Posted by: Donna Cunningham | January 4, 2011

The Midheaven/IC Axis: Who Wore the Pants in your Family?

©1-4-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 The astrological community is prone to tedious debates that go on for decades and never get resolved, since we’re such a bunch of opinionated old Uranian cusses. One ongoing debate poses the question of which parent is signified by the Midheaven (10th house cusp) and which one by the IC (4th house cusp).

 Some argue that the 10th house is the father and the 4th is the mother. Others argue that the mother is the 10th and the father is the 4th. My observation is that the side of the argument you take depends on which parent wore the pants in your house growing up.  

Whole countries chime in to espouse one of the spouses or the other.  I was never asked to speak in Switzerland and only once in Germany after I was so foolish as to equate the Moon with the mother.

 They contend that anyone with half a brain knows the Mother is ruled by Saturn. (I can only guess that they’re all born with Moon in Capricorn, so cookie baking is streng verboten.)

 Resolving the Midheaven/IC Debate

I do have an answer to that inevitable question, and I invite you to test it out on your own chart and share your conclusions in the comment section. 

To me, the Midheaven represents the authority function of the parents and the 4th represents the nurturing function.

In some homes, there’s a clear distinction between the two. The authority figure predominantly makes the rules and metes out the penalties for not following them. (“Just wait ‘til your father gets home!”)

The other parent—the nurturer—soothes you, bandages the scrapes, and, yes, bakes the cookies.

In the modern, emotionally sustaining, politically correct home, both roles are shared to some extent by both parents. Daddy’s good at bandaging the scrapes and can whip a meal when Mommy’s late from the office. 

 Example:  How an Aries Moon on the Midheaven Fits Both Parents

 Even in more traditional homes, however, the astrological signatures of the MH and IC tend to work.

For example, I have the Moon in Aries on my Aries Midheaven. You can guess who wore the pants in my family. (That would be Mean Aunt Bernadine’s younger sister and avid disciple—my Mom.)

However, the Moon on the Midheaven also described my Dad, who was a lunar type.  Any nurturing I got, I got from him and his mother, my beloved grandmother. 

He was very emotional, and he loved to take over the kitchen in the summer while Mom spent the day gardening. Dad had Mars in Cancer in the 1st and built one of our homes from scratch. (Some of you have already met him here: How to Survive a Pisces Dad—and How I Survived Mine.)

So, yes, the Moon near the Midheaven or Cancer on the Midheaven could certainly indicate the mother as the dominant parent in the early years. It might be a single Mom or a household where Dad was absent much of the time.

 Other Planets and Signs on the Midheaven

The Sun or Mars are likely to represent the father. Jupiter could be either, with both parents acting more like benign teachers than authority figures.

Saturn might represent either parent, unless, of course, you happen to be Swiss or German, in which case, it can only be the mother, Dummkopf!

Mercury often represents an older sibling who took over parenting roles that one or both parents were unable to fulfill.  

Neptune on the Midheaven shows one or both parents as too caught up in addictions or other dysfunctions to meet the children’s needs. Offspring may then be placed in the position of caretaking the parent and siblings.

With Uranus on the Midheaven, parenting is often erratic and unconventional, with parents and even stepparents coming and going. 

Pluto, surprisingly, is likely to show a grandmother as the dominant figure—or someone else who functions as a matriarch. One of my New York colleagues whose name escapes me talked about this in a lecture. I’ve clinically tested it over the years and often found it to be the case. (That might be Pluto/Midheaven, Pluto/Moon, or Pluto on the Ascendant.)

Though I’ve mainly been talking about planets that are conjunct the Midheaven, not everyone has one. Having a planet on the Midheaven is similar to having the sign it rules, but the planet is always stronger than the sign.

If you’ve taken any of the tests on this site that measure the strength of the planets, you’ve seen that the planet on the Midheaven is awarded roughly double the points that the sign it rules receives. (The test for Jupiter, for example, is here: How Strong is your Jupiter? Here’s the Score!)  

The Midheaven for Grownups–From Mom and Dad to the Boss

 Why is it important to understand the Midheaven/IC axis and what it reveals about the authority figures in your home growing up?

It’s because those early authority figures and your relationships with them shape your perceptions and expectations of authority figures throughout life.

It spills over into your relationships with bosses and other authorities.  Briefly, If our parental authority figures were harsh, we can become fearful and angry at authority figures in general. That fear or that anger would then cause us to behave in ways that hinder our chances of success in our careers.

 AND, when you become an authority figure yourself, it affects your ways of relating to your children and employees. All too often, we live what we learn. We’ll be exploring these themes as this series progresses. 

PS:  Here’s still another way of looking at the MH/IC Axis:  I just got my advance copy of the Feb/March issue of The Mountain Astrologer, and a timely article by Frank C. Clifford, “Searching for Parental Significators in the Horoscope,” says: “It is often quoted that the ‘shaping’ parent (the one who most prepares or conditions the child for the outside world) is indicated by the 10th house complex, while the more ‘hidden’ parent is linked to the 4th.”

Readers, how does the Midheaven/IC axis reflect your Mom and Dad? Tell us about it in the comment section. 

Related Posts on Skywriter:

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  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at moonmave@spiritone.com . To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line.


Responses

  1. I had to laugh with “Who Wore the Pants in your Family?” I didn’t know it was an expression in english too!
    Judging from my own chart, Sun is dad as a person, Saturn dad as an authority figure, Moon mom as a person, MC-I agree with you- the authority function in general.
    I have sun conj. mercury, jupiter, asc, all in the 1st, plus sun semisquare venus and pluto. I’ve always been a daddy’s girl, I perceived him as a very charming, subtly controlling man who oozed calm confidence and valued knowledge, experience and rationality above all else. Always encouraging, he taught me to believe in myself, and I proudly confess I stole most of my venus/pluto tricks from him.
    Saturn conj. Jupiter, square Neptune: He wasn’t much of an authority figure, I could always get away with it. In recents years, due to my erratic(so he says) career decisions, our relationship has kind of fallen from grace (sun squares my mc). I blame him for trying to guilt me into doing things I don’t want to do ( an Aquarius Sun conj. Venus opp. Leo Pluto he may be, but he also has a Cancer Moon in the 12th. I dubbed him ‘greedy excuse for an Aquarius’. That will teach him! ).
    Gemini MC, empty 10th: To get your way in my family, you had to make an argument, and a gemini-like one: say sth witty that at least appears to be rational, maybe crack a playful joke or two, and here you go! Permission granted! You can now party all weekend/ spend the summer in a shack in the jungle/jump out of a plane/whatever!
    Sag. IC, Neptune about 15 degrees in the 4th. I’d really like to explain that, but since I have all pluto aspects except pluto/saturn, (my orbs), first I have to ask: What’s nurturing?
    P.S. You’ve mentioned before that your mom was an Aquarius Moon. Mine too! (Moon conj. Jupiter in Aquarius opp. Pluto). You’re an Aries Moon, I have a Moon-Mars opposition. So, was it as good for you as it was for me? 80

    • 80 is supposed to be the emoticon code for shock 8-0

    • Was it good for me, too? Brr. To answer that, I’d have to break a vow I made. So you’ll just have to infer from my Moon/MH Aries placement. Donna

  2. This is an interesting question. I am 65 so I have a long range view of my parents and because of what I know of the long haul I would have to say I can see the influence of both parents in both the 4th and 10th house. That may be because my 4th house is ruled by Capricorn and its ruler, Saturn ( conjunct Venus) is in the 10th house. However the Moon ruling Cancer is in my 5th house and quincunx Venus and Saturn in the 10th. Its in partial mutual reception in Aquarius if you count the old ruler ship of Saturn ruling Aquarius.
    The Arts definitely came from my mothers side , however since a cousin did a thorough search, ( recently) on our Fathers ancestors we have the Arts, music and entertainment performers on that side as well. Along with some Politicians and Writers.
    My fathers came from , was born and grew up in what is now a 6 million acre wilderness preserve consisting of islands and water. Half our Lake is in Canada. He rose to prominence in this State as the number one fishing guide and guided ,the then, Vice President Mondale on a fishing trip. he was an undefeated Golden Gloves Boxer.
    My mother came from North Dakota , a place that also boarders Canada and is a 40 mile huge Turtle land formation that marks the exact center of Turtle Island ( North Am. continent). It has little Lakes and is the only hilly part of North Dakota which is reputed to be flat as a table top. She was a loving (but not openly demonstrative) dutiful mother and raised my brother and I.She took to the Lake country like a duck to water and was a perfect shot with a gun and fisher woman in her own right. My mother refused the temptation to be a fighter because of her temper and because she had extremely heavy bones. If she punched an opponent they wouldn’t wake up until next week. So she never did do that . She was more afraid of herself than anyone else.
    Both parents , parents( the Grandparents) were re markedly similar. Both Grandmothers died young of white man diseases and both Grand mothers were preservers of Native Indian culture. Both Grandmothers followed the Spiritual Traditions of their people and Clan duties. They were both extremely creative and occult. Both Grandfathers were into dog teams. Paternal Grandfather travel by Husky dog team and the Maternal Grandfather raced Greyhounds. The Paternal Grandfather had the first Speed boat on the 40 mile lake that is our family lake and the Maternal Grandfather had the first model T car on the 40 mile Turtle land base of the Tribe.
    Both my parents lost a favored sibling as young people , my mother lost a sister and my father lost a brother just 2 weeks before my birth. This along with the suspected murder of his mother ( by the invaders of Indian country) threw my father into a tail spin he never fully recovered from and my mothers experience with another sister caused a hiatus in her consciousness along with the early death of her mother that she never fully recovered from either.They were both GOOD people that unfortunate things happened to. Neither inherited the grit of their Chieftain ancestry. Not all do and are the Flowers of life, Not the gnarled Oaks.

  3. I am totally unsure of how my chart reflects my family situation. I have an early Cancer MC with Mars conjunct. My father was an abusive and neglectful alcoholic and left me with his mother, who then raised me (she was an Aquarius with Cancer Moon). My parents were divorced before I was 2 and I didn’t see her until I was 30 yrs. old.

    I suppose the grandmother is represented by her Moon conjuncting my Mars and MC. I had no male role model in my life. Maybe my weak Mars in Cancer has something to do with it.

    • Sorry, I meant that I didn’t know my mother until I was 30.

  4. Oh, good one, Donna!

    It’s funny how kids’ charts reflect their families, isn’t it?

    Background:
    My MC’s in Leo, ruled by the Sun in my 9th house in Cancer. It’s in a wide conjunction to my Node, and naturellement, a wide oppositon to my S. Node in Capricorn. Saturn in Libra is square both nodes, and squares my Sun by sign.
    ———————————————————————-

    So, who wears the pants in my family? Dad, of course. With an iron fist. And a clever tongue. And little compassion.
    Tried to rule my marriage too, which was one of the reasons it ended – imagine telling another person, an ultra-Taurus no less, how to live his life and run his house!
    A very Leonine Capricorn, if such a thing exists.

    And Mother? Well, my Moon’s in Virgo in the 11th. I’ve realized that my nurturing has come from mentors; women whom I’d go to the ends of the earth for.

  5. 2nd comment: The IC is in Aquarius. My Mum’s impact? I don’t know. I never liked that she never stood up for me or for herself.

    Frankly, I can’t write anymore, because writing about it makes me angry and sad.

  6. PS/ Indian families were NOT authoritarian based. Both the male and female had respected roles. One big difference in the traditional culture is that the WOMAN owned and built the Home. Her word and ways were LAW there. Not Law as enforcement but based on RESPECT and understanding of the SACREDNESS of ” the nest”.This was shown upon entering another s home by bowing low to touch the earth and it meant a recognition that ALL is SACRED.
    Usually the male always went to the land of the woman. The male field of activity and leadership( besides hunting) was out in the world at Councils for the Tribe, but he not only represented his view but the view of the Grandparents( if they lived with him) and spouse in his family. All decisions were based on mutual consent, of the family,( which he represented) and then the combined families at Council; with the bottom line being the Benefits to Future Generations. The children s long range welfare was the qualifier of all questions before the councils. Totally opposite of the United States culture.
    Each participant, Fathers , Mothers, Grandparents had important functions for the good of all and none were considered the AUTHORITY over everybody; not even the Chief…who being gifted was” responsible” to All.
    Ha Ha the question of the 4th versus the 10th gets lost in the different cultures or can take on new meanings.

    • I love it when you share thoughts like this, Barehand. So very educating…🙂

  7. Hello Donna,
    With a gemini MC (cancer mercury), a cancer sun in it, in opposition to saturn in capricorn in 4th; Plus a 6th house moon in aquarius conjunct chiron square to jupiter, the relationship with my mother(a capricorn) is very bad and there is still no hope, but the relationship with my father was very good, his sun was conjunct mine.
    My father was the boss of the family especially for the money, the house and big decisions. My mother was in the house ruling around, always too busy with her work inside the house to be caring for her children. Sorry for the comments not coresponding to an ideal family story.

    • I have the conjunction with my father too, and I was always his favorite.
      And don’t worry, most people’s family stories are far from ideal..

  8. This is interesting because those two places are probably the most active in my chart and I can relate to what you have pointed out. Neither of my parents were good parents, but when I was young it was my mother who wore the pants. I have chiron and north node at my IC. My paternal grandmother was a big figure in my life with stability and love. I have pluto at the MC. I had a couple stepmothers and various step siblings (what a mess) and I have uranus at the MC also. I always felt so invaded because of that, forced to accept them and such. It has taken me years to deal with all of that (my cancer moon) and let myself come to peace with it for my own sake and thanks to learning astrology. I believe I have been a bit of a saturnian mother though – I have saturn in the 5th and have taken my parenting skills very seriously. Not sure because I was adamant I was not going to be like my parents or because of saturn is there or both. Interestingly my son has his moon in taurus at the MC and my daughter has hers in taurus in the 4th – my husband and I are both taurus. Love how this all works.

    • I was a Saturn kind of parent too, but I think that is natural for some of us
      to compensate for the lacks of our parents.

  9. Very interesting about Pluto and grandmothers. My natal Pluto is conjunct my natal midheaven. I did not have living grandmothers at any time in my life, but my maternal grandmother, who in fact died at the age of 27 giving birth to my mother, has always felt very close. (My mother gave birth to me when she was 27!). I had severe asthma as an infant; “died”briefly on one occasion at the age of 18 months. Ever since I can remember, I have been aware of a female presence who was there for me whenever I was in the hospital and over the years, the feeling that this presence is my maternal grandmother, has grown. My tenth house is governed by Virgo; (Pluto is in the ninth; in Leo) and the only planet it contains is the moon.
    Judith

    • I do think Pluto can relate to contact with people who have passed into the spirit form. When I had an important Pluto transit a few years ago, I did feel that I was in contact with grandparents, my father, and a very beloved cat who had all died.

  10. Hmmm, very interesting.

    Midheaven in Scorpio…unaspected except for a square to my Moon.

    Moon in Leo…unaspected except for a square to my Midheaven/IC (and trine to NN – that’s the key to unlocking the door).

    Scored ‘zero’ in the Moon test.

    Mother issues? Check. Female Boss issues? Check. Mother wore pants? Check.

    Moon squaring Midheaven is suddenly making a whole lotta sense.

  11. Hah. My parents fought over who had the pants all the time. There’s no clear winner on that one for me.

  12. I’m wondering about Pluto MH too. My younger son who is pursuing extremely complex mathematics in his PhD loves his grandmothers, but I never saw either of their roles to be very strong in his life and he has Pluto right on the MH . He’s always been the kind of kid who seemed almost ambivalent about older family members.
    I will have to ask him who (besides me!) could have that kind of role in his life.

    • my son said: “Not really.
      I’ve had a lot of women that I hold in high regard for their wisdom, abilities, or knowledge. For that matter, I don’t have any extra father figures, either”

      so in this case, maybe I just was a Plutonian kind of mother? (which sounds pretty harsh)

  13. Just got my boss’s birth data. his Neptune and Venus form a grand trine with my saturn.
    his Jupiter and Sun form a grand trine with my Mars.
    How about that!

  14. Hello Donna,
    I’m holding a question from so long, I missed the MH Q&A, but this post seems even closer to it, so I’ll try.
    I worry, how does it happen so, that Sun or Mars represent the father, the Moon the mother and such, 4th and 10th houses represent them too and what’s left to represent us then, isn’t this OUR natal chart after all?

    I’m aware of the fact that our parents have huge influence over us, our ways of expressing emotions especially, but are these influences really as strong and inescapable when it comes to carrier and bosses? How does it happen that some people are less influenced?
    For example, how could it be expressed in a chart if we have had a conflict with the parent wearing pants and consciously decide that our carrier or public image (which the 10th represents too) will not be what they taught/set example/expect us it should be?

    There is something very interesting in what you are saying about Germans. I don’t know if there are any reading this now, but I have such observation that they are very strict at following rules and orders and they would rarely break the law. (At least that’s how it seems when I look at them generally, from an eastern-European point of view) I guess they are taught to do so from their early age, which can explain why they see the mother like somebody who impose order and teach following the rules of the society – sounds Saturnine to me.

    • As I mentioned at the end of the article, the connection of the MH to parental authority is important because it shapes the way we relate to authority figures, such as bosses, as adults.

      We’ll be going into this in more detail in later articles in the series. Briefly, If our parental authority figures were harsh, we can become fearful and angry at authority figures in general. That fear or that anger would then cause us to behave in ways that hinder our chances of success in our careers.

      You ask: ” are these influences really as strong and inescapable when it comes to carrier and bosses? How does it happen that some people are less influenced?”

      Good questions. I’ve worked in administration, and can say that it’s more prevalent than you think. However, some people have more maturity and stability (a more benign Saturn, perhaps) and don’t act out at work. Or perhaps, they have better aspects to their MH/IC axis. Others are more compelled to relive their family dramas on the job, perhaps due to tougher MH/IC aspects. Donna

      • Thank you for the answers, I’ll try to wait patiently to see the next posts, because it is a really interesting and very important topic.

      • Donna, I absolutely agree with that explanation!🙂
        What I can add to this is the revelation that the mother figures I had were all different faces of my Mom mirroring different conflicts we had at certain stages of life.
        Gabby

      • Donna, my last reply on Mother-Moon went to the original comment of Dobromira, since there was no reply button available there.😦

    • Hi Dobromira,

      I love your question: “what’s left to represent us?”. I used to have that confusion and gave the same answer finally. :))

      I participated in a Huber astrology course years ago. (Huber method has been practiced in Germany and Switzerland for over 40 years. In his system Saturn represents the mother. His influence could explain Donna’s experience.) He says that the Moon represents us. Or the Moon is the emotional self and Sun is the mental/concious self. This is one way of looking at it.

      I had quite strong influence from my mother’s side about how life should be lived: 10th house ruler Moon conjunct Pluto. And I very conciusly tried to manage to live my life my way: Uranus (co ruler of 4th) exactly squarring MH from the 1st house.

      At my previous jobs I had several mother and father figure bosses – it was so clearly obvious.
      I started to follow my own dream vocation a year ago. They are gone…

      • Thank you Gabby for your personal example.
        I haven’t yet seen any similarity between my bosses and my parents – my bosses usually have valued me and I somehow manage to earn their respect (Venus from the 1st trines MH probably) while for the parents things stay a bit different. This is why I’m usually so confused when it comes to looking at the 10th house to discover clues for both things (parents and bosses).
        Anyway, it is always better to be your own boss and I wish you success with your dream vocation🙂

      • Thanks for clarifying the Huber point of view on the Moon. You pinned it that that was where the experience in Switzerland and Germany came from. The Moon is what you said, but I still think the Moon is also bit the mother…or maybe it’s just more pronounced in natives of the Cancerian country of the US of A!

        Folks, if you’re still not convinced and you’re a subscriber, send me a recent email of a Skywriter post, and I’ll send you the free booklet for subscribers, “Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon. (Send to moonmave@spiritone.com .) Donna

      • Thank you Dobromira!

        Donna, it was my pleasure to add that fact!

        I do not see a big controversy between the Moon definitions. To make a bride: Moon represents the emotional/nurturing stuff that we receive from the mother, an imprint on loving that we carry on. And the Sun represents the father issues, how we learn to acheive things and manage ourselves in the world – according to the traditional ways. They are like the Yin and Yang qualities.
        Gabby

      • LOL! Not even 5 minutes went by since I proposed that challenge on the ebooklet about the Moon and the Mother, and one of you, Tara, wrote with a challenge of her own.

        She said that she is one of 5 siblings, and not one of them has the same Moon, so how did I explain that? I told her I’d like to share my response with you, as I’ll just bet there are a few of you out there thinking the same thing:

        Hi, Tara, a valid question, and one I addressed in the book the booklet is drawn from (The Moon in your Life) but possibly not in the attached booklet.

        As I explain there, the Moon signs and aspects of children in a family are almost like a history of the mother’s life during her childbearing years and of her relationship with each child in turn.

        What it’s like for a woman to have a first child (and adapt to motherhood for the first time) can be very different from having a second child (often overwhelming if they are born close together) and so on, down to the “baby” of the family.

        The fact that the 5 children in your family have different Moons is not at all unexpected, for try as she might, Mom does not respond the same to each child, due to what is going on in the family and her responsibilities and challenges at the time. Not to mention that the synastry between her chart and each child’s is different, which presents clues to how they mutually affect one another.

        Accordingly, the transits she was having at the time of each birth are different, and since those planetary positions are part of the child’s chart, that child is like a permanent marker of that transit. (e.g. was she having a Saturn conjunction to the MH for one child and a debilitating conjunction of Neptune to the Moon for another?)

        Those Moon signs and aspects are a bit of family history incarnate in the child’s chart, and one you may be able to read if you study the Moons.

        Sometimes, though, when the situation remains pretty much the same, you’ll see patterns in the Moon signs–either the aspects are similar or the element of the Moon is the same (Taurus Moon, child #1, Capricorn #2, when the mother has to go to work) and at times the signs can actually be the same.

        My family is an example. I’m the oldest and have an Aries Moon conjunct the Midheaven and trine Mars; my brother comes next with an Aries Moon square Mars in Cancer. My younger sister has Moon in Scorpio conjunct the Midheaven and quincunx Mars.

        None of us had easy Moons or loving relationships to our mother, but my sister’s was a train wreck and clearly indicated a turn for the worse in my mother’s life. What happened? Mom very nearly died when my sister was born, the family was split up while she recovered, and things took a really bad downturn financially to bare survival for a while.

        How’s that for an explanation? Donna

      • It’s a great one! As are all of yours😉 Now I’m going to try to make sense of the 10 year period in which me & my siblings were born … I forgot how gob-struck I always get by the myriad aspects in family members’ charts! I’m too novice to really know what to make of any of it but just the fact that there is so much in common amazes me.
        Thanks for the reply Donna.

      • Wow! Donna, my oldest daughter has moon in Sag. My second daughter has moon in Scorpio and is also a Sun in Scorpio. I have Saturn in Scorpio and a Pluto/moon conjunction in the 8th.

        My relationship with oldest daughter (who has Saturn in 3rd) has little of the intensity that I experience with her sibling. a Virgo, with moon and rising in Sag, my biggest issue with her is her passive aggressive tendencies. My 12th ruled by Sag e.g. Hidden or unconscious agenda from her?

        My rell. With moon in Scorpio daughter intense, close, most challenging of my life yet most rewarding. To get to the point, guess what I was experiencing at her birth? Her father beat me up the night before she was born, including punches to the stomach. I brought her home from the hospital to an eviction notice on my door. Left the abusive rel. When she was 3 months old. I was only 19 with two babies and supported us by myself the next decade.

  15. In my case, I´m not sure who was the nurturing parent and who was the authority figure… I have Cancer on the cusp of the Midheaven and Capricorn on the IC! (Is this a case of houses mutual reception?). Anyway, I was mostly raised by my mother´s mother.

    My parents are a sort of responsability for me, my dad has a mental illness and my mom has suffered from depression since I was a little girl, so maybe that Capricorn in the 4th house (with Saturn in the 1st.) make A LOT of sense.

    My Moon make many difficult aspects but it´s the most aspected planet of my chart. I love to have it on the 11th house and I feel a bit Aquarian…

  16. I find this fascinating and can’t wait to start looking at all my saved charts! I was taught (at some point? read somewhere?) that you look to the 4th house for the father and the 10th for the mother – which seemed opposite but I got used to the idea, perhaps because in my chart my parents were like caricatures that jumped off the page. It may be totally oversimplifying it, but my dad is Neptune in Sag … a drunk Santa basically and my mom is Mars in Gemini … verbal warrior. They are in exact opposition too.

  17. Like Jack above with the difficult parents, I too have Mars MH. Both my parents fought like cats and dogs when I was young, the kind of drama that keeps mental health professionals employed and is the fodder of disturbing movies of difficult childhoods. Astonishingly, they stayed together. There was certainly no winning or losing to these arguments and they impacted the ability of both parents to be nuturing to anyone. Even more interesting was that I, an Aries sun ruled by Mars, became the top negotiator in the War of the Worlds while my Taurus brother “went to ground”. Neither of us was unscathed. My father had traditional ideas of what’s a “guy” role without the nurturing effect of sunshine and felt better seeking the approval of peers and superiors; my mother provided intellectual nurturing, but was so impacted by the family conflict that she had little left to give. I don’t mean to make this sound like Queen for a Day here, but in this kind of environment, it is no wonder that people joke that I seem so different from the rest of my family. I’m funny, optimistic and kind, perhaps “too kind” if there is such a thing. Sorry for the “overshare” but family dynamics and how they play out have always been interesting to me perhaps because I grew up in my own Petrie dish!

    • Hi Marcia
      I’m an Aries sun with Mars on the MH as well! My parents did split (when I was 9) but your post really resonated with me – your self-description fits me too and I am a bit of a black sheep in my family as well (there are 5 kids and I’m definitely different!). I love the petrie dish reference!🙂 haha

      • OK, even weirder, I’m actually the youngest of 5. Dad was married, had 3 kids, divorced, married Mom, had the 2 of us.

    • Ref. Donna C’s note below, yes, BOTH parents were officers in the military, Dad longer than Mom. Ah, Mars.

  18. My Taurus MC is squared by Saturn and Pluto conjunct a Leo ASC and tightly opposed by Jupiter in Scorpio. I have no planets in the 10th. My dad (Taurus Sun) was a Naval officer used to being instantly obeyed but he was gone a lot of the time. Mom (Gemini Sun) had to perform both parental roles when he was at sea.

    Although both were pretty good parents, neither knew how to comfortably share the roles – or the power – when dad was home, so the parenting I received was replete with mixed messages, demands and expectations that were inconsistently applied.

  19. Very interesting. I have Uranus conjunct my Midheaven, and my first thought was, no, no, that interpretation (“parenting is often erratic and unconventional, with parents and even stepparents coming and going”) doesn’t work for me, because my parents stayed married as long as both were alive, and my mother still feels too married to my father to become involved with anyone else.

    But – when I was a year old, my father decided to serve as a chaplain in the army and went to Korea for a year. My mother moved with me to her parents’ house in Chicago. Six months later, my grandfather died. Around that time, also, my aunt (who had been living at home ) married. Then after a year in Korea, my father came back and moved us to Texas. So I lost every important person in my life, other than my mother, during that period of time – the kids I played with in my birthplace, my father, my grandfather, my aunt, and then after my father came home, my grandmother – and even, to a certain extent, my mother who would have been newly preoccupied with reuniting with my father. It had a huge effect on my life, even though my family was stable after that. Guess that Uranus interpretation applies after all!

  20. Venus in Leo conjunct the midheaven. My dad (a Taurus) most definitely wore the pants in the family. More accurately, he doled out the money.

  21. Haha, both my parents and a big part of the family have a working residence in Germany for nearly 30 yrs now, so i can pretty figure what they meant by wanting to mold the mother symbol through the Saturn seal.

    It´s the first time tough that i hear about it and dont know the astro-cultural background of this legacy, but the premise appears interesting enough in respect on how partial we are and can be in our ways of incoding and decoding the teachings. Taking Germany from the culturo-economical standpoint, we have a country nearly completely devastated 50 yrs ago (something like Japan, and it´s worth comparing them on the near past/immanent future dewelopmental path) that´s been forecasted within the European Union scene the most stable governal policy. They estimate that, while the today biggest players will crumble and shutter, Germany will rise in prominence becouse it has a bether long therm agenda and where others just talk, she do in fact implement. As Japan, the German culture knows it all about the given word, productivity, punctuality and boundaries, and for having such strong national self discipline you have to be trained from the most tender age, and believe they are.

    About the MC/IC “pants” flag, i personally tend to avoid the bias by focusing first on the position of the mother´s and father´s Sun sign, it´s location and prominence within the given chart and analyzing the question from that point of wiew. It is a much more precise reference than fishing infos from a pivotal point that can be allways read from both sides.

    Within the dewelopmental psychology branch, they claim that the mother role informs and shapes our basic relationship we have with ourself, the internal wiring of the soul sort of speak, and mother has the grip in charge by our 7th year of life. The father on the other hand is said to inform and shape our social being, our reactive attitude and the wires we run through the socety, as it´s role is to teach the skills of survival. So, by 14 we´re in his spiritual care, while from that piont we enter in adolescence and learn how to manage and harvest with our sole might. Now, by a glimpse we could see this description perfectly fits the traditional IC/Mother – MC/Father legacy, but we must be aware we are working through a fairly partial patriarchic frame here. In my personal oppinion, true archetypes are basicly genderless i.e. the gender is the last important element of their mechanism.

    On the other hand, the IC and the MC are SO MUCH MORE than just the father or mother symbol in the chart, and by far, i found them speaking more about the instructions that we recieved through the parental roles, about the relationship itself we had with them, rather than who the was or are, or what they did or thought.

    Blessings,
    Sha

    • Thanks for sharing your experience of Germany, Sha, and your thoughts on the mother and father. Of course, there is much more than to both parents than their authority and nurturing roles. The reason I am focusing on that in this article is because it’s one of a series that explores the many facets of the Midheaven and its relationship to our careers. Donna

      • Greetings Donna,

        i wasnt adressing the concept personally why, as you have so much subscribers joining in the discussion, it happens that you pratically have a little forum running up here lol 🙂

        Yeah, Germans, they know it all about Saturn as they learned it in the hardest way . . After the 2WW meltdown, Saturn is basicly the on who resurected them, who could gave birth to the new life as no other basis withstand to deliver the final green light in such proportion . .

        I have nataly the Sun on the IC so i´m compelled to dig in and explore this axsis for all what i can, you can adress that statement of mine under it, and gosh, i didnt mean to yell, those capital letters can be tricky sometimes :3

        You have four thumbs up from my part for this article,
        love, Sha

      • Oh, I didn’t think you were yelling, Sha, just adding value to the great discussion we’re having. Donna

  22. Uranus smack dab on the MC here, conjunct Moon within three degrees in Cancer. Mom had moon in Cancer and Dad had sun there.
    Nurturing? Disciplinarian? Neither one of my parents was good at either. My dad was prone to fits of hypercritical rage, but it didn’t seem to a form of discipline.
    He was not a good dad. He was irresponsible but when he was in a good mood, he could be fun.
    At one point in my early life, my mom seemed to expect me to nurture her, instead of the other way around. She swung between being so oppressively smothering I couldn’t breathe and sort of just not there. At one point in my early adult life, she just took off and didn’t tell anyone where she was going.
    Once I had a mind of my own and she figured out that I was not just a little genius in kid’s clothing, she didn’t seem to like me very much.

    I never got one iota of guidance about the world and how to deal with household tasks, higher education, work and personal relationships from her. At one point I worked for my father, but again, he didn’t ever give me any good guidance about life,either.
    I finally grew up emotionally when they died.
    Almost everything I know about life and how to live, I taught myself after I was an adult.
    I think this is probably consistent with Moon conjunct Uranus on the MC square Neptune.

    • “I finally grew up emotionally when they died.” Oy. What a telling and a relatable statement!

      That is a whole other discussion we should have one day. (Or maybe this IS the day.) About what a relief it can be–and how healing and freeing–when a parent who has been incredibly problematic finally dies. That’s true of both of mine–AND my brother. And I say that despite what I can only describe as dedicated and heroic efforts to heal myself of family wounds. Donna

    • Do have that discussion one day, please! I’ve always suspected that would be so, coz once you reach 20 parents-problematic or not- are such a PITA anyway. But I’m only 30 and both my parents are alive and kicking, so I need to hear this from older people you have experienced it. One of the most usual threat lines/guilt trips my venusian parents used was “one day you’ll regret your bitter words, but it’ll be too late, I’ll be dead and gone”. To that I used to answer “oh,don’t mind me, croak anytime you like, I’ll cope”, but in the last decade I’ve shut my mouth, coz when they finally do, I want to be (guilt) free as a bird. And you know what happens to plutonians who shut up, huh? That’s it, I’ll say no more, with Neptune in the 4th, it’s against the law to badmouth your family!

    • Hi MEL810 – Your last paragraph about not being taught by your parents was true for me too. In high school, I finally resorted to taking a “Bachelor Survival” class – I was one of the only girls. And despite getting good grades throughout school, neither of my parents gave a hoot (or even mentioned) me going on to college, let alone provided any guidance as far as a career goes. Like you, there was even a time when I worked at the office where both parents worked – they didn’t train me though. I learned on my own prior to working there.

      My Aquarius Moon squares my 2nd/3rd house Neptune/Mercury/Jupiter, so maybe this had a similar effect to your Uranus/Neptune square. Now that I think about it, my Uranus does widely square my Jupiter which is conjunct my Mercury (ruler of my Midhaven). Veeeeery interesting.

  23. This post really made me think a lot, thanks again for being such an awesome paradigm shifter, Donna! I would say that my father (who was physically and verbally abusive) was probably the more “authoritarian” figure, but noticing my chart ruler Neptune on my MC, really seems to show more that my parents simply weren’t there to support me. Maybe with Venus conjuncting from the other side protected me from worse, I think I turned out mostly OK😉. My MC and these planets are all in Sag, there was much more intellectualizing of situations and no emotion really, (except from some crazy outbursts from my nutso dad), my sensitive Libra Sun/Cancer moon/Pis asc combo really would have done better with more (any) nourishment and a lot more subtlety and learning, instead of belittling, screaming, and hitting.

    It was interesting just now to go back and look at the synastry between my parents and I. My mom is Ari sun/Tau moon, not sure of Asc (thinking Virgo here), Dad is Tau sun/Vir moon, really not sure of Asc for him. I mostly thought I just didn’t relate to them with each of them having “a bit of earth” to my complete lack (other than Chiron). I notice that my dad’s Venus is right on my IC, opposite Nep and Venus. His Sun is opp my Uranus and my Mars is on their Pluto (more of a generational thing probably), their Nep’s are smack dab in the middle of my 5 planet stellium of Libra (my 7th house), and square my 5th house moon in Cancer (which is conjunct their Uranus). Mom’s mars is conjunct my Neptune, her Sun is opp my Saturn and my other Libra planets (Jup/Merc/Pluto/Sun) are all opp her Moon and Venus. There is a whole lot of tension there for whatever reason and it looks to me like the relationship would have been pretty hard in any case, my parents had things stacked against them to begin with. Anyhoo, this was neat to look at. I always love how I learn something new about myself each time I study a chart.

    • Neptune on the MH and a physically abusive parent? That would make me wonder 1) was he the type to get drunk and abuse you, and 2) did he also abuse your mother? that would make both parents Neptunian. Donna

      • I have Pisces on the MH, and my grandmother was physically brutal!

  24. Hi Donna, this explains a lot. I have Neptune in Scorpio conjunct a Sag MC. As you described it, both of my parents were not always available for me. My Dad is a Scorpio who used to have a bad drinking problem and my mom was a Sag who wore the pants in the family (but was too busy to be a mom in the classic sense). My sun squares my MC so this didn’t work out so well for me. Now I know. Thanks.

  25. If a chart does not have a planet conjunct the MC, will the natural house of the planet ruling the sign on the MC have information to add? I.e; with Gemini on the MC, will the 3rd house and any planets there be of significance?

    • Hmm, as far fetched as this sounds at first, it could make sense. I have a Gemini MH, and Uranus in the 3rd- Scorpio on the cusp, and both my parents are Aquarian Plutonians. Hmmm-I repeat!

    • Well, Gemini on the Midheaven would add to the significance of all the Mercury-related placements, like the 3rd, but then Mercury’s house placement would be more significant because it would be the ruler of the 10th. Donna C.

      • Now look what you’ve done, Donna C.!!! You make a statement that raises a question that you don’t want to answer, coz you’re retired from chart interpretation. How wise is that?🙂

      • I think I see what Gemini on the MH with Mercury in the 3rd could mean…my Dad was in the military and we moved ALOT. The 3rd contains a stelium containing Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus…we moved a lot but stayed together?!

      • Very interesting, Donna. I’ve seen some charts of “military brats” that had Aries or Mars associaterd with the MH/IC.

        With Gemini so prominent, did your siblings play a big role–the older ones take on some parenting functions, for instance, or if you were older, did you have a lot of responsibility for them? Or maybe you had to stick together more than mostr kids because if you’re moving all the time, you don’t readily make or keep friends? Donna C.

    • All we’ve mentioned and more…plus: Maybe it show that my dad was witty, unpredictable and immature…he was basically one osf the kids. Mars in the 4th shows that Mom held everything together. Could that be it?

      • Mars in Capricorn at the end of the 4th…

  26. Hello… my MC/IC axis is @ 17 Libra and Aries. No natal planets conj either the MC or IC. I have natal Neptune 14 degrees away from MC in the 9th in Libra, and natal moon 17 degrees away from the MC in Scorpio in the 10th.

    My parents were not together after I was 6 months old so I had no father while growing up. I spent a good deal of my childhood living with my maternal grandmother, or going back and forth between her and my mother, until I was grown up, and then married.

    I don’t know exactly what the chart indicates as far as the parents are concered, all I know really is how I lived it as a child and growing up, part time between mom and grandma, and no father involved ever.

    • Tough times growing up, LJ. The Scorpio Midheaven is similar to what I wrote about Pluto, the tie to the grandmother. Donna

  27. What an interesting question. Having a fixed grand cross with my Aquarius sun in the fourth house oppose Uranus in the 10th in Leo (although a bit wide for a true conjunction to my Midheaven) square my Moon/Neptune in Scorpio in my first house, oppose Mars in the 7th… it is fairly obvious neither of my parents wore the pants. My brilliant, but absent, Dad cast a huge shadow, but wasn’t as powerful as he might have been were he more present. My alcoholic mother was well intentioned but incapable. I, the eldest, made the school lunches, sat for siblings, and ventured into the neighborhood to discover unusual, often creative, individuals to inspire us to take risks in the world. (Thank you, Uranus!) Neither of my parents really kept track of me, and that freedom, ultimately, saved my life. Loving, and doing the best they could, I have nothing but profound love and compassion for my parents. My dad was the provider, but my mom always got her way. What they dealt with and focused on, had very little to do with running the house and children. We, the children, did that on our own: In essence, we raised ourselves. To answer your question–we, the children, wore the pants in the family and they kept falling down.

    • “To answer your question–we, the children, wore the pants in the family and they kept falling down.”

      What a good way to put it. Sounds like it summarizes childhood not only for you but for a lot of folks who are reading this.

      Where are the folks with Jupiter or Venus on the MH? Oh, I know, they’ve gone home to their folks for a big, old fashioned Sunday dinner. Donna

      • i just checked all of the people in my personal file and I found one. my deceased nephew (died by violence) was abandoned by his mother when he was about 5 years old. his father, a poor caretaker, raised him. He has Jupiter in cancer in the 10th house, and following the cancer sign, his moon is in the 8th. Not a happy person, I can tell you that for sure.

  28. My 9th house retrograde Gemini Mars is conjunct my Midhaven and squares Pluto (conjunct my Ascendant) in the 12th. Both parents had a strong Gemini influence – my father was an imposing, articulate double Scorpio whose Moon was in Gemini (conjunct my MC), and my Taurus mother’s Venus was in Gemini. Although my mom was less educated than my father, she was still witty, with a sharp tongue she wasn’t afraid to use. She was fearless and could sometimes be cruel in her observations. Except for the 3-4 days a week when my father traveled, there was constant fighting in my home growing up. Much as I hated pointless arguing (and still do), I learned the value words can have when used as a weapon against hypocrisy or to protect someone. My parents had a volatile, yet “passionate” relationship; sometimes the only thing they agreed on was their mutual anger, which was occasionally aimed at me, the designated family scapegoat.

    My MC and Mars trine my Aquarius Moon and Libra Ceres, so thankfully, both parents were relatively good role models professionally. And to some extent both parents recognized and nurtured my intellectual and managerial abilities. Throughout my life, I’ve been blessed in my relationships with certain authority figures (outside the home) who have encouraged me professionally and creatively. Both my Midhaven and IC placements reflect this.

    My 4th house Saturn sits at the exact midpoint of my closest square, that of my Scorpio Mercury (and Neptune/Jupiter) to my Aquarius Moon. While I think this sums up my relationship with both parents , it probably best describes my mother (her Saturn was conjunct my Sun) as well as the overall mood in our home, which was never a fun or happy place – I escaped as often as I could and practically lived at my friends’ homes.

    My parents were responsible bread-winners who remained faithful to one another until they divorced, and loyal to one another until death. They made sure I was well fed and clothed and that I regularly visited both sets of grandparents, attended school (and Sunday-school) and did my homework (Saturn trines 8th house South Node, sextile North Node/Venus in the 2nd). Both parents did have their tender moments when I was able to genuinely feel their love, but more often than not, I experienced love as an abstract concept. I knew I was loved, but didn’t FEEL it. I often questioned my worth, and felt as if love was something I had to earn. Pluto is conjunct my Ascendant and I did feel more of an unconditional love coming from my grandparents, particularly my maternal grandmother. My maternal aunts and uncles have also been loving.

    As my parents grew older, I took on significant responsibilities relating to their care. I loved them but was relieved when I was finally free of those responsibilities.

    • Guess I never did answer the question as far as who wore the pants. My mom mostly raised us and mostly made the day to day decisions since my dad was preoccupied with his other interests. He rarely got involved, but when he did, he had final say – especially with the big stuff, like where we lived and/or went to school. There was this one time he wouldn’t let me stay with friends outside of town, and to this day, I’m sooo glad he put his foot down (must have been his Scorpio intuition).

      Neither of my parents really guided me, nor did they make a lot of rules, so most of the time it was pretty much up to me to use my best judgment. If I got in trouble (which only happened a few times), it was up to me to get myself out. I was also in charge of my younger sibling, which was a huge responsibility in our rough neighborhood.

  29. This subject is close to my heart. I agree with you about the 10th representing the authoritative parent and the 4th the nurturing one. My mother is both authoritative and nurturing and she appears in different ways in both houses. My father is kind but passive and was not around for the hard work when we were children. Both my 10th and 4th houses are co-ruled by Venus and Mars (one Aries/Taurus, the other Libra/Scorpio), as in both the second sign is intercepted; the Moon is in the 4th (conjunct Mars); the Sun in the 10th (with Venus and 3 other planets). So, things are quite complicated. While the Sun is in the 10th house and might suggest my father was the authority, it is closely conjunct Neptune, and other ‘gentle’ planets, which suggests otherwise. My Moon is in Taurus, ruled by Venus, which rules the MC (though my 10th house holds a Scorpio stellium), and perhaps signifies the way my mother took power (in an unconscious Sun-conjunct-Pluto-in-Cancer kind of way).

    I have read that Noel Tyl associates the mother’s influence (for good or ill) with the North Node, particularly when it conjuncts a planet or angle. Mine is conjunct the NN and I have to agree that my mother has had a strong impact on the direction I have taken in life.

    • I hadn’t read that about the North Node being associated with the mother, and I don’t know that I agree. There are so many people in our lives who help us to learn the Nodal lessons.

      In your case, with the NN conjunct the Midheaven and thus the South Node conjunct the IC, that’s plenty to explain why it’s true for you that your Mom was so important. (I would wonder whether Noel had the Moon or Cancer or the 4th house connected with his Nodes, and that’s why he came to that conclusion.

      I’ll tell you what–why don’t you ask Donna Van Toen? She’s an expert on the Nodes and is going to lead a Q&A session on that topic here tomorrow. She wrote a book about the subject (The Astrologer’s Node Book) and will start an online course on the Nodes in a couple of weeks at the International Academy of Astrology. Donna C.

      • Just to note that I checked and neither the Moon nor the 4th house are connected with Noel Tyl’s node.

        I think his point is specific to strong conjunctions to the Node within a natal chart, not to synastry contacts with the Nodes.

      • Thanks for the info, MRL.

  30. Oh this is a fascinating one. Just to muddy the waters, I have Capricorn on the Midheaven (with Saturn in Aquarius in the 10th) and Cancer on the IC (Venus in Leo in the 4th). Dad was a Capricorn, Mum is a Cancerian.

    I have, all my life, had a fear of transgressing authority – an almost paranoid fear. Be seen to do the right thing. I don’t have a clue where that comes from – not parental pressure, that’s for sure. They have been the gentlest of souls all my life, particularly my Dad. He was a nurturer, and a very good cook, and wanted nothing more than his family around him. Travelling any distance made him long for home. He used to sing Sinatra’s “It’s Nice to go travelling but it’s so much nicer to come home” whenever we were on the way back from a holiday. Cancer on the 4th .. that says Dad to me.

    Mum is steely – she may be a Cancerian Sun sign but she’s of the generation that also has Pluto in Cancer. That’s ferocious nurturing. She looked after my Dad until she was literally told by a doctor – no more. She’s the one who, like me, fears transgressing authority. She’s highly security conscious, and there’s a lingering religious streak that goes back through her grandparents into something called “Primitive Methodism” (church without the frills and stained glass windows, long sermons on hard wooden benches) which reeks of Saturn to me. Very Old Testament. So Capricorn on the 10th – although it’s Dad’s Sun sign, is definitely Mum.

    • Hmm. A mom who was steely? Steely is a Capricornian word, and so perhaps she is the stronger influence on you as far as career goes. It sounds like what you’re describing is that you absorbed your mother’s beliefs about authority and the need for security and that is in large part where your fear of authority comes from.

      Your description of your relatively stable and nurturing family life may be an illustration of the difference between having a planet on the Midheaven vs. having the sign that it rules.

      Having Capricorn on the Midheaven is far less harsh than having Saturn there. Similar in terms of a traditional upbringing, but not so stern as having the Saturnian parent. Donna

  31. Hey Donna! What a wonderful idea, starring the MC in a series of articles! The current Pluto transit through my 6th house (where the Cap Sun is) has been squaring my MC, and so I find myself wondering why haven’t I been more ambitious in life, professionally speaking. My father was definetly that Aries MC, very energetic but also moody (I never knew when he was going to cheer me up or explode on me!). My mother was the Libra IC, always keeping the peace in the family, but the IC-Saturn conj and the 4th house Pluto come mostly from my father and his family. Interesting to see how father and mother can be in both houses, in some ways… Also very interesting to think of how all this has an impact in the way we relate to authority: as confident as I am in my working skills, I find it hard to stand up to my bosses when they’re wrong, probably because they have all shown such an Aries-like behaviour to me (inspiring one day, raving mad the next!)

    Looking forward to more MC posts!

  32. So insigthful and funny at the same time, thanks! I have MC in Scorpio, with Uranus conjuncting it from the 9th house. In my family, it was my mum who wore the pants, because my Bohemian father had other things than parenting on his mind, although he was fond of me in his own way. But it was always a bit unpredictable with him.

    My mum did her best to turn my unruly Arian self into a “good girl”, who doesn’t break the rules and fits in nicely. But sometimes she would use a bit of emotional blackmail and guilt trips to achieve this. She herself had psychological problems most of her life, including chronic depression. Probably the strongest influence was my grandmother, who was very nurturing and my happiest childhood memories are due to her. I even called her “Mom”. I have Moon conjunct Saturn square Pluto … it was interesting to hear about the Pluto-Moon connection🙂

    • What a vivid family portrait you’ve given in just two short paragraphs, Alice! It sounds like you’re living out the Uranus and Pluto/Scorpio patterns I described. This is why blogging is so exciting to me–people sharing their stories help us all to learn more about how the astrological patterns play out in real life. Donna

  33. Donna, thanks for your reaction! Can I have one beginner’s question? Is it possible to assume that the issues we’ve had to deal with in relation to authority figures (MC as the pants-wearers) somehow cause us to gravitate towards a particular vocation (MC as career?) later in life. Is there a direct link (e.g. a Scorpionic/Plutonian mother struggling with her psyche causing one to take up psychology/astrology to understand the human personality), etc? Thank you!

    • Ah, your question isn’t out of line, Alice, and not exactly a beginner’s question. If it were part of a course, it would be Vocational Astrology 201!

      I’ll be considering questions like these later in the series. Briefly, the answer to your question is YES.

      One of my ebooks (The Outer Planets as Vocational Indicators…ak.a. The Outer Planets and Inner Life, volume 1) goes into that in considerably detail, exploring each outer planet, the ways they affect our career struggles, and the careers we choose.

      This is such a rich topic, this midheaven series, and I’m really looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned in all these 40+ years of helping people understand their careers. Donna

  34. I’m not sure how my Uranus conjunct Gemini IC matches my parents I have no planets just nodes in my 4th and 10th house. My dad ruled the house he made the money. He was a gambler but we always had a house over our head and food on the table.
    My mother a Leo my dad Aquarius. My mom was very emotional and my dad treated her like a doormat. She was the caregiver but as I became older I’m talking 10 yrs I took on many responsibilities for both my sibblings and foster children we cared for.
    My mom came into herself when I was about 12 and found her spiritual gifts and was a gifted medium. This had a tremendous influence on my beliefs to this day. She tutored me in these things. This was something my dad repected since his mother was a healer and he helped her establish a church in the home since he was dying of cancer and felt this would help her survive.

    My mom didn’t drive she was from NY where she could take the subway but the family moved to FL where she was stranded and she didn’t handle the bills had no money of her own.
    So I learned to drive when I was 16. Took the bus to work when I was still in high school to earn money for a car. My dad wouldn’t put me on his car insurance policy so I had to earn more to be independant.

    So is the uranus in the 4th my rebellion for independance from my father?
    Adrienne

    • Oh, yeah, Uranus in the 4th, rebelling against your father…and yet as the years go on (especially Uranus opposite Uranus at Midlife) surprising yourself by finding ways you are like him but not so extremely. Wait and see!! Donna

      PS. And don’t say “only the Nodes on the MH/IC”–ask Donna Van Toen about them tomorrow in the Q&A session on the nodes!

  35. Taurus rules MC with VE (Sco) conj IC (Sco) in a yod with out of bounds MO in Cap in the 5th and UR in Gemini in the 10th at the apex. Mother was a nut job. Very critical, hateful and sneaky. Father eccentric and let her get away with everything. Some abuse. Lots of partiality (younger brother got everything including money for college). Both put on a good show for the outside world.

    Still trying to overcome the pain and heal.

  36. Just read the next article re: the nodes. My Gemini NN is conj that Uranus in the 10th (apex of the yod mentioned above) and Sag SN is in the fourth. So that adds a bit more info here.

  37. WHEW…well, MY eyes are bugging out after getting thru all this manic, honest, and sincere sharing in one sitting! Thanks to all. Quite enlightening.
    Just ask us about our parentals, Donna, and we’ll keep you up half the night. I’ll refrain from posting my Scorpio MC with Plutonian refrain here and only ask a question:
    Will you, please, add a post showing when the Node forum will take place on Thursday? and will that be EST or PST?
    If there is a standard time for forums, I must be too new here to be acquainted with it. Thank you, B

    • Particulars of the Q&A session on the nodes tomorrow, January 5th, 2011:

      It’s an open forum like all the Q&A sessions on this blog have been–questions and answers in the comment section of tomorrow’s post. Donna VT wants to open at 10:00 AM eastern and continue all day until she’s answered 30 questions, and then it will close. Enjoy!! Donna C.

  38. My MC is at 7′ Virgo conjunct Pluto @ 6′ 42″ Virgo. I think my MC describes both my parents as it is ruled by Mercury in Cancer in the 8th. There is a tight semi-square between my mercury and the MC/ Pl and a almost partile semi-sextile to my Leo sun in the 9th. Mars is also in the 10th @ 19′ Virgo OPP Pisces Moon.

    Crikey my parental indicators are a bit of a tangled web.

    However despite saying this my mother definitely wore the pants, and our family was strongly matriarchal typical Irish / Scottish, strong women weak &/or either heavy drinking or tee-total men. The men in our family would hand over the money and get their allowance to spend on a Friday night at the pub. My mum is a 1st house sun Aries ex-school headmistress and is a bit of a ball crusher … you wouldn’t mess with her but she is very caring and loving (in a very Capricorn Asc conjunct my Saturn 3rd Hse way …heh I married and divorced a German … I so laughed at your accurate depiction of them as my brother always said I married our mum).
    She has held her own family together despite her brothers and sisters moving to US and Canada and multiple disagreements. Very very matriarchal.

    Interestingly for me with your grandmother MC /Pluto relationship, my maternal grandmother died of cancer at only 51 when I was almost two and this caused great grief in my early childhood. She lived only a few doors away and my grandfather became very abusive to my cousin and myself when we were small children, I assume now when he was very drunk (which would be fairly often after she died) but I can vaguely recall fighting madly to get away from him. I do remember we used to have happy time taking flowers to her grave, somehow my memories of the graveyard are full of flowers.

    Pluto / MC as the signifier of death and abuse makes sense to me. Perhaps if my gran had lived we would have been close, I have always felt a sort of emotional gap in my life.

    My parental indicators appear to be rather contradictory in that my Moon is in Pisces in the 4th & my IC is ruled by a 12th house Neptune.
    My sun is in Leo which is intercepted in the 9th house SQU Neptune OPP Jupiter in Aquarius. This is my so Dad ….. the left wing revolutionary who was always arguing about politics and full of opinions especially when he’d had a few drinks! Ho hum that IC in Pisces & 12th house Neptune is always so prominent in the family. Not too unusual for us Celts!

    My parents actually have a much more equitable relationship than my mother would like to make out. She mythologised that my dad couldn’t exist without her but I suspect that he not only could but did have more of a life outside the home than he let on about. Though to the outside world she ruled the roost! I think that suited him just fine, gave him a lot more freedom.

    There is one other thing about the IC in Pisces, my father came from a very strong Protestant family and my mother is a Catholic and made him convert to Catholism in order to get married. My Father’s family held a grudge about this for a very long time as there was (& lingers still) no love lost between the Catholics and Protestants. thus i was never close to my paternal granny very much the opposite. I do remember my dad loved going to confession, mind you having come from a fire and brimstone church I guess anyone would, so perhaps he is my Pisces Moon as he was more keen on the church than my mum, until they gave it up.

    It caused a lot of tension in my early childhood and we were outsiders in my fathers family because of it. Funny thing was by the 1970’s / 80’s nobody really cared any-more and my parents dropped their religion by the time they were in their 40’s. But in my childhood it was a really huge thing.

    Oh heck sorry I have rambled on a bit. i do hope you can make some sense of it.
    This is very interetsing for me to see some very contradictory statements here. No doubt that codep / addict stuff, after all cant have one without the other.

  39. My parents were one three-legged person. LOL

    Venus is conj my MC. It’s my father’s rising planet. Uranus is not conj my IC but it’s in my 4th House. Anything vaguely related to Mercury, taking Uranus as a higher Mercury octave, is my mother in my chart.

    In my chart, I’m estimating that 4th/10th is mother/father for me.

  40. I was very surprised at your response to the uranus in the 4th and my father. I will be 65 next week so long past mid life. I do have an Aquarius Ascendant and he a Aquarius Sun, but not sure how I’m like him. He was very controling. Please give me a hint.
    I’m puzzeled. I married at 18 a man very similar to my dad now that I can look back. I did get out from under his thumb so maybe you mean independent.

    • Forget the man who is your father for a moment, even though your Aquarian Rising Sign is the same as his Aquarian Sun sign and you have Uranus in the 4th. (Mere coincidence, no doubt. Couldn’t possibly mean anything. )Think about the qualities of Aquarius and Uranus. Which of them do you embrace as your own? Donna

  41. ok, Saturn in late gemini conjunct MC and SN. Saturn makes a wide square to pluto in 1rst, doesn’t square the moon by sign or degree (both in air) but it would make for a mundane square.
    who wore the pants? in some ways, that would be my Nonna! or at least it she gave me the nurturing, reassuring and constant presence that a child needs growing up. my parents, good but complicated people, creative and intelligent. my mother was the most present and nurturing so, in my particular case Mom could fit my 4th a bit better (her jupiter is conj my IC and NN) but both of them were too emotionally immature and sometimes felt like emotional black holes to me and my younger sister. They split when I was 9, and was for the best. Dad stayed in touch always. Is interesting that many of us posting here have that strong connection with grandparents.

    just out of curiosity: does a change of sign or planets in natal 4th reflect changes in the household or parenting roles in the early years? say a person has IC in taurus conjunct jupiter, venus or the moon and then part of gemini and/or an outer planet there.

  42. My mom wore ,not only pants, but everyone’s pants….
    She was domineering, controlling and verbally abusive…my dad was on the road most of the time and, even when he would come home, he was unavailable ….depressed ,frustrated and weak……I do not have his ascendent, but he had a grand cardinal cross. This makes no sense to me because he was ultra-Saturnian….old fashioned, tightly strung, and was VERY responsible to the point of making sure we turned off lights we were using and locked our doors,etc,etc,etc….he also could not or did not communicate and would stay in his room for days when he was home….My IC is conjunct both Saturn and Pluto in 3rd and 4th in Leo. My MC is Aquarius which was my dad’s sign….
    to this day I have trouble with any authority figures and most of the male gender….having had no respect for my dad and the way my mom bossed him around.
    Pluto in the 4th is a double edged sword : it makes me hyper-sensitive to others and a good judge of people.the IC/MC axis is a particularly interesting subject – ……hurrah for having this blog!

    Molly K.

    • Wow, Molly, you belong here! So many of us with tough backgrounds!

      I’ve been meaning to write to you to ask if I could reprint an article on the Midheaven from your vast and excellent collection–The Midheaven: Aspirations and the Public Self. It would fill a much- needed place in this series about the Midheaven. Regards, Donna

  43. All of my natal planets lay below the horizon, but many of them do generously aspect the MC. When it comes to parental figures, i have a rather ambiguous relationship with both of them and the chart reflects that fact consistently. In addiction, it´s of heavily Plutonian coloration. I´m a first born.

    First, my IC/MC axis lays on the cusp Cancer/Leo – Capricorn/Aquarius, my Sun in H4, the Moon in H5. I am an Aquarius Sun/Pisces Moon with a tight Venus-Mars conjunction in Pisces.

    Regarding the MC, i have a Saturn/Venus/Mars/MC grand trine, the Sun and Jupiter in opposition and Pluto squaring it.

    My father´s Sun is Leo, my Mother´s in Capricorn, and by synastry my mother and i share a Sun to Sun conjunction, her North Node on my MC,

    and my father and i a Moon to Moon conjunction, his Mercury on my MC from my 9nth. By far, it seems like a pretty nice situation, but wait till Pluto has spoken it´s mind.

    The Pluto placement in my chart conjuncts my AC, squares the Sun (the most tight aspect i have) and trines the Moon. I have a natal Uranus-Moon square too. In addiction, my natal Moon opposes the the generational placement of my parents Pluto, and while i have both of their Pluto´s opposing my Moon, my mother´s Moon was tightly conjunct with my natal Pluto at the time of my birth and Uranus opposing it too. If i say both of their Chiron conjunct my natal Moon, while my fathers Mars conjunct my Chiron, you could start to wonder the Plutonian potential in which this relationship expanded.

    My mothers´s post-maternity depression is almost needlessly to mention, and what a big of an emotional fright did i come to be in her life at that time. It was the most darkest period of her life she expirienced till that point, the begining of her motherhood. She comes from a very large family (7 brothers and sisters) and after households switched, coming to live under my father´s parents roof, him gone pretty far pursuing the work agenda, she was left in care of people that, from the start, didnt aproove her as the bridal choice for their son, later neither as a mother as she gave birth to a female and not a male child. Her resentement compelled her to practically rise me as a male child, which i was later able to put at a good use, but did pay the consequences for it too. Despite my Pisces Moon, i am fearless when it comes to protect those weaker than me. Yes, i´m comming from a fierce patriarchy background, the Capricorn IC influence felt strongly, but things did start to change pretty soon and moove thoward the more Aquarian tangent. We changed residence and aside my parents, i had no extended family during the whole childhood in the nearsights. As for my mother, looking at the begining of her martial life, she was practically left alone with a child for the first two years in a non supportive and eaven hostile environment at times.

    My father was most of my life phisically unavaliable to me, not to mention in other ways. First he worked in permanent night shift for whole 13 years, so during the day he was allways sleeping and night at work. In our youngest years, we barely seen him, mother sister and me. No communication at all, if not for the most of the most essential, coupled with emotive explosions of all kinds and both mental and phisical abusive episodes that have started to hammer down our family. He was cracking down. Nevertless, my father is of that type that would never ever leave a family once formed, despite it all, the “we could kill eachother, but never leave” type of. I think i was around 5/6yrs when i understood that and come to take the first measurements that ultimatively destroyed my life for what it´s worth, and the relationship with both of them, but keeped the four of us in one piece and alive. I genuinely hope i´m more paranoid on that than right. The last sacrifice i´ve come to made for the peace´s sake toke 5 of my pivotal social and educational years, but after whole 20 years of factually living apart, my parents are today finally living together and they get marvelously along.

    I am one of those that dont see any common sense in the current gender policy. As said, if for the earleyst education or casuality of the stars, i have a higher testosterone level LOL than average females and dont feel or behave itimidated by any male nor compelled to submit. The gender fuson i feel at the soul level and the family interface i was forced to face with made me dedicate a great deal of a thought to it. It informed my 4H Sun very strongly indeed. I dont know will i ever pursue a personal relationship of the traditional kind, with kids and all the addictional stuff during this lifetime, but i know i have a grat deal to share regarding it with others, especially when it comes to kids that are the nucleus of the family institution.

    Now, geting back on the axis, who wore the pants in my family it´s hard to say . . everybody contributed in for what they could.

    Looking at the aspects my parents make to my MC, i can say father´s Cancer Mercury from my 9th here is the every distant preacher and nagger i barely have contact with but by phone, and while i have no other way but virtualy tracing his steps, the soul footprint he leaved behind remained deep indeed. He was true to his family commitment till the end and despite it all.

    When it comes to mother, her NN on my MC cant but symbolize my vocational, social ans public breaking through, as some kind and by some degree her own life fulfllment in that respect. Looking at my 4H Sun and her SN-Sun conjunction cnances are good we´re not rushing there, but we´ll get there within the flow of time. Enough said that after endless nagging on me to get move with my painting and bring down the big bucks and my endless bragging about the unexsclusivity of this mystified vocation and how anybody can do it if they stick enough to recognise and develop their own technical signature, she is the one that paints now while i´m not, LOL 😀

    The charts we have are heavily karmic and i´m investigating on that account, moreover i have the Saturn´s SN natal signature. There is allot to bite in here indeed.

  44. Wow, some posts here evoked so many memories, e.g. what Alice said about the bohemian dad who didn’t consider it his job to discipline his children. I guess it’s hard once you reach a certain age to seperate the actual memories and feelings as you experienced them then from posterior thoughts and rationalisations on the facts, especially if your a person that likes to look ahead like myself. e.g. my mother-who didn’t like the job either(aqua moon)- used to give us the aries moon speech you mention in your booklet (oh, these moon conj. jup. people, how they like to brag about imaginary feats!) and when I was little, I used to believe her. It wasn’t until adolescence that I realised that dad made the decisions and mom made -well- noise!
    And after I read D.V.T.’s post here, I realised that the Nodes ARE a big deal. I used to find the node theory offputting, basically due to the past life implications. But I’ve always felt an affinity to Aquarians that can’t be explained by my petty Uranus score of about 20. And nothing describes my upbringing better than SN in Aquarius in the 6th. Not strict, rational, indipendent, valuing competence but not big on inspiring creativity or grandiose career plans, quirky in a middle-class way, cool, with a great sense of humour, but detached when it came to emotions (when someone got emotional-if ever- the answer was “stop whining”)
    That describes both my parents as authority figures, yet my relationship with my mother as a person, well, that’s another issue!!
    P.S. I have a question for you I’ve been withholding for months. I didn’t ask in the “outtake from a moon-pluto life”, and after considerable thought, I won’t ask here either. Maybe some other time, huh? (Till then, do admire my self-restraint)🙂

  45. I don’t have any planets conjunct my Pisces MC.
    I have Pholus Rx conjunct my MC and…
    In equal house I have Chiron Rx in Aries in my 10th house….I don’t know if either would have any significance.

    My Mom seemed to wear the pants in my family.
    (She’s a Virgo sun, Cancer moon and Pisces rising)

    My family life was highly unstable. There was a lot of pain.
    and we moved frequently.

    I saw a psychiatrist when I was 5 years old.

    she had to raise me by herself since I was 13 after my
    step father left our lives for another woman
    and never contacted me again.

    He was a Leo sun…
    He was bipolar,an alcoholic and an artist.

    During the time he did raise me we were very close.

    It’s kind of odd to me, because my Moon is in Virgo in my 3rd house.
    Wouldn’t it be in my 10th house if she was the “boss”?

    I’m not sure what represents my “real” father or my step father in my chart.

    Cool post…. Thank You!

  46. Hi, I have never understood what your saying in regards to the moon representing the mother? Could you help me get a hold of it. My moon is singleton bucket handle 10th 12 D. Aquarius. The MC 6 D. Aq. Uranus conj. asc. gemini. Enough pts to warrent being more Aq. than Tauras I am told.
    Mom’s pisces, Uranus conj. Mercury near by very progressive interest in everything. Full 12th house, like me.
    Dad a tauras, no DOB Fourth cusp Leo. Traditionally Dad wore the pants but Mom as far as I could see was the real bread winner and moral boss. Together they were when young a cool rather detached couple stylish and happening. Mom has tauras rising so very productive and mars cap. 9th. Strong independent stubborn et

    • HI, June, I don’t interpret individual charts on this blog, as I’m retired from doing charts, so I won’t go into the chart details you mention. However, at a more basic level, when I say the Moon represents the mother, I mean that the Moon in your birth chart (the sign, house, and aspects) describes what your mother was like as a person and as your nurturer/caretaker when you were young, and therefore how she affected you. Since different children in the same family have different Moons, it emphasizes that our Moons are just OUR experience of our mother, not who she really was. I hope that helps. Donna

  47. Wow! This article is wonderful. It helps me understand other people’s charts more, but I’m still confused about mine.

    It seemed to me that everyone (mom, dad, teachers, schoolmates, extended family, peers) was my authority figure. I always felt criticized by my authority figures and/or that they were heaping responsibility onto me.

    The story of which parent nurtured me and which parent soothed me changes depending on who’s telling it.

    According to my mom, she was a single parent even when my dad was present in the home…but also that my dad got me ready for school and spent more time with me while she was at work.

    According to my dad, he helped raise me…but then he was physically absent…and then he sent for me during my teenage years.

    According to me, my dad felt more soothing during my younger years but then he became critical of me and punished me for making mistakes. My mom was the person whose rules I most respected. She was not much of a soother. She just took care of bare essentials: food, clothing, shelter, education.

    I have Pisces on the IC and Virgo on the MC. My brother has Cancer on the MC and Capricorn on the IC. We have different mothers, though. His mom’s Moon is in Capricorn. Our dad’s Asc is in Capricorn. When he was a baby, I took care of him. His Mercury and my Sun are in Cancer and in his 10th house. Our dad and his mom try to split parenting duties according to traditional gender roles, but…I think he experiences his dad as more nurturing.

  48. Hi, folks, I’ve just added the following to this article–and wish it had come earlier, as it’s a great perspective:

    Here’s still another way of looking at the MH/IC Axis: I just got my advance copy of the Feb/March issue of The Mountain Astrologer, and a timely article by Frank C. Clifford, “Searching for Parental Significators in the Horoscope,” says: “It is often quoted that the ‘shaping’ parent (the one who most prepares or conditions the child for the outside world) is indicated by the 10th house complex, while the more ‘hidden’ parent is linked to the 4th.”

    Makes a lot of sense. Great articles, by the way. Donna

    • Ah. Well, this answers my question, too. My mom knows nothing about astrology, but when I gave her this explanation of visible vs. hidden parent, she said “4th house is your dad then.” She has Moon in Pisces and my dad has Mars in Pisces. To my mind, neither one of them prepared me for the outer world, so they can both sit in my 4th house with Pisces on the IC. I think “the village” is my 10th house.

      Thanks.

      • LOL! with that Moon-Mars contact in Pisces, I can picture your folks, sitting and rocking–and bickering. Donna

        PS. Thanks for all the “likes”–it feels like you’re having a good time, sorting through Skywriter’s attic and trying on all the clothes.

  49. This is what you were telling me in the comment prior concerning the Uranus in my 4th. My father I would consider the hidden parent He actually through his actions made me realize I needed to be independant. I hadn’t seen that before but I realize now that I didn’t want to be in the same position as my mother which caused me to act to change that in my life. I amlearning so much from this blog. Thank you Donna, you are a great teacher.

    • Glad we finally made some sense of that Uranus in the 4th, Adrienne. Donna

  50. Thank you MEL810, and bless you for expressing it!

    I can certainly relate to your statement. I have Pisces on the MC, and was raised by my maternal grandparents (Gemini and Aquarius), who were verbally and physically abusive.

    My mother (Aquarius) was too caught up in her addictions (not drugs or alcohol) to care. My father (Sag/Cap) was also a mess. He and my mother divorced when I was about 2 years old. So, I didn’t know him well.

    My grandmother died in 1984, and grandfather died in 1997, and it was a relief that opened a portal of healing for me. My father died in 1991, and it was also an opportunity of healing.

    My mother is 71, and still alive, and this may sound crude, but I am waiting for her to depart. I believe that it will open a major channel of healing for me. I am 53 years old, and in the middle of my CHIRON in Aquarius return in the 8th house. My mother, as well as other family members, including siblings, caused a lot of unbearable emotional suffering for me.

    I feel broken, and cheated, because I had to learn my lessons the hard way. I wasn’t taught how to deal with the outer world. Now, I’ve had to go within, and attempt to heal the mess. It has been a daunting task!

    All who depart will not be missed!

    ASHE’

  51. Donna,
    I think you’re absolutely right. I always found that the old teaching that the IC was Mom, and Midheaven Dad didn’t fit at all with my family. I definitely resonate with 10th being authority figure, and 4th being nurturing. Thanks so much for this great post!


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