VOC Moon

Void-of-course, of course

VOC MoonIt is common to hear horary astrologers use the expression void-of-course (VOC) in reference to the Moon when it makes no more aspects before it leaves its present sign. 

No more aspects

Some astrologers say that the Moon is VOC if it doesn’t make another aspect for the radius of its orb: 13 degrees, even though it may aspect another planet before leaving its present sign.

A Consideration

A VOC Moon is one of the so-called Considerations used by horary astrologers when judging a chart.
Its general interpretation is that nothing will come of the matter asked about, unless there is strong contradictory evidence presented in the chart.

Not really of course

However the expression void-of-course is actually a misnomer.
In modern English the expression of course suggests something that is obvious, or common knowledge, or similar, and the expression ‘VOC’ seems odd.


However Bonatti (Book on Astronomy, Vol 1, Chapter 10: On the voiding of the course of the planets, page 214′; translated by Ben Dykes) uses the expression ‘in-course’ meaning a planet in the course of its travels through a sign.

Running alone

If it doesn’t aspect another planet before it leaves its present sign it is void-in-course, and runs alone.

An adjustment is required

Changing the expression from void-of-course to void-in-course dispenses with any confusion regarding the modern understanding of the phrase of-course, and makes its meaning more obvious. Using just the word void as in the Moon is void is also a positive step, but not as self-explanatory as in-courseSomewhere between Bonatti and Lilly the expression changed from void-in-course to void-of-course.
Learning astrology can be challenging enough at times without having to learn the meaning of terms which are themselves a corruption that confuses people in contemporary society. If a small adjustment is made, and the term VOC is replaced by the term void-in-course, then fewer people would be confused and astrology move a step closer to broader acceptance.

Horary: Answering questions with multiple choices

Multiple choice questions

One of the difficulties experienced by horary astrology students is how to answer questions involving multiple choices. For example, the querent wants to make a choice between two or more properties, business deals, purchases, marriage or relationship partners, travel destinations, or similar multiple-choice questions.

The method described below for choosing between multiple options was sourced from Book of Astronomy by Guido Bonatti 1491 (page 551), Translated by Benjamin N Dykes, The Cazimi Press, 2007.

3 options

If there is a choice between three options then use the the three triplicity lords of the quesited’s house to represent the three options.

Triplicity rulers Triplicity rulers

For example, in a question about choosing between three potential partners use the triplicity lords of the seventh house. If Libra was on the cusp of the seventh house in a day chart, then use Saturn Mercury and Jupiter, in that order, to represent the three potential partners.

Choose whichever of these planets aspects the ascendant ruler. In this case if Libra is the sign on the seventh house cusp, then Aries must be on the first house cusp. Therefore the querent is represented by Mars.  If more than one planet aspects Mars, then choose the planet that is closest or first aspects Mars. If they are equally close, then either will do.

What’s important

A bodily conjunction between Mars and one of these three planets is more important than an aspect. And dignity is also relevant. If more than one of these planets aspects Mars and there is little difference is distance, then choose the one with the most dignity.

In general terms choose the planet which is most closely aligned with the ascendant ruler, best disposed and most fortunate. Sometimes you will need to use your discretion to weigh up the balance between competing options.

4 options

If there are four options to choose from, use the ruler of the house to represent the first option, and the triplicity rulers to represent the other three.

5 options

If there are five options to choose from, use the ascendant ruler of the house which represents the quesited to represent the first option, the exalted ruler to represent the second option, and the triplicity rulers to represent the other three options. If the sign on the cusp of the quesited’s house does not have an exalted ruler, then use the planet whose bound covers the degree of cusp.

Lunar aspects

Also consider the planet from which the Moon last separated and the one to which it next applies, as this will show whether to stay with the present situation or choose a different option.

Let the chart talk to you

Sometimes the chart speaks clearly to the question by placing a planet in a prominent position, such as the Midheaven. If this planet in some way clearly describes one option there is no need to consider alternatives.

For example, a client was needing to choose between four career options. One involved graphic art and presentation, the other three concerned administration. Venus in Pisces on the Midheaven clearly indicated that a career in the arts was an excellent choice.


Answering a question with multiple options can appear very difficult at first. As with other horary questions it is best to keep the method simple. A knowledge of the triplicity rulers is very helpful as is a general knowledge of horary principles.

Is the dark Moon the new Moon?

The syzygy

In contemporary astrology the New Moon is when the Sun and Moon are aligned, with the Sun and Earth on opposite sides of the Moon. At this time the New Moon is invisible from Earth.

new Moon The alignment of the Sun and earth with the Moon in between means that the side of the Moon that faces Earth in completely dark. Technically, this is called a conjunction or syzygy.

The dark Moon

The darkened Moon rises and sets close to the Sun,  making it impossible to see due to the Sun’s glare.

In horary astrology we would say that the Moon is combust, and whatever or whoever is represented by the Moon in a horoscope is hidden or blinded.

The new Moon

About a day after the dark Moon conjunction, the Moon becomes visible again as a waxing crescent Moon. The new Moon is the appearance of the thinnest sliver of the crescent Moon. In the Islamic calendar this is the new Moon which defines the beginning of the month. dark Moon

Observation and the visibility

Astrology is based on observation and the visibility of light. It really doesn’t make sense that the dark Moon is the new Moon. There’s nothing new about the dark Moon, nothing to see.

This is not the time when something has been given birth. Just as a baby is only born when it leaves its mother and becomes visible in our world, so the Moon can only be new when she first becomes visible.

Astrology has to make sense, otherwise it’s nonsense.

Reflections on our life cycle

The lunar cycle reflects the cycle of our lives. The first sliver shows the infant, the first quarter burgeoning youth, the full Moon the high of our powers, the third quarter our middle years, and the waning Moon our decline into old age and death. At the dark phase the Moon is hidden, conjoined with the Sun in private. Then the new Moon is born again and the cycle repeats.

Have astrologers been getting it wrong all this time?

Well not all astrologers all of the time. In ancient times the new Moon was taken to be when the first sliver appeared, as Robert Zoller mentioned in his lessons.

However in my experience the vast majority of astrologers call the dark Moon the new Moon. I was taught this when I began astrology and I don’t know many astrologers who use the appearance of the first sliver as the new Moon.

When does the new Moon occur?

About a day after the dark Moon is the answer. Astronomical observation is used to time the months in the Islamic calendar. A new month can only begin after a waxing crescent Moon is observed shortly after sunset. We can take this as one day , or 24 hours, after the dark Moon.

Since the Moon moves approximately 13 degrees in 24 hours, it’s an easy adjustment. In the 1980’s I was taught that the house where the new Moon falls in one’s horoscope shows the nature of new beginnings for that month. In many cases this will be the same house as the dark Moon, and in others it will be the next house.

Making an adjustment

The writers of many astrological web sites and publications confuse the dark Moon with the new Moon,  and I expect considerable push-back to the suggestion that their prognostications for the coming month are based on an incorrect time and degree of the Moon. This is more likely to be the case when there are perceived financial implications or reflections on one’s status or expertise.

However were are all in this together and I’m sure the more open minded, and perhaps younger astrologers, will make an adjustment when new evidence suggests there is a better approach. These are the astrologers who I believe deserve real respect.

March Calendar

The astrology calendar for March 2018 is set for Australia’s capital Canberra.

Shown are planet transits to transits, planet ingresses, lunations, OOB (out-of-bounds) planets, and VOC moons

For a personalized calendar adjusted to show exact transits to your natal horoscope contact Peter Burns. Cost $15

astrology calendar

Virgo full Moon

The Virgo full Moon on March 2nd is at 11.22 Virgo.

full Moon The full Moon occurs when the Moon is drunk with the Sun’s light, and at its brightest. From this point onward it is on the wane and reaches the point of full darkness in 2 weeks on March 17 at 26 Pisces.

In this chart for the full Moon set for Melbourne Victoria Australia the Sun is applying to a conjunction with Neptune in approx in 2 degrees 28′.  The Sun is associated with rulership and those in the highest office. It’s impending conjunction with Neptune implies deception and behind the scenes activity. No surprise there.

The Moon is translating the light of Saturn in Capricorn to the Sun. Saturn is the last planet the Moon aspected before its opposition to the Sun, and so channels the facts associated with harsh reality to our rulers. What our leaders do with this information is suggested by Neptune: hide the facts and distort the picture of reality. It is fashionable to glamorize the attributes associated with Neptune, and emphasize its supposed associations with art and creativity. However Neptune is primarily associated with distortion, deception and confusion.

The trine between Mercury and Jupiter is important because it is applying. Less important is the trine between Venus and Jupiter because it is separating. Mercury is received by Jupiter and therefore given a welcome, therefore raising our hopes. Also worth noting is that Jupiter itself is stationing and about to turn retrograde. As a slow moving planet it stays near this point for a couple of weeks.

Depending on your location a more precise interpretation can be obtained by including the meanings of the houses ruled by the planets mentioned above. I have not including house rulerships as they differ according to location.

It’s interesting that there are five planets between 20-23 degrees at the moment. If you have significant planets or points at these degrees in your natal chart you are likely to be going through some ‘interesting’ and busy times.

Barnaby Joyce and Uranus disruption

I have been reminded by Mary Trevenar Rowe that Banaby Joyce is currently in the midst of Uranus transits. Great call and one that few seasoned astrologers would miss. She correctly points out that the last transit of Uranus conjunct Joyce’s Sun is on March 3rd 2018.

Barnaby JoyceUranus is the planet of disruption, sudden shocks and surprises, rarely pleasant. Its function is to break down barriers, to liberate and awaken. it is best used sparingly but when it makes an exact conjunction to a natal planet, which happens approx. every 84 years, it cannot be ignored.

And when the planet Uranus is conjoining is the natal sun, which reflects personal identity and sense of purpose, it is especially significant.

Barnaby Joyce’s natal Sun is Aries 26 Aries. Uranus is currently at 25.45 Aries, and as Mary Trevenar Rowe says, the aspect is exact on March 3rd 2018.

Uranus has been opposing his natal Mars and conjunct his natal Sun over the last 12 months, and the conjunction to his natal Sun is the last pass before Uranus finally ingresses into Taurus.

Conjunctions of Uranus to the natal Sun are associated with major change, upheaval, sudden and unexpected happenings which can be particularly uncomfortable (at least in the short term), and being pushed into the public light for all the wrong reasons.

The solar eclipses of August 21 2017 and February 2018 both made very close aspects the his natal Sun. The first was a trine which correlated with his dual citizenship status, The second was associated with his marriage breakup and affair with a staffer.

And now, a week prior to the Uranus conjunction to his natal Sun, there is a challenge to his leadership. Again it really doesn’t look good for Barnaby Joyce. Even if he survives the leadership challenge the transits from Saturn square its natal placement continue until the end of 2018. As I mentioned in a previous post this Saturn transit is associated with a test, issues of maturity, sometimes defeat, and questions of responsibility.

The Celestial Dance


A common misunderstanding about astrology is that it just describes an influence of energy.

However the celestial bodies don’t actually influence us (except for the Sun and Moon and Jupiter in a physical sense), although you’d be forgiven for thinking that the planets and stars have an influence given the way many astrologers talk about it.

Rather the celestial bodies describe our make-up. We are in a sense constituted from their admixtures.

Drilling down to the very basics of astrology we find that both our lives and the stars and planets dance to the tune of the same unseen drummer. It’s like we move together on the dance floor. When the planets move and interact, so do people on earth move and interact.

The gift of astrology is that the celestial dance of the planets provides an objective viewpoint of ourselves and the processes which govern our lives. We are like an extension of them and they of us. We move together. 

“As above so below, as below so above” is the basic premise of astrology. Together with the planets and stars we move to the music of this unseen force, referred to by ancient astrologers as ‘the prime mover’. Our rhythms are the same. It’s not a cause and effect situation between the celestial bodies and us, it just looks that way at first glance. What is really happening is that we are simply dancing to the same tune.

Where does the music come from? Something beyond our understanding is the answer. The music’s composer is something beyond the material, something spiritual, something generally associated with divinity; and goes by many names.

While the celestial bodies do not really influence us as such, understanding their nature and watching the way they move relative to each other provides a unique perspective to our lives and the cyclic and predictable processes of change to which we are subjected.

SkyScope 20 Feb 2018

Again I am experimenting with new ways of presenting a horoscope which presents information more clearly.

In the standard representation the planets are all arranged along the same circle. This gives little indication of distance between them, which can be a difficult concept for a beginner. Presenting a Accurately representing a 3-D spatial arrangement on a flat piece of paper or screen is challenging. Cartographers have been wrestling with the issue of converting 3-D to 2-D for centuries.

Yesterday’s attempt I called a GeoScope. On reflection I think SkyScope is a more accurate name as it’s a view of the sky as seen from earth.

The planets are shown in their respective orbits which is intended to create a sense of relative distance from earth, although obviously not to scale.

I think the concept of aspects between planets becomes clearer when the planets are placed in an orbital framework with some sense of distance between them.

In this SkyScope conjunctions are shown by a green line. Applying aspects are identified by an arrow.

Feedback or suggestions on how to improve are welcome.


class=”alignleft wp-image-644 size-large” src=”https://westernastrology.net/wp-content/uploads/GeoHoroscope-1-2-1030×1030.jpg” alt=”GeoScope” width=”1030″ height=”1030″ />Interesting to view the GeoScope for this morning (Australian time).

9 out of 10 planets are above the horizon.

Moon square Saturn provides an important theme along with the separating Mars-Neptune square

Solar eclipse and the Uncivil War

Breaking News

The front page of this morning’s Age newspaper carried the title UNCIVIL WAR and pages 4-9 were dedicated to the spat between the PM Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the Liberal Party, and his deputy Barnaby Joyce, leader of the National Party. Papers from the other capital cities carried similar stories.

Power points

This news comes hot on the heels of the partial solar eclipse of the previous day at 27 Aquarius. On the left is the horoscope for the eclipse for the location of Australia’s capital city, Canberra. The stand-out planets are those on the angles. The angles in the horoscope are like power-points, and planets conjunct these points are very energised.

Mars – aggravation at the top

Mars is on one of these angles at the top of the chart: the Midheaven. The Midheaven represents the most public place and Mars represents aggravation and arguments. We have broadcast across the nation a very public spat between the PM and his deputy.

The trigger for this aggravation can be seen by the other angular planets: Venus and Neptune, both conjunct the Ascendant, the primary angle of the horoscope.

Venus – exalted temptation

Venus is known as the planet of love and among other things also represents young women. Here she makes a very tight applying sextile aspect with Saturn. Saturn represents the deputy PM Barnaby Joyce because it rules the eleventh house, which is the second from the tenth house which represents the PM. The deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has fallen for temptation of exalted Venus.

Neptune – the people are deceived

Neptune, the planet of deception, glamour, and illusion sits just inside the the first house. In a mundane horoscope the first house represents the public, the common people. They have been deceived. Barnaby Joyce has also had to correct his supposed record of service in the Army Reserve.

Twelfth house solar eclipse

This brings us to the solar eclipse at 27 Aquarius, which is located in the twelfth house. The twelfth house is associated with matters which are hidden, with entrapment, lies, and subversion. Self-undoing is a term commonly used to describe this house; and represents the stupid things we do to mess up our lives.

This horoscope describes very well the current unfortunate situation in Australian politics.

To view Barnaby Joyce’s horoscope and discussions relating to Australia’s Aries Ingress chart for 2017 click here.