Common section

Chapter 11

What You See versus What You Get: The Rising Sign (And More)

In This Chapter

bulletDetermining your rising sign

bulletAnalyzing your Ascendant

bulletConsidering your Descendant

bulletDiscovering your Midheaven and I.C.

I used to work at a bookstore with a woman who was so well-organized and in control that everyone relied on her. She knew what was on the shelves, what was on order, what was out of print, what was in the back room, and what was behind the counter. On top of that, she had read everything, including the classics that most people don’t even know are classics, and she could advise the most hard-to-please customer. When she wasn’t around, things fell to pieces. So I wasn’t surprised when I completed her chart and discovered that she had Virgo rising. She was as intelligent, organized, and meticulous as any Virgo I knew.

But rising signs can be deceptive. Sure, on the surface she was detail-oriented and in control, just like a Virgo. But her Sun was not in Virgo. It was in sensitive, charitable Pisces, the dreamiest, most impressionable sign in the zodiac. And indeed, that sign described her more fully. She was kind, compassionate, and imaginative (that’s why she was such an avid reader — she lost herself in books). She had many devoted friends, a husband she adored, a city loft filled with original artwork, and a second home — a tiny cottage — on a windswept island in a distant sea. Her life was suffused with romance, creativity, and water. But if she had experienced the poetry of Pisces, she also knew the pain of it. In one form or another, she had coped with everything from a relative in jail to alcoholism. She was a Pisces down to her toes.

Nonetheless, she looked like a Virgo. That’s because Virgo was her rising sign, or Ascendant. The Ascendant describes the surface level of your personality. It is who you appear to be — the surface you present to the world. In the past, many astrologers considered the Ascendant the most essential part of the birth chart — even more central than the Sun sign. Today, most astrologers rank the rising sign, the Sun sign, and the Moon sign as the three most important parts of a chart.


The zodiac revolves around the Earth like a gigantic ring. At any given moment, one sign of the zodiac is rising over the eastern horizon and another sign is setting in the west; one sign is riding high above you and another sign is on the opposite side of the planet. Each of these points represents one of the four main angles of your chart.

The sign on the eastern horizon is your rising sign; the exact degree of that sign is your Ascendant. The point opposite your rising sign on the western horizon is the Descendant or setting sign, which is always a full 180° away from the Ascendant. The degree at the top of your horoscope is the Midheaven, or M.C., and the degree at the lowest part of your chart, 180° away from the Midheaven, is the imum coeli, or I.C. Those four points determine the angles of your horoscope, as shown in Figure 11-1.

Figure 11-1: The four angles of the chart: the Ascendant, Midheaven, Descendant, and I.C.


Identifying Your Ascendant

It’s a sad fact that figuring out your Ascendant is an arduous process. To do it yourself, should you be so inclined, you have to get your hands on the full collection of astrological gear, including an atlas, a Table of Houses, and an ephemeris (an almanac listing the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets for every day of the year). You also need a book to tell you what time zone you were born in (they’re occasionally relocated, as in Kansas in 1967 or Nebraska in 1968) and whether you were born during standard time, war time, daylight saving time, or the unanticipated extra months of daylight saving time that marked the winter of 1974, when disco ruled and an energy crisis forced President Richard Nixon to extend the time change.

Alternatively, you could go to the Internet, as described in Chapter 2. That’s the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable way to get an accurate birth chart. If going online isn’t an immediate possibility, I recommend that you abandon the search for precision, at least temporarily, and make an educated guess. I tell you how to do that in Chapter 3.


After you’ve identified your Ascendant, either via the Internet or by following the directions in Chapter 3, I suggest that you double-check it. Begin by copying the chart on the Cheat Sheet at the front of this book. Put your rising sign at the nine o’clock spot. Then write in the other signs in a counterclockwise direction. (That is, if you’re Taurus rising, put Gemini on the cusp of the second house at eight o’clock, Cancer on the cusp of the third house at seven o’clock, and so on.)


The idea is to figure out whether the Ascendant makes sense by comparing the Sun’s position on your birth chart to its position in the sky at the moment of your birth. Here’s how: Imagine that the Ascendant/Descendant line, which runs straight across the chart from nine o’clock to three o’clock, is the horizon of the earth. If you were born around dawn, the Sun was on or near the horizon. Its symbol in your chart should also be near the Ascendant, perhaps in the same sign. If you were born around noon, the Sun sits near the top of your chart in the ninth or tenth house. If you were born around dusk, when the Sun was setting, the Sun in your chart is once again on the horizon, this time in the sixth or seventh house, near the Descendant. And if you were a midnight delivery, the Sun lies below the horizon, in the third or fourth house.

What Your Ascendant Says about You

The Ascendant describes the surface of your personality. It’s your image, your persona, your mask, your vibe. Or think of it this way: Your rising sign is like the clothes you wear; those outfits aren’t exactly you, but they aren’t irrelevant either. They convey a powerful, unspoken message to others — and even you may come to associate them with your deeper self.

bulletAries rising: You’re active, assertive, adventurous, headstrong, and sometimes accident-prone. Reckless and extroverted, with an abundance of energy, you invigorate everyone around you. You take pride — for good reason — in your ability to get things moving. When you know what you want, you go after it boldly. But you can also be competitive and insensitive. You have a tendency to take over. And when obstacles block your path, your patience (which is never your high card) may evaporate. You love to be there at the start of an enterprise when the excitement is building. Later on is another story.

Regardless of your Sun sign, your ruler is Mars, the warrior planet. Its location by sign and by house (as well as the aspects it makes to other planets) describes your energy level and the nature of your desires.

bulletTaurus rising: You’re warm, generous, loyal, and a delight to be around, even if you’re slow to open up and resistant to change. There’s something reassuring and calming about your steady presence. You’re pragmatic and patient — a reasonable person who doesn’t let little things get to you. At the same time, you’re affectionate and pleasure-loving, with a deep appreciation of food, drink, art, and the pleasures of the body. You care about appearances — and you aren’t indifferent to money either. It brings you the security you need.

Regardless of your Sun sign, your ruler is Venus, the planet of love and attraction. Its location by sign and by house (as well as the aspects it makes with other planets) describes the role of love, art, and beauty in your life.

The Wife of Bath

When astrologers analyze literary characters, they’re usually forced to intuit what their birth dates may be. Occasionally, an author presents the essential information. Geoffrey Chaucer, for example, clearly knew his astrology. In his Canterbury Tales, he explained the Wife of Bath’s bawdy behavior as the natural result of having a Taurus Ascendant with Mars, the planet of desire, in the same lusty sign. Don’t let the 14th-century English stop you from enjoying her own explanation of her lascivious ways:

Myn ascendent was Taur and Mars therinne — Allas, allas, the evere love was sinne! I folwed ay my inclinacioun By vertu of my constellacioun; That made my I coude nought withdrawe My chambre of Venus from a good felawe.

So who are the real-life people with Taurus rising and Mars therein? Janet Jackson is one. Barbara LaMarr is another. LaMarr, an actress from the days of silent films, married six times before her death from drug abuse at age 29.

bulletGemini rising: You’re talkative, excitable, funny, possibly an insomniac, and ever youthful. You pick up information in a flash and quickly adapt to changing circumstances (even if you also like to complain about them). You have a curious mind and may have writing ability. But you’re restless, nervous, and easily bored, with a tendency to scatter your energy. It soothes your anxious mind to have two of everything: two best friends, two part-time jobs, two of your favorite pens, two books you’re in the middle of reading.

No matter what your Sun sign is, your ruler is Mercury, the planet of communication. Its position by sign and by house, along with the aspects it makes to other planets, describes the way you speak, the way you learn, and the way your mind works.

bulletCancer rising: Moody, sensitive, and imaginative, you live at a high emotional pitch. You’re attuned to other people and skilled at nurturing and protecting them, yet you may feel drained by their needs and resentful of their requests. You’re shrewd and ambitious, but your carefully drawn plans may crumble in the face of your emotional reactions. When you feel besieged by the needs (or criticism) of others, you withdraw into the privacy of your shell. Home, food, family, and financial well-being are essential to your peace of mind.

The ever-changing Moon is your ruling planet, no matter what your Sun sign may be. By house, by sign, and by aspect, it describes your emotions and instincts.

bulletLeo rising: You’re flashy, fun-loving, charismatic, and friendly. The very opposite of a wallflower, you can’t stand not being noticed. You have great personal pride. You do your best to appear lighthearted and confident, and you usually succeed. You’re the life of the party — and more. You also have unmistakable leadership ability. You’re empathetic, with a benevolent heart and a noble desire to make life better for other people. No wonder they want to bask in your glow.

The Sun is your ruling planet, regardless of the sign of the zodiac you were born under. It represents your essential self and your vitality, which is enhanced by having a Leo Ascendant.

bulletVirgo rising: A natural conversationalist, you have a quick, incisive mind and a thoughtful, controlled demeanor. Methodical and articulate, with an ability to juggle details that astounds the rest of the world, you communicate effectively, pick up knowledge effortlessly, and are highly observant (which is one reason you’re so much fun to talk to). You make a concerted effort to engage with the world on a mental level, but emotional displays make you want to hide. Despite what you may think, your efforts to keep your feelings hidden aren’t always successful. You have a tendency to worry about your health.

Regardless of your Sun sign, your ruler is Mercury, the planet of communication. Its position by sign, by house, and by aspect, describes your thinking process and the way you communicate.

Scorpio rising aliases

Some people born with Scorpio rising can’t help playing around with their own identity. Examples include writer Mary Anne Evans, who published under the name George Eliot; Samuel Clemens, who wrote as Mark Twain; Washington Irving (of Rip van Winkle fame) whose aliases included Dietrich Knickerbocker and Geoffrey Crayon; Prince Rogers Nelson, who changed his name to a symbol and became The Artist Formerly Known as Prince; the spy Mata Hari; Grace Kelly, who gave up the glamorous life of a Hollywood star to become the Princess of Monaco; Jacqueline Kennedy, who left the country after the assassination of her husband and became Jackie O; David Berkowitz, the murderer who dubbed himself “Son of Sam;” and the chameleon-like comedian Tracey Ullman, whose many alter egos are of all races, genders, ages, and opinions. Why do they do it? Ask Sigmund Freud. Like other people with Scorpio rising, he too was fascinated by the mystery of identity — and the power of secrets.

bulletLibra rising: You’re engaging, tactful, charming, refined, attractive, and easy to be around. But you have an intense need for harmony, which means you can’t bear to be in a hostile environment (and you may disengage if you find yourself in one). You’re also artistic and intellectually engaged, with a powerful sense of justice and a need for balance (that’s what those scales are about). Partnerships, romantic and otherwise, are essential to you.

No matter what your Sun sign is, your ruler is Venus, the planet of love and attraction. Its position in your chart by house, sign, and aspect, is central to who you are.

bulletScorpio rising: Traditional astrology claims that the Ascendant determines appearance. To my eye, that influence is usually a subtle one — with one exception: Scorpio rising. Dark or light, your intense eyes and personal magnetism draw people to you. You’re compelling, mysterious, and sexy, with a strong sense of privacy and often a deep well of pain that can occasionally cause you to lash out. Despite whatever pain you may have experienced in the past, you’re a survivor who takes control in periods of crisis. You have persuasive ability, plenty of willpower, and the ability to transform yourself, both internally and externally.

Regardless of your Sun sign, the ruler of your chart is Pluto. And don’t let anyone tell you that Pluto is “just” a dwarf planet. Pluto rules destruction, transformation, and nuclear power. He doesn’t have to be big. You should also know that two planets are credited with dominion over Scorpio: Pluto, the ruler of modern times, and Mars, the traditional ruler. By sign, house, and aspect, both planets play leading roles in your chart.

bulletSagittarius rising: You’re outgoing, restless, and reckless. In your optimistic search for a larger, more exciting life, you cultivate people from many backgrounds, travel as widely as possible, immerse yourself in all kinds of philosophical systems (be they religious, academic, or professional), and can get all wound up over an idea. Witty and excitable, you’re a lucky person with a breezy personality, many friends, and an independent attitude. When opportunities come your way, you grab them instinctively. But it’s difficult for you to sacrifice your freedom for external demands, and you suffer when constrained.

It doesn’t matter what your month of birth is — Jupiter, the planet of expansion, is your ruler. Its position by house, by sign, and by aspect, indicates areas of good fortune and opportunity.

bulletCapricorn rising: Chaos makes you crazy. You’re serious, reserved, reliable, and determined, with a method for everything. Ambitious and competitive, you prefer to work within an established system. You wield authority effectively and have a strong sense of ethics. You may be rigid and prone to depression, and learning to relax can be a challenge. Though your childhood may have been difficult, your outlook improves as you age (and thanks to your healthy habits, you maintain a youthful appearance).

Saturn, the planet of discipline, is your ruler, regardless of your Sun sign. Its position by house, by sign, and by aspect, points to areas where you have to pay your dues, face down your fears, and create structures in order to achieve your potential.

bulletAquarius rising: You have dozens of interests, legions of friends, and a cool, amiable personality. But you maintain a certain distance that can make you seem disinterested or remote, and you’re unwilling to limit your options for the comfort of others. If you strike other people as willful or eccentric, well, that’s their problem. Unexpected events, especially in childhood, made you wary and conscious of the need to protect yourself. More than that, you resist change and authority. Why should anyone else have power over you? You can’t think of a single reason.

Rebellious Uranus, planet of the unexpected, is your ruler, regardless of your Sun sign. Before its discovery in 1781, astrologers assigned sovereignty of Aquarius to another ruler: Saturn, the planet of limitation and self-discipline. By sign, by house, and by aspect, both planets play powerful roles in your chart.

bulletPisces rising: You’re romantic, impressionable, sentimental, kind, and so empathetic that sometimes just being around unhappy people is more than you can tolerate. Moody and idealistic, you have powerful artistic and psychic abilities. At your most self-actualizing, you can mobilize your inner forces and turn daydreams into realities. But when wishful thinking gets out of hand, you can be gullible, passive, and too submissive for your own good. I’m sorry to say that substance abuse is a danger for you. Fortunately, you also have a yearning for creative and spiritual fulfillment that can keep you on track.

Elusive Neptune, the planet of inspiration, is your ruler, no matter what your Sun sign is. Its position in your chart by house, by sign, and by aspect, indicates an area of ideals, creativity, and spiritual fulfillment. You also have a co-ruler: Jupiter, the planet associated with Pisces prior to the discovery of Neptune in 1846.

My friend Howard

Outgoing Leos are a dime a dozen. Hermit Leos, like my friend Howard, are a rarity. He seldom leaves the house, but when he does, he’s as witty and entertaining as they get, and I don’t say that just because he’s my friend. So how come he shies away from relationships and prefers to stay home, nursing his modem? It’s because he has Capricorn rising with stern Saturn, his ruling planet, occupying the same degree of the zodiac as his Sun. So he’s a worrier, he’s inflexible, and he expects the worst. No wonder he stays home.

Finding and Understanding Your Descendant

After you’ve identified your rising sign, you automatically know your Descendant, no calculation required. By definition, the Descendant is always exactly opposite your rising sign. For example, if you have Cancer rising, your Descendant is Capricorn.


A less powerful point than your Ascendant, the Descendant determines the approach you take toward marriage and partnerships. It describes the nature of those relationships in your life, and it indicates the kind of person you’re likely to fall for. What’s your type? Your Descendant provides the answer:

bulletIf you have Aries rising: Your Descendant is in Libra. Your ideal relationship is egalitarian, and your perfect partner, unlike yourself, is poised and balanced, a force for harmony — the very quality you need the most.

bulletIf you have Taurus rising: Your Descendant is Scorpio. Your best possible partner is sexually passionate, emotionally intense, and fully willing to engage in intimate conversation. You probably don’t think you want someone who’s secretive or manipulative. The evidence suggests otherwise.

bulletIf you have Gemini rising: Your Descendant is Sagittarius, which suggests that the best partner for you is an independent person of strong beliefs who can expand your world. You romanticize relationships and may marry more than once. But since when is that a crime?

bulletIf you have Cancer rising: Your Descendant is Capricorn, which means that you seek a solid relationship with a partner who’s serious, protective, and reliable — an older or more established person who can give you the security you need.

bulletIf you have Leo rising: Your Descendant is Aquarius, which means that although you may think that you want a dazzling, swashbuckling companion, your ideal mate is actually a unique and stimulating freethinker with whom you feel a lively mental connection.

bulletIf you have Virgo rising: Your Descendant is Pisces, which suggests that your ideal partner is a sympathetic, adaptable person who can help you stop that crazy worrying thing you do. You may dream of someone as organized and efficient as yourself. Notice how you keep not getting it? There’s a reason: It’s not what you need.

bulletIf you have Libra rising: Your Descendant is Aries, which suggests that the ideal mate for you is someone with an independent streak and a fiery personality who can stir up your enthusiasms, energize you, and help you deal with conflict.

bulletIf you have Scorpio rising: Your Descendant is Taurus. The most natural partner for you is down-to-earth, trustworthy, and stubborn enough to resist your considerable blandishments. You may think you want someone who’s spicy, complicated, and hot (like yourself). Actually, you’d be better off with someone who’s as straightforward and nourishing as a fresh loaf of bread.

bulletIf you have Sagittarius rising: Your Descendant is Gemini, suggesting that you may postpone commitment out of a fear of being tied down. When you do find the courage, the proper partner for you is an active, multifaceted person whose conversation is so stimulating that you’re never bored.

bulletIf you have Capricorn rising: Your Descendant is Cancer, which means that you need a warm, supportive mate who can soften you up by giving you the security (and the home-cooked meals) you crave. Traditional relationships are best for you.

bulletIf you have Aquarius rising: Your Descendant is fiery Leo, suggesting that a relationship offering Leo’s passion, vivacity, and personal devotion would counter your airy objectivity and bring you satisfaction. A little pizazz on your partner’s side goes a long way to keeping you interested.

bulletIf you have Pisces rising: Your Descendant is Virgo, which suggests that a mate who’s practical, analytical, and meticulous with details would balance your intuitive, dreamy approach to life and help reduce the chaos that you create — or attract — without even half trying.

Looking Into Your Midheaven and I.C.

How come some people grow up in ordinary circumstances and yet end up in the strangest careers? The Midheaven, also known as the M.C. (from the Latin medium coeli, meaning “middle of the heavens”), frequently explains it. (Other factors in your choice of career include planets in the tenth house, the planet that rules your Midheaven, and planets in the sixth house of work.)

The Midheaven is the highest point on the ecliptic and in your chart. It doesn’t determine your talents, but it affects your public persona and influences the approach you take to authority, status, and career. The M.C. also says a lot about one of your parents. Which one? Some astrologers think it refers to the mother, others to the opposite-sex parent, still others to the most influential parent. In short, it’s definitely one or the other. You choose.

Directly opposite the Midheaven is the I.C., or imum coeli (from the Latin imum coeli, meaning “lowest part of the heavens”). The I.C. influences your attitude toward home and family, affects the circumstances at the end of your life, and, like the M.C., is associated with one of your parents. It’s sometimes described as representing the “base of the personality,” which suggests that its importance is greater than it appears.


If you have an accurate copy of your birth chart, you can find your Midheaven on or near the cusp of the tenth house at the twelve o’clock spot. If you’re using the material in this book to determine your Ascendant (see Chapter 3), assume that your Midheaven is in the same sign that appears on the cusp of the tenth house. Either way, your I.C. is directly opposite the M.C., at or near the lowest point of your chart.


The easiest way to get an accurate copy of your chart is to go on the Internet. Free charts are available from,, or

The Midheaven affects your attitude toward career. The I.C. affects your attitude toward home and family.

bulletAries Midheaven: You have a daring attitude toward your career. You respond to a challenge and are most jazzed when you’re launching a new endeavor. You don’t mind taking a risk. What you do mind is being powerless. Being your own boss is your best move.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Mars.

Your I.C. is in Libra, indicating that while you may be willing to fight in the professional world, you need a serene and harmonious home. Take the advice of Aries artist William Morris in The Beauty of Life: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” And if in doubt as to which matters more — usefulness or beauty — go for the latter.

bulletTaurus Midheaven: Security matters. You need to do something tangible in your career — and whatever it is, you need to receive substantial rewards. Fortunately, you have the stamina to make it happen.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Venus, suggesting that artistic areas may appeal to you.

Your I.C. is in Scorpio, which suggests that your home is a hideaway where you can express your deepest passions and find the privacy you crave.

bulletGemini Midheaven: In your career, you require diversity, intellectual stimulation, and the ability to fulfill your curiosity. Writing is favored, as is anything involving other forms of communication. You also benefit from the chance to take frequent jaunts out of the office. You don’t need to go far — you just need to go out.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Mercury.

Your I.C. is Sagittarius, which suggests that you move frequently (or would like to), that your domestic life is shaped by strong religious principles, or that you secretly long to be an expatriate. You agree with the Gemini writer G. K. Chesterton, who wrote in What’s Wrong with the World, “The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of rules and set tasks.”

bulletCancer Midheaven: You need a career where you can use your intuition and make emotional connections. Your stated purpose may be to provide security for your family, but you also need to be involved in the wider community and to receive recognition from authority figures there.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is the Moon.

Your I.C. is Capricorn, which suggests that you have traditional taste in interior decoration and that you take a conservative attitude toward family, an arena in which you shoulder an enormous burden of responsibility.

bulletLeo Midheaven: You need a career that provides room for creative expression, opportunities for leadership, and public recognition. Your pride is on the line here, so the more acknowledgment you receive for your professional efforts, the happier you will be.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is the Sun.

Your I.C. is Aquarius, which indicates that you have an idiosyncratic attitude toward home and family. As a result, there’s something unusual about your domestic life — and about one of your parents as well.

bulletVirgo Midheaven: Whatever your career (or community activities) may be, you succeed because you do your homework and pay attention to the small stuff. You work hard, and people come to rely on you. Still, you may feel that you don’t receive the recognition you deserve. Keep in mind that Virgo is the sign of the martyr, and resist the temptation to torture yourself.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Mercury.

Your I.C. is Pisces, which indicates that feelings of abandonment in childhood make you long for a serene home filled with spiritual solace. Your attitude is that of the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, who wrote in The Poetics of Space, “If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: The house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”

bulletLibra Midheaven: You want a pleasant, rational career that enables you to balance your public and private lives. Ideally, you’d enjoy a career in the arts or one that includes plenty of socializing. You easily attract people who can help you reach your goals.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Venus.

Your I.C. is Aries, suggesting that you can renew your energy and express your individuality most actively at home. But you can also be rebellious and short-tempered with members of your family.

bulletScorpio Midheaven: You gravitate toward a career that offers you the opportunity to feel intensely and perhaps to exercise authority. Once you set your mind on a goal, you’re determined to achieve it. But you can tie yourself in knots over the emotional complexity of your world, and you’re always aware of the political undercurrents.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Pluto.

Your I.C. is Taurus, suggesting that financial security and the comforts of family are extremely important to you. Owning a home and land brings you satisfaction.

bulletSagittarius Midheaven: You’re happiest with a career that offers independence, the opportunity to broaden your mental horizons, and plenty of frequent-flyer miles. Within your profession or community, you’re known for your high ideals and powerful beliefs. You have a tendency to idealize the people you work with (or for). And although you benefit from your encounters with authority figures, they may rub you the wrong way anyway.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Jupiter.

Your I.C. is Gemini, suggesting that your home is a busy place filled with books, magazines, and communication devices of every sort. You’d love to have two homes and you may move frequently.

bulletCapricorn Midheaven: Reliable and ambitious, you’re willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve the success you wish for. Major responsibilities regularly end up on your salad plate. Secretly, you’re complimented by the responsibility. To maintain optimism, you need clear signs of progress — things like promotions, raises, and a corner office with a ficus tree. You do well in a corporate environment.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Saturn.

Your I.C. is Cancer, suggesting that your ties to family in general, and your mother in particular, are strong. Living near water soothes you.

bulletAquarius Midheaven: Your attitude toward career and community is unconventional and unique — and so is your ideal career. Because your skills are utterly unique, your ideal job is shaped to you personally. You do well in forward-looking, progressive areas that provide benefits to the public.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Uranus.

Your I.C. is Leo. You take pride in your home, which is a place where you can express your emotions and your creative talents. Even if you’re shy elsewhere, you’re the star at home.

bulletPisces Midheaven: Compassion and/or imagination determine your career choices. You may be drawn to the helping professions or to an expressive field, such as music or dance. Either way, your intuition and psychic abilities guide you.

The planet ruling your Midheaven is Neptune.

Your I.C. is Virgo, suggesting that a clean, neat environment at home gives you the security and grounding that you need. You may move frequently, always in search of an ideal home.


Is it fair to say that the Icelandic singer/composer/ performer Björk, an experimental artist who has been in the public eye since childhood, presents a supremely weird and riveting image? I think it is. What makes her unique are the two major angles of her chart: her Ascendant, which describes her persona, and the Midheaven, or M.C., which represents her career. In her case, each angle is conjunct one or more of the weighty outer planets. Her Ascendant, like her Sun and Moon, is in Scorpio, making her a triple Scorpio — an intense combination of influences. Closest to her Ascen- dant is Neptune, the planet of fantasy and illusion. Its prominence boosts her musical creativity. Its presence in the first house makes it easy for her to alter her image and play with her appearance in highly imaginative ways. She’s no doubt a shape-shifter. What else would make her don her infamous swan dress, which looked like a cross between a dead bird and a 1980s pouf skirt? In classic Neptunian style, the meaning was indecipherable and the alluring strangeness unforgettable.

Equally important in her chart is a three-way conjunction of transformative Pluto, unpredict- able Uranus, and the M.C. These heavy-duty placements suggest that she’s a risk-taker with a compelling need to change the world in unconventional ways. As for her parents, they’re powerful people in their own right (her father, a labor leader, was famous in Iceland before she was) and their influence on her is huge.

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