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Angles of the Horoscope

In the horoscope, the cusps of the right angles created by a horizon and meridian axes are called the angles of chart. These important points on the horoscope are called 1) the Ascendant, 2) the Midheaven or Medium Coeli (M.C.), 3) the Descendant, and 4) the Imum Coeli (I.C.).

The Ascendant

The Ascendant, or the point that is sometimes called the rising sign, is the exact degree in the zodiac which was on the eastern horizon, or rising on the horizon if you will, at birth. The term Ascendant and rising sign are interchangeable. As the Earth revolves, this point is constantly changing. Every 4 minutes the degree of the Ascendant changes. This is why it is so important to know the exact time of birth when calculating a horoscope.
The Ascendant and the Sun sign are considered equally important by astrologers. Because this is so important, when talking to other astrologers I would describe my astrological makeup as a Pisces Ascendant, with Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Libra. Astrologers vary on how much importance to place on the Ascendant. Most agree that it does influence appearance and many outward traits. As a matter of fact, when one gets in the parlor game of guessing the Sun sign of another, they are much more likely to correctly identify the Ascendant rather than the Sun sign. We project the traits of the sign that we have in this rising position. Some astrologers believe that the Ascendant sign represents traits that the individual is inclined to be striving toward. There is general agreement that the Ascendant and the first house of the horoscope are about the self. This is the most personal part of the horoscope. Planets near the Ascendant define characteristics about the personality.

The Medium Coeli or Midheaven

The Medium Coeli (MC), or Midheaven as it is more popularly known, is at the top of the chart. It is the point furthest south in the zodiac. The Midheaven point is the cusp of the 10th house. The Midheaven represents your most exposed position, your public demeanor, and how you present yourself to the world at large. This position is associated with the career and with that for which you strive to achieve. Many planets in this sector may show that much of your activities receive attention. You get credit (or blame) for your actions.

The Descendant

The Descendant is a point opposite the Ascendant. It is the degree of the zodiac residing on the western horizon at the moment of birth. In the chart this point marks the cusp of the 7th house and the beginning of outward expression. Houses 1 through 6 have had a personal tone, but now they will begin to relate to our interaction with others. The Descendant suggests how you relate to those nearest to you. The seventh house is sometimes called the house of partnerships and marriage. It is very fortunate when your partner's Ascendant is in the same sign as your Descendant because this mirror image of each other produces the most constructive spousal relationships.

The Imum Coeli or Nadir

The Imum Coeli (IC) or Nadir is opposite the Medium Coeli. This is the lowest point on the horoscope and the point furthest north in the zodiac. The IC is the cusp of the fourth house. This is the area of our deepest concern for security and shelter. The issues here are home, traditions, stability, and nurturing. This is where you seek comfort and protection. Your activities here will be private and concealed. When many planets are near the IC, accomplishments may not get the notoriety they deserve.

© Michael McClain 1996-2012.  Permission is granted for unlimited noncommercial use.  All other rights reserved.

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