After a lengthy discussion about definition and validity of the void of course Moon on another astrological web log, [see the whole of the original discussion here], I thought it to be a good idea to have another look at William Lilly’s views on the subject and share my findings with the readers of my web log.
To show that Lilly was drawing on a long-standing tradition, I first want to quote from Dr. Dykes’ excellent new translation “Persian Nativities” vol 1, wherein he translates Masha’allah (p25): “But the Moon is said [to be] solitary whenever she applies to neither fortunate ones nor the malevolents with her own body, nor does she regard any [star] from the trigon, tetragon, hexagon, or opposition” The footnote states that he [Masha’allah] must have drawn this from Rhetorius Ch.39, because in Ch.112 and in other Hellenistic authors is added: “within the next 30 degrees”. Dr Dykes adds that “this fuller definition makes a void in course Moon extraordinarily rare”.
But let’s now have a look at Lilly’s definition of “void of course”:
“A Planet is void of course, when he is separated from a Planet, nor does forthwith, during his being in that Sign, apply to any other: This is most usually in the Moon;…” (CA, p112)
To fully understand this concept and its use, we have to look further and find Lilly’s definition of separation:
“Separation, is in the first place, when the two Planets are departed but six minutes distance from each other[…]”(CA, p110)
And here is his definition of application which is as well necessary for the understanding of the concept of “void of course”:
“It [application] is when two Planets are drawing near together, either by conjunction or aspect[…]” (CA, p108)
This definition can only be understood properly, if one considers the use of platic aspects, orbs and moiety in horary charts. Lilly did this as the next quote about application shows:
“[…] for every Planet that applies is allowed half his own orbs and half the orbs of that Planet from whom he separates.” (CA, p110)
Lilly explains further:
“A Platic Aspect is that which admits the Orbs or Rays of two Planets that signify any matter. […] As if Venus be in the 10th degree of Taurus, and Saturn in eighteen degrees of Virgo, here Venus has a Platic trine, or is in a Platic trine to Saturn, because she is in the moiety of both their Orbs.” (CA, p107)
Moiety is of course half the value of an orb; a table of the orbs Lilly used may be found in CA, p107.
On the basis of these definitions it should be easy to determine if and when a Planet is void of course.
If an aspect can only be perfected when the Moon has crossed over into another sign and the aspect is in moiety of the orbs of both Planets concerned, it is likely that the matter propounded will have a positive outcome, although there may be difficulties in the process. Further indicators for a positive outcome in these cases are mutual reception, or the position of the Moon in Taurus, Cancer, Sagittarius or Pisces.
Should the Moon be in late degrees, particularly in Gemini, Scorpio or Capricorn, this is an indication for a negative outcome.
For a thorough investigation into the matter of “void of course” and a detailed and illustrated explanation of the operation of application, please see Sue Ward’s excellent article “An Introduction to the Astrology of William Lilly”, which can be found on her website, or accessed here: http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~sueward/articles/astrologyof%20lilly.htm