Arlene Kramer - Uranian Astrologer
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PLANETARY HOURS

Introduction

Typically, Astrologers know far more Astrology than can ever be used in the service of their clients. For the beginning Astrologer, the problem is even more difficult. There is much to learn... and they feel they should learn it all... but how much of it will be worthwhile? Many Astrologers solve this problem by setting aside so many concepts as interesting but not used just now. Occasionally, it is beneficial to examine some of these set-aside concepts when time permits or when new software makes these concepts easily usable.

One concept worth re-examining
is that Planetary Hours. We all came across Planetary Hours as we learned Astrology. Most of us abandoned their use because the calculations were too bothersome. The advent of hand-held calculators, cheerful weather reporters on television who include sunrise/sunset times in their reports, newspapers, and personal computers have reduced significantly the burden of calculating and working with Planetary Hours.

Somewhere in the ancient past, the calendar-makers/astrologers settled on a seven-day week with the days named after the Gods and the planets. The English language, with its rich heritage of Germanic, Latin, and Nordic roots, shows correlations between the names of the days and the names of the planets/Gods. This is even more evident to students of the Romance languages.

The Ancients studied sunrise and sunset because these, like local noon, were visible to the naked eye. The Ancients were aware that the ratio of the day to night varied throughout the year. Twice a year-- around the times of the Spring and Fall Equinoxes -- it was clear that night (dark) and day (light) were equal times.

As a result of their observations, the Ancients elected to divide the day into twenty-four hours--they assigned twelve hours to the period between sunrise and sunset and twelve hours to the period between sunset and sunrise. These hours varied in length from day to day and from week to week depending on the season. Since these Ancients were Astrologers, they named the hours (and the days of the week) after the Gods and the planets. In addition, the Ancients attributed astrological characteristics to these hours and developed the concept of Planetary Hours.
Methodology

Early Astrologers noted the speed of the planets as they appeared to move around the Earth. The slowest was Saturn, then Jupiter, then Mars. Next in speed came the Sun which appeared to go around the Earth. After the Sun, in order of speed, came Venus, the Mercury and, fastest of all, was the Moon. Notice the situation: seven planets and twenty-four hours to fill. There are no simple multiples of seven for a uniform arrangement. The sequence of seven planets can be repeated three times in a twenty-four-hour day with three more Planetary Hours remaining before the next sunrise.

If we start with Saturday, the first Planetary Hour sequence, at sunrise, we start with Saturn, followed by Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon (i.e., the order of the planets always follows the perceived rated of motion from the point-of-view of Earth). This sequence on Saturdays is repeated twice more and, then, finishes with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. The next planet in order after Mars would be the Sun. in truth, sunrise on Sunday begins with the Sun hour.

This pattern continues with sunrise on Monday beginning with the Moon hour, Tuesday beginning with the Mars hour, Wednesday with the Mercury hour, Thursday with the Jupiter hour, Friday with the Venus hour, and Saturday, again, beginning with the Saturn hour. Notice that the planet rules each day is assigned to the first Planetary Hour of the day. This concurrence leads me to the opinion that, more likely than

... [a] lady in San Diego.. told me that if she orders a pizza during a Jupiter hour, it... [has] far more pepperoni than she expected; if she orders during a Saturn hour, it... [has] far less pepperoni; if she orders during a Mars hour, the pizza is over-baked and dry. Her preferences... are the Venus and Moon hours...
not, the Planetary Hours were in use before the days of the week were named.

What is sunrise? What is sunset? Probably to the Ancients, sunrise was the first light of the day and sunset was the last light of evening. We modern Astrologers, with accurate ephemerides, table of houses and computers, are accustomed to dealing with the center of the Sun's disk on the Ascendant and Descendant to mark sunrise and sunset. Who knows what the cheerful weatherman on television uses to demark what he calls sunrise and sunset, and for what longitude and latitude is he reporting?

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 Copyright 2007, Arlene Kramer. All Rights Reserved.