As much as you might love to scroll through Instagram and send friends memes that aim to characterise people by their sun signs — or even big three — students of astrology know to look to their natal, or birth, chart for the most accurate, useful information. You can think of your unique birth chart as a snapshot of the sky at the precise moment you were born, taken from the vantage point of your birthplace. From understanding not only the signs that your natal planets were in when you were born to getting a read on how they interact with one another and noting where they fall in your chart, you can pinpoint a variety of intriguing and intricate details about your perspective, patterns, and path.
There’s also quite a bit you can learn from angles happening in your chart. The one we talk about the most is the rising or ascendant, which also serves as the cusp of the first house of self. But there are three others:
- IC, aka Imum Coeli, which is the cusp of the fourth house of home life
- The descendant, the cusp of the seventh house of partnership
- MC, aka Medium Coeli or Midheaven, which sits at the top of your chart and is the cusp of the tenth house of career and public image
Curious about that last one? You came to the right place. By zeroing in on the MC, you can identify what professional success looks like for you — and how to make it happen. Here’s everything you need to know about the midheaven in astrology, and what it means to have a midheaven in every sign.
How to Find Your Midheaven in Your Birth Chart
If you use an app that just lists out your birth chart placements, you’re going to need to trade that in for either an app that generates a full circle chart. Or you can work with a professional astrologer who can run your chart for you. If you want a fast and dirty way of pinpointing your MC, you can use CafeAstrology’s calculator, but you will need your birth time.
Once you have that full picture of your astrological blueprint in front of you, you’ll see that at the very top of the chart, on the cusp of the tenth house, is a line that’s designated the MC, which stands for Medium Coeli (meaning “middle of the sky” in Latin).
How to Interpret Your Midheaven
In general, you’ll look at the midheaven to better understand your achievements that are most applauded by society, how you’re perceived in a public sense (think: in a more global way versus the more personal way your ascendant represents), and how you take responsibility and what you strive for in the professional realm. It can also represent how parents or mentors guided you on your career path.
By pinpointing the sign your MC is in, you can learn more about the type of career that appeals to you and how you feel about — and go about — achieving your biggest goals.
Finally, by understanding how planets in your chart interact with your MC, you get a sense of your strengths and weaknesses in this area of life. For example, you might have assertive Mars nestled up against it, making you a super go-getter who’ll stop at nothing to be at the top of your game. Or perhaps the heartfelt moon sits opposite your MC, meaning you’ll be especially attached to family and home life, and it’s from that wellspring of security that you draw energy to pursue your greatest aspirations, which will often centre around your inner life.
What Each Midheaven Sign Means
Here’s a brief scoop on each midheaven sign — meaning, what it means to have your midheaven in each of the 12 zodiac signs.
With your MC in assertive cardinal fire sign Aries, ruled by action-oriented Mars, you’re impulsive, and bold when going about hitting professional goals. Independent-minded and a bit headstrong, you’d prefer to charge after your dreams in your own gung-ho way. You might be a fan of starting your own business or working in an especially fast-paced, competitive industry like finance or professional sports.
With your MC in grounded fixed earth sign Taurus, ruled by romantic Venus, slow, steady, and stability-steeking are the best keywords to describe your approach to achievement. You enjoy creative pursuits as well as all things beautiful, serene, and comfy, and given that Venusian influence, relationships are likely integral to moving forward in your career.
Having your MC in mutable air sign Gemini, ruled by messenger Mercury, communication and information-gathering is a major theme in your professional world. You prefer to be interacting with people and multitasking. You could be drawn to working in a buzzy industry like media or politics, but you won’t want to stick with one employer, client, or even way of going about your work for very long, as experimentation and flitting from project to project tends to be your thing.
With your MC in cardinal water sign Cancer, ruled by the intuitive moon, you’re drawn to career paths that involve caregiving or at least nurturing and honouring others’ emotions in some way. (One of my dearest friends hit her professional stride when she became a psychotherapist, and it was no surprise to see that her MC is in maternal Cancer.) Cancer MCs might also be drawn to nursing or teaching. You’re also a self-starter, given the cardinality of Cancer, and will be seen as not only a shoulder to lean on but a leader in your chosen field.
With your MC in fixed fire sign Leo, ruled by the confident sun, you’re more of a rock star than you might give yourself credit. You’ll thrive when you embrace being in the spotlight and stepping into a leadership position. You could be drawn to working in the entertainment business, as an influencer, or running for office.
Because your MC is in mutable earth sign Virgo, ruled by the planet of communication, Mercury, you’re wired to be of service to others by information gathering and dispersing. You’re also quite detail-oriented in your work, so you might knock it out of the park as an editor, a reporter, or a research scientist. Feeling like you’re contributing and proving useful to others is key to your professional satisfaction.
Born with your MC in cardinal air sign Libra, ruled by beauty-loving Venus, you’ll aim to cultivate balance and serenity through your work. Relationships, particularly of the one-on-one variety, will appeal to you most in this realm of life, so you might be drawn to business partnerships. Doing what you can in your professional capacity to tip the scales (your symbol!) of justice is also sure to be a focus. All of that said, you might find success in the beauty industry or as a mediator or lawyer.
Born with your MC in fixed water sign Scorpio, co-ruled by assertive Mars and transformative Pluto, you’re an action-oriented go-getter who doesn’t shy away from the shadowy side of life — think: heavy-duty themes like death, rebirth, and sexuality. You adore solving mysteries and finding skeletons in people’s closets, as you’re frequently striving to understand what makes people tick. In turn, you could be a natural detective or sex educator.
With your MC in mutable fire sign Sagittarius, ruled by lucky Jupiter, you’re a natural entertainer whose motto is often, “Go big or go home.” The more fun, adventure, travel, and knowledge-seeking you can incorporate into your professional life, the happier, more satisfied, and more successful you’ll be. You likely also love teaching others, so you’d make a wonderful professor or lecturer. (Ted Talks, look out.)
Born with your MC in cardinal earth sign Capricorn, ruled by taskmaster Saturn, you are one of the most hardworking and driven people out there. Wired to put your nose to the grindstone to achieve, your work ethic is pretty much unparalleled. You’re motivated to be at the top of your game and recognised for all that hard work, so you’re drawn to traditionally respected fields like medicine, law, or business.
Born with your MC in fixed air sign Aquarius, ruled by game-changer Uranus, taking an unconventional, future-minded approach in your work is key. You’re particularly tech-savvy, so you likely enjoy incorporating gadgets, apps, devices, and lots of innovation into your process. You could find quite a bit of success in a humanitarian field like running a nonprofit or championing action on a cause dear to your heart that you believe will improve society as a whole.
With your MC in mutable water sign Pisces, ruled by mystical Neptune, you achieve the most in your career when you’re able to put your empathic, spiritual, artistic, and somewhat psychic gifts to use. You might be in — or dream of being in — a particularly imaginative field, working as a playwright, a poet, or a screenwriter. Or you could be an acupuncturist or naturopathic physician. Healing yourself and then helping others heal is integral to your satisfaction and your success.
Maressa Brown is a writer and astrologer with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to being Shape’s resident astrologer, she contributes to InStyle, Parents, Astrology.com and more. Follow her Instagram and Twitter at @MaressaSylvie.
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