Astrological Timing 101

If you have been dabbling in the occult and magic for a while, you will be aware of the importance of astrology in magic and my own practice in general. This goes further into “astrological timing”; a practice used in planetary and renaissance magic.

An important thing to note is that astrological timing in planetary/renaissance magic exclusively uses traditional astrology. This means we go by the seven traditional planets: Moon, Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Jupiter.

If your understanding of astrology is modern(with extra planets), you will need to read into traditional astrology first. William Lilly’s “Christian Astrology” is almost an essential read and reference for this!

So what does astrological timing in magic mean? Well, first of all we look at the luminaries of course. A lot of people go by the phases of the moon in order to amplify their magic in some way, shape or form already; but won’t go further into other planets. This is perfectly fine as the moon is one of the most important planets when it comes to magic in general; especially when it comes to the Mansions of the Moon(something I might talk about later) and the natural phases of the Moon. So while the moon is certainly important; some people are left wondering if there is anything to the rest of astrology when it comes to timing and magic.

Portrait of the astrologer William Lilly in his work “Christian Astrology”

So what about other planets?

We can always look at astrology for magical operations, and when I say always I mean always. There are qualities and properties to each individual planet and each one can be applied to timing in its own way. Let’s say I want to make a talisman helping me with my finances; I’ll look at Jupiter and every planet aspecting Jupiter!

Concerning magic; the first question we will need to ask is; what planet do we need to look at and what aspects in general for magic?

If you want to look at astrology for magic in general the main planets you will have to look at are the Moon and Mercury. So what indicates good astrological timing?

Agrippa writes about the Moon and her aspects the following:

“And if thou hast more patterns of thy work, observe them all being most powerful, and looking upon one the other with a friendly aspect: and if thou canst not have such aspects, it will be convenient at least that thou take them angular. But thou shalt take the Moon, either when she looks upon both, or is joyned to one, and looks upon the other; or when she passeth from the conjunction, or aspect of one to the conjunction or aspect of the other.” De Occulta Philosophia, Book II, Chapter 29

Of Mercury concerning magical operations he writes:

“[..]or he is a messenger betwixt the higher gods, and infernal gods; when he goeth to the good he increaseth their goodness; when to the bad, hath influence upon their wickedness.” De Occulta Philosophia, Book II, Chapter 29

The “bad” also includes retrogrades! So a Mercury in retrograde or badly aspected by another planet is horrible for magical operations. So overall for magic you will want the Moon and Mercury well dignified and aspected. What planet and aspects are bad is something you will learn when you read into traditonal astrology. William Lilly lists beneficial and malevolent planets for every single planet; which is why I highly recommend his work as a reference.

Of aspects for magic in general Agrippa also writes the following:

“We call it an unfortunate Sign, or Planet, when it is by the aspect of Saturn or Mars, especially opposite, or quadrant; for these are aspects of enmity; but a conjunction, or a trine, or sextile aspect are of friendship; betwixt these there is a greater conjunction: but yet if thou dost already behold it through a trine, and the Planet be received, it is accounted as already conjoyned. Now all Planets are afraid of the conjunction of the Sun, rejoycing in the trine, and sextile aspect thereof.” De Occulta Philosophia, Book II, Chapter 29

Regarding the cojunction of the Sun: A planet becomes “combust”(meaning it becomes significantly weaker or loses its influence alltogether) anywhere within 8.5 degrees of the Sun.

Okay, so what exactly is the appropiate hour?

One of the key reasons you can’t go by modern astrology for this is the appropiate hour; meaning the planetary hour for each operation. Each planet rules one day of the week, and two set hours of the day -> seven planets, seven days. And there is no planetary hour of Neptune, Uranus or Pluto. When a grimoire asks for the operation to be done in a certain hour, it is talking about these traditional planetary hours.

In order to get the planetary hour you will need to know the ruling planet of the day and the time of sunrise and sunset. The time between sunrise and sunset will be divided into 12 equal parts; the 1st and 8th of these will be ruled by the ruling planet of the day. Note that these hours are not 60 minutes long!

Table of Planetary Hours of the Day by Christopher Warnock

You will get the night hours in similar fashion; looking at the time between sunset and sunrise instead. Note that the rulerships of the planetary night hours are decided by the day hours! So this is how we get our planetary hours of the day and night.

Table of Planetary Hours of the Night by Christopher Warnock

These are the bare basics in order to get perfect astrological timing. Mercury and Moon need to be well dignified and aspected, the planet you’re working with needs to be well dignified and aspected; as well as well as getting the right day and hour. And if you already guessed, the “perfect timing” only occurs once to twice times a year; any other times you will need to work around that like Agrippa stated when he talked about the Moon.

This is also why I don’t fault people if they “only” go by the phases of the Moon; since getting the “perfect astrological timing” is both complicated and a rare occurence on top of that. I still make use of the planetary hours and days in other ways(since I’m not sitting around making talismans all the time); as well planetary aspects. For instance I like to work with the planetary Archangels by their hours and days in terms of divination, meditation and prayer.

Please note that this post only covers the bare basics; if you’d like to read up on the topics of traditional astrology, renaissance magic and planetary magic, I highly recommend reading the following:

  1. “Christian Astrology” by William Lilly; read a plethora of excerpts here.
  2. “Secrets of Planetary Magic” by Christopher Warnock.
  3. by Christopher Warnock is a valuable compilation of sources concerning planetary magic and traditional astrology.
  4. “De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres” or “Three Books of Occult Philosophy” by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa; read the whole work here.

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