It happens every 86.5 days. It's not superstition. A brief primer on the origins and nature of an astrological phenomenon.

Instances of "Moonwobble" reporting and analysis have increased in recent years, with varying degrees of intelligence, metastasizing in the fertile internet imagination. It seems time to provide some factual information about the origins of the term and some reflections on just what it involves.

The Prosperos has been publishing printed reports on Moonwobble, and sharing observations about it, since the 1970s.

The Origins : Carl Payne Tobey and “lunar node instability”

The precise term for the cycle is "lunar node instability," and it originally referred to a statistical pattern of loss of life due to accidents or catastrophes bunched around times when the Sun is in either a conjuction or a square aspect to the lunar nodes (see detail below). This happens about four times a year, every 86.5 days.

This phenomenon was discovered by Carl Payne Tobey in the 1940s while trying to find a relationship between outbreaks of insurance claims – specifically fire claims – and astrological cycles.

Although Tobey’s research began as investigations into the influence of eclipses, years-long study led him eventually to speculate that "the eclipse might be of no significance and that what really seemed to count" were the conjunct or square aspects.

He writes, "When the Sun is conjunct or square the lunar nodes there is human instability. People are excitable. They are more easily confused. Their reactions are emotional rather than intellectual. Something must be done about something" * (emphasis added).

Thane, founder of The Prosperos and a good friend of Tobey’s, watched how the cycle played out and gave it the facetious name of "Moonwobble," always pointing out that the moon didn't do anything – it was people who got wacky, i.e., acted precipitously, spoke out thoughtlessly, or made irrational decisions. His general rule was that any decision taken during a Moonwobble cycle would have to be revisited.

Another point he made emphatically – about this cycle in particular and about astrology more generally – was that a great deal depends on how one approaches such a cycle. Prosperos students consider such things to be "sense testimony" – that is, they provide a focus for transmuting experience in the consciousness of the divine. This is a practice we pursue regularly using the five steps of Translation®.

Speaking less esoterically, it helps to realize that you're in something like an ocean current. It can assist your efforts if you don't panic and don't lose your head.

The Science Bit : How does Moonwobble relate to astronomy?

The cycle has nothing to do with the moon per se, since the moon itself can be anywhere in its orbit when the cycle is in effect. The points to consider are the moon’s nodes in relation to the sun.

The moon’s nodes derive from the geometric line generated by the intersection of the moon’s plane of orbit around the earth, and the earth’s plane of orbit around the sun. The nodal axis relationship to the earth and sun continually changes as the earth travels around the sun. Lunar node instability is observed when this nodal line, from the perspective of earth, is either conjunct the sun or square the sun. These points may be determined from a current ephemeris.

Do not confuse this cycle with an astronomical phenomenon which relates to the physical behavior of earth’s satellite, explained here by Richard Burns :

Recently I have learned that some are using a more literal, astronomical, version of the term Moon Wobble to describe an element of the Moon's libration. Lunar libration reveals 59% of the moon's surface, while you see only 50% of the lunar disk. Thus lunar libration enables acute observers to peek at a tiny portion of the moon's back side. Libration in longitude is the Moon's east-west wobble. Libration in latitude is the Moon's north-south nodding. Maximum librations are seen about one week after perigee and one week after apogee (the Moon's closest and furthest distances from Earth, respectively).

There's a great animated file demonstrating this phenomenon on the Wikipedia page for libration.

Again, we emphasize, the astrological phenomenon of lunar node instability, or Moonwobble, relates to an aspect of the Sun to the lunar nodes and not the moon itself.

Tips for Navigating Moonwobble

The Prosperos publishes a forecast for each Moonwobble cycle as it occurs. Specific tips about the nature of that cycle can be found in those reports. Long-time student Rick Thomas has these general suggestions / observations :

  • If you are making a decision during this time you might want to let it set for a day or two and check your decision again to see if it still makes sense.
  • However, you can feel into the ebb and flow and find good times to work on self emotionally in both the low and high points.
  • With practice you can also feel / sense when the energy is there to help bring completion to tasks, goals, and projects you may be working on.
  • The actual graph (included in the report for that cycle) that shows the energy high at the beginning of the cycle (not unlike any other astrological aspect) followed by a slow down before it gets strong again reflects years of tracking and noting feedback from our many students.
  • This cycle is based on empirical data. In other words, enough data is observed and recorded to make it possible to suggest attitudes and reactions. Keep in mind that we all have free will and thus results will vary from one individual to another.

* A summary explanation of Carl Payne Tobey's exploration of the Lunar Node Instability cycle can be found in his 1973 book The Astrology of Inner Space, in the chapter entitled "Parallel Line Theory," where he explores in great depth the theory around planetary node calculation. Details of his lunar node instability research were previously outlined in an article published in Sydney Omarr's Astrological Guide for 1969 under the title, "Astrology Conditioned Historical Events."

Recent reports are listed below

Moonwobble - June 2020 Moonwobble - June 2020

Peak June 18, 19, 20 - Signs affected: Gemini, Sagittarius; Pisces and Virgo to a lesser degree