In the last lesson of Astro 101, I introduced the astrological houses. If you missed that blog post then I encourage you to read that before you continue with this lesson. Also, you can read all the lessons from Astro 101 by simply going to the resource page I created to keep everything nice and organized. In this lesson, we are going to move on to something new the hemisphere orientation of the houses.
One of the main things to remember about astrology is that it’s all about numbers. In past lessons, we learned that there is one chart, two genders, three modalities, 4 elements and all of this components combine together to become the twelve signs of the zodiac. While we are learning about the astrological houses, you will notice this pattern continues.
Imagine, if you will, that the chart is a pie (who doesn’t like pie). You can divide a pie in two different ways – north to south or east to west. Similarly, we can divide the chart from north to south or from east to west. In earth science, these are considered hemispheres. Astrologically, we refer to them as hemispheres as well. Each hemisphere of the chart has unique qualities or characteristics that are attributed to them. Planets that are placed in hemispheres will express themselves based on the hemisphere they are in. This will modify the way they ‘act’ based on their environment.
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes!
Here is an image of a chart. (You can click on it to make it bigger if you need to.)
This chart is already divided for you, but as you can see it is separated into 12 different pieces of pie (again who doesn’t love pie?). They are all numbered from 1 – 12. Also in this image, you can see the directions placed on the chart. On the left-hand side of the chart is the Eastern point or the Ascendant. This is the sign that was rising over the horizon at the point of your birth. On the right-hand side of the chart is the descendant which is always the sign opposite of your rising sign or ascendant. For example, if you have Leo rising then Aquarius is always going to be on the descendant. The descendant is the area of the chart marked by the number 7. At the bottom of the chart is the northern part of the chart which is known as the I.C. or imum coeli (bottom of the sky). This point is signified by the number 4 on the chart. The top of the chart is the southern part and is referred to as the M.C. or medium coeli (middle of the sky). Let’s say you have Aries on the IC then you are always going to have the sign opposite of it (in this case Libra) on the MC.
These sections are divided simply by drawing a line across the chart and from top to bottom. This is already done for you in the image. The line from the 1st to the 7th house divides the chart north to south. The line from the 4th to the 10th divides the chart east to west.
North and Southern Hemispheres:
Let’s use our first example of drawing a line across the chart horizontally from house 1 to house 7. As I stated earlier, this divides the northern (bottom) hemisphere from the southern (top) hemisphere. The first 6 houses represent our personal development and those that assist us in developing who we are as individuals. Houses 7-12 represent our social development and the people in our lives (usually career, groups, and relationships) that help us develop socially.
Assignment 1: Get out your chart and count how many planets that you have above or below the horizon.
More Planets below the Horizon:
Your personal and private life is going to give you the most meaning. You will enjoy relaxing and spending time with family, learning new things, and being creative. Although the external world may have much to teach you about life, learning things on your own is usually preferred.
More Planets above the Horizon:
The external world, career, and other people will be your primary focus. You need outside stimulus in order to feel alive and energized. You will learn better from others and appreciate multiple opinions and all the gifts that the social world can provide.
Equal Planets Above and Below:
If you have an equal amount of planets above and below the horizon then you are going to seek meaning from both your inner world and self-fulfillment. You are going to be able to find a balance between your social circle and your immediate family and the environment.
Assignment 2: Get out your chart and count how many planets that you have on the left and the right side of the chart.
Eastern and Western Hemisphere:
Now, let’s draw a line vertically from the 4th house up to the 10th house of the chart. This divides the chart from east to west. Whereas, the northern and southern hemisphere represents our inner and outer world; the eastern and western hemisphere reflect the difference between you and me. The eastern side of the chart reflects you and your own experience and the western side reflects your relationships and their experiences.
The eastern hemisphere is basically a subjective reality. Subjective means that your personal feelings, tastes, and opinions are the most important to you. You tend to rely on yourself and have a hard time asking for help from others – not because you do not want help, but because you do not want to burden anyone with your responsibilities. Although relationships are important to you, they are not as important as getting your own needs and urges met.
The western hemisphere is based on objective reality. Objective means that you observe others personal feelings, tastes, and opinions and develop your reality based on your experience of others. You need others around you and feel more alive when relationships are stimulating you and you tend to get the help you need when you need it. This does not mean that you are dependent on others or need their assistance, it simply means that you feel more comfortable with yourself with others around. Although your personal needs are important, they are not as important as you need to share yourself with those around you.
Equal Planets East and West:
If there is an equal amount of planets on both sides of the eastern and western hemisphere then you are going to find meaning through both your relationship with yourself and your relationship with others. In essence, you define yourself through both experiences.
Although we should never take any single part of the chart as the ‘gospel’, the hemisphere emphasis of the chart gives us a starting off point towards chart interpretation. Regardless, the chart should always be analyzed as a whole. This provides us with more of a humanistic approach to astrology and allows the individual to develop their own potentials based upon who they are rather than a list of keywords associated with certain placements.