What’s ‘IC’ in the Birth Chart?
So, at this point, you’re likely well aware of the rising sign—or “ascendant” (ASC). But what about the other three points in the birth chart? Across from the ascendant, we have the descendant—which makes up the horizontal axis in the birth chart. But there is still the vertical axis of the birth chart that we have to discuss—composed of the “IC” (imum coeli) and the “MC” (medium coeli).
To help us dig deep into the differences between the IC and MC, as well as what the IC represents in astrology, we talked to astrologer Charlotte Kirsten, founder of the UK astrology blog, Typically Topical. She provides insight on what the IC is and how to use it to your advantage.
IC vs. MC
At first glance, the IC represents the very bottom of your chart and the MC represents the very top of it. “Your IC (imum coeli) is Latin for ‘bottom of the sky’ and is exactly opposite your Midheaven point in your natal chart, referred to as ‘top of the sky’,” says Kirsten.
The main difference between the two is simple: the IC reflects your intimate, family life, while the MC represents your public image.
IC (Imum Coeli)
“Similar to the moon, your IC explores the deepest depths of your inner world and underpins what kind of domestic foundation you should create for yourself,” Kirsten says. “The IC can help illuminate the depths of your soul and give you clarity about who you truly are.”
MC (Medium Coeli)
If the IC represents maternal, “home” energy in the way that Cancer or the moon does, the other side of that axis represents the “public image” energy of Capricorn and Saturn. There’s also the difference between nature vs. nurture: The MC represents how nature (the outside/public image) conditions you and the IC represents how nurture (the inside/maternal energy) conditions you.
How to Find
“You’ll find the IC point at the cusp of your 4th House—which makes sense given that it’s a marking heavily focused on our home, roots, private lives, ancestors, and foundations,” Kirsten says.
According to Kirsten, when a planet comes in contact with your IC—particularly as a conjunction—it can represent qualities or characteristics of your upbringing. This can help you understand your past as it relates to memories, triggers, or life lessons. “For example, if an outer planet such as Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto touches the IC, it can help you revisit the past, work through childhood trauma, and feel liberated from whatever has been holding you back.”
In the Signs
IC in Aries
With IC in Aries, you may feel comfortable in competition because you grew up in a very nitty-gritty kind of environment. You don’t need a ton of coddling, but you definitely need words of encouragement.
IC in Taurus
Seeing an IC in Taurus means that you are very much involved in creature comforts in order to feel safe and secure.
IC in Gemini
With IC in Gemini, you may have had frenetic disruptions in childhood—such as sibling rivalry or moving homes a lot.
IC in Cancer
You could always eat for comfort if your IC is in Cancer. You likely grew up with loving and potentially overbearing caretakers, so you tend to “mother” everyone else as well.
IC in Leo
There may have been lots of drama in the family if you see an IC in Leo. Fights, excitement, happy, sad, all over the place kind of family—with a knack for showiness among town.
IC in Virgo
Kirsten says that an IC in Virgo can indicate that you come from “a lineage of witches, writers, and visionaries” or that you “need to live a domestic life that’s enriched with structure, harmony, and order.”
IC in Libra
You probably grew up in a fun, artistic household if you have IC in Libra. There was room for expression, talent, and decoration.
IC in Scorpio
This placement can indicate plenty of “alone time” as a child—potentially too much. However, having an IC in Scorpio can also mean that you don’t enjoy sharing anyway.
IC in Sagittarius
In this placement, Kirsten says you might feel more comfortable “living” on the road—always traveling or on-the-go—given Sagittarius’ nomadic nature.
IC in Capricorn
This childhood can indicate one of “success.” With an IC in Capricorn, work and career was top priority.
IC in Aquarius
Seeing an IC in Aquarius can indicate the home wasn’t warm and fuzzy. Aquarius is the most distant zodiac sign, so seeing it here can indicate that parents were distant from children and/or one another.
IC in Pisces
Since Pisces is so fluid and hazy, seeing this placement can indicate that someone in the family had issues with addiction or health issues.
What does your descendant mean?
The descendant is opposite your ascendant. It represents the qualities you admire in others.