astrologer author tarot deck designer

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.

Get a local newspaper, or look on a website, 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 a weather website, type in your zip code, and get it there. 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 second Sunday in March, and it ends at 2:00AM on the first Sunday in November. So the U.S. is on daylight saving time weeks longer than it is on standard time.

A method for figuring planetary hours is to save newspapers for a year or get a calendar that shows sunrise/sunset times for each day (they vary little from year to year-even in leap years) and figure out the planetary hours by hand. Save the calendar, because the sunrise/sunset times are constant from year to year, within a couple of minutes. For Feb 29th, you can repeat Feb 28thand be pretty close. 

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 will be in clock time automatically.

Using an example: The day is Sunday, May 5th, and the paper lists sunrise at 5:48AM and sunset at 7:44PM. So take 12 (the number of minutes of sun in the first hour (60 – 48 = 12), plus 780 (13 x 60 = 780) (12 full hours of sunlight, 6AM, 7AM, 8AM, 9AM, 10AM ,11AM, 12PM, 1PM, 2PM, 3PM, 4PM, 5PM and 6PM), plus 44 (the number of minutes of sunlight in the last hour). 12 + 780 + 44 = 836. So there are 836 minutes of daylight. To get night subtract the daylight minutes from 1440 (60 x 24 = 1440) 1440 – 836 = 604 minutes of night. 836 / 12 = 69.667. You can round up to 70 minutes for the day and delete a minute here and there. 604 / 12 = 50.33. You can round down to 50 minutes for the night, and add a minute here and there. 

So you get for daytime: 

Hour 1 – 5:48AM to 6:58AM 

Hour 2 – 6:58AM to 8:08AM 

Hour 3 –  8:08AM to 9:18AM 

Hour 4 –  9:18AM to 10:28AM 

Hour 5 –  10:28AM to 11:37AM (subtracting a minute) 

Hour 6 – 11:37AM to 12:47PM 

Hour 7 – 12:47PM to 1:56PM (subtracting a minute) 

Hour 8 – 1:56PM to 3:06PM 

Hour 9 –  3:06PM to 4:15PM (subtracting a minute) 

Hour 10 – 4:15PM to 5:25PM 

Hour 11 –  5:25PM to 6:34 PM (subtracting a minute)  

Hour 12 –  6:34PM to 7:44PM 

And for nighttime: 

Hour 13 – 7:44PM to 8:34PM  

Hour 14 – 8:34PM to 9:24PM 

Hour 15 – 9:24PM to 10:15PM (adding a minute) 

Hour 16 – 10:15PM to 11:05PM 

Hour 17 – 11:05PM to 11:55PM 

Hour 18 – 11:55PM to 12:46AM (adding a minute) 

Hour 19 – 12:46AM to 1:36AM 

Hour 20 – 1:36AM to 2:26AM   

Hour 21 – 2:26AM to 3:16AM 

Hour 22 – 3:16AM to 4:07 (adding a minute)   

Hour 23 – 4:07AM to 4:57AM 

Hour 24 – 4:57AM to 5:47AM

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 (or vice versa). The actual number of minutes of day and night are the same on the daylight saving change days, but the clock times will be off. You add the extra hour on the clock at 2AM, going from 1:59AM to 3:00AM (skipping an hour) when going on to daylight saving, and subtract an hour on the clock going from 2:59AM to 2:00AM (in effect repeating an hour) at 2AM when going off daylight saving. Yes, it is confusing, and it’s a real horror at a TV station on those days resetting all the clocks. 

Also, though the sunrise and sunset times for any date in successive years will be the same, the day of the week that date falls on will change yearly. In 2019 May 5 is a Sunday, in 2020 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, 2019 May 5 starting with Sun, 2020 May 5 starting with Mars.

© 1995, 2003, 2019 Estelle Daniels, all rights reserved.