Hemispheres in Astrology: Life Themes

Planets in signs, along with your major angles such as your Ascendant, help to define your personality and traits. But they don’t offer much when it comes to clues about how your life will play out. One place to find hints about how what overarching themes may help to define your life is in the hemispheres. But what are hemispheres and how do you read them?

Hemispheres in a birth chart describe the semicircles created when the chart is divided into two pieces by the meridian or the horizon. Each hemisphere describes a tendency to either place importance on your inner or outer self or the role that fate and personal choices may play in your life.

Reading hemispheres has to do less with interpreting each planet and more to do with interpreting the placement of your planets in your birth chart by looking at the overall pattern.

Keep reading to go further into how to read hemispheres in astrology and what your planetary placements within them could mean for you!

a brass zodiacal sundial in the foreground with blurry lights in the background behind it, representing hemispheres in astrology

What are the 4 hemispheres in astrology?

In the chart illustration below, you can see that there are two lines that cross through the birth chart and divide it into two pieces.

a blank birth chart showing the horizon line between the ascendant and descendant and the meridian line between the midheaven and the imum coeli

The line through the middle that connects the Ascendant and Descendant (AC and DC) is called the horizon. The horizon always is always drawn perfectly horizontal on the chart.

The line between the Midheaven and Imum Coeli (MC and IC) on a natal chart is called the meridian. In the illustration above it is drawn perfectly vertical, perpendicular to the horizon, but in most house systems in astrology, it doesn’t usually work out that way.

In the example chart below that is drawn using the Pladicus House System, you can see that the meridian is not perfectly vertical and not perpendicular to the horizon.

an example chart showing the meridian not square to the horizon

In both example charts shown above, you can see how both the meridian and horizon divide the birth chart in half. Each of these halves contains six houses an is called a hemisphere.

In the illustration below you can see the meridian highlighted and how it divides the chart into two halves, the eastern hemisphere and the western hemisphere.

Again, in most charts this will look slightly different because the meridian won’t be perfectly vertical, but no matter what the two hemispheres will always be of equal size.

When thinking in terms of a map, having the eastern hemisphere on the left and the western on the right may seem backward, but on a natal chart east and west are opposite of what you’re used to.

birth chart showing the meridian line and how it divides the chart into the eastern and western hemispheres

The illustration below shows how the horizon line divides the chart into two semicircle, the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.

a birth chart showing the southern and northern hemispheres in astrology

The horizon line will always be perfectly horizontal on a natal chart.

Each set of hemispheres, the north and south, the east and west, represent a duality experienced within a life.

The north and south symbolize a life defined by either what is going on within a person or by experiences that can be observed by all. The eastern and western hemispheres suggest a life that is either driven by one’s own personal will, or one that is more likely to flow with and be shaped by the hands of fate.

Below is more information about each hemisphere and how planets placed within them could influence your life!

The eastern hemisphere

illustration of a natal chart showing the eastern hemisphere

The eastern hemisphere on a natal chart represents the importance of human will in the course of your life. With an eastern hemisphere emphasis, the choices you make and how hard you push yourself determine where life will take you. You could say that in the eastern hemisphere, fate is in your hands.

This isn’t to say that fate won’t play a role at some point, but the overall landscape of your life will be shaped by your own self-determination. You can’t sit around and wait for opportunity to come knocking, you have to go make your own opportunities.

Houses 1,2,3, 10, 11, and 12 are included within the eastern hemisphere.

Western Hemisphere

illustration of a natal chart showing the western hemisphere

The western hemisphere symbolizes the importance that fate will play in your life. With the majority of your planets in the western hemisphere, major changes or shifts in your life will not come from things you can control. Fate, destiny, or whatever you want to call it, will play a major role your life.

Determination and ambition are still definitely important and having a western hemisphere emphasis does not mean that you should just throw your hands up and see what the Universe will throw at you every day. The hemispheres describe the big picture and overall structure of your life.

Your drive to go get what you want is still very important. However, with many planets in the western hemisphere, things may just “happen” for you. Sure, some may not be pleasant, but some may be great. You must be ready to seize opportunities that come your way and adjust to shifting sands when needed.

Houses encompassed in the western hemisphere include Houses 4-9.

Southern Hemisphere

a birth chart showing the southern hemisphere in astrology

The southern hemisphere on the natal chart represents a life with changes played out for all to see. If you have many planets within the southern hemisphere, important changes that happen in your life will be external. Events, ones that anyone could witness from the outside, are catalysts for personal evolution.

Daytime is represented by the southern hemisphere as its boundary line is the horizon. It begins when the sun rises and ends when the sun sets. A life unfolding for all to see is representative of this period of the day.

Houses 7-12 are included in the southern hemisphere.

Northern Hemisphere

a birth chart showing the northern hemisphere in astrology

The northern hemisphere on a birth chart symbolizes an existence marked by internal changes. Major shifts in life won’t come from things such as marriage or getting a promotion like they could with a southern hemisphere emphasis. Instead, life’s transformations will be driven by internal change and shifts in awareness and realizations. Your life will be forever changed by thoughts and emotions that arise from inside of you, things no one else may even notice.

Night is represented by the northern hemisphere, which is appropriate as this is a time of darkness where things are easily concealed. With a northern hemisphere emphasis, your life may be completely altered and even those closest to you may not be aware as the change was completely internal.

The northern hemisphere includes Houses 1-6.

How to read your hemispheres in astrology

Reading hemispheres in astrology can be as simple as noticing which halves of your chart contain the most planets. Obviously, there can be more complexity to this, but this is a good start.

Also, if your Sun and Moon are within a hemisphere, this would hold even more weight.

The example chart below shows 8 planets plus Chiron in the eastern hemisphere. Plus, their Sun and Moon are placed there, also. There is definitely an eastern hemisphere emphasis here and this person’s life may be shaped by how hard they push themselves and the direction they lead themselves.

natal chart showing many planets, including the sun and moon, in the eastern hemisphere

You should be able to easily notice a southern hemisphere emphasis in the example chart below. While the Moon lies in the northern hemisphere, it is only accompanied by Uranus. All of the rest of the planets, including the Sun, sits in the southern hemisphere of the chart. Major life changes for this individual may stem from events rather than internal transformation.

natal chart where most of the planets fall in the northern hemisphere

With some charts, the planets may be more evenly spaced and locating an emphasized hemisphere may be more difficult. This could indicate a more well-rounded life where the existence is marked by both internal and external transformation as well as twists of fate and change brought on by self-determination.

The chart below shows planets that are pretty equally distributed within hemispheres. There may be a slight emphasis on the eastern hemisphere, but it isn’t as prominent as some of the example charts shown above.

a birth chart showing even distribution of planets in the hemispheres

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Quadrants in Astrology