How to interpret an astrological map

I’ll be focusing today on what an Astro Map looks like — using Time Passages software for sure, but going further than that by using David Cochrane’s Sirius III software, which does a lot more than a typical Astro Map does.

First of all: What is an Astro Map?

This is what an Astro Map looks like, though the lines will be in different places for different people.

Astrocartography depends on these Astro Maps. It’s not the only thing I do to do a relocation workup on a client, but it is at least as important as anything else I do.

There are different types of lines here. Some are straight up-and-down lines, and others are curved and somewhat diagonal (though some are more diagonal than others). I enlarged this map so that you can see the symbols on each side of the map, although they are a bit blurry.

A somewhat zoomed-in Astro Map; the symbols are a little easier to see.

When you get your Astro Map from me, you’ll be able to see the symbols. Anyway, what do they mean?

Lines with symbols on on the top of the page indicate Midheaven lines. They are bright symbols and indicate where the particular planet is at its highest point for that latitude. That does not mean overhead unless you are within the tropics, and usually not even then. But it is the place where the planet was at its highest point at the time of your birth. That’s why it’s called the Midheaven, and that’s why it’s a straight line, because it’s true for that longitude, no matter how far north or south.

If you’re living on or visiting someplace on that line, that particular planet is conjunct your Midheaven. This is important.

And if you’re looking at that very strong green line with the symbol for Venus at the top, Venus is conjunct the Midheaven all the way down that line — through Alberta, Idaho, the Nevada/Utah border, and coming pretty close to Phoenix. Likewise, you can see the bright red line a bit to the east of that, and the symbol for the Sun — the line where the Sun is conjunct your Midheaven, or the cusp of your 10th house.

Vertical dotted lines with corresponding symbols at the bottom of the page are known as IC, or Nadir lines. This is the point where the particular planet is as far underneath the earth as it’s going to go — the lowest position under the earth, though almost always not directly underneath the earth.

There are no dotted IC lines crossing the United States, except for a dark blue line bisecting Alaska and going just east of Hawaii — that’s the client’s Moon IC line, where the Moon was at its lowest point underneath the earth at the time of the person’s birth.

The diagonal lines get their representation on the left and right sides of the image. On this most recent image, you can see I snipped a picture without showing the right side of the map. The higher, harder to read map is more representative of what this will look like.

The diagonal lines are either ascending or descending lines. On an ascending line, the planet is rising — in other words, somewhere right on the eastern horizon — and only directly east if the planet is at 0 degrees Aries or 0 degrees Libra. (Much like the Sun only rises directly east on the spring or fall equinox, when it’s at 0 degrees Aries or 0 degrees Libra). The planet will usually be somewhat north or south of east, but always will be on the horizon, rising.

The descending line is the place where the planet would be setting at the time of the person’s birth. Again, only directly to the west when the planet’s at 0 degrees Aries or 0 degrees Libra, but always somewhere on the western horizon, setting.

On this particular map it’s hard to make out which planet is which on the area in the lower left of the picture, with all the planets seeming to converge in that area of Antarctica, but we can see the strong green Venus line — ascending on the left side of the image as it meanders southeast, crossing through the Venus Midheaven line, and then descending as it meanders northeast. For this particular software, the Descending line will always be fainter than the Ascending line — that’s one way to make it out.

There are many interpretations possible, although there is usually some similarity on how astrologers will interpret being on a particular line. For each planet, the Ascending line, Descending line, Midheaven line, and IC/Nadir line, will have its own unique interpretation. For example, for this software clicking on the Pluto Ascending line will give an interpretation as follows:

“With Pluto on the Ascendant, you are likely to find that this location serves as a personal “power spot,” a place where you experience tremendous transformation. Here, the force is with you. You find that you can tap into greater reserves of endurance and concentration. You will also discover that this place engenders sweeping changes in you. This place has the uncanny ability to draw forth previously unknown aspects of yourself, so that you and your shadow side will likely get to know each other more intimately. Sexual desires could become central here. Passion and obsession runs high. Repressed feelings could explode into consciousness. Whatever stressful events do actually manifest might become profound catalysts. You will find that this place provides the backdrop for a dramatic self-actualization that comes from learning to plumb yourself to the depths. A bad attitude in this locale intensifies the presence of seemingly insurmountable forces. In the highest, you receive the opportunity to truly let die that which no longer serves you so that you become like a Phoenix rising from the flames.”

And so on, 10 or 11 planets and the North Node, and four lines for each. The closer you are to a line, the stronger that influence is.

So that’s a typical Astro Map in a nutshell. But I want to move on to what an Astro Map can look like in Sirius III, because that’s a lot more …. advanced? Well, it has a lot more possibilities.

Clicking on the Map function brings us to this window:

One type of setting for a Sirius III Astro Map, though the map isn’t being shown yet. This is on the Treasure Maps setting; if I were to click OK, it would show the Treasure Map for the Imagination & Inspiration category, which will involve Neptune lines.

I use these Treasure Maps extensively when I do consultations for clients. Clicking OK on the map brings us here:

These Treasure Maps take a conglomerate view of the planets appropriate to it. This particular one is under Imagination & Inspiration and involve Neptune aspects to the four angles or “lines” — Ascendant, Nadir, Descendant, & Midheaven. There’s a lot more information here, more than just the four lines.

This particular map has a lot more detail. You can see near the middle of the USA map — a vertical line designated Neptune 108 degrees, and to the west of that, a vertical line designated Neptune with a triangle (that means Neptune trine the Midheaven). In the mapping part of this software, vertical lines aspecting the Midheaven (or Nadir) are designated at the top, while diagonal lines aspecting the Ascendant (or Descendant) are designated at the bottom.

So, on the bottom you can see a variety of lines, including a Neptune/Pluto midpoint the Ascendant line, starting south of west Texas, and originating from the aforementioned Neptune trine line. You can see on these Treasure maps a lot of the map is covered by some line or other.

Again, I use these Treasure Maps extensively in my work. But, working backwards, they originate from lines that can be viewed in a variety of ways.

This is arguably the default setting. You can see ‘No Orbs, Just Lines, & Flexible Asteroid Map. You can also see that it’s on setting #1, Basic Map, which is fairly appropriate for a map covering this much area.
There’s not a whole lot to see here, although you can see the Jupiter Ascending and Saturn Descending cutting through the middle of the country (they form a weak opposition).
This is the Detail Map, setting #2. This is a bit much but works very well on more zoomed in maps.

This Detail Map, setting #2, uses major aspects to the Ascendant & Midheaven. So that includes 8th harmonic aspects like squares, sesquiquadrates, and semi-squares; also sextiles, trines, quincunx, and semi-sextile. And, of course, conjunctions and oppositions, which are already on the Basic Map.

This is the second-most detailed setting, “Very Detailed,” but in this case zoomed into Colorado. (Disclosure — this is my location and my chart).

The Very Detailed map works pretty well when zooming into Colorado. Here’s the Extremely Detailed map:

This is perhaps a bit much, but can be useful if you zoom in even closer.

I would like to emphasize that I use Treasure Maps, covered earlier, in both my Basic Astro Maps as well as the detailed consultations. The Treasure Maps encompass the following:

  • Love & Romance
  • Vocation & Career
  • Friendship & Family
  • Imagination & Inspiration
  • Excitement & Instability
  • Friendship & Family, detailed
  • Education & Communication
  • Culture & Creativity
  • Optimism & Opportunity
  • Responsibility & Focus

In consultations, I automatically cover all of the first six by default except for Imagination & Inspiration, at a bare minimum. I cover any of the other ones when it is or seems warranted based on the situation that the client presents.

We don’t just take Treasure Maps at face value. We try to understand the “why” — what planets are involved and therefore how do these positive (or negative, in the case of the Excitement & Instability Treasure map) manifest on the map, specifically.

By David Muir

David Muir recieved his PAC as a 2020 graduate of the Avalon School in Vibrational Astrology. He has been a practicing astrologer having studied astrology since 1997. He specializes in relocation astrology, particularly in terms of how both one's character and external influences change in a new location. He has interests in compatibility, and just generally “getting the necessary information out there for you,” which can entail personology as well as different interpretations in general. David writes a 2x/weekly blog in both relocation astrology and other astrological topics of interest, on

David received a BA from Carlow University in 2011 with concentrations in philosophy, writing, and political science. He does a 2x/month radio show and has lived in Denver, CO since 2016.

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