Magic and Astrology

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The alphabetic system of Roman Lull’s magical figure. The central “A” represents the Trinity, the nine divisions of the outer circle, the Absoluta (first) and the Releta (second). Reproduced by permission of Fortean Picture Library.

Magic and Astrology

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Magic is the art of controlling events by occult (hidden) means. Astrology is not, in the proper sense of the term, magical, but such techniques as electional astrology—determining the best times to perform certain actions—border on magic. Traditional Western magic views astrology as providing insight into the occult forces that are playing on Earth at any given time, and a specialized form of electional astrology is utilized by magicians to determine the best times for performing particular rituals.

Much of the astrological lore associated with magic is focused on the days of the week, the planetary hours, and the gems and metals connected with the planets. Each of the traditional seven planets—the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn—rules, in sequence, the seven days of the week. A similar relationship exists between the planets and the hours of the day. Magicians utilize these relationships and other traditional associations with the planets by, for example, performing rituals to gain love on Friday (“Venusday”) during an hour ruled by Venus (the planet of love), performing rituals to gain money on Thursday (“Jupiterday”) during an hour ruled by Jupiter (the planet of wealth), and so forth.

Amulets, which are fabricated objects used as charms, are also constructed during days and hours associated with the task the amulet is intended to perform. Additionally, such objects are constructed from materials ruled by the relevant planet. In the above examples, for instance, an amulet designed to attract love might be constructed from copper (the metal traditionally associated with Venus), and an amulet intended to attract prosperity might be made from tin (associated with Jupiter).

Magicians who are competent astrologers also pay attention to the sign in which the relevant planet is placed, as well as the aspects the planet is making at the time of the ceremony. Thus, to once again take Venus as an example, a magician would wait until Venus was in a favorable sign (which, for Venus, would be Libra, Taurus, or Pisces) and favorably aspected (making harmonious aspects with other planets) before performing a love ritual or constructing a love amulet.


Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York: Capricorn Books, 1967.
Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. Planetary Magick: The Heart of Western Magick. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1989.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Pico on Magic and Astrology." Pico della Mirandola: New Essays.
Rabin offers a lucid exposition of Pico's knowledge of magic and astrology. She asserts the "strong effect on Renaissance natural philosophy" (178) of Pico's positive and negative attitudes towards magic and astrology in the Disputation against Divinatory Astrology: his integration of Kabbalah into the study of nature and the influence of his criticism of astrology on the later study of astronomy.
Theodor Zwinger's Theatrum vitae humanae was the turning point, as it compiled contradictory information about Zoroaster as Persia n, as king of the Bactrians, and as magician or inventor of magic and astrology. Zwinger also recorded the divergent accounts of this figure's historical identity -- all without any attempt at coherence.
Keith Thomas's discussion of both topics followed from his assumption that both magic and astrology were thrown onto the defensive by reformed Christianity and would eventually fall into disrepute as a result of the Protestant assault upon them.