©2004 Nick Anthony Fiorenza, All Rights Reserved
As we look into the heavens, although we are looking into an endless depth of time and space, with stars and galaxies at different distances, we can visualize instead that we are looking at the inside surface of a very large sphere—the "celestial sphere." It is within the inside of this sphere where we map not only the stars and constellations, but also the geometric relationship of rotating astronomical systems such as our Earth, solar system, and galaxy.
Within this sphere we can also map our personal orientation in time and space, thus revealing our unique expression within this field of cosmic consciousness. Your Personalized Star Chart reveals not only where the planets and asteroids were when you were born, the stars they conjoin, and constellations they reside in, but also your unique "Spherical Geometry" from which the personal points (ASC, DSC, MC, IC, and others), as found in your astrology chart, are derived.
Similar to a rectangular map of the Earth, which shows the entire outside surface of the Earth, the Star Chart is a rectangular map of the inside of the celestial sphere.
Much like in a rectangular map of our world, where the land extremely north and south is stretched out of proportion and appears much larger than it actually is, so too are the polar constellations which lie north and south in this map of the heavens. However, this type of map allows us to view the entire heavenly sphere at once and where each star and constellation lies with respect to one another.
This type of map makes it very easy to see where the planets and asteroids reside in the heavens at any given time—in which sign they reside in, in which constellation they reside in, and with which stars they conjoin. We can see their location not only in ecliptical longitude, but also in ecliptical latitude—how far above (north) or below (south) of the ecliptic they are. We can also see where they lie with respect to all of the Great Circles that create your personal "Spherical Geometry."
The Great Circles mapped onto the Earth. These circles projected into the heavens are the curved lines in your Star Chart. Their orientation on the Earth and in the heavens, and their relationship to each other, are unique to the location and time at which you were born. Together, they comprise your personal Sacred Geometry. Mapping our Great circles on the Earth is fundamental to Earthgrid Mapping where we can explore our personal places of power, portals of opportunity, and even portals that transcend our current incarnation and access the timeline of our souls.
From Earth's viewpoint, as it travels around the sun in its yearly orbit, the sun eclipses (hides from view) the stars that lie directly behind the sun. This eclipsed ring in the heavens is called the ecliptic of the sun, or more commonly, the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the primary plane of reference in the Star Chart along which lie the twelve signs of the Sidereal Zodiak. The ecliptic is the blue horizontal line in the chart. The ecliptic is also the primary ring of a circular astrology chart.
The sidereal signs are shown along the top and bottom of the Star Chart, This makes it easy to see which stars, constellations, and planets lie in each sidereal sign. To learn of the difference between the sidereal and tropical signs, and their intimate relationship, please visit the Lunar Planner's Sidereal Astrology WEB page. (Please use the back button on your browser to return to this page.)
The Ecliptic Poles are two points in the heavens that lie exactly perpendicular to the ecliptic plane. They are the "North Ecliptic Pole" (NEP) and "South Ecliptic Pole" (SEP). Because the Star Chart is a rectangular map of the celestial sphere, these points are stretched out to create the entire top and entire bottom of the chart.
Planets move west to east in the heavens—right to left in the Star Chart. Most planets lie close to the plane of the ecliptic, but many of the asteroids lie north and south of the ecliptic because their orbits around the sun are tilted with respect to Earth's orbital plane (the ecliptic).
The Galactic Equator, a great circle in our celestial sphere shown as the violet line in the map, is defined by the spinning disc of our galaxy. The Galactic Equator is tilted at a 60° angle to the ecliptic and intersects the ecliptic at 5° sidereal Sagittarius, the galactic equatorial node (GEN), also called the "Gate of God," and 5° sidereal Gemini, the anti-GEN, called the "Gate of Man." The constellations which lie along this great circle are the "Galactic Constellations."
The Center of our Galaxy lies along the galactic equator just south of the Gate of God. Galactic Center (GC) enters the ecliptic at about 2° sidereal Sag.
The North and South Galactic poles, which are perpendicular to the galactic plane (galactic equator) are labeled NGP and SGP. The NGP lies in the constellation Coma Berenices, which lies 30° north of the ecliptic, above the head of the Virgin. The NGP enters the ecliptic at 5° sidereal Virgo. The SGP lies in the constellation Sculptor, 30° south of the ecliptic, and enters the ecliptic at 5° sidereal Pisces.
Earth's equator projected out into the celestial sphere is called the Celestial Equator, a great circle shown as the green line in the Star Chart. The Celestial Equator, tilted at 23.5° to the ecliptic, currently intersects the ecliptic at 5° sidereal Pisces, which is called the vernal point (VP) and 5° sidereal Virgo (@2000 A.D.), which is called the Anit-VP. The vernal point is where the sun resides on the March equinox and the anti-vernal point is where the sun resides on the September equinox.
The Celestial Equator and the vernal points move westward (to the right) through the ecliptic at a rate of about 1° per 72 years with respect to the Galactic Equator, to the sidereal signs, and to the stars—all which remain fixed in the heavens—due to Earth's 25,000-year precessional cycle. Precessional movement is east to west in the heavens, the opposite direction of planetary movement.
The vernal point is called the Birthplace of the Sun / Sol / Soul. It is also called the Christ Point or Office of the Christ—referring to a position held that reveals where we, as a soul collective, reside in Earth's "Evolutionary Cycle of the Soul," a cycle driven by Earth's precessional movement. The vernal point is also the reference for the Tropical Zodiak, marking 0° tropical Aries. The tropical signs are based upon Earth's seasons, not the stars (they can also be referred to as the "Houses of the Sun."). The tropical signs move westward with respect to the sidereal signs and the stars at the rate of Earth's presession.
Earth's North and South Celestial Poles, which are Earth's poles projected into the heavens, are labeled NCP and SCP. They move very slowly through the heavens as well due to Earth's precession. Earth's NCP currently lies in Ursa Minor, near the star Polaris, and enters the ecliptic at 5° sidereal Gemini (2000 AD). Earth's SCP lies in Octans and enters the ecliptic at 5° sidereal Sag (2000 AD).
These three Great Circles (the celestial equator, the ecliptic, and the galactic equator) are common to everyone on Earth. These three Great Circles create Earth's Precessional Cross. To learn more about the Precessional Cycle, Precessional Cross and to see a three dimensional illustration of these great circles and how they intersect to create the Cycle of the Precessional Cross, please visit the Earth's Precessional Cross.
An person's (natal) great circles and their "Natal Cross" (discussed next) nest upon Earth Precessional Cross. The three primary great circles presented above and the Precessional Cross create the much longer term space-time reference for humanity (for the entire soul collective); that is, where we are in the timing of the "Evolutionary Cycle of the Soul. The personal (natal) great circles and the Natal Cross create the punctional space-time reference for the incarnating soul; that is, the space-time orientation of the current life experience in the longer-term precessional space-timing of the Precessional Cross.
Example of the Great Circles as seen in the Star Chart
Imagine looking directly up into the heavens from the location on the Earth where you were born, from your "natal location." This point in the heavens is called your "Zenith." Imagine standing on that location, but that your body extends through the Earth such that you feet extend through the opposite side of the Earth. That point projected into the heavens is called your "Nadir." Your Zenith and Nadir are always opposite each other in the heavens, just as are Earth's north and south celestial poles. The Zenith-Nadir axis creates your personal pole. You can think of it as the energy running through your spinal column.
The stars and constellations surrounding your Zenith reveal much about how you are guided in your life, your soul-level focus. The Nadir stars and constellations reveal much about your soul-level foundation.
Visualize a plane extending through the center of the Earth that lies perpendicular to your personal pole—to the Zenith / Nadir axis—much like Earth's equator is perpendicular to Earth's polar axis. This is your personal equator and it is called the "Horizon Plane." The Horizon Plane can be tilted at any angle with respect to Earth's equator, to the ecliptic, and to the galactic plane depending upon when and where you were born. (If you were born on the north or south pole of the Earth, your Horizon Plane would be the same as Earth's equatorial plane. If you were born exactly on Earth's equator, your Horizon Plane would lie parallel to Earth's pole.)
The points where the Horizon Plane intersect the Ecliptic Plane create your Ascendant (ASC) and Descendant (DSC). The ASC-DSC axis in the ecliptic is the horizontal axis in the typical astrology chart. Your Horizon is the orange line in your Star Chart. The stars conjoining your ASC are your "rising stars" and reveal much about the nature of your soul expression on Earth.
The stars conjoining your DSC are your "setting stars." They reveal much about your interpersonal expression, the nature of the significant relations you draw to your self, and how you interrelate and present your self to others, You can think of your Horizon Plane (and the ASC / DSC axis in your natal sidereal astrology chart) as the plane upon which you participate.
The stars and constellations along your horizon plane create your personal zodiak. Exploring the stars and constellations on your horizon plane can led insight into the nature of your personal plane of experience—how you experience the world. The houses in an astrology chart are derived by the division of the Horizon Plane. Thus, if you look at the actual stars and constellations of your horizon plane when exploring your astrological houses, rather than just the signs, constellations of stars along the ecliptic, you can gain far greater insight into the nature of your personal houses.
Visualize the longitude on the Earth where you were born, that which passes through your Zenith, and how it encircles the Earth. This great circle passes through your Horizon Plane at the most southern point from Earth's Equator (labeled S in your Star Chart) and the most northern point from Earth's Equator (labeled N). This great circle also passes through the north and south poles of the Earth (NCP and SCP) and your Nadir. This great circle or plane is perpendicular to your Horizon Plane and to Earth's Equatorial Plane (to the Celestial Equator).
This plane, or great circle on the Earth and it projected into the heavens is your natal Meridian. The Meridian is the yellow line in your Star Chart. The points where the Meridian intersects the ecliptic create your Mid-Heaven or MC (media-coeli, Latin for middle of the sky) and your Anti-Mid-Heaven or IC (illium-coeli, Latin for bottom of the sky). If you follow the yellow great circle in your Star Chart you will see it pass through the NCP (which lies to the upper right in your Star Chart near the star Polaris of Ursa Minor), through your Zenith, MC, the south point of your Horizon, the SCP, your Nadir, IC, and the north point of your Horizon. The MC is always the meridian-ecliptic node that lies north of your horizon plane, whereas the IC is the node which lies south.
The stars conjoining your MC reveal much about your day to day modality and focus in the world, how you see things, what is in your face, how your head works. Mastering the theme of your MC is a part of claiming your personal power on the (horizon) plane upon which you participate. The stars conjoining your IC reveal the nature about the foundation upon which you stand and the nature of the environment that best serves you, as well as the nature of the family genetic coding (patterning) through which your soul expresses.
The stars and constellations along your meridian plane can bring far greater insight into the nature of your stance in the world, how you see and walk through life.
The eastern node created by the intersection of your Horizon Plane and the Celestial Equator is labeled “E” for east. This is your most eastern point on your horizon plane. If you follow an Earth meridian (Earth longitude) from the East Point (E) to the ecliptic, you will have your Equatorial Ascendant (Eq ASC).
The stars surrounding and conjoining the East Point (E) on your horizon plane, from which the Eq ASC is derived, can also led insight into the nature of your Equatorial ASC. The East Point is of sunrise, of new beginnings, of starting fresh.
Many astrological authors have written about the nature of the Equatorial Ascendant. It may be worth researching their writings if you are not familiar with this point and would like other perspectives on this point’s significance.
I tend to think of the Equatorial Ascendant as soul’s Earth Attitude. It is more transcendent to the ASC expression, sort of an underlying motive driving our more covert expression revealed by the ASC. Its placement articulates how soul currently views Earthian experience based on its accumulative experience up to this incarnation, and how we express that attitude. Equatorial Ascendant stars can indicate the nature of an attitude we need to address before clearly expressing soul (through the ASC) in empowered confidence. This can be a deep seated soul-level grief or regret about what we did not accomplish, attain or live up to in our previous incarnational experience.
The Prime Vertical is another great circle that passes through your Zenith and Nadir, except this one is perpendicular to your Meridian, thus passing through the eastern point on your Horizon Plane (labeled E) and the western point (labeled "W").
Your Vertex is where the Prime Vertical intersects the ecliptic from the western point on your horizon plane. This will be near your DSC.
Many astrological authors have written about the nature of the Vertex as well, which may be worth exploring if you are not familiar with this point. The Vertex can indicate where things just occur as if they are fated—seemingly planned from a soul-level and beyond the awareness of the incarnate person. Thus, the Vertex is often significantly aspected when there is a death (or birth), or the ending or beginning of a significant relationship, or events of that nature. Vertex stars might be considered to reveal the nature of our soul-level agreements. Or they may reveal the nature of interpersonal issues we hold at a transcendent level.
Some astrologers suggest it to be where we draw our adversaries, although this may be dependant upon the nature of aspects to the Vertex. Exploring the stars and constellations along your Prime Vertical can bring additional insight into the nature of relationship with others and with the world.
The Equatorial Ascendant (East Point) can be found by following an Earth meridian to the Ecliptic. The Vertex can be found by following a Horizon Plane meridian to the ecliptic. Thus, the East Point is common to Earth's equatorial plane, whereas the Vertex, being an orthogonal projection from the Horizon Plane, is common to our personal plane, somewhat removed from or transcendent to the Earth plane, that is, more realated to the person and other people rather that Earth experrience itself. This perspective may help provide insight as to why the Prime Vertical and the Vertex are said to be related to fated matters, those seemingly out fo our hands; or simply how the world can act upon us regardless of our personal intent and actions. For people with strong vertex alignments (i.e., conjoining planets, primary asteroids, or significant stars) this may be all the more true—where it seems that certain things involving other people just happen or may even seemed blocked until the mysterious universe decides otherwise.
Keep in mind that all of the great circles in your Star Chart are planes of energy or consciousness. The intersection of these great circles create nodal axes (and nodes on each side of the intersecting great circles) that translate energy from one plane to another. Nodes are points of commonality between different aspects of self. Exploring the stars and constellations surrounding the nodes of your great circles can provide additional interesting insights about your self.
Planes common to us all
The Galactic Plane
The Ecliptic Plane
The Celestial Equatorial Plane
The Personal Planes
The Horizon Plane
The Prime Vertical
The planes common to us all create Earth's Precessional Cross in the ecliptic, consisting of the GEN, Anti-GEN and the Vernal Point and Anti-Vernal Point. This Cross, determined by Earth's precessional cycle, defines where we reside in the timing of the evolutionary cycle of the soul collective—the incarnational (punctual) timing of the (durative) soul. Our personal planes create our Personal Cross (Natal Cross) consisting of the ASC-DCS / MC-IC. Our Personal Cross nests upon the Precessional Cross, giving us temporal form in Earth's time and space. The planets nest upon the Crosses, as seen in an astrology chart. Planets on or around our personal points are accentuated significantly in our psychophysiology and their resonance dominates our expression and experience on Earth.
The stars conjoining each of your planets, asteroids, and personal points (ASC, DSC, MC, IC, EP, and Vertex) are those that lie along the ecliptical longitude (a straight vertical line) through each item. A relatively tight orb is used for stars ~±2° in ecliptical longitude—so only those stars that are very close to each planet's ecliptical longitude are considered conjoining. (Keep in mind each zodiakal sign is 30° wide to estimate a 2° orb in the Star Chart). It does not matter how far north or south of the ecliptic a star is to be of significance. Supergiant stars tend to have a wider orb of influence. For example, massive Eta Carina of argo Navis influences a few degree area of the ecliptic, the last few degrees of sidereal Virgo.
Although the themes of the conjoining stars express through the character of each planet and personal point, the themes of adjoining stars (those which lie in a wider orb), will reveal a backdrop theme as well, as will the myth of each constellation. Exploring the themes of adjoining stars often help us to understand the themes of the stars tightly conjoining any planet or personal point. (The individual stellar themes reveal the ever-changing character within each zodiakal sign).
A ±7° orb is used around the angles (ASC / DSC / MC / IC). These areas are called the foregrounds of the angles. Theses areas are where planets and stars are especially active. This is true for planets and stars in the foregrounds of a natal chart and a relocated chart.
Having some astrological appreciation for the planetary themes is fundamental to understand how the stellar themes will express through your planets. The stellar themes reveal a far deeper and clearer level of our consciousness. Star level sidereal astrology compared to simple sign-based astrology is like adjusting an out-of focus camera lens into crystal clarity.
You can gain an appreciation for individual star themes as I write about them in the monthly lunar planners (keeping an eye out for those stars that are significant in your personal chart); and by also exploring back issues of the monthly lunar planners listed in the Lunar Planner Archive. You can also learn which stars conjoin your planets in "An Introduction to Sidereal Astrology," which includes a star catalog of over 700 stars and deep space objects. For more historical information, I also recomend the book: "Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning" by Richard Hinckley Allen, Dover Publications 1899/1963.
Also take note of the stars surrounding your zenith and nadir, they are your personal pole stars—those of the zenith, provide guidance; those of the nadir, foundational. Stars surrounding any of the other nodes created by any of the Great Circles can also provide additional insight—like those of the nodes at the four directions found along your horizon plane (N,S,E,W).