Void of Course

Void of Course

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A planet is void of course after it makes its last major aspect with another planet before transiting out of a given sign. It remains void of course (often abbreviated VOC) until it enters a new sign (almost invariably the next sign) in which it will make another major aspect. This is an old notion, originating in horary astrology, that has begun to enjoy a new wave of popularity. Many contemporary astrologers pay special attention to transiting void-of-course Moons, regarding their influence as being on par with that of retrograde motion—meaning that these are poor periods during which to sign contracts, initiate new projects, or acquire new possessions. It is a good time, however, to reflect and “recharge.”

To clarify the mechanics of void of course, imagine that the transiting Moon has just entered Aquarius. Over the course of several days, as the Moon moves from 0° to 26° Aquarius, it will make a half dozen or so major aspects (conjunctions, sextiles, squares, trines, and oppositions) with the Sun and the transiting planets. However, at 26° Aquarius, it will make its last aspect, say, a sextile (60°) aspect with Jupiter. As it sweeps across the next 4° (taking approximately 8 hours to do so), and until it makes its ingress (entry) into the sign Pisces, it is void of course. The length of a void of course varies from a few minutes to more than 24 hours, depending on where the planets are while the Moon transits each sign.

Al H. Morrison, the widely acknowledged expert on void-of-course moons, has observed that “actions taken while the Moon is void of course somehow always fail of their intended or planned results.” Morrison studied law enforcement activities and found that whenever investigative actions were initiated during void-of-course moons, individuals violating the law failed to be convicted (although the investigation always managed to upset their criminal operation). Thus, although activities may not turn out as anticipated, the result need not be unfortunate. After 45 years of study, Morrison concluded that the Moon’s last aspect has to be a true major aspect with the Sun or one of the planets (not Chiron or one of the asteroids). Minor aspects, such as the semisextile, the quintile, etc., do not save the Moon from being void of course. Morrison also noted a cyclic mood pattern peculiar to people born during void-of-course moons.

Another astrologer, Janis Huntley, studied 250 charts and found that approximately 1 out of every 12 people was born while the Moon was void of course. She also found a significantly higher percentage—1 out of every 8—among famous people. Thus, this placement does not appear to dampen achievement. Like Morrison, Huntley found that individuals born during void-of-course moons seemed to suffer somewhat from the turmoils of their emotions. They often experience loneliness, feeling “different and misunderstood.”

Morrison has published a void-of-course moon ephemeris for many years. Also, some astrological magazines, such as the Mountain Astrologer, contain day-by-day accounts of transiting conditions that note when the Moon goes void of course as well as when the Moon enters a new sign. Finally, certain of the major emphemerides, such as the American Emphemeris, published by Astro Computing, contain last-aspect and ingress information for the Moon. By all indications, the void-of-course moon has found a permanent niche in the mainstream of modern astrology.

Sources:

Huntley, Janis. Astrological Voids: Exploring the Missing Components in the Birth Chart. Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1991.
Michelsen, Neil F. The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century. San Diego: Astro Computing Services, 1988.
Morrison, Al H. “Notes on the Void-of-Course Moon.” The Mountain Astrologer 889 (August/September 1989): 11, 29.