People frequently ponder the most effective time for a spell, and in all honesty, it varies. Within the Compass it is believed that astrological timing is really more about making your spell easier to manifest rather than giving your spell a success or failure rate of 100% in either direction.
Within the worldview of the Stardust Compass there are any number of celestial objects, temporal markers, and terrestrial systems which determine correspondences (e.g.: seasons, days of the weeks, lunar phases, etc). Systems like these exist in every religion around the world, and it’s the way that magickal practitioners from all paths have attempted to better align their desires for change with the cosmic forces at play. From culture to culture the meanings for various celestial objects and times can vary wildly, while others are nigh-identical.
When it comes to the Stardust Compass, know that many of the common celestial correspondences are in near-total to total alignment with the commonly accepted “western magickal system” worldview (dawn for new things, thursdays for job stability, venus for love, etc).
Note: For the sake of this article we’re going to call everything that is a time-based alignment in order to conduct a ritual (e.g.: season, time of day, lunar phase, etc) a cosmic / celestial force (even if the force is, in fact, terrestrial in origin).
Each celestial object or event has a sort of “gravity wave” that it gives off which aligns along it’s specific correspondence. For instance, a Wednesday has a gravity wave which relates to the concepts of communication, travel, and trickery. This wave has the unique function, however, of manipulating spellwork dependant on whether the spellwork is in alignment with it (e.g.: a spell to help your interview go flawlessly) or is contrary to it.
Think of it like you are swimming. If your intention is in alignment with the wave, it is at your back, helping you move towards your goal with ease. This often results in spellwork which manifests faster and with greater efficiency.
Alternatively, depending on how misaligned your goal is, your intention could be pushed off course (requiring more energy to eventually make it to your goal) or severely slowed and unable to make any progress at all.
Long term waves (such as the sign Saturn is in or the Season where you live) move slowly, but only abate after long durations of time. This means that a short-term goal is often accomplished without a witch noticing much of a change to their projected completion date, and the date of actualization. It also means that short-term spells don’t often require much more additional energy when a spell is out of alignment with a long term cosmic event. Alternatively, a long-term spell that is out of alignment with a long-term wave often can require a serious investment of energy in order to complete on time (if at all) while it’s constantly having to swim against the cosmic waves.
Short term waves (such as the day of the week or lunar phase) move much quicker, and abate after briefer durations of time. This means that a short-term goal is often accomplished with a much faster resolution (if in alignment) or can be severely hampered (if out of alignment). It also means that short-term spells that are out of alignment require a much greater investment of energy if the witch wants them to succeed. Alternatively, a long-term spell that is out of alignment with a short-term wave is often not affected as severely, frequently being built with the expectation that it will be required to endure a lot of short-term variances via cosmic waves along the way.
Waves, of course, also can affect each other and frequently need to be taken into account en masse by the practicing witch. Multiple short term waves working in one’s favor can often cancel out a long term wave working against you (e.g.: conducting a new lover spell at mabon, but ensuring it’s done on a Friday, in the hour of Venus, at Dawn, etc). This is, of course, especially true if your intended spellwork is designed to be short term. The same effects can be true in reverse (a long term wave nullifying the effects of multiple short term waves working against you); though this is also only generally true if your spellwork is designed to be long term.
Of course, lets not forget that the use of evocation in ritual is a powerful one, and should be considered when one’s working is in alignment with a preexisting cosmic wave (such as evoking Jupiter on a Thursday when conducting works in alignment with him, et alia). Summoning forth one or two of the cosmic forces that are in alignment with your goal can be an exceptionally wise decision for any practicing witch, just be sure not to overdo it. Evoking everyone and everything all at once in a ritual (especially if you are newer to witchcraft) can cause both you, and your rite, to lose focus and the spirits can get testy.
ENERGY IN SPELLWORK
Remember that all spellwork requires energy, and various obstacles stand between your spell reaching its target (and when it gets there, doing it’s work). When a spell is cast (especially one guided and carried along with the help of various spirits) it will utilize the energy it is sent along with in order to surmount obstacles, avoid pitfalls, and then finally enact your will upon the target (be it material or immaterial). However, it can be greatly influenced by those aforementioned cosmic waves.
If the waves are helping push it along, it could arrive at the goal early and with much more energy than was anticipated. Once there, it could attain your results for you quicker simply because it was able to instantly unload a massive payload of energy (which went mostly unused during its trip, as the waves pushed it along). This is one of the main reasons why witches find benefit in utilizing the waves to their benefit.
Alternatively, if you cast your spell during a time when the seas are choppy and the waves are hindering your spellwork, it can often cause more energy to simply go into transit to your goal (and eventual manifestation) than you planned. What’s potentially even worse, your spell could run out of energy mid-transit simply because it had to expend all of it’s energy just fighting the oncoming opposing waves. This is the other reason why witches often ensure that the waves are working for them before they begin a working, or ensure they put extra “oomph” behind their spell if the waves are against them.
ALIGNING TO THE CURRENTS
Sometimes, whether by random chance or by brute force, our spellwork and the cosmos align perfectly in our favor. Yet, even within everything on our side, we work a spell and it fails. Why? Often this is the witch was trying to attain a goal that their magick was unable to retrieve, no matter how much was in their favor.
Conversely, the same is true when conducting spellwork where everything seems to be working against the practitioner, yet the spell succeeds. Usually this is because either the witch feverishly wanted their goal (and put an immense amount of energy behind it), or the universe was already about to drop it into their lap with the slightest tap to begin with.
WHAT ABOUT BEGINNER’S LUCK?
From the perspective of the Stardust Compass, “Beginner’s Luck” is simply a result of one or more entities having such a large desire for you to become a practitioner (and ideally work for them if you do) that they will often go out of their way to ensure that your first few attempts at spellwork manifest so that you aren't discouraged right out of the gate. This can be an excellent boost to the oncoming witch, but can also frequently lead to a big head with delusions of grandeur due to their immediate successes, or later frustrations when spellwork no longer happens with such effortlessness.
THE CURRENTS WITHIN THE COMPASS
While many witches realize the value in utilizing the cosmos to their advantage, they often won’t do the research to understand the systems for themselves (besides, perhaps, lunar cycles and sabbats). What’s worse, is that since many systems disagree with each other, a beginning witch can often have difficulty understanding which information to follow (especially if they aren't utilizing a set tradition with it’s own set correspondences).
From the perspective of the Stardust Compass, we typically value the (major) astrological alignments with the following order:
- Special Day (wedding, etc)
- Season (especially if near a proper Sabbat)
- Lunar Phase
- Day of the Week
- Time of Day (Dawn / Midday / Dusk / Midnight)
- Planetary Hour
Note: There are other, more nuanced factors can be taken into effect regarding conducting a spell such as planetary alignments, etc. While these are still considered influencers, they are not generally felt to have as powerful an effect for the beginner / intermediate witch as lunar phases or seasonal effects. Hence the truncated list above.
DETERMINING THE PROPER TIME FOR A RITE
When planning out when to work a spell, start by looking at your personal calendar to determine what days and times you are available in the near future. You won’t do yourself any good by trying to conduct a “new job” spell at 3am if your interview is the next morning, and you end up botching it because you are overly tired. Conversely, there is no reason to rush a spell that won’t even likely manifest for another 6 months or more.
Next, gather the data for the available items above based on the days and times you are available. Most witches I know start by looking at the most advantageous upcoming lunar phase and then determining what specific days / hours are available for them to conduct the spellwork from there.
Note: This is where a basic understanding of the meanings and effects of the seasons, planets, and more are necessary. Take your time and do some reading within the tradition or mythology you practice. If you have more than one and they disagree on various parts, ask the gods & spirits for their advice on how to solve your dilemma.
Some of the more advanced practitioners will often cast spells at seemingly random times based on spirit guidance. Often this is due to a longstanding relationship of trust and respect with a spirit who has excellent foresight and can guide a witch into a proper time regardless of the cosmic waves. This method for working spells is not advised for new practitioners, as it requires a deep bond with a trusted spirit who has proven themselves over months (if not more) of accurate results and loyal partnership.
Additionally, as a witch becomes more advanced on utilizing the cosmic waves for their spellwork, they are able to activate the benevolent aide of multiple sources better and with more effectiveness. This is often why it’s suggested that witches who are more advanced along their path look into the effects of planetary hours, the 24 Spirits of the Gates [a forthcoming Stardust Compass article], and more.
Image: “Fading Luminance" by jason jenkins