I have friends who know very little about astrology. (I tend to think I don’t have friends who know nothing about astrology, or at least very few.) Friends may have had a birth chart done by me or by someone else in the past, and they may know, or vaguely recall, their rising sign as being Scorpio or some other sign.
I talked to a friend like that on the phone today. She didn’t know what it meant to have Scorpio on the ascendant. So this post is meant just as a review, or primer, for what an ascendant (rising sign) is, what the midheaven is, and why planets can change their character depending on where you move even when these planets stay in the same signs.
Your ascendant, or rising sign, is the point on the horizon where the sun would be rising that day at the time of your birth. At the equinox that’s directly east; in the fall and winter months it’s somewhat south of east, and in the spring and summer months it’s somewhat north of east. If you were born at sunrise, your ascendant would be exactly the same sign and degree as your Sun sign. I was born roughly two hours before sunrise, so my ascendant is one sign earlier than my Sun sign (Sun sign Sagittarius, Ascendant Scorpio).
Your Midheaven is the point in the sky where the Sun would be at its highest point that day. That is never directly overhead unless you were born in between the tropics. In the winter, it can be quite low in the sky. That might be between noon or 1:30pm, depending on what time of year. If you were born at the highest time of the day, your Midheaven would be exactly the same sign and degree as your Sun sign.
Your ascendant is the cusp of the 1st house and shows up on the left side of your chart wheel. It’s considered your astrological mask, or the face you show to the world. Your Midheaven is the cusp of the 10th house and has to do with your career or place in society. Depending on what sign your ascendant or midheaven are in, they are expressed by the qualities of that sign — so a Leo Midheaven is very different than a Cancer Midheaven.
So, what does it mean when you move? It is very important to remember that you do not ever “lose” the birth chart, wherever you go. Your birth chart is an imprint that stays with you, but the influence does diminish somewhat as your new location adds new overtones.
I was born at 4:42am in the Eastern Time Zone. I relocated to the Mountain Time Zone later on in life. That’s two time zones to the west. The relocated chart acts as though I was born at 2:42am in the Mountain Time Zone. My sun sign is the same, as are all the planets. But my relocated ascendant moved back about 24 degrees, from 17 degrees Scorpio to 23 degrees Libra. And my Midheaven moved back about 31 degrees, from 28 degrees Leo to 27 degrees Cancer. And although the planets don’t change signs, they move to different positions in the sky (or different places underneath the earth).
The difference between the birth chart and relocated chart can be seen in the images I’m providing. Because each of the 12 houses comprises a different “theme” – like, the 2nd house has to do with possessions, property, and values and the 7th house has to do with marriage and partnership – a planet’s moving from one house to another means that a whole new set of themes for that planet are activated. (On top of that, any movement and change of the degree and sign of each of the houses means that planets will make a whole new set of aspects to the Ascendant or Midheaven, and aspects to Ascendant and Midheaven of the prior (or birth) location are no longer there.)
In my case, every one of my planets moved one house, except for one — Saturn from the 6th to the 7th house, Venus from the 1st house to the 2nd house, etc. (In my case, the Sun was the planet that didn’t move, staying in the 2nd house. Maybe that was fortuitous!)
We all have free will, and your new location allows you to make new choices as to how to implement new energies and character traits, that didn’t exist before. I’d also add that what I’ve written in this post is only one aspect of relocation astrology. I might consider it the most important building block (and I do) so it’s worth digesting this for a while before moving to the next stage.