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Dorotheus (1st century approx.)
Antiochus (2nd century)
Firmicus (4th century)
Abu Ma'shar (9th century)
Al Biruni (11th century)
Ezra (12th century)
Bonatus (13th century)
Schöner (15th century)
Dariot (16th century)
Lilly (17th century)


Void of Course Moon References By Deborah Houlding

The references below show some of the historical terms and definitions applied to the Moon (and other planets) when out of aspect or failing to make an application.

Dorotheus (approx. 1st cent. AD)

"If you find the Moon void of all the planets, none of them aspects it, and none is in the ascendant or aspecting the ascendant, then this native is void of good in livelihood, possesses pain and hardship in the pursuit of what he needs."

- Carmen Astrologicum, 1.12.7

Antiochus (2nd cent.)

"There is void-coursing of the Moon whenever it is not applying to any planet, not bodily and not by figure [aspect]."

- Thesaurus, 1.39

Firmicus (4th cent.)

"If the Moon is so located that she is moving toward nothing, is in aspect to no planet, and there is no benefic planet on the angles, this will make paupers destitute of all necessities, without means of daily life ..., especially if the Moon, "running through a vacuum", which the Greeks call cenodromon (empty course), is in opposition or square aspect to Mars or Saturn on the first or third day, or if malefic planets are on the angles.

For when the Moon is Void of Course she involves the early years in wretched misfortunes. But after she has for a time troubled the body and mind and ruined their youth with many crimes ... then she bestows good fortune equal to the mishaps of youth.

But if the Moon, moving through a vacuum, comes into aspect with Mars or Saturn ... the natives will be miserable paupers, barely covered by ragged clothing, guardians of tombs; or they will be punished by perpetual imprisonment."

- Mathesis, VIII.1

"If the waxing or full Moon is moving away from Saturn toward nothing but is running through a vacuum, she causes loss of inheritance, estranges the natives from parents, or makes them orphans in early youth. They will be sluggish and involved in long journeys [and so on for the Moon moving away from the rest of the planets]"

- Mathesis, VIII.XV

Abu Ma'shar (9th cent.)

"It is 'void of course' if a planet separates from application with a planet in conjunction or aspect, and does not apply to a planet as long as it is in its sign.

It is 'wild' if it is a planet which no planet aspects at all; and this happens most frequently with the Moon. "

- The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology Chap. 3, v21-22. [The same text shows that Abu Ma'shar was using planetary orbs very close to those listed by Dariot and Lilly (see chap. 2, v.11).]

Al Biruni (11th cent.)

"VOID OF COURSE. If while within a sign a planet does not enter into conjunction with another, although in aspect to other planets, it is said to be void of course, and is regarded as having separated from conjunction whether in that sign or not. (This name is given to it because the field is empty and it moves without any companion.)

FERAL. When a planet is in a sign and no other planet has been in aspect with it from the time of its entry to that of its exit, it is said to be feral in its course. This is practically impossible with the superior planets and the Sun, and can rarely occur, but with the Moon it is necessarily the case and frequently occurs ... Some people say that when the Moon is feral, this is a substitute for conjunction with the planets in whose terms it happens to be within the sign, but this opinion is trivial and quite unsupported."

- The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology v.504 & 505

Ibn Ezra (12th cent.)

"Isolation sets in when a planet separates from its satellite 15 degrees either in conjunction or in a sextile aspect, and does not enter into conjunction with any other planet as long as it is in this sign, and no planet enters into complete aspect with it as long as it stays there, regardless which aspect it may be.

The feral position is when a planet is in a sign and no other planet enters into aspect with it as long as it is there, and it does not depart from any planet. That can only happen to the Moon because of the speed of its motion."

- The Beginning of Wisdom Ch. VII

Bonatus (13th cent.)

"The 10th [way in which the Moon can be afflicted] is when she is void of course, that is, not joined to any planet by body or aspect, or in that condition when they call her Feral or Desart, that is, in a place where she has not any dignity. [Con. 5]

The Nineteenth Consideration is, to behold the Moon if she be "void of course", for then it signifies an impediment to the thing in question: it will not come to a good end, nor be accomplished; but the querent shall be forced to desist with shame and loss.

The 62nd is to consider whether the Moon be Void of Course, for that signifies that the thing enquired after shall scarce ever come to a good end, or not without much labour, sorrow or trouble unless the Lord of the Ascendant or significator of the thing shall be in very good condition, and then it may be hindered, but not wholly frustrated - yet tis a good time then for drinking, bathing, feasting etc., and to use ointments to take away hair, especially if she be in Scorpio.

The 64th is to consider, whether the Moon be in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius or Pisces; for it signifies good in the business although she be joined to the infortunes and not to the fortunes; nor does she being void of course, prejudice so much in those places as elsewhere provided she be not combust, for then they will advantage her little or nothing. "

- The Considerations of Guido Bonatus

Johannes Schöner (15th cent.)

"When a planet is separated from any other planet by conjunction or aspect, and is not joined to another by body or aspect, for as long as that planet is in the same sign, it is called void of course. However, this ought to be understood according the orbs and rays of the planets. Take for example the following: If there is the Moon conjunct Jupiter in Sagittarius, and after her separation from Jupiter there is no planet in Sagittarius to which she can be joined by the moiety of orb or of the ray of any planet which she can aspect, in that case the Moon is said to be void of course until she leaves Sagittarius and is joined to any planet in body or in aspect. But we do not observe this only in the Moon. Another example, Saturn 9 Aries, Jupiter 10 Gemini, Mars 17 Gemini, Sun 20 Aries, Venus 5 Pisces, Mercury 24 Aries, Moon 26 Taurus. There the Moon is aspected by nothing in 26 Taurus, nor is anything joined to her, while she is in Taurus, wherefore she will be reckoned void of course."

- Opusculum Astrologicum Part 2: Canon XXIII

Dariot (16th cent.)

"Among the accidents that do happen unto the planets among themselves, the first is when any of them is void without course or motion, which is said to be when one planet separating himself from another doth not apply to any other during the time that he tarryeth in that sign, and then he is said to have his course and motion void."

- A Brief and Most Easie Introduction to the Astrologicall Judgement of the Starres Chap. 9.

Lilly (17th cent.)

"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 (p.112).

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 (p.299).

If the Moon be Void of Course, unless the significators apply strongly, there's seldom any bargain concluded or commodity at that time bought, and yet both parties wrangle and have some meetings to no purpose (p.377)."

- Christian Astrology

© Compiled by Deborah Houlding, published online October 2006. Expanded from an article first published in the Traditional Astrologer magazine, issue 16 (p.40); March 1998.

See also:
The Moon as the transmitter of influences
by Deborah Houlding

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