Moon phases and Spells

You've taken the time to set up the perfect little money spell. You've consulted your books and collected the proper herbs and crystals, green candles, money-drawing incense, magickal tools and a couple of coins. You've set your will and visualized your goal. You're good to go. Your spell will probably work because you took the time to think it out (and because you're a kick-ass witch). But what if you could do something more to give your magick a boost?

Timing your magick with astrology can give your spell that extra energy. One of the basic ideas behind astrology is that the planetary influences present at the time a person is born will help shape his or her life. Your birth chart is like a photograph of the positions of the planets at the moment you were born, and an astrologer can use this information to talk to you about your personality, habits and major life events because clues or shadows of those things are represented by the planets in your chart. 

This concept also applies to projects and spells -- whatever is going on in the cosmos at the time the project or spell is begun is reflected in the results. Astrology is a metaphoric language for the movements of the cosmos. As above, so below; what we do here is reflected in the heavens, and vice versa. Working magick with astrology by choosing astrologically appropriate times for your spellwork is like floating down the stream instead of paddling against the current. It puts you in the cosmic flow, and when you're working with natural forces instead of against them, you're more likely to succeed. 

"But," you say, "I don't know any astrology, and it's all full of math and stuff, and it's a pain to figure it all out." It's true that you can study astrology for years and never learn it all, but with just a little bit of work you can glean enough to greatly enhance your spellwork. Here are some astrological tools that are very helpful for planning magick. 

The Quarter and Sign of the Moon
The simplest way to use astrology in spellwork is to use the quarter of the Moon in your planning. The Moon takes about 29.5 days to complete its full cycle from New Moon to New Moon. The cycle has four quarters, each about a week long. The first quarter runs from the New Moon to midway between New and Full; the second quarter runs from that midway point until the Full Moon; the third quarter runs from the Full Moon to the midway point between Full and New; and the fourth quarter runs from the midway point back to the New Moon. During the first and second quarters, the Moon is "waxing," or, in simple terms, getting bigger as seen from the earth. During the third and fourth quarters, the Moon is waning, or getting smaller. 

It's pretty simple to put this information to good use. If you are working magick to increase something or draw it to you, do it during the first or second quarter. As the Moon waxes, so will your magick. Magick to decrease or banish should be done during the third or fourth quarters, and whatever you're trying to get rid of should shrink with the Moon. Generally, we start projects at the New Moon and try to bring them to culmination at the Full Moon. The dark days just before the New Moon -- the last day or two of the fourth quarter -- are great for incubating new ideas for spells, like a seed underground waiting to sprout. 

There are a couple of different ways to figure out what quarter the Moon is in. You can tell by simply looking up (assuming you can see through the clouds). The Moon is waxing when the light side is curved to the right, like a capital "D." It's waning when the light side is curved to the left, like a capital "C." If it's too cloudy, you can consult one of several astrological datebooks and calendars on the market. These list the quarter and sign of the Moon for each day and frequently give you a lot more astrological information on top of that. Two of my favorite astrological datebooks are Llewellyn's Daily Planetary Guide and Jim Maynard's pocket astrological calendar. Llewellyn's Moon Sign Book also lists the quarter and sign for every day of the year and goes into great detail about using this information for gardening and other activities. 

Now that you've the phase/quarter thing down, try working with the Moon's sign. During its monthly cycle, the Moon travels through all 12 astrological signs, spending about two and a half days in each (give or take). The Moon represents the "mood," and whatever astrological sign the Moon is in on a given day affects the "flavor" or "energy" of that day. Just as you choose herbs and other props that are associated with or represent your magickal goal, you can use that Moon-sign "mood" to enhance your magickal or mundane tasks. It's sympathetic magick. For example, Taurus is an earthy, stubborn sign, so things begun when the Moon is in Taurus have sticking power. One joke says you should never go grocery shopping during a Taurus Moon when you're on a diet, because Taurus loves the rich things in life, and you won't be able to pass up the Ben and Jerry's. However, Taurus is also associated with money, so doing your money spell when the Moon is in Taurus is a great idea (and it should stick!). 

How do you know what sign the Moon is going to be in on a particular day, and what sign is good for what type of magick? Finding today's Moon sign is simple. You can use one of the astrological guides I've already mentioned, or if you'd rather look up the Moon sign online, check out In the upper right-hand corner of the home page, that site lists the Moon's sign for the day. You can click through to a page to find out what the other planets are up to too. If you want a more complex look at the day's planetary placements, you can draw up a free astrological chart on the Astrodienst site at Just put in the date and time that you are thinking of working your spell, and the site will calculate a chart for you. There is a glyph key on the site so you don't have to try to figure out what all the little squiggles on the chart mean. This is more information than you need, but it includes the Moon's sign and it's kind of fun. 

What signs are good for what types of magick? Whole books have been written on the subject, but here's a basic, simplified list of the signs and some of their correspondences to get you started. Bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. 

Aries: Protection, competition, sticking up for yourself, asking for what you want, banishing, the head, the planet Mars.
Taurus: Money, luxury, love, fertility, art, music, singing, anything you want to last a while, the throat, the planet Venus.
Gemini: Writing, communication, siblings, short-distance travel, computer stuff, commerce, wit, the arms and hands, the planet Mercury.
Cancer: Nurture, fertility/motherhood, protection, the Goddess, empathic work, kitchen magick, the breasts, the Moon.
Leo: Loyalty, success, energy/vitality, drama and the theater, the God, self-confidence, courage, the heart, the Sun.
Virgo: Health, details, cleanliness, writing, being practical, getting to the heart of something, domestic animals and pets, the stomach and bowels, the planet Mercury.
Libra: Art, music, relationships, justice, balance, decisions, partnerships, the skin, kidneys and adrenals, the planet Venus.
Scorpio: Sex, subconscious, death, the underworld, power, control, obsession, anything "occult" as in "hidden," high magick, the genitals, the planet Pluto.
Sagittarius: Religion, philosophy, humor, luck, gambling, higher education, foreign or long-distance travel, foreign people and languages, sports, animals, the thighs, the planet Jupiter.
Capricorn: Career, success, work, time, tradition, money from work, the past, assertiveness and drive, the knees, hair and bones, the planet Saturn.
Aquarius: Invention, innovation, inspiration, detachment, freedom and independence, humanitarian causes, the ankles, calves, and circulation, the planet Uranus.
Pisces: Dream and psychic work, shamanism, alcohol and drugs, compassion, intuition, imagination, the feet, the planet Neptune. 

If you would like to delve further, any basic astrology book or Web site will give you keywords associated with each sign. Two of my favorite astrological books specifically for spell work are A Time for Magick by Maria Kay Simms and Astrological Magick by Estelle Daniels. These are great because they're astrology books focused on magick, as opposed to astrology books focused on birth charts. They're not easy reads if you're new to astrology, but the information that you need about the signs is easily accessible in them. Basic birth chart books can still be useful too, because they give a general idea of the "flavor" of each sign and they don't assume you have any prior astrological knowledge. 

Now you can combine the phase and sign to enhance your magick. For that money spell, you'd probably want the Moon to be waxing and in Taurus, unless you're trying to banish debt, in which case a waning Aries Moon might do the trick. You can find a sign and quarter combination that's helpful for just about any spell you can dream up. 

The Planetary Hours
Okay, that was reasonably simple. In as much time as it would take to look up what herb or what color candle or stone to use in a spell, you can figure out the quarter and sign of the Moon. Here's a more complex way to time your spells with astrology: the planetary days and hours. Personally, I think that the planetary hours are a more potent tool for timing than the Moon's phase and sign, but that might simply be because they take a little bit of work to figure out, so you spend that much more time focusing on your goal. 

The theory behind planetary hours is simple: Each day of the week and each hour of the day is "ruled," or corresponds with, a planet. In turn, each planet "rules" or corresponds to areas of life that you might be working magick for. For example, Venus is associated with love, so love magick is best done during a Venus day or on a Venus hour. The easiest way to incorporate this information is to just use the appropriate day of the week. Sunday is ruled by the Sun; Monday the Moon; Tuesday is Mars; Wednesday is Mercury; Thursday is Jupiter; Friday is Venus; and Saturday is Saturn (for the purposes of astrology, the Sun and Moon are considered planets). So if you want Venus energy for that love spell, do your working on a Friday. 

Using the planetary hours is trickier, but rewarding. As an example, let's say that I'm going to do a spell today (January 5, 2004). First, I need to find the times for sunset and sunrise on the day I'd like to do my working. The easiest way to do this is to check the weather section of the local newspaper. 

Next, I need to figure out the length of today's daylight and night hours. Daylight planetary hours are computed by taking the amount of time between sunrise and sunset and dividing it by 12. Nighttime hours are computed by taking the amount of time between sunset and the next sunrise and dividing it by 12. On days like today, we don't have full 12 hours of daylight time, especially in Seattle, so a daytime planetary "hour" is not going to be 60 minutes long. On the day I'm writing this, the Sun rose at 7:57 a.m. and it set at 4:32 p.m., so we had 8 hours and 35 minutes of daylight and 15 hours and 25 minutes of night. 

The easiest way to figure the length of each planetary hour is to convert the daylight and night hours into minutes. Eight hours and 35 minutes is 515 minutes. Fifteen hours and 25 minutes is 925 minutes. When I divide 515 and 925 each by 12, I get daylight hours of 43 minutes (rounded) and night hours of 77 minutes (also rounded). 

With this information, I can figure out at what time each planetary hour begins. The Sun rises at 7:57 a.m., so that's when the first daylight hour begins. I figure the rest by adding 43 minutes to each previous time, so the second hour begins at 8:40 a.m., the third at 9:18 a.m., the fourth at 10:01 a.m. and so on. My count gives the twelfth hour 47 minutes, because of the rounding. We'll compensate for this later.
I figure the nighttime hours starting at 4:32 p.m. and adding 77 minutes; the second hour begins at 5:49 p.m., the third at 7:06 p.m., the fourth at 8:23 p.m and so on. In this case, the twelfth hour begins at 6:40 a.m. and comes out close to exact. 

Whew! Now that I know the start times of each planetary hour, I need to know which hours are associated with which planets. To do this, I need to remember seven planets in a specific order -- called the Chaldean order, after the people who made it up -- determined way back when rocks were new. The planets, in that order, are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. To determine the planets that rule the hours for my example day, I begin in the list with the planet that rules that day and keep cycling through until I've determined the planet for each of the 24 hours. My daylight hours work out as follows: first is the Moon; second, Saturn; third, Jupiter; fourth, Mars; fifth, Sun; sixth, Venus; seventh, Mercury; eighth, Moon; ninth, Saturn; tenth, Jupiter; eleventh, Mars; and twelfth, Sun. Nighttime hours continue the list where the daytime ones left off, so they are: first, Venus; second, Mercury; third, Moon; fourth, Saturn; fifth, Jupiter, sixth, Mars; seventh, Sun; eighth, Venus; ninth, Mercury; tenth, Moon; eleventh, Saturn; twelfth, Jupiter. 

Now I need to know which planet best fits my needs for my spell. As with sign correspondences, planetary correspondences are easy to find online or in books. If you're grooving on planetary hours, I highly recommend checking out the planetary hours information at, which includes the Chaldean order, how to calculate the hours and some basics on using the hours in magick. 

The book A Time For Magick, which I mentioned earlier, is all about the hours and how to use them in magick. The author also covers the planets in a fair amount of depth and includes tables of planetary hours that you can use to skip all of the math if you know the latitude of your city. Another very useful book is Rex Bills' The Rulership Book, which lists just about everything you can think of, including the kitchen sink, and what planet rules it. If you can't find these, a basic astrology book with information on the planets will do, but here's a simplified list of correspondences to get you started. Again, this is not comprehensive or even close to complete.
Sun: Leadership, vitality, creativity, the God, fatherhood and the father, the sign Leo. 

Venus: Love, wealth, harmony, balance, relationships art, the rich things in life, the signs Taurus and Libra.
Mercury: Thought, communication, teaching, writing, computers, cars, speech, and the signs Gemini and Virgo.
Moon: House and home, domestic affairs, the Goddess, motherhood and the mother, fertility, anything to do with water, the sign Cancer.
Saturn: Endings, discipline, authority, tradition, career, accomplishment, the sign Capricorn (and in old-school astrology, Aquarius).
Jupiter: Expansion, wisdom, generosity, religion, education, idealism, legal affairs, philanthropy, luck and the sign Sagittarius (and in old-school astrology, Pisces).
Mars: War, heat, anger and aggression, competition, passion, accidents, courage, the military, the sign Aries (and in old-school astrology, Scorpio). 

You'll notice that there is some overlap between the things associated with the planets on this list and the things associated with planets' corresponding signs on the other list. Planets and the signs they "rule" share some traits (Cancer and the Moon are both watery and mother-oriented, for example), but they also have qualities distinct from one another. Planets and signs are not the same thing. One difference is that planets are more active forces because they move, while signs are like the persona or attitude that a planet takes on when it's moving through that sign. This is a subtle distinction, but an important one, and it's one reason why, in my opinion, the planetary hours pack a little more oomph than just using the sign and quarter of the Moon for planning magick. 

You'll also notice that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are missing, and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are listed as having an extra sign affiliated with them. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto had not yet been discovered when the ancients first assigned the signs to the planets, and there weren't enough planets so each sign could have its own, so Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were given double duty. (Mercury and Venus rule two signs each to this day.) The system of planetary hours was also created before the outer planets were found, but this works out fine, because there are only seven days of the week anyway, so those extra three planets would be left out in the cold. 

Now, if I want to do a love spell, I should really wait for a Venus hour on Friday, the Venus day, but since I'm impatient I could do my spell during the sixth daylight or first or seventh night hour, depending on which fit into my schedule. A more appropriate working on a Monday (Moon-day) would be fertility magick, and I could use a Moon or Venus hour, again depending on which one fit my schedule best. If I wanted to use Monday because I was doing a working for my mother (the Moon is associated with mother), and she was applying for a new job, I could use a Saturn hour (work and career), a Mercury hour (communication and computers), or a Jupiter hour (luck and money), depending on which suited her needs. If I wanted to get super-detailed, I could also choose to do the working on a planetary hour and day when the sign and quarter of the Moon were compatible too. Talk about focusing on your goal! 

One last thing about planetary hours: Since you usually end up rounding off, you don't want to start your working right when the hour starts. Allow yourself some fudge space and start at least five minutes into the "hour" to make sure you're in the correct hour. If you want to be precise and calculate your hours down to the seconds so you can start exactly on time, more power to you. You're more strong-willed than I am.
If you have read this far and you're really jonesing on using astrology in magick, you might consider looking into the branch of astrology called "electional," which is used for choosing the best time to begin important projects. The sign and phase work we did earlier is basic, basic electional astrology. You might also consider studying enough basic natal (birth) astrology to read your own birth chart to gain insight into your magickal strengths. The twelfth house is magick and the occult, so you could see what you have lurking in that house for starters. Whatever you choose to do, have fun incorporating astrology into your magick!
by Thea 


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