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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In traditional astrology, the period between sunrise and sunset was subdivided into 12 hours, each ruled by a different planet. The tradition, to which there have been no serious modifications since the discovery of planets beyond Saturn, stipulates that the day should be divided into 12 equal segments between sunrise and sunset, which will thus vary in length according to the season. On a particular day, the first of these hours is ruled by the planet ruling that day of the week. In other words, on Saturday, the first hour would be ruled by Saturn; on Sunday, the first hour would be ruled by the Sun; and so forth. The succeeding hours are ruled by the next planet in the following order: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, and the Moon. After reaching the Moon, one begins again with Saturn and repeats the same order.

Ancient astrologers were careful to carry out certain activities during appropriate hours. It was said, for example, that Paracelsus (a sixteenth-century German alchemist and physician) always chose to prepare chemical compounds on days and during hours when the ruling planet matched the therapeutic intent behind his compounds. Despite the importance given this subject by the ancients, modern astrologers have largely ignored the planetary hours.


DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.

Hall, Manly P. Astrological Keywords. Savage, MD: Littlefield, Adams, 1975.

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