Friday, February 20, 2015

The Planetary Hours

Ah, those pesky planetary hours. What are they good for anyway? How are they useful in practical terms? How can I use the Saturn hour of Venus day, for instance?

These are the questions I asked for a long time. And others have as well. I am a member of an occult themed discussion forum and occasionally the question of the planetary hours will come up. Usually the subject is met with  hands thrown in the air in frustration or firm declarations as to their unusefulness. I will try to sort out some of my understanding about the subject.

In a general sense, as you already know, the planetary hours have virtually nothing to do with the chart and actual position of the planets on a given day. They are more of a set of correspondences attributing chunks of the day to the various planets beginning at dawn and progressing in the Chaldean Order. Always 12 of various length in the daylight hours and always 12 of various length in the nighttime hours. In every 24 hour period the planetary attribution of the hour and day match four times, each 8 hours apart. What of the other 20 hours? Are they ignored or do they also have practical use?   

Speaking personally, part of my confusion was that the vast majority of magical workings to be found in the old books generally call on the magician to time their work on "the day and the hour" of such and such a planet. I generally could find no mention of mixing the planetary attributions of the days and hours. This implies that they are of lesser importance but I don't think they should be ignored.  

In Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro's On the Heavenly Spheres there is an appendix in which they go into detail about the planetary hours from a traditionalist point of view. What really clicked for me, and is a big clue in this little essay of mine, is the idea that the day has primacy and the hour flavors it. The power of Venus fills the daylight hours of Friday and is subtly (or not so subtly) toned with the vibrations of the planets of the hours. That is why the Venus hour on a Venus day is sought; it is the most Venusian time of the week.

It is my contention that the other hours of the day or night are no less strong in the planet's energy but that they may be shaded in such a way as to potentially go against the goals of the working. Of course  the other considerations used in elections would be in effect, like the position and aspects of the planets in question.

So to answer my own question above, an election on a Friday in a Saturn hour should still be a Venus election but it will be darkened by the influence of Saturn. Appropriate workings for Venus day Saturn hour would be to acquire love or appreciation from the elderly. Or, on a darker note, to depress or restrict happiness or harmony.

In Jason Miller's Advanced Planetary Magic he suggests the way to take advantage of the planetary hours is to call on both planets involved at the appropriate time. I think this pamphlet is important in expanding modern ideas about the purpose of the planetary hours. There is some acknowledgement of the day having primacy on the planetary influence because the invocations are not identical when the two planets are reversed. (For instance, the invocation and stated purpose for the Moon hour of a Jupiter day is different than that for the Jupiter hour of a Moon day.) But the sample invocations seem to call on the two planets somewhat equally which, in my view, is flawed. I think the influence is much less equal.

In practical terms this potentially opens up times for performing magical works based on astrological magic but it does make things a little more complicated. The best timing remains the day and hour of the individual planet. But the rest of the day is potentially available for use, just be careful that the flavor of the hour works with what you are trying to accomplish.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reversed Tarot Cards

I do not read reversed tarot cards. There was a time when I did, or at least tried, but I gave up on the idea pretty early. Right side up has come to be the natural way I use my tarot cards and I learned to shuffle them in such a way that they are always in the same direction. The thing that tipped me to eschew reversed cards was that the first decks I learned on had asymmetrical designs on the backs. I found that when I used these cards I was constantly second guessing how to lay them down because I could tell how they were oriented before I even drew it. In retrospect I suppose I could have changed decks but it didn't occur to me at the time.

I am a big fan of the model in Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card in which she suggests that each of the cards, Major and Minor Arcana, includes a continuum of potential meaning from asset to liability.  For me this opens up an opportunity for the cards to interact with those around it and to have a great variety of subtlety of meaning. The most difficult aspect of this style of reading, for me, was to quiet my thoughts down enough to hear what the cards were trying to tell me. I had to throw away the book because I found I was trying to fit the printed meaning into a reading in which it didn't necessarily fit.

These days I almost exclusively use Alejandro Jodorowsky's version of the Marseille Tarot. The simplistic design of the Minor Arcana, I find, suits a style of intuitive reading on a continuum. I find it difficult to read any kind of positive meaning or range of meanings into a 9 of swords in which a person is weeping or a 10 of swords in which a person is stabbed in the back as in the Rider-Waite based decks.

Once I truly grokked the idea of the continuum of meaning my tarot readings have become much more accurate and meaningful.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hearing Responses From Spirits

Last week, at work, I had a meeting with a few young people in the afternoon. The meeting went smoothly enough and they all left, one by one, as our meeting concluded. A few minutes after the last one left I left my office to go attend some things and heard a faint knocking from one of the elevators (my office is on the third floor). One of the meeting attendees was stuck in the elevator! None of the buttons worked. We eventually had to call in the Fire Department to rescue her.
I had Surgat's sigil in my pocket.
It didn't occur to me while it was happening but was the stuck elevator the work of Surgat?

Perhaps I should back up a bit. Who is Surgat? Why did I have his sigil in my pocket? Why do I wonder if he had anything to do with the stuck elevator?

Surgat is a spirit under the governance of Duke Syrach, and possibly Astaroth, from the Grimorium Verum. His powers are listed as the ability to open anything that is shut or locked. He is also one of the few that the grimoire describes as dangerous. By my thinking, if he can open any lock then he could keep any lock closed (like an elevator door).

I had his sigil in my pocket for a couple of reasons. First, I am trying to discern the flavor of Surgat to discover whether he is one of the spirits I want to work with more closely. Which leads to my second reason, to discern which of the chiefs I want to start my Verum practice with. Sort of a way to see what the boss is like by the quality of the subordinates.
Plus I have a bit of an attraction to Surgat but I'm not sure if it is because of the warning of danger or in spite of it. As soon as I read the spell in the second part of the True Grimoire, Of Natural & Supernatural Secrets, the spell titled To Open Anything that is Shut or Locked I had ideas for a talisman based on the spell.

So I was carrying a copy of Surgat's sigil that I had drawn on a round piece of paper. I didn't produce the sigil with any ceremony nor did I elect some astrologically propitious timing. I just drew it for the purpose of carrying it about and pulling it out every now and then to contemplate it. 

In the Hadean Press's pamphlet on Elelogap, Jake Stratton-Kent suggests that in working with Elelogap that one may find one's thirst for water increasing or an increase in the urge to clean things. JSK suggested that this was the spirit making its presence known and sending subtle signals to the magician. Was the stuck elevator Surgat trying to get my attention? The wolf coin says that the incident was indeed a work of Surgat but that it was not a message to me.

I'm not sure how to interpret the incident. I wasn't the one stuck in the elevator so the doors were not locked for me. In a round about way I guess I wound up being the agent of getting the young lady out of the elevator in that I called the Security Department of the building and they called the Fire Department. Was I acting as a pale shadow of Surgat, getting ways opened?

At any rate, Surgat has my attention. Now let's see if we can work together.