Electional Astrology

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Electional Astrology

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Electional astrology is the branch of astrology dealing with selecting (“electing”) the best time to initiate any given activity or project. Electional astrology is traditionally regarded as a subdivision of horary astrology because it involves a reverse application of horary principles. In other words, instead of examining an event that started at a particular time and forecasting the outcome, one determines the outcome one wishes to achieve and works backward to find an appropriate moment to start.

Electional methods have been applied to selecting the time for marriage, planting (agricultural astrology), beginning journeys, opening businesses, buying land, constructing buildings, initiating lawsuits, and so forth. Prior to the advent of modern, psychologically oriented astrology, electing the proper time to begin an activity was one of the chief reasons for consulting astrologers. There exists a vast traditional literature on the subject that stretches back to before the time of Ptolemy.

In electional astrology, the astrologer must not only construct an inceptional figure (electional chart) that will accomplish the intended purpose, but also select a moment that will bring concurrent influences in the client’s natal chart into alignment with the desired end. In other words, contrary influences in the client’s chart will counteract favorable influences in the election chart.

There is, however, a shorthand approach, using the position of the Moon, for selecting the proper moment to initiate actions. As the nearest and fastest-moving celestial body to Earth, the Moon has the most influence over the continuously changing astrological “atmosphere” of our home planet. For day-to-day choices, it is thus the most significant planet to examine. The first rule of thumb in electing actions by the position of the Moon is to pay attention to the Moon’s waxing and waning cycle. Activities one hopes will quickly expand, such as a new business venture, should be initiated during a waxing moon (increasing in size from new to full). On the other hand, activities one hopes to stop or slow down, such as the growth of hair after a haircut, should be undertaken during a waning moon (decreasing in size from full to new).

A second consideration when using the position of the moon in electional astrology is the variable speed of the Moon. The Moon travels in an elliptical orbit around Earth. During its perigee (the point at which it passes closest to Earth), it is traveling faster than during its apogee (the point farthest away from Earth). As with the waxing and waning cycle, activities one wants to come quickly to fruition should be undertaken close to the Moon’s perigee, and activities one wants to stop or slow down should be undertaken close to its apogee.

A third consideration is to avoid certain actions when the Moon is void of course (often abbreviated VOC). 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 until it enters a new sign (referred to as ingress). The influence of void-of-course moons is on par with retrograde motion—these are poor periods during which to sign contracts, initiate new projects, or acquire new possessions. They are good times, however, to reflect and “recharge.” Many of the major ephemeredes (tables of planetary positions) note when the Moon goes void of course as well as when the Moon enters a new sign. Astrologers who have studied void-of-course moons assert that the last aspect must be a major one—conjunction, sextile, square, trine, or opposition—with the Sun or one of the planets (asteroids and other celestial bodies are not considered significant for the purpose of determining VOC moons).

A fourth consideration in using the Moon’s position is the nature of the Moon’s last aspect before going void of course; this concluding aspect shows the outcome of any action undertaken while the Moon was in that sign. A hard aspect, such as a square or an opposition, tends to indicate an unfavorable outcome, whereas a sextile or a trine indicates a favorable one. A conjunction is usually regarded as favorable, although conjunction with a difficult planet such as Saturn might cause delays.

A fifth consideration when using the lunar position to determine timing is the next aspect the Moon makes after an action is taken (called the applying aspect). Thus, if one goes to a job interview when the Moon is applying a square to Neptune, confused communication or even a sense of deception is likely to interfere with the interview. This need not spell doom for one’s job prospects, however. If the last aspect before the Moon goes void of course in the sign of the zodiac it was in during the interview gives a more positive indication, such as a trine to Jupiter, the outcome of the interview is likely to be positive.

A sixth and final consideration is the sign the Moon is in at the time a project is undertaken. For example, if one wished to undertake a project that involves attention to detail, it might be best to do so when the Moon is in Virgo (a sign associated with detailed organization); to establish a partnership, it might be best to wait until the Moon is in Libra (a sign associated with marriage and business partnerships); and so forth.

Small astrological almanacs that keep track of all the data associated with the Moon’s changing signs and aspects for each year can sometimes be found at larger bookstores, though one must usually go to a specialty bookseller. In addition, the Simplified Scientific Ephemeris published annually by the Rosicrucian Fellowship, is widely available. These tables of ephermerides supply an aspectarian (a table that notes the day and time that aspects between planets become exact), although they do not explicitly note the last aspect the Moon makes before it goes void of course.

On a day-to-day basis, it is frequently difficult to schedule the most ideal time for any given action. Often the best one can do is to avoid the least favorable moments. Nevertheless, watching the Moon with a small pocket almanac provides anyone with a minimum of astrological expertise with a quick, rough method for electing the best times to schedule everyday tasks.

Some form of electional astrology is a part of every astrological tradition. In Vedic astrology, electional astrology is referred to as Muhurta.


DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
Michelsen, Neil F. The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century. San Diego: ACS Publications, 1988.
Michelsen, Neil F. Tables of Planetary Phenomena. San Diego: Astro Computing Services Publications, 1990.
Morrison, Al H. “Notes on the Void-of-Course Moon.” The Mountain Astrologer 889 (August/September 1989), pp. 11, 29.
Rosicrucian Fellowship. Simplified Scientific Ephemeris 1993. Oceanside, CA: Rosicrucian Fellowship, 1992.