Day 2: Quarterly Divisions
The quarterly divisions are composed of three houses of 30° each. They have their major entry points which are in fact the angles at the beginning and ends of the four points which break the chart of 360 degrees up into 90 degree sectors. If you imagine being in the centre of an intersection and having to take a new road in one of either four directions where the landscape in each direction is different to where you have just come from. This is what the quarterly divisions represent. The first quarter is composed of the first three houses, the second quarter the 4th, 5th and 6th houses, while the third-quarter is composed of the 7th and 8th and 9th with the last quarter the 10th and 11th and 12th houses. Within each quarter there are three different areas of life whose axis lines represent transition points into a new area of life in that division. Each of the quarters have their links with the other quarterly groups and all together are parts of the whole group of areas in which we act out our performance on the stage of life. Quarterly divisions as useful for gauging a planets progress and ascertaining its path as it progresses through each house which, in terms of our human life refers to our passage through time and the experiences we undergo in life in a particular section. The quarterly divisions summarize the three houses and at their points signify endings and new beginnings.
The ascendant and descendant form the axis lines of the cusp of the first and seventh houses and quarterlies. They are considered very strong focal points for beginnings and re-berths of a kind, to do with self-identity and in the complimentary third-quarter to do with relationships identity. The ascendant is the eastern most point on the horizon and is placed in the left hand side of the chart on the outside of the circle in the middle where you have an angle, with the descendant on the exact position opposite. If you imagine the sun rising above the horizon line in the East, then you have the ascendant which makes it opposite the descendant the imaginary line where the sun sets in the West and starts to go below the horizon.
*note: It may be you are wondering when you look at your chart the ascendant line is on the left side when the Eastern horizon in the real world is in fact on the right hand side when facing North. To clear this up simply hold your chart upside down with the MC pointing to North and you’ll then see the ascendant does in fact aligned with the East direction. Try to think of the chart as if you are looking up to the heavens from Earth as the particular chart method is geocentric or tropical method which is basically based on the seasons as they occur on Earth.
** The other most popular astrology chart method is the sidereal chart which adopts the view of the constellations and Earth and other stars as being viewed from the position as if you were on the sun.
The signs on the cusp of the ascendant and descendant and their planetary rulers which we shall going into in module two when we look at the planets, describe what we are seeking always to express in terms of refinement of one’s personality and the image or appearance one gives off to others in connection with one’s self identity in relation to personal expression and appearance as shown by the ascendant and first house, and your self-expression in terms of your relationships and also other peoples identity apart from your own as shown by the descendant.
On another level the ascendant contributes in defining our soul purpose and helps reveal what the soul is always seeking to attain and express at the highest level with the descendant showing how soul relationship identity with others is seeking to be united and unified through balance and maturity and human interaction in relationship identity. The key here is with these houses and in fact all the houses, is they are all subtlety connected and can mirror each other. For example when we first meet another person it’s usually their personality and projected image or appearance at first we experience in the relationship and in addition that can be in relation to how we see our own self-identity. Clearly both the first and seventh meanings are operating here together simultaneously. Understanding relationships helps to understand us as individuals otherwise if there were no other people in the world we wouldn’t know who we are as humans and as an individual apart from another. I’ve found it’s always helpful to view these pairs of axis lines or the cusps of each house if you prefer as energies which circulate like in a figure 8 for example, as it can yield a lot deeper understanding of the particular area of life activities in question.
When we look at the areas of life in more detail we’ll see how useful it can be sometimes for understanding their deeper significance and hidden values to employ the strategy of thinking in terms of a house’s complimentary opposite, and even more so it’s opposites involved in a compliment of a group of four houses which can bring to light even deeper meaning when we cover the crosses in the next days lesson.
IC and MC
The IC (Latin: Imum Coeli) meaning “bottom of the sky” and the MC (Latin: Medium Coeli) meaning “middle of the sky” which are the cusps of the 10th and its opposite the 4th house, start the second and third quarterly divisions off. This axis line represents another set of beginnings and endings and is equally as important as the ascendant and descendant however for these two, the lines stand for the entry points of career and public standing, and major life goal (MC) and ones roots or foundation in life in connection with family and home,(IC) both of which play a major role in one guise or another throughout the entire span of the human life cycle.
The MC is the highest point in which the sun rises to which we could say is 12 o’clock midday in a day cycle. In the longer sense it refers to the culmination of one’s career which often occurs in the mid-part of one’s life, and as such the career even though it may change into avocation or retirement the MC still represents the public duties and ongoing business with the outer world and hence continues as a major focal point in what is spent doing as a part that continues to takes up a major portion of one’s life. Most people spend three quarters of their life working and as a result it’s a public recognition of the time spent in service through career to the community, and this is what is meant by the MC.
At the start of the 2nd quarterly the IC symbolizes the private life of the person in relation to their family, and home and ancestral history both of one’s family descendants and the world family history. It’s the threshold to all types of new beginnings where roots are put down and a solid foundation is laid to build one’s life on and enable one to enter the busy outside world defined by the MC and the tenth house and pursue the career which is often better complemented by the nurture and cultivation of a strong sense of foundation and security.
The ASC and DESC and the MC and IC should be read as being separate, as well as a part of the house meaning. They are important points which add an extra level of meaning or dimension to the house they stand for. They are bridges yes which crossover from the end of one zone of life into a major zone which define four of the main areas everyone experiences in one way or another to do with their journey of life. On the soul level they can be defining moments for different stages throughout life in what the soul in that area is striving for and seeking to accomplish overall as denoted by the various experiences signified by the sign and ruling planet and aspects and any other planets within orb of the house cusp and the rest of its area.