The Generalized Planetary Hours

by Bob Makransky

            The Generalized Planetary Hours is a system for placing all of the planets - not just the sun - within a scheme of twenty-four half-houses each ruled by one of the Chaldean planets in turn.  Thus, e.g. a moon election (healing; moving; traveling) should be done when the moon is in a moon-ruled hour - rather than when the sun is in a moon-ruled hour, as is done in the simple Planetary Hours. A Venus election (asking someone for a date, or scheduling a party or recital) should be done when Venus is in a Venus hour; and a Jupiter election (buying a lottery ticket or asking a financial favor) should be done when Jupiter is in a Jupiter hour (rather than the sun being in these hours, as is done conventionally).  It also may occur that Venus will be in a Venus hour at the same time that Jupiter is in a Jupiter hour; at a time when Venus and Jupiter are simultaneously applying to favorable transiting aspect.  These are just some of the possibilities of using the Generalized Planetary Hours in making elections. 

As in the simple Planetary Hours, the first hour is the lower half of the usual 12th house in a conventional horoscope, and it is ruled by whichever planet rules that day:  sun if Sunday, moon if Monday, Mars if Tuesday, Mercury if Wednesday, Jupiter if Thursday, Venus if Friday, and Saturn if Saturday.  Then each succeeding hour (moving clockwise) is ruled by the corresponding Chaldean planet in order: Sun - Venus - Mercury - Moon - Saturn - Jupiter - Mars.  Thus hours spaced 7 apart  (e.g. the 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd) are always ruled by the same planet. 

            In addition to its utility in making elections, the Generalized Planetary Hours can be used as a new kind of natal horoscope.  The zodiac of signs is jettisoned altogether:  planetary positions are stated in terms of hour and decimal fraction (how far into that hour the planet has progressed); but in practice the decimal fraction is ignored (except in primary directions, as described below). 

Aspects are taken from hour to hour rather than with orbs in longitude; thus e.g. two planets are considered to be in a sextile aspect if they lie in hours which are spaced 4 apart; in square aspect if they lie in hours which are spaced 6 apart; in trine aspect if they lie in hours which are spaced 8 apart; and in opposition aspect if they lie in hours which are spaced 12 apart.  One important facet of interpretation is consideration of the aspect (if any) between a planet and its hour ruler as indicating how easily or difficult affairs symbolized by that planet and hour will go.

My informants recommend that we astrologers use this new method of calculating horoscopes and making predictions, because the old way has been too "trampled upon" and misused by generations of inept astrologers.  The zodiac is like a tool which has been banged about by incompetent craftsman and so has lost its sharp edge.  In any case, the spiritual guardians of astrological knowledge find it more difficult to connect to and inspire modern astrologers (as they did our predecessors) because the methods we are using have been rendered profane.

We occidental astrologers - like the rationalistic-materialists who control academia - like things to be "reasonable" - i.e., to be in line with our preconceived concepts.  E.g., we like things to change smoothly and steadily, so that's the only part of nature we study.  But the universe is actually infinitely complex and utterly chaotic; thus only a model which is complex and chaotic is going to be a good reflection of it. Hence the Generalized Planetary Hours uses "hard cusps": aspects are not measured over the line of the cusp no matter how close they are in space (all aspects are taken from hour to hour). In the predictive techniques listed below, rulerships change suddenly and drastically at dawn.  This is why G.P.H. astrology is complex and discontinuous:  to better reflect the reality of the universe.  When aspects are measured from hour to hour (instead of with orbs in longitude), one begins to see aspects taking on wholly new meanings; and you can tune in to a whole new dimension of what aspects are really all about.

However, the principal analysis in Generalized Planetary Hours astrology is based more upon the hour rulerships than upon the aspects.  As Dr. Marc Edmund Jones pointed out, the more abstract the symbolism, the more powerful it is.  G.P.H. horoscopy is an astrology of luck, in contradistinction to conventional horoscopy, which is an astrology of social adaptation.  Where conventional horoscopes reveal the natives' response to cultural and group conditioning, G.P.H. charts are soul horoscopes, showing luck (fate) rather than psychology.  In theory these charts should be able to distinguish between e.g. residents of Beverly Hills and residents of the slums of Mumbai.  Powerful G.P.H. charts (those with many planets in their ruling hours or in hours ruled by friendly planets) are not unlike conventional charts with lots of angular planets; but these operate on a deeper, more subconscious level.  Conventional charts with lots of angular planets are shrewd, cunning, and manipulative; whereas G.P.H. charts with lots of planets in their own hours show adaptability and fluidity, a facility for seizing opportunities and avoiding pitfalls:

The sun in its own hour makes the native brassy, self-assured (pushy), unapologetic, sardonic, demonstrative.

Moon in its own hour gives the native a puppy-like innocence and naivete - sensitive, fresh, and unaffected. 

Mercury in its own hour makes the native thoughtful, sincere, convincing, contemplative, noncommittal (vacillating).

Venus in its own hour is childlike, unassuming, unvarnished, enthusiastic.

Mars in its own hour demands respect.  Jupiter is good with people and the public.  Saturn is determined, inflexible, (cold and ruthless).  The node in a moon hour is soft, vulnerable, intimate (easily hurt). 

To read the hours is like reading the houses in a conventional horoscope, except that in spirit desires are viewed as a weakness (unlike the material plane, where desires are a good).  Each hour of the chart has a specific meaning (health, love, money, etc.) derived from / related to the meanings of the 12-fold house it occupies (i.e. each half-house takes on some of the meanings of the whole house).  In a general kind of way, planets posited in odd hours have successfully completed their spiritual work; whereas planets posited in even hours still have something to accomplish in this area - some lesson still to be learnt, or fear to be overcome.  Planets in odd hours have learned their lessons about their desires - they have a purer approach (to that planet's energy) than even houses, in which the planets are still caught up in desire - running around in little circles somehow. Moreover, the "angular" hours are taken to be 1 - 7 - 13 - 19 (rather than 6 - 12 - 18 - 24 as in conventional astrology); i.e. a planet is powerful as it leaves conjunction with an angle, not as it applies to it. 

Interpretation proceeds from the meaning of an hour (health etc.) and the relationships between planets occupying that hour and the ruler of that hour.  If Saturn occupies an hour ruled by the moon, that is not a good combination; although it can be ameliorated to some degree if the two bodies are also in favorable aspect (or exacerbated by unfavorable aspect).  

One approach to interpreting these charts is by looking at the native's "Tree" - the list of planets according to their hour rulers.  For example, Prince Charles' Tree looks like this:




Prince Charles' planets














Solar Plexus









All planets on a given level (having the same hour ruler) are related as if by aspect.  Empty levels (such as Jupiter in the example) are significant by that fact alone; as are heavily weighted levels. The tree can be viewed as the person's body, indicating where the person puts his or her energy; and what levels are being ignored.  It is possible for pairs of planets to be in mutual reception (each posited in an hour ruled by the other); and, as in Prince Charles' case, there can be sole dispositors: here Mercury is sole dispositor since it is in its own hour and disposes of the sun; the sun in turn disposes of Mars and Jupiter; Mars disposes of Saturn which disposes of the moon which disposes of Venus (and Neptune); and Venus disposes of Uranus and Pluto.  Mercury sole dispositors indicate natives who are thoughtful, contemplative, sincere, and convincing.  So Mercury is very powerful in the Prince Charles' G.P.H. horoscope (a sharp, acute mentality); and Jupiter, by contrast, is quite weak (showing hesitancy, lack of true faith).  The north node is considered to be in its own ruler when it is in a moon hour. 

When there are three or more planets in their own hours, what is shown is great freedom to choose one's own path in life (for good or ill): independence, leisure, ease, comfort.  These natives either enjoy fortunate circumstances from birth, or else (if poor in youth) they have a knack for making their way in the world because people tend to give way to them.  A preponderance of planets in their ruling hours is the mark of very lucky natives who find it easy to bend the rules to their own liking and win ready acceptance for their own desires.  For example, in dealing with rigid institutions, these are the people who can always get special exceptions made in their case.  They keep loose, don't permit themselves to be tied down or inhibited by the caution and uncertainty which daunt most people.  Like cats, they always land on their feet. 

The problem is that a preponderance of planets in their own hours inclines towards laziness and self-satisfaction, which tends to increase after middle age.  Most preponderance natives have little of the "there but for the grace of God go I" attitude.  They tend to forget that they are lucky because they were born with luck - they easily come to believe that they deserve their good fortune.  This is why it's best for a horoscope with a preponderance of planets in their ruling hours to also be severely afflicted vis a vis the aspects, since in this case the natives have a natural brake or reality check on their rapacity in the form of constant rejection by, and conflicts with, other people (even though they always win out in the end).  This is more conducive to self-examination than when the natives are not only indulgent, but also receive approbation for their indulgence.  On the other hand, when there is a preponderance of planets in hours ruled by enemies, then there will be bad luck, dashed hopes, and continual crises and dissatisfaction throughout the life. 

In looking at a person's tree, particular attention must be paid to the harmony / disharmony of the planet and level.  For example, the Saturn level (Grounding) is ideal when planets that operate harmoniously with Saturn (namely ME, JU, SA, & UR) are placed there.  Planets placed there which interact inharmoniously with Saturn (SU, MO, VE, MA, NE, PL) show some kind of incongruity - a "round peg in a square hole".  Too heavy a weighting on the Saturn level shows too grounded a person - i.e. a need to lighten up, not be so heavy and arrogant, to distribute some of that spiritual energy to other levels.   And similarly for the other planets.

To go from this generalized type of chakric / energy analysis to true diagnosis of physical ailments and treatments, it is necessary to use intuition (exactly as in natal interpretation).  I.e. a Saturn-level imbalance could in a given case cause an ailment of the head or back as well as the feet / legs; that specific sort of information has to be obtained psychically (channeled) once the chakric / energy analysis has been done by looking at the tree. 

Synastry is carried out not hour-to-hour, but rather by comparing the two people's trees to see what planets appear on what levels - e.g., if John's sun and Mary's moon are both in hours (in their respective natal horoscopes) ruled by Mars, then this is like a "conjunction" (for better or worse; and better for John and worse for Mary, since the sun likes Mars but the moon doesn't). 

The Generalized Planetary Hours charts can also be used in horary astrology.  Select a planet to rule the question, e.g. Jupiter if about money, Venus if a male seeking love, Mars if a female seeking love, etc. and then calculate the hour in which that planet lies, and its ruler.  If the significator of the question lies in its own hour, the answer is very favorable indeed.  If it lies in an hour ruled by a friendly planet; or it favorably aspects its ruler; then the answer is favorable.  If it lies in an hour ruled by an enemy planet; or if it afflicts its ruler; then the answer is unfavorable. 

Prediction in the Generalized Planetary Hours is by secondary progression, which results in a firdaria kind of scheme which changes suddenly at dawn each succeeding day (i.e. at roughly the same time every year).  In other words, when the sun by quotidian progression arrives at the progressed Ascendant each year, all the hour rulerships change.  E.g., if Saturn was in an hour ruled by Venus, it then moves into an hour ruled by itself - implying that this year will be a better year for Saturn kinds of things (whatever Saturn meant in the natal horoscope).  In other words, if you want to see what the 30th year of life looks like, set up a chart for 30 days after birth.  The planets move through the whole 24 hours in the course of a year.  So if e.g. Saturn was in the first hour in January 2013, it will also be in the first hour in January 2014; but now its ruler is different. 

For example, if you want to see what October 2014 will be like, which is (let us say) 30 years and x months after birth, you cast a chart for 30 days and y hours after birth.  You notice that at this time the sun is in an hour friendly to it, and so is Venus; but Jupiter and Saturn are in hours unfavorable to them (ruled by enemies).  Then you will know that this period is good for matters ruled by the sun and Venus in the radix - i.e., for matters ruled by the hours in which they were posited natally, and which they rule natally, as well as for dealings with authorities, women, etc.  Whereas matters related to hours ruled by Jupiter and Saturn in the radix will not go well this month.

Each planet goes through an hour in a little over two weeks (roughly), and since there are ten planets there will be an average of at least one change in favorable / unfavorable matters every day or two.  So this is a day-to-day system of prediction, which will come up with the tone of each day, week, and month (rather than predicting outstanding events).  It will help in making plans and decisions - the usual stuff of life. 

What we're keeping track of here are periods when Jupiter (say) is in a Jupiter hour at the same time that Mars is in a Mars hour (for elections).  It is also possible to track bad periods, when lots of planets are in hours with whose rulers they conflict. 

What makes this system interesting is that the hour rulerships change ever year (at progressed dawn), so that while it's true that Saturn (say) passes into and out of the 6th hour on about the same date every year, the ruler of the 6th hour will be different every year.  Malefics passing through hours ruled by enemies signify a bad fortnight for the affairs ruled by that hour (especially the dates when they enter or leave that hour). 

If you make a list of the outstanding days of your life; and you take a look at the hour rulerships those days, sorted as to e.g. all the days when the sun was in an hour friendly to itself compared to when it was in an enemy's hour; and so forth with the other planets; you will soon get a feel for what it means to have a day when your sun is in its own ruler (or in an enemy ruler). 

In Generalized Planetary Hours primary directions, the Midheaven is moved forward at the rate of the Placidian True Solar Arc in Right Ascension:  the MC moves in R.A. at the same speed that the secondary progressed sun is moving in R.A.  The Ascendant is dragged along at the same rate in Oblique Ascension.  The Right Ascensions and declinations of natal planets are used to compute January 1st positions (in hours) each year.  Every planet is in each hour for roughly 15 years.  The hours are divided up into 60 "minutes", each about three months long in real time.  The cusps (dates when planets change minutes and - especially - when they change hours) are important; however, the thing is read like the firdaria, i.e., in terms of planetary periods:  e.g. times when Venus is in her own hours are favorable for Venusy things; and Venus in Saturn hours are disappointing for Venusy things.  (Note that in the primary directions the hour rulers remain the same as in the natal horoscope until the sun crosses the Ascendant). 

Just as the planetary periods in the firdaria are subdivided into subperiods, rulerships of the sixty minutes of each hour start with the hour ruler.  When a planet enters a new hour or minute it comes under the influence of that hour's ruler; that minute's ruler; and also any planets posited in that hour in the natal horoscope.  Aspects are taken between directed planets and natal planets from hour to hour; e.g. if natal Mars is located at 15.65 hours = 15 hours 39 minutes; then opposition Mars falls at 3 hours 39 minutes; trine Mars falls at 7 hours 39 minutes; etc. 

Most people are not attentive enough to their own mental patterns and mood swings to understand or feel how dependent they are on underlying cosmic rhythms.  By keeping track of favorable / unfavorable Generalized Planetary Hours periods you'll find it easier to ride them, bend with them, and be attentive to your own inner moods and necessities instead of going against the spirit of the time.

(excerpted from the upcoming book Planetary Hours by Bob Makransky)