Planetary magic is a complex system which blends astrology, ancient cosmology, and celestial intelligences in an attempt to bring the most effective results. In this article, we’ll discuss the planetary rulers of the seven days of the week, and the best day to perform different types of magic.
Planetary magic can seem cumbersome, especially to Witches more accustomed to elemental (Earth) magic. But you don’t have to spend hours drafting talismans or poring over charts to add some planetary flavor to your spellwork. Using a very simple overview of magical timing, you can make sure your working is aligned with the appropriate planetary ruler.
The idea of planetary rulership (and the 7-day week) dates all the way back to Chaldean (Babylonian) astrology. They assigned a planet to rule each day, and further divided the day into planetary hours. Later, the Greek and Roman civilizations adapted the Babylonian calender for their use. Planetary magic was re-discovered by the medieval magicians, who looked to the Classical world for inspiration. The tradition of using different days for different types of magic was put forth in the 16th-century Key of Solomon, a foundational text of the Western magical tradition.
Planetary magic relies mainly on the seven Classical “planets,” (although minor planets, comets, and other features enter into advanced systems). Of the seven, the sun and moon aren’t really planets, of course. But ancient astrologers didn’t know that, so the nickname stuck.
In English (as well as in French, Spanish and related languages), the names of the days of the week still reflect their planetary rulers. (This is very handy when you’re trying to remember which is which!) Below, you’ll find the ruling planet for each of the seven days, and suggested magic for each day:
Sunday (The Sun)
Bright, life-giving, and magnanimous, the Sun is the largest heavenly body in sight. Therefore, Sunday is the day for your biggest, boldest spells. Active change, wealth, hope, popularity, health, charisma and vitality fall under the sway of Solar magic. The first day of the week is also the day of bright beginnings. Call upon fresh, Solar light to scrub out the corners of a stale situation and bring renewed energy. Do workings to make friends, gain favor, or raise your profile at work or in your personal life. Grow in confidence and leadership. Bring clarity and simplicity to difficult problems. Make affirmations. Begin projects.
Monday (The Moon)
Ruled by the inconstant moon, Monday is a powerful but unreliable day for spellwork. It is the day of introspection, illusion, and fantasy, the day when the astral plane is said to lie closest to the Earth plane. Monday is the perfect day to do scrying, trance work, or dream journeying. Spells of love and fertility may be performed on Monday, especially if the moon phase is a right. Because the Moon rules the tides, Monday is the best day for Water magic of all kinds. Create traveler’s amulets. Anoint and cleanse magickal tools. Commune with Fae and spirits. Reflect and renew the spirit.
On Tuesday, warlike Mars will see that you’re justified in your nitty-gritty magics. This is the day for breaking out the nastier spells when the nice one just didn’t work. Sowing strife, if you’re so inclined, will be most effective on a Tuesday. Also, charms of aggression, ambition, lust, and sexual potency. Activate protective talismans. Reverse hexes and psychic attack. Cultivate personal strength. Prevail in fights or games of skill.
Wednesday is named for Wotan [Odin], closest Norse equivalent to the fleet-footed Roman god. Adaptable Mercury rules learning, luck, travel, and trade, so Wednesday is good for workings on any of these matters. Improve communication. Increase focus and alertness. Prosper in business or games of chance. Make or consecrate money-drawing charms. Wednesday is also a fine day for divination, especially using cards, runes, or lots. Mercury is a nimble trickster, so if you were going to do a spell to distract or mislead (not that you would!), Wednesday is the day for those shenanigans.
Beneficent Jupiter rules the night sky, and he is the go-to planet for petitions of power and luck. Thursday is a great day to craft spells for good fortune, health, and prosperity. (Mercury brings quick cash, but Jupiter governs the long term accumulation and preservation of wealth.) Thursday is considered an auspicious day to sign contracts and acquire property. Do spells related to justice and authority. Visualize future success. Create protective and restorative charms. Bless friends, family, and home.
Friday is ruled by Venus, and that can only mean one thing: Love magic! Friday is the traditional day to do love-drawing magic, or cast a spell to bring your lover closer. Besides sexual attraction, spells of friendship, sympathy, reconciliation and self-love fall under Friday’s love-magic heading. Because Venus is closely connected to the natural world, it’s also a good day to harvest plants and herbs for magical uses. Also on Friday: Do mirror magic. Make baths, potions, and philtres. Weave glamours and enchantments. Craft workings for pleasure, enjoyment, and intoxication.
The final day of the week is ruled by Saturn, lord of endings. Saturn has a reputation as an inauspicious day for magic–but of course, it depends on the type of magic. There is no better day for spells of binding and banishing. Saturday is also a good day for Underworld magic, communing with ancestors and contacting spirits. (The Key of Solomon specifies that Saturday is the day of spirits who died a natural death–those who died heroically should be honored on Tuesday.) The energy of Saturn helps to cultivate patience and wisdom. Recover from grief. Overcome addictions. Cast protective wards. Sever unhealthy bonds. Visit elders or reflect on the past.
A bit about planetary hours
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, each day may be further divided into planetary hours. Each hour of the day may be ruled by the same or a different planet from the one that rules the day. (For example, Sunday begins on the hour of the Sun, but the second hour of the day is attributed to Venus.)
You can use planetary hours in different ways. Sometimes, you might want the day and hour to match. (Doing a working during the hour of Jupiter on a Thursday, for instance, in order to get the strongest influence of Jupiter.) Or you can mix ‘n match them for more a more specialized influence. (The hour of Mercury on the day of Venus, say, when you need a little extra luck in your online dating life.)
You can consult a magical almanac for the planetary hours. In addition to knowing the sequence of the hours, you’ll also need to know how they apply to the time of day where you are. This can be a rather complex calculation, involving time zones, exact time of sunrise and sunset, and so on. Not to mention, you’ll need to be available at the right planetary hour–free from work and distractions.
For some practitioners, it’s simply too much–and that’s okay. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that ignoring planetary hours will ruin your magic. It’s better to do a working at the “wrong” time than to put it off indefinitely.
Sun – Identity (ego), pride, dignity, self-expression, individuality.
Moon – Emotions, feelings, sensitivities, moods, internal or psychic perceptions.
Mercury – Communicative, intellectually active, verbal, curious, commercial activities.
Venus – Desire, love, friendship, creativity, sentiment, sensuality.
Mars – Aggressive pursuits, courage, disciplined action, self-motivation, impulsive.
Jupiter – Compassion, idealism, sympathy, grandeur, pomp, ostentatious.
Saturn – Judgment, rules, restrictions, fate, responsibilities, determination.
In addition, the following planets can be used for certain types of magick.
- Healing – Sun, Mercury, Jupiter
- Wealth – Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, Venus
- Love/Romance – Venus
- Success in conflict – Mars
- Divination – Moon, Mercury
- Charity, Aid from Rulers, Compassion – Jupiter
- Resolving Legal Disputes – Saturn
- Obtaining Justice – Saturn, Jupiter
- Protection from Evil – Sun
- Friendship, Artistic pursuits – Venus, Sun
- Cursing, retribution, harm, causing ill health and disharmony – Saturn, Mars
Metals, colors, incense, gemstones and days of the week associated with the planetary archetypes can vary considerably depending on the authority cited.
- Sun – Yellow – Gold – Frankincense – Yellow Topaz (Yellow Diamond) – Sunday
- Moon – Indigo – Silver – Myrrh – Moon Stone (Pearl) – Monday
- Mars – Scarlet – Iron – Costus (Tobacco) – Ruby (Garnet) – Tuesday
- Mercury – Orange – Cinnabar (Mercury) – Cassia – Amber (Turquoise) – Wednesday
- Jupiter – Blue (Purple) – Bay leaf (Cedar) – Amethyst (Sapphire) – Thursday
- Venus – Green – Copper – Spikenard (Rose) – Lapis Lazuli (Emerald) – Friday
- Saturn – Black (Violet) – Lead – Storax – Obsidian (Black Onyx) – Saturday
To invoke one of the planetary archetypes, the operator should acquire an appropriate talisman (made from the appropriate materials), candles, robes, incense and a colored sigil or seal drawn on parchment. An invocation of the associated pagan deity, angelic ruler or Olympian spirit should also be constructed, to be used to assist the actual invocation of the planetary archetype. Invocations to lesser planetary godheads can be found in the Greek Magical Papyrus in Translation or in classical writings, such as the Homeric or Orphic Hymns. The operation should be performed during the proper planetary day and planetary hour (as determined by the hour and minute of the rising sun). In addition, the operator should have a large painted trigon with the image of a septagram depicted on it.
I have chosen to use the septagram instead of the hexagram for drawing the lines associated with invoking the specific planetary archetype, but that is a distinction of my own personal magickal system. Still, since it is quite difficult to draw an invoking septagram for a specific planet in the air, I have chosen to use a painted trigon instead. The trigon is a rectangular shaped piece of plywood, usually 18 inches by 14 ½ inches, and is 1/4 inch thick. I typically paint the trigon with flat black paint, then I paint the design associated with the trigon over that background. The final painted design is then covered with a glossy transparent medium to protect it.
Planetary magick uses a very simple ritual structure that consists of a Rose Ankh Vortex with a central internal circle, where the trigon is placed. The Rose Ankh vortex is used as a kind of magnetic containment field that will powerfully attract any spirit or entity summoned. It is generated when the operator draws a Rose Ankh to each of the four Angles and the Infra-point (nadir), and then draws the four Angles together through the center of the circle. The operator completes the structure with a counter clockwise circumambulation around the circle, beginning in the center of the circle and proceeding outwardly, walking a spiral that transcribes the circle three times.
The operator then draws an inner circle in the center of the magick circle, makes the sign of the parting of the veil, and places the septagram trigon in the center. The talisman and sigil are placed in the center of the trigon, and the appropriate planetary incense is burned. Then the operator draws the invoking septagram for the specific planet with a wand, tracing the lines over the septagram trigon and completes the operation with an invoking spiral. At this point, the operator will intone the invocation of the planetary intelligence and summon it to manifest into the center of the circle.
Once the planetary intelligence has appeared and made itself known to the operator in some manner, she will then take the talisman, hold it in the air and draw the power of the planetary intelligence into it. The talisman is then consecrated with a special perfumed oil and wrapped in a colored cloth for a period of three days. If the talisman is to be given (or sold) to another person, then the sigil, which was used to summon the spirit, should be burned immediately following the three day waiting period, so as to ensure that the talisman will no longer be associated with the operator. (This can be done even if the talisman is to be used by the operator.) Often the planetary intelligence will communicate to the operator in the form of visions, or even after the working is completed, through dreams and impressions. In fact, the magician can use the invocation of a planetary archetype for the purpose of divination or crystal skrying. Anything that occurs to the mind or senses of the operator during or after the rite should be noted down in a magickal journal.
Planetary archetypes may be construed as being somewhat limited or too general in their practical use and employment. Often, the operator has to include some kind of specific sigil to focus the impact of the magick. However, there are a number of other magickal qualities that can use the planetary attributes. Thus, the magician deploy the planetary archetypes in combination with the four elements, or with the astrological quality of the zodiacal triplicities, or by combining them with other planets to produce a kind of binary planetary archetype. In the system that the Order of the Gnostic Star uses to perform theurgy, all seven of the planetary archetypes are invoked and qualified with a zodiacal sign, to produce a type of simplistic zodiacal natal chart that determines the personality of the spirit. This activated and empowered septagram, erected for a given spirit, acts as its dynamic intelligence, which is then joined with a four-fold elemental energy envelope that generates the body and mind of a spirit, as opposed to summoning it.
The following forces, intelligences and entities can be invoked using one of the above constructs. These different attributes are much more useful, since they are more varied (i.e., they have more elements) than if one were to just use the seven planetary archetypes.
Planetary Ruling Angel or Archangel of the Sephirah – the planetary ruling angel or the qabbalistic archangel represents a more ambitious theurgic methodology. Thus the planetary working becomes an angelic invocation rite instead.
Talismanic Elementals – Planetary archetype plus element: 28 elements – can be used analogously with the 28 Lunar Mansions.
Astrological Archangels/Spirits – Element plus astrological triplicity: 12 elements – useful for astrological magick. I use three of the lesser invoking hexagrams to represent the astrological triplicities.
Astrological Decans/Angelic Ruler – Element plus astrological triplicity plus ruling planet: 36 elements. This structure is the foundation for invoking the 72 angels of the ha-Shem and the goetic demons.
Bonarum (Good Spirits) – Binary Planetary Intelligences – Planetary archetype combined with another planetary archetype: 49 elements. These spirits are unique to the Enochian system of magick, but could be replicated elsewhere.
As you can see, there is quite a lot of variation based on the planetary archetypes in western occultism and the practice of magick. Talismanic magick is very useful in magickal workings, but the same methodology can be used to develop a generative system of theurgy and evocation.
Does planetary timing matter?
Opinions differ on what difference planetary timing makes in the outcomes of spellwork. The best way to determine this is to try it for yourself. Most Witches already use some kind of magical timing. If you do attraction magic during the waxing moon, or commune with spirits at Samhain, you’re probably aware of the powerful difference that timing can make.
Personally, I think that timing is an influential–but not determining factor–in the outcome of a spell. Just like any other correspondence, the right planetary day will add to your chances of success. Timing can work for you or against you. But it ultimately depends on your will, the will of others, and the will of the gods.
You may have read somewhere, for instance, that a love spell requires a pink candle. But what if you only have a green candle? Does that mean the working will fail?
No, of course not. But you’ll be missing out on the cultural and psychological associations of the color pink as it pertains to romance. You may also have a lingering doubt about using the “wrong” color candle, and that thought can hurt your magic. Disregarding magical timing can have the same ill effect.
One of the best things that can be said about planetary timing is that it encourages discipline. It makes you plan ahead. If you feel that you have to wait until Wednesday to make that lucky talisman, you’re likely to put more preparation (and therefore more energy) into the working. You’re likely to give yourself the time to assemble the right ingredients, and meditate on the best possible outcome. For me, having a standing Monday night appointment with my crystal ball makes me a lot more likely to practice with it, since Monday only happens once a week.
I also like that planetary timing aligns the magic worker with all the other temporal beings practicing magic at that time. When making a love spell on Friday, you’re joined by countless brothers and sisters of the Craft. It doesn’t really matter what the planets are doing–your working can be augmented and amplified by all the compatible human energy.