Astrology 101: How To Use Planetary Hours, Part II

May 17, 2007 by  


Yesterday, we talked about the purpose of using planetary hours as a simple form of electional astrology, and how they are calculated. Today, we get to the good stuff: how to use the planetary hours in our daily lives. It is very simple – first, we must determine the planetary nature of the activity in which we want to engage, and then find the right hour.

But what if our activity can be described by two planets? To use the example I chose yesterday, if we want to paint or compose a song, both Mercury and Venus accurately describe the activity. In this case, we can have it both ways: Start on the day of Mercury (Wednesday) in the hour of Venus, or vice versa. For extra credit, we would want the planets in question to be strong, so Mercury in Gemini and Venus in Taurus, for example. If one or both are strongly placed by house and aspect at the time we choose, so much the better.

Below is a list of planetary hour activities from Henry Coley’s Clavis Astrologiae Elimata (modernized as much as possible). Use it only as a guideline – always rely on your understanding of the planets first. To get a more comprehensive understanding of each of the planets, click on the name of the planet below:

Saturn – In the hour of Saturn take no voyage to sea, neither take any long journey by land; for crosses will assuredly attend, and small success may be expected; take no physick: entertain no servant, for they will prove idle, careless persons: not good to put on a new garment, or cut your hair; but this hour is good to buy, or take leases of houses, or lands; good to buy any kind of grain, or to dig in the earth, or plow; not good to borrow money in this hour, or to fall sick in; for it threatens a long disease, and sometimes terminates in death.

Jupiter – in the hour of Jupiter ‘tis good to apply to ecclesiastical persons, and all great men, to obtain their favor. In this hour ‘this good to take a journey; or to go out of the house with success; good to sow all kind of seeds, or to plant; not good to be let blood; he that falls sick in this hour will soon recover; good also to lend, or borrow moneys; not good to enter a ship; not good to buy beasts; to conclude, this hour is good to contract matrimony in, etc.

Mars – In the hour of Mars begin no worthy action, or enterprise, for it is a very unfortunate hour in all things, and therefore as much as may be to be avoided, it is ill to take a journey, for you shall be in danger of thieves, very ill to take a voyage to sea, and generally in all things.

Sun – The hour of the Sun is not to be chosen, as being generally infortunate, unless in making application to great persons, not good to begin a building, or put on new garments, not good to enter into a man’s own house, for discontent and brawling may then be expected to follow, this hour is good for a man to receive preferment in, not good to court the female sex, or lay down moneys upon any account, ‘tis also very dangerous to fall sick in.

Venus – In the hour of Venus ‘tis good to court women, or to begin a journey, but not a voyage, good to enter upon any play, sport or pastime; not good to be let blood in, good to go out of a man’s [own] house with success, but not so good to return again in, good to take physick in, but if a man falls sick in that hour, the disease proceeds from some venereal distemper, this hour is generally good to undertake any business relating to women’s concern, or any delightful actions, not good to begin a new garment, but singular good for marriage, and contracting in matrimony, etc.

Mercury – The hour of Mercury is very good to merchandize in, buy or sell, or to write letters, or to send messengers, to take physick in, to send children to school, to begin a journey, to lend or borrow moneys in, to put forth apprentices, to begin any building, but not good to contract marriage, or to buy houses or lands, or to re-enter your house being abroad, lest discontent or brawling arise; nor good to take or hire a servant, or to redeem a prisoner, but good to plan or graft in, and finally to make suit to great persons.

Moon – The hour of the Moon is not accounted good to buy cattle in, especially of the smaller sort, nor to take physick in, or to make new clothes; ‘tis good to court the female sex in, or send children to school, and in some cases to take a journey, or to pursue an enemy, and to conclude, you may make choice of this hour to leave your native country in (if designed to travel) but choose another hour when you return, and are to re-enter your own country in.

Astrology 101: Planetary Hours and How to Use Them

May 16, 2007 by  

Clock with Prophets

In traditional astrology, the seven classical planets rule everything. We are familiar with the idea that all planets rule physical, tangible things.  For example, Venus rules tangible things like women, sweet foods, and works of art. However, the planets also rule intangible constructs, like time. According to modern thought, all time is the same, divided into equal portions, with one hour being just like another hour. However, traditionally, all the hours in a day were ruled by different planets, and the quality of a Saturn hour would be considerably different from a Jupiter hour. This is a very basic but powerful form of electional astrology – the idea that we can affect the outcome of events by beginning our project during an astrologically propitious hour. As an example, if we want to create the most beautiful painting within our means, we start working during a Venus or Mercury hour.

How Planetary Hours Work

1. Each day of the week is ruled by one of the seven planets. Sunday = the Sun, Monday = the Moon, Tuesday = Mars, Wednesday = Mercury, Thursday = Jupiter, Friday = Venus, and Saturday = Saturn. Each day begins at sunrise and ends at sunrise the following day. As a result, if the sun rises at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, and it is currently 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning, we are ruled by the previous day’s planet, the Moon. When 6 a.m., Tuesday, rolls around, the day ruler is now Mars until sunrise on Wednesday.

2. Each day is divided into two halves: daytime and nighttime: daytime is sunrise to sunset, and nighttime is sunset to the next sunrise. Then, each half, daytime and nighttime, is divided into 12 equal hours, giving us a total of 24 hours in one day.

Still with me? If you’re thinking ahead, you will realize that in the depths of winter, when night is a lot longer than day, the 12 nighttime hours will all be very long, whereas the 12 daytime hours will all be quite short, as all twelve of them have to squeeze into a short amount of daytime. The reverse is true in the summer, when the night is very short and the day is long. This is why the system is also called “the unequal hours” system. A daytime hour and a nighttime hour will usually be of unequal lengths, depending on the time of year.

3. Every day, the first hour after sunrise will be ruled by the same planet as the day ruler. Therefore, the first daytime hour of Saturday, the day ruled by Saturn, will be ruled by Saturn as well. The planets always go in this order, indefinitely (from the slowest planet to the fastest): Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. So a Saturn hour is always followed by a Jupiter hour, and so forth. A Moon hour is again followed by a Saturn hour.

So how do you figure out what planetary hour you are currently in?

Yes, you could calculate it all by hand, but I prefer software. If you use Windows, get ChronosXP. It’s not beautiful, but it is highly functional. If you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck, because you can get Astroclock, the world’s most gorgeous planetary hours screensaver. When I first saw it on someone’s computer, I seriously considered getting a Mac. Astroclock also shows you the dodecahour (5 minute) and sub-dodecahour (2.5 minute) planetary rulers. I don’t use these minor subdivisions, but they certainly sound cool.

Tomorrow: What to Do with Planetary Hours?

A Donkey, a Rope and the Nature of Solar Eclipses

March 19, 2006 by  

Solar eclipses are extremely important in traditional astrology, increasing exponentially in importance as we ascend from horary through natal to electional and finally mundane techniques. But why is this? The scientists would say that it is because that legendary creature, Primitive Man, looked with awe and fear upon the shadow hiding the sun even as the sun stood high in the sky, and ascribed it magical powers. This is clearly nonsense, since if anyone understood the true nature of an eclipse, it was that nonlegendary creature, Traditional Man. Luckily for us, there exist fragments of myths so old they were ancient millennia ago, that indicate the true nature of astronomical phenomena, so that we, the moderns, may begin to understand eclipses like our ancestors did.


“Ocnus the rope-maker is a symbolic character, represented as being in Hades weaving a rope that a female donkey eats as fast as he can make it,” says Pierre Grimal’s phenomenal mythological compendium, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Grimal goes on to say that the meaning of the myth is unclear.

The symbolism here is strongly astronomical, since in the Tradition, whenever we have two of something, we are looking at a description of the Solar-Lunar relationship. Here, we have a man (Sun) and a female donkey (Moon), one which creates and gives, and the other which receives and devours. In the normal state of things, during the day, the Sun far outshines the Moon. But during a solar eclipse, the Moon interposes itself between the Earth and the Sun, and hides the Sun from our view. Many ancient cultures referred to the Sun being consumed by a dragon, a demon, or another being. Going back to Ocnus and the donkey, there is a crucial third element to the Soli-Lunar relationship; the rope made by Ocnus that is constantly eaten by the donkey.

The Rope

“All this is threaded upon Me, as rows of pearls on a string,” says the Bhagavad Gita.

In the tradition, threads, chains, and ropes all symbolize the omnipresent divine nature connecting all worlds. Our visible, three-dimensional world is but one of innumerable beads on a string, or as René Guénon more accurately puts it, “an indefinite series of horizontal discs strung on a vertical axis,” since the universe is ordered hierarchically.

The axis of the thread running through each disc or bead is itself a Solar (i.e. divine) symbol, indicative of the way the Sun’s rays intersect with the world. Ibn ‘Arabi writes that the Sun (Ocnus) carries its influence to the receptive Moon (the donkey), which in turn, transmits that influence to our world. Normally, the Moon passes over or under the Sun, therefore not eclipsing it, and we do not receive the full impact of Solar energy because the Moon and the Sun are not perfectly aligned. During an eclipse, however, they are aligned, and for just an instant, we get a glimpse of the thread connecting us to the world above, and through the thread, a hint of the upper world itself.

This is why eclipses have the greatest impact in the localities where the eclipse is total, and more generally, the areas where the eclipse is visible. The beads are perfectly aligned from the perspective of those locales and the thread is dead-on straight. For an instant, we see the string of beads, not just the bead we happen to inhabit. Of course, given that the effects of solar eclipses are generally disruptive to our bodily existence, we are obviously less than adept at handling such infusions of raw power. So much for the idea that we have somehow evolved.