Astrological magic: A beginner’s guide
Discover the magic associated with the planets and learn how to ask their blessings at special times of the day/week through the planetary hours.
Astrology’s traditional revival, alongside the publication of books like the Picatrix, an 11th Century book of astrological magic, has brought dedicated forms of astro-magic to the attention of the occult public. Previously only a handful of people had access to such texts via private translation. Planetary magic has enjoyed a rebirth, not just as an adjunct to other forms of magical practice, but as a relatively comprehensive and self-contained method in and of itself.
Astrological magic is a form of remediation, which is the practice of reducing any harm that may come from your natal chart or via difficult transit or time lord.
Remediation gives you the power to change or alter your fate, rather than leaving you a passive victim or beneficiary of planetary forces beyond your control. Astrology then becomes a dance, something you can actively participate in rather than simply witness. Each planet has its own purpose and associated themes and topics. Here are some simple planetary magic strategies for each planet.
THE SUN: CONFIDENCE AND VISIBILITY
The Sun can be used to heighten visibility, enhance personal sovereignty, and is good for promotion. It also relates to men, the patrilineal side of your family, and legacy.
You may benefit from solar magic and propitiations if your sun is debilitated (in Libra or Aquarius), is placed in a dark house (sixth, eighth or twelfth), is suffering aspects to malefics or conjunct the lunar nodes, or finally, if you experience any solar deficiencies. These include: fear of being seen, lack of recognition, low levels of self-love, self-esteem and appreciation, depressive instincts, and a reluctance to put yourself out into the world.
"Wearing silver jewellery and pearls, and volunteering or donating to charities that benefit mothers and women are fantastic for Moon remediation, especially on Mondays or during the Moon’s hour."
Solar colours are yellow and gold. Its main numerical magical association is 6. Good offerings to the Sun include sunflowers, golden liquors, lighting a yellow (or white) candle, and honey. Wearing gold jewellery and rubies, and volunteering or donating to charities that benefit children or fathers are great remedial activities for the Sun, especially on Sundays during the Sun’s planetary hour.
THE MOON: EMOTIONAL WELLBEING AND FEARS OF SCARCITY
The Moon can be used for manifestation and disintegration, depending on whether she is Full or Dark, and whether she is waxing or waning. The Moon also relates to women, the matrilineal side of your family, and children.
Lunar magic and propitiations may be in order if your natal moon phase is new or waning, if your moon is conjunct one of the lunar nodes or is heavily aspected by malefics, or if the Moon is placed in Scorpio or Capricorn where the Moon lacks traditional dignity. Lunar remediations may also help if your moon is placed in the sixth, eighth or twelfth house, or if you have any lunar deficits, such as having a strong sense of scarcity, material and emotional insecurity (perceived or manifest), moodiness or erratic behaviour, issues forming (or releasing) bonds, and any mental or emotional disturbances.
Lunar colours are white, grey and silver. The Moon’s primary numeric association, magically speaking, is 9. Desirable offerings for the Moon include glasses of water, sea shells, wine and white candles. Wearing silver jewellery and pearls, and volunteering or donating to charities that benefit mothers and women are fantastic for Moon remediation, especially on Mondays or during the Moon’s hour.
SATURN: RESPONSIBILITY AND RESILIENCE
Saturn can be used to bind and restrict undesirable behaviour in yourself or others. Saturn can bring things such as a long life, but, as the greater malefic, is more often used in curse work.
Saturn work may be called for if Saturn is ill-disposed in your chart, either in a sign that lacks traditional dignity, such as Saturn in Aries, Cancer or Leo, or for Saturn in particular in the first house. As the greater malefic, Saturn is usually the one causing harm to other planets, so a course of Saturn magic and remediation may be beneficial if you have a heavy emphasis on Saturn, especially in you are born during the night. Saturn significations typically improve after the first Saturn return at age 29 and continue to improve over time.
Mundane indications of a Saturn deficiency can include lack of personal accountability, fear of committing to any long- or medium-term plan, an inability to take things seriously, impatience, and lack of grit or the ability to function under hardship.
“As the greater benefic, Jupiter can be used to magnify and enhance all good things.”
Saturn colours are black and grey. Its prime numerical association in planetary magic is 3. Saturn likes basic and austere forms of offerings, including black, unsweetened coffee, dark rum, cigarettes or tobacco, and things that are plain, unseasoned and dark. Suitable on Saturn altars are clocks, antiques, hour glasses and bones. The Vedic system ascribes blue sapphire as the prime Saturn gem, but anything black will do, like obsidian, tourmaline or onyx. Volunteering or donating to causes that benefit the elderly are prime Saturn remediation, as is feeding crows — one of my personal favourites! These are best undertaken on Saturdays, in Saturn’s planetary hour.
JUPITER: WISDOM AND ABUNDANCE
Jupiter can be used to generate wealth and abundance, increase luck, and grant wisdom and protection. As the greater benefic, Jupiter can be used to magnify and enhance all good things.
From an essential dignity perspective, Jupiter performs least well in Gemini and Virgo, and may lack the energy and support to offer much help when placed in the sixth, eighth or twelfth house, especially in night charts. Jupiter also holds a special distaste for being in the third house, according to certain Vedic teachings.
Jupiter’s role is to provide protection, aid and goodness to all it touches. This is an ideal planet to work magically. When well-functioning, Jupiter grants wisdom and can broaden your perspective and worldview. Jupiter deficits can manifest in a lack of appreciation for wisdom and deeper meaning, miserliness, not being able to see the bigger picture, lack of compassion, and overemphasis on asceticism. In excess, Jupiter can present as an overabundance of waste, laziness and entitlement. All can be addressed with the proper atonements and practices.
Jupiter’s colours are yellow, indigo, purple, and to some extent white. Its primary magical association is 4, which is similar to the planet’s glyph. In contrast to Saturn, Jupiter enjoys extravagant and lush offerings, such as golden liquors, champagne, fresh fruits, fragrant oils, and the burning of purifying, sweet smelling resins, with frankincense being a prime choice.
You can use your Jupiter altar as a general altar for success and wealth, and include coins, cash and other items symbolising whatever success means for you.
Jupiter’s precious gem association is yellow sapphire, though citrine and other yellow stones work very well, in addition to amethyst. Its metal is tin, but for remedial jewellery purposes a gold setting is common. Volunteering or donating to churches or supporting individuals engaged in some form of priestly or philosophical pursuit, especially on Thursdays and in Jupiter’s hour, are excellent Jupiter charity.
MARS: COMPETITIVENESS AND BEING ASSERTIVE
Mars can be used to affect the outcome of competitions and quarrels, increase vitality or bring physical harm. Propitiations to Mars can also help reduce negative outcomes during transits or periods when Mars is activated.
Mars’ manifestations can be particularly problematic in the Venus ruled signs of Taurus and Libra, and in Cancer, the sign of Mars’ fall. Mars finds his joy in the sixth house, and it’s thought that cadent houses are good places to stash a malefic, because this limits their ability to cause you harm. Mars particularly dislikes being in the seventh house, which fits his notorious reputation for playing poorly with others.
Similar to Saturn, Mars tends to be more the afflictor than the afflictee, so martial magic and remediation may be appropriate if he features prominently in your chart or is in aspect to many significant points or planets, especially if you are born during the day.
Issues that indicate you might benefit from a Mars tune-up include issues with being overly or underly competitive, fear of standing up for yourself, excess defensiveness, going out of your way for a fight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and passive aggressive tendencies.
Mars’ colour is red and his magical number association is 5. Upon his altar, Mars likes weapons and blades, a crude presentation and little fancy. For offerings, Mars appreciates coloured liquors with a harsh reputation, such as whisky or tequila, or blood red wine. For incense, dragon’s blood and hot, quickening spices. Mars rules red coral and other red gemstones like garnet, and the metal iron, which is the property responsible for blood’s signature caste.
For planetary charity, donate time or money to funds for wounded soldiers or find ways to support wayward young men who have suffered violence, especially on Tuesdays and in the planetary hour of Mars.
VENUS: LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS
Venus can be used to increase attractiveness, draw lovers and improve relationships, as well as facilitate social harmony. As the lesser benefic, Venus is known for bringing small gains, especially in the form of material gifts, pleasant experiences and special favours.
Venus finds it difficult when placed in the Mars ruled signs of Aries and Scorpio, and suffers too much criticism and pressure in Virgo, the sign of her fall, to enjoy herself. Venus also struggles in the dark houses, especially the sixth house, which is too close to Cinderella’s pre-princess experience for comfort.
Signs that you could use some help with Venus include a lack of grace and artistry, an inability to take pleasure in yourself or your embodied experience, and possessing an overly crude or unappreciative manner.
“If you have Mercury retrograde, in a dark house, or in the fourth house, you would likely benefit from the practice of Mercury magic and remediation.”
The colours of Venus are emerald green and pastels, which are a symbol of Venus’ ability to temper and moderate extremes by application of her cool and accommodating nature. Her magical number is 7. Venus altars can include items meant for the enhancement and assessment of beauty, such as jewellery, perfume, handheld mirrors, beautiful hair brushes, and even makeup or beautifying masks.
Pleasing offerings include wine, clear and cool liquors, fresh flowers, sweet incense smoke, and the burning of candles in the appropriate colours and number. Volunteering or donating to charities that benefit young women and indulging in self-care and beautifying rituals, whether mundane or magical, are all excellent forms of Venusian remediation, especially on Fridays and in Venus’ hour.
MERCURY: COMMUNICATION, TRAVEL AND TECHNOLOGY
Mercury can be used for communications, magical tech support, travel, and transactional exchanges of all sorts.
Mercury fares poorly in Sagittarius and Pisces, but especially Pisces, which is the sign of both its fall AND detriment — the only planet where one sign carries both anti-honour of debilities. If you have Mercury retrograde, in a dark house, or in the fourth house, you would likely benefit from the practice of Mercury magic and remediation.
Problems with Mercury can include struggling to communicate or articulate yourself clearly, frequently getting lost or not being able to find things, misplacing items, forgetfulness, chronic car trouble, and even a general sense of unluckiness or inability to find your way in both large and small ways.
Mercury’s colours are bright and orange, or multi-coloured. Its number, magically speaking, is 8, though Mercury also strongly resonates with 2 (twins, Gemini) and even 3 (the Messenger frequently being the third wheel between to two parties). Altars to Mercury can include skeleton keys, stimulants, and other items having to do with communication and getting from one point to another. Good offerings for Mercury include candy, cigarettes, sweetened coffee, various alcohols and coins. Volunteering or donating money to causes that benefit learning, communication, and children’s learning specifically, are excellent planetary charity for the Mercurial sphere, especially on Wednesdays and during Mercury’s hour.
PLANETARY DAYS AND HOURS
This list is by no means exhaustive. Everything you already know about the planets and signs can be used for magic and remediation. It’s all about joining your activities with the right power at the right time. There are certain timing techniques that are essential to the use of planetary magic that you may not be aware of, such as planetary days and planetary hours.
Some of the planetary days reveal themselves easily. Saturday belongs to Saturn; Sunday belongs to the Sun; Monday belongs to the Moon. Others, like Tuesday (the day of Mars), are less obvious. Wednesday is derived from Woden, an alternative spelling of Odin, who was syncretised with the Roman Mercury, and is the Mercury of Messenger’s Day. Similarly, Thursday (Thor’s day) is given to Jupiter, and Friday (Frigg’s day) is ruled by Venus.
As you can tell from their namesakes, these associations with the days of the week are very old. Another concept that is also quite old is the use of planetary hours, which are a division of time from sunrise to sunset given to the planets in Chaldean order. The first planetary hour of the day always has the same ruling planet as the day itself.
In this context, a planetary hour is different from a clock hour and is almost never a perfect 60-minute increment. Instead, a planetary hour is a division of the length of daylight into 12 equal portions. Nighttime is also divided into 12 equal portions. The length of a planetary hour changes through the year, depending on the season and your location so the easiest way to check the planetary hours is by using a calculator. Many of these can be found online or through smart phone apps.
“The first planetary “hour” of the day always has the same ruling planet as the day itself.”
The most basic forms of planetary magic involve pairing your rituals, or even mundane activities, with the hours or days of time they’re most related to. In lieu of performing a ritual or allied activity during a planet’s special day of the week, there are multiple opportunities on a daily level to capture them by hour, or for extra oomph, doubling up on a planet’s day AND hour. The most desirable of these is immediately following sunrise, where the planetary day and hour ruler will be the same for prayers, propitiations and remedial activities.
CREATING A PLANETARY ALTAR
If you want to get especially magical, you might consider creating a planetary altar and making offerings of incense, flame, food and libation during the right days and hours. There are many free ritual guides on the internet to help you get started. There are also professional astrological magicians who offer carefully elected talismans and astrologically charged materials, where the magic has already been done for you and all you have to do is wear and apply it.
Magic, being just as real and complicated as astrology itself, is a fascinating but serious pursuit. Its potential dangers aren’t to be glossed over, but planetary magic is really quite safe as long as you’re a good astrologer and have an understanding of a traditional astrology framework, since nearly all planetary magic relies heavily on the assessment of dignity.
The planets are already having their way with you — transits occur, for better and for worse, and you’re living, breathing manifestations of the chart you were born with, so you may as well throw your two cents into their orbit. To me, that is making the most of what free will you’ve been given. You may be surprised to find that the planets are almost as receptive to you as you are to them.
WORDS by Kaitlin Coppock