The Void-of-Course Moon

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If you have been reading my weekly horoscopes, you may have noticed that the “weekly moon” portion of the aspects usually says something like this:

VOC Moon in Leo: Jan. 22 from 8:19 – 10:21 pm

What does “VOC” stand for? It’s shorthand for void-of-course.

Explanation for astrology nerds

When I say the moon is “Void-of-course” (or VOC), I’m referring to the period after the moon has made its last major Ptolemaic aspect* in one sign and before it moves into the next sign. During this period, the moon is not making any major aspects to the sun or planets. Minor aspects or aspects to asteroids like Chiron aren’t taken into consideration.

* The Ptolemaic aspects are the conjunction, opposition, square, trine, and sextile.

This is the traditional definition of void-of-course as I understand it, recorded by Roman astrologer Firmicus Maternus and studied for 45 years by astrologer Al H. Morrison in the 20th century. Some astrologers throw in some other aspects or take asteroids into consideration, but I like to keep it simple.

The void-of-course moon is most traditionally used in horary astrology, the set of astrological techniques for divining answers to specific questions. It’s only more recently that astrologers and laypeople in the west have put it into everyday use.

Explanation for everybody

The moon is void-of-course once every two days or so, and may be VOC for only a few minutes, a few hours, or a full day.

When the moon is void-of-course, she is “resting,” but the influence is subtle. The astrological interpretation of this period is that we feel more like relaxing than being productive, thoughts are ‘fuzzier’, activities take a vague direction or need to be redone. With some similarity to a planet’s retrograde period, the VOC is a time for more inward reflection than outward action.

The most important reason for noting a VOC Moon is to plan the launch of a new project, deal, or decision around the VOC period. This is a time to avoid starting anything big and new, because it may not go anywhere, or it may need to be redone at a later date.

How to use the VOC Moon

Pay sparing attention to the VOC Moon. Schedule important beginnings for another time, and otherwise go on with business as usual. It’s too easy to spiral into a state of information overload when you start merging all kinds of astrological techniques to plan your life. Something that happens every two days or so is not a big enough influence to freak out about.

I know an entrepreneur who uses VOC moons to schedule important meetings. He won’t schedule a business meeting, especially one that will lead to an important contract, during the VOC Moon. Notice that this refers to client meetings—he might still have lunch with a friend, catch up with his assistant, or get a report from his team during a VOC period if he needs to proceed with work. Life does not have to stop altogether. However, he has noticed that client meetings during VOC moons tend not to deliver tangible results. This is one way to use astrology to plan your life without going overboard.

So if you have a big meeting with an important client to schedule, a magical working to perform, or a fresh start to make, plan a time when the moon is not marked “VOC.” Otherwise, live your life.

Image Credit: “Lunar Day" from Recreations in Astronomy by H. D. Warren D. D., 1879

Happy birthday, Leo! Your horoscope for July 22 - 28.

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Happy birthday! Your season officially starts on Sunday evening. Usually, it’s all about sunshine and summertime barbecues, but I’m afraid it might be a little too hot even for you this week, astrologically speaking. Instead of taking your usual place as the life of the party, you’re sitting in the cool shade with Mercury retrograde, contemplating who you are. Get to know yourself better this Leo season. Get comfortable with your truth. If you have lost touch with your inner strength, now is the time to go inward and recover your courage and pride. Eclipse season promises changes in relationships, in yourself, and in your direction. We’re nearing the end of an era for you. Release something that can’t come along for the ride. A ritual that involves literally burning old emotional baggage, photos, or clothes could be cleansing this weekend. Oh, and a word about your precious mane? Avoid getting it cut or colored until after August 19th if you can. The internal search for yourself is enough for now. You’ll show off the results later.

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Happy birthday, Cancer! Your horoscope for June 24 - 30.

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Cancer, where is your transformation taking you? Are the changes you’re making the ones you want? Mars retrograde starts a summer-long review of the deeper workings in your life: your unconscious, your financial mindset, your urges and drives, and the resources you share with a partner. Your private motivations are up for review. Go deeper than the surface to figure out what you want. The link between personal power and freedom is something for you to meditate on this week. What do these things mean to you? What does your life look like when you feel powerful and free? Wednesday’s full moon is, once again, about you and a significant partner or friend. It’s the climax to a month-long story of relationship growth. Saturn is testing the maturity and strength of your partnership. It will hold up if both of you can tackle challenges together. Approach this as a team.

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