About the Void-of-Course Moon
I live in the UK, and here most astrologers are very surprised by the popularity of such an astrological factor as the void-of-course Moon in the United States, even between people who know very little about astrology.
We use this factor in our astrological work all the time, but only in one very specific and highly technical branch of astrology, the Horary. There, if we find that the Moon was void-of-course at the moment when a question was asked, we might decide that it is not appropriate to answer such a question. Or, if some of us will still decide to proceed with the answer, they will most probably say that nothing will come out of the matter in question (which, depending on the question, might mean that there is nothing to be afraid of).
For quite a while I was hesitant about whether it really makes sense to pay attention to the void-of-course status of the Moon in daily life, outside of the technical consideration of the horary work. However, on a few important occasions I've noticed that the outcome of my initiative undertaken when the Moon was void-of-course was very different from my expectations, and quite in line with the meaning of void-of-course.
I will give some examples, as well as expand on the meaning of this factor, but first of all I want to attempt an explanation of what exactly is the void-of-course Moon. I will try to do this mainly because I believe that the good understanding of the nature of the void period will help to understand its negative and positive sides better. But also, it would be good if the general public had a better idea of how it all works. Right now the common level of understanding is quite low, which is demonstrated by the questions I am getting from the visitors of Lunarium from time to time.
What the Void-of-Course Moon Is
It's a common knowledge that the Moon circles around the Earth, and it completes the circle in about 27 days, the lunar month (there is another lunar month called synodic which lasts almost 30 days, but it's of no interest to us here). The Moon moves all the time along the Zodiac, and there are 12 Signs of the Zodiac, each of them exactly 1/12 part of the circle. It is easy to calculate then that it takes about two and a half days for the Moon to cross one Sign of the Zodiac.
Each sign is like a chapter in the book of life, and moving through it the Moon is telling a story. When the Moon enters the next sign, it starts a new story. We still remember the old one, but we are not deeply involved into it anymore. Whether we notice it or not, each time the Moon enters the next Sign of the Zodiac, something substantially changes in our life, some context, or the emotional background of events. Most of the time we aren't aware of this change because the Moon is strongly connected to our subconsciousness, not to our consciousness. It is the subconsciousness who is deeply aware of the change.
So in each of the signs the Moon starts a new story when it enters the sign, but those stories can have different lengths. Some of them continue for almost the whole two-and-a-half-day period, others are much shorter, but always there is a pause in the end of the story. It can be short or long, but it is always there. That pause in the end of the story is the void-of-course period of the Moon.
We don't know why it happens, this pause. Maybe the story teller gives us the time to think about the content of the story we've just heard, or maybe it is a chance to prepare to the next story, because it is going to be very important. We just know that the pause is there.
That was a metaphorical description of the void-of-course period, now let me try another one, a little bit more technical.
Moving through each sign, the Moon makes contacts with the planets. It isn't really important what are those contacts and how they are made, but it is exactly those contacts who provide the content of the sign's story. The exact number of the contacts and their distribution in time depends on where all the planets are in the Zodiac, and this arrangement changes eternally.
At some point the Moon makes its last contact in the given sign. That's the end of the story, but the new story won't start until the Moon enters the next Sign of the Zodiac.
So here is a more or less precise definition:
The void-of-course period of the Moon is the period of time from the moment the Moon makes the last contact with any planet in the current Sign of the Zodiac, and until it enters the next sign.
The void-of-course period can be very short, only a few minutes, but it can also be very long, about two days (although that happens quite rarely).
I am writing these words on the 11th of May 2013, soon after the New Moon in Taurus (which was also a solar eclipse). It so happened that that exactly New Moon was the last contact the Moon made in the Sign of Taurus, and it took place on the 10th of May at 0:28 of Universal Time (it was 1:28am in London, UK). That New Moon was the last word of the story the Moon was telling in Taurus.
However, the Moon stayed in Taurus until 21:22 UT of the same day (10:22pm in London), when it entered the next sign, Gemini. So most of the 10th of May 2013, from 1:28am to 10:22pm here in the UK, was one lengthy void-of-course period.
Let's see how it is shown in the Astrological Moon Calendar:
The arrow pointing right above, with 01:28 next to it, is the beginning of void-of-course period. You can see that it is exactly below the symbol of the New Moon with the same time, 01:28, next to it.
Below you can see the arrow pointing left with 22:20 next to it. That's the end of the void-of-course period. You can see that it is exactly below the symbol of Gemini with the same time, 22:20, next to it. This means that the void-of-course period has ended when the Moon has entered Gemini.
If you have an iPhone or an iPad, your life will be easier as you won't need to decipher any symbols. My app iLuna for iOS will describe for you everything in plain English:
Or, if you have an Android smartphone, you can get a similar result with iLuna for Android:
Now you should have an idea of what a void-of-course period of the Moon is.
What the Void-of-Course Moon Isn't
There is a widespread misunderstanding that when the Moon is void-of-course, it is in no Sign of the Zodiac but in some kind of hole, an empty space. This is very wrong.
The Signs of the Zodiac are the 12 sections of the ecliptic, the imaginary path of the Sun around the sky. The ecliptic is a circle, so there are 360 degrees in it. Each sign is a 30 degrees section, 30 x 12 = 360. There are no holes and no empty spaces in this system.
The Moon is always in one or another Sign of the Zodiac. Please understand this, and if you till don't understand what the void-of-course period is then please re-read attentively the previous section. If you still don't get it, please let me know, and I will try to write an even less technical explanation.
The Meaning of the Void-of-Course Moon
In Horary Astrology, we are looking at the contacts with planets which the Moon is going to make before it leaves the sign it is in. Those aspects will tell us what is going to happen about the situation in question. But if the Moon is void-of-course, i.e. it isn't going to contact any planets before the end of the story, then the only possible answer is that nothing is going to happen. So if a person asked "will I get married", the answer will be perceived as negative, but if someone was worried and asked "will I get fired?" then the answer nothing will happen will be perceived as positive.
Similarly, in daily life void-of-course periods aren't necessarily bad. We just need to keep these words in mind: nothing is going to happen, and then see if this result desirable for us or not.
One day I had two job interviews, one a few hours after another but both during a void-of-course period. The interviews were both positive, and from my previous experience I would think that I am going to have two job offers by the end of the day. However, before the end of the day the Moon has entered another Sign of the Zodiac, another story had started, and not only I didn't received any job offers, I never got any feedback from the job agencies, which was quite unusual.
On the other hand, on a few occasions I had to get certain things done in a country where many officials are famous for being corrupt. I was worried that they will challenge me, and since I don't know how to give bribes I'll be in trouble. However, both situations happened during void-of-course periods of the Moon, and everything went unbelievably smoothly, to my huge relief.
Not so long ago, I found an article by Estelle Daniels in the old 1997 Llewellyn's Moon Sign Book. The article is titled Using the Void-of-Course Moon, and it offers some great ideas and examples. Quoting from this article,
During a void Moon you should not sign a contract, make plans, close a deal, or start a project. Basically anything which you want to have a concrete real-world result should not be started, signed or sealed. If you do, these things will never get off the ground, never materialize, have to be re-done, or have so many problems and setbacks as to be useless anyhow.
On the other hand,
... if you want to drop a bombshell, and yet have fewer repercussions in the long run, during the void-of-course Moon is the time to do it.
And then goes a brilliant example:
Remember President Reagan, the "Teflon® President", who never got blamed for any of the bad stuff? Well he was very careful to schedule those presidential news conferences where he would answer the hard questions about nasty controversial stuff during void Moons. There would be questions and discussions, yet the next day nothing would ever really be said in the paper or on TV. The topic was just dropped, forgotten, or glossed over, and nobody really ever noticed. The void Moon was Reagan's Teflon®. Even in August 1988, when Nancy Reagan admitted at the Republican national convention on live TV with Dan Rather that the Reagans used astrology, it was during a void Moon, and nobody really noticed or cared. … Of course, when President Reagan had something had something wonderful to say which would make him look him good and he wanted people to notice, he was very careful to make sure the Moon was not void-of-course, so he would receive maximum notice and credit.
So it looks like the void-of-course periods were given to us as a time for those little stories which we don't want to be written into the books of our lives. They are a little bit like little stickers with a few words which you can stick somewhere in a book - they are there, and not there at the same time.
How To Find Out When The Next Void-Of-Course Period Is
We do agree that void-of-course periods are important, don't we?
Now, the bad news is that it can be difficult to figure out when exactly those periods take place. That's not a kind of information you can find in a typical calendar or a newspaper (at least not in those calendars and newspapers I am aware of), and you can't just calculate them on a piece of paper. It takes a few pages of astronomical formulas to do all the necessary calculations.
The good news however is that these days pretty much everyone has some sort of computer at hand, be it a desktop, a notebook or a smartphone. And those computers are more than happy to do for us all the tedious calculations in a split of a second. For more than a decade I am working on various software programs that make basic astrology available for everyone, and here are the solutions I can offer right now for those who want to keep track of the void-of-course Moon:
- The Astrological Moon Calendar. Its benefit is that it is available to everyone for free, and you can calculate a calendar for pretty much every year, and for more or less any location on the Earth. The downside is that it might require a little bit of effort to figure out what all those symbols mean, and the information in the calendar is somewhat dense. Another downside is the platform on which the Calendar is built, which is Google AppEngine, is a bit flaky. You might need to reload the page a few times until it will stop reporting a weird error and start showing the real stuff.
- iLuna app, which currently exists in two versions: iLuna for iOS and iLuna for Android. These apps are very handy when you are on the go because they don't need any Internet connection to work. Admittedly, both require an upgrade. There are a few new features and abilities I would like to add to iLuna, and in the first place the ability to export times and dates into a calendar.
I also have plans to create iLuna for Windows 8 - both tablets and phones - and to upgrade the existing apps and add a number of important new features, like the ability to export void-of-course periods to a calendar of choice. However, I can only work on my own projects after a full time job, and that means that I always wish that there was at least 72 hours in a day to be be able to implement all my ideas.
There are also all sorts of widgets for different platforms which would make the void-of-course information more widely available, but again due to a severe lack of spare time these projects have to be postponed.
I would be also very happy if you found it possible to share with me your void-of-course Moon experiences. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since this article was written, I've got some new ideas on how to work with the void-of-course periods. You will find the details in the last chapter of my Moon Sign book.