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What is the Void of Course Moon?

What is the Void of Course Moon?

Welcome to the latest Raphael’s Newsletter, bringing added depth to features on astrology, and valuable information to the art of forecasting. In this edition, you will find a link to a free, digitally restored copy of Claudius Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos. This ancient book (written in the 2nd century AD) is the basis of much in today’s Western astrology, with its theory of sign characteristics (the Positive/Negative polarities) and planetary rulerships. The link is at the bottom of this page.

Plus, we have extended the tables of planetary information to include daily transits of personal planets, minor planets – including the asteroids – and the Void of Course Moon. (About which there is a special feature this month.) Here then, to begin with, is a listing of the next thirty days’ planetary phenomena. (The following times are in ET – Ephemeris Time – which is virtually the same as GMT, in most cases differing only by 3 seconds of arc.)



These are the major aspects occurring between planets for the period under consideration, together with the dates/times of the Full and New Moons.

Sep 22nd      8:02 PM           Sun enters Libra
Sep 24th       7:49 PM           Mars  opposition  Neptune
Sep 25th       2:36 PM           Mercury  square  Saturn
Sep 27th       10:12 PM         Mercury opposite Chiron
Sep 28th       5:25 AM           Jupiter opposite Uranus
Sep 28th       7:36 PM           Pluto Direct
Sep 30th       12:11 AM         Venus  opposition Neptune
Sep 30th       12:42 AM         Mercury enters Libra
Oct  1st         11:36 PM         Mars trine Pluto
Oct  3rd         7:09 PM           Venus trine Pluto
Oct  5th         4:53 PM           Venus conjunct  Mars
Oct 5th          6:40 PM           Full Moon 12°Aries 43′
Oct  8th         8:54 PM           Sun conjunct  Mercury
Oct  8th        12:54 PM          Venus  square Saturn
Oct  9th        12:26 PM           Mercury  square  Pluto
Oct  10th      12:11 AM           Sun square  Pluto
Oct 10th       1:20 PM            Jupiter enters Scorpio
Oct 11th       1:37 PM             Mars  square  Saturn
Oct 10th       9:03 PM             Venus opposition Chiron
Oct 14th       10:11 AM           Venus enters Libra
Oct 15th       7:51 AM             Mercury opposition Uranus
Oct 15th       12:28 AM           Mars opposition Chiron
Oct 17th       7:58 AM             Mercury enters Scorpio
Oct 18th       3:54 AM             Mercury  conjunct  Jupiter
Oct 19th       7:12 PM             New Moon 26° Libra35′*
Oct 19th       5:35 PM             Sun opposition Uranus
Oct 22nd      6:29 PM             Mars enters Libra



These are the times of  the VOC Moon for the period under consideration; the first listed time is when the moon goes void, and the second when it ingresses the next sign.
Sept 22nd  1:05PM    Until    Sept  22nd      5:41PM     Scorpio
Sept 24th   7:34AM    Until    Sept 25th        4:02 AM    Sagittarius
Sept 27th   11:09AM  Until    Sept 27th        4:25PM     Capricorn
Sept 30th   0:15AM    Until    Sept 30th        4:41 AM    Aquarius
Oct 2nd     11:12AM   Until    Oct 2nd           2:26PM     Pisces
Oct 4th      7:20AM     Until    Oct 4th            8:41PM     Aries
Oct 6th      10:39PM   Until    Oct 6th           11:57PM    Taurus
Oct 8th      1:46PM     Until    Oct 9th            1:46PM     Gemini
Oct 10th    10:26PM   Until    Oct 11th          3:39PM     Cancer
Oct 13th    4:01AM     Until    Oct13th            6:42AM    Leo
Oct 15th    5:29AM     Until    Oct15th           11:20AM    Virgo
Oct 17th    11:28AM   Until    Oct 7th             5:36PM     Libra
Oct 19th    7:13PM     Until    Oct20th            1:42PM    Scorpio
Oct: 22nd  11:36AM   Until    Oct22th            11:58AM   Sagittarius
Oct: 24th   4:46 PM    Until    Oct 25th           0:13PM    Capricorn



The Centaurs

The so called Kuiper Belt was discovered in 1992, named after the Dutch astronomer Gerald Kuiper (d. 1973) whose calculations had indicated its existence. It entails, perhaps, billions of tiny celestial bodies, some of which are now our ‘Centaur’ family in astrology. The most popular of these (and one which is being used regularly in chart interpretation) is Chiron. Many other Centaur planets, however, are now on the researcher’s radar – and some have been included here in this small ephemeris. We will be looking in more detail at what individual Centaurs actually mean on a birth chart in future editions of the Newsletter, but collectively – according to Juan Antonio Revilla – ‘they represent raw impulses and needs in man that clash with the normal order of things … making us face a lost part of ourselves, so that the experience becomes both intense and healing, making us more whole.’ This means they are about digging deep inside of our soul and accepting that we’re not perfect – that we all contain the flaws, scars and wounds that Chiron (and the other Centaurs) symbolise. In the end, they are ultimately about, as Revilla says, self healing and becoming whole, but the journey has to begin with self-acceptance.

Short Centaur Ephemeris
Chiron     Pholus     Nessus   Asbolus   Chariklo   Hylonome
18th Sept 2017           26Pi37     26Sa12   5Pi19    18Ge11       9Cp08     4Cp38
28th Sept 2017           26Pi10     26Sa16   5Pi02    18Ge09       9Cp11     4Cp42
8th Oct 2017               25Pi43    26Sa25   4Pi47    18Ge02       9Cp21     4Cp49
18th Oct 2017             25Pi19    26Sa36   4Pi35    17Ge50       9Cp38      5Cp01
28th Oct 2017             24Pi58   26Sa51   4Pi26     17Ge34       9Cp59     5Cp17

The Asteroids
The small cosmic bodies that make up the so called asteroid belt have been know to astrologers for a long time. They were first discovered in the early nineteenth century, and the more common of these (the first four discovered) were named after female deities in Gerek myth: Ceres (the goddess of the harvest), Pallas (a synonym for the Goodess of wisdom, Athene), Juno (the partner of Zeus/Jupiter) and the hearth goddess, Vesta. It should be noted, too, that Ceres (discovered in 1801) was upgraded to a minor planet in 2006. Below you will find an introduction to these fascinating cosmic bodies which may prove crucial to understanding your chart.

Short Asteroid Ephemeris
Ceres      Pallas       Juno        Vesta
22nd Sep 2017           29Ca12  13Ta52    4Cp43       1Li51
26th Sep 2017            0Le37    13Ta29     5Cp20       3Li52
30th Sep 2017            2Le01    12Ta58     6Cp02       5Li53
4th Oct 2017              3Le22    12Ta20      6Cp48       7Li54
8th Oct 2017              4Le42    11Ta33     7Cp38        9Li56
12th Oct 2017            5Le59    10Ta39     8Cp32       11Li59
16th Oct 2017            7Le13     9Ta38      9Cp29       14Li01
20th Oct 2017            8Le26     8Ta31     10Cp30      16Li04
24th Oct 2017            9Le35     7Ta19     11Cp35      18Li07



A planet is voyd of course when he is seperated from a planet, nor doth forthwith, during his being in that sign, apply to any other; this is most usually the moon; in judgements doe you carefully observe whether she be void of course yea or no; you shall seldom see a businesse goe forward when she is so – William Lilly

Thus spake the seventeenth century astrologer William Lilly in his 1659 text Christian Astrology (Modestly Treated of in Three Books), yet it seems that very little – comparatively – has actually been written regarding the phenomena of the Void of Course Moon. One early notice was that of the 4th century AD Roman astrologer Firmicus Maternus, author of Matheseos libri octo (“Eight books of astrology”) written c. 334-37. Firmicus wrote that: “If however the Moon is so positioned that she is carried toward nothing, nor is she joining herself to any star by a proper ray, and no benevolent star occupies the angles, it will make degraded paupers, and those who are destitute of all things that are necessary, and those for whom the things which are an aid to daily living are denied …’ 1

William Lilly’s mention of the VOC was inspired, however, by the Italian medieval astrologer/magus, Guido Bonatti (A.D. 1207-1296) who had penned the Liber Astronomiae, the “Book of Astronomy”. This, Lilly translated with his understudy Henry Coley, and so in Treatise 5 of the Liber we find the so called ‘146 Considerations’, a kind of rule book on best practices for the conscientious astrologer. The 19th Consideration tells us to, ‘behold the Moon if she be void of course,’ for then it suggests ‘an impediment to the thing in question, it will not come to a good end, nor be accomplished; but the Querent shall be forced to desist with shame and loss.’

When we arrive at Consideration 62 we should enquire: ‘Whether the Moon be void of course? For that signifies that the thing enquired after shall scarce ever come to a good end, and not without much labour, sorrow, and trouble, unless the Lord of the Ascendant or significator of the thing, shall be in very good condition, and then it may be hindered, but not wholly frustrated; yet ’tis a good time then for drinking, bathing, feasting, &c., and to use ointments for taking away of hair, especially if she be in Scorpio.’ As we can see, the Void of Course Moon is, for all three authors, laden with doomy portents and bad luck should one be foolish enough to try and start a new business, win over new clients, make romantic overtures or go in search of new horizons. One gets the impression that it’s just a bad time to be doing important things. So what is the rationale for all of this?

Well, the Void of Course Moon is that brief astronomical period of time after the moon has made its last aspect (in one sign) before it enters the next sign. Obviously occurring late in a sign, it is when the moon – symbolising collective humanity in mundane astrology – has no stable connection to anything else in the cosmos. First, let’s take a look at the moon’s symbolism to get a better idea of this. The moon is a planet ‘ruling’ all of those ‘feminine’ forces in the Universe which are ‘natural’, instinctive, and often hidden from view. We might cite as examples, human gestation in the womb prior to childbirth, the strange process of metamorphosis (such as caterpillar to butterfly) and even a child’s milk teeth that are replaced by ‘adult’ versions (at the ‘correct’ time). I chose these examples since – despite our 21st century intellects – they are still genuine mysteries. Orthodox science can describe what happens during these recondite processes, but has no satisfactory explanation for them (without recourse to the ‘supernatural’ – which it has, of course, discarded.) Instead, we invoke a very old archetype: it’s Mother Nature, we say.

This Universal Feminine principle is personified in the primal goddess of Greek myth, Gaia, Mother Earth. (Which has inspired James Lovelock’s Gaia theory, where the earth always works to achieve and maintain a self regulated ecosystem of harmony, wholeness and balance.) The original Gaia generated herself out of the primeval chaos and, in time, all of life was created from her all-embracing, all-powerful, fecund womb. (The Great Mother archetype is, as one would expect, common to all ancient myths.) As Mother Nature, then, Gaia is a force for healing, nurture and sustenance. The key is that everything on this planet is dependent on her.

In astrology, this nurturing aspect is crucial to understanding the moon on a chart. She symbolises our experience of Mother, of being cared and provided for by a force greater than ourselves. Nothing in our lives will ever be quite so powerful for us as those all imposing figures when we were infants: our parents. Hence, it relates to that aspect of human nature which is receptive, instinctual, emotionally responsive and – crucially – needful. (Just as the chart’s 4th house, connected to the moon’s sign Cancer, symbolises our need to belong to a larger, supportive unit: a home, family and parental ‘roots’.)

It’s because of this free-flowing, receptive element in the moon that, in aspect to other planets, it seems to ‘absorb’ some of their influence. It is ‘coloured’ by them – rather than the other way around. And so, in aspect to Mars, say, one’s emotions are more impulsive and even aggressive; with Jupiter the natural instinct to be more open and optimistic; with Saturn the feelings are guarded, controlled, suppressed. It may seem, then, that the moon has no real defining or radiating power – always a ‘taker’, not a ‘giver’. (For example, moonlight is just a reflection of sunlight. Of course, the moon’s ‘power’, as it were, works unconsciously.) But it is this motif that underlies the baneful idea of the Void of Course Moon – when it is not making any more aspects in that sign, when it is ‘rudderless’, floating like a cork on the ocean. Just like our own emotions (which it symbolises) the moon requires some kind of containment – when it is Void, there is no containment. Better still, one can think of the VOC moon as being directionless, like going down a blind alley with no certainty that the destination won’t be a dead end.

As cited, historical references to the VOC are relatively scant, though in more recent times the American astrologer Al H Morrison has done extensive research into the phenomenon. He remarks that the VOC is a time when decision making ‘turns out later unrealistic. Creativity diverges into unplanned directions, improvisations, false starts, error. Business moves fail to generate profits or meet unexpected difficulties. .. Human judgement is more fallible.’ And, whilst everyday life may proceed normally it ‘often requires an adjustment. Defects and shortages come to light’ and ‘delays and frustrations’ seem to be the norm.3 Look at the tables above and pay attention to when the moon is void, and see what happens. The usual advice to is to make such times rest periods if possible – times when you are not busily engaged in trying to set the world on fire.



The Aug 21st Solar Eclipse – a Review

A solar eclipse happens when the Moon is poised between the Earth and the Sun, resulting in the shadow of the moon sweeping across a portion of the Earth. Astrologically, the archetypal Death-Rebirth theme is invoked, often literally when the world witnesses the actual deaths of prominent figures who symbolise solar energies – world leaders or members of a royal family. We also discover that unexpected explosions have occurred, or freak weather and natural disasters. In last months’s Newsletter I mentioned there are ‘floods or strange meteorological phenomena around the time of the eclipse’ and that the effects of the Aug 21 solar eclipse ‘will be felt through the rest of the month and maybe up until late October.’

Well, we’ve certainly seen plenty of that strange meteorological phenomena around the USA. First, Hurricane Harvey (which had formed on the 17th) barrelled across Texas in August, resulting in horrendous flooding. But there was worse to come, as Hurricane Irma (with speeds over 160mph) struck the Caribbean, the Bahamas and the American mainland around Florida later in September, bringing utter devastation to thousands of people, even killing some of them. As a category five hurricane it will be recorded in history as the most durable high-intensity cyclone ever. Of course, we are not quite finished, for now there is Hurricane Irma, among the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded. Earlier, this had battered Puerto Rico, bringing equally devastating 155mph winds and cutting electrical power to the island’s whole population of 3.5 million. Watch this space!

The Jupiter-Uranus Opposition

This aspect will become exact on the 28th, though its effects may be evident a few days before the degrees match (on the 26th up until the 30th). Often there are breakthroughs and discoveries in the world of science and technology (whose significance may be understated at the time). There is something of the expansive, questing spirit with the combination of these two planets: Jupiter is open to ‘the new’ and Uranus positively thrives on change, and knowledge that helps one progress. Both planets also invoke the idea of freedom and liberties – Jupiter is generous towards whatever is ‘good’ for us and Uranus breaks up restrictive situations. Indeed, on occasions this aspect helps to improve the lot of society, generally. Jupiter is a more inclusive, all embracing (indeed generous) kind of process and Uranus symbolises collective freedom, liberty and the sphere of human rights. Here are a few news items from the last Jupiter-Uranus Opposition back in late Feb./early March 2107:

February 27: SpaceX announces that it will take two space tourists on an orbit of the Moon in 2018. (CNBC)

March 1st: Scientists announce the finding of microfossils up to almost 4.3 billion years old, within rocks from the Hudson Bay shoreline in northern Quebec, Canada, that may represent the oldest-known evidence of life on Earth. (Reuters)

The European Union formally grants Georgian citizens visa-free travel to its member states. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

March 5th: Israel changes its law regarding marijuana use. Instead of facing criminal charges, first-time offenders who smoke marijuana in public places will only receive a fine. (Haaretz) (This is one of the more surprising legal moves in Israel – though highly characteristic of Uranus-Jupiter.)

March 6th: Executive Order 13780 (regarding immigration and limits on travel to the U.S. from certain countries) revoked and replaced Executive Order 13769 issued January 27, 2017. [President] Trump complained that this new order is a “watered down, politically correct version” of the prior executive order.

Here is some of Trump’s influence being curbed, and the event is Jupiter-Uranus to a tee – human rights getting a (small) helping hand. The current Jupiter Uranus opposition, may thus see instances of conservative power structures under some kind or pressure to ‘ease off’. More liberal and progressive voices may not only be heard but may well make an impact and get their own way around this time. This applies especially to the USA and UK where more conservative type power structures are in place. We may see some surprising concessions on the part of the powers that be!

The British Economy

Back in RN 20 I noted that, in early November, Jupiter starts to transit the second house, symbolising the nation’s finances. We’re not quite there yet, but the UK seems to be entering a phase where ‘progress will be made in business negotiations with foreign countries, and there may be increased public investment in infrastructure and services – despite the overall national debt. Consumers are likely to keep on spending, exports may be up too and businesses will bag new contracts both at home and abroad. Though many people continue to struggle financially, Britain will avoid actual recession, as such.’

Recent predictions about the UK economy seem to bear this out. According to the Independent, ‘Bank of England officials aren’t the only ones feeling a bit more bullish about the UK economy. The Centre for Economics and Business Research upgraded its outlook for the nation’s economy Monday, citing a pickup in manufacturing and a view that the worst of the consumer-spending squeeze has passed. The group now expects UK growth of 1.6 per cent this year and 1.4 per cent in 2018, an increase from 1.3 per cent and 1.2 per cent, previously.2 (The right wing Daily Telegraph is even more optimistic than the Independent report.)

Other forecasts are less optimistic, but the trend is up. This is exactly what one should expect with Jupiter transiting the 2nd house of the national chart, in this case the Libra rising 1801 chart for the UK.


Widely regarded as an influential text on Western Astrology, the Tetrabiblos or ‘four books’, (Latin = Quadripartitum “Four Parts”) is a treatise on astrology, written in the 2nd century AD by the Alexandrian scholar Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 90–c. AD 168). Ptolemy’s Almagest was an authoritative text on astronomy for more than a thousand years, and the Tetrabiblos, its companion volume, was equally influential in astrology, the study of the effects of astronomical cycles on earthly matters. But whilst the Almagest as an astronomical authority was superseded by acceptance of the heliocentric model of the solar system, the Tetrabiblos remains an important theoretical work for astrology.

Besides outlining the techniques of astrological practice, Ptolemy’s philosophical defense of the subject as a natural, beneficial study helped secure theological tolerance towards astrology in Western Europe during the Medieval era. This allowed Ptolemaic teachings on astrology to be included in universities during the Renaissance, which brought an associated impact upon medical studies and literary works. The book’s intellectual standing had collapsed by the end of the 17th century, when Ptolemy’s work and the principles it presented faced criticisms of being outmoded and based on superstition.

The historical importance of the Tetrabiblos is seen by the many ancient, Medieval and Renaissance commentaries that have been published about it. It was copied, commented on, paraphrased, abridged, and translated into many languages. With the translation of the Tetrabiblos into Latin in the 12th century, “Ptolemaic astrology” became integrated by Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas into medieval Christian doctrine. This theological acceptance encouraged the teaching of Ptolemaic astrology in universities, often linked to medical studies. This, in turn, brought attention in literary works, such as Dante’s, which helped shape the moral, religious and cosmological paradigm of Western Europe during the Medieval era.[6] The Tetrabiblos was largely responsible for laying down the basic precepts of Renaissance astrology,[7] and was a necessary textbook in some of the finest universities of Renaissance and early modern Europe. Even 21st-century astrological textbooks have described the Tetrabiblos as being “without a doubt, indispensable for any serious student of astrology”.

The first English translation did not appear until the 18th century, but by the end of the 19th century the American astrologer Luke Broughton reported he had at least half a dozen different English translations in his possession. The English translation you have here, brought to you by Raphael’s, is by J.M. Ashmand, published in 1822. Click on the link below to download the file – then you can navigate chapters in your PDF reader, the application you use to open it. (If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste the link into the address bar of your browser and hit the Return or Enter key on the keyboard.)

(Main text: Wikipedia)


1.Quoted by Hand,R., “Ancient Astrology and the Void-of-Course Moon,” in The Mountain Astrologer, Oct./Nov. 1997, p. 42.

2. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-economy-growth-forecast-2018-perform-better-predict-cebr-think-tank-a7952426.html

3. From: Debbi Kempton Smith, Secrets From A Stargazer’s Notebook, Topquark Press, 1999.

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