Estelle Daniels, Astrologer - Author

Planetary Hours

by Estelle Daniels

Part 1: How planetary hours work

Planetary Hours are a very old system of planetary hour and day correspondences. They are how the days of the week were named. They also have nothing to do with where the planets are in the sky, what aspects they may make, or anything to do with your personal birthchart.

Planetary hours are, however a good way of getting time correspondences when you are in a hurry, or need to do a working today, and want certain influences, but the planets in the sky aren't cooperating.

Each day of the week is given a planetary correspondence--Sunday-Sun; Monday-Moon; Tuesday-Mars; Wednesday-Mercury; Thursday-Jupiter; Friday-Venus; Saturday-Saturn. The Chaldean order (named after the Chaldeans - the first astrologers) is one ordering of the seven planets. It goes in ascending order of average daily speed: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. This Chaldean order is very important, and you should probably memorize it if you plan to work with planetary hours..

The 'day' of planetary hours is different from our standard civil day, which begins at midnight. Using planetary hours, each 'day' begins at dawn and lasts until the following dawn. Think of the TV Guide listings, which start each 'day' at 6:00AM, and you have a similar idea. There can be confusion here, because 2:00AM Tuesday is really still Monday when using planetary hours. You have to pay close attention, because this is the most common mistake made using this system.

Here is how the planetary hours are figured. The first 'hour' after dawn is the same planetary correspondence as the planet of the day, so the first Friday hour, starting at dawn is a Venus hour. The hours then follow the Chaldean order all around the clock, looping back from Moon to Saturn. So the order for Friday goes, 1) Venus, 2) Mercury, 3) Moon, 4) Saturn, 5) Jupiter, 6) Mars 7) Sun, 8) Venus and so on to 22) Venus, 23) Mercury and 24) Moon. Then the next hour, which is the first Saturday hour is attributed to 1) Saturn and then 2) Jupiter, 3) Mars 4) Sun etc. The Chaldean order is constant, from day to day, and the first hour always corresponds to the planet of the day. This is how the planetary correspondences of the days were determined, and the days of the week were named.

Each planet has 3 or 4 hours in each day. You shouldn't have to wait for more than 10 clock hours or so for a certain planetary hour.

The length of the planetary hours differ from day to night, and from day to day, month to month throughout the year. In Summer, in the northern hemisphere, the daylight hours can last 80 minutes or more. Conversely the nighttime hours are 40 minutes or less. In Winter, it is reversed, daylight hours are 40 minutes or less and nighttime hours are 80 minutes or more. At the equinoxes the day and night hours are all roughly 60 minutes each. When working with planetary hours it is best to allow a bit of slop in the times of the hour changes, roughly five minutes each way. So if the hour changes at 11:44 AM, best to either start before 11:39 or after 11:49 to ensure you are in the correct hour.

When using planetary hours, the hour designation is much more important than the planet of the day. The planet of the hour is the primary correspondence, and the planet of the day is a lesser, secondary influence. In High Magic, both the day and hour are important.

Part 2: How to use planetary hours

Planetary hours are a good way of getting time correspondences when you are in a hurry, or need to do a working today, and want certain influences, but the planets in the sky aren't cooperating.

Determine what you want to do, what you want to accomplish. For example, you are doing a love spell. Look in the listing of planetary correspondences, and find love is listed under Venus. Therefore you want to do your love spell during a Venus hour, and possibly on a Friday also. It's that simple. You can also use a standard astrology book withword lists and planetary correspondences to reference what planetary hour to use.

If what you want corresponds to Uranus, Neptune or Pluto, the three planets not assigned planetary hours (because they were not known when the system was developed roughly 5000 years ago), there is a way to use them. Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury; Neptune is the higher octave of Venus; and Pluto is the higher octave of Mars: so for Uranus use Mercury; for Neptune use Venus; and for Pluto use Mars hours.

Saturn--Ruler of Capricorn and Aquarius. Metal-lead, colors-brown, dark green, dark blue and black, rules Saturday. Rules barriers and limitations, time and clocks, the reaper, severity, contraction, business, karma, hermits, Crone, Father, control, mountains, pessimism, melancholy, things which require patience and endurance, long-term gains and goals, masons, decrease, spirituality, the teacher, rocks and stones, duty and responsibility, reputation, rewards which are worked for, work and career, darkness, death, debility, government and government leaders, bosses, silence, endings. Attributes are controlling, limiting, pessimistic, abortive, barren, enduring, frugal, paralyzing, selfish, serious, skeptical, tactful, punctual, ascetic.

Jupiter--Ruler of Sagittarius and Pisces. Metal-tin, colors-purple and indigo, rules Thursday. Rules, law, judges, physicians, religion, philosophy, expansion, philanthropy, gain and increase, ritual, gurus, freedom, fun and laughter, joy, confidence, optimism, generosity, sports, higher education, high magick, higher mysteries, favors, buying, lending, start of new undertakings, mercy, dharma, languages, foreign cultures, long distance travel, large animals, adventurers. Attributes are pompous, jovial, happy, benevolent, buoyant, confident, corpulent, enriching, generous, just, optimistic, reverent, naive, abundant.

Mars--Ruler of Aries and Scorpio. Metals-iron and steel, colors-red, dark red and magenta, rules Tuesday. Rules physical exertion, ego, self assertion, energy, action, sex, males, war, conflict, anger, weapons, soldiers, courage, danger and excitement, pain, burning, poisons, wounds, violence, police, accidents, fire, passion, quarrels. Attributes are amorous, aphrodisiac, burning, combative, cruel, dangerous, exciting, explosive, fearless, forceful, rough, sharp, bloody, violent, wounding.

Sun--Ruler of Leo. Metal-gold, colors-golds, yellows and oranges, rules Sunday. Rules leaders, persons in authority, vitality, life, men, the God, self expression, executives, heart, confidence, the Will, ambition, individuality, hobbies and amusements, acting and the stage, children in general, speculation, the stock market, employment, promotion, rulers in general, the center of things, authority, the body as a whole. Attributes are forceful, life-giving, rhythmic, strong, structural, diurnal, active, open, generous, fiery.

Venus--Ruler of Taurus and Libra. Metal-copper, colors-bright blue and pastels, rules Friday. Rules love and romance, art, music, social matters, marriage, beauty, jewelry and ornament, refinement, sensuality, females, peace, Maiden, compromise, negotiation, indolence, pleasure, creature comforts, money and possessions, values, charms and amulets, perfumes, philters, cosmetics, sweets. Attributes are lazy, indulgent, amorous, artistic, cheerful, dissolute, erotic, fertile, graceful, immoral, musical, relaxing, soothing, soft.

Mercury--Ruler of Gemini and Virgo. Metal-mercury (quicksilver), colors-blue, grey and patterns, rules Wednesday. Rules communication, writing, words, The Magus, education, neighbors, relatives, merchants, businesspeople, messengers, mind, mentality, magick, books, short distance travel, thieves, manual dexterity, consciousness, speech, coordinating, dualities, buying and selling, radio and television, lying, reason, low magick, lower mysteries, books and reading, cars and all vehicles in general, small animals, knowledge. Attributes are wit, worrisome, dual, impulsive, quick, irrational, intelligent, nervous, rational, reasoning, restless, moving.

Moon--Ruler of Cancer. Metal-silver, colors-pearl, green and iridescent hues, rules Monday. Rules the public in general, food and drink, water and liquids, domestic affairs, home, family, country, short journeys, Mother, temporary plans, women, emotion, unconscious, mediumship, the past, Goddess, memory, soul, altar, magical tradition, real estate, fertility in general, weather. Attributes are changeable, dissolving, fertilizing, fruitful, periodic, sensitive, visionary, wandering, imaginative, impressionable, instinctive, nocturnal, passive.

Here are the modern planets for further reference

Uranus--Ruler of Aquarius. Metals-Uranium and rainbow-hued metals. Rules electricity, metaphysics, occultism, revolution, upheaval, divine inspiration, television, genius, mental insanity, the unusual, the future, astrology, freedom, democracy, chaos, explosives, the aura, catastrophes, impulses, animal magnetism, reformers, suicide, telepathy. Attributes are original, erratic, unusual, eccentric, irreverent, abortive, chaotic, independent, non-conformist, anarchistic.

Neptune--Ruler of Pisces. Metals-Neptunium and the Noble Gases. Rules fog, illusion, deception, emotional insanity, visions and voices, magic, psychism, spirits, merging with God/dess, spiritualism, martyrdom, empathy, earthquakes, oils, poisons, perfumes, secrets, addiction, alcohol and drugs, oceans, idealism, saints, con-men, large institutions, dreams and imagination. Attributes are subtle, abstract, psychic, magical and magickal, musical, impressionable, willing to see only the good, imprisoned, confined, unfortunate, hospitalized, handicapped, spiritual, idealistic, charismatic, sensitive.

Pluto--Ruler of Scorpio. Metals-Plutonium and Radioactive elements. Rules volcanism and plate tectonics, resurrection, death and rebirth, obsession, archetypes, research, upheavals and radical transformative changes, rape, metamorphosis, mobs and riots, the Mafia, chaos, Alchemy, ESP, black magic, force and willpower, phoenix, depths and heights, sex, merging with a partner. Attributes are violent, regenerative, reincarnating, chaotic, forceful, excessively violent, reforming, rebuilding, redeeming, initiatory, stripping down to basics, explosive, subtle, deep, unknowable, demanding to know, nuclear, dictatorial, svengali-like, intimidating.

Part 3: how to figure planetary hours
Estelle's handy quick way to figure planetary hours.

You do need to know what your latitude is, how far north (or south) your town or city is from the equator. Good places to check are Your local library. If you cannot find it yourself, the librarian will be able to help you find it. City hall, they probably have records or the local city engineer or city planner would also have it. The internet. Access an astrology website - is a good one -and type in your city. You should get longitude and latitude. You care how far north you are (from 0-90 degrees). Once you have the latitude (and longitude, they come as a pair, for example Minneapolis - where I live - is 93W16, 44N59.), for your place, write these numbers down and save them where you can refer to them again. They make a nice addition to a book of shadows. Round to the nearest whole degree as shown in the Planetary Hours Tables.

Next get a local newspaper, where the sunrise and sunset are shown for each day. If your local newspaper doesn't have that information, it may be on TV in the weathercast. You can also go to the weather channel website, and type in your zip code, and get it there. Look under Daily averages, and they are listed for your local time by date. These times are usually "clock time," taking into account daylight saving time. In the U.S. the national standard starts daylight saving time at 2:00AM on the first Sunday in April, and it ends at 2:00AM on the last Sunday in October. So the U.S. is on daylight saving time longer than it is on standard time.

Using an example: The day is Monday, May 5th, and the paper lists sunrise at 5:48AM and sunset at 7:44PM. You are in Chicago (this will vary as you move from place to place--practically 100 miles or more makes a difference, and you have to re-figure if you are in a different place from where you originally figured it for), which is 41N51-87W39. this rounds down to 41N in the tables. In the tables, May 1-7 for 41N sunrise is at 4:59 and sunset at 18:56 (or 4:59AM and 6:56PM). You subtract 4:59 from 5:48 and also subtract 6:56 from 7:44. The differences are :49 (49 minutes)and :48 (48 minutes). So you either add :49 (or :48) to the times in the table to convert to clock time (during daylight savings time) or subtract :49 (or :48) from clock time to get the times in the tables. Do not be surprised if the conversion varies from the sunrise and sunset times, it could be up to 3 minutes. Just pick which seems closest to you. With this method, you are rounding here and there, so it is best to give a five minute slop either side of the change of the hours. Once you have your conversion number, you can then figure the clock time for any planetary hour during daylight saving time using the tables. If the table says the Jupiter hour starts at 7:19, and you add :49 to that to get a clock time of 8:08AM, you should wait at least until 8:13AM to assure you are really into the Jupiter hour.

This conversion number works for all days and hours during daylight savings time (:49 in Chicago). You have to get a different number for standard time conversions. Just do the same calculactions for a sunrise and sunset on a day which is not daylight saving time. You then have two conversion numbers, which will work forever for your location. It is a bit of a pain to work out, but once you have the conversion numbers written down, you never have to do the figuring again, unless you move 100 miles or more.

Another example is for Dallas, 32N47-96W48. On November 7th, the paper lists sunrise at 6:43AM and sunset at 5:44PM. The tables give sunrise for 31N as 0614 and sunset as 1713, or 6:14AM and 5:13PM. You subtract 6:14 from 6:43 and get :29, and subtract 5:13 from 5:44 and get :31. They average to :30. So you add 30 minutes to the times in the planetary hours tables for Dallas during standard time. On Friday Nov 7th, the second Venus hour starts at 1238 in the tables which translates to 1:08PM clock time, and allowing the 5 minutes rounding you get 1:13PM as being into the Venus hour.

Another method for figuring planetary hours is to save newspapers for a year and get exact sunrise/sunset times for each day of the year (they vary little from year to year-even in leap years) and figure out the planetary hours by hand. Find out how many minutes there are of day and night (they will be differing amounts except at the equinoxes), and divide each amount by 12, to get the number of minutes in each planetary hour, and then start with sunrise, add that number of day hour minutes to get each successive hour until sunset, then start with sunset and add the number of night hour minutes to get each successive hour until the next sunrise. This method has no conversion from the tables, and will be in clock time automatically. You will even have the daylight savings time conversion built right in, but be careful on the actual days of the conversion, because the papers list the clock times, which will be daylight saving time for one day, and standard time for the next. The following sunrise will be an hour 'off' if you do the figuring right. Also, though the sunrise and sunset times for the date in successive years will be the same, the day of the week that date falls on will change yearly. In 1997 May 5 is a Monday, in 1998 May 5 is a Tuesday. So the times of the planetary hours will remain the same, but the planetary designations of each hour will be different, 1997 May 5 starting with Moon, 1998 May 5 starting with Mars.

© 1995, 2003 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.

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Article index

The Age of Aquarius

Alternative Sabbats

Auntie Estelle's Predictions for the Millennium

Basic Electional Astrology

Basic Qabala

BBS, Cyberspace and Privacy

Ceremonial Magick


Choosing Divination

Cord Magick


Dressing Kabbalistically

Eclipses, why are they such a big deal?

Ethical Garage Saling

Finding Magickal Tools

The Future of Witchcraft

House Shields

I Ching
Initiation Instant Circle Know Your Gods Know Yourself Kwan Yin, Mother of Mercy LBRP
Magical Ethics for Teens

Magick in the Workplace

Magickal Timing Tools

Mars Close Encounter

Mercury Retrograde

Modern Magic Carpets

Moon/Mercury Aspects and Psychic Ability

Moon Phase Timing

Moon Spells and Lunar Correspondences

Parents and Wicca

Planetary Hours

Planetary Stations

Psychic Attack

Psychic Manipulation

The REAL Millennium

Tarot Meditations

To Know, To Will, To Dare and to Keep Silent

Void-of-Course Moon

What is Divination?

Why a Circle?

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