Void of Course Moon During Obama’s Nomination
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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Recent 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:
- Morrison’s claim about presidential nomination times is questionable, and has never been fully demonstrated.
- 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.
- 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.