Meridian House System

There is little information on the Meridian House System. Australian astrologer, David Cope, who worked under the magical name of Zariel, created it in the early 1900s in an attempt to fix the older Morinus method — he changed the emphasis from the ecliptic to the meridians. It does have many similarities to the older method  but the major difference is that its cusps are on the meridians and not equatorial.   

This effect will be noticed if you have have a lot of “cusp” planets, and from our observations, the planet now goes to the previous house. 

Alfred Witte and the Hamburg school used the Meridian system before abandoning the house system entirely and going to his 90 Degree Uranian Dial.   Other fans were Astrometeorologist Carl Payne Tobey & Sydney Omarr  were also fans.



Major Notes:


  • The Meridian like the Morinus aims to minimise intercepted houses and keep the houses as close to 30 degrees as possible.
  • Cusps are based on the Meridians which lend a certain amount of stability to the chart because of their North-South axis, so  interceptions are few though they will still appear in extreme northern latitudes.
  • This University of Illinois site explains the phenomena well. 
  • The Midheaven is not tied to the 10th house.
  • The Ascendant is not tied to the 1st house.

Meridian example

Writer cum explorer Jack London’s natal chart in Meridian (Zariel in Janus 5) format.

Our example chart here is writer adventurer Jack London.  Neither chart links the ascendant to the first house cusp, a notable feature of the predecessor formats.  Pluto in the Meridian is in the 12th house; while in the Morinus it is in the first.

Typically in both systems, the houses are 28-32 degrees wide something that rarely happens in the Placidean where they can shrink as far as 8 degrees wide to as large as 40 but that was their aim — house stability.

Morinus example

Writer-explorer Jack London’s chart in Morinus format.

As the cuspal houses are calculated along different lines, they differ.   This is noticeable  in the London chart above with Uranus at 19 Leo 00 in the 3rd house in the Meridian, and safely 5 degrees away from the cusp,  but in Morinus is right on the cusp.  

Another noticeable difference is in the Meridian London’s Saturn is 24 Aquarius 22 and in the tenth house; in the Morinus, while located at the same degree , now  conjunct the Midheaven in the ninth house.

And since we are discussing Midheavens, in the Meridian, London’s Venus is one degree away from the Midheaven. 22 Aquarius 33.

Nicholas DeVore author of the Astrological Encylcopedia that everyone has used or heard about, was the father in law of fellow astrologer Carl Payne Tobey.
Mr. Tobey and Miss Devore’s marriage was officiated by New York Supreme Court Justice of the 1st District, William Harman Black (born c.1868) — of Manhattan, New York County, N.Y.  Black’s term ran from 1925-1938.

If you are unfamiliar with the DeVore Encyclopeida you can read an abstract of it at the AstroAmerica site.  Synchronously enough, the excerpt is on the Moon’s Nodes, his son-in-law’s speciality.

Louise Devore Tobey
Louise Devore Tobey, date unknown

As for Tobey he was not stepping up, as he was related to the Payne Whitney’s and thus a relative to mediaman, Anderson Cooper via his jeansy mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.  The Times did not cover his obit, but  Grant Lewi (June 8 1902 Albany – July 15 1980 Tucson) notes that Mr. & Mrs Tobey were still happily married when he met them in 1951.  We have no reason to believe differently.

carl and louise tobey

The Moon’s Nodes are retrograde more often than they are direct, pulling on the subconscious life and trying to integrate them with current life situations. When the nodes are direct, there is a “karmic, straight-path forward manifestation”   Most software allows you to chose either Mean or True nodes the difference is Mean Nodes are always retrograde and are averaged out to ignore wild perturbations, while True nodes are just true just twice a month, when the moon crosses the ecliptic, and demonstrate the relationship between the Moon, the Earth and the Sun.

Carl Payne Tobey and the Wobble

Astrologer Carl Payne Tobey (1902-1980) discovered in in a vast number of major disasters when the Sun and Moon are square the Moon’s Nodes.

Tobey wrote that just using the “conjunction” was a mistake, that the real key was T- Square against the nodal axis to the Sun (the two nodes will always be in opposition — the nodal axis — so it their square that makes the difference). He called this a “Moon Wobble,” because, the Moon is “wobbling” in its path by declination.   Tobey wrote that we experience a significant likelihood of massive environmental damage with loss of life and property when the Sun forms an aspect to the nodes of 0°, 90°, or 180°; he also increased the nodal orb to five degrees from the traditional 1.

During the Wobble, the Sun creates an energy similar to that associated with the eclipses or the new or full moon. While the Dragon’s Head has a favorable astrological impression,  a melding of Venus and Jupiter, the Dragon’s Tail is malefic, blending Mars, Saturn & Uranus that undermine our best intentions, and encourage us to revert to karmic destructive or separative patterns.

                          Nodal Degrees

Tobey called the degree where the North Node is found was “Karmic”.  As shown below in the 1930’s actress Jean Harlow, she has a North Node at 11 Taurus 35 Taurus — according to Tobey the twelfth degree of very sign is the nodal degree — and he would look for aspects to it.  The South Node, opposite is an empathetic point in the horoscope, and not given the same amount of weight as its boreal brethren.  Tobey wrote, that when the Nodal Degree is activated by either a progression or transit, significant karmic events can be expected.  To illustrate this we will use Miss Harlow’s map as it fits the pattern almost perfectly.


                                   Nodal Returns

The Moon’s nodes move back by transit to their birth position once every 18.6 years. This means that in our 19th year, we have a Nodal Return as well as 37th, 55 1/2, 74th and 93rd birthdays.

As the Nodes are an axis, halving this period gives the Nodal Opposition, the Counter-Nodal Return, when the transiting North Node is in conjunction with the natal South Node and vice versa. So our 9th birthday often symbolizes the end of childhood,  and out 18 ½ a graduation from high school.

The 28th birthday is the turn to Saturnine adulthood (or for Jean Harlow when genetics and her unfortunate habit of dyeing her hair with peroxide took its toll, read more at Slate about that).  The 37th – 55th is when we are established in our career and at our peak earning years. By our 66th year we traditionally retire and start to have some leeway in our life, when about at 9 years later at 74.5 illnesses, deaths or moving to a retirement home issues crop up.

The transiting nodal axis is the effect that others have on activating our chart — other people will be playing an important role in current situations. The difference is when a transiting planet is activating a natal nodes, the person  will be applying the energies ascribed to the planet,   but when the transiting nodes affect a natal planet an outside influence triggers them.

Jean Harlow

In Miss Harlow’s chart, she has a North Node in the Eighth House conjunct Saturn.  The Eighth normally the home of Scorpio and sex appeal but it is also a house of legacies.  Here, Harlow has a NN suggests her strong sex appeal with Plutonian white hair and curvy figure that Mars would love (Pluto and Mars are the Lords of Scorpio) but as the NN is aligned with Venus and Jupiter, women instead of being jealous would agree!  Yes she is a blonde bombshell!  She’s gorgeous!  They would exclaim  and rush to the beauty parlor to emulate her.

 Capricorn hugging that NN would suggest at some point she would have to pay the piper for that allure, particularly as it is sextile Neptune, who never forgets an obligation for what the heavens so generously bestowed, but that always seems so far away particularly when one is young and pretty.

harlow obit.png
The “acute” sunburn in the New York Times obit was actually jaundice.

Speeding ahead to June 6 1937 (Jean died on the 7th) we see that North Node is in the same place as is Saturn and between them lovely Venus opposed by Jupiter at 14 Scorpio, the Ruler of the Eighth House suggesting an overload to her genio-urinary system.

harlow progressed.png

Jupiter square her progressed Mars at 13 Aquarius, the other Ruler of Scorpio, is in the Fifth House of creativity.  It is also Square her progressed NN suggesting a total attack on her internal system from an external agent — this is what ultimately killed her. Her Midheaven at 06 Cancer is sextile to the NN, in this case is not a good thing, because it is abetting the whole process of a kidney failure (with friends like these!)   The only good thing about this is that she was probably unconscious as with everything in Taurus, suggesting that talking was difficult, so we assume she was in a coma at that point.

the star comment on Harlow loss.png

The fateful “Nodal Degree” is at 12 Taurus, a symbol of “Window Shoppers” a symbol of human imagination in the sphere of self-awareness.  It’s keyword is visualization and represents positively, the potentials of human achievement but negatively, the realization that all desirable things (in this case life) are beyond one’s reach.



  1. Having viewed about 1000 charts now, I have not found that this Nodal agreement in natal charts works as well as it did for Miss Harlow.  But I will persevere nonetheless.
  2. Miss Jean Harlow is #433 in the Jones 1000.  Dr. Jones at 7:30 PM instead of our 7:40.
  3. Download Miss Jean Harlow dies here.
  4. Mr. Carl Payne Tobey’s lessons can be read here. He wrote lots of magazine articles on his work, many of which were published in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine.
  5. The obit and memoriam clips are from the New York Times newspaper, Times Square, New York the June 8th, 1937 edition.