Old, Walter Gorn

Old, Walter Gorn (Sepharial)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Walter Gorn Old, a well-known astrologer under his pseudonym Sepharial, was born March 20, 1864, in Handsworth, Warwick, England. He attended King Edward’s School at Birmingham. He studied astrology and the Kabbalah (which contains ancient esoteric Jewish teachings) from an early age, and for some years studied medicine and psychology along with occultism. He later studied Oriental languages, including Coptic, Assyrian, Sanskrit, and Chinese.

Sepharial moved to London in 1889. Soon thereafter he was admitted into Madame Helen Blavatsky’s “inner group.” Sepharial introduced Alan Leo to Theosophy, and Leo remained within the Theosophical fold for the balance of his life. Sepharial, on the other hand, left formal Theosophy at some point between Blavatsky’s passing in 1891 and Annie Besant’s ascension to presidency of the society in 1907. In contrast with Leo, Sepharial was interested in astrology as a practical science rather than as some esoteric art produced by marrying it to theosophy.

Sepharial retained a strong interest in Kabbalah and numerology along with his astrological interests. He was a significant, widely influential astrologer. His reflections on prenatal astrology inspired E. H. Bailey’s theorizing on the prenatal epoch. He died on December 23, 1919, in Hove, East Sussex.


Holden, James H., and Robert A. Hughes. Astrological Pioneers of America. Tempe, Ariz.: American Federation of Astrologers, 1988.
Sepharial. Eclipses. London: L. N. Fowler, 1915.
Sepharial. The New Manual of Astrology. London, 1898.
Sepharial. Prognostic Astronomy. London: L. N. Fowler, 1901.
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