Updated: May 4
An Introduction to Vocational Astrology
Career stuff is usually really important for people. Whether it’s because they have no idea what to do with their life, or because they’re sick of working towards a ‘career’ all to together. Love it or hate it, it’s a topic that crosses through our minds at least a few times throughout our lives. But the term “career” has begun to feel really bizarre and vague. Ever since the Saturn Pluto Conjunction of 2020, the dissatisfaction with work, labor, and adult responsibilities has sky rocketed. We are all realizing that collectively, we are overworked and underpaid. There have been over 100 workers strikes in the United States so far in 2021, India has been experiencing a Farmers Protest for the past couple of years. We’re all increasingly dissatisfied with the state of the work force. Finding joy, fulfillment, and recognition at work isn’t really a thing anymore. Everyone is trying to leave their “soul crushing” job but have no idea where to go next. That’s where vocational astrology comes in. Instead of centering work and labor, let’s focus on the things that could bring you fulfillment and joy instead. But these callings and purpose vary and change throughout our lives. What does that look like throughout the course of your life and how can these things be actualized?
The term vocation comes from the Latin word/participle ‘voco,’ ‘vocare,’ ‘vocavi,’ ‘vocatus;’ essentially 'vocare' means to call. Fundamentally, the word vocation, ‘to call something’ or ‘a calling within itself,’ doesn’t necessarily have to do with career and work. It could have something to do with it, it definitely can be coupled and be the same thing, but I feel it’s really important to pull those two things apart. Because what you do for work and for money may be very different than what you do that provides you with a sense of fulfillment or feeling like you’re living out your authenticity.
I really liked this quote from the Dawn Mountain Press. They describe your vocation as, “Central project [or projects] of our life, a path or an activity that’s intrinsically fascinating and satisfying to us. A vocation is an intrinsically rewarding activity that we want to pursue regardless of whether or not we earn money or recognition for it.” The word intrinsic speaks to activities that are connected to our essential being. They feel natural, that it’s just coming to us, in a way. Vocational astrology attempts to put some words to this indescribable feeling. It is a practice that holistically analyzes your birth chart to figure out what kinds of activities or projects you may find most fulfilling.
In this article, we’re going to focus on the MC (because if I went through everything it’d be a book) but it is important to note that there are other vocational indicators you should consider analyzing. Such as the ruler of your 6H, 2H, your Sect light, and your ASC and ruler of your ASC. I’m going to walk us through the MC analysis but you can use this technique to analyze any of the vocational indicators I mentioned above. Later in the article, I list out the other indicators I pay attention to.
I will be using traditional techniques and I recommend you do the same, primarily because vocational astrology dates all the way back to Ptolemy and his writings in the Tetrabiblos around 140 AD. As Judith Hill puts it, “vocational astrology is not new”, we ought to respect it’s history and give the old approach a chance (Hill 2015). You’ll be surprised how straightforward this can be. It’s important to honor these ancient techniques especially when it comes to identifying the planetary rulers of your MC and other houses. I recommend using Whole sign house system, this will allow your MC to float all throughout the northern hemisphere of your chart. In Placidus and other quadrant-based systems, the MC serves as the 10H cusp but sometimes the MC ends up in the 9H or 11H and that adds some pretty sweet nuance that I think folks should take a peep at.
Alright, let's dive into things. I believe Vocational astrology has lots of spiritual connotations that can connect you to something larger than yourself especially when we break down the Midheaven itself. The Midheaven itself is the highest point in the sky. It's also the highest point in your birth chart, as well.
In Latin, 'midheaven' means the middle of the sky.
It’s where the Sun peaks, high noon, and your zenith. In your birth chart, it represents you at your most visible; the filter through which you’re seen, your public role, your reputation, and your actions. It’s what you’re known for. When you are at your height, when you’re raised up, when you’re visible, lots of people can see you because of that height. You’re interacting with an expression that isn’t necessarily right here and right in front of you until you are going out and trying different things, or trying to enact that Midheaven placement.
The Midheaven is future-oriented - it’s where you’re trying to go, the things you’re trying to do and trying to accomplish. It’s your legacy, which can be a whole host of things. It doesn’t necessarily have to be writing an anthology, or becoming a doctor or a lawyer, or any finding success in a professional field. It can manifest in really small and various ways throughout your life, which I think is fun because that offers us so many different opportunities to try different things throughout your life.
There’s a lot that we can get from examining the Midheaven itself. First, we look at the really basic things, the modality, element, and sign.
Cardinal Midheavens (Aries, Cancer, Libra, or Capricorn)
You may find that your calling is one that’s interested in ideation and coming up with ideas, and then initiating or implementing them. Getting them started. Breaking the ground, essentially. If you think about Aries, Aries really does get things started. I always think of Aries as the first of the relay. Cancer, as well, initiates emotional connections. Libra initiates a connection with others and harmony. Capricorn initiates a structure being built of some sort.
Whenever I would get clients who were thinking about working for themselves, or starting a business, or even just getting out there and doing it, if there was no opportunity for them to actualize this reputation, they were very comfortable with being like “Okay, I’ll just figure it out myself.”
Fixed Midheavens (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius)
You may find yourself continuing things or conserving things. Maintaining a certain speed, being interested in some components of stability, and consistency. Taurus likes to maintain the beauty and comfort of things, Leo maintains the attention that’s being brought to something, Scorpio maintains the defenses and ensures problems are solved, and Aquarius maintains the group ideals and ideology.
Mutable Midheavens (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, or Pisces)
They’re primarily interested in transitioning things and continuing things to some extent. They’re interested in variety and change, honestly. They look to fit in however in order to “enhance” things to some extent. What enhances things always looks different and depends on the environment it’s placed it. Gemini wants to enhance your way of thinking and communicating, Virgo wants to enhance the effeicency and functionality. Sag wants to enhance the experience and get people excited. Pisces wants to enhance the vibes to make sure folks feel included.
It’s this variation and this mix between doing stuff and getting stuff started, but also being able to mold and… it’s kind of chameleon-like in being able to fit whatever project or interest that you’re interested in at that time, and being interested in actualizing those things. But, I always remind mutable Midheavens to just give themselves space and room to change your public image throughout your life. That’s totally fine. Sometimes they’re like “I feel like I need to do one thing” and I’m like “No, wear as many hats as you want.” I feel like mutable Midheavens are the supreme rulers at being the ‘jack of all trades, but master of none.’ They’re so good at having their hands in various things and various projects.
Fire Midheaven (Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius)
They like to raise spirits, they like to lead and warm people up, and they like activity and expression.
Earth Midheavens (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn)
They like to stabilize things, they like plans and maintaining things, and they like consistent routine.
Air Midheavens (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)
They like to think and communicate, and they appreciate mental stimulation.
Water Midheavens (Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces)
They are really interested in healing and feeling. They interested in emotional connections and making folks feel better.
Lord of the MC
We have the sign down, we have the element and the modality, now we’re going to look at the planet that rules your Midheaven aka the Lord of your Midheaven. I like using LMC as an abbreviation.
I like to think of the planet that rules your Midheaven as being your planetary calling. It's the archetype or the symbolism or the activities that you may be specifically being called to do within the context of wherever it falls in your chart, and all of the other sorts of things that we’re going to dive into. It's key here for you to use the traditional ruler of your Midheaven. We’re going to chat through all of these in detail but just to let you all know this right now:
If you have a Leo Midheaven the Sun rules your Midheaven.
If you have a Cancer Midheaven the Moon rules your Midheaven.
If you have Gemini or Virgo Midheaven, then Mercury is the ruler.
If you have Libra or Taurus Midheaven, then Venus is the ruler of your Midheaven.
Scorpio or Aries has Mars. Sagittarius or Pisces has Jupiter.
And Aquarius and Capricorn have Saturn.
If you have a Leo Midheaven, as I just said, the Sun will be the Lord of your Midheaven. The Sun is a huge ball in our solar system of light and heat that's always shining. It’s very consistent. Leo is a fixed fire sign, so just thinking about that relationship is very spot on. People with Leo Midheavens are really good at constantly bringing attention to something. Wherever that Sun falls in the chart, you’re bringing consistent attention to that area of life generally. Leo Midheavens like to be seen. They like visibility or making things visible. Making things seen. They're also really good at delegating and knowing who's good at what, and who should do what. I feel like this is true for Leo placements generally.
If you have a Cancer Midheaven, then it’s the Moon, and the Moon is interested in establishing protection and establishing emotional connection and things of that nature. The Moon is also really good at offering care, nurturance, emotional support, and those sorts of things. Luna also likes to look out for things.
Next is Mercury, Mercury rules both Gemini and Virgo, so if you have either of those as your Midheaven, you may be called to ask questions. How you're building your legacy is through the process of measuring things and analyzing and explaining things. Maybe you’re actualizing this via written and spoken communication, and by making mental connections, and possibly just the language arts in general.
I think back to a client session I had; they wanted to travel to teach people English and they had a Virgo Midheaven and Mercury in Gemini and I was like ‘ok, well.’ It was really cute and really straightforward. That’s really how it comes out sometimes. Sometimes it comes out really explicit, but astrology is real. I feel like that goes without saying.
If you have a Libra or Taurus Midheaven, Venus is the ruler. Venus likes beauty, aesthetics, and art. She’s really gifted and skilled at creating and maintaining harmony and making things look good. And Venus likes fairness and equality, so maybe those are the things you are being called to bring into this world or being called to maintain within this world. I feel like the bringing into this world would be more the Libra Midheaven, and the maintaining in that world is the Taurus Midheaven. Taurus is fixed and also an earth sign, there's these stability things that we’re interested in here. Libra being Cardinal, that initiation and getting things started, it’s creating that harmony and being like, “Oh, that’s not fair. We need to do something that will make things fair.”
If you have Aries or Scorpio Midheaven, Mars is the ruler of your Midheaven. Mars really likes challenging and defending things, defending people, defending ideas. Mars also likes diagnosing and solving problems and is really good at getting things done. This is actualized in various ways. I have an example for a Scorpio Midheaven that is really good at diagnosis and interested in healing, but doing so through the process of finding the problem first and being like ‘Okay, first we need to figure out what’s going on here, and then we can heal.’ It’s that Scorpio-ness of that water and that healing.
Then Aries. Having an Aries Midheaven, it’s usually like, “I'm going to do what I need to do, and I'm going to do it right now. I'm going to get people excited or get people interested in this.” It’s that first spark with Aries being a fire sign and cardinal.
If you have a Sagittarius or Pisces Midheaven, Jupiter is the ruler of your Midheaven. Jupiter likes to uplift things and spread things out. Jupiter likes experience and learning and teaching. And likes knowledge and sharing large ideas and appreciates establishing large-scale connection and pulling groups of people together. Jupiter is also willing to take risks if it means having a cool experience.
Saturn, ruling Capricorn and Aquarius Midheavens, likes to create order and structure, and is really gifted at maintaining objectives and ideals -- that’s very Aquarius -- is gifted at establishing stability, and can stay in the background and in their own lane. Saturn is the furthest planet out from the Sun, so it’s out there just chilling, doing what needs to be done, in order to continue on this path. Saturn is also really interested in long-term stuff. Making plans, maintaining structures, respecting the guidelines created for wherever Saturn is placed in the chart.
LMC Through the Houses
Find the house where LMC is placed. This will give you further insight as to what sector of life, in the most general sense, you may find your calling being explored and flushed out. Let’s go through LMC through the houses
LMC in 1H – personal development, being the face of your biz, your personality is your biz
LMC in 2H – finances, banking, talent, possessions
LMC in 3H – communication, short travels, communities you interact with often especially in your neighborhood. Writing short form content that you keep up with consistently. The blog post or newspaper article.
LMC in 4H – real estate, property, family and home, privacy
LMC in 5H – entertainment and amusement. Sports. art
LMC in 6H – small animals, the work place itself,
LMC in 7H – clients, contracts, negotiation,
LMC in 8H – resource management, crisis control, economic analysis, inheritance, death and related topics, helping people through tough experiences.
LMC in 9H – publishing, writing long form content. The anthology/book. Travels. Religious studies/interests. Astrology!
LMC in 10H – publicity, achievements, the boss/head honcho.
LMC in 11H – contributions to professional communities. Group work. Conferences.
LMC in 12H – retreats, traveling to spaces alone, hidden and behind the scenes. Institutions. Large/wild animals. Monasteries.
We just went through a whole lot but there’s still a whole lot to check in on that can layer on more nuance so below is a list of significations I check in on when analyzing the LMC:
The planet itself
The modality and element of the sign LMC falls in
The house placement/where is it in the chart
Is it dignified or debilitated?
Does it make an aspect to any other planet? If so which planets?
Is it under the beams, combust, cazimied?
Is it making an aspect to malefics or benefics?
Applying or separating?
Outer planet aspect?
6. Can the LMC see the MC itself?
7. Can the LMC see the sect light?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this, there’s more to vocational story than just your MC. Let’s briefly go through the other planets and houses I take into consideration when crafting a vocational story.
Your SMR and Sect Light – Sun, Moon, & Rising
Just like with everything in Astrology it is always really important that we never forget your SMR. But let's get more specific and start by looking at your sect light.
Your sect light can speak to what brings you a sense of fulfillment. Look at your birth chart and determine whether you were born during the day or at night. If you were born during the day, the Sun will be above the ASC/DSC axis in your chart - congrats you have a day chart and the Sun is your sect light! If you were born at night, the Sun will be below the ASC/DSC axis in your chart - congrats you have a night chart and the Moon is your sect light! Aspects between your sect light and MC or sect light and LMC speak to there being some conversation between these two areas of your life thus suggesting that you can find fulfillment in your legacy. You can add some nuance to this and check in on the aspect that they’re making, is it a nice, easy, and supportive convo (sextiles or trines), or a difficult one that causes something to yield to something else (opposition or square). Or it is all wrapped up in each other (conjunctions).
Aside from finding fulfillment, your SMR can speak to other things that are important to analyze for a vocational horoscope. The Sun will provide you with some components of your central, underlying purpose in this world. It can even offer you a source of wisdom and how you are figuring out what wisdom means to you, especially if you were born during the day. It can provide you with this sense of consistency and centrality that you may be looking for. If you're born during the night -- and even if you were born during the day -- your Moon placement, calls you to honor what you need emotionally and physically to feel safe and comfortable showing up. If you have a Leo Moon, like myself, a part of my journey has been accepting that I need to be seen and I need to take pride in my work gives me a sense of emotional fulfilment. Maybe you have a Virgo Moon and what makes you feel emotionally safe is efficiency and functionality. Your Ascendant tells you your general life outlook and your perspective of the world, so honoring your Aries rising by getting things started and making decisions is something that is required for you. Initiating things, getting things started, is an action you may find yourself falling back on wherever you are in your life, whatever you’re doing but especially when it comes to living out your calling.
Planets in your 2H and 6H and the rulers of 2H and 6H
You should also check your 2H and 6H, planets that occupy those houses and their traditional rulers. Planets in either place can speak to what other area of your life depends on your income or daily work habits and routines. The planet that rules these houses speaks to what area of life, the temperament and expression of these areas of your life in practice. Analyzing the rulers of these houses in the same way we’re about to analyze the ruler of your MC may be quite helpful!
Find a connection between all of these, your income, the work that’s supporting your legacy, your legacy itself, and what’s fulfilling speaks to your overall vocational story. Do the planets and rulers of these areas of your life make an aspect to each other? Maybe L2 makes an aspect to L6 but not the MC. Maybe you find that your money and labor go hand in hand, maybe you work simply for the money. Maybe this practice has nothing to do with what you’re publicly known for. Maybe your sect light is making an aspect to L2 and you’re totally ok with this because it’s fulfilling!
Other Significators to Consider
Planets at least 30 degrees on either side of the MC
Planets in 10th WSH
Planets rising before the Sun
Anything in contact with your nodal axis by conjunction or square
Dignified planets and debilitated planets! – they stick out like sore thumbs in our lives so I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re continuous spaces of focus.
Honoring these things is really important, and this speaks to finding your vocation, because it doesn't just end with one planet, and this is with all astrology, it’s never just one thing. It’s never just the 10th, just the Midheaven, just the lord of the Midheaven, et cetera. It’s a mix of things. It’s a complex, very nuanced approach to understanding what you’re doing. It’s not just about jobs, it’s not just about money. What makes you feel fulfilled, what makes you feel like you’re living life with a purpose, can manifest in various ways. I think that’s beautiful and that opens the door for people to find joy outside of work. It’s especially crucial and key right now because I think people are realizing and becoming less ok with being exploited.
I hope that with approaching different planets and different things different spaces in your chart, that it opens the door and shows you that there’s a lot out there that you can discover about yourself, and that you can then share with the world. There’s a lot you can dive into and I hope this article launched you into the right direction!
If you enjoyed this article and you’re interested in extra guidance, consider booking a consultation with me! We’ll piece together your calling and uncover how you can step into the legacy you were meant to live!
Hill, Judith. Vocational Astrology: A Complete Handbook of Western Astrological Career Selection and Guidance Techniques. Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers, Inc., 2015.
N/A. "Discover Your Life’s Calling – Vocational Astrology Simplified." n.d. Dawn Mountain Press. 27 October 2021.
Surtees, Kelly. "Career and Life Direction." n.d. Course.