In 1917 at the height of his fame, Alan Leo was charged with fortune-telling, which was illegal, and taken to court. He had been tried on similar charges in 1914, which had been dismissed.
But the charges brought in 1917 stuck. Leo was given a hefty fine. As winning on appeal seemed unlikely, Leo paid the fine and went to Cornwall for a rest, where on 30 August, 1917, he unexpectedly died of a cerebral hemorrhage, aged 57. His friends blamed it on the strain of the court proceedings.
At the time of his death, this Dictionary was one of Leo's unfinished projects. Installments of the Dictionary had appeared in Leo's monthly magazine, Modern Astrology, up to the end of the article "Horoscope" (pgs. 130-136). That the project was long-standing is hinted by the article on Hindu Astrology (pgs. 76-101), written by Sepharial some years before and which Leo had presumably purloined. More material was in preparation, but Leo's untimely death brought matters to a halt.
By the early 1920's, Vivian Robson had succeeded Leo as editor of Modern Astrology, a post he shared with Bessie Leo, the widow. An intense, scholarly type, Robson stumbled across bound copies of Leo's incomplete book while he was compiling his own astrological dictionary. At the suggestion of Bessie, Robson abandoned his dictionary and set about to complete Leo's, using the many notes and fragments that Leo had left.
Which was published in 1929 as Alan Leo's final book. Shortly thereafter Bessie and Vivian had a falling out, whereupon Vivian left. This book was to be an orphan.
Like its precursor, James Wilson's Dictionary of Astrology of 1819, Leo's book contains several full-blown monographs. Both books have lengthy entries on Horary Astrology, for example. These articles tend to break the flow of the book. For this reason the current publishers, Astro-America, have added headings to each page, that the reader may know whereabouts in the book he may be. The publishers have also added a list of principal articles to the front, as well as a complete list of entries (forming an index) in the back.
Alan Leo's Dictionary of Astrology is again in print. Profit from the wealth of knowledge it contains!
Alan Leo (born William Allan), lived from 1860 to 1917. He was an outstanding astrologer, but much more than that, he was an organizer and proselytizer for the art. He took the many existing pieces (those of Raphael, Zadkiel, A.J. Pierce, W.J. Simmonite, etc.) and brought them into a coherent mass. To him, and him alone, we owe the revival of astrology in the 20th century. He founded two magazines, The Astrologer's Magazine, (1890-94), as well as the celebrated Modern Astrology. He wrote numerous books & printed those of his friends, among them Sepharial, H.S. Green, Charubel, and many others.
He was a Theosophist, as were almost all the leading intellectuals of his time, and founded the Astrological Lodge of the Theosophical Society. Leo was famous in his day & twice attracted the attention of the authorities. He was accused and acquitted of fortune-telling in 1914. He was again accused in 1917, losing in July of that year. He was fined some 25 Pound Sterling (about $2500 in current money). Weeks later he was dead from a stroke. Some think the strain of the second legal case brought on his death. The young Charles Carter was his successor.
The impact of his first court case was far-reaching. Advised by counsel that predicting vague generalities would spare him further legal harassment, in the last years of his life he turned from "event oriented astrology" to character description & psychological tendencies which led to the astro-psychology of the present day.