The Midheaven is the cusp of the tenth house (in most house systems), also known as the M.C. (medium coeli). The M.C. is opposite the I.C. (imum coeli--"bottom of the sky" in Latin). Technically, it is the most elevated degree of the zodiac. (The M.C. is not actually the zenith, which is the point in the heavens directly overhead at any given location; nor is the I.C. actually the nadir) The Midheaven, and the location of its ruling planet, is usually thought to indicate the kind of vocation one will grow into. One might think that this would be true, since the Midheaven is the tenth house cusp, but I have not found this to be true with any worthwhile accuracy. I have found the M.C. to be one of the most misunderstood aspects of astrology. Rather than seeming to predict and relate to vocation, I have found the M.C. to be one of the major components of one's basic personal projection (credit to Hilarion for pointing this out to me). The M.C. is, to me, very much an active personal placement, and to understand personality, the M.C. ought to be looked into. What I have always found to be accurate is that the M.C. shows qualities that others pick up on and perceive in us--the way others would probably describe us--because we project these qualities whether or not we actually have them; I have also found that the M.C. represents qualities that we are learning to have the confidence to project to others. As such it indicates personal qualities and character traits that one must grow into during one's life. It is one of the most reliable, though not necessarily the most major, indications of life purpose. The M.C., therefore, is much more of a mask that one deliberately wears in public life, rather than the Ascendant (which is often called a mask), because the Ascendant is more like one's face, than one's mask. The Ascendant does not run as deep as the Sun and Moon, but is certainly not as superficial as a mask.
The Midheaven naturally corresponds to letter 10 (astrological alphabet). Thus there is an inherent affinity with the Midheaven and some of the attributes of Capricorn. As such, the Midheaven represents qualities that we decide to project to others to succeed socially. It is good to be mindful of whether or not the Midheaven qualities we project to others are authentic to our true self. Yet whether or not this is true may not matter much, because it seems that one is unable to stop projecting these qualities to others. I think this is because one's inner self has chosen to arrange one's life so that one has abundant opportunities to express the qualities of one's M.C., almost certainly because one's inner self is seeking to develop these qualities, and by practicing them over a lifetime, one is more likely to acquire them.
To study your Midheaven, go through the first section of the tutorial (Using parts 1 & 2 of the Course/Tutorial Together) and consider the following things about the sign on your Midheaven:
1) On the first round, think about how you tend to project these qualities to others whether or not you actually have them, and how others tend to perceive these qualities in you.
2) On the second round, think about how these are qualities that you are learning to have the confidence to project to others, or express in public life.
Fill in the following sentence:
"I am a _______ / _______ (insert your Sun and Moon), I think I am a ________ (insert your Ascendant), but I project to others that I am a _______ (insert your M.C.)."
To adequately understand the nature of the M.C., we should also look at our tenth house planets as qualitiess that we tend to project to others, and as qualities which others tend to perceive in us. I do not think that tenth house planets necessarily indicate qualities that one is learning to have to confidence to project to others, though, but this could certainly be the case.
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