Planetary Spells & Rituals: Practicing Dark & Light Magick Aligned with the Cosmic Bodies, by Raven Digitalis.
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738719719, 317 pp. (incl. appendices), 2010
While modern Paganism often revolves the cycles of year and the lunar calendar, most of the sky is often ignored. Raven Digitalis brings this into focus: the planets, the luminaries, and their importance in magick. He takes things beyond the Sun and the Moon and including the other important figures in our solar system (like Pluto!) and cultural mythology.
Each chapter begins with a few planetary associations: Zodiac, colour, day, archetypes, etc. As the book seemed geared toward introducing people to planetary magick I feel the associations were a bit bare bones and could have been fleshed out more. The chapters also contained a few spells related to the aspects of the planet: divination spells with the Moon, healing with Earth, lust with Mars, and the like.
With eleven chapters there was a surprising diversity of spell objectives that was covered. Each spell was preceded by a “Stepping Back & Further Application” section, this was to get the reader to consider what they’re doing and why, is this is the best choice, are the other ways to do this, and practical real world advice to support the spell. Digitalis makes a good point in the introduction about catering the spells to the components you have, if you only have Saturnian materials and you want to do a money spell, reconfigure it not to be about wealth, but banishing and diminishing debt.1 I like this idea, but like the associations it could have been fleshed out as this review has already exhausted the entire discussion on it.
Digitalis had a few points of being inclusive that were good to see. Love and lust spells described the components for straight, gay, and bisexual applications, and one spell when discussing the physical body in a lust sense even makes a small inclusion toward people who are pre-op.2
Another good point in the book was the idea of personalizing the spells, to substitute names and ingredients to fit your needs and paradigm. Unfortunately this encouragement was undermined by Digitalis not explaining most parts of the spells. Most people this book seems geared toward won’t understand why you would use the number 888 in an exorcism through the Moon3 or won’t know what names to replace when they aren’t told what the names come from.
There are a few mistakes which could interfere with the use of the spells, for instance Digitalis mentions planning spells for certain planetary hours, and in the example schedules something for the planetary hour of Gemini.4 I’ve never encountered a planetary hour of Gemini, does he mean when it is rising, or Mercury? Whatever is meant by it, his example doesn’t work with what he was just explaining. At another point he includes Hod in a spell, when it is obviously supposed to be Geburah.5
Planetary Spells & Rituals covers a wide range of spells, some fairly uncommon in objective, it tries to incorporate planetary magick back into people’s practice, stresses rationality and practical application, encourages tailoring spells to your situation. Yet, most of what it does feels half finished, that a lot is left out – and I don’t mean advanced stuff, I mean ground-level information and ideas that need to be included to make this more workable. I can appreciate what Digitalis was trying to do, but I feel he didn’t live up to his aim. While this book can be useful, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone without a few supplementary astrological and Qabalistic books.