Planetary hours

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The planetary hours are an ancient system in which one of the seven traditional naked eye planets is given rulership over each day and various parts of the day. Sunday is always the day of the Sun, Monday is the Day of the Moon, Tuesday is the day of Mars, Wednesday is ruled by Mercury, Thursday is Jupiter's day, Friday is the day of Venus, and Saturday is the day of Saturn.

Each planetary day begins at sunrise, and ends at the next day's sunrise. For example, Sunrise on Saturday is the beginning of the day of Saturn. Before sunrise on Saturday, you are still under the day of Venus.

The day is divided into two parts; the day (time between sunrise and sunset) and the night (time between sunset and tomorrow's sunrise). Each part of the day is then divided into 12 equal parts, for a total of 24 (unequal) hours.[1] The further the location is from the equator; and the closer the date is to the solstices (as opposed to the equinoxes); the greater the difference in length between the length of the planetary hours and the clock hours.

The first planetary hour of the day is always the same as the planetary day; so sunrise on Monday is the beginning of both the day of the Moon and the hour of the Moon. The hours repeat infinitely in this order (known as the Chaldean order):

  • Saturn
  • Jupiter
  • Mars
  • Sun
  • Venus
  • Mercury
  • Moon

So the second planetary hour of the day of the Moon is the hour of Saturn, the third would be the hour of Jupiter, and so on.

History[edit]

The astrological order of the days was explained by Vettius Valens and Dio Cassius (and Chaucer gave the same explanation in his Treatise on the Astrolabe). According to these authors, it was a principle of astrology that the heavenly bodies presided, in succession, over the hours of the day. The Ptolemaic system asserts that the order of the heavenly bodies, from the farthest to the closest to the Earth, is: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon.[2] (This order was first established by the Greek Stoics.)

In astrological theory, not only the days of the week, but the hours of the day are dominated by the seven luminaries. If the first hour of a day is dominated by Saturn (Saturn), then the second hour is dominated by Jupiter (Jupiter), the third by Mars (Mars), and so on with the Sun (Sun), Venus (Venus), Mercury (Mercury), and the moon (Moon), so that the sequence of planets repeats every seven hours. Therefore, the twenty-fifth hour, which is the first hour of the following day, is dominated by the Sun; the forty-ninth hour, which is the first hour of the next day, by the Moon. Thus, if a day is labelled by the planet which dominates its first hour, then Saturn's day is followed by the Sun's day, which is followed by the Moon's day, and so forth, as shown below.

According to Vettius Valens, the first hour of the day began at sunset, which follows Greek and Babylonian convention. He also states that the light and dark halves of the day were presided over by the heavenly bodies of the first hour of each half. This is confirmed by a Pompeian graffito which calls 6 February 60 a Sunday, even though by modern reckoning it is a Wednesday. Thus this graffito used the daylight naming convention of Valens whereas the nighttime naming convention of Valens agrees with the modern astrological reckoning, which names the day after the ruler of the first daylight hour.

These two overlapping weeks continued to be used by Alexandrian Christians during the 4th century, but the days in both were simply numbered 1–7. Although names of gods were not used, the week beginning on Wednesday was named in Greek ton theon ([day] of the gods), as used by the late fourth-century editor of the Easter letters of Bishop Athanasius, and in a table of Easter dates for 311–369 that survives in an Ethiopic copy. These overlapping weeks are still used in the Ethiopic computus. Each of the days of the week beginning on Sunday is called a "Day of John" whereas each of the days of the week beginning on Wednesday is called a "tentyon", a simple transcription of the Greek ton theon.

Hour: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Stellar Object → Day
Day 1 Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Saturn → Saturday
Day 2 Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Sun → Sunday
Day 3 Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Moon → Monday
Day 4 Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mars → Tuesday
Day 5 Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Mercury → Wednesday
Day 6 Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Jupiter → Thursday
Day 7 Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Saturn Jupiter Mars Sun Venus Mercury Moon Venus → Friday

Astrological significance[edit]

The planetary hours have traditionally been used in electing favorable times to initiate activities, and also to time prayers, spells, and magical rituals. The following table shows the sorts of activities traditionally favored by each planet:

Sun Hours: General success and recognition; spiritual illumination; decisiveness, vitality; activities requiring courage or a mood of self-certainty – making big decisions, scheduling meetings for reaching decisions, giving speeches, launching new projects; seeking favors from father, husband, boss, authorities.

Venus Hours: Love; friendship; artistic and social success; enjoyable, sociable and aesthetic activities such as parties, social gatherings, recitals / exhibitions, weddings, visits, dating and seeking romance; planting ornamentals; buying gifts, clothing, luxuries; beauty treatments; seeking favors from women.

Mercury Hours: Success in studies / communications; children; making a good impression; routine activities and activities needing clear communications; teaching / learning; important business letters / phone calls; meetings to develop or communicate ideas; buying / selling; routine shopping, errands, travel; job applications / interviews; seeking favors from neighbors, co-workers.

Moon Hours: Health; home (buying home, moving); journeys / vacationing (time of leaving home or takeoff); activities remote in time or space – meditation, making reservations, finding lost objects or people; planting food crops; hiring employees; seeking favors from mother, wife, employees.

Saturn Hours: Discipline and patience; giving up bad habits; overcoming obstacles; success with difficult tasks or difficult people; projects of long duration – breaking ground, laying foundations; planting perennials; treating chronic illness; making repairs; seeking favors from older people (not relatives) or difficult people.

Jupiter Hours: Wisdom, optimism; money (borrowing / lending/ investing / earning / winning); activities necessitating enthusiasm; buying lottery tickets; seeking advice / consultation; settling disputes; seeking favors from grandparents, aunts and uncles, advisers (doctors, lawyers, accountants, astrologers).

Mars Hours: Courage, adventure; enforcing your will; success with drastic action (lawsuits, conflicts, going to war, surgery); sports, exercises; risk-taking; making complaints; firing employees; seeking favors of husband or boyfriend.

For example, A man should ask a woman out on a date during a Venus hour; a woman should ask a man out on a date during a Mars hour; one should ask one's boss for a favor during a sun hour; money should be invested during a Jupiter hour; medical treatments should commence under a moon hour (except surgery should commence under a Mars hour); and so on.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Barrett, Francis (1989) [First printed in 1801]. "Book II. Part IV. The Magic and Philosophy of Trithemius of Spanheim". The Magus (First Carol Publishing Group ed.). New York: Carol Publishing Group. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0-8065-0462-5. 
  2. ^ Falk, Michael (19 March 1999). "Astronomical names for the days of the week". Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 93 (1999–06): 122–133. Bibcode:1999JRASC..93..122F. doi:10.1016/j.newast.2003.07.002. 

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