Working With the Planets

Part 1 of 3

It's common to do rituals and meditations that coincide with the phases of the Moon, but you can also work with the energies of the other planets. This is the beginning of a series of articles focusing on planetary rituals. Things to consider when planning a ritual to invoke a planet's energy are: the type of energy that the planet can bring to your ritual, colors and objects that are harmonious with the planet's energy, god or angel names associated with the planet's energy, and days of the week favorable to each planet. You should also take into consideration the sign the planet currently is in, how it relates to your own chart, and the aspects that other planets may be making to it. For example, doing a ritual invoking Mercury while it is retrograde and conjunct Uranus would definitely bring surprising, unexpected results. As always, use caution when working with planetary energy: Be careful, you may get what you ask for!

This article describes some of the main themes associated with each planet. Future issues will cover practical aspects of putting together a planetary ritual (getting the right tools together) and a summary with examples of how to incorporate astrological energies into your magical work.

Sun
personal identity, ego, self-confidence. You can use Sun energy to work with men or father figures, although Saturn also rules that area as well. The Sabbats of the year celebrate the movement of the Sun, so by participating in the Sabbats, you are participating in a sort of Sun ritual (although the focus is generally not on invoking Sun energy in particular). Since sunlight brightens the world and brings things into focus, you can use Sun energy to cast away fears (shadows), to bring enlightenment, or emotional warmth. Jupiter energy complements the Sun's, and both can be used together in matters relating to generosity and self-confidence. The best day for Sun work is, of course, Sunday. In general, if you want help in acquiring characteristics of a particular sign, do a Sun ritual on the day the Sun enters that sign.
Moon
daily life and habits, house, home, health, young children. Moon energy is especially appropriate for working with the emotions, the mother and women in general. While the Sun is extroverted, Moon energy is introverted. The phases of the Moon are significant in magical work. The period between the New Moon and Full Moon should be reserved for rituals that involve increase, such as blessing new growth, or asking for a raise. The period between the Full Moon and New Moon should be used for completing tasks that have already begun, or for endings. Combine the energy of Neptune with the Moon for psychic work. Monday is the day for Moon rituals.
Mercury
anything having to do with communication and the mind: writing, thinking, problem solving, memory, speaking. Mercury also rules commerce and business. Since Mercury is one of the planets ruling analysis, use the period when Mercury is retrograde to work on past issues you'd like to resolve, or to achieve understanding of why something happened to you. Mercury is the planet to invoke when you want traffic to move along smoothly. Mercury's day is Wednesday.
Venus
art, love, beauty, harmony. Invoke Venus energy to bring love into your life, to ask how to be more attractive or to enhance artistic endeavors. Venus energy can help you attract beautiful accessories into your home and your life. Venus is the planet to invoke when you want to learn how to behave in a way that is more charming to be around, if you want to redecorate your house to make it more beautiful, or simply to attract more women to your house. The energy of Venus seeks to please others in order to be more attractive. If you tend to be rigid and conventional, Venus could help soften your image. Combine Venus energy with Mercury to enhance the loving, attractive quality of your speech. Venus' day is Friday.
Mars
personal energy, drive, ambition, vitality. Invoke Mars energy to increase stamina, to help focus your energy on a particularly important goal, or to help you persist against obstacles. Warning: an excess of Mars energy can result in anger. Use Mars energy to strengthen your inner resolve, not to seek retribution. If you have a lot of studying to do to pass exams, Mars is the planet to help you concentrate and focus. Mars is the planet to ask for help in winning the 10k race. Mars' day is Tuesday.
Jupiter
generosity, religion, philosophy, higher education, long-range vision, travel. Invoke Jupiter to help forgive those who have done you wrong, or to help you walk in someone else's shoes. Too much Jupiter energy can make you take on more responsibility than you can handle. Jupiter can help you distance yourself from stressful situations and emotional trauma, in order to understand the cosmic purpose of the event. Jupiter sees the big picture and glosses over the petty details. Jupiter can help advance you in your studies or help you understand foreign cultures. The keyword for Jupiter is expansion. If you want to expand your horizons, call upon Jupiter for help. Jupiter's day is Thursday.
Saturn
establishing limits, manifesting desires in the physical plane, responsibility and discipline. Saturn is the planet that exacts justice. It also helps you relate better to authority figures or people older than you. Remember that the symbol for Saturn is blindfolded justice; any retaliation you ask for will be measured against you equally. Even though Saturn is depicted as the judge, Saturn's energy is the energy that brings projects to fulfillment. If you have done the work necessary to fulfill your ambitions, Saturn will reward you. In a waxing Moon cycle (between the new and Full Moons), use Saturn energy to help realize your incomplete dreams. In a waning Moon cycle (between the Full Moon and the New Moon), use Saturn energy to sever ties to people and habits you wish to eliminate from your life. The appropriate day for Saturn rituals is Saturday.

The Transpersonal Planets

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. These planets affect humanity as a whole rather than one individual at a time, although transits of these planets through your natal chart definitely has an effect on your life. It's generally a good idea to avoid invoking these planetary energies unless you are experienced in handling the intensity. The safest way to work with them is to simply ask for understanding of the principles they represent.

Uranus
unconventionality, reversal, change, breaking old habits. Uranus is often likened to a hurricane or tornado, but if you are well grounded and one with the forces working on your life, then you move with the center of the storm, and do not feel the disastrous effects. If Uranus is transiting your chart, tune in to the energy of change. You can meet people you've never encountered before and be attracted to people you never would have thought were your type. Uranus is the cosmic alarm clock that awakens you to possibilities you'd never thought of before. Just as with any other alarm clock, you can shut it off and continue your familiar routine, but once Uranus has awakened you, you will never be the same again. Uranus helps you tune in to cosmic movements and understand the universal significance behind global events. Uranus likes to see people working together harmoniously in groups and also helps level all of humanity: Even a mere pebble can overturn the chariot of the master of the world. Uranus represents the higher octave of Mercury, and shares Wednesday as its special day. As with all the higher octave planets, be careful what you ask for and how you invoke the planet's energies. Don't call upon this energy unless you believe you can truly handle it. Uranus energy misapplied can cause accidents.
Neptune
goals, ideals, wishes, dreams, visions, psychic abilities. Neptune represents the higher octave of the Moon energy, and shares Monday as its special day. Exercise caution when dealing with Neptune, because too much Neptune energy can lead to drug use, blindness, depression and denial. The safest way to invoke Neptune energy is to ask for understanding of the hidden meaning behind the events in your life. Reclaim your dreams with the help of Neptune. The Rolling Stones song "Ruby Tuesday" depicts true Neptunian energy in the line, "Lose your dreams and you lose your mind." If you want to clarify the purpose or meaning of your life, or simply remember what you used to love, then Neptune is the planet to ask for help.
Pluto
Personal transformation, total dedication to achieve a goal. If Uranus is the cosmic alarm clock that you have the power to turn off, then Pluto is the cosmic parent who comes along later and says, "You will awaken!" Scorpio rules garbage and Pluto (its ruler) is in charge of eliminating it from your life. Pluto is the parent who examines your wastebasket and scolds you for the things you throw away. It's also the parent who examines your closet and picks items from the corners, saying, "What? You're keeping this old thing?! Time to get rid of it, don't you think? Here, let me take care of it." Beware of invoking Pluto energy; Pluto requires total commitment and can blast you with intense energy if your motives are not sincere and pure. The Tarot card that represents Pluto is The Fool. Poised with one foot on solid ground and one foot ready to take the leap of faith, the Fool stands at the edge of the cliff, ready to commit to his chosen path. If you are not absolutely ready to accept the consequences of your actions, then disaster awaits. If, on the other hand, you understand, accept and are ready to pay the piper, then the Force is with you. Again, the best way of invoking Pluto energy is to ask for an understanding of what it represents. Pluto, being the higher octave of Mars, shares Tuesday as its special day.

The next column will deal with the practical aspects of putting together a planetary ritual. For more information about spell working with the planets, read A Time For Magick, by Maria Kay Simms.

Aspects and Transits

October 23, 12:42 a.m. PDT: Sun enters Scorpio. This is a good day to do a meditation on what it means to be a Scorpio, and to ask to be blessed with the sign's positive qualities: dedication, commitment, energy, will power and the ability to know when someone is lying.

October 25, 7:52 pm. PDT: Jupiter enters Scorpio. Jupiter, planet of generosity, isn't terribly comfortable in the sign of self-gratification. However, if you are a Scorpio by birth, then the transit of Jupiter will bring good will into your life for the next year.

October 26, 4:24 p.m. PDT: Neptune goes direct at 14º Aquarius. Neptune, the planet of idealism and spirituality, begins to move forward after a period of retrospective and insight. Many astrologers say that Neptune in Aquarius represents the true beginning of the Age of Aquarius, and will bring about enlightened humanitarianism. Neptune stays in a sign approximately 13 years.

October 30, 1:02 a.m. PDT: Mercury enters Sagittarius. The planet of speech and communication enters the sign of religion, philosophy, and teaching. While Mercury is in Sagittarius, it's a good time to study philosophy or to go back to school.

November 1, 5:25 p.m. PST: New Moon 9º Scorpio 43'. A New Moon in a water sign is the traditional time for new beginnings -- initiation, birth, a project -- the start of a new cycle for a month. It's a time to start relationships, plant gardens, renew. You may experience energy, impulsivity and spontaneity. A New Moon at Samhain offers fresh possibilities for the coming year. It's also a good time to work on developing your intuition.

November 3: The Sun, Saturn, Mars, and Neptune all begin to square one another, to form a Grand Fixed Cross. The Sun and Saturn have a closer aspect today, both being at 10 degrees Scorpio and Leo respectively. Mars and Neptune are farther apart, Mars at 16 Taurus and Neptune at 14 Aquarius, but they are still within the range of the square/opposition aspect. This grand cross aspect continues through November 7, when Sun, Neptune and Mars will all be at 14 degrees. Jupiter and the Moon are also in Scorpio, although too far away to be in an exact aspect. The issues involved are personal identity or ego (Sun); vital energy and ambition (Mars); responsibility, resistance, limits, and discipline (Saturn); and goals and ideals (Neptune). Issues on a nationwide scale could involve fixed attitudes and unrealistic spending. The signs the planets fall in govern humanitarianism and group effort (Aquarius) versus personal ambition (Leo), money and personal values (Taurus), and secrecy, mystery and desire (Scorpio). Expect setbacks and conflict. Since the signs involved are all fixed signs, it can be a period of great stubbornness, where no one yields. This period would be a good time for group meditation on humanitarian and idealistic principles. If you plan on doing a Samhain ritual on the traditional day of November 1, you might want to focus your energy on a harmonious outcome to world conflict.

November 5, 12:10 a.m. PST: Venus enters Capricorn. Venus in Capricorn is very serious in matters of love and often appears quite cold. With this aspect, emotional security often comes from material status and wealth. On the other hand, while Venus is in Capricorn, you can focus on love of work and duty, to take advantage of the best sides of both Venus and Capricorn.

November 7: Sun reaches 15º Scorpio (astrological Samhain). This is the astrological midpoint between autumn equinox and Winter solstice.

November 13, 9:42 p.m. PST: Mercury goes retrograde until December 3. While Mercury is retrograde, it's a time to review past decisions, finish work that remains undone. You may have to revisit decisions you made at an earlier time, and certainly you need to be especially careful with any form of communication.

November 15, 4:07 p.m. PST: Uranus goes direct (2º Pisces 52'), after having been retrograde since June 14. If your birthday is in the first two or three days of the sign Pisces, then you can expect a radical transformation of your life: a change of name, or maybe a move several thousand miles away.

November 15, 4:58 p.m. PST: Full Moon, 23º Taurus 46'. This is a good time to examine possessions: what you need to keep in your life, and what you really need to get rid of. Taurus rules possessions, and Scorpio represents the urge to purge (although it also represents the desire to keep, and to acquire yet more). The tension of opposition between Sun and Moon, Scorpio and Taurus, minimalism and luxury, can help push you toward a decision.

November 21, 9:15 p.m. PST: Sun enters Sagittarius. This is a good time to meditate on Sagittarius and Jupiter, and what they represent: travel, a global perspective (as opposed to selfishness), generosity, and a philosophical outlook on life. Since Sagittarius also rules the house of religion, this is also a time to ponder the nature and future of religions that require conformity and refuse to accept individual differences.

November 22, 1:01 a.m. PST: Saturn goes retrograde until April 5, 2006. Retrograde motion represents the energy of the planet turned inward, examining the past. This is perfect for the planet Saturn, which is all about detachment and justice anyway. If your birthday is in the first 10 days of Leo, then you are being affected by this serious re-examination of your life. It may appear that you are being presented with obstacles and too much responsibility, but this is all part of a restructuring that will eventually bring more happiness and stability into your life.

November 26, 3:53 a.m. PST: Mercury enters Scorpio, retrograde. The negative side of Mercury in Scorpio can lead to a sharp, sarcastic tongue and thoughts of revenge. The positive use of Mercury in Scorpio energy is to occupy your self with anything that involves research or investigation, which is the forte of Scorpio. It's also a time to work on developing your intuition because Mercury, which rules thoughts, is in a watery, intuitive, psychic sign.

December 1, 7:01 a.m. PST: New Moon in 9º Sagittarius 31'. Energy and growth is directed toward fiery goals, charging you to have faith in yourself and your ability to move onward, blessed with all you have been given and have accomplished thus far. Work on your long-range ambitions and make plans for the future. Since the Moon rules your emotions, its position in a fire sign can help you let go of resentments and personal injury and move on. Venus and Moon especially in Sagittarius can help you let go of the past and arrive at compassionate understanding. Sagittarius does not hold grudges.

December 3, 6:22 p.m. PST: Mercury goes direct (4º Scorpio 44'). Beware of bluntness. Scorpio does not mince words, so Mercury direct in this sign could lead to too much directness. Since Mercury is moving forward once again, normal patterns of speech should resume, and you can make plans without having them crumble into dust. The time for analysis has passed, and the time for action is now.

December 9, 8:03 p.m. PST: Mars goes direct (8º Taurus 14'). Speaking of action -- even though energetic, fiery Mars is moving forward again, it's still in earth-bound Taurus. The positive use of this energy is to analyze your possessions, getting rid of anything you absolutely don't need, especially if it's not high quality. Get that exercise program back into high gear. The earthy effect of Taurus on ambitious Mars is particularly good for financial analysis.

December 12, 1:19 p.m. PST: Mercury enters Sagittarius again (see October 30). Sagittarius, being opposed to Mercury's natural home in Gemini, causes normally analytical Mercury to be preoccupied with attitudes rather than facts. Although Sagittarius can bring prophetic insights, watch out for tendencies to accept the lowest common denominator of the social norm. Try to focus on long-range Sagittarian vision.

December 15, 7:57 a.m. PST: Venus enters Aquarius. Aquarius, being an impersonal sign, is not the ideal home for loving Venus, but for Aquarius natives, the transit brings softness and the possibility of new attractions. Venus in Aquarius is beneficial for work in a group setting.

December 15, 8:16 a.m. PST: Full Moon, 23º Gemini 48'. This Gemini full Moon occurs at the same time as a fixed grand cross involving Mars and Jupiter in opposition (Taurus/ Scorpio), squaring Saturn and Neptune in opposition (Leo/ Aquarius). An aspect from the Sun and Pluto conjunct in fiery Sagittarius also affects Neptune. This grand cross intensifies emotions, and can act as a catalyst for constructive change; problems can become glaring and bring about strong reactions from the public. Another fixed grand cross follows on December 26. These energies can manifest as news from the business world, either blatant greed or much complaints from business leaders about government policies.

December 21, 10:35 a.m. PST: Sun enters Capricorn (Winter Solstice).

Copyright © 2005 by Anita Legsdin