MEDIUM COELI-(MC)-MIDHEAVEN AND HOUSE DIVISION SYSTEMS

by Perris Kritikos.alt

Midheaven is the part of the sky at the time of birth, where the ecliptic, crosses the Meridian. It is the Mid of heaven in our chart, the highest point which we call Zenith. In the House Division System, Placidus which mainly is used by midheaven is considered the cusp of the 10th House.

The cusp of the 10th House is of great importance in a chart with the ascendant, as it describes the point of where we can reach our social status in our lives. When we have significant aspects from midheaven, it marks changes according to what they represent where the planets fall.

 



Midheaven are the aims (physically and mentally) of career, vocation, reputation which we can or cannot pursue. It is the cusp of the 10th which refers to our social recognition while parallel shows our social destination, our social status. Midheaven refers to a parent which is the person's social model, who may be the father, mother, depending on the role he/she plays in the life of the individual.

 

In the House System Placidus, which mainly is used in midheaven is the cusp of the 10th House.

- House Division and House Division Systems


The House Division consists of tables showing the degrees of zodiacs which occupy the cusps of Houses in different latitudes for every degree of Right Ascension or for every 4 minutes of sidereal time. Raphael tables contain such House Divisions. There is much argument regarding the various systems of calculating the cusps of the Houses, while a point could be used to locate the degree on the horizon every two hours. The general opinion is that none of the existing methods are correct for all latitudes, even if they are near enough, for practical purposes. The four most popular systems are:


Campanus.The vertical circle from the zenith to the cast and west points of the Horizon is trisected. Through these points are drawn great circles, the House circles, from the north and south points of the Horizon. Consequently the intersections will be at an altitude of 30 and 60 degrees above the horizon, on both cast and west branches of the first vertical. This divides the sky into six great sectors. Similarly divide the hemisphere below the horizon. The House Cusps are the points at which the ecliptic at that moment intersects the horizon.

Regiomontanus. (The System of Place) The celestial circle is trisected, instead of the prime vertical, and great circles extend from north and south points of the horizon to the points of trisection. The house cusps are at the points at which the ecliptic intersects the horizon. At the Equator the two systems give the same cusps, the disparity increasing as one approaches the Earth's poles.


Koch. This system is named after the astrologer Walter Koch. In German-speaking countries it is known as the System of Houses on places of birth. The system is based on more than the other on place of birth. The cusps of the Houses in this system are calculated with the same polar height, i.e. with the polar height of the place of birth, which has the same value as the latitude of the place.

Horizontal. Starting with great circles at the meridian and ante-meridian, the horizon and the prime vertical, add other great circles from Zenith to Nadir which trisect each quadrant of the horizon. The cusps will then be the points at which on a given moment the ecliptic intersects the vertical circles.

Placidus (Time System) Instead of using great circles, the diurnal motion of the Earth causes a celestial object to intersect the cusp of the 12th House, after a sidereal-time interval equal to one-third of its semi-diurnal arc; to intersect the cusp of the 11th House after a sidereal-time interval equal to two-thirds of its semi-diurnal arc; and to culminate at the meridian after an interval of sidereal time that corresponds to the semi-diurnal arc. The semi-arc from the meridian that intersects the Eastern horizon gives the Ascendant; and the 2nd and 3rd house cusps are similarly extended below the horizon. The Placidian Cusps are the main of the House Division System.

Equal Houses

The system of equal Houses they call isometric as well. It divides the Zodiac into twelve Houses of 30 ° degrees, starting with the Ascendant. A series of House tables for width of 40 degrees North Latitude, which is approximately the latitude of New York, which can be seen in a comparison of these four systems, and can be found in American Newspapers for Astrology in the year 1941. The 10th House is common in all four systems and it is theoretically correct. The differences appear in the intermediate cusps, between the descendant and midheaven. The horoscope is also the same for three of the four systems, but the horizontal system has its own horoscope. Different Latitudes require different sets of house divisions. Many volumes have been published containing the House Divisions for all latitudes, most however, are limited to the Placidus system, which is generally the one used most.

 

House Sign             Latin Motto   Translation         Modern Title of House          

 

1st          Aries                      Vita          Life                 House of Self

2nd        Taurus                    Lucrum     Wealth           House of Value

3rd         Gemini                    Fratres     Brothers         House of Communications

4th         Cancer                   Genitor     Parent            House of Home and Family

5th         Leo                         Nati         Children          House of Pleasure

6th         Virgo                      Valetudo   Health            House of Health

7th         Libra                      Uxor          Spouse           House of Partnerships

8th         Scorpio                  Mors          Death              House of Reincarnation

9th         Sagittarius             Iter           Journeys           House of Philosophy

10th       Capricorn               Regnum    Kingdom          House of Social Status

11th       Aquarius                Benefacta Friendship        House of Friendships

12th       Pisces                    Carcer       Prison              House of Self-Undoing

 

 

 

Early Forms of House Division

 

The earliest forms of house division were those that link with, or run parallel to, the signs of the zodiac along the ecliptic. Proponents of the equal house system claim that it is more accurate and less distorting in higher latitudes (especially above 60 degrees) than the Placidean and other quadrant house systems.

Whole sign

In the whole sign house system, sometimes referred to as the 'Sign-House system', the houses are 30° each. The ascendant designates the rising sign, and the first house begins at zero degrees of the zodiac sign in which the ascendant falls, regardless of how early or late in that sign the ascendant is. The next sign after the ascending sign then becomes the 2nd house, the sign after that the 3rd house, and so on. In other words, each house is wholly filled by one sign. This was the main system used in the Hellenistic tradition of astrology, and is also used in Indian astrology, as well as in some early traditions of Medieval astrology. It is thought to be the oldest system of house division.

The Whole Sign system may have been developed in the Hellenistic tradition of astrology sometime around the 1st or 2nd century BCE, and from there it may have passed to the Indian and early Medieval traditions of astrology; though the line of thought which states that it was transmitted to India from Western locales is hotly contested. At some point in the Medieval period, probably around the 10th century, whole sign houses fell into disuse in the western tradition, and by the 20th century the system was completely unknown in the western astrological community, although was continually used in India all the way into the present time. Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s the system was rediscovered and reintroduced into western astrology. The distinction between equal houses and whole sign houses lies in the fact that in whole sign houses the cusp of the 1st house is the beginning of the sign that contains the ascendant, while in equal houses the degree of the ascendant is itself the cusp of the 1st house.

Equal House

In the equal house system the ecliptic is also divided into twelve divisions of 30 degrees, although the houses are measured out in 30 degree increments starting from the degree of the ascendant. It begins with the ascendant, which acts as the 'cusp' or starting point of the 1st house, then the second house begins exactly 30 degrees later in zodiacal order, then the third house begins exactly 30 degrees later in zodiacal order from the 2nd house, and so on.

The MC in Whole Sign & Equal House Systems

In the whole sign and equal house systems the Medium Coeli (Midheaven), the highest point in the chart, does not act as the cusp or starting point of the 10th house. Instead the MC moves around the top half of the chart, and can land anywhere in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, depending on the latitude. The MC retains its commonly agreed significations, but it doesn't act as the starting point of the 10th house, therefore in Equal house it adds extra definition and meaning to MC and the cusps involved, but always MC is same in interpretations as other house systems.

This is also the more common criticism of the whole sign and equal house method as it concerns the location of the Medium Coeli (Midheaven), the highest point in the chart. In the equal house system, the ascendant/descendant and midheaven/nadir axes can vary from being perpendicular to each other (from approx. +-5 deg at most at equator to approx. +-15 degrees at Alexandria to +-90 degrees at polar circle). As a result, equal houses counted from the ascendant cannot in general place the midheaven on the tenth house cusp, where many feel it would be symbolically desirable. Since this point is associated with ambition, career, and public image, the argument is that the Midheaven, therefore, must be the cusp of the similar tenth house. It has also been linked by extension with Capricorn (the tenth sign of the zodiac). Because the Whole Sign and Equal House system do take the Midheaven into account, but relies on the location of the Ascendant, it can be found anywhere between the 8th and 11th houses.

 

Quadrant House Systems

 

Quadrant house systems divide the houses so that they agree with the "quadrant" concept (ascendant on the first house cusp, nadir on the fourth, descendant on the seventh, and midheaven on the tenth).

Porphyry

Each quadrant of the ecliptic is divided into three equal parts between the four angles. This is the oldest system of quadrant style house division. Although it is attributed to Porphyry of Tyros, this system was first described by the 2nd century astrologer Vettius Valens, in the 3rd book of his astrological compendium known as The Anthology.

Alchabitius

The predecessor system to the Placidus, which largely replaced the Porphyry. The difference with Placidus is that the time that it takes the ascendant to reach the meridian is divided equally into three parts. The Alchabitius house system was very popular in Europe before the introduction of the Regiomontanus system. Alchabitius (or Alcabitius ), was a 10th century Arabian astrologer (died 967).

Regiomontanus

The celestial equator is divided into twelve, and these divisions are projected on to the ecliptic along great circles that take in the north and south points on the horizon. Named after the German astronomer and astrologer Johann Müller of Königsberg. The Regiomontanus system was later largely replaced by the Placidus system.

Meridian

Similar to Regiomontanus, except that the east point is taken as the ascendant.

Placidus

This is the most commonly used house system in modern Western astrology. The paths drawn for each degree of the ecliptic to move from the nadir to the horizon, and from the horizon to the midheaven, are trisected to determine the cusps of houses 2, 3, 11, and 12. The cusps of houses 8, 9, 5 and 6 are opposite these. The Placidus system is sometimes not defined beyond polar circles (latitudes greater than 66°N or 66°S), because certain degrees are circumpolar (never touch the horizon), and planets falling in them cannot be assigned to houses without extending the system. This is the result of his weaknesses of the Placidean system according to its critics, which often cite the exceptional house proportions in the higher latitudes.

Named for 17th century astrologer Placidus de Titis, it is thought the Placidus system was first mentioned about 13th century in Arab literature, but the first confirmed publication was in 1602 by Giovanni Antonii Magini (1555–1617) in his book "Tabulae Primi Mobilis, quas Directionem Vulgo Dicunt". The first documented usage is from Czech, 1627. Later it was popularized by Catholic Church as an argument for Ptolemy's geocentric theory of the Solar System, in the campaign against the heliocentric theory. Placidus, a professor of mathematics, was named as its author to give it credibility to his contemporaries. Placidus remains the most popular system among English-speaking astrologers

Campanus

The prime vertical (the great circle taking in the zenith and east point on the horizon) is divided into twelve, and these divisions are projected on to the ecliptic along great circles that take in the north and south points on the horizon. It is attributed to Campanus of Novara but the method is known to have been used before his time.

Koch

A rather more complicated version of the Placidus system, built on equal increments of Right Ascension for each quadrant. The Koch system was developed by the German astrologer Walter Koch (1895–1970) and is defined only for latitudes between 66°N and 66°S. This system is popular among research astrologers in the U.S. and among German speakers, but in Central Europe lost some popularity to the Krusiński house system.

Topocentric

This is a recent system, invented in Argentina, that its creators claim has been determined empirically, i.e. by observing events in people's lives and assessing the geometry of a house system that would fit. The house cusps are always within a degree of those given in the Placidus system. The geometry is somewhat complicated and the reader is referred to this site for an explanation and this one too. The topocentric system can also be described as an approximation algorithm for the Placidus system.

Topocentric houses are also called Polich-Page, after the names of the house system creators, Wendel Polich and A. Page Nelson.

Neo-Porphyry

The Neo-Porphyry system of house division is similar to Porphyry houses except that instead of each quadrant being divided into three equal sized houses, the middle house in each quadrant is compressed or expanded based on the whether the quadrant covers less than or greater than 90 degrees. In other words, houses are smooth around the zodiac with the difference in quadrant sizes being spread in a continuous sinusoidal manner from expanded to compressed houses. Neo-Porphyry houses were invented and first published by Walter Pullen in his astrology program Astrolog in 1994.

Krusinski

A recently published (1995) house system, based on a great circle passing through the ascendant and zenith. This circle is divided into 12 equal parts (1st cusp is ascendent, 10th cusp is zenith), then the resulting points are projected to the ecliptic through meridian circles.

The house tables for this system were published in 1995 in Poland. This house system is also known under the name Amphora in the Czech Republic, after it was proposed there by Milan Píša after the study of Manilius's "Astronomica" under this name ("Konstelace č. 22" in: "AMPHORA - nový systém astrologických domů" (1997) and in the booklet "Amphora - algoritmy nového systému domů" (1998)).

Quadrants, Modality and Triplicities

In quadrant systems houses are classified as Angular, Succedent and Cadent. The houses themselves are respectively ruled by signs according to the astrological modality: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable.

Angular                                                                                               

1st House (Aries; also known as the Ascendant or Rising Sign)

4th House (Cancer; also known as Imum Coeli).

7th House (Libra; also known as the Descendent).

10th House (Capricorn; also known as Medium Coeli).

Angular houses are points of initiation and represent action. The signs ruling angular houses are all Cardinal signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. However, the discovery of a document called the Thema Mundi, or chart of the world, by Project Hindsight, suggests something different. In the chart of the world, the sign Cancer is on the ascendant, Leo is on the 2nd house, and so on. The Thema Mundi is the chart that is considered the key to the Helenistic system of astrology, from which much of modern astrology is derived, though at times inaccurately.

Succedent

2nd House (Taurus)

5th House (Leo)

8th House (Scorpio)

11th House (Aquarius)

Succedent houses are points of purpose and represent stabilization. The signs ruling Succedent houses are all Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

Cadent

3rd House (Gemini)

6th House (Virgo)

9th House (Sagittarius)

12th House (Pisces)

And finally, Cadent houses are points of transition and they represent change and adaptation. Cadent houses are ruled by Mutable Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

Furthermore, the houses are also grouped together by Triplicity: When one of the four elements (fire, earth, air, and water) in which the zodiac sign that rules the house is placed. There are three zodiac signs that fall within one of these four elements, hence their respective moniker,

"The Triplicities".

The Fire Triplicity    The Earth Triplicity          The Air Triplicity             The Water Triplicity

1st House (Aries)   2nd House (Taurus)        3rd House (Gemini)         4th House (Cancer)

5th House (Leo)     6th House (Virgo)            7th House (Libra)           8th House (Scorpio)

9th House (Sagit)   10th House (Capricorn)   11th House (Aquarius)  12th House (Pisces)

In old astrological writings (e.g. William Lilly), house could also be used as a synonym for domicile or rulership, as in the sentence "The Moon has its house in Cancer" meaning that Cancer is ruled by the Moon. It may be helpful to think of a ruling planet, in this case the Moon, as the "owner of the 4th House", and the sign, e.g.Cancer, as the CEO or landlord who runs the house. In an individual horoscope, whatever sign occupies any given house can be thought of as the house's tenant.

In Indian astrology, the twelve houses are called Bhava and have meanings very similar to their Western counterparts.

 

Rulership

 

In Hellenistic, Vedic, Medieval and Renaissance astrology each house is ruled by the planet that rules the sign on its cusp. For example, if a person has the sign Aries on the cusp of their 7th house, then the planet Mars is said to "rule" their 7th house. This means that when a planet is allotted a house, its nature comes to have some bearing on that specific topic in the person's life, and that planet is said to be very important for events specifically pertaining to that topic. The placement of this planet in the chart will have at least as much influence on the chart as the planets within the house. In traditional Western & Hindu astrology, each sign is ruled by one of the 7 visible planets (note that in astrology, the Sun and Moon are considered planets, which literally means wanderers, i.e. wandering stars, as opposed to the fixed stars of the constellations).

In addition, some modern astrologers who follow the X=Y=Z or Planet=Sign=House doctrine, which was first taught by Alan Leo in the early part of the 20th century, believe that certain houses are also "ruled" by, or have an affinity with, the planet which rules the corresponding zodiacal sign. For instance, Mars is ruler of the 1st house because Aries is the first sign, Mercury rules or has an affinity with the 3rd house because Gemini is the 3rd sign, etc.

This highly oversimplified concept is sometimes referred to as "natural rulership", as opposed to the former which is sometimes called "accidental rulership." It is problematic when we consider that Neptune is not a planet that rules any sign under the ancient rules, because it was not known to the ancients.

The theory of "natural rulership" of a house is also challenged by a document from the Hellenistic era called the Thema Mundi, a teaching chart the name of which translates to the chart of the world. This chart has Cancer in the ascendant, which suggests that the astrologers from whom we inherit most of our astrological knowledge were proposing that the 1st house is associated with the sign Cancer. Astrologer Eric Francis has described this as the "90-degree shift issue."

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