24-hour Tao: Moving in tune with the astrological seasons of each day

IF THE PASSAGE OF TIME isn’t a mouth-piece for God, then God is as good as mute. An extreme statement? Not to the astro-literate. Consider this: What if a viable path of Self-remembering, or dharma, is embedded not just into our yearly and monthly transits, but into the hourly flow of each day? A kind of generic “ashram hours” for householders. What if our best attempts at awakening are handicapped without a studious adherence to “the dharma of the hours?”

Perhaps you recoil at the thought of placing a thematic grid of activities and inquiries over the day’s mysterious unfolding. Perhaps you see systems and protocols (Virgo) as the antithesis of sensitively flowing with the currents of the day (Pisces). Astrodharma begs to differ. The dribbley river of our attention needs course-correcting banks and current-narrowing thrust to cut through the muddy flood plane of the mind.

Okay. But are these astrological subdivisions of the day empirically true and helpful? I can only say this: they make strong intuitive sense to me and the more I honor them, the more graceful and productive are my days.

The seasons of the day correlate nicely with the larger, yearly seasons:
1) Spring: 6:00 AM-Noon
2) Summer: Noon- 6:00 PM
3) Fall: 6:00 PM- Midnight
4) Winter: Midnight-6:00 AM

In addition, the yearly solstice and equinox points correspond to the cusp of each of the six-hour seasons.
1) Spring Equinox: 6:00 AM
2) Summer Solstice: Noon
3) Fall Equinox: 6:00 PM
4) Winter Solstice: Midnight  

In the birth chart, these solstice and equinox points are called “cardinal” points  (from the Latin “Cardinalis,” meaning “serving as a hinge.”)  Inner doorways can, with proper sincerity, swing open at these times. For this reason, I’ve provided a short Astrodharmic invocation to recite at each “hinge” time.

The key to making use of the 24-hour Tao is understanding where the cycle actually begins: Pisces.
There’s a reason why monasteries around the world ring their dharma bells around 4:00 AM; it inaugurates the two hour season of Pisces: the most liminal, world-straddling archetype. No time is more conducive to hearing the whisper of our souls. By sitting lucidly in the ethereal twilight of Pisces, our ego has a hard time jolting brashly into the incarnational fire of Aries “I AM-ness” (6:00 AM) and we stand the best chance of pulling off a soul-informed day.

In practical terms, this may mean “sacrificing” some Scorpio time (8:00-10:00 PM) in order to wake up refreshed in Pisces land (4:00-6:00 AM). Not worth the trade? Here’s my experience: relationships and projects packed into the post-9:00 PM period usually have an air of overriding compulsivity to them, serving more to distract me from end-of-the-day self-reckoning than to honestly satisfy. The definition of a squandered life? Failing to drape dark confessions on the funeral pyre of the night and ready our souls for a fresh crack at conscious incarnation.

Dharma of the Hours Guide [click here to download 1-page guide to the dharma of the hours]


1. Pisces  (4:00-6:00 AM) “Wake up inside the dream.”
Pisces rules the feet and lymph glands. A time to get our spiritual “feet on the ground,” wring practical meaning from our dreaming and, like the lymph glands, meditatively clear away residual mental “pathogens” before they enter the bloodstream of our night-purified psyche.

Spring Equinox Invocation (6:00 AM):
Burning center of the wheel of life, Infuse us with Your chi-full presence so we can “fear forward” and seize this day: mad enough to be mortal, sane enough to disappear.

2. Aries 6:00-8:00 AM “Cultivate Chi.”
Aries Rules the head, brain, adrenal glands and basic muscle systems. What are the chi-building thoughts, foods and practices that fire our courage and activate our stress-dissolving hormones (adrenal) so we are poised to punch through another day of egoic fears of failure and disapproval?  

3. Taurus 8:00-10:00 AM
“Waking Down.”
Taurus rules the neck, throat and the straightforward world of the five senses. Time to move down out of our willful Aries heads and work patiently with the supremely manageable, zen-like conditions directly in front of us. Time to aim our cultivated Aries fire at what actually works in the workaday world.  

4. Gemini (10:00-Noon) “Nimble Networking.”
Gemini rules our dual parts: lungs, arms, hands and the information-transmitting electrical signals of our nervous system. Grounded in the uncomplicated world of our Taurean senses, we’re now poised for some undistracted multi-tasking, nimble networking and the articulation of viable solutions agreeable to a broad range of people and parts of our brain.

Summer Solstice Invocation (Noon):
Sublime Sun Being, may we keep You always at the zenith of our lives. May we celebrate our mortal “shine time” with abandon and in the same way that we accept, without mourning, the death of our dreams at dawn, may we yield gracefully to our ego’s demise.

5. Cancer (Noon-2:00 PM)
“Nurturing Pause.”
Cancer rules our protective ribcage, the nurturing breasts and all fluid sacs that cradle something (stomach, womb, eyeballs, cheeks, uterus). A time for dietary sustenance, siesta, and a pause to infuse the buzzy, mental and interpersonal disciplines of Gemini with some profession-free coziness and tender human care.

6. Leo (2:00 PM-4:00)
“Heartfelt Leadership.”
Leo rules the heart, the blood and the healthy-when-erect portions of upper back. Time to aim our personally refreshed and nurtured psyches back out at the world and dare to “shine special” for the sake of a well-facilitated — and, thereby, empowered — greater community.  

7. Virgo (4:00-6:00 PM)
“Harvesting the Day.”
Virgo rules the intestines (which “analyze” how and which nutrients to absorb from food) and the sympathetic nervous system. Time to phase out of the leadership personality and begin organizing and putting to rest the final details of the day. This is the furthest we ever get from the otherworldly hours of Pisces. Good time to ask:  If compassionate presence (Pisces) is measured by my everyday quality of service (Virgo), what are my next steps in awakening?

Fall equinox Invocation (6:00 PM):
Fruits ripen, seeds drip; It is the harvest time of the day. May our hearts grow plump and sweet with gratitude for all that flowers, fails and has a chance to rise again.

8. Libra (6:00-8:00 PM)
“Souls in symmetry.”
Libra rules the kidneys, which rectify chemical-imbalances, delivering inter-organ harmony and win/win justice to the various systems of the body. Balanced at the fulcrum point of the day, with the workaday world of Virgo now freshly behind us, the Libra hours are the ideal time to relax into the beauty of life, entertain, and smooth over interpersonal differences.

9. Scorpio (8:00-10:00 PM)
“Undress and Confess.”
Scorpio rules the genitals- the private, instinctual and forbidden aspects of our psyche. With Libran love now activated, we are poised for some gently excavating shadow work. Does sex come up in the process of vulnerably confessing our hearts? So be it. Prayerful introspection? Forbidden tears? Equally intimate. The definition of a squandered life? Failing to strip off our diurnal facade and drape edgy, inconvenient truths on the funeral pyre of the night so we can arise karmically refreshed and self-reckoned to the dawn.

10. Sagittarius (10:00 PM-12:00 PM)
“Meaning from the moments.”
Sagittarius rules the locomotive parts of the body that constantly search for higher and broader vistas: hips, thighs and buttocks.  With grace and grit now equally visible, the soul scours the skyline of our day for panoramic principles and truths. Asleep or awake, the Sag hours help us turn the distracted, undigested moments of our day into retrospective gold.

Winter solstice invocation (12 Midnight):
Pride into petals! Regrets into incense! On the altar of midnight, You turn our sins into ceremony. Beloved Alchemist, I am yours.

11. Capricorn (Midnight-2:00 PM)
“Purposeful Eclipse of Purpose.”
Capricorn rules the parts of the body that provide boundaries, solidity and structure: (skin, bones, teeth) and those ambitious climbers, the knees. In the winter solstice of sleep, Capricorn snuffs out our Sagittarian philosophies- and the goals and ambitions that spring from them, plunging us into to the fertile void for some soulful course- correction and a reassuring sense of being “already home.”

12. Aquarius (2:00-4:00 AM)
 “Collective Visioning.”
Aquarius rules our springy, forward-moving ankles as well as the circulatory system which, metaphorically speaking, distributes the blood of equality to all parts of the collective psyche.  This is the time of day when the highest number people in any given time zone achieve unity consciousness: sleep. With past purposes paused, eclipsed and refreshed, the Aquarian hours arrive to redirect our self-centered ambitions into a collectively shared vision of oneness.


1. Pisces: Wake Up Inside the Dream
2. Aries: Cultivating Chi
3. Taurus: Waking Down
4. Gemini: Nimble Networking
5. Cancer: Nurturing Loyalties
6. Leo: Creative Leadership
7. Virgo: Harvesting the Day
8. Libra: Souls in Symmetry    
9. Scorpio: Undress and Confess
10.Sagittarius: Meaning out of Moments
11.Capricorn: Purposeful Eclipse of Purpose
12.Aquarius: Collective Visioning

Consulting the list above, we can formulate a basic template for the kind of diary entry that would point to an astrologically well-spent day:

After waking up inside the dream, I cultivated chi, got down to business, tapped my networks, nurtured myself with a loving lunch , asserted leadership, organized and unpacked the day, relaxed with loved ones, confessed my heart, then turned it all over to the night to harvest meaning from my moments, update my soul’s purpose and revision my contribution to humanity.   

CONCLUSION: Time is tutelage

What I enjoy most about tracking the hourly seasons– checking in, periodically, for their thematic consent — is that my day is infused with a spirit of inquiry and reflection. How did it work to have that meeting in Cancer instead of Gemini? Questions like these flirt with the possibility that time is not a contrived, impersonal overlay, but a re-sensitizing mentorship designed to nudge us back into the part of our soul where the astrological mood of the moment is a felt experience. Why does ego feel so anxiously adrift and alone? Perhaps because it has become blind to the Saturnian face of God — the One who holds our hands as we stroll through the landscape of time. Perhaps because our priests and sages lack grounding in the  teachings of “kairos.”

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, “chronos” and “kairos.” While the former refers to chronological time, “kairos” refers to “a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved.” (E.C. White, Kaironomia, p. 13). In the New Testament, kairos means “the appointed time in the purpose of God.” Implicit in this characterization of time is not only that times have preordained qualities but that living in harmony with them is an indispensable aspect of being aligned with the Divine will. Could conducting our daily lives in accordance with the astro-hours (not to mention our longer, more personal transits) be akin to capturing that “passing instant when an opening appears?” Could astro-sensitivity help us seize the opportunities of Kairos?

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