Next let’s observe a full day in the chart. Think about how a day occurs in nature. Imagine that you’re at your house, facing south at midnight. Take a moment to fully get your directional bearings. From this same place, imagine now that it’s dawn. A new day is beginning. Through which windows does the Sun pour into your home? Now it’s midday. Imagine standing outside your house, directly under the Sun. Where’s your shadow? Time is passing. Your shadow lengthens. Where does it point? Inside the house, the afternoon Sun is shining through which windows now? It’s sunset. The day is ending. Into which horizon does the Sun disappear?
Now gently speed up this visualization. Watch or feel—however your imagination wants to sense this—several days scrolling by in your mind. Notice how key to your envisioning is the Sun.
We get our days and nights from the Sun. Every day our closest star appears to be moving around us, rising in the east, culminating overhead, setting in the west. It’s earth’s rotation that we’re really observing, but we can’t tell that we’re spinning. It seems that the sky is circling around us. And within this illusion, the Sun is master.
Our star divides the day into meaningful portions. His influence on all beings’ activities and rest is greater than anything else in the natural world. That we have a Sun is perhaps the most fundamental fact of life on Earth. Everywhere he rises in the east. He culminates overhead at midday. He descends into the west at sunset. He disappears at night. How wonderful. Let’s observe this same rotation in the horoscope, using your own chart.
Imagine that without changing the order, you can circle the train of your planets all the way around your wheel. Let the Sun be the locomotive or leader. Moving in a clockwise direction, take him to the hour that launched the day. To do this you need to locate east on your chart wheel. You can get your bearings from the horizon line that runs left and right through the center of the chart. To the left is east. West is to the right. (Charts depict the sky you’d see if you were facing south.)
Take your Sun in a clockwise direction to the eastern horizon. If your Sun was already here, you were born at sunrise. This is the Ascendant or 1st house cusp. Any planets that are directly above the Sun (in the 11th or 12th houses) would have been twinkling in the predawn sky on your birth morning. Planets that rise just before the Sun are among the more luminous predawn jewels. They hold a special place in your psyche too. But let’s not make meaning yet. We’re still observing and beholding.
If you run the Sun and its train of planets all the way around the chart, you’ll observe a full day. The Sun will travel as it did in when you pictured the days revolving from your home. After sunrise, the Sun keeps rising, through the 12th, 11th, and 10th houses. If your Sun had started here, you were born in the morning. The Sun reaches the top of the chart at midday (this is approximately noon, depending on your latitude and time of year).
Whatever the season (or length of day), this is the Sun’s astronomical zenith, the peak of each day. It’s also the highest point in the horoscope, known as the Midheaven or 10th house cusp. On the chart wheel, it’s often depicted as an upward pointing arrow, on the tip of the vertical line that cuts the chart in two.
Appropriately, the Midheaven symbolizes the peak of our social expression. It’s the tallest platform on which we can stand in the world—this could be a pedestal or the raised stage of a guillotine. The sign on the Midheaven simply indicates those qualities that are as visible to the rest of the world as the Sun at midday.
After its culmination overhead, the Sun keeps moving, through the 9th, 8th, and 7th houses. If your Sun had started here, you were born in the afternoon. It’s dusk when the Sun reaches the 7th house cusp, opposite its rising point. The Sun in houses 6, 5, and 4 indicates an evening birth, sometime after sunset but before midnight.
The midnight Sun falls directly opposite its noon position, at the bottom of the chart. This is the Sun’s astronomical nadir. It’s the chart’s IC or 4th house cusp. This position is far more personal than the Midheaven. Here are your roots. This is the self that shuts the door after a hard day and seeks renewal. It’s the you that’s hidden from public view. In the mythologies of many cultures, the Sun dies at midnight and is ritually resurrected. His journey to rebirth takes him through houses 3, 2, and 1. If your birth Sun had started here, you were born in the wee hours after midnight, before dawn.
Let’s return your traveling Sun back to his original position in your natal chart. Can you tell now, just by looking at the wheel, when you were born? Approximate is fine, as in “late morning” or “early evening.” Digital accuracy matters less when working with the natural world.
Below is my chart. Can you tell that I was born shortly before midnight? Jupiter was visible, relatively high in the southeast. The Moon was rising.
It was a waning Moon, in the Disseminating phase, which is the phase just after the Full Moon. Can you see this? My Moon is on the left side of our imaginary dividing line that extends from the Sun. A few days ago, this Moon was Full, or, opposite the Sun. Try to visualize this. Gently dial my Moon backwards in your imagination. Five days earlier, she was in late degrees of Taurus, opposite what was then a Scorpio Sun.
Practice seeing skies in the symbols. A lot of foolish astrology would be eliminated if people simply recalled what the chart actually shows. Study the charts of friends and family or use random dates and times. Let your eyes find the nature in each chart.
Excerpted from Naked Astrology