Learning About Void Moons

The void lunar cycle -- that can last a few minutes, several hours or even more than a day -- is one of the more confusing areas of astrology and when working with a daily astro-calendar. In this story you can learn the fundamental definition of a Void-of-Course Moon and what a group of professional astrologers have to say about the entire subject.

The Void-of-Course Moon: Astrologers Sound Off

Editor's Note: For the re-launch of Earth Aquarius News in July 2012, I am re-running this special article on the Void-of-Course Moon that originally appeared in the Gemini/Cancer 1995 edition of our Welcome to Planet Earth astrology journal. This feature--containing the views of ten astrologers (including myself)--is meant as an opening statement on the subject of the Void-of-Course Moon. I hope readers will e-mail their views and we can print some of them in the Reviews and Comments section of our home page. [I have added a few changes to my own section here.]

The fundamental meaning of the lunar void cycle goes like this. The void cycle begins when the Moon makes a major aspect to the Sun or one of the 8 planets and will not make any more major aspects until it leaves the zodiacal sign it is in. This can last a few minutes, a few hours or sometimes for longer than a day! The expert on the subject was Al Morrison (professional astrologer and researcher who passed away a number of years ago) who put out a periodical called CAO Times and an annual Void of Course Moon Ephemeris. Here is a little bit of what he had to say on the subject: “Every couple of days there comes a time which is best used for subjective, spiritual nonmaterial concerns, like prayer, yoga, play, psychotherapy or passive experiences, sleep or meditation… Decision-making in such periods turns out later to be unrealistic. Creativity diverges into unplanned directions, improvisations, false starts, error. If you buy an object you never use it fully. Enterprises founded while the Moon is Void of Course do fail after long and costly effort.”

Our first voice to follow this Editor's Note is that of Al Morrison, the astrologer who has done more than anyone else to popularize the concept of the Void-of-Course Moon and educate the public about its influence. After Al's views are shared, you can read the opinions of seven of our staff writers--and another view on the Void-of-Course Moon, expressed by Maurice McCann. 

I met Maurice upon arriving at the United Astrology Conference in Monterey in mid-April 1995. It was an amazing meeting as I mentioned my plan to do a cover story on the Void-of-Course Moon and he just happened to indicate that his thoughts on the subject were very different than Al Morrison's. I should also stipulate that Maurice's views originally come from British astrologer Sue Ward who was a diligent student of William Lilly's astrology of the 1600s. I knew nothing about the "controversy" over the Void-of-Course Moon, but apparently many astrologers in Europe view the Void-of-Course Moon differently than we do in the United States. In the interest of fairness, balance and variety, I suggested that Maurice fax me from London a brief paragraph indicating this alternative view of the Void-of-Course Moon. 

Here are a few more words on this unusual subject before turning the story over to our writers. I find the Void-of-Course Moon to be a powerful influence and astrological tool. I watch it and try to avoid making big moves during a lunar Void-of-Course time-period. I have written about it in every Cosmic Kalendar. Nevertheless, I have questions about it. Why only utilize the major aspects from the days of Ptolemy? Why not include the quintile (72 degrees), semi-square (45 degrees), sesquiquadrate (135 degrees) and inconjunct (150 degrees) aspects? Now that we've discovered the three outer planets (during the last 224 years) and they areincluded in modern Void-of-Course work, why not add Chiron, the four main asteroids (Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta) and other bodies? Where's the logic in all this? When I talked with Maurice, he was more conservative and specific about the whole subject and suggested strongly that the local Ascendant and Part of Fortune needed to be included in Void-of-Course analysis. I wondered: Why just the Part of Fortune and not other parts? Why the Ascendant and not other angles? The jury is still out on all of this.

My goal is to start an intelligent discussion on the entire subject. I also suggest your reviewing the chapter (Void-of-Course Moon Strategies For Doing Business) by psychiatrist/horary astrologer Anthony Louis (pages 138-167) in the Llewellyn New World Astrology Series book How To Use Vocational Astrology For Success in the Workplace. The last two pages of his chapter contain a wonderful biography that will point you toward other reference works on the Void-of-Course Moon.

We all need to share our views on this topic--as a comprehensive, astrological experiment in collective learning. Important: For instance, during the past few years I have been tinkering with another angle on this topic – what I call “good voids” and “bad voids.” To me a positive void lunar cycle begins with, say, the Moon conjuncting or trining Jupiter or the Moon conjuncting or sextiling Venus – since the Moon is contacting a traditionally beneficial planet. On the other hand, a negative or highly problematic void lunar cycle would begin with, say, the Moon opposing Pluto, squaring Saturn or maybe conjuncting Mars. 

When President Clinton was inaugurated for the second time on January 20, 1997, the last aspect the Moon made before going void was an opposition to Pluto. The actual inauguration happened during a void Moon and the Monica Lewinsky sexual debacle (think about Pluto here) ensued about a year later, leading to the president’s impeachment by the House of Representatives and near removal from office by the Senate. The last FDR inauguration (January 20, 1945), the JFK inaugural (January 20, 1961) and the second Richard Nixon inaugural (January 20, 1973) all occurred during void lunar cycles. At FDR’s final inaugural, the last lunar aspect before going void was a square to Mars. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945. This certainly connects back to the meaning of a lunar aspect to Mars (ruling the head and blood stream). At JFK’s inauguration, the last lunar aspect before going void was a sextile to Saturn. While the sextile pattern is generally considered favorable by astrologers, the aspect to Saturn brings up the notion of fate and karma. On July 20, 1963 – about four months before the president was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 – there was a Total Solar Eclipse directly on his natal Saturn in the tenth house of executive authority and leadership. Thus, was the Moon sextile Saturn as the last aspect before a void Moon at his inauguration a kind of future omen pointing to his death before finishing his term of office? At Richard Nixon’s second inauguration, the last lunar aspect before going void was a sextile to Uranus. Again, we see an astrological pattern that many astrologers would think is favorable, but the planet the Moon was aspecting (Uranus) is notorious for having a shadow side connected to surprises, shock waves, revolutionary events and topsy-turvy conditions. The Watergate break-in and conspiracy began on June 17, 1972 – over four months before the presidential election that year and seven months before the president’s second inauguration. However, from that inauguration until he was forced to resign on August 9, 1974, President Nixon’s life in the White House was a Uranian disaster – filled with daily and weekly surprises from the media, an ongoing televised investigation by Congress, demands for tapes from special prosecutors, and a near nervous breakdown by the president, as reported later by Henry Kissinger among others.

Use the Contact menu to send Mark and email. You might even want to "tempt fate" by sending us your opinions during a Void-of-Course Moon....

Void of Course Moon
by Al H. Morrison

Let me tell you the history of my ephemeris of the void of course Moon.

In April 1940, during a social visit, Barbara Hunt (later, Barbara Hunt Watters) imposed on me a reading of my horoscope. I was annoyed that she could tell me so much of myself from what I then regarded as superstition.

Mayor LaGuardia was on the radio saying he would cause a map of Greenwich Village to be set in tile in Greenwich Square. Miss Barbara said: "Oh, No, Morrison, that ain't going to happen. The Moon is void of course." (It still has not happened; there is no tile map of Greenwich Village anywhere in any square.]

The next day, I began looking at events to see what would come of decisions and actions taken during periods of void of course Moon. The more I checked it out, the more definite it seemed that somehow every such decision or action had unexpected results, usually other than desired by the people taking the initiative.

After 26 years of such observations, I was finally asked to speak at the 1966 AFA convention. I offered a list of topics. Paul Grell, Exec. Secy., selected the void of course Moon topic because he had never heard any lecture about it.

In the hassle that developed, it occurred to me that I could make a calendar of the periods of void of course Moon, in the manner of an arrivals/departures bulletin board in railroad stations. I called it the Void of Course Moon Ephemeris, made the title with rub-on letters from the stationery shop. Later, I revised it to Ephemeris of the Void of Course Moon. 

The 27th Annual Edition of the Ephemeris of the Void of Course Moon now bears facsimile of that first-ever handmade title, unchanged except for rearrangement of the words. I was the first person in history to make up such an ephemeris format.

After the first edition, I found the aspectarian in Raphael's Ephemeris was too incomplete for use as a reference. I paid substantial fees to William J. Kennick to compute them for me from an excellent Swiss ephemeris.

I first made up a single, flat sheet version, with an explanation of how the void of course Moon can be observed.

I distributed this flat sheet free to all who would accept it for 15 years before somebody included $3 with a request. Thinking that there had been some error, I returned it. The next day somebody else did the same thing. I realized that I had created a market for a previously unknown product (if you can call it a product).

Thus encouraged, I invented the wallet-sized format, the shape and proportions of a folded $1 bill, and for the first time suggested contributions, no amount specified.

The contributions I began receiving ranged from zero to as much as $17.

Quite a while earlier I had to change the starting point away from 1 January to something closer to the Vernal Equinox, to frustrate people who demanded the computings to include in their own astrological calendars, while paying me nothing toward my costs in getting the computing done.

Then so many people wanted versions for their own time zones, I prepared versions for the four major U.S. Time Zones. I color-coded them to minimize confusion.
The text I finalized in the late '60s still stands with almost no editorial change, still reproduced from the expensive type-setting of the original version.

I could add 10,000 examples of the apparent manifestations of the void of course Moon, if I had kept the bales of incoming letters and notes. Alas, I didn't.

The most interesting advances beyond the basic story are that occasionally a good deal is made between two parties who have both totally given up on any success in a particular problem. A couple out West who had almost no money, no great prospects of getting more, in dire need of housing, willing to accept a rundown wreck of a house to fix up after purchase, found a landlord who had given up all hopes of selling it, unwilling to continue paying taxes, unable to persuade tenants to live in it. The Moon was void of course when they first saw that house, and when they closed the deal soon after.

It is wrong to say: "Nothing can come of the matter." That is Horary Tradition, thousands of years old. In Horary, the void of course Moon means that something is wrong with the query. The Querent does not have correct information about the real situation, so that nothing can come of a misunderstood situation. I have noticed that enemies of astrology seeking hassles often pose Horary Queries with the Moon void of course. Naturally.

With the exception of a comparable version published in Australia for a few years, I am the only publisher in the world who publishes the neat wallet-sized Ephemeris of the Void of Course Moon.

Neil F. Michelsen learned the concept from me at a convention. Then when he computed and published The American Ephemeris in 1977, he included the figures for the void of course Moon as of Greenwich Time. That put not only the concepts in the public domain--no longer just in Horary--but also the figures.

I have actively sought to have all publishers of astrological calendars to include information about the void of course Moon in their works.

I do not compete with them. My item fits into your wallet.

I do consider the void of course Moon essential to any Elective astrology. It is not the only factor, naturally, but for thousands of people using my very simple work, it is all they have available.

In the early '90s, an editor commented that my essay, summing up about 32 years of observations, appeared to him to be a bright, novel, untested idea, just emerged a few hours before he read it, and said so in so many words.

In response I added a new section entitled "Notes," in an effort to make the traditional conservative reportage into a form he could accept.

In all these 27 years of continuous annual editions, I have not yet been able to produce even one which did not contain some error, escaping all proof-readings. My theory is that my natal Mercury square Chiron has something to do with this lifelong difficulty. I am a concepts person--not a computing person.

So far as I know, I am the only astrological publisher who ever did a recall program. (Automobile builders such as General Motors, Honda, and others do that. Astrologers in general don't/can't.)

My eyesight failed before I got the 27th Annual Edition translated from Michelsen's GMT figures, with disastrous results. I have just done a recall program for the Eastern Time Zone version. I had Laurie Efrein work out the figures and type them on her word-processor. She also did the other time zones for me.

Today, 12 April 1995, half-year later than planned, they finally got published. – Al Morrison

Void, of Course
by Gregg Castellucci

Things aren't always as they seem. Human experience is almost always more complex than simple rules would hope to dictate. Technically, the Moon is "void of course" if it will not make any further major aspects to other planets before leaving a given sign. Quite often, in mundane and horary astrology, a void of course Moon does point to an apparent lack of momentum in the situation at hand. But what about the less obvious, the so-called "minor" aspects? Can these be casually tossed aside, disregarded? Is there a subtle difference between the Moon that will yet complete one of these before changing signs and the truly void of course Moon that will make no aspects whatsoever?

The minor aspects are less obvious, both to the eye and in their expression. When the Moon is void of course except for such an aspect, this may indeed indicate a lack of objective momentum, apparent direction or conscious purpose. The minor aspect will, however, point to perhaps less obvious but nevertheless related matters that are yet to be encountered before the overall situation can be declared as having been fully experienced or truly spent. The semi-sextile may reveal unfinished business, however trivial, or needless worry. Septiles (or bi- or tri-) reveal extremely crucial, perhaps even painful issues which need to be confronted before the matter can be successfully resolved or laid to rest (perhaps subtle, but never trivial). And so on.

That being said, I generally find that a truly void of course Moon in a horary chart does indicate a lack of genuine urgency or true concern on the part of the querent. It may be a situation from which they've already disengaged themselves emotionally, or it may indicate unanticipated developments just around the corner which will serve that same purpose. Either way, it tends to make the question a moot one.

In mundane affairs/astrology, the period of the void of course Moon can be a good time to reflect on recent events and/or to recuperate from them--to absorb and assimilate the experiences brought by the current lunar transit (sign) and to regroup and recharge one's soul in preparation for the next phase. It may help to resort to methods conducive to the given sign--e.g., the Moon VOC in Cancer may be a good time to retire at home, Leo might best relax by doing something playful or partying, etc.

Void of Course Moon
by Jeanne Mozier

When the moon becomes void of course, the flow of energy that moves life along becomes random; you can feel it.

There is a way of using this lack of direction to advantage. By being conscious and focused in the mental/spiritual realm, it is possible to direct energy through this "void" period. It is often handy to have the activity elevated above that directed by the moon; emotional obstacles are without "juice," especially if they arise from old, unconscious patterns.

Void of Course Moon
by Alex Miller-Mignone

This is a technique I wish I could say I never use, but old superstitions die hard. I don't know where it came from or who pioneered it, but I find it excessively negative and fatalistic. I was introduced to the concept early in my astrological education, and for awhile I pursued it quite religiously. However, although I usually still pay lip service to the concept when scheduling important events or making initiatory contacts, I have never really noticed a correlation to the supposed effects in my real life. That is, I have not noted consistently that items purchased under a VOC Moon later were not used, or decisions made then were "bad," or plans agreed to at that time did not later pan out. I think it's a shame that negative ideas like this become entrenched in the astrological repertoire; I feel it gives the profession more of the "gypsy fortune-teller" atmosphere which has been used so effectively by our critics to devalue our contributions.

At the very least, if such a technique is to be used, it should include all major aspects when computations are made; that is, semisextiles, inconjuncts, semisquares and sesquiquadrates would need to be considered as well in determining at what point the Moon becomes VOC. To suggest that the Moon is somehow impaired while still forming its Crescent phase semisquare with the Sun seems to be ludicrous.

Void of Course Moon
by M. Kelley Hunter

These (usually few) hours are a time when there is no set agenda. It can make it difficult for things to "stick," to ground. It is a good time to kick back and cool out, take a break, give some room to the Moon changing sign. Since there is no particular energy the Moon is trying to incorporate into our lives, it is also a time when "anything" can happen--even magic. A special time for rituals, perhaps, for activities out of the normal. I must admit I don't always keep track of the voids; I usually sail through. But I have learned not to try to plan meetings or try to accomplish something specific during that time. My local astrology discussion group had a meeting during a void-of-course, and did we notice it! We could not seem to stay on topic, but we had a great time exploring a range of issues and finally came to the realization that the Moon was void--of course!

Void of Course Moon
by Quan Tracy Cherry

My partner of five years was born with a void Moon in Pisces. I shiver sometimes when I think about her psychic/intuitive abilities. Although I was the "professional" psychic of the family, I often went to her for "clearance." We were together as she was writing her dissertation. I noticed that she would almost invariably begin to write or research as the Moon went void. For the first couple of weeks, I didn't tell her about this strange pattern and after I did, she found she worked better when the moon was "out there." 

We bought a car on a void Moon. We shared that car without any problems. The car still runs perfectly. The car, however, was in my partner's name. What would have happened if I had my name on the title? Mystery. An astrologer foretold wrongly that the car would cause problems in our life because of the lore surrounding the void moon. It didn't. People born on void Moons are special. If they keep a spiritual focus in their lives, they can do anything they desire. But if they have a primarily materialistic bent, the universe pulls the rug from under them.

My son has a South Node of the Moon in Cancer in the 8th. Stop thinking about his possible neediness, okay? I've observed when the moon voids he becomes crankier (he's a solid curmudgeon). He will nap longer on a void Moon as well.

For those in the corporate world of the nine-to-five, may god bless you. However, the star goddesses will shine their lights more if you do one thing. Look at your astrological calendars and on those mornings where the moon is void, set your alarm clock at an earlier time. Drink coffee or plenty of water on those mornings. At my former job at a major testing company in Iowa, I observed whenever the moon stopped communicating with other planets people would begin to mill around. They would stand in their doorways or find excuses to leave early. I found that I could gather exceptional personal (the Moon is strictly personal) information about normally busy and inaccessible people at these times.

Astrological readings are normally musical during these lunar times. Clients and friends alike are more receptive to the information. I love these periods if I am able to do exactly what I feel like doing. If I have to work at something I do not enjoy, I attempt to procrastinate until the Moon changes signs.

The VOC Moon Periods
by Kim Rogers-Gallagher

There are lots of topics out there in Astrology-Land that somehow continue to remain amazingly obscure--regardless of how much is published about them. This, friends, is one of them. But it doesn't have to be. What I've discovered about all topics this "fuzzy" is that it's best to start by considering what you already know about the topic, just by virtue of the words used to describe it. In other words, keep it simple. Allow the topic to explain itself by listening to what the words already sound like to the naked, unastrological ear. For example, "void" means "empty" or "devoid"--something that simply "doesn't count." "Void" also means "canceled out." Now, take all of those phrases you already know and apply them to the Moon's Void of Course periods. And think of it like this: whatever actions you take at this time are "void," too. As good as erased. The traditional definition of the VOC Moon is that "nothing will come of this," and it's true. When something is begun under a Void of Course Moon, nothing comes of it. Honest. The action is wasted, irrelevant or incorrect. If it's incorrect, it's because information that's necessary is missing.

Now, I hate to sound negative about this, especially because the VOC Moon isn't all Bad News. This is the time period when The Universe, in its infinite wisdom, is open to Loopholes. It's a great time to make plans you don't want to fulfill, to schedule things you don't want to do. In fact, kids, if you make "plans" during a void of course period, and set them up for a time when the Moon is VOC, you can kiss those plans goodbye--just like you wanted. Works out good. In other words, like the song says, "To Everything There Is a Season," and a time that's perfect. Even for Faking It.

Void of Course Moon
by Steven Henthorne

I just checked, we'll be having one in an hour or so. I'll be asleep by then, so I'm not worried. Dad's pun is, "It's void, of course!"

So how do I use the Void of Course Moon? Well, not on a daily basis. Naturally, I use it in horary charts as an indication against interpretation (we've interpreted the code: "Burn before reading further.") Of course, I check to see if I can figure out why I can't get an answer to my question--often it's because I worded it badly or my emotions were confused.

I also use it in electional astrology, to make sure I'm not starting anything important during Void of Course. Sometimes I've even deliberately finished something during VOC.

Also, whenever something emotional happens in my life, I check the Moon's position--usually it's activating my Moon square to Uranus/Pluto. This morning I suffered a chain reaction accident at work due to a hidden bottle, and broke a pint of toasted sesame oil, then spilled all sorts of water trying to clear it up and ended with shattered nerves. Guess what? The Moon squared my Neptune when it happened! But whenever I find that I'm not sure what my emotions are, that's when VOC is in effect.

One last thing: Never, ever set a date when the Moon is Void of Course!

Void of Course Moon
by Maurice McCann

In my opinion the true meaning of the void of course Moon was made by the English astrologer Sue Ward after completing her study of Lilly's own definition in Christian Astrology. If the Moon was outside the moiety of orbs to another planet, Lilly considered it to be void of course. The orbs of the Sun were 17 degrees, the Moon 12 and a half degrees, Mercury 7, Venus 8, Mars 7 and a half, Jupiter 12 and Saturn 10. The moiety was ascertained by adding the orbs of the two planets and dividing by 2. This means that a void of course Moon can occur anywhere in a sign, at the beginning or middle as well as at the end; it is nothing more than an unaspected planet in a natal chart.

--Maurice McCann
(Co-author of Eclipses: The Power Points of Astrology)
73b Dresden Rd.
London, England
N19 3BG
United Kingdom
Tel/FAX 0171-272-4208

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