Also found in: Wikipedia.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Astro*Carto*Graphy™ (A*C*G) is one of many methodologies used in locational astrology, the branch of astrology that ascribes specific astrological effects to different localities. It is an elaboration of the “relocation chart,” wherein the horoscope is recalculated as if the individual had been born in the new place of residence instead of the actual place of birth. In this, A*C*G differs from much older locational techniques, most of which relate geography directly to parts of the celestial sphere. The best-known classical example of these older, “geodetic” techniques is Manilius’s first century c.e. ascription of areas of the ancient world to signs of the zodiac.

In contrast, A*C*G works by determining where on Earth the 10 astrological planets were angular at the moment of an individual’s birth, that is, where any one of them was rising, setting, straight overhead, or anticulminating (straight underneath). For example, even though it may have been nighttime at the actual place of birth, at the moment of birth the Sun was rising someplace else on Earth. All the various localities where the Sun was rising at that moment can be displayed as a line drawn across a map of the world. Such a line is labeled SU ASC (SUn on the ASCendant) on an A*C*G map; with 10 astrological planets and four angular positions, the map will be crossed by 40 lines in all.

Interpreting an A*C*G map is easy: Since being angular enhances the expression of a planet’s nature in the personality, affairs symbolized by the planet can be expected to be more prominent in the life of an individual who travels through or resides under an SU ASC line on such a map. By moving to a locality under an SU ASC line on one’s A*C*G map, an individual can expect more self-confidence, theatricality, creativity, and leadership to manifest.

Although the idea of preparing such a map for applications in mundane astrology occurred to other (for the most part sidereal) astrologers in the early part of the twentieth century, it was only the development of modern computers that made maps easily enough attainable for their value to be recognized in individual astrology. Astro*Carto*Graphy pioneered the provision and interpretation of maps to tens of thousands of individuals who, by comparing their life experiences to the angular planets identified by the map, have confirmed A*C*G to be among the most reliable natal astrological techniques. It works so well because it uses only the relevant planet and angles, the two most tangible and indisputable of astrological data.

Since most people have resided at several locations during their lifetime, an A*C*G map can confirm impressions of earlier residences as well as forecast outcomes of future moves. Moreover, a location’s planetary identity seems consistent even when dealt with remotely, as, for example, through people who at one time lived at a particular place or have investments or other indirect involvement there. Many people have reported that love mates were born near a place where Venus was angular, or that they met in such a zone.

In A*C*G, planet angularities are calculated by oblique ascension, that is, when the planet is bodily on the meridian or horizon, rather than when its zodiacal degree rises or culminates. Where two lines on an A*C*G map cross, they identify a place at which two planets were simultaneously angular at the moment of birth (e.g., one rising while the other occupied the midheaven). In addition to collocating a place-specific interoperation of the two planets’ energies, this paran (line crossing) also establishes a latitude at which the two planets’ energies are related anywhere on Earth; that is, a crossing of any two lines on an A*C*G map creates a special latitude line completely circling Earth, and on which the energies of the two planets are blended in the life of the individual. However, this “crossing” energy is far weaker than that of the planet-angle lines.

Below is the natal A*C*G for Paramahansa Yogananda, among the first of many East Indian sages to travel to the United States to transmit the highly sophisticated religious knowledge of the subcontinent. Over his native India is found the Moon ascendant (MO ASC) line, meaning that at his birth the Moon was actually rising there. Since the Moon defines the student, the child, the listener, and the “taker-in” of information, this connotes a sensitive individual, receptive, emotional, and responsive to his surroundings.

locational astrology—2 fulls. Locational Astrology: Yogananda, January 5, 1893, 8:38 p.m. Time Zone—5:33

Near the Moon line is the Uranus imum coeli (UR IC) line. The IC is perhaps the most personal and mysterious of the astrological angles, because it symbolizes what one comes into the world equipped with: one’s family heritage, social class, ethnic background (and the social status it bestows), religion, etc. Uranus, the planet of individualism, at this angle suggests that Yogananda was to transform his natal social standing by developing his spiritual individuality and, coupled with the Moon line, indicates that this could be accomplished by attention to external forces and devotion. He was to transcend his social identity by discipleship to his spiritual master; he would find his true individuality by giving it up.

But the most meaningful manifestation of Yogananda’s potential was to occur in Los Angeles, where he arrived in the 1930s, complete with flowing robes and long hair—unheard of in that era. In Los Angeles, he has the Sun on the ascendant (SU ASC), connoting the expression of life energy, opposite to the Moon’s absorption. Moreover, the UR IC line from India to Los Angeles becomes the UR MH (midheaven) line, showing that the transcendence of Yogananda’s individual cultural and family limitations is here transformed into the capacity to act out that role publicly for others—to become an exemplar of the human potential to grow beyond one’s natal limitations. This, coupled with the charismatic Sun line, ensured a large following for Yogananda, who packed lecture halls in California, a state where such separation from tradition and individual self-expression have always been encouraged.

This example, while briefly delineated, makes clear how important it is to look at the whole map—not just small subsections of Earth. The reciprocal nature of the Sun and Moon lines should be obvious, as well as the interesting inversion of the Uranus line’s angles, accomplished by plotting Yogananda’s move half a world away. Since an individual at best is going to exemplify only one or two planetary archetypes in her or his life, knowing which parts of the world hold these lines can be vitally important in recognizing and implementing the potential of the planets they identify.

Perhaps the most powerful argument in favor of A*C*G’s validity is that every modern American president whose time of birth is known has initiated armed conflict in a zone marked by Mars on his map, with the sole exception of Richard Nixon, who took over a war begun by his predecessors. In addition to using A*C*G in this fashion to forecast world events, some astrologers use national charts, which can be quite revealing, and any map can be projected forward in time through standard techniques of progression, transits, and solunar returns.

A*C*G is unique among astrological techniques in offering the individual something that she or he can do to alter the astrological indications under which she or he is laboring. Many have, upon discovering that they have been struggling under a Saturn line, relocated to a less oppressive zone and noted dramatic changes immediately. But residence in such difficult zones has its purpose also, as life cannot be all social gatherings and pleasures. In any case, knowing the astrological influence brought about by relocating—or by choosing a favorable location in advance from the A*C*G map—has proved to be an important adjunct to standard birth chart delineation. Astro*Carto*Graphy is now used universally by modern astrologers serving clients for whom travel or relocation is an option.

—Jim Lewis


Harding, Michael, and Harvey, Charles. Working with Astrology, the Psychology of Harmonics, Midpoints, and Astro*Carto*Graphy. London: Arcana, 1990.
Hathaway, Edith. Navigating by the Stars. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1991.
Lewis, Jim. Astro*Carto*Graphy. San Francisco: Astro*Carto*Graphy, 1976.
Lewis, Jim. Astro*Carto*Graphy Explained. San Francisco: Astro*Carto*Graphy, 1986.
Lewis, Jim. The Astro*Carto*Graphy Sourcebook of Mundane Maps. San Francisco: Astro*Carto*Graphy, 1979–1994.
Lewis, Jim. Cyclo*Carto*Graphy. San Francisco: Astro*Carto*Graphy, 1982.
Lewis, Jim, and Guttman, Ariel. The Astro*Carto*Graphy Book of Maps. Saint Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1989.
The Astrology Book, Second Edition © 2003 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Astrocartography is the study of these regional Sunsigns.