January 23, 2021—Planetary magic has become popular in recent years. Thanks to the revival of traditional forms of astrology alongside more accessible reprints of the Picatrix and Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, these practices are once again entering the astrological arena.
What is planetary magic? Put simply, it’s a bit like trapping lightning in a bottle. The lightning refers to favorable Celestial Rays emitted from the planet we have chosen to work with. The bottle corresponds to a physical object (like an emerald or a gold pendant) that locks in those Rays at a specifically elected time. Why trap lightning in a bottle or ensoul Celestial Rays into a talisman? Because it causes real change you wish to see in your world. Let’s learn more…
As within, so without
We’ve all heard the saying As above, so below. As within, so without. Most of us have a pretty good grasp on the second half of this maxim: As within, so without. We know that our outside world is a reflection of our inner world. If we’re holding a belief of lack and not enoughness, for example, it will manifest as scarcity. If we believe the world is full of abundance and there’s enough for everyone, we radiate our knowing from the inside out and experience ampleness in our lives. Our external surroundings arrange themselves to reflect our internal reality. So it is literally as within so without as the inner projects the outer.
As above, so below.
When we think of As above, so below, we’re now reflecting on the heavens and the earth. For example, we know that when Pluto and Saturn aspect one another in the sky, they catalyze societal decay, breakdown, and regeneration here on Earth. We can look back to the beginning of WWI at their conjunction in 1914, the outbreak of WWII during their square in 1939, and the Vietnam War at their opposition in 1965. In 2001, the opposition of Saturn and Pluto coincided with the terrorist attacks 9/11. And as we all know, 2020 has been a year that changed life as we knew it as we grappled with a worldwide pandemic that uprooted and transformed our lives. Pluto and Saturn came together in January of 2020, once again reflecting their significations here on Earth.
So below, as above?
If the heavens and the earth are reflections of each other, not only will celestial conversations reflect here on earth, but occurrences on earth will be reflected in the heavens. This two-way exchange of energy is the key principle in planetary magic. We can create a Sun talisman, for instance, that prompts the Sun to sympathize with us. The talisman behaves like a mini-Sun we carry with us that attracts solar qualities such as visibility, confidence, success and wisdom.
How does it work?
Renaissance philosophers believed that the Cosmos was connected through sympathies and correspondences. Each of the seven visible planets emitted Celestial Rays. Not unlike “color by numbers”, a coloring exercise where each number corresponds to a specific color, these Rays activate objects—people, plants, animals, metals, events, etc—consonant to them. This is especially true if the object, such as a piece of silver or gold, bears an image associated with the planet.
Yet this magical talisman cannot be created at any random time. Rather, the astromage waits until the planet is especially strong and favorably positioned in the heavens. This means it can take years to find an auspicious election, especially for the slower moving planets. Since the talisman will transmit the Celestial Rays present during its creation, the astromage wants to ensure the quality of those Rays are the purest representation of the planet they are working with.
Once a magical election is found, the astromage will use the metal associated with the planet to make the talisman as well as place or carve the magical image associated with the planet. Voila! Lightning in a bottle! Now the talisman transmits the planet’s energies attracting more of its correspondences to the wearer. Whereas a Sun talisman will attract visibility, confidence, and success, a Venus talisman will draw Venusian things such as love, friendship, harmony and peace.
Why the Ritual?
Part of the astromage’s practice is ritual. Greek philosophers believed ritual was a way the magician could attune themselves to divine energy. Since one of the main tools the astromage uses is her own body, it’s important to maintain a pure signal. As I prepare to create a Saturn talisman in April, for instance, I have begun attuning myself to Saturn by observing Saturn on his day, Saturday. I adjust myself to Saturn’s frequency by wearing black, fasting, giving charity towards Saturn’s people (the elderly and poor) and reading Renaissance astromage Marsilio Ficino! When the April election comes, I will perform the ritual of saying the magical words over an altar of Saturnian objects and incense, again to elevate myself to Saturn’s frequency.
Honoring my teacher
Even though I’ve been practicing astrology for years, astrological magic entered my life in 2019. Since that time, I have been very active in learning and participating in planetary magic. Last July, I created a Sun Talisman and have been recording its results for myself and the other people who purchased it. I also petition other planets I am working with on a weekly basis. I’m still a novice. Like astrology, it takes many years to gain proficiency in planetary magic. With this in mind, I would like to thank my teacher, Nina Gryphon, for her dedication and her teachings. This article is a result of what I learned from her. It only feels appropriate to acknowledge her influence in my practice.
- A modern reworking by American artist Laurie Lipton of one of the illustrations in Splendor Solis, a 16th-century alchemical manuscript
- Photo by Daniel Seßler on Unsplash
- Sun Talisman and accompanying booklet photographed and created by me.