In having learned a bit more about astrology and the significance of the classical planets—even as the outer planets of Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and others also do something—I’ve been trying to synthesize these things into a shape that fits me.
Part of this synthesis has entailed easing into a sense of the cycles of my life and how they intersect or—perhaps more aptly—how they harmonize with the cycles of the broader universe.
To get at this concept, I’m building in part on what Jesse Hathaway Diaz describes in regards to how these cycles can work in terms of “Aztec calendars and astrology”:
Now, coming out of the Western tradition in some manner, I’ve got the lunar days and similar lunar calendrical timing systems, the days of the week associated with the astrological planets, other astrological timing concerns, and the cycles of my life in terms of important days and work calendar. Gordon White has pointed to the Hygromanteia as a source that provides a hinge between earlier traditions leading back into the classical practices described in part in the Greek magical papyri and the later grimoire tradition and its derivations—that is, a Western European timeline of practices including astrological timings and cycles.
Via the Hygromanteia, the text includes methods for working to align yourself to those cycles, from daily planetary prayers to trying to incorporate the lunar calendar into planning not only explicitly magical practices but also, when possible, supposedly mundane activities. For example, lunar day #1 is good for luck, in general, coinciding with the New Moon, while day #6 is good for “beneficial judgments,” and so on. Planetary days have their traditional associations, and planetary hours provide another level one can incorporate.
Of course, you can do whatever you want whenever you want (in theory), but if you can synchronize your planned activities to moments and periods that would otherwise harmonize with those plans, then the idea is that doing so helps you accomplish that action. You can think of it as a chorus always happening around you. You can sing or whisper or say whatever you want, but if you can harmonize with the chorus, then the rest of the chorus is amplifying, augmenting your voice at that point. I have also sought an organic rather than mechanistic or dogmatic approach to this incorporation of timing and rhythms and cycles into my life because it can be easy to render it a clockwork monster, and I recognize how chaos and uncertainty creep into this system because it can never account for the sheer complexity of the cosmos and the influences local and remote, agential and incidental. But it provides a way to start synthesizing my life with the larger universe.
Good & Bad Spirits
So these are some of the things I’ve been trying to do lately. I have also been doing various other “alignments” for my personal relationship to the spirit cosmology around me. (That’s vague—yes, intentionally so.) I have noted how my dreaming has at several times recently pointed me at planetary associations that also align with the strengths in my natal chart, but I also keep seeing how sevens and the idea of the seven planets have been especially suggestive of how I am enmeshed, en-timed, and embodied into circumstances here. I choose these ways of articulating this relationship, for I do not necessarily see myself as imprisoned, though I can certainly recognize my own slant on a gnostic understanding of incarnate reality here.
The WMT, at least, has its own ways of trying to work around this problematic relationship wherein the seven planets are (1) really important for the good stuff in our lives and (2) really important for the bad stuff in our lives. Among these ideas are the principle of “good spirits” and “bad spirits” associated with times, and how you can invoke the “good spirit” (usually an “angel”) to rein in the “bad spirit” (usually a “demon”). For example, again from the Hygromanteia, Sunday begins at sunrise with the first Hour of the Sun, with the Harleianus 5596 manuscript identifying its ruling angel as Mikhael and its ruling demon as Autodyo. Now, the demons also happen to be those spirits closest to this world and thus best able to affect this world, and you try to get the attention of the angel in order to rein in the demon to work with you without guile to help you realize your goal. Nonetheless, in this part of the practice, these are the spirits of the hours, spirits of moments during the day.
That said, I have wondered of late about “good” and “bad” spirits for the seven planets. Traditionally, yes, you have your benefic and malefic planets, but some people are far more blessed by Saturn than others may be. And for all the unfortunate influences the planets can bring into your life, they aren’t evil necessarily. Jupiter figures well in my natal chart, but I’m well aware that Jupiter can easily become “too kingly” and as a planet probably figures far more spectacularly for the elite. Venus, too, can vary from the creative and beautiful to the vain and lecherous.
As I was working on getting a better grasp on astrology, I did some imaginative work in naming the planets and coming up with my own little “planetary poems,” trying to find how they rooted (or could root) into my experience. Along the way, I’ve also developed my core group of “helping spirits,” and among them are seven sisters of mine. Now, as the sevens come up and as I dream about sevens, I wonder if these sisters of mine represent the empowering, emancipatory qualities of the seven planets: those forces that can help lift me up even as, in many ways, the seven planets push me down into incarnate reality here. The associations are not always perfect—or I am still getting a feel for how this relationship actually can work. It is tempting to misread some of these spirits as “surely lunar” or “surely Saturnine,” and so there is experimentation and learning. And I feel it may be a somewhat reductive way to try to understand and navigate our relationships, but it struck me as an interesting possibility.
Featured Image: GreenCircleFractal by Yami89 (CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)