The arrangement of the Week into Seven days, each bearing name in tribute to one of the Seven planets known from antiquity, is both a wonderful testimony of and introduction to Astrological teachings. From Old, Man knew of nothing else but that World of which his senses could behold, and within these limitations lay the boundaries of his Universe. Among the known planets of ancient times were the five wandering stars; Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, who were accounted among the deities of Gods. And there were two that were different, the divine luminaries Sun and Moon. The word ‘Planet’ means ‘Wandering Star’, to include the Sun and Moon among the ‘Wanderers’ represented no contradiction in terms.
The construction of the civil seven day week occurred in agreement with that which appeared to be an order in Nature. There were Seven planets, and seven days was also the period of time it took for the Moon to move from one phase to the next. With a seven day week it was possible to exercise a series of rituals on a repetitive basis, and by this also achieving a calendar of expectancy in regard to when specific tasks or routines should be carried out or performed. The first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1.1, is in fact a tribute to this order. As you read through the passage you soon realize the text not only is referring to the Planets, but also to the signs of their exaltations. A.J.Pearce (1840-1923) in his ‘Textbook of Astrology’ is very detailed on this matter. According to A.J.Pearce, a correct translation of the text starts off with; “In the beginning God created the Heavens, the dispositors of the original material”. This being the seven planets.
On the first day of Creation, which we at the same time safely may consider metaphorical, occurred the first creative act, and the day receives its name, Sunday, from the creative and life-giving Sun. The Hebrew word for the number one is Atched, or Ashed, which is a corruption of the words Ash, which means fire or star, and Shed, to pour forth. From this derivation comes also Sheddai, which means the All-Bountiful fire. Aries is the first sign of the tropical zodiac, a landscape which essentially is described as uncultivated and barren. But it was on this day that the first seed was sown, and God said “Be there Light” and according to the powers of the Sun there was light.
The second day is that of the Moon, and in Hebrew the word for the number two is Shemin or Ashnem. The latter is composed of the words Ash, fire, and Nem, slumber, and thus refers to the Star of Slumber. The Moon rules the water element and reflections, so on this day God sent a plough across the expanse to separate water from water. The Moon is exalted in the second sign Taurus. Manilius (100 AD) adds in his description of Taurus that he is wearied from the weight of the plough. Often Taurus is seen as defected and occasionally has a halt.
The third day belongs to Mars, but the name Tuesday is inherited from the Norse god of battle, Tyr. The Hebrew word for the number three is Shelesh or Ash-lesh, which means the flaming star. Shelesh also meaning a general or leader within the army. Mars is exalted in the sign of Capricorn, and on this day God forced the dry land up above the waters. What an excellent explanation to the scapegoat, a creature with both a fishtail and hooves. So the mountains rose forth and God said; “Let the land produce vegetation!” Capricorn is of course an invention and disguise of Pan, the god of nature. So nature did oblige.
Now all the first three figures, the Ram, the Bull and the Scapegoat are all what we call cud-chewing signs, so the first three days of creation were all rather basic and coarse. It wasn’t until the fourth day, Wednesday, that everything got digested and put into a system.
The fourth day belongs to Mercury, although the name is received from its Norse counterpart Wotan or Odin. The Hebrew word for the number four, Arabo, is composed of the words Ar, light, and Rabo, meaning activity, business or employment – so Mercury is “the star of employment”. Mercury both rules and is exalted in the sign of Virgo, which puts it in rather a unique position. Virgo is the sign of the digestive system, so on this day everything created on the prior days was put into an order and given instructions, and there were two lights. The Sun was set to rule by Day, and the Moon by Night. As chief of the Norse gods this weekday appears in the middle of all the others. In German the day is called Mittwoch, which means middle-week.
The fifth day is assigned to Jupiter, and receives its name Thursday from the Norse god Thor. Thor is the god of thunder and a parallel of the Roman Jupiter. The Hebrew word for the number five, Chemash, is formed by Chem, warmth, and Ash, a star – meaning the warming star. In the Tetrabiblos Ptolemy emphasises the influence of Jupiter is primarily warm, rather than moist. However, Jupiter is exalted in the sign of Cancer, and on this day he was set to rule the large animals, particularly those of the sea, and God created the birds and commanded that there should be abundance in both sea and sky. “Be fruitful and increase in number.” This is very in agreement with the Jupiterian principle. Jupiter is the Greater Benefic and God bless that which was created on this day.
The sixth day belongs to Venus. However, the name of the weekday is derived from the Germanian Freya, which is a corruption of the Scandinavian Froya and Frigg. In Hebrew they number six, Shish, is an abbreviation of Ash-ish which means the Star of Existence. On the sixth day Man was created and Creation completed, and hence gave uprise to existence. According to Job (38:6-7) the cornerstone or capstone of creation was laid down, while the morning stars sang together and all the angels (or Sons of God) shouted for joy. Music and happiness are both virtues of Venus. Venus is exalted in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac. Hence it was a good day for completing and putting the crown on the work, so to speak. Venus is the Lesser Benefic, so God created the living creatures on this day and blessed them. God said: “Let us create Man in our image”, and Man and Woman were created. Therefore Venus is the ruler and angel of the Human race. Pisces indicates diversity and opposites of sex.
The seventh day, Saturn, receives its name for the planet Saturn. Shebo, the Hebrew word for the number seven, is a combine of the words Ash, a star, and Sheb, old age. Thus, Saturn is the star of Old age. Shebo also means to have plenty or be full, with reference to Saturn’s rulership over the products of the earth. The expression ‘to be saturated’ (or flooded) stems from meaning of Saturn. The word Sheb also means to return or restore, and also used in appliance to the turn of the year, the ending and new beginning.
The root of the name Saturn comes from the Hebrew term Sater, which means to hide or conceal. The other name of Saturn, Kronos, arises from the Hebrew word Kron, a horn, which in the East is recognized as a symbol of power. In English the day bears the easy recognizable name Saturday, which lies close up to the Latin Saturni dies. But in Norwegian the day is called lördag, coming from the Norse laugardagr, which means washing day in reference to the ancient rinsing customs of the church.
Saturn is the Greater Malefic and rules variations of endings and deadness. His exaltation is in Libra, which opposes the first sign, Aries. In a general way it is thought that nothing will benefit under the influence of the Greater Malefic, so on this day God did “nothing”. Libra does no work and the Scales are lay idle, hence the term “Lazy Libra”. Saturn rules the cooling process and the seventh day became the day of rest. But it is on this day, or under this influence, that one is weighed or judged. It is a mechanical and natural law or balance of nature (karma). In spite of Saturn’s malefic nature, God did bless this day and made it holy, because on this day he rested, or ceased, from creating. From this day springs the expression “holiday”, which originally was the Holy day.
For even more information on this topic, or maybe a slightly different approach, I would suggest visiting my website: www.astronor.com/creation.htm
Week days and Planetary Hours
The Weekdays are the baseline for a much wider and detailed system of Planetary Hours, where each day of the week is divided into 24 hours and each of the planets take offices in a rotating and unbroken fashion according to the planetary order in the ptolemaic system. This is a little beyond topic in this article, however I have so much I could write about the planetary hours (the question of radicality and technicalities), that it has to be treated separately and elsewhere. But in this brief version and introduction to the topic, the first hour of Sunday commences at Sunrise and is ruled by the Sun. The hours of the Day are then divided into 12 equal portions, and the 12 hours of the Night similarly. The first hour of Sunday is ruled by the Sun, the second hour is ruled by Venus, the third hour is ruled by Mercury, the fourth by the Moon, the fifth hour is ruled by Saturn, the sixth by Jupiter and the seventh by Mars. And so the chain continues to rotate, such that the 24th and final hour of Sunday is ruled by Mercury – and the first hour of the next day, Monday, is ruled by the Moon.
In Astrology the day begins at dawn and lasts until dawn the next day. The day doesn’t change at midnight. Sunday begins at sunrise on Sunday and lasts until sunrise the next day, and then it is Monday. So if you are born on a Thursday just a few hours after midnight and ahead of dawn, you are astrologically still born on Wednesday, the day of Mercury. Mixing up the planetary days with those early births is a mistake that it is very easy to do, so it is important to pay attention.
But there is another very important point that I want to get to, and that is that the ancient astrologers were very specific regarding the divisions of Day and Night. And this is a very important part of information that we virtually have forgotten. The first hour of the civil day of Sunday is ruled by the Sun, but according to ancient astrologers and the rotation of order within the planetary hours, the first hour after sunset on a Sunday is ruled by Jupiter. So Jupiter becomes the ruler of Sunday night.
This provides us with an entirely new depth of information to our understanding of the weekdays, because Sunday night is ruled by Jupiter, Monday night is ruled by Venus, Tuesday night is ruled by Saturn, Wednesday night is ruled by the Sun, Thursday night is ruled by the Moon, Friday night is ruled by Mars, and finally Saturday night is ruled by Mercury.
By adding the information of the Night-rulers to our table of planetary weekdays, we make some interesting discoveries.
Regarding Sunday we notice that Jupiter and the Sun share the fiery triplicity among them; the Sun ruling fire by day, whilst Jupiter is the ruler by night. The Sun is highlighted since he disposes of Aries by both exaltation and triplicity. While the Sun is the creative force and ‘All-bountiful Star’, this benefic influence and point of worship becomes more apparent through the nocturnal rulership of Jupiter. Jupiter is also the ruling God and leading influence at Olympus, the domain of the Gods.
Venus is the ruler of Taurus, which is the exaltation sign of the Moon and which takes position on Monday. Together the Moon and Venus share the rulership and disposition of the Earth triplicity. Venus rules by Day, and Moon rules by Night. The Moon is highlighted because the disposes of Taurus by both exaltation and triplicity. The Moon is termed fruitful, the office of the Moon is natural to refer to if a woman wishes to become with child. Venus, the Star of Existence, shares in these interests and also offers many comforts of nourishment, joy, agreement and acceptance that are beneficial to the Moon.
Tuesday belongs to the infortunes Mars and Saturn. Mars by Day and Saturn by Night. Mars and Saturn are of opposite powers, i.e. Mars is hot, Saturn is cold. So in many cases these planets combat and fight, however, Saturn is the natural ruler of Capricorn, the exaltation of Mars – so in this sign they cooperate and work together. Within the act of Creation, Tuesday represented nothing but a hard day’s work and was a day of rather violent happenings. The dry ground and mountains were forced forth and lifted out of the waters. But unfortunate happenings on a Tuesday were often taken as a token of warning.
Wednesday is a special day because it belongs to Mercury, but whom also is Wotan or Odin and chief among the Gods within Norse mythology. It is the Day of Virgo, and Mercury both rules and is exalted in Virgo, which represents a state of purification. The fact that the Sun gets to rule Wednesday by night, represents this unique leadership role appointed to Mercury. The day of Mercury is placed in the middle of all the others. Odin becomes the administrator of the Gods of the Norse. Also, the Sun is closely related with the Apollo, suggesting some of the more flexible and dexterous talents associated with Mercury. Odin is the ‘One-eyed’ God. The symbol of Mercury represents the joining of Sun and Moon, but at which time the Moon is invisible and lost. “Mercury corrupts the Moon”, is a well-known phrase within classical astrology. Often reason and intellect will attempt to override and cut short the subjective needs and expression of feeling and emotion. So with Mercury, the Moon is often sacrificed and the Sun takes priority.
The Moon becomes the ruler of Thursday night. Jupiter, the prime ruler and guardian of Thursday has his exaltation in Cancer, but this is the natural home of the Moon. So there can be little doubt about the fertile qualities associated with the day. From tradition there is a very close relationship between Jupiter and the Moon, and if you look closely at Jupiter’s glyph or symbol, the crescent waxing Moon, is sitting and rising on the cross of Jupiter, his ascendant or right shoulder.
Friday night, beginning with the first hour after Sunset, is ruled by Mars. Venus is the Star of Existence, and Man was created on this day, but also the sexes – as Mars and Venus are opposites, and Pisces is the sign of diversity. Venus is exalted in Pisces, but which also is the triplicity of Mars. Mars is the planet of passion, as are many attractions (Venus) of the Heart also irrational.
Mercury becomes the nocturnal ruler of Saturday. Saturn and Mercury share the triplicity of air amongst them. Saturn by day, Mercury by night. Saturn is highlighted because he disposes of Libra by both exaltation and triplicity. Saturday is traditionally a day of cleansing (Mercury), but also of meditation and purification. According to the Scales it is also a Day of reckoning. You are measured and weighed, or rather inspected and Balanced (karma). Saturn and Mercury are considered friends in the system of planetary powers, because although Mercury is always coloured by the planet or planets he associates with, both Mercury and Saturn are essentially cool of nature.
In conclusion the diurnal and nocturnal rulers of the weekdays do, when considered together, provide more information regarding the design of the seven day week and the meanings allotted to each of the days. Also we understand more about the alliances among the planets and the virtues they share by sign, disposition and the mixing of powers. The position, condition and astrological state of the Moon should always be given more consideration in a nocturnal chart, then also in priority and ahead of the Sun. Additionally, in a night chart, give greater importance to the planetary ruler of the weekday night.
The last thing I should add is that somebody asked me: “How do we know that it is Monday?” The answer is that somewhere along the line this was decided, whether it was logical or not, but from that point our civil rituals became logged onto this sequence of rituals. So the order of planetary days, and also planetary hours, have meaning for our civil routines, questions, needs and affairs – and as a point of reference. But it would seem unreasonable that mundane matters like earthquakes and meteorology were affected in a likewise manner.