Horoscope Sign Chart Angles Explained

Patricia Lantz C.Ht.
Learn about your chart.

The four angles are a fundamental principle of astrology. They are the backbone of any horoscope, and the most personal points in a chart. To find the angles of your horoscope, you must know your complete data; the date, location, and the exact time of the birth or event. The four angles are astrology's way of accurately geopositioning you in your life.

The Four Angles

The concept of angles is based on divisions of the circle described by the path of the sun and planets across the sky from east to west as seen from the rotating Earth. They are crucial to the understanding of the meaning of the birth chart or event and for accurate forecasting.

The Ascendant and Descendant

The ascendant (Asc) is the sign that was rising over the eastern horizon at the moment and place of birth. It is the most important angle of the horoscope. Directly across from the Asc you'll find the second important angle, the descendant (Dec). The Dec is the sign that's setting in the west at the moment and place of birth. The Asc is sometimes called your rising sign.

  • The Asc is the cusp of the first house of self. It relates to Aries and its ruler Mars. It suggests your instinctive overall outlook on life, outward appearance, as well as how others perceive you, but not necessarily how you see yourself.
  • The Dec is the cusp of the seventh house and refers to partners and relationships. The Dec relates to Libra and its ruler, Venus. The sign on your Dec suggests the kinds of people you're the most attracted to and, if the rest of your horoscope agrees, those you're most likely to consider for a mate.

The Medium Coeli and Imum Coeli

The two other angles are the Medium Coeli (MC), Latin for "middle of the sky." The MC represents the highest point in the sky. The sign on the MC is directly overhead at the moment and place of birth. The angle opposite the MC is called the Imum Coeli (IC), Latin for the "bottom of the sky." The sign on the IC was on the other side of the Earth at the moment and location of your birth.

  • The MC is the cusp of your tenth house and refers to your career, status, aim in life, aspirations and public reputation. The MC relates to Capricorn and its ruler Saturn. The sign on your MC suggest how the public sees you and how best to make your mark in the world.
  • The IC is the cusp of your fourth house and refers to your roots and the least conscious part of yourself. The IC relates to Cancer and its ruling planet, the Moon. The sign on the IC suggests your beginnings in life, your cultural and parental influences, and what you need for security and relationships within your home and family life.

The Cross of Matter

Together the for angles make up what astrologer call the "Cross of Matter." This is the cross that's formed in a chart by the intersection of the Asc/Dec and the MC/IC; it's the astrological signs on these four points that enables an astrologer to understand how an individual is likely to deal with their physical world.

The Cross of Matter

The Importance of the Angles

While the sign and degree of each angle are important, the angles also divide the circle of the horoscope into hemispheres and quadrants, which can reveal a lot about an individual. Each of the four quadrants contains three of the astrological houses, completing the frame of the horoscope.

The Hemispheres

When you draw a line from the Asc to the Dec, the upper half of the circle is the southern hemisphere, and the lower half is the northern hemisphere.

Hemispheres
  • The southern hemisphere is associated with qualities that are out in the open and easily visible. When the majority of planets are in the upper half of a chart, the personality is extroverted, approachable, and receptive.
  • The northern hemisphere is associated with characteristics that are not easily seen. When the majority of planets are in the lower half of the chart, the personality is inner-directed tends to be private.
  • The western hemisphere is associated with behavior that is responsive to others. When the majority of planets are located on the right-handed side of the horoscope the individual are at their best in partnership or collaboration with other.
  • The eastern hemisphere is associated with behavior that is self-directed. When the majority of planets are located on the left-hand side of the horoscope, the individual is someone who works well alone and is likely to move ahead independently.

The Four Quadrants

The quadrants are numbered in a clockwise direction. Each is associated with a particular area of focus.

The Four Quadrants
  • The first quadrant is the area of personal interest. When many planets are located here, it describes a person who is self-seeking and inner-directed.
  • The second quadrant is focused on creative activities. Someone with many planets in this area of the horoscope is productive and often artistic.
  • The third quadrant is the area of the chart that refers to relationships. Those with a majority of planets in this area of the chart prefer to interact with others.
  • The fourth quadrant is the universal quadrant. Those with many planets in this area of their chart are often interested in society as a whole, as well as their position in the universal whole.

Transits to the Angles Move Your Life Along

The Asc, Dec, MC, and IC are the four cardinal points in the structure of a horoscope. They are where the action happens. Every truly significant happening in your life has involved a transit to one of these four angles. Whether the transit will be jolting, inspiring, depressing or joyful, etc. depends on the actual planet involved and the effect it will have on your life depends on the rest of your chart.

  • When the Asc receives a significant transit, it implies a call to action. The individual will feel they are under pressure to change and have an urge to take independent action. A major transit to the Asc can change the way others see you, whether that's having a child, gaining weight, getting serious about weight loss, deciding to have cosmetic surgery or a significant change in your hair and wardrobe.
  • When the Dec receives a major transit, issues regarding relationships will be brought to the forefront. This could be something like a new significant other, marriage, a divorce, a business partner, or a court case between two people.
  • When the MC receives a significant transit, career and social status come to the four front. It could be that you get fired, get an award, a significant raise, decide to change careers or take on a heavier workload, whatever it is you will be rearranging the manner that you are seen publicly.
  • When the IC receives a significant transit home, family, or your physical abode become areas of concern. It could be something like redecorating your home or adding a new room. Perhaps a member of your family is leaving, or you'll have to deal in one way or another with Mom or Dad. When the IC is activated, something will be happening in your family or home.

Astrology Is About Time

Professional astrologers always ask the client for their time of birth, and too often they get answers such as: "I was born between 5 and 6 am." "I'm not certain, but it was around 8:30 PM." However every 4 minutes, a new degree of a particular zodiac sign appears on the Asc, and consequently, the opposite degree appears on the Dec. And most likely this will change the degree on the MC and therefore the degree on the IC, as well as many if not all degrees on the house cusps. Yes, having an accurate time of birth is very important in natal astrology and forecasting

Horoscope Sign Chart Angles Explained