This post is a reflection on workings done from the book “Planetary Magick” by Denning & Phillips. I have not read the book in its entirety, I’ve only drawn from the sections relevant to this practice.
A few years ago, I, along with several of my then coven mates, did planetary invocations of deities associated with the planets based on exercises drawn from the above mentioned text. We spent a week invoking Egyptian deities, according to their planetary hour, and then another week doing the same for Greek deities.
There was a fair amount of prep work involved in the practice. I spent a few hours calculating the planetary hours in order to time my practices right. (It was summer so the times were quite early). Thankfully my more tech savvy coven mate came up with an excel spreadsheet to calculate the hours so if I ever do this in the future, I won’t need to spend nearly as much time on this aspect of preparation.
I had to grab a few supplies to represent the planets: colored candles and fabric (for altar cloths); incense (scents associated with the planets; and music. Some of the stuff, if I were to do it again, I’d probably forgo. For example, I don’t think I needed colored altar cloths. But the work is about evoking the energies associated with each planet so the authors were really layering the tools to help strengthen the links.
The work was illuminating to say the least.
I won’t speak for the others who did this practice, beyond saying the following:
- we had enough in the way of shared experiences (viewed through the lens our own personalities) to feel like we were tapping into the same energetic currents
- doing it at different times of the day (am/pm) meant that the impact of the invocation was slightly different
For Sunday, I invoked Ra, as detailed in the text (with slight modifications to be more aligned with my own practice – in other words, a little more simplified). It was a fiery, energy filled day. But the week later, when I invoked Apollo, I really saw the difference. That same difference played out as I worked with the rest of the week and the two pantheons.
Working with the Egyptian pantheon was sometimes intense. The energies that emerged were strong and earthy; intuitive and fierce. I loved it. Even when they were sometimes challenging states of being during the day, they were visceral. Mercury through the lens of Tahuti invoked order and the need to document everything with precision. Jupiter invoked through Amun-Ra was so filled with sadness over the suffering of humanity that it was sometimes overwhelming. I’d always seen Jupiterian energy as very Sagittarian and the depth of its sadness took me by surprise. Saturn through Neith was vast and expansive and reminded me of the need to see ourselves as part of something so much bigger. And yet, also with very firm boundaries.
Working with the Greek pantheon, was very different. The energies were more familiar, but also more whimsical at times. I should qualify that statement with the fact that that same whimsy also brought with it some of the best light hearted joys within the practice. Working with Apollo as the sun was a surprising delight after working with Ra the week before. It was filled with awe and beauty and was something I carried with me throughout the day. Mars through Hephaestus was gentler. Jupiter experienced through Zeus was more home and family focused.
Invoking the energies of both pantheons, one week after another, was fascinating. The energy of Ra is so different than Apollo that I don’t think it serves to simply say that both are sun gods. They are different types of sun gods, based on the environments and cultures from which they stem. Which leads me to wonder about what a sun deity from this land would feel like. What would their energy signature feel like and how would it be influenced by the land and culture?
I don’t have an answer to these questions and that’s ok. What I do take from the practice is the reminder that one cannot just plug and play with the gods, mixing a Greek God with an Egyptian Goddess: their energies are vastly different and may not be aligned at all. Even if we believe that all gods are one god as the expressions of said god are vastly different across time and space. I know that a lot of practitioners out there do take this approach, but my experience has taught me to be wary of oversimplifying things. And I suppose, in the end, this is the reason why I felt compelled to share this practice with others: any time spent working with the different gods will reveal that we cannot simply say “all gods are one god” without a great deal of nuanced understanding of that statement – if we even believe such a thing.