Canonical Hours: A Metaphysical Discussion With Steve Nelson

The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are thrilled once again to have our good friend and guest blogger Steve Nelson return to share his wisdom. Steve is an astrologer who follows a Jungian mythological tradition. He was raised by a part Cherokee shaman Aunt Maude who learned much of her lore from Molly Runningwolf, the mother of Amanita Sequoyah, the last Cherokee medicine man officially recognized by the Eastern Tribe. Steve’s Indian name is Steven Red Wolf, his lineage is of the wolf clan, one of the 7 tribal groups of the Cherokee. Steve follows many of the Cherokee traditions especially as these relate to celebrations, the use of ritual fire and star lore. For more information about Steve Nelson see

Canonical Hours: A Metaphysical Discussion With Steve Nelson

Hallowmas Hora Nov 7-21, Expanding the Magic: Time is holographic and the year is like a day. The 24 hours of a day are reflected in the 24 horae or half-signs in the zodiacal year. The 8 canonical hours of the day correspond with 8 canonical horae in the year beginning with equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter days. Canonical hours and canonical horae are fortunate times generally good for initiating any new activity. In these times we have more free will to create and re-create our world. The 24 horae of the year correspond to the 24 runes of Elder Futharck in classic order starting with Fehu for the first half of Aries. Each hora has a unique magic represented by its rune. The Hallowmas rune Sowilo (“Wholeness”) unfolds the magic of new beginnings; this hora is the womb of the future year.

Note: This mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale illustrates the canonical hours and horae. These alpha times, angular times or angel times connect us with the divine.

Canonical Hours are Planetary Hours that vary between about 48 and 72 minutes according to time of year and day. Planetary Hours can be found on line by clicking on Astrolabe’s Planetary Hours page. Just enter your city and state for today’s Planetary Hours. Every third Planetary Hour starting from Sunrise is a Canonical Hour.

Figuring Canonical Hours for any location: Sunrise and Sunset can be found in the newspaper weather section or on line here

True Noon, when the Sun is on the mid-heaven, is halfway between Sunrise and Sunset. True Noon is found by dividing the time between Sunrise and Sunset by 2; and True Midnight is exactly opposite True Noon. This divides the day into quarters. The start times for the other four Hours is found by dividing the quarters of the day by two.

The times you calculate from the above mark the beginning of 8 special hours each day. One of these hours begins every 3 (planetary) hours. This system derives from a universal ancient wisdom tradition. The Catholic church adopted these “canonical hours” as optimal times for prayer. These are also ideal times for all new beginnings, starting meetings or having social gatherings. Activities begun in a canonical hour are more apt to be successful. This includes every thing from going shopping to arriving at a social event, more magic happens when entering in one of these special hours.

This is generally true though to be most effective we also have to consider the lunar cycle. New beginnings are more favored during the waxing Moon from the appearance of the evening crescent a day after the exact New Moon until 2 days after the Full Moon. The three “dark of the Moon” days each month are not good for new beginnings. Starting a new endeavor one day before the New Moon is bad timing as this is when the old creative/emotional cycle is decaying. This effects moods and reactions that can result in “human errors.” Many human tragedies can be avoided by following this number one rule of astrological timing: “Begin it anytime but the dark of the Moon”.

In addition to the lunar cycle, we also benefit by considering the planetary influences that channel through the canonical hours. Note the canonical hours are not standard 60 minute clock hours (only at the equinoxes are these 60 minute hours). Day and night are divided into 12 “planetary hours” each and the lengths of these hours vary seasonally with night hours becoming shorter and day hours longer following the winter solstice. The length of daytime hours is found by dividing the time between Sunrise and Sunset by 12, the length of night hours by dividing Sunset to Sunrise time by 12.

The planets that rule the canonical hours are found in the following table and these are easy to remember as noted below.

Planetary Rulers of the Canonical Hours:

Time/Week Day … Mon     Tue     Wed     Thu      Fri      Sat      Sun

Sunrise ………..………. Moon .. Mar … Mer … Jup … Ven … Sat … Sun

Mid-morning …….… Mars … Mer …Jup ….Ven … Sat … Sun .. Moon

True Noon …………… Mer …. Jup ….Ven … Sat … Sun .. Moon .. Mars

Mid-afternoon ……. Jup ….. Ven …. Sat … Sun .. Moon .. Mars .. Mer

Sunset …………………. Ven ….. Sat …. Sun .. Moon .. Mars …Mer .. Jup

Mid-evening ……..… Sat …… Sun .. Moon .. Mars … Mer …Jup …Ven

True Midnight ……. Sun ….Moon .. Mars … Mer … Jup …Ven … Sat

Dawn ……………..……. Moon … Mars … Mer … Jup …Ven … Sat …. Sun


The canonical hours are ruled by planets in the same order as are the days of the week. The day rulers are Monday, Moon; Tuesday, Mars (Mardi in French); Wednesday, Mercury (Mercredi French); Thursday, Jupiter (Thor is Norse Jupiter); Friday, Venus (Freya is Norse Venus); Saturday, Saturn; and Sunday, Sun. The week day planetary influences describe a natural cycle of the 7 ray energies that stream from the Sun as the 7 colors of the rainbow.

The planetary rulers for the canonical hours can be found simply by repeating the order of the week day rulers. Monday is the day of the Moon so the hour beginning with Sunrise is Moon ruled. The Midmorning hour is a Mars hour (Tuesday is a Mars day), Monday True Noon is Mercury (Wednesday), mid-afternoon is Jupiter (Thursday planet), etc. Remembering the planetary rulers of the weekdays it is easy to figure planetary rulers for the hours.

The best planetary hours for communication are Mercury ruled; for art, Venus is best; for organization and discipline, Saturn; for expansion and sociability and fun, jovial Jupiter; for intuition and nurturing, Moon; for dynamic action, Mars; for enthusiasm and shining light on a subject, or time to pause and enjoy, Sun hours.

Day time hours are generally more generative and actional while night hours are more reflective and receptive or intuitional. “The heavens declare the glory of God; day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night showeth wisdom.” – Psalms 19:1-2

Canonical Hour Take-Home Keynotes:

*The 8 canonical hours are ideal times for prayer and meditation. These are good times for all new beginnings, for making important calls, beginning meetings, lunch dates or social gatherings. Magical synchronicities occur more frequently during canonical hours and it’s easier to be in the right place at the right time.

*The 8 canonical hours of the day cycle correspond to the equinoxes, solstices and cross-quarter days of the year. “A year is like a day in the mind of God.” Astrological progression is based on this understanding.

*Sunrise is like Spring Equinox, True Noon like Summer Solstice, Sunset like Autumn Equinox and Midnight is like Winter Solstice.

*The 4 fixed sign midpoints are the Cross Quarter Days. These are natural “power gates” of the elemental forces are located at the 15th degrees of Aquarius, Taurus, Leo and  Scorpio. These time gates correspond to the 4 creatures in the vision of Ezekiel, the 4 Archangels and the 4 Apostles: the Angel of Aquarius is Raphael/ Matthew, the Bull of Taurus is Uriel / Saint Luke, the Lion of Leo is  Archangel Michael / Saint Mark , and the Eagle of Scorpio is Angel Gabriel / Saint John. These are symbolized by the Aces in Tarot.

*Angelic forces are centered at the 4 fixed sign midpoints of the year cycle and at the 4 cross-quarter times of every day cycle. These are the times mentioned in the book of Revelation when the 4 creatures and 24 elders bow down before the cosmic throne. These are some of the most potent creative times in the cycles of the day and year.

*Time and space are configured according to the 8 fractal. The symbol for time is an infinity sign, an 8 on its side. Every cycle has 8 key turning points. There is greater opportunity in these times to align with spirit, the power behind all that is. These are times when we all have more free will and there is greater potential for change and transformation.

*The Catholic formula for effective prayer derives from ancient tradition: Go to the place of power (sanctuary, sacred site), at a time of power (canonical hour), ring a bell (to break the spell of the past phase), light a candle (fire), kneel (Capricorn to ground) and pray.

*Bioelectric fire is generated in the gap between the palm chakras when the hands are brought together in prayer. Hands held this way energize whatever body center they are brought near. Traditional Christian prayer energizes heart and throat chakras so that thought forms and prayers can be more powerfully projected.

*Clockwise turning, deep breathing, clapping hands, drumming, free form dance, chanting/oming/singing are all effective to begin canonical hours. Seven turns around clockwise breaks any shadow spell and frees the soul.

Hope this explains it as simply as possible 🙂

Steve Nelson (“Mythic Astrologer”) with The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.)

**Steve Nelson is a professional astrologer who uses Tarot, name analysis, and traditional astrology to help clients understand personal myths and realize natural abilities. He can be reached at

*****The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.) are available for keynote talks, classes, events or for seminars (1/2 day or up to 2 day) on personal transformation, team-building, motivation, anger management, intuitive development, or collaboration for private groups, conferences, corporations or corporate events. Contact them at or find out more about them at


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