The IC (Imum Coeli) is an exact point at the bottom of your chart and directs your relationship to home and family
When it comes to your origin story, the IC helps write the script. The roots create the fruits, as the saying goes.
What does the IC in astrology mean?
In astrology, the imum coeli, which is Latin for “bottom of the heavens,” lies at the base of the zodiac wheel.
It marks the start (or cusp) of your fourth house and represents the most private parts of your life. It signifies your home, family relationships, and early childhood development including relationship to nurturing parental figures and any trauma you may endure in your youth.
What the zodiac sign of your IC says about you
The zodiac sign of your IC says a lot about your approach to personal matters. What types of relationships make you feel secure and “at home.”
How do you relate to family, from interacting with relatives to creating your own ideal domestic situation as an adult? A Libra IC may crave peaceful serenity under their roof, while a Leo IC may turn their home into an entertainment multiplex and party pad.
While the IC will always be associated with the fourth house, any planets aspecting it will also add energy to how this part of your chart plays out. For example, if sacrificial Neptune aspects your IC, a parental figure may have suffered from health issues or addiction causing you to grow up early and learn to care for yourself. Mercury in communion with the IC may have brought an active childhood where you changed schools regularly or perhaps enjoyed easy popularity as a kid.
And on a purely material level, you IC acts as an astrological real estate agent, helping you find the right place to put down roots. Decor style clues can also be found here, since the fourth house governs the way we set up our spaces so we can feel most relaxed in our private time.
Find your IC and its placement in your birth chart, free on Astrostyle.com
How to find the IC on a birth chart
In your birth chart, the IC is associated with a specific zodiac sign. How to find it:
- The IC is the beginning borderline (cusp) of the fourth house. In some birth charts, the IC is indicated by a thicker line.
- You can also find the IC by counting the lines, starting with the AC (Ascendant) at the 9 o’clock point on the zodiac wheel. You will move in a counterclockwise direction, heading “south,” with the AC as line 1, the second house cusp as line 2, the third house cusp as line 3 and the fourth house cusp as the IC.
- Whichever zodiac sign the IC intersects is the sign of your imum coeli. So you’d say, “I have a Sagittarius IC” or “My IC is in Virgo.”
How does the IC work in an astrology chart?
The IC is different from other privacy and security houses in your chart
Astrology works on a system of opposites. The IC can be fully understood by also looking at the Midheaven or MC for short. The source of your outward success is based on the foundation of your emotions, upbringing and roots, all determined by your fourth house (IC).
The IC is distinct from the other “privacy” houses, which include:
- the eighth house house of joint investments, permanent bonding, estates, death and transformation
- the twelfth house of endings, spirituality, healing and transitions
The eighth and twelfth houses are more about the adult aspects of our emotional development. In the eighth house, we are using our finances and relationships to foster lasting security through things like joint business ventures and investing in crypto. The fourth house IC relates to your inner sense of security or your baseline savings such as your nest egg or the purchase of a home that’s not an investment property.
The fourth house shares similar traits to the Cancer (no matter what your IC zodiac sign), which is the fourth zodiac sign. So the themes of IC are: childhood development, relationship to parental figures, ancestral patterns and trauma, creating a home, your inner security, private time, how you parent, how your nurture yourself, food and mood.
All of these things play into your development as an adult. The ability to care for yourself and make smart, emotionally stabilizing choices can determine your success in the professional world that the Midheaven rules. Knowing how to set healthy boundaries and avoid excessive caretaking is equally essential to preventing burnout as you pursue your MC-directed life’s work.
Does this mean I will be just like my parents?
More about the fourth house
When we think about our attachment styles, the IC may be the astrological indicator of our ability to bond with others. Did our souls choose to incarnate into a stable family that fostered a secure attachment style? Or did ancestral patterns create conditions for insecure attachment, handing us karmic work and healing?
Since our attachment styles are formed in early childhood, we may never truly overcome them. However, you can look to your IC for clues about healing modalities that will work for you. A Pisces IC may denote an active subconscious which takes well to energy healing and hypnotherapy. Someone with an Aries IC may have anger to burn. Somatic treatments like Core Energetics may be an effective release, so grab that baseball bat and work out your rage on a mattress.
How you engage with your parents both as a child and a conscious adult will be governed by the IC. As your brain develops, you’ll obviously gain more control of your prefrontal cortex, which allows you to move out of the “fight or flight” survival brain (amygdala) that runs the show when you are small and dependent.
The IC in the Zodiac Signs: What Does My IC Mean?
With fiery, fast-moving Aries here, your childhood was likely restless and action-packed. If your family moved around frequently, you learned to adapt quickly and developed a strong sense of independence. Anger, the Aries emotion, may have disrupted the peace in your home with parents fighting or a violent, unsafe environment. This could also play out as a childhood where you were encouraged to be “strong” and self-sufficient, learning how to fend for yourself—perhaps with a teenage job or through performances.
As an adult, you’ll do best in a home that allows you lots of freedom to pursue your ambitions. Too much structure is suppressive and many with Aries IC prefer to live alone, if only to avoid the pressure to show up for dinner or go to bed at a certain hour. Your home can get messy quickly as you cycle through interests and leave a trail of unfinished projects in every corner. Regular cleanup sessions are essential to keep clutter from dominating your space.
With gentle, comfort-loving Taurus as your IC, you need a home filled with beauty and serenity. If your childhood provided that, lucky you! And if not, you may have suffered mightily, holding deep emotions inside until you exploded (or acted out) in rare moments of anger. No matter the case, your Taurus IC is a blessing that leaves you naturally equipped to create a stable home and family in your adulthood.
That said, you will still need to sort out any dysfunction from your youth if you want to be fully present and available. Without that, you may become avoidant, checking out with busywork and struggling to navigate touchy emotional subject matter that arises in any family or household arrangement. Since Taurus is a tactile earth sign, create lots of sensual touch points at home, like soft sheets, a deep sofa and furry pets. Aromatherapy diffusers and soft music will also create your oasis.
With active, social Gemini as your MC, peer relationships played a fundamental role in shaping your emotional security. If you had the opportunity to forge lasting bonds with schoolmates—and had healthy sibling relationships—you’ll play nice with others as an adult too. However, Gemini can be frenetic and this IC may indicate disruptions to secure bonding, for example, your family moving frequently due to a parent’s job or divorces and remarriages.
Since Gemini rules local activity, you can build an abiding sense of security as an adult by planting yourself in a city that you love and becoming an active member of the neighborhood organizations—maybe even running for city council one day! Living with roommates can be fun for you as you’ll enjoy a home that is a lively, active and engaging social space.
Having Cancer on your IC brings a double-shot of any family joy—or it doubles down on issues that are part of your soul’s karmic journey. Since Cancer is the sign naturally associated with the fourth house, large doses of nurturing and emotional affirmation are essential to your healthy development. Food and mood are intertwined: The way you were nourished as a child plays a huge role in how well you care of yourself as an adult. Dependency on caretakers and parents can delay your maturity.
With a Cancer IC it really is possible to be too close to mom and dad. You may be slow to move out or scared about your ability to make it on your own. But here’s the good news, once you get a hang of the whole meal prep and bill paying thing, you’ll swiftly evolve into the family rock and super-host. Bring on the HGTV binges!
Who wants to play dress up? No, let’s put on a play instead. A Leo IC can make for a dramatic childhood, whether you were naturally drawn to performing or got pulled into emotional riptides by the adults in your life. (Or both.) Either way, your active imagination may have been your saving grace. But as an adult, that desire to race off into an imaginary world—or turn every moment into a three-ring circus—can create massive chaos!
Learning to manage the playful part of your nature is the key to your stability. Some activities are best kept simple, if only to give you enough time to devote to the projects that actually matter. That said, your adult home will probably have plenty of entertainment stations, like a game room or basketball court.
As a child, your emotions were large—and often in charge of everyone’s experience in the family. As you mature, you must learn how to cope with these ebbs and flows and also to create space for other people’s feelings too. If your parents didn’t validate your feelings growing up, you may have to work through an anxious attachment style or need for praise and validation. But your sensitivities are also your superpower giving you incredible empathy for children and making you a standout parent or teacher.
Home is where the hearth is for those born with wellness-focused Virgo as your IC. You require a clean, comfortable space where you can rest well and nourish yourself with healthy food—and ideally be in close proximity to nature. (And if you can walk outside barefoot to connect with the Earth, all the better!) As a child, this anxious IC can be challenging. Even in a stable home, you may have picked up on your parents’ natural worries or assumed a role as the helpful child, even when it wasn’t asked of you or required.
Since Virgo rules digestion, tummy troubles may have plagued you as a kid, a surefire sign that you needed reassurance that you were safe and cared for. Serene, meditative spaces are best for you, so when you’re setting up a home, steer clear of noisy arterial streets if you can—or block out triggers with a fountain, soft music and other soothing decor.
Peace, love and harmony? With a Libra IC, your ideal home is teeming with this trinity of virtues. If you grew up in an environment like this, you’re destined to keep the legacy going and then some! You’ll host elegant dinner parties and soirees and always be ready to entertain drop-in visitors with a chilled bottle of rose, artisanal cheese and playlist of background music. An aesthetic Libra IC blesses you with quite the eye for decor. Even if you weren’t exposed to beauty and art as a child, you can quickly develop this sensibility.
Since Libra rules legal contracts, you may have dealt with some fluctuations like your parents’ disruptive divorce or remarriages. In response, you may have learned to play peacemaker at your own peril. This conflict-avoidant tendency can be a heavy burden to sort through as an adult. Learning to negotiate and set healthy boundaries for yourself will be the key to creating your own happy home if you plan to share space with others.
Childhood may have been hard on you or especially intense since this IC turns you into a psychic sponge. If the adults around you were unstable or immature, you may have adopted the belief that nobody will ever be there for you—a trait that can create a frustrating adult existence. Sexuality may have been a charged issue too. Perhaps you wanted to explore yours at a younger-than-expected age—or you were exposed to adult matters before you “should” have been.
Since Scorpio governs wealth, family status may have transformed suddenly due to a settlement or inheritance—or even a loss. As an adult, you will do anything to create security, investing wisely as you build a diversified portfolio for your nest egg. Yet emotionally, you will need to challenge scarcity thinking and develop a relationship to a higher power in order to find the inner peace that has nothing to do with your bank balance.
Is it possible to have a home in every port? Sagittarius is the zodiac’s traveler and having this sign as your IC makes it hard to settle down in just one place. Your ideal arrangement may involve moving between several permanent locations or spending long periods as a nomad.
With multicultural Sagittarius as your IC, you may have become a “global ambassador” at an early age. Perhaps your parents were immigrants or you had to learn a second language because your family moved to a different country while you were still in school. Although events like these can create a sense of “otherness,” with this optimistic IC, you could turn your adaptability into a superpower.
Since Sagittarius rules philosophy and education, you’re well-suited to life in a university town where thought-leaders tour for lectures and you can stay in touch with the energy of independence and activism that may have been part of your own principled youth.
Where’s the best corner for a lemonade stand? With enterprising Capricorn as an IC, you were probably the first kid to scout it out—if you weren’t too busy making money from your paper route and babysitting empire. With this responsible earth sign anchoring your chart, you have a strong sense of duty. If home life was stable, you may have been the kid who enjoyed hanging out with their parents, sharing traditions like holiday meals and summer camping trips.
Family instability, on the other hand, may have sped up your maturity. You may have stepped into parental role for younger siblings, turning to school and sports for a sense of structure. While you’ll always have a roof over your head, turning your house into a home is something the Capricorn IC can struggle with. Rather than personalizing your space with warm, cozy touches, you may keep it spartan and functional. Yes, you may always be a minimalist, but once you start learning about cooking, decorating and even collecting antiques, you’ll open up a whole new dimension of domestic bliss.
Were you the “weird kid” in school—or the popular rebel who could do no wrong (even when you were doing wrong)? With offbeat Aquarius on your IC, your childhood may have been anything but typical. Even if you fit in seamlessly with the schoolyard norms, your parents may have been quirky, unconventional or even part of a community that was unlike your classmates’. If family traditions didn’t fit with your beliefs, you may have railed against them, even leaving home early to find freedom of expression.
As an adult, you may be a citizen of the world, trying out the digital nomad lifestyle as you roam between Airbnbs, van life stints or communal living situations. If you putt down roots, you may opt for a progressive community where you don’t have to abide by white-picket-fence ideals. You may even buy land with a group of like-minded friends and start your own intentional community.
Childhood for the Pisces IC may have been a magical wonderland and a slippery slope of instability. Escaping into your imagination may have been a favorite coping mechanism for you as a kid, especially if parents were dealing with emotional upsets, health issues or addiction. With this intuitive IC, your psychic sensors were turned up as a kid. Were those really imaginary friends—or spirit guides dropping in for a play date?
An old-soul Pisces IC can indicate a karmic journey where you played the role of “your parents’ parent” and had to grapple with mature subject matter when it wasn’t exactly age appropriate. Even if you had an idyllic childhood, you may have always been compassionate to suffering, wanting to help every less-fortunate classmate and adopt every unsheltered pet.
As an adult, you will need to learn how to set boundaries for yourself so your home doesn’t become the nonstop crash pad for friends and relatives who are down on their luck. Naturally, you can be supportive, but with this sacrificial IC, you can forget that you need a restful space and solitude for recharging our own batteries. Who you live with will affect your mood, since a Pisces IC makes you a psychic sponge.
Deeper Dive on the IC: The 4 Angular Points of the Horoscope
On an astrology chart, there are four key points:
- The Ascendant (AC) – cusp of the 1st house (self)
- The Imum Coeli (IC) – cusp of the 4th house (home/family)
- The Descendant (DC) – cusp of the 7th house (relationship)
- The Midheaven (MC) – cusp of the 10th house (career)
The angles in an astrology chart are the primary “doors” that open you to the outside world.
The ASC/AC (Ascendant), DC (Descendant), the MC (Midheaven), and IC (Imum Coeli) are the four points which signify:
- Self (Ascendant)
- Other (Descendant)
- From where you’re coming (Imum Coeli)
- To where you’re going (Midheaven)
These axes reflect the four cardinal points in astrology, resonating with the symbolism of Aries (self), Libra (other), Cancer (home) and Capricorn (career). The axes are found at 0°, 90°, 180°, and 360° on the natal chart, respectively, or 9:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 12:00 on a clock face.
What do the 4 angular points mean?
As we mentioned earlier, astrology works with points of polarity—in other words, opposite zodiac signs. To understand the IC and your private life, you must also know its opposite placement in the birth chart, called the MC. The Midheaven and IC are often linked to your ancestral lineage, in particular, your parents.
To balance the horoscope wheel, you also want to understand the other axis, the Ascendant (ASC), which is your first house of self—and the Descendant (DC), which is the cusp of your seventh house of partnership. Let’s get into it!
The Imum Coeli (IC)
The Imum Coeli, as explained in this post, is at the cusp of your fourth house. It represents the private, protected and personal parts of your life.
At the very bottom (the Nadir) of a chart, the IC links to your home, heritage, family and foundations; it also links to the most deep, hidden parts of you.
The sign on the IC also influences where you reside, who you live with, or the sentiment of your living arrangements. It can color how you feel about settling down in a space, and your perception of home and the environment. It represents your feelings around where you come from.
The Ascendant (ASC/AC)
In most house systems, the Ascendant is the cusp of your first house of self; it’s also known as your rising sign.
The AC points to how you see and interact with the world, and colors the first impressions others have of you in their own perceptions.
The rising sign is your self-expression, and influences the way you meet life and approach new situations.
The Descendant (DC)
The DC is the back door to your chart where you attract and interact with other human beings. You recognize in others (and are often drawn to) the qualities of your Descendant. You may feel you yourself are missing those ways of being. In effect, you experience the qualities of your DC externally through others, meeting with the themes of that sign through them, or identifying them with its characteristics.
What are the angular houses in astrology?
As mentioned earlier, the angles on a chart are usually also house cusps, but not always—depending on the house system you’re using to cast a chart (we use Placidus).
Houses can be either angular, succedent, or cadent. The angular houses are 1, 4, 7, and 10.
Action-oriented, they represent the basic needs and foundations of life. In the Placidus house system, the cusps of these houses are the angles of your chart–the Ascendant (1st house), IC (4th), Descendent (7th) and Midheaven (10th).
- The sign on the Ascendant (cusp of 1st) describes people’s first impression of you, your personality, your identity, and your physical characteristics.
- The sign on the Descendant (cusp of 7th) describes what you look for in a partner, and aspects of the self that influence attraction.
- The sign on the IC (cusp of 4th) describes your early emotional environment, family of origin, how you like your home to be, and emotional safety.
- The sign on the MC (cusp of 10th) describes your career, achievements and ambitions, and how the world remembers you.