Author: Taliesin McKnight
Timing is one of the most important things to consider when doing magick. Astrology can be likened to a great cosmic clock. It reflects the cycles and rhythms of nature. The proper alignment of the stars, the sun, the moon, and the planets should all be taken into consideration. Does this sound complex? I assure you it is not as complicated as it may sound. In fact, this may reduced to two things: the days of the week and the cycles of the moon.
The seven planets rule the seven days of the week. The names even derive from the planets in many different languages. In English these come from the names of the Norse planetary deities. Sunday is the day of the Sun; Monday is the day of the moon; Tuesday is the day of Tue (Mars) ; Wednesday is the day of Wodan (Mercury) ; Thursday is the day of Thor (Jupiter) ; Friday is the day of Freya (Venus) ; and Saturday is the day of Saturn. Therefore, for maximum astrological benefit, a love spell should be done on Friday, the day of Venus (planet ruling love) . In the same way, magick involving education may be done on Wednesday, which is ruled by Mercury. The planetary correspondences are as follows:
The Sun rules Sunday and is good for Success, luck, spirituality, knowledge, and healing. The moon rules on Mondays. This is a good time to do spells for intuition, dreams, astral travel, and communication with spirits. Mars rules on Tuesdays. It is a good time for effective magick involving battle, conflicts, protection, strength, overcoming adversity, and binding.
Mercury is the planet presiding over Wednesdays. This is a time for rituals for education, knowledge, divination, communication, and healing. Thursday is the day of Jupiter, and governs success, prosperity, luck, and leadership. Venus dominated on Fridays and can bring love, romance, heal relationships, and grant new friends. Saturday is governed by the baleful influence of Saturn. This planet grants protection, destruction, binding, curses, purification, and overcoming weakness.
In addition to the seven days of the week, the seven planets also rule the hours in the day. There are several different methods to calculating the planetary hours. One of these involves following the hours from sunrise to sunrise; another divides the hours between sunrise and sunset and divides them into 12 sections and the same is done for the period between sunsets. To avoid all the math and difficulty, a very simple and effective system omits this and simply uses the 24 hours from midnight to midnight. This has worked wonderfully for me and I see no reason to list the other methods. If you would like to examine other methods for calculating planetary hours, that information is readily available online or in other books on magick. For simplicity, just know that the planet for the day also rules the hour at 6 am, 1 pm, and 8 pm.
Now, to illustrate this, let us take an example. If you wanted to do a love spell, it would be a good idea to do this on Friday (the day of Venus) at 8 pm (the hour of Venus) . This acts as a magickal doorway in which the proper astrological conditions are right. In this way the magus moves with the cycles and the rhythms of nature. If one were to bind (or restrict) someone from causing harm to others, Saturday at 6 am would be a good time. The days and hours should be at least partially memorized. The easiest way to do this is to simply memorize which planets rule each day and to simply remember that the planet for that day also rules at 6 am, 1 pm, and 8 pm. In this way, it will not be necessary to look this up every time one wishes to do a spell!
The phases of the moon also have an important impact on the effectiveness of magick. The waxing (growing) phase and the full moon are good from creative magick and bringing things into your life; the waning (decreasing) phase and the new moon are used for destructive spells and getting rid of things in your life. This is the most stressed point in ritual timing in the Wiccan tradition.
The concept of moving with the phases of the moon is very ancient and is found in many different cultures. This can be seen as a more important element in timing than anything else. It is much better to go with the phases of the moon on the wrong day than to do it on the right day of the week and the wrong lunar phase. This aspect of magickal timing should not be over-looked. The full and new moons are peaks of the creative and destructive cycles. The mid-way points (the half moons during increase and decrease) are also times of great magickal power.
The last aspect of ritual timing is the moon sign. The moon passes through the 12 signs of the zodiac, remaining in each sign only for a few days. This is not as important a consideration as the other 2 timing concerns. Nonetheless, this can lend power to rituals and spells. When the moon is in an Earth sign (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) are good for financial concerns; when the sign is in an Air sign (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) are ideal for education and spells consistent with the characteristics of the element of Air. When the sign is in a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) it is a great time for spells that are connected to the Element of water and to emotions, artistry, and relationships; While the moon is in a Fire sign (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) it is a good time to do rituals of a fiery nature.
The individual characteristics of the sign (rather than just the element) should also be considered. This is not a very important aspect to magickal timing, so don’t stress too much over it. As I said before, though, utilizing this can only help and never hinder!
There are other lesser aspects to astrological timing. These would include the weather and the current Sun sign. The reason Sun signs are rarely considered is not so much that it is a weak influence, but rather that it is not practical to wait months just to do a spell, when it will probably no longer even be needed or be too late. This could also be a great aid if followed.
Weather is an issue as well. Storms are usually great for magick because it is a time of great elemental power. Furthermore, if one is doing a ritual involving the Sun, this should be done during the day and when it is sunny. One would assume this would go without saying. On the contrary, however, many people fail to recognize this simple concept. After all, it is only common sense. Thus, weather and the Sun sign can lend a lot of extra power to spells, if you would only harness that power with the use of correct ritual timing.
Now that this has all been laid down and explained, let us take another example to make sure these concepts are well understood. Let us say that someone is looking for a new job and decides to do some magick to help the job search. The moon should be waxing (this is for bringing things into your life) and the spell may be done on a Thursday (the day of Jupiter) at 1 pm (the hour of Jupiter) on a cloudy day because Jupiter is a sky god. The moon should also be in the sign of Capricorn. This would be an extremely good time for such a spell. The conditions are perfect.
Does timing have to be followed? Of course not! In the preceding example, the job is probably needed immediately. It would be foolish to wait for the right conditions during such an emergency. Do spells whenever they are needed. However, WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT, the astrological conditions should be considered. If a spell can wait for the perfect conditions, then great. If they spell can wait a few days for the right day ruled by the proper planet, that is good too. But if the spell can’t wait that long, then do it now. The spell can be repeated when the stars, sun, and moon are aligned right if needed. The spell will still work. The point is lending extra power to your spells. That’s it.
Following the cycles and rhythms of nature is also another way of aligning oneself with the universe. In the ancient Mystery Traditions, from which magick derives, Man was seen as a reflection of the cosmos. One is moving in accordance with the universe. We are moving with the tides of nature. Can magick be done against these cycles and still be effective? Sure. But it is like swimming against a current. Why not “ride with the tide”? It may even carry you a ways if you would only let go and let the currents of the Great Mother take you. Thus, in magick we try to follow the ways of Nature. Magick is merely using Her ways.
Remember, that which separates the initiate from the vulgar is simply that the occultist is aware of the laws of the universe and uses them to his or her advantage while others do not use this power that lies in their hands.