Magical Timing

Astrology has a long history of involvement with magical ritual and practice. In this article, I will be discussing a way I use astrology in my personal life as a magical tool and sharing with you some of the “rules” that I follow.

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These are not of course the only rules as there are multiple ways of using astrology in a magical practice even in terms of the ways of using it as a magical timing tool, which is what I will be focusing on talking about here. Many of these guidelines come from a branch of astrology called electional astrology, which concerns itself with choosing propitious or fortuitous moments for events or the beginnings of projects, but others come from my own personal work and my published work. Although I am writing this article with the planning of a magical ritual in mind the advice which I provide here could also be adapted to suit a vast number of other projects such as a performance, celebration or a work project. Anything in which you could gain advantage from your timing can make use of this information.

Astrological influences will not ever guarantee success in a magical working, but nor will they guarantee failure. The guarantee of success in a magical working comes from the participants who set the magic in motion, and not from any of the tools or magical implements which they use to do so. Indeed, while such tools can be very useful and helpful they are never necessary. What astrological factors will do is influence execution of the ceremony or ritual and influence the moods and general effectiveness of the practitioners. So, for example, a powerfully supportive astrological influence can ensure that your ritual goes without a hitch, while one that is lumbered with many problems might actually set fire to your alchemy lab when you stumble and knock the burner over. These situations can put a serious kink in your operation, but they are usually not game enders, just complications. A well trained magician in full command of their faculties just shrugs them off, unless the house actually blows up too. Such happenings are messages anyway, not merely accidents. Likewise, evocation of the Venus sphere will not be guaranteed success just because Venus is in a good place in the sky for you at the time, but it will certainly help with the accumulation of the appropriate atmosphere for a being to make use of. The accommodation you have made for it through your careful planning of the timing will be noted.

This article assumes that you have sufficient training and a general idea of the kind of magical ritual you want to perform– for example, that you want to create a talisman of some kind related to the planet Jupiter, or that you want to help yourself to overcome shyness – but the information contained herein could also be applied to any particular moment that you happen to want to work with, even one chosen on the spur of the moment. You just have to have more skill and experience in evaluating an astrological chart, because you have to be able to identify the strong and weak points in the chart overall rather than look for a specific moment in which one ingredient of a chart will be strong.

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Setting Parameters

There are two kinds of parameters you need to look at in terms of planning your magical ritual. The first one is the temporal one of how much time you have before your ritual or magical ceremony needs to take place. Ideally, this doesn’t matter at all but there are a large number of cases in which it really does – for example, a ritual for someone’s healing or the planning for a ceremony that must take place in the summer both carry these temporal constraints. Another example of a temporal parameter is the window of opportunity for a particular activation that you are seeking to work with in your magical ceremony. For example, if you are working with an activation of the Moon key by Saturn you have a window of activation to work with lasting several months of time, but if the same Moon key is instead being activated by Pluto you have a number of years. These act to frame the units of time you have to work with in order to select a propitious moment for your work.

The second kind of parameter is a qualitative one concerned with what you need to accomplish. Assuming that you have at least a general idea of the magical effect that you want to produce, you need to select an astrological analogue for that effect. Sometimes you may begin by selecting an astrological analogue (one that is currently very strongly represented in the sky) and then look for appropriate temporal parameters from there. For example, having decided that you generally want to explore the magic of Jupiter, you look in your keys for upcoming activations by Jupiter or of the Jupiter key, and you look for other times when Jupiter will be strong in the ephemeris as I will describe in this article – in other words you start with the planetary parameter which then helps you to determine what the temporal parameters are.

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The qualitative parameters used in magic with an astrological focus are chiefly the zodiacal signs and the planets, with the planets being the most important focus. Signs carry different temporal parameters than planets. With signs of the zodiac, wherein you are seeking to work with an overall quality of the zodiac itself, your work will actually be more powerful and effective when you have a planet transiting through that sign at the time you do the ritual, and because of their central importance and regularity the Sun and the Moon are the primary batteries that energise signs for magical work. This means that your temporal parameter for working with a sign will usually either be a month (once a year) or about 2 1/2 days (once a month), these being the length of time it takes for the Sun or the Moon to move through a single sign of the zodiac. However, you can also work with signs even when there are no planets in them. To do this, you must select a moment in the day when that sign is rising, which means your temporal parameter is about two hours long each day, but each and every day could be used. In this case, you just have to choose a day which avoids troubles and challenges, as will be explained in this article.

So the temporal parameters for operations that tap signs are usually either about two hours long (the time it takes one sign to completely rise), 2 1/2 days long (the time it takes the Moon to pass through a sign) or one month long (the time it takes the Sun to pass through a sign). Within these temporal parameters you must find your auspicious moment to work with that sign. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to have a longer temporal parameter for working with the sign, a situation which arises when a very slow moving planet is in a sign of its own rulership or exaltation. For example, if you are seeking to work with the sign Capricorn you may be lucky enough to be living through a time when Saturn is in Capricorn, a time in which Capricorn qualities are strongly emphasised for about 2 1/2 years. This means you have 2.5 years to look at to find your auspicious moment for working with that sign, but, and its a big but, it will be a Saturnine moment. Saturn will have a major presence in your encounter with Capricorn.

This brings me to talking about the temporal parameters of planets being tied to those planets themselves – they arise from how far away they are from the Sun and hence how long they take to orbit the Sun. Since the planet Jupiter, for example, takes about 12 years to go around the Sun, it will spend about one year in each sign. This means that the temporal parameter for a magical ritual focused on Jupiter is always about one year. Again, the auspicious moment to work with Jupiter must be found somewhere within these temporal parameters. This is because after that time it is a different kind of Jupiter and will be suitable for a different kind of magical work (or not at all). Basically, the temporal parameters of the planets are equal to the length of time that they take to go through a single sign.

So the key thing you need to arrive at at this stage is which planet or sign you are seeking to gain assistance and power from in your magical ritual, and what time frame/s you have in which to perform your magical operation given that information. Throughout this discussion I will use the example of seeking to gain assistance from the power of the Moon to illustrate the process involved in selecting an auspicious moment to do so.

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Narrowing the Focus

The basic idea when working with a sign is to choose a moment when that sign is being emphasised by activations, progressions or transits, i.e. when there are planets of some kind in it, preferably planets that enjoy being there. When working specifically with planets the basic idea is to choose a moment in which that planet is either in its rulership or its exaltation (see below for these attributions). In our example of creating a ritual of the Moon, we will therefore try to select a time when the Moon is either in Cancer or Taurus. In addition, for most purposes we will want to choose a time when the Moon is waxing in either of these signs and not waning. We want the waxing Moon for most things because it is the one which generates energy, but if we are seeking to banish something then the waning Moon would be more appropriate. The Moon is so important in fact that even if the subject of the magical ritual is not the Moon, we want to be observing it in any case and following these guidelines. We also do not want to see a time when the Moon is void of course, because these will generally not lead anywhere since the cycle of events is coming to a close and nothing new is scheduled to emerge. For this reason in the example it will be better for me to plan the working to occur just as the Moon enters Cancer or Taurus so that it is at the beginning of the sign and not the end. At the very least, we do not want to see the Moon in great difficulties, void of course and waning in a sign she is uncomfortable being in, these being Scorpio and Capricorn, unless we have a specific intention in mind which involves those qualities.

Turning to the example used, this means that every month I will have two good opportunities to perform my magical work focused on the Moon, once when the Moon enters Cancer and once when the Moon enters Taurus, and that ideally I want to do this during the waxing Moon in these signs which means that I have 50% less opportunity for the months that the Sun is in Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, or Sagittarius (since in the case of the Moon in Cancer it will always be waning in these periods) and 50% less opportunity for the months that the Sun is in Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo and Libra, (because in the case of the Moon in Taurus it will always be waning in these periods). Now I can also see that during the time the Sun is in Leo, Virgo and Libra I have no opportunity to work with the waxing Moon in Cancer or Taurus. Instead, what I see are opportunities to work with the waning Moon in Cancer or Taurus. This is a mechanic that is tied to the Sun and so it is annually repeating.

800px-the_magic_circle_by_john_william_waterhouseMy next task will be to choose a month in the times ahead during which the waxing Moon in Cancer or Taurus is not in any conjunction, square or opposition aspects with troubling planets, especially Mars or Saturn, and the outer worlds Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, and is also preferably making strong harmonious aspects with any objects, especially those which somehow relate to my intention. So, in order to do this I will begin by looking at the current position of Jupiter and followed by Mars and Saturn and the other planets, look for a time when they are either supporting the Moon or not interfering with it. I start with the slow moving planets simply because their situation does not change very often and is therefore easier. In the case of my example, I will be very happy if I see Jupiter in a Water sign (thus conjunct or trine the Moon in Cancer) or Earth sign (thus conjunct or trine the Moon in Taurus), especially Taurus or Pisces. I will also be happy to find Jupiter in Virgo – Jupiter giving a sextile or a trine to my chosen planet is a great asset I will want to include. However, I will be less satisfied seeing Jupiter in Virgo because this is a sign in which it is not supported. If I am not this lucky with Jupiter, I will start looking around for the position of Venus to play a similar role, looking to find her in a strong position herself while at the same time providing a sextile, a trine or a conjunction to the Moon in Taurus or Cancer. Once I have found a good-looking time based on this information I will then check to see whether Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and sometimes Chiron might be throwing some kind of spanner into the works. I won’t necessarily throw those times away if I do find such is the case, but I will make a note and place these opportunities in a lesser category to those which do not have such interference. These more ideal charts or opportunities will then begin to be examined in closer detail.

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Drilling Down

The detail I will look at first is whether or not any of the planets are in uncomfortable signs, these being the signs in which they are in fall or detriment. If all of the planets are in comfortable signs or at least in signs which are not uncomfortable to them, it is a better moment. After this, I will begin looking at all of the aspects that are going on in the background, basically focusing on everything from Jupiter outward. By their nature these influences are very long-term ones which can go on for a number of years, the current case in point being the Uranus square with Pluto. It is difficult to come up with an astrological configuration that is more troubling than this one, and indeed it has been one hell of a time for many people. These influences need to be acknowledged and accounted for, and ideally de-emphasised in the moment that is chosen. This usually means putting them in the 6th or the 12th, or simply away from the angles, the Lights and ruler of the chart, and not making any direct challenges or blocks for your chosen planet.

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The choosing of the precise moment to begin is the final step and it is only at this stage that I will begin looking at the temples. Having selected a period of time in which the object I wish to work with in my magical ceremony or ritual is strong and unimpeded, I will then drill down into that time-frame looking for the periods where it is emphasised. In the case of a sign which I am seeking to tap, the primary moment will be when that sign crosses over the ascendant of where I have planned to do the ritual. Sometimes this will be a specific degree, for example when working with Earth Zone beings. In the case of a planet, I have more options – I can choose the moment when the planet itself rises at the place where I have planned to do the ritual, or I can do it beginning at the moment when a sign that planet rules is rising. For example, in the case of the Moon working supposing that I have chosen the time when the waxing Moon is in Cancer as the period to do my work, I will look for the times in that period when the Moon and Cancer are rising. If instead I have chosen the Moon in Taurus as the period to do my work, I will look for the time when the Moon or Taurus is rising or when the sign Cancer is rising (the Moon rules Cancer). In another case, supposing that Jupiter is currently in Cancer and I wish to tap into its energies, these being the exalted energies of Jupiter, I will look for a time during the period that Jupiter is in Cancer when it is not being challenged or impeded by other planets elsewhere, and within that period I will then look for a time when either Cancer, Sagittarius or Pisces are rising as the optimal moment for my ritual work (Cancer because Jupiter is in Cancer, Sagittarius and Pisces because those are its signs). I will not use exaltations in this manner, for example even though the Moon in Taurus is exalted, I will not select a time when Taurus is rising for the moment to do a Moon ritual. Only rulership will be used in this way.

Below you will find a short explanation of the different signs that the various planets prosper in, as well as those that should be avoided for most purposes, and I have also offered some commentary on the planet in question with regard to magical work, its temporal parameters and narrowing the focus of the search within those parameters:

Saturn is strong in the signs Capricorn and Aquarius (rulerships) and is also strong in Libra (exaltation). However, it spends about 2 1/2 years in each of them once every 28 to 30 years. Therefore operations which call upon the powers of Saturn often fall back on lesser forms of dignity that Saturn can gain from other zodiac signs. For example, with Saturn in Taurus one can take advantage of the fact that the last 10° of Taurus are given over to Saturn in the decanic system of dignity, with 22° to 27° being especially Saturnine because these degrees are also his Egyptian bounds or terms. Using astrological decans and terms in this way is useful because (sometimes) it means that we do not have to wait a very long time for a strong Saturn energy, and this method can also be very helpful when planning an operation connected with Jupiter and sometimes Mars as well. Saturn operations should not be done during the periods when Saturn is in Cancer or Leo, and should probably be avoided if at all possible when Saturn is in Aries. These operations often come under a malefic influence, and generally should be performed during the day when Saturn is above the horizon so that he is more Electric, which in his case means less inclined to obstruct. Saturn needs to be de-emphasised when in these signs. Saturn operations also apply themselves by nature to binding and restrictive influences (which can be used positively, for example to summon restraint in the face of addiction, or to bind oneself to a discipline).

ganesh-1224419_1920-copyJupiter is strong in the signs Sagittarius and Pisces (rulerships) as well as Cancer (exaltation) and spends about a year in each of them about once every 12 years. While these opportunities are not as rare as those calling upon the powers of Saturn, they can still be infrequent enough to merit the use of decanic dignity or terms. As with Saturn, Jupiter takes such a long time to waltz through a particular sign that there can be long periods in which it is not advisable to call upon them in a magical working (because they are in signs which do not agree with them). We have just left a year long period in which Jupiter was in Virgo during which the function of Jupiter has been inhibited, for example. This also means that the good opportunities need to be embraced when they do come around. Jupiter is disenfranchised in the signs of Virgo and Gemini and is also debilitated in Capricorn. Operations of Jupiter scheduled during these times encounter a lack of abundant saturation of the Jupiter principle. Jupiter operations apply their nature well to things intended to cause expansion and enlargement, to operations that bring prosperity and success or the increase of flow, to weather magic and especially storms and rains and also to magic of mercy and grace. It is also suited to legal matters and spiritual gnosis.

Mars is strong in the signs Aries and Scorpio (rulerships) as well as the sign Capricorn (exaltation). It will visit each of these three signs every 2 to 3 years, but the length of time it will spend in each of them varies from visit to visit. Sometimes, then, Mars will be hanging out in one of these signs for a very long time (or in one of the signs which it does not suit well) but sometimes it will zip through a sign shortening the temporal parameters that you have to work with. Magical operations focusing on raising the powers of Mars should probably be avoided whenever Mars is in Taurus, Libra or Cancer, since these are the signs in which Mars is not very strong. Workings of Mars are also better conducted during the night time when Mars is visible in the night-time sky somewhere, since this tempers his capacity for rash behaviour and violence. Mars operations are often malefic in nature, given that they either make us more aggressive or attract competition so that we can prove our mettle. They have often been important to soldiers and explorers, people who risk their lives, as protective charms. It is also a magic suited to winning competitions or championing things, and to severing and cutting things. The magic of Mars is also a potential stimulus to the libido, particularly the male sex drive, and to desires in general.

The Love Potion

The Love Potion

Venus is strong in the signs of Taurus and Libra (rulerships) as well as in Pisces (exaltation), while being weakened in the signs of Aries, Scorpio, and Virgo. Importantly, because Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth is she is always in the near vicinity of the Sun as it moves through the zodiac. This means that she visits each of these signs about once every year, and she will usually only spend about a month in each of them. However sometimes she will dally in one sign for a longer period of time like Mars does, becoming more generous with her temporal parameters, while at others she will withhold it more. The magic of Venus is suited not just to love and relationships and feelings, but also to truth, fairness and justice, to equality and repulsion as well as attraction. Her magic is also well suited to any of the arts and to socialising.

Mercury is strong in the signs of Gemini and Virgo (rulerships, and Virgo is also the exaltation), and debilitated in Sagittarius and Pisces. Like Venus it is closely bound to the Sun and thus orbits the zodiac about once every year, while also being able to dally for longer periods of time in a particular sign. Generally though you will only have about a month in which to take advantage of the position of Mercury in one of its favourable signs. Within that month you will have to find your auspicious moment. At this point it’s helpful to note that since both Mercury and Venus closely follow the Sun through the zodiac every year, it is always roughly the same periods of the year in which their operations are given astrological support. For example, Mercury will be in Gemini around the same time that the Sun is in Gemini every year. Furthermore, given that four of the signs positively associated with Mercury and Venus – Taurus, Gemini,Virgo, Libra – are actually also close together in zodiacal order, we end up with particular seasons of the year wherein it is common practice to perform magical operations connected with these planets. This is more than convenient, since a variety of magical effects can be generated through the magic of Mercury and Venus, meaning that for most purposes one of these planets will suffice, and if not one of the Lights will usually do. This is another reason why there are relatively few talismans of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. The magic of Mercury encompasses all cerebral learning, all sciences and topics that can be learned from a book, but also commerce, travel, communication and persuasion, tests, thought and perception.

The Moon is strong in the sign of Cancer (rulership) and also in Taurus (exaltation), while being debilitated in Scorpio and Capricorn. Since the Moon only takes just under a month to go through all 12 signs, opportunities for working with the Moon and adding its power are frequent. However, the opportunities are relatively brief since the Moon only takes about two and half days to move through a sign. Additionally, operations involving the Moon must consider whether the Moon is waxing or waning and void of course. Furthermore, you may wish to give careful consideration to the aspects that the Moon will form with other planets after the ritual or ceremony has been completed, since these are symbolic of the consequences of setting the energies in motion. The last aspect that the Moon forms after the ritual but before it moves into a new sign symbolises the outcome of events. Therefore, you might want to ensure that this aspect synchronises with your intention or is in some way auspicious of a successful outcome. Another point to consider is the condition and influence of the planet that rules the sign the Moon is in, as this also symbolises the outcome of events. You want this planet to be strong and supportively placed concerning your intentions. Lunar magic is astral, nurturing, instinctive, Magnetic and soulful. It has been used for thousands of years in agriculture, but has many other uses including raising children, nurturing ourselves, dream magic, clairvoyance and psychic development.

dsc04581-copyThe Sun is strong in the sign of Leo (rulership) and also in Aries (exaltation) and debilitated in Libra and Aquarius. It visits each of these signs at the same time every year and spends about 30 days in each of them. There are therefore very frequent opportunities to call upon the magic power of the Sun every year, and normally you have an entire month to work with in seeking your auspicious moment. Solar magic puts us in the spotlight, it centralises power towards us and is Electric, radiant, commanding, energising and life-giving. Its magic has often been drawn upon to bring notice or success, yet expectations will also rise regarding us, and it also provides a powerful boost to magic using the vital energy, as does the Moon.

The modern planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as well as the centaur Chiron need to be mentioned here. First, these objects being new do not have agreed upon decans, terms or even exaltations, and the rulerships of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio respectively are recent additions. To my mind the fact that there is an association between Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to these three signs is pretty much settled in the astrological community, but the nature of that association is still unclear. I have proposed that it is akin to a form of rulership but that it does not displace the traditional rulerships attached to these signs. I have chosen to call this “collective rulership” because the slow movement of these outer planets endows them with the power to affect large numbers of people (hundreds of millions of souls at a time). Therefore, it is appropriate to regard these new objects as being more suited to group magical ritual or to personal magical ritual which influences the collective awareness or our connection to it. In practice, I have found that when wishing to empower a ritual with the energy of the planet Uranus then placing Aquarius on the ascendant works very well provided Uranus is also in a very strong position in the chart, and the same goes for workings with Neptune and the sign Pisces and Pluto and the sign Scorpio. In the case of Chiron I have found the best way is just a place on the ascendant or the midheaven.

Uranus passed through Aquarius recently and is now in Aries so it will be many decades before he is in Aquarius again. Pluto also recently passed through Scorpio and it will be two centuries before he is in that sign again. Neptune is currently in Pisces and will remain there for about another 10 years. After that, it will be about 160 years before Neptune enters Pisces again. So if there are associations between these planets and the signs, opportunities to really make use of them in a magical sense are very limited, especially given the fact they have no decans or terms, as I said. We have to rely on placing these planets at the angles or giving them some other emphasis such as by being in conjunction with one of the Lights.

That said, Uranian ritual is well suited to awakening, accelerating, reversing, renewal, inspiration, invention, mental magic, sky magic and stimulation of collective human identity and spirit. Neptune magic is connected with the world of the spirits, oceans, mysticism, dreaming, astral magic, dissolving, merging, sleeping, visions, prophecy, divination and stimulation of collective human imagination and soul. Pluto magic is connected with death, mortality, rebirth, resurrection, transformation, the underworld, ghosts, obsession, power (especially occult power), reckoning, burying, mourning and stimulation of collective human fate. The magic of Chiron can be employed in healing, teaching, the restoration of our relationship with nature, integration, bridging, mending, preparing, questing and sacred truth.

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Finding the Moment

Assuming that you have identified the general temporal parameters that you have to find your auspicious moment within, you can begin looking for it. In our example where we are looking for a good moment to work with the Moon, we know for instance that we must look at the days when the Moon is waxing in Cancer or in Taurus. If instead our operation is focused on gaining the assistance of Mars then we have however long it takes Mars to go through either Aries, Scorpio or Capricorn.

If the planet that we are seeking to gain the assistance of goes retrograde in the period that we are looking at, regard those periods as secondary because the retrograde motion of the planet is more suited to a banishing operation. Similarly, do not opt to use a moment in which your chosen planet is combust unless what you are seeking to achieve does not require much physical effect. If it does not go retrograde and the period we have to look at is a large one (say a year in the case of Jupiter), then look for times in that large period when the planet concerned will be forming strong trines or sextiles to other planets. Conjunctions can also be helpful but these depend much more on the nature of the planets being conjoined. Avoid Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as each of these planets presents difficulties through conjunctions.

The aim with the slower moving planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) is to narrow down the temporal parameters to within a few days or a week and to begin looking for the auspicious moment in this smaller unit of time. If necessary, just pick a period you like from somewhere in the span of time concerned. If you do not find an auspicious moment in the period you select, pick another one and start again.

As noted earlier, you want to begin looking for your special moment by finding the time when one of the signs that is ruled by the planet you are seeking to gain the assistance of is rising at the place you are doing the operation– so, for the timing of a Venus ritual you want to use a time when either Taurus or Libra are rising. This is the default. In that chart, you also want to see the planet that you are seeking to emphasise being emphasised, usually by being in an angular temple or in conjunction with the Sun or Moon (without combustion or void of course) or in some other way expressing what you want to achieve. You do not want to see that planet tucked away in a conjunction with Saturn in the 12th, for example. If there are troubling aspects in the astrology of this chart, for example there is a Uranus square Pluto aspect, then you do want to tuck it away and put it in a place where it is not prominent. Also, regardless of the focus of your magical operation, it is advisable to check the Moon to see that it is not void of course and also to look at its applying aspects, especially the last aspect she makes before she leaves the sign she is in.

Hopefully, and it will happen more often than not, you will find a suitable moment which matches these criteria. Yet if you do not please do remember that nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have the proper training, the determination and the correct motivation. If there is a nasty fly in the ointment, for instance you can’t tuck that Uranus square Pluto aspect away without de-emphasising the planet you seek to work with, then so be it – go into your ritual with an awareness that has already been prepared for that aspect to influence eventualities. Most times, so long as you have chosen to emphasise the planet you are seeking to be empowered by, this will be sufficient.

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There are some considerations to share with you regarding the default position which can also give you more options. There may be some cases in which you do not want to put one of the signs that your chosen planet rules on the ascendant because these result in difficult charts, or because you have some other purpose in mind which is more specific. If you do place a different sign on the ascendant, do always check the status of the planet which rules that sign as it will have a strong influence over the ritual operation. At the very least make sure that it does not counteract what you intend. If you decide to go with this you must find another way to emphasise the planet you are seeking to gain the assistance from. First, you can just put the planet you are seeking to emphasise on the ascendant and forget about the signs that it rules. This basically has the effect of putting an – ! – on that planet. However, it’s important to understand that since each zodiac sign takes about two hours to cross over the ascendant completely, and each sign is composed of 30°, you only have about two hours before one sign gives way to another. For most rituals adopting the default method this is enough time provided that they are begun within a few minutes of a sign becoming the rising sign. Yet a planet is a more discreet object which takes less time to pass over the ascendant. Each degree of a sign takes approximately four minutes of our time to pass over the ascendant. So, allowing for an orb of influence of about 6°, every planet will only be conjunct the ascendant for about 25 minutes. If we also add in the 6° orb above the ascendant in the 12th temple then there is about an hour. What most practitioners seem to do here is consider the entire 1st temple to confer a condition similar to being conjunct the ascendant. In other words, they will place the planet they want to emphasise somewhere in the 1st temple and as close to the ascendant as they can get it.

If you do not put your chosen planet on the ascendant, try to put your chosen planet in a temple which closely matches your intentions for the operation. For example, a ritual designed to influence self worth and income could place your chosen planet in the 2nd temple. Again, remember to check on the ascendant and the planet which rules the ascendant to make sure that it will not contradict what you are intending, and hope that it will ideally be supporting it. Failing all of this however you can just put the planet you are seeking to emphasise on one of the angles of power other than the ascendant, but each of these has a particular quality which is suited to a particular kind of magical effect and this may have a bearing on how things turn out.

The ascendant itself has the default position because its power is basically about raising and evoking energy and essential meaning into being. It is especially suited to anything which is intended to affect the magician themselves, particularly their health. Magic focused around this angle tends to generate effects within the awareness of the participant, in other words it acts upon the awareness of the magician and changes it. This change then causes reality to realign around it.

Opposite to the 1st you have the 7th temple or descendant which is more suited to banishing rather than raising and to projecting rather than accumulating. The magic of this angle is connected to affecting other people, relationships and transformations which involve letting go of aspects of our self identity. It can help to draw people into our lives to teach us the lessons of the planets, and to train us in different ways of relating to people while also offering us opportunities to diminish the power of negative complexes.

At the 10th temple or midheaven you not only have a place suitable for anything which is designed to magically affect a career, but more specifically in a magical sense you have a place that is suitable for establishing command over certain things, such as the Elements. This angle has a magic suited to operations which are intended to confer status, authority and influence or the attainment of goals.

Opposite to the 10th temple there is the 4th temple or imum coeli which has a natural association with imprinting and binding magic, as well as with the creation of sacred space. This is a good temple for work with talismans or other procedures wherein the effect of the magic must be bound to a distinct physical object or location.

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Activation and Conduction

If you have a strong activation happening at the time of the ritual which you can somehow apply to your magical intention, it can either enhance or replace the power available from a planet in strong essential dignity. For example, during the last year I have mentioned that Jupiter was in Virgo which means that for that time Jupiter was sending the message “less is more”, meaning the abundant supply of Jupiter would be gained through careful rationing. Typically, this is not a good time to be evoking or calling upon the magical power of Jupiter. However, you may have been born with the Sun or the Moon or the ascendant in Virgo, meaning that during this period Jupiter activated those keys and this would have provided a temporary boost in terms of your awareness and access to the principle of Jupiter despite the fact that he was in Virgo. Had Jupiter instead been in Sagittarius along with your ascendant or Sun or Moon, the effect would have been much greater, but the power of an activation is such that the awareness is the key ingredient in determining how much of that planets principle and what quality of its principle we will encounter.

For the most part you want to focus on activations of the world keys when you are intending to harness the power of particular planet, for example when seeking to harness the power of Venus, choose an activation from your Venus key, and in terms of the temple keys unless your magical operation fits specifically into one of the 12 temples you should simply follow the advice given in finding the moment and restrict yourself to the angles, Meaning that you work with the activations of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th temples and not any of the others, giving chief preference to the 1st and 10th.

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Sacred Spaces and Stars

In a previous article I have written about the existence of sacred spaces connected with our birth chart scattered around the globe. If you know what these are, you can make use of them to great effect by combining them with the advice in this article. For example, you can conduct your ritual of the Moon in a place where your astrological connection to the Moon is strong (perhaps your Moon rising line), at a time when the waxing Moon is in Taurus or Cancer and during a time in which your Moon key is being activated by Jupiter. But you had better be ready for it!

You can also make use of geomantic principles in your choice of location – for example, you could do your Neptune work at a place where there is a public statue of Neptune. You can make use of the landscape in this way too, for example placing significant landmarks like mountains or rivers in certain directions, so that you can watch with your own physical eyes as the various planets or the Sun or Moon rise in front of a certain symbolic landscape.

Constellations are also used in acts of evocation and some forms of talismanic magic, and have played important roles in magical ritual for hundreds of thousands of years at least, probably millions. The general practice with constellations is to place them on the ascendant or the midheaven whenever possible and to be able to see them during the operation is also a great advantage. If it is impossible to see them – perhaps you live in the northern hemisphere and the constellation is in the southern, or you just live in Los Angeles or London or Beijing – then the space wherein you do your working should have a representation of those constellations prominently placed somewhere within. Another possibility less often written about is to wait for a star in your constellation to form a paran with one of the planets of the solar system and then to invite that stars influence into your ritual via that planet. This usually requires you to have at least a passing familiarity with the magical power of that planet.


I hope this advice is useful to you and proves fruitful in your future. In my experience the times when I have had the support of an activation backed up by some conduction done beforehand and have chosen an auspicious moment using the guidelines as set out above have proved to be some of the most interesting ritual experiences I have had, and among the easiest and most satisfying ones.

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5 comments on “Magical Timing

  1. Thanks so much for these instructions! Just few days ago I was wondering I have to find a way to know the right time for rituals!!! THX!!!

    • Yes, I know, I received that astral impression, and this message was also suggested by another patron. I hope it is useful for you and thank you as ever for your appreciation of my hard work. 🙂

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