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Home » Current Events, Featured Articles

Void of Course Moon During Obama’s Nomination

Posted by on Thursday, October 18 201221 Comments

Obama VOC MoonBarack Obama was nominated for a second term as President during the Democratic National Convention last month while the Moon was void of course.

He then accepted the nomination the following night, also under a void of course Moon.

Some astrologers have interpreted the void of course Moon during Obama’s nomination as a sure sign that he will lose the election next month.

There are several problems with this assumption though.

I originally tried to dispel some of the hype surrounding the void Moon at Obama’s nomination in an article on the DNC last month, although I’ve noticed that some of the claims regarding it have still persisted.

In this article I would like to revisit the subject again in order to explain why the writers of The Political Astrology Blog do not think that the void of course Moon during Obama’s nomination indicates that he will lose the election.

What is the Void of Course Moon?

According to the definition that is used by most astrologers today, the Moon goes “void of course” as soon as it completes the last major aspect that it will make before moving into the next sign of the zodiac.

This happens very frequently, every two or three days, although the length of the void of course period varies, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to a day or two.

For a more complete definition with diagrams please see the entry on the void of course Moon in The Astrology Dictionary.

Was the Moon Void of Course During Obama’s Nomination?

During the week of the DNC, the Moon went void of course in Taurus on September 5, 2012, starting at 2:56 PM EDT, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The void period lasted until 12:10 AM on September 7, when the Moon moved into Gemini.

Obama nomination chartObama officially received enough votes from the delegates in order to become the party’s nominee at exactly 12:09 AM EDT, on September 6. The Moon was at 18° Taurus, and it was in fact void of course at the time. See the chart to the right.

Obama accepted the nomination later on September 6, at exactly 10:26 PM EDT. The Moon was at 29° Taurus, and it was still void of course. Click here for the chart.

So, according to the contemporary definition, the Moon was in fact void of course during both the nomination itself, as well as during Obama’s subsequent acceptance of the nomination.

Why is the Void Moon Supposed to be a Bad Omen?

The void of course Moon is usually thought to be a negative indication in a chart, which signifies that nothing will come of the matter that is initiated at that time.

For example, the following statement by the famous 17th century astrologer William Lilly is often cited in discussions about the void of course Moon:

A planet is Void of Course, when he is separated from a planet, nor doth forthwith, during his being in that sign, apply to any other: This is most usually in the Moon; In judgements do you carefully observe whether she be Void of Course yea or no; you shall seldom see a business go handsomely forward when she is so.

- William Lilly, Christian Astrology, 1647, pg. 112.

Elsewhere Lilly talks about the void Moon within the context of horary astrology:

Generally consider the state of the Moon, for if she be Void of Course there’s no great hopes of the question propounded, that it shall be effected…

- William Lilly, Christian Astrology, 1647, pg. 299.

 So, generally speaking, the notion is that whatever begins during a void of course Moon will either have serious difficulties in coming to fruition, or it will fall short of its intended goal.

Al Morrison and the Void of Course Moon

In the early 20th century the void of course Moon was sometimes mentioned as one of many considerations, especially in horary astrology, although it wasn’t given a lot of emphasis in day-to-day use. That is, until an astrologer named Al Morrison came along.

Morrison adopted the definition of the void of course Moon mentioned by Lilly, and he made it his personal mission to promote the concept as something that all astrologers should pay attention to on a daily basis. He wrote a number of articles on the subject, and he produced an annual void of course Moon calendar, which according to one biography he

…sent to hundreds of people without charge, along with notes urging them to look into it.

Prior to Morrison, the void of course Moon wasn’t usually mentioned in most astrological calendars, but by the time he died in the mid-1990s it was.

The concept gained a wide degree of currency in the astrological community, partially because it is so simple, but also because the predictions surrounding it were often so dire. It was essentially interpreted to mean something to the effect of “if you start something during this time, it will fail.”

Morrison’s Statement About the Void Moon During Nominations

In the 1982 book Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook, astrologer Debbi Kempton-Smith has a chapter on the void of course Moon, and in it she quotes a long except from one of Al Morrison’s writings on the subject. At one point during the course of this except, Morrison made the following claim:

In every presidential election from 1900 through 1972 one of the two major party candidates was nominated with the Moon void of course. Every one of the candidates nominated with the Moon void of course lost. Jimmy Carter’s 1980 nomination [also] came in a Void of Course Moon.

- Al Morrison, quoted in Debbie Kempton-Smith, Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook, Bantam Books, 1982, pg. 105.

On her website Debbie Kempton-Smith adds an update to this paragraph, saying that “John Kerry’s 2004 nomination and Al Gore’s 2000 nomination came in a Void of Course Moon” as well.

The implication here is that every presidential nomination that has occurred in the past century under a void of course Moon has resulted in the defeat of the candidate who was nominated at that time.

Quite a claim.  But is it true?

The Veracity of Morrison’s Claim

In the past month Morrison’s claim has become widely cited in the astrological community, as quoted in Debbie Kempton-Smith’s book, due to the fact that Obama was nominated during a void of course Moon, while his challenger, Mitt Romney, was not.

At least one astrologer has predicted that Romney will win the election based primarily on the fact that the Moon was void at the time of Obama’s nomination, and due to Morrison’s claim regarding that. Judging by the comments that we’ve been getting here on The Political Astrology Blog, there seem to be a number of other astrologers who are making the same assumption as well. Romney supporters in particular seem to be repeating the claim with much gusto.

No one seems to have stopped to ask the question of whether Morrison’s claim is true though. Once that question is raised, three issues come up immediately:

  1. The claim is impossible to verify, and indeed no one has verified it completely, because we do not have nomination times for every presidential candidate going back to the year 1900.
  2. It is extremely unlikely that Morrison himself knew the exact time that every candidate was nominated all the way back to 1900, especially since they didn’t even start broadcasting the conventions over the radio until 1924.
  3. The claim has never been fully substantiated, because it is just a claim, and neither Morrison nor anyone else has written a paper or a book showing the data that demonstrates that it is true.

What we have, then, is essentially an implausible claim that has never been fully substantiated, and unfortunately a lot of people are just taking Morrison’s word for it.

This situation is made even more problematic by the fact that it isn’t really even clear where Morrison originally made the statement. In her book Debbie Kempton-Smith is apparently quoting Morrison, but she doesn’t say from where. I contacted her by email a few weeks ago, and she seemed to say that the quote came from one of his annual void of course Moon ephemerides, although she didn’t specify which one, or what year it was published.

What is really weird about this though is that Morrison wrote about the void of course Moon several times during the course of his career in different publications, and I cannot find any references to this claim about the void of course Moon and nomination times in the other publications.

Karen Christino published a collection of Morrison’s writings in 2006 titled The Best of Al H. Morrison, and in it there is a chapter on the void of course Moon which contains four different pieces from Morrison on the subject, but none of them mention this interesting tidbit about the presidential nominations.

The pieces in Christino’s book span from 1966 to 1995, which is surely a broad enough cross-section of his career that you would think that it should have been mentioned in at least one of them, especially since Kempton-Smith’s quote was published right in the middle, in 1982. The claim isn’t mentioned in any of those pieces though.

This raises a number of questions:

  • Why didn’t Morrison mention the claim in his other writings?
  • Was he not prepared to have it fact-checked?
  • Or was it not something that he was sure about?
  • Maybe he never intended to put it out there as anything more than a speculation?
  • Perhaps he did not think that the statement would receive as much circulation as it has as a result of Debbie Kempton-Smith’s book? Remember that no one is quoting Morrison directly, but instead they are all quoting Morrison via Debbie Kempton-Smith.

I’m not sure that we will be able to answer these questions, but based on the considerations above, we are still left with the uncomfortable conclusion that it seems like there is something highly questionable about Morrison’s claim.

Other Issues with the Void of Course Moon

Aside from the issues with the veracity of Morrison’s claim, there are a number of other reasons to doubt the current narrative that the void of course Moon at the time of Obama’s nomination indicates that he will lose the election:

1. Obama’s Past Instances of Success Under Void Moons

Obama has historically done pretty well when he has launched things during void of course Moon periods in the past. For example, as my co-writer Patrick Watson pointed out back in 2009, Obama launched his 2008 presidential campaign under a void of course Moon, and that turned out to be one of the most successful political campaigns in modern history.

One could also point out that he announced Joe Biden as his running mate during a void Moon, and he was also inaugurated under a void Moon, although I can anticipate that some might want to argue whether those two things can be considered to have been successful.

The success of his 2008 presidential campaign, which was launched under a void Moon, isn’t really a point that can be argued though.

2. Exceptions to the Void Moon Rule

Even though William Lilly’s statements about the meaning of the void of course Moon are often quoted in order to emphasize how negative the placement is supposed to be, those who quote him often seem to overlook the fact that Lilly also said that there were some specific exceptions to the void of course Moon rule.

Specifically, here is the full version of one of the quotes I used from Lilly above:

Generally consider the state of the Moon, for if she be Void of Course there’s no great hopes of the question propounded, that it shall be effected, yet if she be in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius or Pisces, your fear may be the less, for then she is not so much impedited by being Void of Course.

- William Lilly, Christian Astrology, 1647, pg. 299.

In other words, according to Lilly, a void of course Moon placement is problematic, unless the Moon happens to be in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius, or Pisces.

What sign was the Moon in when Obama was nominated? Taurus.

3. Different Definitions of Void of Course

The final, and perhaps most important issue, is that there are two or three different definitions of void of course, and the contemporary definition is not the original, nor necessarily even the most accurate one.

void Moon diagramRecent translations of some ancient Greek texts from the first few centuries of the Common Era have shown that the original definition of the void of course Moon is that the Moon does not complete any exact Ptolemaic aspect with any other planet within the next 30 degrees, regardless of sign boundaries.

Unlike the modern definition, this is a pretty rare occurrence, although it does happen every once in a while. It essentially means that the Moon won’t form any configurations for the next two days, and that is why it was originally referred to as “running in the emptiness” (kenodromia) in Greek.

It appears that the definition of void of course changed at some point during the Medieval period, and that is when something more along the lines of the modern definition emerged. Unfortunately we don’t really know why the definition changed. It could have been a mistake, perhaps due to a mistranslation.

The difference between the ancient and the modern definition is important because when people like Al Morrison sometimes cite ancient Roman authors such as Firmicus Maternus for their delineations of what the void of course Moon means astrologically, they don’t realize that the ancient authors were using a definition that is completely different than the modern one.

Recap and Conclusion

To summarize my main points here very briefly:

  1. Morrison’s claim about presidential nomination times is questionable, and has never been fully demonstrated.
  2. If you are going to use the modern definition of void of course that comes from Medieval and Renaissance authors, then you should also take into account the fact that they said that there were exceptions to the rule, such as if the Moon is void in Taurus.
  3. There are different definitions of void of course, and the contemporary definition is not the original one, nor is it necessarily the most accurate. While there are some astrologers who have followed Morrison’s lead in attributing a lot of significance to the modern definition of the void of course Moon, there are many others who do not see it as being terribly important. The difference between the ancient and modern definitions may explain this discrepancy.

Now, to be clear, I don’t have any problems with anyone who still thinks that there is something to the modern definition of the void of course Moon, and that based on that they think that it is a negative indication for Obama’s chances of winning his re-election campaign next month.

I would just encourage you to be very careful about putting too much faith into just that one indication, especially if you are doing so based on Morrison’s claim.


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Written by

Chris is a practicing astrologer from Denver, Colorado, USA. He is the former President of the Association for Young Astrologers, as well as the former Research Director of the National Council for Geocosmic Research. He offers personal consultations and teaches online classes through his website at www.ChrisBrennanAstrologer.com.




21 Comments »

  • Nice work, Chris. I love your clarification of how ancient astrologers cited void of course. This is so illuminating and we need to get research done to identify the veracity of their original assessment.

    Since it happens so infrequently, it should be very easy to get at least 300 charts to examine and I feel this will be worthwhile. It would be great to make a list of the dates over the last century and then go from there.

  • Lalia Wilson says:

    Good points here. A couple of more issues with the v/c Moon.

    I’ve heard it said that if a person has a natal planet that will be hit by the transiting Moon, then the v/c does not apply to him or her. So anyone with a planet late in a sign, ideally two planets one in water or earth and the other in fire or air, is essentially immune from void-of course problems.

    Another way of looking at it is that “nothing will come of the matter” which is what Barbara Watters says in her book on Horary Astrology. But one can interpret that as “nothing DIFFERENT will come of the matter.” By that criterion, Obama will still be president.

    Following the latter reasoning, at least one astrologer friend always mails her tax returns during a Moon v/c. She hasn’t been audited yet.

  • Julie D says:

    Great article, as always!

    I’m not even sure at this point where I absorbed it, but added to the ‘no energy behind the enterprise’ definition of VOC was also the possibility that things would indeed go forward, just not in any way we’d anticipated–and I find this the handiest definition by far, as so often it turns out to be correct!

    And as to Lalia’s point concerning tax mailing and the VOC, I too do this and recommend it–odds are I should’ve been audited at least once over the past 20 years with a small business, but never a whisper–and the refund (if I get one!) always goes through quickly.

  • As to tax mailing during void of course, I too have always done this, I thought every astrologer did.

  • I believe more specifically that tax mailing was best done when the Moon was late balsamic stage and VOC if possible (that which one desires to be kept in secret).

  • @Curtis – excellent observation!

  • Chris,

    I have a discussion of Lilly’s definition of void of course at http://tonylouis.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/the-modern-misunderstanding-of-the-void-of-course-moon/
    I think Morrison’s definition is too broad.

    Tony

  • Kristina says:

    Just curious…I understand Taurus and Cancer, but why Sagittarius and Pisces? Because the Moon is ruled by Jupiter? But the Moon and Jupiter are not of the same sect…I guess in a day chart it makes sense.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Just being ruled by the greater benefic, under the premise that the ruler of the Moon indicates the outcome of the matter.

  • Ryhan Butler says:

    Lilly’s definition of VoC Moon is different and the Moon only needs to be applying an aspect before she leaves her sign. This is most easily seen in the language used to define the term where a phrase similar to “perfect an aspect” is not present but instead we get “apply to any other”. There are a few examples of Lilly talking about the VoC Moon or otherwise reading a chart that has a Moon that would be modernly deemed VoC but not noting it himself.

    SkyScript actually has a page that has collected various authors’ definitions of VoC, and they all read pretty consistently to me. There’s maybe one that stands out as being different, whereas others seem to tie it in with the Feral concept. Which brings me to a question. With the Hellenistic definition of VoC, what’s the difference between that and being feral? Just that the empty 30° can cross sign boundaries whereas feral is understood as being wholly within one sign?

    About the signs wherein the Moon is much less impeded, it’s easier to think of them as the signs of the benefics than the signs of the Moon and then of Jupiter. She’s not impeded in Taurus (Venus’s domicile), Cancer (Jupiter’s exaltation), Sagittarius (Jupiter’s domicle), and Pisces (Jupiter’s domicile, Venus’s exaltation). But why not Libra? Because that’s Saturn’s exaltation.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Good points Ryhan. I tried to allude to that potential third definition of void of course when I mentioned that there may be 2 or 3 different definitions in the article, although that is a whole other can of worms that I didn’t fully want to get into. It could be used as a fourth additional objection towards the end of the article though.

  • Chris: Great article. Well written. Too bad that she did not give you some better answers. I am also surprised that based on the Pres. elections from 1980 on that we don’t have better stats available on VOC Moon and the Presidents who lost because of being nominated during it.

    It is really hard to imagine that “one” single factor would trump all other Astrology and quickly and easily point out the “loser.” If OBAMA were to lose, surely Astrologers would point out some other reason for his loss beyond the VOC Moon.

    Anyway…great analysis Chris. Keep up your excellent work.

  • Dear Chris,

    Thank you for another fine article. I especially appreciate the Morrison issue being kept in the limelight. Again, it is time that body of work is reexamined.

    On the subject of the election, historically speaking, the US does not re-elect democrats that often.

    A history buff friend and fellow astrologer told me that there was:
    1) Buchanan after Pierce before the Civil War
    2) Truman after FDR
    3) LBJ after JFK

    Not good odds if this is all there has been.

    Hopefully, astrologers will gain much useful knowledge about which predictive techniques are truly useful when the dust settles. We will all have to wait and see though.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Melody says:

    Thanks for the article! It was very interesting and informative. I enjoyed it.

  • annaswamy sankaran says:

    yes brennen is right. i am from india with a little idea of vedic astrology.

    moon is exalted in taurus as per vedic astrology.exaltation
    is due to strange reason, that requires lot of space to explain,
    that nakshatra rohini, falling under taurus, is the most favorite
    nakshatra for moon out of the 27 nakshatra costellations.

    cancer is moon’s own house.

    moon and jupiter in principal excellent conjunction
    as stated in gajakesari yoga. no wonder moon does not lose
    it’s significance in jupiter’s houses – saggitarious and pisces.

    because of the taurus factor on moon, obama’s position is definitely safe on this subject account.

  • void says:

    i can see if romney nomination was at void, but obama is current pres, so nothing is gona chang…..void=not good nor bad, just nothing will change concerning the election.

  • Were there Moon parallels? If there were, then the Moon is not V/C.

  • [...] it is separating from its last major aspect before it leaves a sign. As Chris Brennan writes in his political astrology blog, this once-obscure concept from medieval astrology found a resurgence outside of horary astrology [...]

  • Another funny thing about the Void Moon during nominations is to really look at the most recent examples, i.e. Gore’s & Kerry’s.

    According astrodatabank and if we’re going by when the candidate accepts the nomination, Kerry’s chart–July 29, 2004, 10:22 pm, Boston, MA isn’t void. By any definition. The moon’s making an applying aspect to Saturn (that sucks) and then to Jupiter in Virgo. The Moon’s in Capricorn and Saturn’s in Cancer, but that’s a nice mutual deception. To add insult to injury, I guess in retrospect, Jupiter’s in Virgo. Blah, Blah, but the moon’s not void.

    With Gore’s acceptance, Aug. 16, 2000, 7:14p, LA, CA, the moon is void, but putatively in one of the good signs for the moon to be void, Pisces. Jupiter couldn’t help as he was in detriment in Gemini and the moon’s last aspect was to a Venus in Virgo.

    So there’s a lot of “shade,” as we say, around the moon being void of course, to say the least. But one thing’s for certain now that Obama’s won: not every Presidential candidate nominated during a void moon has lost. But we kinda already knew that.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    When I looked into Kerry it seemed that the Moon was “void” according to the modern definition when he was nominated – that is to say, when he got enough votes to officially secure the party’s nomination – although you are right that it was not void when he accepted the nomination.

    There was some ambiguity here over whether Morrison was claiming that it was the nomination itself or the accepting of the nomination that really counted, although it seemed like he tried to claim that if there was a void Moon during either that it meant that the candidate was doomed.

    Evidently he was wrong either way.

  • Right, and that’s the other shaky part: when are we talking about the nomination, at the delegate vote or acceptance speech? For instance, I don’t know when Gore got confirmed by the delegates, but if it was within 24 hours of his nomination speech, I find it hard to believe that the moon could go void w/ Saturn and Jupiter in early Gemini, then the moon squaring Pluto or Venus within a few hours.

    But like you said: it doesn’t matter. No one will be able to tote this around as a sacred cow anymore. It’s mostly filet mignon now.