of the universe, in which he sought to integrate science, religion, and philosophy into a unified framework.

Fludd was also a key figure in the Rosicrucian movement, a mystical and esoteric tradition that emerged in the early 17th century. Although there is no concrete evidence that he was a formal member of the Rosicrucian order, his works display a strong affinity with Rosicrucian ideals and he defended the movement against its critics. He believed in the existence of a hidden knowledge that could lead to spiritual enlightenment and transformation, a central tenet of Rosicrucianism.

Despite his esoteric leanings, Fludd was a respected figure in the scientific community of his time. He engaged in intellectual debates with some of the leading thinkers of his day, including Johannes Kepler, the renowned astronomer. Fludd's disagreements with Kepler, particularly over the nature of the cosmos and the role of mathematics in understanding it, highlight the tension between traditional, mystical approaches to knowledge and the emerging empirical, scientific methods.

Fludd's influence extended beyond his lifetime, as his works continued to be read and studied by later generations of scholars and mystics. His efforts to synthesize different strands of knowledge and his belief in the interconnectedness of all things have left a lasting mark on the fields of medicine, philosophy, and esotericism.

In summary, Robert Fludd was a multifaceted figure whose work straddled the boundaries of science, mysticism, and philosophy. His contributions to medicine, his involvement with the Rosicrucian movement, and his extensive writings on a variety of esoteric subjects make him a significant figure in the history of ideas. His life and work embody the rich intellectual landscape of the Renaissance, a period marked by both the pursuit of empirical knowledge and the exploration of mystical and spiritual realms.


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Place of Birth: Milgate House, United Kingdom



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Date of Birth: January 17, 1574

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