Study of the Planetary Hours System
by Andrew Kettle.
Introduction. Neo-pagan witchcraft has no central leaders, so
one of the questions that echos across the valleys
of the traditions is; "Are there to many cooks spoiling
the broth?" As most witches are fervent independants, and
self-assertively so, each will have a differnt approach
and opinion to such a simple observation.
Underneath the whole landscape of debate however, are
truths and basic historical facts being forgotten or
distorted? In certain instances it would be deemed
unavoidable in the present atmosphere of information
scavenging, where medium communications reveal past lives
and the knowledge from them to broaden the bookshelves of
the many esoteric book shops.
Be that as it may, studying the large expanse of
existing wisdom, at times similiar to looking through
water-glass, will relinquish many difficulties and
contradictions. To some this would increase the mysticism,
however when it is a matter of legitimacy where do we
from "What witches do", Stewart Farrar,1989, Phoenix
Appendix 3. Planetary Hours.
These are the traditionally accepted hours for operating spells
which have planetary correspondences. Each day has a ruling
planet; our days of the week in English are mostly named after
the Teutonic forms of the planet-gods concerned. They are:
Sunday, the Sun; Monday, the Moon; Tuesday, Mars (Tiw);
Wednesday, Mercury (Woden); Thursday, Jupiter (Thor); Friday,
Venus (Freya); Saturday, Saturn. The First hour after sunrise
is ruled by the day's own planet, after which each hour is
ruled by one of the other planets in the order Sun, Venus,
Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so on in rotation.
Thus Monday's second daylight hour is ruled by Saturn, Tuesda's
second by the Sun, etc. At sunset a new sequence starts with
the fifth down the list from the day's planet: thus Monday's
first hour from sunset is ruled by Venus, etc. The full list
is as follows: "
Disclaimer: I have it as a strong intention, to point out that this
acticle is not to be taken as a personal attack of the above
author or the publisher, or any other connecting party.
I have used Stewart Farrar's text only as a example of the
commonly published, and accepted, planetary hour concept.
Winter Solstice Timetable of Planetary Arrival and Departures for
Eastern Australia (Brisbane area only) on the 22nd of June, 1994.
Time Planet Statis Planetary Hours
---- ------ ------ --------- -----
2.30am Jupiter Set. Mars
3.40am Mars Rise. Sun
3.50am Pluto Set. Sun
4.54am Moon Set. Venus
5.14am Twilight start
6.37am Sun Rise.
6.55am Mercury Rise.
8.14am Neptune Set. Moon
8.25am Uranus Set. Moon
9.12am Venus Rise. Saturn
11.06am Saturn Set. Mars
1.32pm Jupiter Rise. Venus
2.29pm Mars Set. Mercury
3.21pm Pluto Rise. Moon
3.53pm Moon Rise. Moon
5.02pm Sun Set.
5.31pm Mercury Set. Jupiter
6.25pm Twilight End
6.35pm Neptune Rise. Sun
6.46pm Uranus Rise. Sun
7.44pm Venus Set. Venus
10.23pm Saturn Rise. Saturn
Hypothesis: My hypothesis is that the 'Planetary Hours' concept
is a timetable, based primarily on simplicity, that
was developed in a age when astronomic technology
was largely unavailable, so resulting in such a
system; that in our modern technological society, as
a result of astronomic calculations being easily
accessable, that a new system of 'Planetary hours'
should be constructed upon 'Hours of Right Ascension/
Planets on the Meridian' where applicable or the highest point
of ascension, when the planet is not true to the horizon.
Conflict: As it can be deduced from the above table, certain
planetary hours occur when the planet in question is not
within the horizon. For example, the sun's planetary hours of
3am and 6pm are outside of 'daytime'; Mar's 2am is outside of
'Marstime'; the moon's 8am is external to 'Moontime'.
As a principle, I would remark that it would be of
assistance in rituals that the planet is in appearance and
that the optimum time would be when the planet is directly
above, the hour of Right Ascension/ Planet on the Meridan,
or highest point of path through the hemispheres. If the
'worshipper' was to have a difficulty with the domineering
effect of the planet being above them / on top of them, then a
principle of welcoming the planet at rise and farewelling the
planet at set are equally as valid.
Continuing, this would establish only one planetary hour in
each day, raising the question of practicality, though a rather
erroneous matter, giving the examples hours of:
Mars (9.04am) 9am planetary hour,
Sun (11.49am) 11am planetary hour,
Mercury (12.13pm) 12pm planetary hour,
Venus (2.26pm) 2pm planetary hour, etc.
To this end, computer programs and/or annual publications
would easily create the availablity of the timetable, a future
project for any publishing house or any number of the pagan/
witchcraft magazine to have as a regular cloumn, thus giving
the practitioner the simplicity, not resorting to ill-advised
system as an alternative.
However, at this point it should be mentioned that, in
accordance with general perception, the physical planet
plays a symbolic role, that the planet is not the vehicle of
magical properties, but a icon, much as the moon is not Aradia
in person, but a mirror of her essence.
Furthermore, it is an accepted belief that the full-moon is
the time of 'Esbat', though in comparison the remaining
planets are given an inaccurate timetable; a perplexing
Toward, the modernising approach in witchcraft it should be
important to establish 'correct' instruction to ritual, upon
the understanding that it would be a great disservice to
entertain anything else but actuality; as the turmoil of the
word 'wicca' has caused in the movement, now accepted by most
as a redefined word, though all the same established upon
false impressions, an unfortunate situation historically
An accurate approach to the craft, that is slowly being
supported as our cultures' resources and developing knowledge
widely spreading with discussions and publications, will
result in a detailed sweep and clean of the old
misconceptions in the traditions and a polish to reflect the
light of modern education.
Conclusion: As with the modern approach of Planetary Hours, it should
be every members directions in tune with open-minded, clear
thinking not to accept a practice that is incorrect and to
strive establishing a strengthed tradition on the foundations
of accurate discovery of the originals of comprehension.
Such an approach would wash out the '14th century mass
illiterate' influence that customs have continued. Though
it must be seen that without this assistance there would
possible be no present existance of witchcraft, but a
rectification of this knowledge is by no means an attack.
Furthermore, it is suggested that a choice should always be
based on truth and not mislead by mistaken presuption.
Next: Initiation (D. Valiente)