Determining The Mansion of The Moon
Lunar Magic Through The Zodiac
The energy of the Moon is influenced by the zodiac sign in which it resides, and additionally by the degree within that sign. Since the Moon travels through the zodiac in an approximate lunar month of 27.32 days, the mansions of the Arabic and European system are divided into twenty-eight segments of 12 degrees, 51 minutes, 25.7 seconds, usually rounded to 12’52”. The mansions are overlaid on the zodiac of twelve signs in a 360-degree cycle, with 0 Aries as the usual starting point (Vernal Equinox), and with eight of the mansions spanning two signs of the zodiac.
Since my perspective is that of the Craft, my use of the Mansions of the Moon for magic is in conjunction with the Esbats on the days of their lunar events. When having a ritual and magical work on the appropriate date and time, the mansion may be identified by checking the specific Moon phases in an ephemeris. I use The American Ephemeris for the 21st Century: 2000 to 2050 at Midnight, by Neil F. Michelsen, because it contains a monthly list of Moon phases, including waxing and waning, as well as all eclipses; and it gives the time of day and the zodiac position. It also contains a monthly list of ingress dates and times for the Moon, showing when it enters a sign. This makes identifying the mansion an easier matter.
For example, if the ephemeris shows a Full Moon on September 4, 2009, at 16:04 (4:04 PM) ET (Ephemeris Time—same as GMT, Greenwich Mean Time) in 1215, the Moon is in the mansion Alcharya, with the energy of increase in harvest, income, and gains, healing the sick; and enhancing psychic awareness, when magical works for investments, good health, or opening psychic channels is favored. To know the Eastern Standard Time (EST), subtract four hours from the ET/GMT during standard time (12:04 PM). During Daylight Saving Time, five hours are subtracted from the ET/GMT for the EST. The Dark Moon is listed on September 18, 2009, at 18:45 (6:45 PM) ET in 2559, which is in the mansion Azimeth, with the energy for destroying harvests, destroying desires, hindering land journeys, and instigating divorce. At 2:45 PM EST, this energy could be used in a positive manner as a magical aid for dieting (destroy desire for sweets!), or it could be contravened with magic to ensure stability of a marriage or protection of a harvest of any sort. I consider this ephemeris to be a good investment, as it lasts for decades. It has to be ordered, which most major bookstores will do for you, or purchased online.
There are ephemerides websites that offer accurate information, such as with http://www.astrology.com/aboutastrology/resources/ephemeris/9.html. As with most ephemeris (unless otherwise noted), however, remember to add or subtract hours according to your time zone. Using the 24-hour day, the planet is divided into longitudes of 15 degrees each for a total of 360 degrees. These are the time zones, with each zone representing one hour. The difference between your local time and GMT or ET is found by adding one hour for each zone east of Greenwich, England, or subtracting one hour for each zone west of Greenwich. For example, you would subtract four hours from GMT for Eastern Standard Time (EST), five for Central (CST), six for Mountain (MST), and seven for Pacific (PST). Subtract another hour when in Daylight Saving Time. If the Moon is in 00 at midnight (2400 GMT or 0 ET), it will be in 00 at 8 PM (2000 EST) in Boston, Massachusetts, during standard time, or 7 PM (1900) during Daylight Saving Time.
If the ritual and magic is pre-scheduled for a particular date and time, then you will be looking for the mansion being occupied by the Moon at that time in order to correlate magical work with the mansion energy. If the ephemeris is not sufficiently helpful, you can find the lunar mansion by checking the location of the Moon at the scheduled date and time, using an online free astrological chart site. Simply enter your local latitude and longitude—most maps will show this and some sites will provide this by having you enter your city and country—plus the date and the time you plan to have the ritual and magical working. Listing a future date will still give you a chart with the astrological positions. This is like doing a fake natal chart, but you don’t need to put in a name, and the “birth date” and “birth time” is the day and time of the planned magical working. Additionally, you can put “free astrological chart” in a search engine, select an Internet site and bookmark it to your Favorites for easy access. Examples of such sites are http://www.zodiacal.com/chart.htm or http://www.alabe.com/freechart. Match the given lunar position from the chart with the mansion list and conduct your magic accordingly. The current GMT position of the Moon can also be seen quickly at the sidebar of http://www.astro.com/ without entering any information, and this site updates whenever you check it.
If a specific mansion is desired before embarking upon a magical work, you can locate this mansion with the ephemeris. Look up the year, month, and day planned for your ritual, and check the Moon column in the ephemeris for each day of the month showing the sign, degree and minute, or the lunar phases or ingress boxes. Mansions software has also recently become available for computer installation, such as MB Magical Lunar Mansions 1.0 by MysticBoard.com, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.top4download.com/free-your-mansion-of-the-moon/; or MansionTracker, Lunar Mansions Software for $25.00 through Christopher Warnock, Esq. at http://www.renaissanceastrology.com/mansiontracker.html. Putting Mansions of the Moon Software in a search engine will direct you to other options, as well.
These are the easier methods for finding the lunar mansion for ritual and magic. Having a good ephemeris or using the free online site bookmarked is the most accurate method of determining the mansions. Theoretically, you should be able to count the degrees from the beginning of the mansions entering a cardinal sign, which divides the mansions into four groups of seven mansions each: first mansion of Alnath at 00; the eighth mansion of Alnaza at 00; the fifteenth mansion of Agrapha at 00; and the twenty-second mansion of Zodeboluch at 00. Using twenty-eight days for the passage of the Moon through the entire zodiac, with 30 degrees in a sign and each mansion having 12 degrees, 51 minutes, and 26 seconds (or about 12’52”) and allowing twenty-four hours for the Moon to pass through the mansion, it takes about one hour and fifty-five minutes to pass through 1 degree of the mansion. You can add this for each day from the cardinal signs.
Looking at an astrological calendar that has the date and time when the Moon enters a sign gives a close enough idea of when the Moon will be in the mansion between entering one sign and the next. The 0 degree of the sign will be easy to locate in the list of mansions, but if the magical work is planned for before or after that placement, the mansion can still be roughly calculated. The calendar will show each time the Moon enters a new sign, but unless it is one of the cardinal signs, calculating the mansion between the 0’ of one sign and the 0’ of the next sign will be an estimate. Be careful to note the time scale used by the calendar, as some will use EST throughout or EST with Daylight Saving Time throughout, which means that one hour needs to be subtracted for the real time when Daylight Saving Time is not actually in use. It also helps to know the source of the calculations, which do vary. The most accurate source is the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories), which provide data for the US Naval Observatory and the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
For example, if the calendar shows the Moon entering Leo (00) on Monday, September 14, 2009, at 6:39 PM EST (however, since the calendar is in DST, it is actually 5:39 PM), that places the Moon in Algebh (2542 to 834). The calendar next shows the Moon entering 00 on Wednesday, September 16, 2009, at 7:56 PM EST, which places the Moon in Alzarpha (2125 to 417), actually at 6:56 PM. The mansion between these two events is Azobra (834 to 2125). If the work is to be done in Azobra, you need to find a time when the Moon is in this middle mansion.
The Moon has already passed through 4’18” of Algebh (30’ minus 25’42”) prior to 0, which is about eight hours and one minute, leaving fifteen hours and fifty-nine minutes left in the mansion (for a total of twenty-four hours). You could round off and use eight hours in Cancer and sixteen hours in Leo to get to 834, and add this to 5:39 PM so the Moon should be in Azobra by 9:39 AM on Tuesday. Or, by subtracting the eight hours and one minute from the 00 time of 6:39 PM on Monday, the time for the start of Algebh should be 9:38 AM, and twenty-four hours later on Tuesday the start of Azobra should be 9:38 AM. Crosschecking with an online astrology chart shows that 835 (the start of Azorba) actually begins at 7:52 AM, so the calculation is only off by about 1¾ hours. For magical purposes the calculated start time will still work, since it is within the mansion. You can get a pretty good estimate for when the Moon is in a mansion for a magical working, but why bother with calculations when there are more accurate tools readily available?