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Western Astrology Articles by Julene Packer-Louis

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Hemispheres, Quadrants, Angles
by Julene Packer-Louis


The division of horoscope by the Horizon gives us a north and south hemisphere. We can look at a chart and count the number of planets in each hemisphere to decide which is more dominant. This gives us a frame of psychological reference in which the person views the world. Northern hemisphere people have a subjective consciousness and view the world based on their frame of reference of their own personal experience. Southern hemisphere people have an objective consciousness and view the world based on a collective frame of reference that includes the experience of others. While most of us have planets in both hemispheres, sometimes one dominates. Looking at which hemisphere dominates and by how much (how many more planets in one than the other) provides us with one of the key indicators of the person's underlying temperament.

Northern Hemisphere: This is the realm of subjective consciousness and consists of houses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. These houses deal with developing the basic requirements needed to define our self as a separate individual. Therefore, they are called the personal houses. Persons with a dominance of planets in this hemisphere are introspective, inclined to learn from their own experience and tend to lean toward realism and at times pessimism. As it is dark in this hemisphere, they learn and assimilate information by relating things to their own experience. If the Sun is in this hemisphere, the person was born at night and has a nocturnal chart.

Southern Hemisphere: This is the realm of objective consciousness and consists of houses 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. These houses deal with developing the awareness of our interconnectedness with others. Therefore, they are called the collective houses. Persons with a dominance of planets in this hemisphere are social oriented, learn by watching others and are more outgoing and optimistic than their northern counterparts. As it is daylight in this hemisphere, these people are into what is going on in the world at large; they take in and learn from information that exists outside of their inner world. If the Sun is in this hemisphere, the person was born in the day and has a diurnal chart.

The division of the horoscope by the Meridian gives us the east and west hemisphere. The east hemisphere is the a.m. part of the day and therefore has a focus on building, on heading for the culmination at the MC. The west hemisphere is the p.m. part of the day and therefore has a focus on winding down for the evening. When the day is new, we are filled with the optimism of all we are going to get done. When the day is half done and we realize we are running out of time or energy, we begin to look for help from others. Thus this division of the horoscope refers to our awareness of self in the east and our awareness of others in the west. We can look at the east-west hemispheres for dominance in a chart to get a second key into the temperament of an individual.

Eastern Hemisphere: This is the realm of awareness of self and consists of houses 3, 2, 1, 12, 11, and 10. People with a dominance of planets in the eastern hemisphere are independent and self-initiating go-getters. They believe in the possibilities of the future and their attention is geared toward a self-awareness focus. These are the people whose minds rush with all they are going to do as soon as they awake in the morning. Their lists do not include others, it consists of what they alone are going to do. They are not likely to hit snooze when the alarm goes off, in fact many with this emphasis don't need an alarm, they are naturally early risers - even on the weekends. They are excited to greet the day that is filled with endless possibilities. Therefore, they can also be a little naive.

Western Hemisphere: This is the realm of awareness of others and consists of houses 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, and 4. People with a dominance of planets in the western hemisphere are dependent upon others; they can be co-dependant or just realize that things are sometimes done quicker and more efficiently with the help of others. This hemisphere begins as the day is half over. All the hope for the possibilities of the day that the eastern hemisphere so eagerly sought after is fading. This is a time of coming to realize that help is needed to achieve the goals. People with a dominance of planets in this hemisphere are adept at working with others. They understand the values of compromise and teamwork.


These hemispheres overlap each other and provide us with the four quadrants of the horoscope. The north-east quadrant consists of houses 1, 2, and 3. The north-west quadrant consists of houses 4, 5, and 6. The south-west quadrant consists of houses 7, 8, and 9. The south-east quadrant consists of houses 10, 11 and 12. Each quadrant is a unique mixture of the qualities of the hemispheres that overlap within it. Determining the dominant quadrant takes us further into understanding what life experiences the person is most likely to encounter inwardly and outwardly. It shows what the prime objective for development is for this life time.

The First Quadrant: This quadrant consists of houses 1, 2 and 3. It combines the northern and eastern hemispheres and therefore equates to subject awareness of self. This is the area of self development. In the 1st house we discover our separate identity as an autonomous individual. In the 2nd house we develop attachments to objects that define the Self we became aware of in the 1st. In the 3rd we learn to identify and conceptualize with our immediate surroundings. Taking the ASC as a representation of the moment of birth, it indicates our first breath of life. In the first house we feel separate from mom (square to the 4th) and the warm cozy womb. It is here we come screaming "I am" into life. In the 2nd house, we begin to learn what appeals to our senses, we know that soft baby blanket is "mine", we turn our heads towards a noise, we show expression on our faces when we see familiar sights, we taste food and decide some is good and some is yucky, we discover our bodies (1st house) and put our toes in our mouth, we make associations with smells. Then as we get a bit older we learn the names of these things we've been seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. We begin to talk, to walk around. We get out in our strollers to see the neighborhood. We go to school and meet others who are learning the basics of communicating and conceptualizing like we are. Clearly this is the quadrant of initial self development. A dominance of planets here indicates a need to get to know yourself in this lifetime.

The Second Quadrant: This quadrant consists of houses 4, 5 and 6. It combines the northern and western hemispheres and therefore equates to subjective awareness of others. This is the area of self-expression. In the 4th house we express our self within the family unit. We get emotional security of home base and a sense of belonging to something outside of our self. We have crossed over into the realm of others. Here we experience emotional reactions to the feedback we get from our family members that establishes how nourished we feel. In the 5th house, we get to create and play. This is the house of creative self expression, gambling, dating, children and special creative projects. This is the house of the ego, pride and honor. This house says look at me, I am special. I am unique and I am creatively talented in this way. When we get to the 6th house we discover how to use of talents to serve others. We discover not only am I talented, I am useful. I have a purpose. The 6th house self expression comes from the talents discovered in the 5th house. It validates the ego. A dominance of planets in this quadrant indicates a need to express yourself outwardly in this life time utilizing your creative skills.

The Third Quadrant: This quadrant consists of houses 7, 8 and 9. It combines the southern and western hemispheres and therefore equates to objective awareness of others. This is the area of self expansion. We have crossed the horizon and come into the collective arena of life. In the 7th house, we find the person that mirrors us and dub them best friend or spouse. We also meet our open enemies here as this is also the domain of court cases. So here resides the people we love because they bring out the best in us and make us feel good about being our self. We also discover those people whom irk us to no end and incidentally the represent our shadow material that we project on others. Either way, and both ways, the 7th house expands our experience of self through the eyes of others. We don't go to the 8th house with just anyone. This is an area of intimacy and trust. Just because we might get married in the 7th house doesn't mean we'll become intimate enough to take the relationship into the 8th house. However, when we can share even our shadow material with our spouse or therapist we are truly expanding our sense of self. In this house is also the expansion of money from joint accounts and inheritance. Also here we find we can undergo a transformation of the ego and evolve to a higher level of consciousness. The 9th house is also indicative of self-expansion. Here we expand our knowledge by seeking higher education. Here we realize that there is a difference between the changing facts and the philosophical truth. Foreign countries are in the domain of this house, religion and beliefs are as well. This is the house were we seek experience outside of our known world, where we venture into new horizons. This is the house where the metaphorical quest for the Holy Grail begins. Here we seek the higher mind, higher consciousness and the wisdom of worldly experience. Understanding the meaning of these houses explains why this quadrant is the quadrant of self-expansion.

The Fourth Quadrant: This quadrant consists of houses 10, 11, and 12. It combines the southern and eastern hemispheres and therefore equates to objective awareness of self. This is the quadrant of self-transcendence. Self transcendence, what does that mean exactly? In the movie Troy, Achilles rallies his troops by offering "immortality - take it! It's yours!" While the 10th house may not mean immortality for most of us, it does allow us to make a name for our self even if on a smaller scale. We become more than self, we have a title that goes with us, something we are known for. The 10th house is the house of career and public standing. It is where our life goals reside; it is the position we strive to attain, to achieve. Here we become Mary, CEO; Jack, President; Joyce, Minister; John, Nobel Prize Winner; Stacey, mother of 4; Sam, teacher; Bob, mailman; you get the idea. In the 10th we get a public persona that transcends our self image. In the 11th house we find groups and friends who uphold the same ideals for humanity that we do. We find people with our same agendas and network with them. In this way we become larger than our own self as well because of power in numbers. In the 12th we get to touch the big toe of God so to speak because we recognize the collective unity we share with each other. We realize we are not so separate after all, and that we were born individuals (1st)out of the same collective matrix (12th) of divine energy. This is the house of our dreams, hopes, wishes. It is also the house of self-undoing because it rules hospitals and alcoholism. It depends how we look at our life and the achievement of our dreams. We can experience this mystical house as spiritual transcendence of the separate ego as we recognize unity with the divine in everyone, or we can experience this as a house for escapism and not facing reality. Either way, the self dissolves. In the former because it unites with the whole, in the latter because it deludes itself and offers a false reality to escape to. The evidence of self transcendence in this quadrant is clear throughout the last three houses.


The Angles of the Horoscope are determined by where the great circles intersect. They are the cusps of the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses. These houses are therefore called angular houses. They are personal power points as much as the equinoxes and solstices are seasonal power points. Planets in angular houses are said to be of "foremost importance" to develop. They tend to be developed early on in life because they are in the initiating house of the quadrant. The 1st and 7th house cusps will always be in the same zodiac degree of the opposite sign, as will the 4th and 10th house cusps. This is because these opposing angles are an axis. They are complimentary opposition points of a great circle.

The Ascendant/Descendant Axis: is determined by the Horizon. The Ascendant is the 1st house cusp and the Descendant is the 7th house cusp. Sunrise occurs at the Ascendant, and sunset occurs at the Descendant. The 1st/7th house axis divides our personal and collective experiences as well as dividing night and day. It is important to understand that these are complimentary points of the same great circle - the horizon. While many astrology books only go into what the Ascendant means, we should not forget that the Descendant is just as important and significant.

Ascendant:The ASC is many things. It is the face we present to the world, therefore it has associations with being the mask we wear. It also indicates the way we face all new beginnings just as it indicates the beginning moment of our life. William Blake's famous line "if doors of perception were cleansed, all things would appear as they are - infinite" aptly describes the ascendant. If you think about it, the 12th house is the infinite collective connectedness with all that is. The ASC is the cusp between the infinite 12th house and the separate identity of the 1st house. Therefore the sign on the ascendant indicates what our door of perception looks like. How others see us and how we look out through it. The sign on the ASC tells a lot about how we see the world.

Descendant:The DSC is the mirror of the ASC. It is how we see others, how we see our self reflected in others. It is both what we own about our self and what we project. It is how we look through the eyes of another. The sign on the 7th house cusp tells a lot about how we approach one on one relationships. It shows us the role we tend to play in marriage relationships, with our best friend, with our business partnerships. We learn a lot about our self and the roles we are expected to play in this house. Certainly, we've all recognized a role others expected us to play before. What happens when we try to stop playing that role? The others in our life retaliate. We attract people in our life based on the things we need to learn about ourselves. This house shows the others we attract for better or worse. The object of the 7th house is to illuminate the Self of the 1st house, and to balance our qualities by bringing in a polarity.

The Midheaven/Imum Colei Axis: is determined by the Meridian. The Midheaven is the 10th house cusp and the Imum Colei is the 4th house cusp. Noon occurs at the MC and midnight occurs at the IC. The 4th/10th axis divides our awareness of self and others as well as dividing a.m. and p.m. (Post meridian makes a lot more sense now!) This is also the parental axis. Cancer naturally rules the 4th and Capricorn naturally rules the 10th. These signs are ruled by the moon - mother, and Saturn - father. Also the 4th is the family heritage and the unconscious baggage of family patterns that have been going on for generations. The 10th is also the family's expectations and programs of what success means. Again, while many books only go into what the Midheaven means, we should not forget that the Imum Colei is just as important and significant.

The Midheaven:The MC is the highest point in the chart. It indicates our goals, our aspirations, what we strive for and where we are headed. It shows the public life we make for ourselves and indicates our financial status and social standing. The sign on the MC tells the way in which you approach your career goals and is one of the indicators of the kind of career you are suited for. The sign on the MC also indicates how you view social standards and the rules of society.

The Imum Colei:The IC is the lowest point in the chart. It lays the foundation and roots for the outward growth toward the achieving the goals of the MC. Therefore the sign on the 4th house shows in what ways or through which means we can ground our self. How well we were nurtured and accepted as we synthesized the emotions of our formative years determines the life we make for our self in latter years. This is why the 4th house is both early childhood and the later part of life. The 4th house is a private house and the IC represents the depths of the subconscious psyche. The sign on the IC shows how we synthesize our automatic emotional responses. It indicates our learned emotional patterns that we repeat as adults unconsciously. The IC tells as much about your inner private world as the MC tells about your outer public world. They compliment each other's expression and remind us "as within so without."

© Julene Packer-Louis, 2006