Planetary Squares: Magic, Talismans and Astrology

“It is affirmed by Magicians, that there are certain tables of numbers distributed to the seven planets, which they call the sacred tables of the planets, endowed with many, and very great vertues of the Heavens, in as much as they represent that divine order of Celestiall numbers, impressed upon Celestials by the Idea’s of the divine mind, by means of the soul of the world, and the sweet harmony of those Celestiall rayes, signifying according to the proportion of effigies, supercelestiall Intelligencies, which can no other way be expressed, then by the marks of numbers, and Characters.” Agrippa, De Occulta Philosophia, Book II, Chapter XXII.

The “planetary squares” – by some known as “magick squares” – are numerical tables attributed to the seven traditional planets; Moon, Sun, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. Those squares together with planetary sigils are found in Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book II, Chapter XXII; even though the history and origins of magic squares go back way further. However, after Agrippa’s publication of The Three Books of Occult Philosophy in 1533, those numerical tables called “planetary squares” started to pop up in other magical texts such as manuscripts in Europe.

Planerary Squares in The Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book II, Chapter XXII by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa

So what actually are Planetary Squares?

Simply put, they are part of talismanic magic; meaning they are used to make talismans. Since those squares all correspond to one of the seven traditional planets, those tables are part of planetary magic and thus have to be treated as such. We see them pop up as talismans in numerous different manuscripts!

They are constructed through numerology, geometry, and kabbalah! In order to construct a planetary square, we need the number associated with the particular planet. We don’t get those numbers in some random type of way; those numbers are drawn from the correspondences of the planetary spheres to the Tree of Life.

Let’s use Saturn as an example:

“The third name is called Tetragrammaton Elohim; his numeration is named Prina, [Binah] viz. providence and understanding, and signifies remission, quietness, the Jubilee, penitentiall conversion, a great Trumpet, redemption of the world, and the life of the world to come; it is attributed to the Holy Spirit, and hath his influence by the order of the thrones, or which the Hebrews call Aralim, that is great Angels mighty and strong, and from thence by the sphere of Saturn administereth form to the unsettled matter, whose particular intelligence is Zaphchiel.” Agrippa on the third Sephirah; De Occulta Philosophia, Book III, Chapter X.

So, we get that Saturn is associated with the third sphere of the Tree of Life, Binah; which is how we get the ruling angel of Saturn (Zaphkiel), as well as the number we need for the square -> 3×3. So in order to get the square of Saturn, we need three rows and columns:

Planetary Square of Saturn

This is how we get each square. The associations according to Agrippa are:

  • Third Sephira: Binah – Saturn – 3×3
  • Fourth Sephira: Chesed – Jupiter – 4×4
  • Fifth Sephira: Geburah – Mars – 5×5
  • Sixth Sephira: Tiphereth – Sun – 6×6
  • Seventh Sephirah: Netzach – Venus – 7×7
  • Eighth Sephirah: Hod – Mercury – 8×8
  • Ninth Sephirah: Yesod – Moon – 9×9

How NOT to use Planetary Squares

Planetary magic as a whole is very different from magic models we see today; which is why I have to say this now: There are right and wrong ways to do planetary magic. You can’t make up your own correspondences in order to work with those squares and you can’t choose to ignore astrology either; they will backfire very harshly if you do!! This is not to gatekeep any other beliefs; this is about your own safety!

So, what not to do:

  • Planetary squares are not used to write affirmations like “I am powerful” into sigils like chaos magic.
  • Planetary squares are not used to write intentions like “peace” or “protection”; those would fall under chaos magic again – which has nothing to do with planetary magic.
  • Planetary squares require knowledge of planetary properties and correspondences! Using the wrong material or correspondence will backfire!
  • Planetary squares require the appropriate astrological timing! Never consecrate a planetary talisman when the planet in question is badly aspected or in retrograde; otherwise the talisman will backfire!
  • Planetary squares are considered spirit work!!

Please note that I’m not saying chaos magic is wrong or that planetary magic is the only legitimate magic system. What I’m trying to say is that planetary magic is its own system; which is very different from using intentions for manifestation like we see in a lot of contemporary magic systems. Writing an intention into a planetary square is just not what they were used for and contemporary authors took those squares heavily out of context in order to fit them into their own modern magic system. Now that we got that out of the way, we can move on to what those squares are actually used for and how they are used within planetary magic!

Third Pentacle of Jupiter from The Key of Solomon (MacGregor Mathers edition) using the Planetary Sigils of Jupiter and its Intelligence derived from the Planetary Square of Jupiter from Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy

How to use Planetary Squares

As I’ve already mentioned; planetary squares are considered spirit work and now I will get into why: The numerical tables are used to write something into it – and no, it’s not affirmations like “I am hardworking/beautiful/etc” as it is in chaos magic. What you are writing into the squares (which creates a sigil) are names of planetary spirits and angels; whose energy will manifest in the talisman through the sigil you create by writing their name into the numerical table and by consecrating your talisman at the appropriate time and hour!

As for the name, Agrippa lists names of planetary spirits as well as their seals for each and every table:

“Over this are of Divine names set such names as fill up the numbers with an Intelligency to what is good, with a spirit to what is bad, and out of the same numbers is drawn the seal, or Character of Saturn, and of the spirits thereof, such as we shall beneath ascribe to its table.” Agrippa on the names and sigils of Intelligences and Spirits of Saturn.

Now, when it comes to what effects those talismans are supposed to have; Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa lists the following uses for the squares as follows:

“They say that this table being with a fortunate Saturn engraved on a plate of lead, doth help to bring forth, or birth, and to make a man safe, and powerfull, and to cause success of petitions with princes, and powers: but if it be done with an unfortunate Saturn, that it hinders buildings, plantings, and the like, and casts a man from honours, and dignities, and causes discords, and quarrellings, and disperses an Army.” Agrippa on the Planetary Square of Saturn.

“They say that if it be impressed upon a Silver plate with Jupiter being powerfull, and ruling, it conduceth to gain, and riches, favor, and love, peace, and concord, and to appease enemies, to confirm honors, dignities, and counsels, and dissolve enchantments if it be engraven on a corall.” Agrippa on the Planetary Square of Jupiter.

“These with Mars being fortunate, being engraven on an Iron plate, or sword, makes a man potent in war, and judgments, and petitions, and terrible to his enemies, and victorious against them; and if engraven upon the Stone Correola, it stops blood, and the mestrues [menses]; but if it be engraven with Mars being unfortunate, on a plate of red Brass, it hinders buildings, casts down the powerfull from dignities, honors, and riches, and causeth discord, strife, and hatred of men, and beasts, chaseth away Bees, Pigeons, and Fish, and hinders Mils, and renders them unfortunate that go forth to hunting, or fighting, and causeth barreness in men and women, and other Animals, and strikes a terror in all enemies, and compels them to submit.” Agrippa on the Planetary Square of Mars.

“This being engraven on a Golden plate with the Sun being fortunate, renders him that wears it to be renowned, amiable, acceptable, potent in all his works, and equals a man to Kings, and Princes, elevating him to high fortunes, inabling to do whatsoever he pleaseth: but with an unfortunate Sun, it makes a tyrant, and a man to be proud, ambitious, unsatisfiable, and to have an ill ending.” Agrippa on the Planetary Square of the Sun.

“This being engraven on a Silver plate, Venus being fortunate, procureth concord, endeth strife, procureth the love of women, conduceth to conception, is good against barreness, causeth ability for generation, dissolves enchantments, and causeth peace between man, and woman, and maketh all kind of Animals and Cattle fruitful; and being put into a Dove-house, causeth an increase of Pigeons. It conduceth to the cure of all melancholy distempers, and causeth joyfulness; and being carryed about travellers make them fortunate. But if it be formed upon Brass with an unfortunate Venus, it causeth contrary things to all that hath bin above said.” Agrippa on the Planetary Square of Venus.

“If it be with Mercury being fortunate engraven upon Silver, or Tin, or yellow Brass, or be writ upon Virgin Parchment, it renders the bearer thereof gratefull, and fortunate to do what he pleaseth: it bringeth gain, and prevents poverty, conduceth to memory, understanding, and divination, and to the understanding of occult things by dreams: and if it be an unfortunate Mercury, doth all things contrary to these.” Agrippa on the Planetary Square of Mercury.

“This fortunate Moon being engraven on Silver, renders the bearer thereof grateful, aimiable [amiable], pleasant, cheerfull, honored, removing all malice, and ill will. It causeth security in a journey, increase of riches, and health of body, drives away enemies and other evil things from what place thou pleaseth; and if it be an unfortunate Moon engraven in a plate of Lead, where ever it shall be buried, it makes that place unfortunate, and the inhabitants thereabouts, as also Ships, Rivers, Fountains, Mills, and it makes every man unfortunate, against which it shall be directly done, making him fly from his Country, and that place of his abode where it shall be buried, and it hinders Physitians [physicians], and Orators, and all men whatsoever in their office, against whom it shall be made.” Agrippa on the Planetary Square of the Moon.

The Planetary Square of Mercury as well as its sigil and Intelligence found in Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book II, Chapter XXII

How to make the Planetary Squares

First off, the squares need to be made on appropriate materials; the only universal material for planetary squares and talismans would be parchment/paper! You will also need to make sure to have a type of incense ready, which corresponds to the planet you are working with! When you have the materials together, the next thing to do is to elect a proper time for your talisman.

Basic things to look out for:

  • The planet you’re working with should not be badly aspected by Saturn or Mars; i.e. squared or opposed.
  • It should not be combust with (around 8 degrees to) the Sun.
  • It should either be in an appropriate zodiac sign, term or face.
  • It should not be in retrograde.
  • The Moon needs to be well dignified: It should not be void, in a bad sign, or opposed by Mars/Saturn.
  • Mercury should be well dignified: It should not be in retrograde and not aspected in any way by Mars/Saturn.
  • The Moon should not be in Via Combustia unless it is well dignified through other aspects or if you want to make a very destructive talisman (a curse basically).

You should use the planetary hours and days for this as well in order to get the best result possible.

After all of this, you can construct your square at the appropriate planetary hour and write the spirit’s name into this. It should turn out to look something like this:

“Hagiel” (Intelligence of Venus) written into the Square of Venus

In order to learn how to write the names of planetary spirits into the squares, I’d advise reading the entirety of Book II of The Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Agrippa. In that, he goes over numerology and how to use numbers instead of letters. Or how Agrippa puts it:

“Now how the seals, and Characters of the Stars, and spirits are drawn from these tables, the wise searcher, and he which shall understand the verifying of these tables, shall easily find out.” Agrippa, De Occulta Philosophia, Book II, Chapter XXII.

After constructing everything and getting everything ready, you will have to consecrate your talisman. This is what the appropriate election is for! With your planetary incense, you will consecrate your talisman at the right time, with a process called suffumigation – smoking your talisman basically.

After that, you’ll be able to either wear, carry it around or place your talisman somewhere; wherever you want it to take effect! Since a spirit’s or intelligence’s energy is tied to that talisman, you should store it respectfully (wrapped in silk and stored in a chest was the traditional way). In case you made it out of parchment; please don’t burn it unless you want the spirit’s energy to leave, which might result in an anrgy spirit if you do it disrespectfully.

Conclusion

Planetary magic overall is not easy and it can’t be simplified well. It is way more complex than simple manifestation and it should be approached accordingly. This should not discourage you from going into this discipline; it just requires more study and preparation than other contemporary types of magic. I broke the most simple steps down as best as I could, and I will link other helpful blog posts below!

Literature

  1. “De Occulta Philosophia Libri III” or “The Three Books of Occult Philosophy” by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.
  2. “The Key of Solomon” edited by S. L. MacGregor Mathers
  3. “esotericarchives.com” by Joseph H. Peterson.

Helpful Blogposts for Planetary Magic

Astrological Timing 101

How to find Ingredients for Spellwork: Planetary Properties

Literature and Resources for Renaissance Magic

What is Magic? – A Renaissance Perspective

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