Due to her quick orbit around the Earth, the Moon is a heavily referenced body in traditional astrology. We see this in horary astrology as she becomes the co-significator of the querent and the overall significator of the question itself and an emphasis is placed on the aspects she makes on her trip through her current sign. We see her significance again emphasized in timing of events, even becoming noticeable in Neo-Paganism where rituals are timed with the Moon’s phases.
An easy way to follow the Moon in such instances as timing is to follow her around her own Zodiac. We’re all aware of the Sun’s zodiac, but the Moon also has one called the Lunar Mansions. While the Sun’s path is carved through the 12 signs he runs through during his annual trip across the ecliptic, the Moon’s mansions are carved from the fixed stars she moves across during her monthly orbit. Vedic tradition holds that there are 27 lunar mansions, while Western astrology and Chinese astrology says there are 28. Either one would be logical, as the Moon’s orbit is about 27.5 days. To make the Lunar Mansions work, the Vedic tradition calculates the mansions as being 13°26’, while Western and Chinese astrology calculates them as 12° 51’ 26’’ long.
Uses of the Mansions
The use of the lunar mansions depends primarily on the system they originate from. Regardless of the origin, though, they were obviously used astronomically to track the Moon’s progress throughout her monthly orbit as a time-keeping calendar device.
Electional astrology is one use that crops up every time the mansions are mentioned. Used in both Western and Vedic traditions as means to determine the best time to initiate something. Generally one would erect a mini-election by selecting the time that the Moon was in a mansion that corresponded to the event the astrologer wished to elect. The above also holds true with astrological magic, with the astrologer electing a time the Moon was in a particular mansion to begin making a talisman for a desired effect.
Individual to Vedic astrology, a child would generally be given a name that matched the mansion their moon was in at birth.
There does appear to be some debate as to the appropriate star system to use the lunar mansions with. Should the lunar mansions be progressed to continue to fit with the stars they draw their power from? Or should they be left stationary as an act of symbolism rather than material fact? This has become a split in astrological tradition and that split lies clearly along party lines with the Vedic astrologers calculating for the procession of the equinoxes and Western astrologers not following suit. To Vedic (and Chinese) astrologers, the fact is that the star Sheratan is not where it was 2000 years ago, and so the mansion that holds this star should be moved to follow along with the star. This is dismissed in the Western tradition which holds spiritual (and thus celestial) perfection to be of more importance than material fact.
The individual mansions will be explored in subsequent posts.