I really like Jason Miller. He's a contemporary sorcercer/mage who's got a significant web presence and has written lots of interesting books. One key concept of his that I have really embraced is the idea that magic, particularly financial magic, but any magic looking to influence material things, needs to be one part of a complete pragmatic strategy. Do the money magic, he says, but you better also have a budget, financial plans, work smart, etc.
Jason is a colleague that I have real respect for, but I did feel like I had to make some sort of response to a recent mass e-mail I got from him. In the e-mail Jason provided instructions for a mass Jupiter ritual today March 20, 2015. I thought the ritual was good, but even Jason acknowledged that March 20 did not have ideal astrological conditions for Jupiter. I'll just quote him,
"TIMING: Some people have found the timing of the rite strange for a number of reasons. First is that it is on a Friday rather than Thursday, the day of Jupiter. As I have states in the past, the system of days and hours can be used to time things when appropriate but should not be allowed to be a restriction. Jupiter is in the sky and the God is the god on ALL days. The second concern is that Jupiter is retrograde until April 8th. Planetary force tends to build immense strength just before going direct and this rite will hopefully place people into a good position to take advantage of this. The third concern is that there is a Solar Eclipse and people tend to view eclipses as negative. In my view the eclipse removes a power from the mix, turning the volume up on all the other planets and forces filling the vacuum. This is why in Tibet for instance, Dharmic actions are said to have 10,000 times more effect. By doing the Jupiter rite, not just for ourselves but for others, we are taking advantage of the increased power of Jupiter, as well as strengthening the influence of this greater benefic during a time that the Sun's influence is in question. It is a positive all around."
Ok, from the standpoint of accepting the validity of astrological timing, I suppose you could talk your way around one or two problems, but doing a Jupiter ritual on March 20 is really saying "forget astrological timing!" After all if Jupiter is always in the sky, what's the point?
I understand why this is going to be attractive. First, it takes a lot of effort to learn traditional astrology. Second, one of the key attributes of the magician is a very strong individual will. Having to restrain that will and wait till the appropriate timing comes around kind of goes against the grain. Following astrological timing is also inconvenient. It causes me all sorts of hassles with my trips to Japan, trying to get a decent time astrologically that also fits for a workshop. Sometimes the best times astrologically are at 3am, and getting up in the middle of the night is a hassle.
Magicians not being that into astrological timing or not that good at it are not something new. Magicians, both now and in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, usually didn't get much beyond Moon phases, planetary hours or the Moon in signs is about as advanced as they ever got. I discuss this in depth for the Greater Key of Solomon here
So why bother? Well, our illustrious predecessors thought astrological timing was very important, Cornelius Agrippa says,
Every natural vertue doth work things far more wonderful when it is not onely compounded of a natural proportion, but also is informed by a choice observation of the Celestials opportune to this..Also in every work there are to be observed, the situation, motion, and aspect of the Stars, and Planets, in Signs and Degrees, and how all these stand in reference to the length and latitude of the Climate; for by this are varyed the qualities of the angles, which the rays of Celestial bodies upon the figure of the thing describe, according to which Celestial vertues are infused. So when thou art working any thing which belongs to any Planet, thou must place it in its dignities, fortunate, and powerful, and ruling in the day, hour, and in the Figure of the Heaven. Neither shalt thou expect the signification of the work to be powerful, but also thoo must observe the Moon opportunely directed to this; for thou shalt do nothing without the assistance of the Moon: And if thou hast more patterns of thy work, observe them all being most powerful,...
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch 29.
Let me just provide some personal anecdotal evidence as well. I once created some Jupiter talismans, and even used Jupiter day and hour, but Jupiter was in detriment and retrograde. I immediately began to have big financial losses, until I finally deconsecrated the talisman.
I think the key here is "doth work things far more wonderful" Agrippa is not saying and I don't necessarily believe that just because you do a ritual with bad astrological conditions that it will automatically fail or backfire or something. Though from my one anecdotal experience, this is possible. I want to emphasize that not following astrological timing does not mean INSTANT DISASTER 100% of the time because there is a definite tendency for newbies to get totally FREAKED OUT and frightened at the slightest possibility of a mistake or problem using magic.
It seems rather obvious that when using an astrological factor like a planet or star in a ritual that it would make sense to consider its astrological strength, weakness or affliction. It's like asking a friend for a favor. Do you call them when they are feeling good, in a good mood at a reasonable hour? Or do you wake them up in the middle of the night when they have a cold? Which of these is likely to get better results?
It therefore seems logical that if ritual is good, then ritual + proper astrological timing, supercharges the power of the ritual. This has certainly been my experience and the experience of ritual magicians who reported back to me after using astrological timing. "It felt like it hit the sweet spot" was a typical response by a very experienced ritual magician who I did a ritual election for.
Planetary ritual without proper timing may certainly work, I am no way saying that it is always doomed to fail. What I do think, however, it is that you are fighting against the tide to do a Jupiter ritual without Jupiter day or hour and with Jupiter retrograde. Moon combust after an eclipse is not helping either!
So let's call a spade, a spade. Let's be honest about what we are doing and if we are going to toss out astrological timing, let's be straight about it, rather doing it by subterfuge by insisting that each individual factor, no matter what it is, is astrologically fine.
So, as I said, I have great respect for Jason and I always look forward to reading his posts and his books, which are always thoughtful and well done. As an astrological magician, however, I have to respectfully dissent from the idea that astrological timing is not important for planets, stars and other astrological factors. It is worth the time to learn, because if your ritual planetary and stellar work is good to start with, proper astrological timing will turbocharge it.
And let me go further, I would be happy to collaborate and provide astrological timing for this sort of mass planetary ritual. If you are a magician and more than 100 people are going to participate, contact me and let's discuss getting good astrological timing!