Even if you’ve started to dive deeper into your birth chart beyond your sun, moon, and rising sign (aka your “big three”) there’s always more to learn about astrology. From identifying how compatible you might be with a potential partner to pinpointing the reason you feel like you’re going through an intense personal transformation this year, the language of the sky offers layers upon layers of useful wisdom.
And if you’re looking for insight on your professional path, you’ll do well to consult a particular area of your birth chart called the midheaven, or MC. Here’s what you need to know about this astrological key to making your career dreams a reality.
What to Know About the Angles In Your Birth Chart
One of the first steps beyond learning your sun sign is noting your rising sign or ascendant, which is the sign that was ascending on the eastern horizon at the time of your birth. It speaks to the image you project out into the world, and it offers insight into your skills, talents, and strategies you might adopt to make your way in life. And it falls on the cusp of the first house of self in your chart — always on the left hand side at the 9 o’clock position.
Although that’s the most commonly known angle of the birth chart, there are three others that we astrologers look to for valuable intel:
The descendant (DC): Located at the 3 o’clock mark on the right-hand side of your chart, the descendant (DC) represents the western horizon. This is the cusp of the seventh house of partnership, which speaks to how you show up in your one-on-one interactions.
The Medium Coeli or Midheaven (MC): Located at the very top of your chart, or at the 12 o’clock mark, the MC represents the highest point in the horizon that any planet can reach. This is the cusp of the tenth house of career and public image, which speaks to your professional path, social standing, and public persona.
The Imum Coeli (IC): Located at the bottom of the chart, or the 6 o’clock mark on a clock, the IC represents the point that’s opposite the MC. This is the cusp of the fourth house of home life, which speaks to your inner, private life.
Just like your rising sign, you have signs that sit on these angles that are considered your DC, your MC, and your IC signs.
What Your MC Can Tell You
Hanging out at the very top of your chart, your MC characterizes your most public, visible achievements, the type of work you’re drawn to doing, the persona others see in a professional or public image-related context (as opposed to the more social persona — or how others perceive you — that your rising represents), and how you show up when you take the reins on a major project or assume new responsibilities.
Your MC sign also speaks to your big-picture goals, what you aspire toward accomplishing, how you feel about achievement, and how you want to be perceived by others in your career. And it’s a point that we astrologers look to when we’re aiming to better understand a person’s relationship to people in a position of power, whether that’s authority figures on the job or a parent or caregiver who influenced your career path. After all, each house is associated with a sign and a planet, and the tenth house of career (and therefore the MC) is ruled by Capricorn and its ruler, taskmaster Saturn, which oversees discipline, hard work, tough lessons, and authority.
When delineating your MC, we look not only at the sign it’s in but any planets that are interacting closely with it. For instance, if you have the confident sun conjunct your MC — meaning it falls within about 8 degrees plus or minus the degrees of your MC — your core identity is very much linked up with your achievements and long-term goals. You probably also have a great chance of shining in a very public way in your life. This is the mark of celebrity; it’s no wonder Paul McCartney and JLo both have sun conjunct MC. (Interestingly, both also have Mercury conjunct MC, meaning they were both born to communicate and express themselves in a very public way.)
How to Figure Out Your MC Sign
The easiest and best way to pinpoint your MC is by looking at your birth chart. (There are a ton of free apps and sites out there, like TimePassages, cafeastrology.com, or astrology.com, where you can plug in your info and receive your birth chart in seconds. Or you can work with a professional astrologer to cast and better understand it.)
But if you want to do it the fast and dirty way, cafeastrology.com has an MC calculator.
What Each Midheaven Sign Means
Once you know your midheaven sign, here’s the scoop on how it could manifest. (Remember, it’s just one piece of the complex, multi-layered picture that is your birth chart, so if it doesn’t quite resonate, talking to a pro astrologer could offer clarity.)
If you were born with your midheaven in cardinal fire sign Aries, you’re a go-getter through and through. You likely tackle your professional aspirations in a fiery, no-holds-barred way, leaping before you look. You pride yourself on being a pioneer, the first out the gate to do anything, and you’re super-competitive.
If fixed earth sign Taurus falls on the cusp of the tenth house in your chart, you’re determined to succeed but also dead set on taking your time to do so. Because Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet of love, relationships, and beauty, you could be drawn to Venusian activities in your professional life, such as art, fashion, or couples therapy. And it’s crucial for you to feel like you’re being creative, social, and boosting the harmony and beauty of anything you’re putting your nose to the grindstone on.
Born with your midheaven in mutable air sign Gemini, communication and information-gathering is a huge focus of your professional destiny. You’re innately drawn to being social, so working solo likely wouldn’t be the best fit. Instead, you shine when you’re collaborating with others, researching, enjoying the freedom to switch up your focus from one project to the next, and constantly forging new connections, all thanks to the fact that Gemini is ruled by messenger Mercury.
If you were born with your midheaven in cardinal water sign Cancer, known to be supremely nurturing and emotionally intelligent, you’re probably drawn to a career path that allows you to put those skills to use. You love to hold space for others to move through difficult emotions, to show up for them when they’re feeling down mentally or physically, and to be a shoulder to lean on. And because Cancer is so family-oriented, you may set goals that will allow you to best care for your own or bolster others. This is a reflection of the fact that the sign of the Crab is ruled by the intuitive moon, which serves as the emotional compass in astrology.
Born with your midheaven in Leo, the fixed fire sign, you may have a somewhat conflicted relationship to being the center of attention. (That’s because chances are your rising is Scorpio, which causes you to value your privacy more than others.) Still, standing in the limelight can feel like an accomplishment to you, and you absolutely do shine when you take a chance and put yourself out there, because Leo energy is so thoroughly confident and charismatic, thanks to its ruler, the vitality-bringing sun.
With your midheaven in Virgo, the mutable earth sign, you’re drawn to professional activities and goals that allow you to flex your organizational and communication skills. Virgo is ruled by messenger Mercury, after all. And because Virgo is the ruler of the sixth house of daily routine, you’re particularly successful when you focus on work that involves being of service to others — particularly by providing them with research or other information you’ve expertly gathered.
WIth your midheaven in Libra, the cardinal air sign, you’re interested in bringing balance and beauty to anything you invest your time and energy into professionally. Relationships are of particular interest to you, especially those that happen on a one-on-one basis, but so is fighting for justice. You’re comfiest in a career that not only allows you to see all sides of an issue but that requires it. And because Libra is ruled by beauty-loving Venus, you enjoy being artistic in your work.
With your midheaven in Scorpio, the fixed water sign, you thrive when you’re calling the shots and feel like you’re in a position of power — but not necessarily pushed to share your inner life with others. But you’re likely on a mission to uncover and understand other people’s secrets and have truly impressive investigative skills that you’d do well to apply in your work. Because Scorp is co-ruled by Mars, the planet of action, and Pluto, the planet of transformation, you’re razor-focused on making your mark.
Born with your midheaven in Sagittarius, the mutable fire sign, you’re full of wanderlust and crave knowledge and eye-opening experiences at every turn. You’re also innately gleeful when you’re on center stage, expressing yourself through humor and sharing your opinions. You need professional experiences that allow you to learn and grow almost perpetually; the more, the better, according to Sag’s ruler, expansive Jupiter.
With your midheaven in Capricorn, the cardinal earth sign, chances are you work hard and perpetually. That’s because you’re endlessly driven and wired to take your time hitting the peak of any mountain you’ve decided to climb. That’s why you’re suited to career paths that might require putting in a lot of effort over the course of years and years, accumulating degrees, networking, or building your resume one hard-earned achievement at a time — the result of Cap being ruled by taskmaster Saturn.
With Aquarius, the fixed air sign, on your midheaven, you’re not interested in adhering to a conventional professional path, preferring to strike out on your own in some way or another. And because Aquarius rules the eleventh house of friendships and long-term wishes, you value humanitarian pursuits and pride yourself on prioritizing communal efforts over anything you deem self-focused. You also value the ability to be a bit offbeat or eccentric and might be drawn to work in future-minded tech, because Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the planet of revolution and scientific genius.
Born with your midheaven in Pisces, the mutable water sign, you’re drawn to spiritual, creative pursuits in your professional life. Ruled by Neptune, which oversees dreams and escapism, Pisceans are endlessly imaginative but often struggle to get grounded in reality, so work that actually requires wearing rose-colored glasses or embracing the ethereal over the pragmatic suits you best. The heartfelt water sign is also known for its healing abilities, so you could make an impression publicly by applying your innate empathy toward nurturing others.