I was chatting with someone this weekend that asked me a fairly detailed astrological question. I admitted to him that Astrology is actually something that I have not studied extensivly. I know a good bit, but nothing beyond that. I use planetary forces in magick all the time, but I do not get much into the details of timing and horary astrology and such. He seemed a bit shocked by this admission, and I dont really blame him. It is certainly one of the pillars of, if not the cornerstone of, the western magickal tradition.
What can I say? I just never got around to it. When I was first starting out, I was keeping track of what astrological effects were having on my magick and my life. However, when I started doing the BRH every day (this was 20 years ago keep in mind) I noted that the effect of astrological influences was greatly diminished.
Than about ten years ago or so, taking a cue from the PGM, I started developing my own method of balancing these forces within my sphere using the Greek Vowels. Through this process I sort of "discovered" the receptors within the body of light for the planetary forces. Think of these as microcosmic mirrors of the macrocosmic planets. By attuning their vibrations and moving their location within the body of light, you can effectivly negate or accentuate astrological influences to suit the situation. Thats why you never hear me complain about Mercury retrograde.
Just as the GD threw out some important aspects of Renaissance magick when they came up with their system, I think sometimes that modern Renaissancers are tossing some important aspects of modern magick out the door. Its crap to forget, misunderstand, and disregard history, but it's also crap to value something just because its old. This isnt the SCA.
Some view the emphasis on astrological timing in Renaissance magick as a strong feature of the system. I actually view it as a bit of a flaw. I stand with most of the ATR practitioners in basically doing magick whenever the need arises. I usually do try to work with the waxing and waning of the moon m especially if its at night. I also do some special stuff of eclipses, which are quite powerful. If I have time, I work with the planetary days. If I am working with specifically planetary forces, I will probably wait for that planet to be physically overhead. I usually do not bother with planetary hours, finding it a bit of a contrived system. Overall, I think that there are some forces a bit more local that get ignored in favor of planetary allignments. That said, I think its important to know how to do Astrology proper. Its on my list...