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The (Not So) VOC Moon

The more open-ended aspects of a Void-Of-Course Moon are a quilted landscape of unique possibilities…

The resurgence of interest in the Void-Of-Course (VOC) Moon, first described by Ptolemy and most recently repopularized by astrologer Al H. Morrison, has got astrologers looking at this once-every-couple-of-days period as one where nothing really happens. It’s viewed as a little vacuum in time where you shouldn’t do anything too definite except be spontaneous and creative, and maybe party. Kind of like celestial recess.

But there’s lots more to it than that. Remember that although the VOC period is when the classic, Ptolemaic aspects (conjunction, sextile, square, trine, opposition) are played out before the Moon changes sign, there is still a playground of other aspects still in action which may not be what you’d like to sign a contract on but can be earthshaking nonetheless. It’s a period when the so-called “minor” aspects are in operation, which as we have pointed out elsewhere, (see aspect list at link) may not be so minor.  They actually fall into two separate camps, and in so doing paint the VOC experience as either rough, motivational, and prickly – or smooth and inwardly elevating.

Rough And Prickly

The most obvious aspects that fall within the VOC period are the minor but still “standard” quincunx and semisextile. They’re the most obvious because they’re subsets of the 30° standard chart divisions and thus are easy to spot. But, they’re quite different and they each have their own unique baggage surrounding them that colors their experience. A look at them individually, and in their immediate context:

Quincunx (150°). This is actually a formidable aspect and has a lot written about it, especially when two of them aspect a single point in a natal chart, something called the Yod, or “Finger Of God.,” or “Finger Of Fate.” How dramatic. Its nature is primarily one of goading restlessness, a pushy, motivating kind of thing that just won’t let you settle down until you’ve done something with it, and then still won’t. It has forward-moving instability, like tripping as you’re running and having to catch up with yourself before you fall, thus speeding your trajectory. Perhaps for that very quality it’s associated with fate as it forces you into unstable situations which you then have to cope with to keep on track, changing your direction as you go, often desperately improvising on each unexpected hand you’ve been dealt and raising the stakes to meet the next one. It makes you nervous, but it gets you places. Not surprisingly, the charts of presidents of the United States have six times more quincunxes than the norm, and that pretty much describes the road to success in politics – it’s a punch-out free-for-all in which you don’t know where the next blow is coming from, so you just keep moving to stay ahead of the fray. And if that’s the “minor” aspect happening during a VOC period, good luck at laying back and relaxing! It’s going to be a flat-out adventure or nothing.

And if you’re getting that aspect, chances are you’ll also be getting one or more of the other important minor aspects within, perhaps, eight degrees of it (by lunar motion, something you would experience in the same waking day of 16 hours). Those are: eight hours before it the biquintile (2/5 of the circle, 144°), eight hours after it the triseptile (3/7 the circle, 154° 17’). These are enabling and inclusive aspects, adding to the breadth, power, and imagination of activities spawned at this time.

Semisextile (30°). This, in its own way, is quite the opposite of the quincunx. Having the nature of adjoining signs, which tend to mix like oil and water, there’s a quality of “good fences make good neighbors” about it. Far from a promising adventure, perhaps the most alien creatures you’re likely to meet live next door, and you know that well enough to be pleasant and stay out of their way most of the time. Next door: a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there. At the same time, there’s the camaraderie of being neighbors, sharing the same block, or the same country. It’s e pluribus unum, but only as long as you keep your own unum. Your neighbors will back you up, in a pinch, but only if you mainly rely on yourself. If this is what’s happening during a VOC period, it really is a good time for relaxing and having that neighborhood barbecue, but without expecting anything further to come from it.

The other minor aspects in this neighborhood you may be getting aren’t quite so full of outreach as the quincunx, either. Within eight degrees are: five hours before it, the 13th (27° 42’ ), and after it the 11th (32° 44’, +/-6 hours after) and the 10th (36°, +/-12 hours after). The 11th and 13th are prickly, quirky, and a bit unsettling, but without much hitting power, with the 10th adding some suppleness to grease the skids. All in all, more of an inward stew rather than an outward journey.

Interesting Countryside

These two sets describe the quality of most VOC periods, either singly or in combination, depending on where and how much later in sign the other planets are after the last official aspect. Sometimes you get just one, sometimes the other, sometimes both in quick succession or blending. The really long VOC periods (when the planets making regular aspects are very early in signs, pass early) will see much more variety, involving all the minor aspects, more than mentioned here, subsequently taking turns creating contiguous, evolving worlds until the Moon’s final sign change. Very short VOC periods (when the planets are late in signs) will see almost nothing, just a quick breather space. But when you’re looking for what to do with that coming VOC period while you’re avoiding big decisions and purchases, it would be well to give it closer inspection to see what the real lay of the land is. It’s not a blank drift into totally unknown territory. In fact, it’s particularly interesting countryside that requires its own approach and planning to get the most out of it.

                                                                                                                -- John Townley

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