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The Basics

I am here going to re-post an article I submitted for publication to yourtango.com last year. This is somewhat redundant to my article last month called “What is Relocation Astrology, anyway?” I’ll be adding some commentary afterward.

What is Relocation Astrology?

Details, Facts and Myths You Need to Know.

If you’ve ever had a birth chart done, you probably know where your Ascendant and Midheaven are.  Your Ascendant being your astrological “mask” (according to the author Jeanne Avery) – the face you show to the world, and the cusp of your 1st house.  The Midheaven being the cusp of your 10th house – the house of career, role or “station” in life.  All the 12 Houses proceed from the 1st house in an orderly manner, although they’re not exactly the same number of degrees per house (unless you live next to the Equator).

Your Ascendant is the point on the horizon where the Sun would be rising if it were rising, at the time of your birth.  Your Midheaven is the point in the sky that the Sun would be at its highest point that day.  It wouldn’t be directly overhead – at a latitude of 40 degrees North it would be to the South, 50 degrees above the horizon at both vernal and autumnal equinoxes, and ranging from 26½ to 73½ degrees above the horizon throughout the year, from solstice to solstice.

Have you ever spent a significant period of time away from your place of birth?  Or, have you lived in different parts of the country or world?  Then you may have observed the effects of having your chart “shift.”  If you were born 2 hours before sunrise in New York City, your going to Denver, CO would shift the chart to being about 4 hours before sunrise, as you move backward 2 time zones and about 30 degrees west longitude across the Earth.  4:42 AM in New York is 2:42 AM in Denver, and New York’s 74 degrees’ west becomes Denver’s 105 degrees west.

Because it’s the same time of year, 30 degrees to the west is likely to move your Ascendant backwards one sign – say, from Scorpio to Libra – and your Midheaven will almost definitely move it backwards one sign.  (The Midheaven moves exactly with longitude).  30 degrees move means that your Ascendant might move backwards, say, 26 or 34 degrees, but your Midheaven moves backwards exactly 30 degrees.  The difference has a lot to do with the 23½ degree tilt of the Earth and the fact that certain Ascendants are more common, the further away from the equator you go.  In the Northern Hemisphere, the most common Ascendants are Leo, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio.  In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite – Aquarius, Pisces, Aries and Taurus.

If your Ascendant shifts backwards somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 degrees, then each of your 12 house cusps will also shift backwards somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 degrees.  And since the planets stay exactly where they are in the zodiac, then what’s likely to happen is most of your planets will move forward one house.

The difference between the birth chart and relocated chart can be seen in these images.  (*)  Because each of the 12 houses comprises a different “theme” – like, the 2nd house has to do with possessions, property, and values and the 7th house has to do with marriage and partnership – a planet’s moving from one house to another means that a whole new set of themes for that planet are activated.  On top of that, any movement and change of the degree and sign of each of the houses means that planets will make a whole new set of aspects to the Ascendant or Midheaven, and aspects to Ascendant and Midheaven of the prior (or birth) location are no longer there.

You can see where this is leading so at this point it is very important to state here that you do not ever “lose” the birth chart, wherever you go.  Your birth chart is an imprint that stays with you, but the influence does diminish somewhat as your new location adds new overtones.  We all have free will, and your new location allows you to make new choices as to how to implement new energies and character traits, that didn’t exist before.

I’ve mostly been talking about changes in longitude making the difference.  It’s true that changes in longitude are more likely to make a difference than changes in latitude.  But not entirely!  The same tilt of the Earth that makes our noon Sun so much higher in the sky in the late spring and early summer also makes the rising and setting signs of each of the planets are not a straight up-and-down longitudinal line, but move at something of a diagonal.  The farther away from the equator, the more diagonal so that changes in latitude can make more of a difference. 

This can be seen on a local space map.  Space maps are related to relocation astrology, but are a whole different type of inquiry, in terms of whether you’d want to have a planet on its own rising line, setting line, midheaven or nadir.  It’s intriguing and helpful (entire books have been written on what local space maps show, and what it means for a planet to be near a “line”), but in a different way than what house a planet is in.  Both are ways to learn more about better or more interesting locations, where you can weigh the pros and cons of somewhere that intrigues you.

I’ve been in a Vibrational Astrology course with David Cochrane that’s been going on for two years and will end in a few months. I’ve always liked astronomy, though certain things I knew about like gravitational pull or the chemical physics of stars or relativity don’t directly have to do much with astrology. He went over a sky-map which shows the planets and their positions in the sky (or underneath the earth).

He used that as a springboard to discuss different house systems, of which there are many. I use Placidus because it accurately mirrors where planets are on the ecliptic — the ecliptic changes in the sky as time goes by. I’ve written a paper on this which I may share at some point, though one illustration has to do with the summer solstice, which at 40 degrees north has a 15 hour day and a 9 hour night.

That 15 hour day corresponds with 180 degrees, since the ascendant is opposite the descendant. The 9 hour night also corresponds with 180 degrees. It is only explained by where the planets happen to be on the ecliptic and how the ecliptic shifts during a 24 hour day. This is one major piece of evidence that explains my personal disagreement with the Equal House system.

It’ll be necessary at some point for me to discuss what each planet means on or near each of the angles, the angles being the cusps of the angular houses, which are houses 1, 4, 7, and 10, or otherwise said the ascendant, IC, descendant, and midheaven. Since there are 10 or more planets (including some asteroids) and the North Node, there are at least 44 opportunities for interpretation. It’ll be a lot to write about, and will likely take several of these posts.

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 relocationastrology.guide.

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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