Competent 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 so much to learn ??
and he or she should learn it all ?? but how much of it will be
worthwhile? The astrologer solves this problem by setting aside
many concepts as interesting but not to be used just now. Occasionally,
it is beneficial to reexamine some of these set?aside concepts when
time permits or when technology makes these concepts easily usable.
One concept worth reexamining is that of planetary hours. We all
came across them as we learned astrology. Most of us abandoned them
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 significantly reduced the burden of calculating and
working with planetary hours. Now there is no excuse to ignore planetary
hours. There is specific software created solely to make using planetary
hours a simple matter.
What is offered by the use of planetary hours? A way to time your
social activities; a way to plan your business day for greater success;
a way to make your travel safe and pleasurable; a way to avoid troublesome
encounters; a way to make your life more productive and happy: all
these are offered by the use of planetary hours. I am not asking
you to try some brand?new scheme. This is an ancient concept that
is worth your attention in this age of advanced technology.
Somewhere in the ancient past, the calendar?maker 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 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 of equal times.
From their studies, the Ancients elected to divide the day into
24 "hours," and they assigned 12 of them to the period
between sunrise and sunset, and 12 of them 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. Of course,
since these Ancients were astrologers, they named the "hours"
(and the days of the week) after the Gods and the planets. In addition,
over time, the Ancients attributed astrological characteristics
to these "hours," and developed the concept of planetary
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, then Mercury,
and, fastest of all, was the Moon. Notice the situation: seven planets
and 24 "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 24?hour day, with three more planetary
hours remaining before the next sunrise. And this is the sequence:
If we start with Saturday at sunrise, the first planetary hour
sequence begins with Saturn, the slowest planet. Then, in increasing
order of speed of the planets as perceived from the Earth, Saturn
is followed by Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. This sequence
on Saturdays is repeated twice more, and then, because there are
three "hours" left to complete 24 hours, the sequence
finishes with Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. The next planet in order
after Mars, to start the next day, 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 that "rules" each day is assigned to the
first Planetary Hour of that day. This concurrence leads me to believe
that the planetary hours were in use before the days of the week
There is more to the concept, calculation, and use of planetary
hours than can be covered in this first article. Look for more discussion
in future articles.