THE MC IC AXIS
It is very difficult to find good astrological narrative that relates the difference between the MC and the ASC. They are very different in their effects and functions upon the personality. One of the biggest differences concerns their abilities to discriminate in the taking in of information. The ASC has no discriminatory procedures about taking in stimuli, it is your window, and it takes in everything, blocking some input as you decide. For example, in a busy room with many stimuli, you may wish to focus on just one immediate conversation, shutting out the ‘extra” noises and distractions around.
However, the MC does have discrimination capability. The ASC takes in everything that your senses perceive. However, it can also suppress certain of these inputs that are not presently required, or which "overload" your capacity to process such. The ASC has very little that it does to teach or change you from your present habits into new sets of habits that the "psyche" (i.e., the overall you) will find more acceptable. The ASC is more reactive to the immediacy of your thinking.
The key to realizing the differences between these two axes, the ASC axis and the MC axis, is that experiences that require an action/reaction type of response are shown more properly through the ASC/DSC, whereas experiences that involve some type of evolution of your psychological self (either forward or backward) are MC/IC related. The MC takes in from the ASC, and processes for you in (hopefully) a way that helps you evolve toward being a better person.
The MC has very limited "observational" or taking in powers, but plays a much greater role or function in how you are able to "mature" through the different experiences you encounter in life. The MC functions like a “command center” for helping you form and then develop your personal growth and maturity.
Thus, if you are having difficulty in "seeing" (i.e., understanding) the function of self in the world, then this is an ASC related problem. However, if you are repeating the same types of experiences over and over again without being able to get out of these circumstances or to progress forward from where they are, then this is an MC type of problem. The MC has to do with the rate at which you learn from life and develop to be a better person.
There is a process of maturation, adaptation and understanding that you go through over time to become more (or less) as a person to define life’s progress. This involves a change on your part in your method of doing things, or in your developmental schemes. When there is an evolution, or a deevolution of self then the MC is involved. The MC is a much deeper personal point, personality-wise, than is the ASC. The roots that the MC reaches lie further down in the depths of your personality. The MC is your helper to advancement and development in life.
The MC helps you to adapt to the changing circumstances of life as a result of the new experiences you encounter. The MC allows you to build on your personality through the changes you make in the way that you are able to assess your life's circumstances. The MC represents the amount of work you are willing or able to put into building self towards becoming better as a person. The MC works to build your personality and sense of experiences through what is taken in by the ASC.
There is a sense of restraint within the MC that is a more mature sense of restraint than that found within the ASC. The MC can be used to repress some of the more unpleasant experiences that are encountered in life, but when the MC does this the repression is much deeper and more profound. It is harder to get at. Whether the MC does this or not is a function of your free will. The MC represents those restraining forces within your personality that allow you to hold back at socially inappropriate moments. In this respect the concept of what is or what is not socially correct is done through your MC. The MC is the gateway to your sense of social propriety.
As part of your maturation process, you have to go through the development of a sense of selfconfidence. This is usually a function of how well you feel that you are, or are not, able to cope with the different situations in life you encounter. What you think of yourself in your struggle to hold your own in the face of adversity is a function of the MC. The MC represents a measure of the success that you are able to generate in being able to fight your own battles.
The process of individuation is concerned with finding yourself. In the process of finding yourself there is the development of your own unique and individual nature. The modifications to the self that self forces you to go through as you grow as a person are a part of this process. Also as a part of this process is the way you go about understanding and growing through experiences in life. The MC is like a filter, and a teacher, in the functioning of your personality that accompanies this psychological development process.
The MC helps you to assimilate and recall your life's experiences, especially when these experiences are integrated into a part of your life in such a way that they have become a part of you. The MC represents that part of the chart that allows you to grow as a social person, liberating that which is inside of you so you are freer to function within your societal bounds. The MC is the part of your personality that helps you put the different elements of your personality together so you are able to reach the goals in life you have set for yourself. The MC represents the life position that you seek and reach for.
There is a sense and focus of consciousness within us all. The focus of this consciousness is related to the ASC more than it is to the MC. There is also a part of us that has and applies some intelligence, or intellect, to this focus of consciousness, and acts as a kind of a conscience for its direction and control. This sense of that cognitive domain belongs to the MC. In this sense the MC represents the functioning of your brain – but the MC is NOT the brain. The MC represents the focus you put on your mental convictions. The MC also represents that part of your creative intellectual potential and your ability to engage in mental activities responsible for problem solving and ease of learning.
The MC performs functions that are a necessary part of our personality. There are also symbolic representations for the MC that represents levels or goals, like time points. When the MC is aspected by transiting bodies these exterior, nonpersonality, functions are more easily noticed. When the MC is included in a natal delineation then the personality functions are more easily noted. The MC separates left and right chart hemispheres, and the second and the third chart quadrants. Refer to my 1992 book The Astrological Thesaurus, Book One, House Keywords for an explanation of chart hemispheres and quadrants.
In this position the MC is at the top of the chart and serves as a marking point for important recognition oriented circumstances you meet in life. Usually this is associated with your career or profession, as so many astrologers have stated that the MC is the primary indicator for profession. It is not. It is the primary indicator for social recognition, however.
As the MC is aspected by a transiting planet, that planet's influences should be such that the culmination of what has been planned with that planet through its travels through the first two quadrants should now begin to unravel and unwind as it transits through the third chart quadrant after aspecting the MC. The MC is the marker. The MC represents the concept of time in the chart. It sets in motion the processes of the absorption of planetary lessons, or the process of maturation, that was discussed earlier.
Fulfillment is something that is sought by every person, even if the means for recognizing fulfillment are different in all of us. The MC serves as a point where the processes that you have set up for self can begin to unfold and then bring in the type of fulfillment that you feel that you deserve the most. As the different planets and nodes transit the MCIC axis they initiate different parts of a cycle that set off the initiation and fulfillment phases of our cycles of life. The MC then serves as a point where you can step back and assess whether or not you have had your resolutions fulfilled.
Part of this fulfillment has a spiritual or soul orientation associated with it, and because of this the MC, for some, also takes on the meaning of "soul" in the chart. In as much as the "soul" is not a part of this earthly existence, I find it difficult to understand how the MC can represent the soul. It is more likely that the MC, through the maturation process that it fulfills, represents some of the more important soul desires through which you evaluate your life and your fulfillments. In this sense it is your point of personal significance.
The MC represents the here and the now. It is that part of the "self" that you build from to make a new and a better self. It serves as the dividing line between those two areas of the chart where the cycle for completion is created, and the cycle for implementation is put forth and evaluated. As such it is a very important part of your lives, and serves, in its marker or marking function, as a prominent beacon through which you can measure cyclical changeover in life.
Through the process of maturing you create a deeper self image. Through the building and using of that selfimage you build a model that you live your life by. This is your physical selfconcept. This is also the public self that you show off to others. This is the actor part of self that acts out our roles in life and either generates the happiness or unhappiness that is your choice in life.
The IC is the point that is opposite to the MC. As the MC is concerned with the process of learning or maturing from experiences in life, the IC is more concerned with the personal part of that process, or the finding of security. The IC represents your family roots and influence. If a planet is transiting the MC (i.e., is conjunct the MC by transit), it is opposite to the IC at the same time. Therefore any planet that is pouring forth its energies to the MC and enhancing your sense of accomplishment is at the same time causing the stress of an opposition on the IC.
The IC represents your sense of security. It is your point of personal integration. The astrological placement of these opposing MCIC points tells you that if you are simultaneously reaping the rewards of fulfillment you are also simultaneously experiencing the conflicts of inner security that ask if you are worthy enough to continue to merit such fulfillment (in the name of the transiting planet). This is a part of the double-edged sword of life that you have to experience in your existence.
The IC is concerned with the sense of personal security you have. A badly aspected IC will bring you to question your sense of inner security. When this happens there is a sense of personal re-evaluation that is more basic than the fulfillments being received through the MC. The IC represents the sense of identity you find necessary for your personal psychological nourishment or protection. The IC is the starting point for the maturing process that ends with the MC. Without the stability offered by the IC it is difficult to accept the recognition you can receive through the MC.
Ego is an elusive term. Until you pin down more precisely what facet of personality you are interested in locating in an astrological chart, then finding or assigning ego to a chart part remains difficult – and open to controversy. But, I do know where to find the Sun, the Moon, the Ascendant and the MC in a chart.
For the Ascendant, I can use keywords like: situation, here, vicinity, disposition, persona and attitude. For the MC, I can use keywords like: self-control, behavior, integrity, principles, respectability and mastery. There are many other such words for both the Ascendant and the MC. But keywords for the ego – these remain in the realm of the mind, inclinations and attitude of the seeker.