Astrology often makes mention of houses, transits and aspects, but it's the angles in your birth chart that really bring your horoscope to life.
If you've ever seen a birth chart, you would have noticed that all of the planets are scattered inside of a circle that's divided into 12 pie slices, conveniently called houses. You can get your Essential Birth Chart report to see your own chart as you read this article, which will make it easier to understand.
Houses are important, because without them astrologers have no way of bringing the significance of cosmic events down to earth. Essentially, without the houses, the horoscope would have no structure.
Within the circle of the horoscope there are four all-important points that define a birth chart in a most special way. They are the "cusp" (or beginning) of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses. These points are known as the "angles," and they have particular significance because they represent physical points of energy manifestation. The angles in an Astrology birth chart are where your horoscope comes alive; where you meet and interact with the outside world.
Some call the angles of the birth chart a personal cross of matter because you can draw a horizontal line connecting the 1st and 7th houses, and then a vertical line connecting the 4th and 10th houses.
Your Ascendant is your Astrology "handshake"
So, what do the angles in a birth chart mean for you? Let's begin with the Ascendant.
The Ascendant, or Rising sign, is the first angle of a chart. This is also known as the cusp, or beginning of the 1st house. The sign that was rising in the east at the moment of your birth is the sign you will find on your Ascendant. This creates the starting point of your horoscope and it is why birth time is a crucial factor in erecting a proper birth chart. This sign on the Ascendant will change every two hours.
The Rising sign is your identity projection -- the cover of your book. It's your astrological handshake in the sense that it's how you greet the world. As the first angle of the horoscope, it is also the point of self-awareness.
Your Descendant points to partnerships
The angle opposite your Ascendant is the Descendant, or 7th house cusp. Here you experience partnership and the dynamic of going from "I" to "we." One goes from self-awareness to the overwhelming awareness of others at this important angle. Marriage, business partners and any committed relationship is the domain of this angle.
This axis of the zodiac -- the 1st and 7th house cusp together -- is the difference between qualities you identify in yourself versus qualities you classify as not being anything like you. This important polarity teaches us about the value of individuation and relationship, as well as how to balance the two.
Because they are sensitive points in the horoscope, when a planet in your birth chart is near one of these angles it will be louder, making a stronger dent in the fabric of your identity and/or relationship experiences. Remember, angles are like live electrical wires in your chart. They make anything near them buzz with excitement, relevance and intensity. When an outer planet in the sky transits the 1st or 7th house cusp, important shifts in relationship and identity will likely occur.
Your Nadir leads you on your life's journey
The next axis that forms an angular relationship in your horoscope is the 4th and 10th house. The cusp of the 4th house is sometimes called the "Nadir", or the "Immum Coeli," which translates to "lower heavens" in Latin.
The 10th house cusp is called the "Medium Coeli," which translates to "upper heavens." The 10th house is also called the "Midheaven."
Watch Rick Levine explain more about the Midheaven:
The vertical line this axis draws represents our roots internally that ultimately help us grow and soar in the outer world. How does this journey begin? Our origins of course! The 4th/10th house axis is also known as the parental axis.
First, we are born into a family. The 4th house angle represents this vital piece of development. Here, we lay our foundation and nourish our soul. Once 4th house matters are tended to, we're ready to move up and out into the world. That's the 10th house. Here, we work towards making a name for ourselves in our chosen career path. This is where we find our calling in life and where the outer world will recognize us for our accomplishments.
The 10th house angle is the most elevated point in our charts -- and the most public. The 4th house, by contrast, is the lowest point of the horoscope and out of public view. It is where we rest our head at night and find comfort. It's where we belong. If you have a natal planet near one of these angles then it becomes a stronger influence in your psyche and life.
Transits to these angles tell your story
Similar to transits to the 1st and 7th houses, transits to the 4th or 10th house are quite significant. They tell the story of when you might move or experience a change in your family life. Transits here will also portend information about professional milestones and changes to your status.
The angles of a chart are where the energy can transition from the planets in your birth chart or the current sky to your real life experiences on Earth. They are where the stuff of life can happen. As you can see, from this perspective the angles are everything. Without them, Astrology would never have an opportunity to come alive.