If you were born in the Southern Hemisphere, your birth chart is not completely accurate. And no, not because of any 13th sign or peripheral factor. It’s an inbuilt bias that applies Northern hemisphere settings to every chart.
There are practical, political, and magical dimensions to this situation. Astrology as we know it is seen through Northern Hemisphere optics because “that’s where it started.” When I was learning astrology, any North-South anomaly questions were treated like minor heresies: “It’s just how it is.”
The birth chart – which should be a flat map of the Sun, Moon, planets, constellations, and stars when you were born – is done for everyone as if they were Northern hemisphere births. That is, the Sun rises in the East and crosses the Southern sky from left to right, AKA clockwise.
Or, to use an old folk term, Sun-wise. Anti-clockwise is akin to being left-handed, sinister, and evil or – at least – inferior. In old traditions, anti-clockwise is the direction you walk in – three times around a church – if you want to raise hell.
In the Southern hemisphere, the Sun also rises in the East but we see it as crossing the Northern sky from right to left. Widdershins! I feel flustered by any mention of this as I’m left-handed and even now, in the digital era, the occasional person will note it as ‘aberrant.’ So in the Southern hemisphere birth chart, the houses run counter-clockwise. See the image here, for example, using Aquarius Rising.
Anti-Clockwise Was Considered Sinister, Like Left-Handed People
Additionally, the Tropical Zodiac signs run along with the Northern Hemisphere seasons. Aries = Spring, Libra is Autumn, Capricorn – starting at the Northern Winter Solstice – is credited with a suitably austere temperament, and so on. That is why you sometimes read something about a sign from a Southern Hemisphere perspective and it doesn’t resonate.
Does this mean that your Sun sign should be different? Eg: Libra becomes Aries, Taurus is now Scorpio, and so on? No. If the Sun was in Taurus when you were born, that is where it was. Is there a case for Southern Taurus as being a temperamentally different creature to Northern Taurus. Possibly. But the seasons have blurred into weather. We don’t live so much in harmony with nature that you airily ascribe Zodiac sign characteristics to the person’s harvest birth or Summer nature.
Additionally, there are so many other dimensions. A Taurus with Pluto in tight aspect or a big 8th house presence will seem Scorpionic even if they were birthed in a daisy paddock on Beltane in the Northern Summer.
The Moon’s Nodes Are Flipped If You Were Born Below The Equator
Practically, the main Southern Hemisphere difference is that the Southern hemisphere Moon’s Nodes are reversed: the Ascending – or North – Node that shows in astrological charts* is the South Node if you were born below the equator. Nobody talks about this because it is just assumed that to be “how it is.” Why does it matter?
It may seem semantic but representation is important. Every time you have to adjust something in your mind for it to be relevant, it affirms that something irrevocably not you is “the top” or “correct.” When I first really looked into this and confirmed the Moon’s Node flip, I was melancholy because I did not want my Gemini Node to be the “bad” one. It’s not, of course, and nor would the opposite Node – Sagittarius – be debilitating or negative if it were the South one.
But that was my first thought because North-South bias is everywhere, even though it is totally illogical. It’s up there with some of the gloomier takes on “Yin” as the abysmal, passive counterpart to the brightness of “Yang.” They were even combined on occasion, as in this upbeat little rant.
“Gone South” is a metaphor for situations in decline or disarray. The perspective of the observer is assumed to be the Northern hemisphere, which is apparently “up.” Multiple cultural assumptions are made along the lines of North equating to logic or work ethic, while the South represents unruly passion and lack of ambition.
If you think that has a whiff of colonialism, yes. This Italian site has an ultra-rigorous, rich read on the ‘hegemonic dogma’ that is irrationally encoded into astrology “against all mathematical and sensible evidence.”
It’s too large a topic for a blog post but conquerors raze temples to the ground so they can erect a structure to their religion. Missionaries follow in their wake, helpfully ‘translating’ old texts and making edits where they deem appropriate. The people ‘gradually convert’ and ancient star-lines, mountains, and stories are forgotten or renamed after the so-called saviors.
Ancient Star Lines Are Forgotten Or Erased
There are some fabulous Northern astral sagas but Southern Hemisphere people end up reading more about constellations they never – or barely – see than their stars. In many cases, Southern star systems were renamed and the old associations lost. An example: ‘Arctic’ means bear and comes from the constellations that revolve around the North Pole, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor. “Antarctic” just means “opposite to the Arctic.” No story, no glory.
It is not only a Western astrology thing. Feng Shui is based on the central and most commonly visible constellations of old China. The stars and planetary cycles that the ancient pyramids and temples of many cultures were aligned to were the ones they knew, not those they’d only heard of.
Is the concept of following your “true North” or “North Star” as resonant when Polaris – the current North Pole star -is invisible from your latitude? Imaginatively, the South Star is called Polaris Australis. It is not as bright nor close to the South Pole as Polaris is to the North – nobody really rates it. But it’s conjunct the Galactic Center, which, in the Southern Hemisphere, is overhead.
The South Pole Star Is Conjunct The Galactic Center
This point was seen as the origin of ‘the worlds’ well before astrophysics and hyper-powered telescopes could confirm it. In the olden days, circumpolar stars and constellations were worshipped because they never set. People saw them as enchanted embodiments of deathless strength.
Canopus – a star the Egyptians called Kahi-Nub (or Golden Earth) was, at one point the Raven Star, which was a title given to South pole stars.** These days spacecraft use it for celestial navigation. Some of the oldest Babylonian stories correlate with the most ancient of the indigenous Australian tales. There are links between the stars and deities of Maori and Ancient Egyptian culture.
The most significant Southern constellation, magically at least, was Eridanus, a stream of stars flowing South from Rigel and named after Eridu, the earliest city in the world. It stops with Achernar, meaning ‘the end of the river’, in Pisces and that faces the mysterious Magellanic Clouds. Their phantom galaxies and weirdness makes even the staidest astronomical paper read like Philip K Dick on hyperdrive.
The story of the Southern skies and star lines is less known than the constellation myths of the North but it’s re-emerging via archeoastronomy and the study of indigenous starlore. But most of all, it is a collective subconscious pull, like an astral tide. There will be more to come on the Nodes and – perhaps – Southern and Northern Zodiac traits but in the meantime, why not know your circumpolar stars?
*The new design of the Astral DNA natal birth charts will reflect this and yes, if you already purchased one, you will be able to download the latest version from your dashboard.
**So many ancient tales feature Raven, Snake, and a Cosmic Egg.
Frederik De Wit 1690
Kaphehu Whetu – The Polynesian Compass
Eridanus – Unknown – please advise if you know the original artist.
Stellarium – the Southern Circumpolar Stars of the Australian Kamilaroi/Euahlayi people.