Introduction to Real Life Astrology: The Cross of Matter

The Ascendant. The Descendant. The Midheaven. The Nadir. The angles of your birth chart represent the points where the energies of the planets make contact with the reality of your lived experience. They are the most meaningful points in your birth chart because of their associations with the most important things in your life – your family, your partner, your career and, most of all, the way you see yourself.

The lines that connect them form a cross  – and this “Cross of Matter” is your incarnation in this lifetime. If you want to know how best to deal with the realities of your existence – the Cross of Matter will tell you everything you need to know. In astrological terms, it’s the foundation of accurate, deep natal chart interpretation. In this book, I explain what the Cross of Matter represents and how to approach interpreting your cardinal points. This book includes:

  • A full analysis of the Ascendant-Descendant Axis by sign.
  • A full analysis of the Midheaven-Nadir Axis by sign.
  • A full analysis of planetary aspects to each cardinal point.

Take your understanding of astrology to the next level with this, the second book in the Real Life Astrology series.

Excerpt From Real Life Astrology: The Cross of Matter

As I was writing the first book in this series, Real Life Astrology: Planets, Signs & Houses, I realised that the angles in astrology did not fit into the subject matter of that book. The Ascendant (AC), Descendant (DC), Midheaven (MC) and Nadir (IC) are important and influential points in your natal chart and deserve a book to themselves. So, I held on to that thought, and I’ve written a book that I hope will answer some of the questions you may have about the angles in astrology.

Many of you will already be familiar with your Ascendant and you’re probably familiar with the Midheaven too. However, the corresponding points in your natal chart – the Descendant and the Nadir – are often overlooked. Yet, all of the angular points are equally important because they act as the anchorage to whatever is being played out in your life.

Each one of the angles – your cardinal points – tells a story within your own life story. The image you project of who you are (AC), your primary relationships (DC), your family background (IC) and your worldly achievements (MC) – all of them frame the narrative of your life.

How they do so is revealed by the signs in which they fall, the connections they make to each other, and the connections they make to the planets in your natal chart. Anyone who ever wrote a story knows how important it is to get the framework right so, in this book, I focus on giving you the information you need to understand your ‘tales within a tale’ and frame (or even re-frame) your own personal narrative. 

The Cross of Matter is the key to unlocking the secrets within your natal chart – largely because it underpins the framework that holds your life story together. Understand that and you’ll begin to appreciate just how important the cardinal points are when it comes to ‘holding things together’ – in all senses of those words.

In the first chapter of this book, I explore how the horizon and meridian lines combine to create the Cross of Matter and how those simple lines lay the foundation for the construction of your entire natal chart. This chapter builds on the detail I set out at the beginning of the first book in the series, Planets, Signs & Houses, so I hope you’ll find it a useful addition to the material I used in that book. 

In the second chapter, the fun begins as we take a tour of all the Ascendant-Descendant pairs of signs that form the ‘Axis of Awareness’. You’ll discover what the Ascendant and Descendant mean in astrological terms, and this is also where you’ll find everything you need to know about your own rising and descending signs.

We then move on to examine the principles that underpin the Midheaven-Nadir axis, also known as the ‘Axis of Experience’. In chapter three, you’ll find all you need to know about those placements in your natal chart, and how the place you come from affects your life journey.

Everyone who ever read – and enjoyed – a good story knows that some of the best bits are those that reveal the underlying connections between the main storyline and a whole range of sub-plots. Your life story is no different; it’s like a good detective story where you follow the hidden clues to discover what’s really going on. So, when we look at the AC-DC axis and IC-MC axis, it makes sense to look at the planets that are in close aspect to the angles. They are part of your story and will have a significant influence on how the energies of the cardinal points are expressed in your birth chart.

I’ve concentrated my attention on the conjunction and opposition aspects because when a planet is conjunct one angle (for example the Ascendant) it is automatically opposite the opposing angle (the Descendant in this example). However, planets conjunct the Ascendant or Descendant are not always square your Midheaven/Nadir points, so I’ll be leaving the other major aspects to the cardinal points to my forthcoming aspects book, Real Life Astrology: Planets & Aspects

Finally, I want to draw everything together by looking at how we build the narrative of our lives – and how the threads of that narrative is attached to the angles in your birth chart. All of the things you will have read bring you to that point; the complex of interwoven strands that connect the AC-DC horizon and the IC-MC prime meridian run deep – in all senses. The final chapter looks at one more layer of interpretation – the effect of rulerships on the ways your cardinal points are expressed.

Rulerships are a large and complex topic – and this is not a book about them – but they have a significant role in showing us how our personal narrative is built – and where it creates the most meaning in our lives. So, in this chapter, we look at how the subtle influences of our ‘angle rulers’ – and the Ascendant ruler in particular – affect the ways in which our personal stories are experienced and understood. I’ve used examples from my own birth chart to demonstrate how everything in your chart – and in astrology – is connected.

As ever, all good tales have a beginning, a middle and an end. Let’s start at the very beginning – the moment of your birth…

Real Life Astrology: The Cross of Matter is now available from Amazon and other booksellers, priced from £5.99GBP | $6.99USD. For more information and links to purchase, click here.

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© Sara Shipman 2022

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