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Many people work magic when the urge or the need prompts them to do so. Sometimes people will acknowledge the cycle of the moon to plan their workings accordingly. Yet overall, the timing of a magical working is hardly considered as an important part of the magic. If the magic to be performed is working with energy, spirits, or engages with the Gods, then the timing of the rite is not particularly important. However, if the magical working is dealing with a form of planetary or celestial magic, then paying careful attention to the astrological auspices and planetary day and hour becomes much more important. I would also point out that any magical working that is focused on a strategic outcome in the life of the practitioner should also include a greater awareness of the auspices of the moment or event of the magic.
What I am proposing here is another magical model, known as the temporal model of magic. This model is not readily known to many Witches or Pagans, but those who wish to work planetary magic or seek to make a dramatic change in their lives should learn to master this important model. You might ask, why is the timing of a magical working so important? How does the temporal model work? If we consider that there is no implicit destiny operating in individuals and the collective of human life, then we would have to assume that life's meaning and direction are determined not by some external pre-ordained process but by our own initiative. We create our own destiny, and that destiny can be shaped and changed over the span of our lifetimes. There is no predestination in life—only possibilities and potentials.
The temporal model of magic is a method for determining the potentials for a given outcome based on an elective event for working magic. Using this model goes against the modern quest for immediate gratification, but I have found that such impulses are a tragic distraction to careful planning. While magic cannot produce miracles or what are called "black swan" events with any kind of assurance, knowing the potential of the moment can assist one in determining when magic can be used to influence or bend probabilities so that a desired outcome can be achieved.
How we can make that determination depends on our level of expertise in the use and analysis of astrological charts. We can examine the astrological transits, moon phase for an event and then schedule it during the best selection for planetary day and hour. We can cast an elective chart for that event and scrutinize it, and we can compare that chart with our natal chart to get a complete picture of the astrological potential at work at that moment. While these kinds of analysis may seem rather complex, the more knowledge that we have about the event for a planned working then the better will be the possible outcome. Knowledge of the moment is powerful determinant for the practitioner.
Astrology is the only system of divination that can accurately determine when something might occur. All other forms of divination can reveal a sequence of events, but for the timing of a potential possibility, only astrology can reveal that mystery to us. There are two similar points of view at work in astrology. The first point of view is that astrological occurrences are ever-changing, based as they are on the rotation and orbiting of the planets around the sun from the perspective of an earth-bound observer. Like the hands of a clock, the positions of the planets and the orbit of the earth around the sun is continually changing. The other point of view is a snapshot of the moment within that continually changing process. While the constant changing and interacting planetary aspects might be overwhelming, that single moment can be examined in detail to determine its meaning and significance.
It is that moment, or snapshot of time, that is significant in natal astrology, elective astrology, and horary astrology. Yet there is another point of view that is operating in this art, and that is the moment when an astrologer casts a chart and delineates it. When an astrologer casts a chart, the patterns and auspices of that moment are revealed. Since predetermination is known to be a false assumption, then the moment when an astrological chart is cast and interpreted by an astrologer becomes the most significant moment. It is part of the divinatory magic that also occurs when rune stones, I-Ching coins, geomancy sticks, knucklebones, or dice are tossed, tarot cards shuffled and laid out, or a pendulum is deployed against a map or cloth of symbols. All these systems of divination contain a wealth of symbolic correspondences and meanings, but they are only activated when the reader deploys them. The same is true with astrology and magic. The moment when the reader or magical practitioner deploys their art, that is the crucial moment when meaning is generated and potential possibilities realized.
Whether we pay strict attention to that moment when magic is performed or ignore it altogether, there is still a significant importance and meaningfulness associated with that event. To focus on that moment and to gain whatever degree of knowledge we can based on our knowledge of astrology is to fully realize what is occurring and what might be the outcome of that moment. That knowledge can also be used to select the best time to perform that magical working, and it can also assist one in properly selecting the best kind of magic to deploy. What lies behind this knowledge, of course, is the reason for performing this working. What is the objective of the magic and what are we seeking when we work it? All these considerations work together to help us assemble a magical working at the most optimal time and utilizing the best magical methods.
Celestial magic, or magic employing the planets, signs or even the fixed stars, relies heavily on the use of the temporal model of magic. Without analyzing and determining the date and time to work this magic then the powerful meaningfulness of the magic as determined by the moment will be lost. This is particularly true when working with talismans. Since they represent a perpetual emanation of magic, determining the optimal date and time to perform the working to generate them is critically important. We want a talisman that will empower our objectives in the most auspicious and significant manner possible. Generating a talisman that has either less potency or one that might produce an inverse or negative outcome would be something that we would want to avoid. Because is talisman is active 24 hours a day, seven days week for perpetuity, then ensuring a good outcome in the moment of their generation is a critical consideration.
When we add to these considerations to timing for either a lunar mansion or an astrological decan then determining the optimal time can be limited by finding an occurrence where the moon is waxing, and the astrological auspices are optimal. Determining that special event may force a practitioner to schedule it months in advance when celestial attributes are adequately or even perfectly aligned. If the magic is going to produce a strategic change in one's life, then carefully selecting a time when it can be performed should not be a problem. It should be part of the discipline of working this kind of magic. All other kind of approaches that ignore this critical consideration can not only produce mediocre results, but it could also produce malefic ones as well. This might be useful to generate a talismanic field that operates as a curse to be projected on a malefactor or opponent; it would not be helpful if one is seeking a constructive outcome for oneself.
As you can see, the temporal model of magic is important when a magical working is being performed to make a strategic change in one's life, or in the fashioning of a talismanic artifact. It was part of the rigor for working talismanic magic as it was done before the 20th century, since all celestial magic relied on the precise moment when an event occurred to passively expose a talismanic artifact. Since the Golden Dawn introduced the hexagram and pentagram devices to generate planetary and elemental fields whenever required, the need for determining the auspices have become less important to some. However, using the temporal model when working celestial magic when deploying the hexagram and pentagram devices will ensure that the moment of the magic will be captured and fully determined. It will make a potential probability more likely to occur.
In my new book, Talismanic Magic for Witches, I fully cover not only the theory of the temporal model of magic, but also the myths behind it and its practical application. I show the Witch or Pagan who aspires to work talismanic magic how they might go about selecting the optimal time and date for a working. I show the reader examples and how a given actual date might be examined for its potentially enhanced outcome or whether the auspices might force one to elect a different date. All these factors are thoroughly covered so that the reader can effectively and confidently choose the optimal time to perform a working without having to be an astrological expert. Knowing astrology is important, particularly knowing your own natal chart and how to determine your strengths and weaknesses, but this knowledge is readily available to everyone without having to study for years before attempting a competent talismanic working.
Frater Barrabbas (Richmond, VA) is a practicing ritual magician who has studied magick and the occult for over thirty-five years. He is the founder of a magical order called the Order of the Gnostic Star and he is an elder ...