Ebenezer Sibly (1751 – c. 1799) was an English physician, astrologer and writer on the occult.
In 1794 he was living in Portsmouth, and became a Freemason there. In 1785 he was working as an astrologer in Bristol; and by about 1788 had moved to London. In 1790 he was temporarily in Ipswich, supporting at the general election Sir John Hadley D'Oyly, the Whig member. On 20 April 1792 he graduated M.D. from King's College, Aberdeen.
Sibly died in London in about 1799.
Ebenezer Sibly used an eclectic mixture of early modern esoteric works. His brother Manoah Sibly (1757–1840) was a linguist, as well as a Swedenborgian preacher. Under Manoah's name appeared texts including a revision of John Whalley's translation of the Tetrabiblos, and a translation of Placidus de Titis; as an astrologer, Ebenezer is said to have used the Placidian system of houses; as a student of alchemy, he translated Bernard of Treviso (the fountain allegory). It has been said that experts of the time would have seen that Sibly was not very discriminating about the sources he chose, and drew on unpublished translations that he had borrowed. He knew the Book of Enoch via Charles Rainsford.
The Complete Illustration
Sibly published the New and Complete Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology in four volumes, from 1784. He had completed it by the time he moved to London. The work, which had later editions under variant titles, gave details of magical procedure, and an account of the spirit world derived from Reginald Scot, in the 1665 edition of Discoverie of Witchcraft. Revised editions appeared posthumously as Astrology, A New and Complete Illustration of the Occult Sciences by Ebenezer Sibly, M.D. F.R.H.S., Embellished with Curious Copper-Plates, London (1806), and The New and Complete Illustration of the Celestial Science of Astrology (1817).
Sibly published A Key to Physic, and the Occult Sciences, in 1792.
“We must consider white as the stock whence all others have sprung, Adam and Eve and all their posterity, till the time of the deluge were white; in the first age of the world no black nation was to be found on the face of the earth.”
Sibly believed that humans had not reached Africa until after the dispersal from the Tower of Babel, that the continent's first inhabitants had been white, and that Africans had become dark only as a result of climate.
- Curry, Patrick. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25502. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Sibly, Ebenezer". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Debus p. 261
- "Whalley, John". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- "Sibly, Manoah". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Debus p. 263.
- Joscelyn Godwin, The Theosophical Enlightenment (1994), p. 107; Google Books.
- Martha Keith Schuchard, Why Mrs. Blake Cried (2006), p. 272.
- Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture (2012), p. 237; Google Books.
- Volume 4 is available online.
- Owen Davies, Grimoires: A History of Magic Books (2009), p. 134.
- Colin Kidd, The Forging of Races: race and scripture in the Protestant Atlantic world, 1600 - 2000 2006, p. 30; Google Books.
- Allen G. Debus, Scientific truth and occult tradition: the medical world of Ebenezer Sibly (1751-1799), Medical History 1982 July; 26(3): 259–278. (online text as PDF)