Astrocartography (A*C*G): An Introduction to Location Astrology
Ever wonder why some places give you a feeling of security as soon as you step off the plane, while others make you worry that you’re about to make a big mistake? AstroCartoGraphy focuses on your location, and how your birth chart can help you understand the differences you encounter living in different towns, vacationing, or even meeting someone from a far off place.
What is Astrocartography?
Astro*Carto*Graphy is a method of Locational Astrology that is Trade Marked by the deceased Jim Lewis. It is said Gary Duncan supplied the idea and Jim Lewis programmed the concept into a computer. Gary Duncan, like Jim Lewis, was a very brilliant man who also died far too soon.
You are born at a moment in time and at a place on planet Earth. The natal birth chart is actually a snap shot of the placements of the planets in the sky in relation to this specific time and place. When you change your location from your birth place, especially when you move east or west at least one time zone, you change the four angles of your natal chart (Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven and IC). The Ascendant, or Rising Sign, is the point on the eastern horizon at the time of birth. It is also the cusp of the First house, which pertains to your health and vitality and your bodily appearance. This line also stretched across the chart and decides the degree of the Descendant which is the cusp of your Seventh house, or your house open enemies, business or marriage partnerships.
The Midheaven is the most elevated degree of the zodiac in a chart and in most house division systems, it is also the cusp of the tenth house. Only in the Equal House System is it not the cusp of the tenth house. The tenth house is the house of career, status, honors, and power in society. The opposite point on the chart from the Midheaven is the Imum Coeli (IC). This term is Latin for the bottom of the heavens. In most house systems it is also the cusp of the fourth house which is regarded as the house of your home, family, and your private life. It also describes conditions at the end of your life.
As said above, when you relocate, or even just travel for business or pleasure far from your birth place, these four major lines actually change degrees in the Zodiac, which caused your planets to be in different houses, although they actually stay in the same degree of the Zodiac as they were when you were born.
The lines on an Astro*Carto*Graphy map actually show where on Earth the ten astrological planets would be conjunct to these four lines, Ascendant (rising), Descendant (setting) Midheaven (culminating overhead) and IC (at the hidden bottom of the chart) for the native. Since there are ten planets and four cusps there will be a total of forty lines on an AstroCartoGraphy map.
The conjunction is regarded as the most powerful aspect in astrology. It is a mixing of two energies. Some of these energies get along better than others. As vinegar and milk doesn t make a greatly desired drink, a Saturn and Venus conjunction is not conducive to great happiness in your love life.
If you are eating lunch in New York, the sun will be close to overhead (near the Midheaven). But in London the sun will be low in the West, and in Germany it may be setting. At the same moment in time, every location on Earth will have a slightly different perspective of the Sun’s position. Now imagine that you are not eating lunch in New York, but being born in Chicago at that same moment. A traditional chart wheel for Chicago will show the sun in the East, having already risen, but nowhere near overhead yet. So it doesn’t have any particular importance as a result of angularity. But now consider that all around the world there are places where the Sun was directly overhead (New York among many others) or just setting as in Germany. These are the angular locations of the Sun for you on the world, and they become significant locations for you when you travel. We can continue the same thought process for not only the Sun, but all the planets. Whenever you travel to a place where one of your birth planets was angular, that planet receives particular attention and its operation will be more pronounced in your chart.
The next step, of course, is to draw all of these angular locations on a map so we can see at once where they all are. The Astro*Carto*Graphy map was born.
Planetary characteristics and symbolism are the driving force of Astrocartography
By planets, astrologers mean “celestial objects.” Among the most important of these are the moon and the sun, neither of which are properly “planets”. Sometimes you will hear of astrology concerning itself with “the stars.” Here again, what looks like stars are really mostly planets and moons. None of this imprecision has ever bothered astrologers. Even astronomers (scientist who study the stars without considering their relation to events on earth) have disagreements over exactly what should be called a planet.
Each planet represents a distinctive “factor” which drives, shapes, and elicits human behaviors, and by extension group, national and cultural behaviors. The word “factor” is deliberately vague, since the pantheon of planetary characteristics is remarkably diverse and multifaceted. Students of astrology are often astounded at the range and scope of life’s concerns described by a simple listing of the symbolism associated with common planets.
The sun, for example, represents vitality, personal energy, and the ability to project one’s will on the world. The moon, on the other hand, represents receptiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to empathize with others.
Jim Lewis wrote convenient summaries for each planet.
Here you become master of your own fate, and attract others’ envy, good wishes, favor, and admiration. This is the best place to practice theater, creative arts, leadership, or to seek publicity. Health improves, and rehabilitation, self actualization and promotion go well. Dangers lie in coming on too strong, arrogance, inconsideration and egotism.
Under these lines you are immersed in sensation completely and become entangled, vulnerable and involved with others. Nurturing capacity, sympathy, sentimentality, sensitivity and spontaneity are responses to constant environmental change; needs and appetities emerge powerfully. Negatively, it can mean impermanence, dependence and emotionalism.
These areas get you in touch with how you best make contact or have intercourse with the outer world. Symbols, words, writing, ideas, mobility and youthful mental creativity are emphasized here. Negatively, there can be lack of commitment, superficiality, amorality and petty criminality (or exposure to it).
Here self perfection and growth encourage relationship. Love and marriage mates are found under Venus lines. Beauty, sensuality, luxury, money, ease, and artistic interests dominate; self esteem and appearance improve. Dangers lie in consumerism, laziness, superficiality, objectification of people and in an immature, make-believe attitude.
This area is where masterful, dominating, courageous, sexual, passionate instincts take over, but there is danger of attacks, accidents, rashness, injury and contentiousness. Still, zest for life increases, engineering, individual athletics, competition or building succeed, and power is found and mobilized to take care of self.
Prosperity, success, social acceptance, exposure to the rich and powerful, status and conformity beckon from this zone. Your are taken care of, coddled, and success in publishing, team sports, and elevated living standards are balanced against possible boredom, bourgeois complacency and pomposity. Lucky breaks in material and career concerns likely.
Fierce personal independence and perseverance develop in the face of difficulties in health, power struggles, poor finances and solitude under these lines. Challenge, maturity and hard work are met and accepted. Though they complain, people find it hard to leave these zones, once entrenched by the responsibilities and feelings of personal power that comes from accepting them.
In Uranus zones, the surprising becomes commonplace, as boredom and social rigidity are shattered. You grow to be able to see who you are, apart from your social role, and rebel against City Hall, rules, conformity, and your own past; causes are adopted. Impermanence and constant change must be accepted, along with possible scapegoating, inability to relate emotionally and alienation.
Under Neptune lines, ideals are pursued, romanticism flowers, spiritual progress can be made, and photography, arts and music are inspired. But the price is a feeling of ineffable unconnectedness, and the delusions, victimization and self deception that develop from unrealism. Illness, dealings with the underground, mental strain and dependence on institutions portray the less glamorous side of the planet of illusions.
Total alteration and new directions in life can be taken under these lines. Exposure to and concerns with death, regeneration and mortality are common. You may feel isolated, alienated and experience violent growth though intense inner upheaval, so that society seems vapid or persecutory. Personal depth is gained, but what is old and outmoded in life will be stripped away, so that complete rejuvenation and rebirth are possible.
The planets are in constant motion. Some of the motion is due to their orbits around the sun or the earth. Other motion is created by the rotation of the earth. Our understanding of time itself is heavily influenced by planetary motion. The rising and setting of the sun, for example, defines our day. The annual motion of the sun through the zodiac defines our year.
At any moment in time, the positions of all the planets constitutes a picture that uniquely represents that moment — it has never existed before in the past and will never again happen in the future. Of course there are features of planetary positions that happen over and over again: the full moon, the conjunction of Jupiter and Mars, the passing of the sun through the Vernal Equinox. But taken as a whole, the planetary picture of any moment is unique.
When astrologers refer to the position of a planet, they speak primarily in terms of two important perspectives:
- The position of the planet against the background of (relatively stationary) stars and
- The position of the planet with respect to the horizon of the viewer.
Due to orbital motion, planets move across the background of the relative distant and fixed stars. Each planet moves at a different speed and it can take them anywhere from a month to a hundred years to make a complete journey through the zodiac. On any particular day, however, the planets can generally be considered to be at a particular place in the zodiac for that whole day. So, for example, if the Sun is in Gemini on June 10, you can be sure that it will be there the whole day and not in some other sign an hour later. Astrologers use the planet’s position in zodiac for large parts of their analysis of a particular planetary configuration.
The position of planets with respect to the horizon of the observer, however, is a quite different perspective. Now the planets appear to be moving quite quickly. They rise in the east, culminate (reach their highest point) a few hours later, and then set in the west. Moreover, all the planets appear to be moving at about the same rate: it takes all of them about a day to re-appear on the horizon again. Astrologer’s also use this different perspective to gain more information about a particular instant of time, and it is this second view of planetary positions that plays such a large role in Astro*Carto*Graphy.
Probably the best known astrological technique today is the birth chart: a mapping of the positions of the planets at the moment of your birth. Drawn on a traditional chart wheel, both perspectives of planetary position are shown: the position of the planets in the zodiac and the position of the planets with respect to the horizon where you were born. From the strong correspondence between your unique birth and the unique picture of the stars at the same moment, the astrologer can construct an impressive sketch of your personal potentials as symbolized by the chart.
As time goes by and you live your life, the planets continue to move. And as they move they periodically cross over important positions in your birth chart. These crossings are called “transits” and they call attention to that factor in your birth chart. Transits make it more likely that you will notice the operation or effect of the birth planet. Astrologers often say that transits “trigger” events involving planets in your birth chart. As a simple example, consider the solar return, which is a transit of the current sun over the same position it was in your birth chart. This happens on (or very near) your birthday. Most people will recognize the strengthening of will, ego, and attention to self that occurs on your birthday.
We have just seen one way that astrologers relate passage of time to the birth chart. But another kind of change can happen during your life: change of location. Here we are particularly interested in the second perspective of planetary position: their relation to the horizon. As we travel around the earth, our perspective of the planets changes. The part of the sky that is overhead in New York is somewhere else in Los Angeles. Astrologers have long noticed this and created relocated charts to correct for change of location.
So when we compute a solar return chart, we compute not only a chart for today’s date, but also for your current location. We adjust all the changed circumstances. But what about the birth chart itself, can we isolate the effects of changes of location (irrespective of time) by simply recasting the chart for the new location, but keeping the same birth moment? This is the premise of the “relocation chart” which was in use long before Astro*Carto*Graphy. A relocation chart shows you a picture of planetary positions at the moment of your birth, but at your current location.
The relocation chart suffered from several problems: First, it was unclear exactly how the chart should be interpreted. Did it simply replace your birth chart? Very few astrologers believed this. Most astrologers felt that the relocation chart had some kind of secondary importance to the birth chart. The second problem with the relocation chart was that it was difficult to use for people who were considering “hypothetical” moves to various alternative locations. And finally, the relocation chart gave almost too much information. In the case of a transit, particular events simply called attention or strengthened individual planets in the birth chart. In the case of relocation charts we get a whole new chart without clear indication of what specifically has changed from the birth chart. This is where Jim Lewis started to apply the concept of angularity to simplify the analysis of relocation.
One of the most universally held truths in astrology is that planets are most important in your chart if they are placed at one of the four angles. In our horizon based perspective of the planets, these angles are:
- Ascendant (ASC) – The Eastern horizon, where planets rise
- Midheaven (MH) – The point in the sky where planets reach their greatest distance above the horizon
- Descendant (DSC) – The Western horizon, where planets set
- Imum Coeli or Nadir (IC) – The point where planets reach their greatest distance below the horizon
It is easy to see the importance of the angles dating from antiquity. They are the most visible attributes of a planet: rising, setting, culminating. There never has really been much dispute about their importance. Although there exist many different ways to divide the sky into twelve “houses”, they nearly all agree on the four angles which form the cusps of the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses.
In the era when Jim Lewis was developing Astro*Carto*Graphy, another development occurred which excited the astrological community. Michel Gauquelin, after years of statistical studies attempting to validate astrology without much success, discovered a significant and repeatable correlation between the planetary placement of birth planets and the profession of successful individuals. While these studies were hailed as indisputable scientific evidence of the validity of astrology, they actually proved only a few of astrology’s tenets. But a primary finding was that planetary characteristics asserted themselves when the planet was angular in the chart. This only served to reinforce the importance of angularity in analyzing charts.
The Relocation Effect
For Jim Lewis, the principle of angularity was the key to understanding the effect of relocation. Instead of looking at the entire relocated chart, we only need look at the planets which become angular through relocation. These are the ones which will become “activated”; these are the ones which are essentially different from their behavior in the birth chart. Now relocation becomes much more similar to the example of transits that we discussed earlier. As an individual travels to zones where his birth planets are angular, those planets will affect the operation of the birth chart in much the same way as a transiting planet affects the chart. Of course, one obvious difference between these two situations is very exciting: There is nothing you can do to change the moment or the character of a transit. But moving to a different location on earth is well within our control, and you can often stay as long as you want!
We have been looking so far at Astro*Carto*Graphy from the point of view of an astrologer. This was important so that we could fit the technique into a historical context and see how Astro*Carto*Graphy did fit into the philosophical and practical heritage of astrology. But to the average user of the maps, there is a much simpler way of visualizing the importance of angularity through relocation. We are much more able to visualize relocation now that we routinely see images of earth from space and can instantly recognize that, while the sun may be shining on parts of the earth, other parts are dark.
Reading the Map
Each planet has four angular zones labeled MC, IC, ASC, DSC. These zones actually form two great circles on the globe, but on the flat map the are each labeled separately. There is a certain amount of difference between the quality of each of the four zones. The black lines on the map indicate the exact center of each zone. Naturally, you don’t have to be exactly under the line for the planet to be angular. The distance away from the line that you can be and still consider the planet angular is called the allowable orb. Jim Lewis was somewhat vague at first about exactly what orb to use, but as time went on it appeared that his usage tended to approximate exactly the same orbs that astrologers ordinarily used for planetary aspects in a natal chart. In practice, this was 8-12 degrees on either side of the line.
To measure the orb of a line, look along the edges. You will see, in both latitude and longitude, small degree marks. You can measure distances in these degrees. The effect of angularity decreases as you move away from the line. So the effect is pronounced within 2 degrees, moderate out to about 8 degrees, and then weak after that.
The meaning of each planet has been developed over hundreds, even thousands of years. So all astrologers should be able to apply their knowledge of planets to the map. One does have to consider the context, however.
Astro*Carto*Graphy lines indicate changes in emphasis from the natal chart, unlike the natal chart itself, where planets assert fundamental potentials of the individual. Each Astro*Carto*Graphy map contains an explanatory book by Jim Lewis. It is interesting to compare the planetary descriptions in this book to other astrology text. The planets are the same, but the context is different and so are the descriptions.
Once Jim Lewis was able to use computerized Astro*Carto*Graphy maps for his clients and his case studies, he began to see other significant indications from the maps that might not have been obvious from the theory. These were somewhat less important that the main lines of angularity, but noticeable.
There is a point for each planet shown as a small circle that shows where the planet was directly overhead. This is the zenith position of the planet. Jim Lewis found that zenith positions are important because they appeared to activate this planet not only at the zenith point, but also at all points along the same latitude as the zenith point. The orb of this zone is quite small– one to two degrees. The zenith latitudes are not ordinarily drawn on the map, to avoid a confusing number of lines.
Another common feature of the maps are crossings of the lines of two different planets. This means, of course, that both planets are angular at the crossing location. But like Zenith Latitudes, Jim Lewis found that crossings too seem to operate over the entire latitude of the crossing. Again, the orb seems to be one to two degrees.
Using the Map
So now that we have a basic understanding of how to read the map, and what the lines mean, how do people actually use it? For some, the lines represent the “good” and the “bad”. Here is what Jim Lewis says about any Saturn Line in the Astro*Carto*Graphy book:
Generally, location under any Saturn line is not desirable, except where qualities of perseverance and purpose are so lacking in the character that some hardships are needed to direct the life. Here, you learn the hard way what is lacking in your makeup, and endure periods of want, privation, penury, enforced idleness, hunger, delay, disappointment, impoverishment and loneliness.
Not too good! When this description accurately describes the life of someone living in a Saturn zone, they naturally think about moving. On the other hand, how about this? (also from Jim Lewis’ book):
Any Jupiterian influence is usually beneficial, and under its lines, prosperity, success, good luck, honor, and accomplishment can be expected.
Now we have a line worth moving to! While this seems to be too simplistic to be the full truth, it illustrates the power of the Astro*Carto*Graphy map. It offers a practical way of taking control of the subjective side of life governed by astrology and directing it for your own purposes.
For Jim Lewis himself, the map became a means of exploration: by traveling physically across the planet, he could experience various aspects of his personality. This meant, of course, enduring the unpleasant experiences as well as the happy ones. In his computerized readings, Jim Lewis writes that
… the most important thing to realize is that every location is good for something; if you recognize and understand its potentials, you can use them constructively.
The client must decide what they are looking for in a relocation.
Do you want success in career?
You may have your Sun conjunct your MC but if it is square Saturn in your natal chart, then Saturn will also square your MC. That will result in those in authority, the establishment blocking your steps up the career ladder. Venus, the planet of romance, conjunct the MC will not necessarily bring romance into your life, but it may be a place that you could sell products to women and children. Or it could be a place that you could teach children with success.
Do you want health?
You can have a lot of money but money doesn t buy health. Money can buy medicine and doctors but not necessarily health. You must look to what is conjunct the Ascendant if you are concerned with health and vitality matters. Sun or Jupiter conjunct the Ascendant is usually a boost to your well being. But your health will also be positively affected by planets that either trine or sextile your ASC. Your health can be adversely affected by planets that are square or opposition your ASC. So it is clear that there is much more to relocating than just planets conjunct one of the four angles.
You must also realize that a planet conjunct the Midheaven will automatically cast an aspect of opposition to the cusp of your fourth house. The same is true of a planet conjunct the Ascendant. It will be in opposition your seventh house cusp. To alleviate this situation it would be better to have a planet sextile or trine your MC which would result in a trine or sextile to you IC from the same planet.
Locations on the Earth that you should avoid
A*C*T is useful as a general rule for locations on the Earth that you should avoid. Pluto and Saturn lines define places that you generally would not care to live on or even visit. There are also others lines you should avoid depending on the condition of the natal chart. It is even advised that if you Saturn or Pluto line goes through Germany, it would be best to not buy a auto made in Germany.
If you are seeking a Publisher for the book you just finished writing, it is wise to look for a publisher that is located on your Jupiter or Mercury line. If it is a book for children, maybe your Venus line would be best.
Winter season is quickly coming upon us and there are many who seek to flee “Old Man Winter” by heading south to a beach. Actually what they are unconsciously seeking is more light and they won t really obtain that unless they go South of the Equator. Warmth and Light are what they truly seek. Before you call your travel agent you should call your friendly astrologer and obtain your AstroCartoGraphy map.
If you are considering moving to a certain location or city you should have your natal chart drawn for the new location.
The astrologer takes your birth data; day, time of birth, and changes the place of birth, (the longitude and latitude) to the new location. This chart will give the all of the major aspects to the Midheaven and Ascendant of all of the planets, not just the conjunctions.
If you have to move there because you are transferred, it is wise to have the new location chart drawn.
Sometimes your planets change houses. They never change their degrees in the chart or their aspects to other planets. The aspects to the Ascendant and Midheaven do change because these Angles of the chart both change when you move. If you have a choice in where you will relocate it is especially wise to consult a competent astrologer well versed in relocation astrology.
There are other factors to consider in relocation.
If you have a lot of Fire in your natal chart, you will not be all that happy near the ocean, but would prefer mountains in your area.
If you have a lot of Water in your natal chart, you would usually be energized if you lived near a large body of water.
Earth people like to own land. Renting is not for them in the long haul.
And Air people like to have access to the world of ideas, which usually means a large city. Access to the Internet enables them to stay in touch with the world of ideas, but they are seldom happy in the rural areas.
Last updated on October 5, 2017 at 2:30 am. Word Count: 4688