In his book, The Celestial Way: The Spiritual Path of the Stars and Planets, Christopher Warnock suggests one way to find meaning in life is to look to the Hermetic traditions, the centrepiece of which is Logos, one of the most complex concepts in the Hellenistic world: it means nothing less than the natural order of being, the rhyme and reason of creation.
One Hermetic tradition of particular interest to Warnock is that of the Sabians of Harran, the last remnants of the pagan Greek and Roman civilisations living in the southwest of modern-day Turkey. As Warnock reminds us, it’s typical for traditional religions to link planets or other celestial factors with gods. But The Harranian Sabians had a strong astrological-based faith, which, at the very least, heavily influenced the Picatrix, a critical European astrological magic grimoire from the Renaissance and Middle Ages.
According to Warnock, magic opens us up to the spiritual plane and encourages us to encounter it first-hand. Astrology orients us to the temporal world by connecting with the underlying patterns and rhythms. Put the two together, as did the Harranian Sabians, and we have the makings for a celestial way, which Warnock considers a practical and applied approach to the study of Logos.
The first steps in our study are daily low-intensity personal encounters with the planets (and the angels associated with them). Our purpose is to develop an increasingly better relationship with both. The Picatrix is a virtual recipe box for such work, providing extensive planetary invocations, devotional practice, and tips for prayer/petitions. Warnock introduces us to some of these in (sometimes rather gory) detail.
For example, assume you have that problematic Saturn in Cancer mentioned in the first blog post of this series. An excellent way to develop a better relationship with Saturn, in general, is to set aside some time on the day of Saturn (each Saturday), preferably in the Saturn hour. You can use a good astrology program to find the planetary hours (always in the same order, but the ‘hour’ will be at different lengths depending on the time of the year. You can also use a free calculator such as https://planetaryhours.net. If you can’t manage the day and the hour, settle for the day. The Picatrix anticipates elaborate preparations for this meet and greet exercise, primarily because the idea was to petition the various planets for things.
Until you’ve more practice with the planetary encounters, it’s best not to petition the planets for anything. Timing is everything when you do so (including making talismans), and unless you know what you’re doing, it’s more likely to go wrong than right.
It’s also not necessary to go through the elaborate preparations outlined in the Picatrix – i.e. wearing black or going to particular locations. But it won’t hurt to light a black candle before spending a few moments with Saturn quietly in your imagination. Likewise, you may wish to burn some appropriate incense and recite a short, spoken invocation to Saturn:
O you Lord, whose name is mighty, whose appearance great and whose sphere is higher than any planet, look with favour upon us, grant us success, free us from fear and anxiety, and help us to be happy, healthy and safe. Thanks be unto you, O Saturn!
It also won’t hurt to remember that Saturn is associated with patience, wisdom, and endurance. So if your Saturn in Cancer manifest in generalised anxiety and feelings of emotional inadequacy, when in communication with Saturn, you might be the lookout for why that might be the case and how you might gain more self-confidence. Tune in to Saturn every week and do keep a diary.
Is there more?
Well, yes, there might be … (to be continued).