The Problem With The Angles
In The Birth Chart

The problem with the so-called "angles" in the birth chart(The Ascendant, Midheaven, and their opposites) is that we currently have a poor understanding of what they really are. Also a problem is the fact that they are the fastest moving factors in the chart(taking roughly two hours to change signs), and are therefore highly dependant on an accurate birth time, which is not always easy to obtain.

Of course, we look to the professional astrologers and organizations for some help here, but it seems even they don't appear to know exactly what the angles(i.e. the Ascendant and Midheaven) really are, or if they do, they're not telling.

What they do know is that the "angles" are focal "points" which we can be used to orient or divide the chart, but just how to do that is where astrology goes astray. Even the whole concept of the houses is in question. Yes, the Ascendant is always you or the first house, describing your overall appearance and temperament, and any planets there or the sign ruler are key planets, but that's as far as it goes. In most house systems the MC or Midheaven degree starts the tenth house, which describes the "public" or "professional" you, but this is challenged by equal or whole sign housers who use only the Ascendant as the basis for their houses. For the latter, the MC can fall anywhere in the upper half of the chart and is treated like a planet. It appears there are still important unresolved issues in astrology.

If these two points we call the Ascendant and Midheaven(and their opposite points) are so important, then what bodies or signs are they linked to? In astrology, every important body or planet is linked to a sign -which gives it its meaning or identity. Why not the Asc and MC? Forget astronomy for now, and look at the heavens objectively with your own two eyes(unlike astronomy, appearance is everything in astrology). What do you see? First, you see the Earth below you and the Sky above you. In astrology, these fundamental two realities are represented by the Ascendant and Midheaven respectively. Then come the two great lights or luminaries -Sun and Moon, and finally the stars, five of which have their own movement against the background of fixed(non-moving) stars -Mercury,Venus,Mars,Jupiter,and Saturn(known as the planets or wanderers). Three others, invisible to our sight, also move against the fixed background of stars -Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. There are of course other moving bodies, but the ones just outlined are the most important due to their orbital periods and mythology, and they have been proven to "work" and exercise major influence in our lives.

Size or distance does not seem to be an issue in astrology, From the vast Earth and Sky below and above us, to those sizable orbs known as the Sun and Moon, to the stars/planets, both visible and invisible. What matters is that twelve components of our reality have been divinely selected and ordained to have major cosmic influence in our lives. When you think about it, it's actually quite beautiful. Every part of our cosmos, from the immediate Earth itself to tiny and inaccessible Pluto has been endowed with a certain godly power to guide and influence all life in this realm. And it's all based on the concepts of space/location and time/movement.

Early Hellenistic astrology used whole signs to construct a chart and whole aspects to delineate it. It wasn't until the 600's AD, that degrees and unequal house divisions were developed, and a host of other complexities. Even the houses themselves are currently under question. It is the belief of this author that there are in essence only the signs and planets. By planets I include the two luminaries and the two angles -Asc and MC. In this way, ALL of our environment or reality is accounted for by astrology. Two planes(Earth/Asc and Sky/MC), two great lights(Sun and Moon), two benefics(Venus and Jupiter), two malefics(Mars and Saturn), two transcendentals(Uranus and Neptune), and two errants(Mercury and Pluto). I call the last two errants because they deviate the most from the ecliptic.

It's easy to calculate the slower planets, but when we come to the Ascendant and Midheaven, and even the Moon, more precision is required. This means an accurate birth time. Unfortunately, not everyone knows their exact time of birth(or sometimes even their exact place of birth) and this is where the problems begin. Because the Asc and MC change signs roughly every two hours, you must know your birth time to within 15 minutes if possible, otherwise you can err very easily in determining the correct Asc and MC placements. If you are doing astrolocality, you need to be even more accurate -down to the minute. For those who don't know their exact birth time, or have a rough idea of it, you need to do something called rectification, but even this not always conclusive.

Other methods of determining your angles are through simple observation. Some people are good at guessing your Ascendant by studying your appearance and mannerisms or the people you attract into your lives. The transits and progressions are another method. It's amazing how many times I've seen people, and sometimes even astrologers themselves, going around saying or believing they are one rising sign when they are in fact another. Yes, on occasion a planet there can fool me, but overall, my knowledge of most rising signs is pretty good. Often it happens that in these people's charts, the Ascendant is off by one sign, but sometimes it's off by a whole six signs. Illegible writing on the birth certificate or putting AM instead of PM are common occurences. Celebrity charts are especially prone to error, often due to privacy issues. From what I've seen, I would say that that at least half of all celebrity charts online have incorrect Ascendants and Midheavens, and sometimes the Moon or a planet on the cusp is affected as well.

And then, of course, there is Daylight Savings Time, which can throw off charts by an hour or two(a pet peeve for most astrologers), but most good astrology programs today take DST into account. Also, when is the true moment of birth? Is it when the child comes out of the womb? What about caesarians and delayed births? Astrologically, the true moment of birth is when the cord is cut and infant takes its first breadth. The first breadth(or cry) is when the sky or cosmic pattern is permanently inprinted in the brain and body, fixing the genetic code. The infant is now an independant body with its own path in life. Esoterically, the birth is carefully chosen to coincide as closely as possible to serve both the interests of the child and the parents so that few if any births are haphazard. Both the conception and actual birth are usually selected or controlled by the guides of the incarnating soul, especially if that soul has a special mission to accomplish.

It is sad that there is only a two hour span of time in astrology to determine one's rising or midheaven sign, but that is the reality. If our day was longer, say 60 hours instead of the current 24, each rising or midheaven sign would span some 6 hours instead of 2, and there would be less room for error, but such is not the case, so unless we get better at noting birth times, there will continue to be errors and innacuracies. Also we must get better at visually recognizing the various angle placements. This is possible as both angles affect the appearance considerably. Only then will there be no doubt about those placements in either the mind of the native or the observer.

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