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Chapter 20

Ten (Plus One) Ways to Use Astrology in Your Life: The Art of Timing

In This Chapter

bulletMaking your move when the time is right

bulletKnowing when to hold back and wait

If timing is everything, then astrology is the key to success — not natal astrology, which has to do with your birth chart, but electional astrology, the intricate, high-pressure art of choosing a favorable date in advance. By applying its principles, you can choose auspicious times, avoid problematical ones, align yourself with the cosmos, and increase your chances of having a happy outcome. In this chapter, I show you how.


To partake of the wonders of celestial timing, you must have an astrological calendar. I like Llewellyn’s Daily Planetary Guide and Jim Maynard’s Celestial Guide and Celestial Influences calendars, but there are others. You can take a close look at them online and order them through the Astrology Center of America at

Getting Married

More than any other event, a request to choose a wedding date can cause an astrologer to leaf frantically through the ephemeris in quest of the perfect day and then to throw her arms up in despair. Given the marriage statistics, it won’t surprise you to hear that ideal days are hard to come by — and that even astrologers get divorced.

Still, certain celestial events improve your chances of making it past your paper anniversary. One of the most encouraging is a transit of Jupiter through your seventh house of marriage. The problem is that Jupiter only returns to your seventh house every twelve years, and you may not want to wait that long.

Some astrological influences, on the other hand, occur fairly frequently and are worth waiting for. Here’s what to look for when you name the day:

bulletMake certain that Venus, the planet of love, is direct. If it happens to be retrograde, postpone your wedding for a few weeks. (See Chapter 18 for more about retrograde Venus.)

bulletChoose a day when Mercury is direct, not retrograde. With retrograde Mercury, misunderstandings and problems in communication are likely to arise, either immediately or down the line. Also, it’s never a good idea to sign a contract when Mercury is retrograde. Marriage, whatever else it may be, is a legal agreement — and you will have to sign on the dotted line.

bulletChoose the position of the Moon with care. A New Moon, with the Sun and the Moon conjunct, classically signals a new beginning. The best possible Moon for a wedding is a New Moon in your sign (or your partner’s), in your seventh house of marriage, or in Libra.

As an example, take a look at Nicole Kidman’s chart in Chapter 3. She has Scorpio rising. So Taurus is on the cusp of her seventh house. Thus, if she were to get married a third time, she might want to do it after a New Moon in Taurus.

bulletIf a New Moon isn’t possible, for whatever reasons, at least get married when the Moon is waxing — that is, when it’s between New and Full, becoming larger and more luminous every night. A waning Moon has passed its peak of luminosity and is on the downward slide, getting smaller and dimmer every moment. Who needs that symbolism?

bulletLook for an auspicious angle between the Sun and the Moon. A sextile (60°) or trine (120°) creates harmony. A tight 90° square or 180° opposition generates tension and conflict.

bulletLook for trines and sextiles involving the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter — the more the better.

bulletMake sure the Moon isn’t void-of-course. And make sure that your schedule has room for error, just in case the flower girl is late.


The Moon is void-of-course when it has made its last major aspect in one sign but has not yet entered the next. The void-of-course period always comes at the end of the Moon’s journey through a sign. To avoid a void-of-course Moon, schedule an event shortly after the Moon enters a new sign. (For more about the void-of-course Moon, turn to Chapter 17.)

Going on a First Date

In the real world, if someone you’re interested in asks you out, the last thing you want to do is announce that the Moon is waning, so you’d rather wait two weeks for that mojito. On the other hand, if you have any control over the matter, you might decide that you don’t mind waiting. Here’s how to schedule a date that might lead to another:

bulletPay attention to the Moon. Look for a waxing Moon, meaning a Moon that’s somewhere between New and Full. Make certain that the Moon is not void-of-course because relationships begun under a void-of-course Moon are less likely to go the distance. And choose a moon sign that’s either warm and sensitive — like Cancer, Pisces, or Taurus — or fun, like Gemini, Leo, or Sagittarius.

bulletLook for harmonious aspects — that is, conjunctions, sextiles, or trines — between the Moon and Venus. Any good astrological calendar will list these. (For more about aspects, turn to Chapter 13.)

bulletWatch your planetary transits. Jupiter in your fifth house is a propitious influence that can ease the misery of dating even for those who hate the process. It spends about a year in your fifth house — but it only comes around every twelve years, so it behooves you to take advantage of it.

bulletLook at the transits of the Sun, the Moon, Venus, or Mars through that sector of your horoscope.

bulletA once-a-year New Moon in your fifth house of romance is definitely a door to romance, as is the once-a-year Full Moon that takes place six months later. Don’t be shy.

Opening a Business

Launching a business isn’t so different from starting a marriage, and some of the same rules apply. To wit:

bulletMake sure that Mercury, the planet that rules contracts, isn’t retrograde. The same goes for Venus, the planet of money.

bulletStart your enterprise on or shortly after a New Moon. A New Moon in your second house (or in Taurus) is ideal if the business is primarily financial or if it involves material objects. (A New Moon in the second house is also the right time to ask for a raise.) A New Moon in your sixth house (or in Virgo) is perfect if your business is service-oriented. And a New Moon in the tenth house (or in Capricorn) supports public awareness of your business and guarantees that you’ll be recognized in your field.

bulletLook for beneficial aspects (sextiles and trines) between Saturn and Jupiter. Saturn rules structures and organizations; Jupiter rules luck and expansion. You want them working together. Avoid squares and oppositions involving those two planets.


An astrological calendar can tell you when an aspect is exact or at its peak. But an aspect between two planets often creates a buzz even before the crucial moment, when the aspect is approaching. It’s like Christmas: You can feel it in the air well in advance of the actual day. Afterwards, the energy diminishes quickly. I suggest that you scan ahead in your calendar to see if any major aspects are approaching. Be aware that if you open your business on a Wednesday, and Thursday there’s an opposition between Saturn and Jupiter, you’ll feel the tension.

bulletTo make sure that your brainchild gets noticed, launch your enterprise — by which I mean put up your shingle, cut the ribbon, sign the articles of incorporation, shake hands with your partner — around midday. That way, you can be sure that there are planets near the top of the chart. Win or lose, you won’t go unnoticed.

Scheduling a Meeting

The way you schedule a meeting depends entirely on what you wish to accomplish. Follow these rules:

bulletIf you hope the meeting will help you inaugurate a program, introduce a new set of goals, involve a staff member who hasn’t previously participated in this area, or make a case for organizational change, schedule the meeting when the Moon is New or, at minimum, waxing.

bulletTo encourage brainstorming, look for a conjunction, sextile, or trine between Mercury and Uranus, the planet of originality. The Moon in Gemini also encourages an explosion of ideas.

bulletIf you want the meeting to reach a final decision about an issue that’s been on the table many times before, schedule it for a time when the Moon is close to full. Full Moons can be times of high emotion. They’re very illuminating — they reveal that which has been hidden and they bring things to a head. If that’s what you have in mind, go ahead.

bulletMake sure the Moon isn’t void-of-course and that Mercury isn’t retrograde.

On the other hand, if you’re scheduling a meeting to discuss a proposal you thoroughly oppose, here’s what to do:

bulletSchedule the meeting during a waning Moon, preferably during the last few days of the lunar cycle.

bulletMake certain that the Moon is void-of-course. Many ideas may be floated at the meeting. Much discussion may occur. But guess what? Nothing will come of any of it.

Throwing a Party

Once again, it depends on what you have in mind. If you plan to hire a DJ and throw open the doors to anyone you’ve ever met, these are the rules:

bulletLet the Moon be in Leo (first choice), Gemini, or Sagittarius, followed by Libra, Aquarius, or Aries. The fire and air signs are boisterous and engaging. They may not generate as much intimacy as other signs, but under their happy influence, the good times roll.

bulletLook to Venus and Jupiter. If they make conjunctions, sextiles, or trines to the Sun and the Moon, that’s good news

bulletTo be certain that stern Saturn won’t squeeze the fun right out of your fête, make sure that it doesn’t make a close conjunction, square, or opposition to the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Mars, or Jupiter.

On the other hand, if you want to host a quiet family dinner or a champagne brunch for your dearest friends, Moon in Cancer, Taurus, or Pisces aren’t bad choices, ensuring that everyone will feel at home, cared for, and well-fed.

Purchasing a Computer

Follow these three simple rules when buying a computer:

bulletMake sure that Mercury, the planet of communication, isn’t retrograde. Okay, I know I keep mentioning this influence. It’s always important, but there are times — I admit it — when you can bend the rules. Not in this case, though. Do not — I repeat, do not — purchase a computer (or a car) when Mercury is spinning backward.

bulletMake sure that Uranus and Mars aren’t doing anything unfortunate. High-tension squares, oppositions, and conjunctions, especially to Mercury or the Moon, are just the sort of thing you don’t want to see.

bulletCheck that the Moon isn’t void-of-course.


It isn’t necessary, but an Aquarian influence — perhaps in the form of the Sun or Moon in that sign — makes sure that your technology is cutting edge.

Buying a House

Considering that buying a house is the largest purchase most people will ever make, it’s smart to get the planets on your side — beginning with Jupiter, the lord of abundance. Once every 12 years, Jupiter travels through your fourth house. That’s the single best influence for investing in real estate.

But maybe you can’t wait that long. And maybe you can’t wait for the right economic market to come along either. If you need to buy or sell a house now, take these suggestions:

bulletBegin the process of buying with a New Moon in your fourth house or a New Moon in Cancer. A Full Moon can also work — especially if you’re selling.

bulletMake sure the Moon is waxing when you buy a house. If it’s in Taurus, Cancer, or the sign that’s on the cusp of your fourth house, so much the better. When you sell a house, it’s okay if the Moon is waning.

bulletLook for auspicious aspects (trines and sextiles) involving the Sun, the Moon, and any planets moving through your fourth house.

bulletTo make sure that the sale goes through, never sign a contract when Mercury is retrograde — and make sure that the Moon isn’t void-of-course.

Having Surgery

First, let me be clear: If you need an operation immediately, you need it immediately. Listen to your doctor.

But perhaps you’re undergoing elective surgery. Or maybe your doctor has given you a choice. That happened to me when I broke my arm in a foreign country (where I didn’t speak the language). My doctor told me I could have my elbow operated on right away or I could fly home and have the operation here. Either way, she said that I had to have the operation within a week.

In a situation like that, how do you decide? These are the rules:

bulletMake sure the Moon isn’t in the sign that corresponds to the part of your body being operated on. Thus, if you’re going to have surgery on your arm, avoid the Moon in Gemini. If you’re planning to have knee surgery, make sure the Moon isn’t in Capricorn. And so on.


For a description of the signs and the parts of the bodies associated with them, see Chapter 1.

bulletSome people recommend avoiding Moon in Scorpio for any kind of surgery. The astrologer Susan Miller notes that for cosmetic surgery it’s smart to avoid Mars in either Aries, which rules the face, or Taurus, which rules the neck.

bulletDon’t have surgery when the Moon is full.

bulletAvoid retrograde Mercury, Venus, or Mars, if possible.

bulletLook for trines and sextiles to the Sun, the Moon, and the planet that rules the sign on the cusp of your eighth house (of surgery).

bulletLook for positive influences, such as Jupiter or Venus in your sixth house of health.

Starting a Diet or an Exercise Program

Going on a diet is a cheerless activity under any circumstances. The least you can do is give yourself a celestial head start. Here’s how:

bulletOnce a year, there’s a New Moon in your sixth house of health. A New Moon helps you usher in a new habit, so that’s a perfect time for beginning a diet or exercise program (or both).

bulletA Full Moon in your sixth house can also be beneficial. It can help you release an old habit — like compulsive eating or an addiction to 300-calorie chai lattes.

bulletSaturn, the planet of self-discipline, can help you stick to a diet and create new, healthier habits. Look for Saturn to form conjunctions, trines, and sextiles with the Sun and the Moon.

bulletSaturn also supports your efforts if it’s traveling through your sixth house, your first house, or your Sun sign, even though any of these transits may correspond to difficult times in your life. The silver lining is that they can also bring increased willpower, control, and accomplishment.

bulletMars in the sixth house gives you a boost of energy — ideal for getting to the gym and making it a habit.

Writing a Novel or Screenplay

I often work in the writers’ room of a private library, so I know how many people are struggling with novels, screenplays, and other writing projects. I see them all the time, shuffling their index cards, marking up their print-outs, staring disconsolately at the screens of their laptops, or playing solitaire. I sympathize. Writing projects are like diets: easy to begin and easy to put aside. Here’s how to better your odds of completing your project:

bulletBegin a creative writing project when there’s a New Moon in your third house; a New Moon in the fourth house (if you’re penning a memoir); a New Moon in the fifth house (especially if you’re working on a screenplay); a New Moon in the ninth house (of publication); or a New Moon in Gemini.

bulletBegin when Mercury is direct. If Mercury happens to be in Gemini, in Virgo, in your Sun sign, or in the same sign as your natal Mercury, that’s a plus.

bulletLook for an active Uranus if you need to generate some original ideas; an active Neptune when you want to stretch your imagination; and an active Pluto when you’re ready to dig into emotionally complex material.

bulletTake advantage of Mercury’s retrograde periods by using them to revise.

Laying Low

You can only push so hard. Then, at a certain point, the universe pushes back and you need to get some rest. For example:

bulletA New Moon or Full Moon in your twelfth house is a clear message that you need to withdraw. The Sun’s annual monthly passage through that sector of your chart is a wonderful time to schedule a retreat.

bulletIt’s also wise to withdraw when the Moon is in the sign preceding your own. Thus, if you’re a Scorpio, the Moon’s journey through Libra is a time to pull back, to meditate, and to catch up on your sleep, content in the knowledge that when the Moon enters Scorpio two or three days later, you’ll receive a boost — and you’ll be fully rested and ready to take advantage of it.


That’s what astrological timing is about. It isn’t about fate. It’s about using the stars to maximum advantage.

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