Synastry Studies: The MC/IC (Part Two), Aspects and Inter-aspects

Please read The MC/IC (part one) before this piece. This week we’ll wrap up our discussion on the MC/IC and its part in synastry.  If you’re interested in going deeper, I go into more detail in my class on the angles, the cardinal signs and the part they play in sexual identity and development.  In the class I talk about the interlocking phases of the progressed Moon and Saturn and their role in developing sexual maturity.

Last week we discussed Saturn’s role and the function of the 10th house in relationship.  This week we will talk a bit more about synastry contacts with the IC/MC and how they can play out both within and between charts.

Contacts to the MC/IC axis are more common in long term marriages than contacts to the Asc/Desc.  This is borne out by a number of recent research studies.  It makes sense.  Asc/Desc is all about attraction and hooking up.  MC/IC is all about creating something substantial from our inner dynamics.  If your planets help me to realize my potential, I will feel legitimate and fulfilled in your presence and I will be more likely to stay with you.  My contact with you allows me to take my place in the world, to feel as if I (we) belong.   The disadvantage is that this contact can sometimes override a lack of genuine mutual exchange.  What you do for me, how I feel in your presence, becomes more important than the give and take of actual relationship, where both partners have equal roles.

Emphasis on one end of an angle in a synastry may bring problems to the other.  (We haven’t yet discussed Ascendant or Descendant overload–that’s a topic for another day.) We are always striving for balance where an axis is concerned.  If your planets load my MC and 10th house, our relationship may inspire me to social service (in a best case scenario) or, at worst, it may be all about external things, neglecting my inner landscape.  Or you just may be someone that I like to show off, a trophy partner.  However it plays out, depending on the planets involved, the MC/10th house relationship will feel like a natural partnership to the house person, whether it is or not.  The planet person will stimulate the 10th house person to achievement, perhaps at the expense of emotional legitimacy, perhaps not, depending on aspects.   This may be fine for cool, ambitious types, but may be devastating to someone who is craving intimacy–the planets will pull the relationship focus away from the emotional core (from the point of view of the house person). The more the MC is influenced, the more intimacy can erode. Emotional uncertainty and confusion sets in, because the relationship that seemed like such a good fit  in the beginning starts rotting from beneath.  This can get complicated, because the person with the planets may not have a clue that anything is wrong.  (Those planets will most likely fall into another house or houses in the natal.) With heavy MC contacts, someone needs to keep a constant watch on the emotional level of the partnership.

Usually, if we choose a partner who has loaded our MC/10th house, it’s because we lack something there ourselves.  Perhaps our own fourth house is overloaded, or its ruler is in difficult aspect, and we can’t find a way to escape our own inner dynamics and compulsions.  The 10th house planets person may provide us with a welcome reprieve, a way out, a breath of fresh air for our suffocating inner world.

Contacts with the IC can be complicated, depending on the planets involved.  If you stimulate my IC, you become part of my psychological landscape.  I will feel whatever planetary influence falls there, and I will feel it intensely.  You will feel familiar to me, like home, like family.  I might welcome it if Venus is the contact planet; Pluto may bring something else entirely. It’s important to remember that it’s the person with the angle that has the direct experience:  the planet person may be relatively unaware of the effect.  This is true for either axis. The angle person feels the planet.  The planet person feels the attraction/acceptance/electricity that the angle person emits via the contact, so that  planet is enhanced for them.  If my Venus touches your angle, your reaction to my Venus makes me feel accepted and attractive, so I want to be with you.  If my Pluto touches your angle, you may be hypnotized or terrified of me (at first) and I will feel more powerful around you because of it.  Whatever the planetary influence, any contact between the IC and a planet can feel like an intense bond, particularly in the beginning.

Moon and Saturn contacts to this angle are powerfully placed.  If your Moon conjuncts my IC, or falls in my fourth house, it relates to having a Moon/Moon conjunction.  We become one (for a while).  Depending on aspects to the Moon, this can be blissful, or it can quickly turn problematic as the Moon issues that arise will affect both partners profoundly, and may disturb the home life directly.   On the whole, it effects how nurtured and supported we feel, and if one person pulls out a stick, the whole emotional landscape of the relationship may come tumbling down.  If the fourth house contact is very pronounced, the house person may become dependent on the Moon person to provide emotional sustenance.  How successful this is depends on the Moon person.  If the person is lunar/fourth house oriented as well, this can work.  If the Moon is conjunct Uranus, however, they will show the house person how to break from the psychological patterns they are in (in a good way, by illustrating emotional independence, or in a bad way, by leaving).  Moon/IC contacts are usually good for establishing a home together.  These people will like to cocoon, and may not need a lot of stimulation from the outside world.  They’re that quiet couple down the street you may nod to once in a while, but wonder what they actually do in there all day.

If a person’s Moon falls in my 10th house, they will open me up to the greater world.  I am comfortable declaring this person as my partner; I will feel as if we’re a good fit.  This, in turn, enhances the Moon person’s feelings of security. If a person’s Moon falls into my 10th house, they will be a  midwife to my ambitions, and support my efforts to build something for myself (or us).  (How they do this depends on their own lunar aspects.  Moon square Saturn might be driven.  Moon square Pluto might be manipulative.  Moon square Neptune might inspire.) They may help me navigate socially, and to understand current trends and ways of working in the world.  They will be in touch with what I need to achieve, possibly understanding this aspect of myself better than I do.  My ambitions may feed their own hungers for success.  (This is the perfect aspect for the stage mother.) However, the Moon person may be too dependent on my success and status, and may expect us to live our private lives out in public, or have security goals that might not match my own.  Moon on the MC will draw me out, and cause me to interact, in no uncertain terms.  If I am a 12th house sort of individual, who needs privacy and contemplative downtime, I may not appreciate this.

Saturn in either house is intensely felt.  Saturn in either house points to parental issues.  Even if the influence is good and Saturn is well aspected, it becomes a dominant theme.  Natally, Saturn in the 10th points to a father figure who was in a position of authority at best, or dominated our early life in some way.  We learned from his example, but we also felt the hunger to establish ourselves on our own terms, to find a place where we were appreciated for who we really are.  Saturn in the 10th expected us to set a good example for others, often at the expense of our own emotional self-expression.  We may have not been allowed to be our true selves.  Saturn in the 10th, in its natural house, is often fiercely ambitious, and is concerned with producing something lasting, and of quality, whatever it might be.  It’s in it for the long haul, and will allow very little to get in its way. It is obsessed with doing things well, and also (sometimes secretly) longs for the traditional trappings of success, and will work impossibly hard for them.  Standards are vital.  So is integrity.  It takes only a little nudge from somewhere else in the chart to turn 10th house Saturns into workaholics, and there is a special danger of losing touch with the IC.  We may internalize all those parental messages, and have a hard time becoming our own authority.

If someone’s Saturn falls in my 10th house, they may cause me to relive these early dynamics.  They will inspire me to act responsibly and will not suffer any kind of public misbehaviour or disappointment.  Saturn will expect me to get a hold of myself and make a success of myself and our partnership, and will bring discipline to my life if it is chaotic.  I may feel that the Saturn person has the upper hand in the relationship, which is all right if I’m inclined that way but not so right if I’m a naturally rebellious type.  The relationship puts an emphasis on my values, security, respect, and integrity, and, depending on aspects, I may feel repressed by this.  I may feel I’m expected to live up to impossible standards.  Someone’s Saturn falling in my 10th is particularly inclined to bring up any issues I have with authority.  If it makes hard aspects with personal planets, I may begin to feel burdened and inadequate (perhaps repeating a familial pattern).  I may feel that I have difficulty expressing my true self around this person, and am tempted to play the good son or daughter and will wear a mask over my true feelings.

Wherever Saturn falls, there is some kind of ‘ouch.’  Something was/is lacking that needs to be found.  If Saturn natally conjuncts the IC, my family situation may have been harsh, and either Dad or Mom or both weren’t there to help us when we needed them.  (You can see this in the rest of the chart.  For example, Sun/Neptune, dad fled.  Moon/Uranus, mum was emotionally unavailable.)  As with a troubled Saturn in the 10th, there can be issues with authority, and repressed anger.  We can lose our sense of inner security and rootedness because of a loss in our home situation, leaving us to feel perpetually precarious.  We can sit on Saturn issues for years, while they twist us from within and without.  This is especially true with Saturn contacts to this angle.  If we feel we ‘never get it right,’ we need to look to imbalances in the MC/IC.  IC problems in particular cause us to internalize what often is not our fault, while MC problems cause us to project our Saturn issues on to others.  Saturn on the IC is prone to taking on the sadness and responsibilities felt from the mother in childhood, and may particularly absorb mother issues with partners.  Without sufficient awareness, the early patterns may be repeated.

If someone’s Saturn falls on my IC or in my fourth house, I will most likely feel responsible for them.  I may want to guide and nurture them, and feel a profound link that may be more familial than romantic, though the two feelings certainly can merge.   At first, I will feel safe, and anchored.  If the person who owns Saturn has parent issues, I may eventually fall into the role of a father or mother figure, particularly if there is an age difference in the relationship.  The attachment may unconsciously be one of parent/mentor, and a lack of equality in the relationship may not go noticed until it is too late.  Saturn may be fine in the beginning of the relationship, but after a time the angle person may find themselves increasingly unable to express their emotions in any kind of honest or spontaneous way.  Saturn may bring the angle person unwelcome familial responsibility.  The angle person may feel emotionally oppressed and burdened by the relationship, and grow tired of carrying someone else’s Saturn issues as well as their own.  In the case of both the Moon and Saturn on either end of the MC/IC angle, either partner may find themselves cast in a role which fulfills the other’s psychological drama; eventually the role overrides the genuine interaction between them, and the relationship can degenerate.  This is true to a lesser extent of any planet on this angle.

Outer planet aspects to this angle have a heavy impact on the relationship dynamics.  I’ve found Neptune in either house particularly problematic.  The lull of false security followed by deception and betrayal and a breaking of naivete can be devastating on the psyche.  This applies whether the aspect is natal or in synastry.  Neptune/IC causes me to feel as if the ground is dissolving beneath my feet.  I may never feel at ease or at home.  (I have had clients with this aspect where the search for a literal  ‘perfect’ home has been almost obsessive.) With Neptune on the MC, I never feel secure enough to take my place in the outside world because I don’t know who I am.  The sands of my identity are always shifting, and as a consequence I neither feel secure with what I have nor what I want.   Neptune on the MC longs for glamour and glory, but often has no clue what to do to get it (especially true if the IC is problematic), often trying to marry it.  Neptune in the 10th can point to a career in the arts, but it can also point to people who become obsessed with fame or the famous.

Pluto on these angles brings questions of control and use of power, often having its roots in the family and the parental dynamic.  Emotional or sexual manipulation and control can be the order of the day, and I will need to dig deeper to find new levels of power.  Uranus falling on these angles can bring a wake-up call of otherworldly excitement, instant rapport and fascination, but natally it can also indicate a wound of abandonment.  Uranus often points to a place where something has been violently torn from us, and on either angle it has to do with an emotional break, a hole in the emotional landscape, which must be factored into the synastry.  If someone’s Uranus falls on this angle in my chart, it may  inspire me to a fresh start that will alter my identity or it will sever me from an ongoing dynamic that I may not be aware of.  This may be painful or welcome, depending on my attitude to Uranus and radical change.

The key theme to this angle is self-actualization.  Authentic lives are lives lived with self-knowledge.  Challenges to the MC/IC ask us whether we are living authentically, or whether our lives are dictated to us by expectations of family, society at large, or unconscious psychological patterns.  Whether natally or through synastry, the  MC/IC gives us the opportunity to work this out.

See also, “The Inner Script.”