Study of the Planetary Hours System
by Andrew Kettle.
(1994)

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 stand?

Sample Text:

from "What witches do", Stewart Farrar,1989, Phoenix Pub.,Wash. p.174.

"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, Tuesday'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.

Example:

Winter Solstice Timetable of Planetary Arrival and Departures for Eastern Australia (Brisbane area only) on the 22nd of June, 1994.

Wednesday

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 situation.

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 speaking.

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 strengthend 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 existence 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 presumption.