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How the midheaven points towards your career and mission in life

The Midheaven is an all-important point in your horoscope that relates to your vocation, the reputation you have and the type of personal and professional success you aim for. It is also known as the MC (medium coeli, meaning the “middle of the sky”) and is often depicted astrologically as a tree, reflecting the journey from your roots to blossoming into the world and bearing professional fruit.



How to find your MC

Rather like the Ascendant (rising sign), the MC is an astronomical point – the direction of due north in the southern hemisphere, and due south in the northern hemisphere. If you know your birth time, even a rough estimate, you can use the nomogram to work out which sign your MC is in. Simply find your birth time* on the lower strip, and with a ruler connect it to your birth date in the upper strip. The sign it passes through in the middle strip is your MC sign.

* If you were born in a state that observed summer time (when the clocks were an hour forward from around early October to late March), simply subtract an hour from your birth time and use that for the lower strip.

If you don’t know your birth time, read your Sun (star) sign in the descriptions that follow – there’s much that the Sun and MC sign have in common. In fact, if you know your birth time, read both; together they represent how best you can manifest your skills and talents in society.

Zodiacal Chart
Zodiacal Chart via

Do what does the MC mean for you?

 Your MC can tell you about:

Your attitude to and definitions of success | Your MC reveals the sort of success that make you feel fulfilled. In some ways your MC describes your mission, and mission statement, in life. It’s the destination you envision for yourself when you’ve finally arrived and feel successful.

It takes time to grow into your MC sign and master the qualities it represents. Perhaps, if you have a Capricorn MC, you must learn to work with the status quo to gain respect and make your mark. Or, if you have an Aquarius MC, you must learn to accept that it’s ok to feel different from the herd, that eventually your uniqueness will become an asset. Or, for the Cancer MC, maybe you need to establish good boundaries before you become a professional carer of some kind.

No matter what the specific mission, the sign on your MC suggests the strategy, social skills and professional behaviour you need to adopt and cultivate in order to receive recognition. It also warns of the types of conduct that can get in the way of your own success or ruin your reputation.

The types of people who inspire you | The MC can reveal the characteristics you applaud in others and how you may attempt to emulate the traits of your role models. Maybe you admire the strength found in persistence, practicality and sensuality (Taurus MC), or you’re swayed by those who attack life head-on and exhibit independence and self-determination (Aries MC).

Your status, image and reputation | The MC can describe how you appear when you’re on show – it acts as a social shorthand of how you, and others, perceive your status and public image. It can reveal the phrases others use to introduce or describe you, as well as the ones you use about yourself. For instance, an “eternal student” (Sagittarius), a “Jack of all trades” (Gemini) or an “intensely private” person (Scorpio). The MC also speaks of how you’d like to be remembered – your legacy.

Early aspirations and what your parents wanted for you | Your first image of success may come from your parents and how their achievements compared to those of other children’s parents. The MC, and its opposite, sign speaks of messages that you received from your parents or parental figures that created deep-rooted principles, social ethics and work philosophies that went on to shape your place in the world. The MC shows what your parents asked of you, and later what the world will ask of you.

Elements and modes

Before looking at the signs on the MC individually, it’s possible to divide the twelve signs up into four groups of elements, Fire, Earth, Air and Water, and three modes, Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. Each zodiac sign is a unique combination of one element and one mode.

The MC by the elements

If your MC is in a Fire sign – Aries, Leo or Sagittarius – you may be an evangelist, promoter or coach, and you may find inspiration in roles that offer challenge, excitement and glory.

If your MC is in an Earth sign – Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn – you may be a reliable craftsperson, or you might be motivated to build a career that delivers tangible results.

If your MC is in an Air sign – Gemini, Libra or Aquarius – you may be an analyst, a people-person and someone who searches for variety, interaction and travel in your career.

If you MC is in a Water sign – Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces – you may be a caregiver, therapist or intuitive who looks for work that encourages emotional bonding or where you can be of service to the human condition.

The MC by the modes

If your MC is in a Cardinal sign – Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn – you may look to spearhead professional opportunities, assume a leadership role or you might be drawn to working in areas of conflict.

If your MC is in a Fixed sign – Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius – you may be attached to principles and build on these to establish a position of power and dedication to your career.

If your MC is in a Mutable sign – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces – you might enjoy the freedom afforded by journeying on multiple paths and engaging in changeable, varied lifestyles.

The MC sign and you

Aries on the MC

Images/inspirations | The sprinter who sets the pace, the pioneer who chalks up firsts.

You admire | Courage, independence, adventure, and people who take action.

You fear | Not being liked, ending up alone, losing your individuality.

A life journey | From unexpressed conflict and trying to keep the peace in the home to steering your own ship and acting decisively.

You can fail due to | Codependency, laziness, people-pleasing, staying in another’s shadow.

You succeed by | Putting yourself first without apology, daring to strike out alone, focusing on short-term challenges, attaining personal bests.

Celebrity examples | The entrepreneurial spirit of Richard Branson; the dynamic, assertive image of Lara Croft, as played by actress Angelina Jolie.

Taurus on the MC

Images/inspirations | The builder of something tangible that will stand the test of time, the tortoise who triumphs over the hare, a rock or an anchor.

You admire | Staying power, solid principles, sensuality, the good life, humour and music.

You fear | Emotional chaos, losing financial control and your privacy.

A life journey | From emotional or financial instability to cultivating a life that is steady and secure.

You can fail due to | Overindulging, resisting change, burying emotional traumas.

You succeed by | Going natural, being self-sufficient, maintaining a value system, attaching yourself to principles.

Celebrity examples | The longevity of music icons like Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue and Ella Fitzgerald; the sensuality of Marilyn Monroe.

Gemini on the MC

Images/inspirations | The versatile hyphenate who collects ideas and people, the magpie, a clear division between public and personal roles.

You admire | Intelligence, wit, resourcefulness, youth and curiosity

You fear | Appearing narrow-minded or ill-informed, being judged, not being understood.

A life journey | From a heavy moral- or belief-based system in childhood to exploring facts, options, and making up your own mind.

You can fail due to | Adopting a self-righteous belief system, having no moral code, never finishing anything.

You succeed by | Uniting cosmopolitan approaches, adopting eclectic interests, committing to short-term projects that offer mobility and variety.

Celebrity examples | The creative versatility of Madonna; the wit and wisdom of quotable writers like Oscar Wilde and singer-songwriter Dolly Parton.

Cancer on the MC

Images/inspirations | The caretaker, professional parent, counsellor, organiser.

You admire | Community and family, tenacity, sensitivity, patriotism, justice.

You fear | Being left off the shelf, not achieving, feeling isolated.

A life journey | From emotional inhibition or parental control to creating a protective, supportive family of loved ones in the world around you.

You can fail due to | Martyrdom or seething resentment, being attached to people indifferent to your welfare, allowing ambition to ruin human interaction.

You succeed by | Working with empathy and intuition, nurturing others through crisis, feeling deeply about your mission and tribe, anticipating trends or fashions.

Celebrity examples | The girl-next-door appeal of Jennifer Aniston; the likability of nice guy, people-politicians Bill Clinton and John F Kennedy.

Leo on the MC

Images/inspirations | The dignified advisor or mentor with presence, a regal bearing who commands respect and attention.

You admire | Loyalty, courage, heart, self-confidence, dignity.

You fear | Being ignored, feeling ordinary, not having the chance to be creative.

A life journey | From feeling isolated or not respected to standing out with a singular, luminous gift.

You can fail due to | A fake reputation where image means everything, not being respected by your peers.

You succeed by | Giving generously, crediting others, inspiring people, making a creative and authentic personal statement through your work.

Celebrity examples | The commanding majesty of music icons Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra; the dignified silver screen luminaries Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly and Katharine Hepburn.

Virgo on the MC

Images/inspirations | The hardworking perfectionist with a strong work ethic, the studious apprentice who becomes a specialist.

You admire | Intelligence, perceptiveness, humility, attention to detail.

You fear | Chaos, being useless or feeling like a burden to others.

A life journey | From eccentricity, martyrdom or manipulation in early life to creating a structured lifestyle and routine.

You can fail due to | Retiring/escaping from everyday life, fatalism, trying to control everything, or letting idiosyncrasies or neuroses ruin your efforts.

You succeed by | Working to leave the world a better place; being of service; offering useful skills; organising projects that require efficiency, expertise and care.

Celebrity examples | The work ethic of child-star-turned-diplomat Shirley Temple, singing icon Diana Ross and film legend Bette Davis.

Libra on the MC

Images/inspirations | The graceful diplomat with charm, style and manners; the other half in a relationship.

You admire | Cooperativeness, impartiality and respect for fairness.

You fear | Conflict and violence — and your own capacity for both.

A life journey | From being surrounded by conflict in early life to being able to manage and negotiate strife with skill and perspicacity.

You can fail due to | Creating discord, playing people off each other, placing style before substance.

You succeed by | Working to achieve equality and mutual respect in partnership, exhibiting mediation skills and grace under pressure, meeting conflict with assertion rather than aggression or manipulation.

Celebrity examples | The memorable styles of Princess Diana and Coco Chanel, the sex kitten Brigitte Bardot and eight-time-married Elizabeth Taylor.

Scorpio on the MC

Images/inspirations | The skilful political player with a formidable public persona, the transformer able to move mountains, the focused and astute researcher.

You admire | Charisma, intensity, depth, authenticity and those with tunnel-vision.

You fear | Boredom, losing your focus or edge, a life without passion or purpose.

A life journey | From a focus on mundane, everyday needs in your early years to resurfacing as a powerful alchemist investigating the unsolved mysteries of life.

You can fail due to | Staying put in a comfort zone, being the crisis junkie pursuing the next drama.

You succeed by | Mastering yourself and your desires, testing yourself to the max, committing unflinchingly to helping others with life-and-death issues, shedding light on taboos.

Celebrity examples | The uncompromising political sensibilities of tennis pioneer Billie Jean King, singer Nina Simone, actress Jane Fonda and writer Germaine Greer.

Sagittarius in the MC

Images/inspirations | The eternal student, generous teacher, life coach or seeker of wisdom; the evangelist stirring up an audience.

You admire | Crusaders fighting for their beliefs, living in the moment, people who value generosity and freedom.

You fear | Being curtailed by commitment, life having no meaning or answers.

A life journey | From a background of unanswered questions or mixed messages to pursuing meaning or possibilities beyond the facts.

You can fail due to | Playing the hypocrite or unethical salesman, sloppiness, wastefulness, freeloading.

You succeed by | Awakening others/igniting their interest in the bigger picture, investing in the future, speaking up against injustice or hypocrisy, enjoying the journey without needing the guarantee of an arrival or measurable result.

Celebrity examples | The crossover, star power of Whitney Houston and Whoopi Goldberg; the inspiring creativity of JK Rowling, David Bowie and Janis Joplin.

Capricorn on the MC

Images/inspirations | The qualified master, the skilled ambassador, the self-made authority, the rebel turned Chairman of the Board.

You admire | Rising from nothing and achieving beyond expectation, those unafraid of hard work and who show competence and professionalism.

You fear | Not being respected, losing control of your reputation, not having a loving family to support you.

A life journey | From emotional entanglements to developing self-sufficiency and delaying gratification for a worthwhile end result.

You can fail due to | Wallowing in self-pity and envy, putting ambition before loved ones.

You succeed by | Discipline, perseverance, staying real and forgiving your own faults; developing a reputation of distinction after a long apprenticeship; being an example of individual achievement and application.

Celebrity examples | The long careers of skilled performers Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and tennis icon Martina Navratilova.

Aquarius on the MC

Images/inspirations | The original, the lone wolf, the freelancer, the outsider who avoids labels, the detached but friendly people-person.

You admire | Independence, difference, those who think outside of the box.

You fear | Being ignored or unpopular, your life’s efforts amounting to nothing.

A life journey | From family drama and self-centred passion to promoting creative ideas that benefit your community.

You can fail due to | Being autocratic in your approach; employing favouritism, intolerance and bias; losing touch with what makes us all human.

You succeed by | Taking an individual stand for a group cause, accepting differences, embarking on the road less travelled, having a unique take on the world.

Celebrity examples | One-of-a-kind stars who did it their own way – often with a social conscience – such as Helen Mirren, Pamela Anderson, Amy Winehouse and Dionne Warwick.

Pisces on the MC

Images/inspirations | The visionary, the Good Samaritan, the chameleon who is all things to all people, the ethereal seeker of life’s mysteries.

You admire | Compassion, acceptance, devotion, forgiveness, artistic talent.

You fear | The inner voice of scorn or criticism; being controlled by ritual, allergies or anxieties.

A life journey | From narrow or strict conditioning to embracing an all-inclusive philosophy.

You can fail due to | Being unreliable, commitment-phobic or aimless; giving away your power or ignoring your intuition.

You succeed by | Sharing insights, feelings and divine revelations; exhibiting a fluid expression of faith; integrating a spiritual practice with your mundane life; renouncing material strivings.

Celebrity examples | The magic of director Steven Spielberg; luminous stars Karen Carpenter and Judy Garland, known for their talent and tragedies.

A holistic look at success

Living a good, balanced life comes from a measure of love and companionship, robust health, work that provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and enough creature comforts to bring pleasure and help you enjoy life.

Although the MC is linked to the concept of success, there is no simple formula. The whole birth chart describes your motivations, talents, potential and approach. But when you’re at home with the sign of your MC and declare intentions that are in symmetry with this position in your horoscope, life flows and opportunities arise that are in harmony with your life path. With awareness of a talent, along with energy, courage and opportunity, you can succeed at something rewarding.

Success months in 2020

Here’s a quick guide to the peak times for each MC sign in the coming sixteen months (September 2019 to December 2020). Whether you’re wanting to develop projects close to your heart, begin new ventures, look for promotion, or promote your own talents, these are the best months for these activities according to the sign on your MC.

Aries MC | Jul–Aug 2020, Nov–Dec 2020

Taurus MC | Sep 2019, May 2020

Gemini MC | Oct–Nov 2019, May 2020

Cancer MC | Nov–Dec 2019, Jan 2020

Leo MC | Jan–Feb 2020, Aug 2020

Virgo MC | Sep 2019, Feb–Mar 2020

Libra MC | Oct–Nov 2019, Apr–May 2020

Scorpio MC | Nov–Dec 2019, May–Jun 2020

Sagittarius MC | Jan–Feb 2020, Jun–Aug 2020, Nov–Dec 2020

Capricorn MC | Dec 2019, Feb–Mar 2020, Jul 2020

Aquarius MC | Jan 2020, Apr–May 2020

Pisces MC | Mar 2020, May–Jun 2020


Frank Clifford

Frank Clifford

Frank Clifford is an astrologer and palmist based in London, UK, who has written a dozen books on both subjects, including Getting to the Heart of Your Chart (2012) and Palmistry 4 Today (Random House 2003, revised Flare edition 2010). He runs The London School of Astrology, lectures internationally and sees clients in person and on Skype. In 2012, his peers presented him with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to astrology. For consultations in natal, forecasting and locational astrology, please see his website to book online.

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