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The Mystical Kabbalah of Abraham Elim : Planetary Hours

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Jul. 22nd, 2008 | 05:15 pm
music: Stars of the Lid - The Atomium

I am having a lot of trouble with Dan Harms' blogware - for some reason, my responses to his posts keep getting discarded.

So I am going to continue posting my remarks on his essays here, and hope that his comments are better received on LiveJournal.

All interested parties can see the original post here :

The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin, Part 6

Dan Harms writes :

" The planetary hours are a sort of poor man's astrology, perhaps conceived of as an early effort to integrate planetary influences into magic practiced by people with no astrological training themselves.

The idea is pretty simple; each day and night is divided into twelve hours each, and each hour is attributed to a particular planet. The first hour of each day is attributed to the planet, or the corresponding deity, for which the day is named. "

The author of the *Mystical Kabbalah* argues that the planets do not necessarily appear anywhere in the local sky during their respective planetary hours.

Although he may feel that this is a legitimate grievance against the system of the planetary hours, and although this same argument turns up again and again in the writings of practitioners and scholars of magic ( perhaps with no astrological training themselves(?)), the argument is a 'red herring' that has nothing whatsoever to do with the practice of astrological magic.

Far from being a " poor man's astrology ", the procedure for deriving the planetary hours is a remarkably sophisticated way of dividing the local horizon into astrological Houses at the practitioner's own Latitude and during a given Season, based on the appearance of the Sun upon the horizon in the East, and the amount of time the Sun takes to traverse the local sky and disappear in the West.

Planetary hours are not the 'artificial hours' of sixty minutes that we commonly employ; they vary with the changing length of night and day as we oscillate between the Solstices and the Equinoxes of the year.

Here is a bit more on the subject from an article by Deborah Houlding over on Skyscript :

" The Placidus system is purely time-based and thus offers perfect harmony with the use of planetary hours, adding credence to the claim that this could have been an original method of house division, based upon the two-hourly 'watches' of ancient astrologers, who numbered the constellations in the order that the stars within them rose to the ascendant during the twelve watches of the 24-hour period.

There seems little doubt that the symbolism attached to the interpretative use of the houses has been greatly influenced from their use as 'time-markers', in which the movement of the planets' passage through the heavens, following the diurnal arc, is recognized.

Each of the houses represents two planetary hours, the first starting at dawn with the ascendant.

The area between the ascendant and the 12th house cusp represents the first two planetary hours, that between the 12th and the 11th the 3rd and 4th hour, and so on.

The MC represents the end of the 6th daytime planetary hour, while the descendant corresponds to sunset.

The 6th house is made up of the first two nocturnal hours, and so on round to the Ascendant.

The division between the two planetary hours in any house is found by dividing the house exactly in two. "

~ from :

The Problems of House Division
by Deborah Houlding
Part 4: Time Based Solutions

See also :

The Houses: Temples of the Sky
by Deborah Houlding
Projected Divisions :
the focus on time
page 103 - 105.

Pretty clearly, the system of the planetary hours as described by the author of the *Mystical Kabbalah* is a misrepresentation on his part and not, as he would have it, an 'Error of the Astrologers'.

I often read accounts arguing for the rarity, or even the nonexistence, of practitioners of astrological magic in antiquity.

To test these theories, a few years back I ran the planetary hours given by the author of the Pauline Art as found in the Lemegeton of Sloane 3825 against those I calculated myself, setting the location for London (figuring that the Latitude and Longitude would be somewhere 'in the ballpark').

I also corrected the date from Gregorian to Julian reckoning, which made March 10th, 1641 a Wednesday (Mercury), instead of a Monday (Moon).

My results tallied in every case with those found in Sloane 3825 - so that author, at least, must have been one of the 'rare birds'.

And while we are discussing the *Mystical Kabbalah*, which relates a procedure for contacting your guardian angel, it seems appropriate to mention that the Lemegeton, in particular the second part of the Ars Paulina, also includes a procedure for identifying and contacting your guardian angel :

Lesser Key of Solomon :
Book 3 : Ars Paulina

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Comments {1}

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from: danharms
date: Jul. 23rd, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)

I'll see what I can do about linking to this on the blog in a response. In the meantime, two comments:

1) Even if the calculation of the planetary hours is a technique requiring some calculation, doesn't that pale in comparison with the requirements to draw up an astrological chart for a given time and place?

2) The discussion here begins with planetary hours, then move to houses. Speculations about Ptolemy aside, however, Placidus' system for calculating the houses post-dates the planetary hours by centuries (the discussion in the Hygromanteia being a key example), so it's uncertain how much his system validates planetary hours. Besides, the chief problem with the planetary hours is not that someone is dividing up the day and night, but in the attributions of those periods to planets that have no relation to their position in the sky. Would it be possible to expand upon this aspect of the system?



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