Planetary Hours and Days

Planets and the Days of the Week

The concept of Planetary Days and Hours is one of the most ancient in astrology. The names for the days of the week have an obvious planetary connotation. Isn't it obvious that Monday is ruled by the Moon, Saturday — by Saturn and Sunday — by the Sun? In French, the planetary rulership of some days of the week is even more explicit: lundi for Monday, the day of the Luna, mardi for Tuesday, the day of Mars, mercredi for Wednesday, the day of Mercury, jeudi for Thursday, the day of Jupiter, vendredi for Friday, the day of Venus. In fact, the names of the days of the week in English bear the same meaning, just in a less explicit form. Say, Tuesday is so named because it's a "Tiw's day", and Tiw is a god in Norse mythology who is quite similar to the Roman god Mars. You can read more about the planetary associations of the days of the week in different languages in this excellent article.

When centuries ago Gregorian calendar was adopted in many countries of Europe, special care was taken to ensure that the sequence of the days of the week, and the sequence of their planetary rulers, remained unaltered. So it can be said that this sequence comes to us from time immemorial.

Here is a table that presents the rulers of the days of the week and their symbols in a consize format:

Sunday Sun The Sun
Monday Moon The Moon
Tuesday Mars Mars
Wednesday Mercury Mercury
Thursday Jupiter Jupiter
Friday Venus Venus
Saturday Saturn Saturn

This sequence of the planetary rulers of the days of the week follows the beams of the seven-point star, or heptagram, also known as the Star of the Magi:

The Star of the Magi

In fact, the sequence of the planetary rulers of the days of the week is a result of another, even more fundamental sequence — the sequence of the Planetary Hours.

Planetary Hours

At the first glance, the planetary hours are similar to the ordinary hours which all of us are used to. A planetary day consists of 24 planetary hours, and an ordinary day consists of 24 hours. But here similarity ends.

A planetary day begins at the moment of sunrise in the given place, while ordinary day begins at midnight. Since the moment of sunrise is generally different for different places, every place on the Earth has its own planetary day, while ordinary day is the same for all the places in the same time zone.

Ordinary hours always have the same continuity (60 minutes), while the length of planetary hours varies around the year, and a day hour is usually not equal to a night hour (these are equal to each other, as also to ordinary hour, only twice a year — at the Vernal Equinox, around the 21st of March, and at the Autumnal Equinox, around the 22nd of September).

How to Calculate the Planetary Hours

First of all, you don't need to calculate planetary hours by hand. There is a Planetary Hours Calculator that will do the calculation for almost any location and for practically any date. The explanations that follow are written for those who are curious to know the algorithm and who don't mind to do some math.

Planetary hours depend on the date and the location. Let the date be the 28th of June and the location — Glasgow, UK. Figures will be different for other places and dates.

On that date, the sunrise in Glasgow was at 4:37 am and the sunset — at 10:01 pm

The length of the day time (the time from the sunrise to the sunset) is 17 hours 24 minutes, or 1044 minutes. Let's divide this number by 12. The result is 87 minutes, which is the length of a day hour in Glasgow on the 28th of June.

To define the length of a night hour we could take the period of time from the sunset to the next sunrise and divide it by 12. But it will be more efficient to use this simple rule: a day hour and a night hour summed up should always give 120 minutes. Thus the length of a night hour in our case is 33 minutes.

You can see that the length of a day hour exceeds significantly the length of a night hour. You can easily guess that this is typical for a summer. In winter this will be vice versa. Around equinoxes both day and night hours have the length of 60 minutes.

Now that we know the length of a day hour and of a night hour for the given date and location, we can draw the table of the planetary hours shown below. As for the planetary rulers of the hours, they will be explained in a moment.

Day Night
Number Ruler Duration Number Ruler Duration
1 Mercury 4:37am – 6:04am 1 Sun 10:01pm – 10:34pm
2 Moon 6:04am – 7:31am 2 Venus 10:34pm – 11:07pm
3 Saturn 7:31am – 8:58am 3 Mercury 11:07pm – 11:40pm
4 Jupiter 8:58am – 10:25am 4 Moon 11:40pm – 12:13am
5 Mars 10:25am – 11:52am 5 Saturn 12:13am – 12:46am
6 Sun 11:52am – 1:19pm 6 Jupiter 12:46am – 1:19am
7 Venus 1:19pm – 2:46pm 7 Mars 1:19am – 1:52am
8 Mercury 2:46pm – 4:13pm 8 Sun 1:52am – 2:25am
9 Moon 4:13pm – 5:40pm 9 Venus 2:25am – 2:58am
10 Saturn 5:40pm – 7:07pm 10 Mercury 2:58am – 3:31am
11 Jupiter 7:07pm – 8:34pm 11 Moon 3:31am – 4:04am
12 Mars 8:34pm – 10:01pm 12 Saturn 4:04am – 4:37am

It is not difficult to find out which planet rules the hour. The first hour of any day is always ruled by the planet which rules that planetary day. The 28th of June was Wednesday, the day of Mercury, so the first planetary hour of that day was ruled by Mercury.

And after this, the cyclical sequence of planets is always the same: ... — Saturn — Jupiter — Mars — Sun — Venus — Mercury — Saturn — ... This sequence is named the Chaldean Sequence and it is deeply rooted in the ancient philosophy. You might notice that in this sequence the planets are ordered by their relative speed as observed from the Earth, the Moon being the fastest and Saturn — the slowest. The easiest way to remember this sequence is to have the Star of the Magi at hand: this is the sequence in which the planets follow around the star.

How they can be used

In the contemporary astrology planetary days and hours were almost forgotten, and only in Horary Astrology and Elections they are still being used by some practitioners. But in the other Esoteric Arts like Magic and Alchemy, as also in Herbalism, to know the appropriate day and hour can be of crucial importance.

Famous British astrologer and herbologist Nicholas Culpeper advised to collect herbs in the appropriate planetary hour, corresponding to the planetary ruler of the herb. This is because the energy of the ruling planet is stronger in its hour, so the healing properties of the collected herb will be stronger too.

Mark Stavish, the author of the wonderful book "The Path of Alchemy" writes that "planetary hours are a critical part of natural magic and alchemy" and throughout the book instructs the reader to do every operation in its appropriate day and hour, to be able to concentrate the subtle energy of the desired planet.

Likewise in all schools of Magic planetary hours and days are by all means taken into account when making talismans or performing a ritual. For example, a Sun talisman will be necessarily made on the day and hour of the Sun.

You can also use this ancient knowledge when planning something important in your life. The main rule is quite simple: the planet that rules the day and the hour promotes those activities which are in tune with its principle and can impede those activities which are of the opposite nature.

Those who are seeking love, will benefit from Venus Day and Venus Hour, the seekers of wisdom might choose to have the patronage of Jupiter on their side, or if you want to communicate your ideas most efficiently, why not to select the hour of Mercury for your presentation? If you know the symbolic associations of the planets, you will be able to find an appropriate day and hour for your important decisions and actions.

Here I have provided some possible interpretations of planetary days and hours from everyday life's point of view. These interpretations are neither ideal nor universal but I hope they will become a good starting point for you.

Interpretations for everyday life

Sun: Beneficial for those pursuits which are aimed at gaining influence in society, fame, high prestige, as also for gaining confidence and self-reliance. Good time for applying to superiors or any important people, for example to talk about a career advancement. It is also an appropriate time to advertise, to make a presentation, to speak to a big audience.

Venus: A good time for any meetings and acquaintances, but especially for dating or asking someone out. Beneficial hour for amusements, entertainment, having a party, going to a cinema or theater, to buy fashionable clothes or jewelry. Mutual sympathy between people is enhanced, which helps to find a compromise, to restore a broken relationship. Artists, painters, musicians can feel an inspiration in this hour.

Mercury: A beneficial time for any intellectual activity, including study, teaching, research, taking exams, as also everything connected to receiving transferring or using any kind of information. Mercury enhances dexterity and resourcefulness, patronizes traders, but also thieves. It is a good time to start a short trip, to write a letter or report, to program, to chat, to send mail.

Moon: A beneficial time for cooking, having a meal, and also for washing, cleaning and other household chores. A good time for dealing with women, family meetings, nursing babies. Activities which were started in the Moon Hour will be prone to changes, dependent on people's moods and emotions, so it is generally not advised to start anything of importance at this time.

Saturn: It is the time for those occupations and beginnings which require significant time, patience, concentration and perseverance, as also everything related to land and immovable property. It is not advised to start a journey at this time or to borrow money as in both cases delays and disappointments may spoil the matter. A good time to ask an advice of the elders, to cool down passions, to have a sober glance on the state of the matters, to get rid of a bad habit.

Jupiter: A beneficial hour for most affairs, especially those which promote richness, success and prosperity. Jupiter helps to accelerate development, widen the horizon, increase the level of understanding. A good time for social meetings, applying for benefits, sponsorship, dealing with rich, influential people, for a start of a journey, philosophical discussions and religious ceremonies.

Mars: The time for increased activity, for those pursuits which require determination, courage, physical efforts, for sport, for work with fire or sharp instruments. Sexuality is enhanced, but also the probability of a conflict is higher than usual. A good hour to attack enemies or to challenge competitors.

© 2022 Alexander Kolesnikov