The Twelve Astrological Houses
There are three basic ingredients which combine to make up an astrological chart – planets, signs (or constellations of stars) and houses. The houses of the horoscope form one of its basic building blocks. Serving as the lens to focus and personalize the planetary blueprint, the houses bring the chart down to earth. The Planets represent particular psychological urges, drives and motivations. The Constellations of stars in which a planet travels represent the qualities of being or attitude; and, the houses show specific areas of everyday experience through which the operations of the constellations and planets manifest. For example, Mars in Taurus will assert itself in a slow and steady manner, but its placement by house determines the exact area of life in which this slow and steady action can most obviously be observed – whether it is in the person’s career, or in his relationships or at school, etc. Put very simply, the planets show what is happening, the signs show how it is happening and he houses show where it is happening.
Planets = WHAT Signs = HOW Houses = WHERE
Each of the twelve houses represents a different department of life. Generally, the meaning of each house mirrors the meaning of the twelve signs of the zodiac: Aries is considered similar to the first house, Taurus is considered similar to the 2nd house, and so on right through to the connection of Pisces with the 12th house.
The Ascendant and the First House
The Ascendant shows the exact degree of the constellation which is rising over the eastern horizon at the time of birth. The Ascendant and the 1st house proclaim the beginning of a cycle – the first breath we take. Whatever is born at this moment in time reflects the qualities of that moment. The Ascendant appears as we appear, and its qualities reflect both who we are and how we meet life. The First House reflects who you are to yourself and what you project to others. It is ego, primary personality characteristics, physical appearance. The first house is associated with the Fire Sign of Aries and the planet Mars.
The 2nd House, associated with the earthy sign of Taurus and the planet Venus, is usually described as the one that rules values, possessions, money and resources. The sign on the cusp of the second house and the condition of its ruler symbolizes our natural orientation toward money in general, and our own financial state in particular. Another meaning of this house deals with our innermost feelings about what we treasure In this way, it describes our self-worth, self-esteem and sense of personal value. In a broader context, the Second House indicates where our financial support comes from and where it goes. If the second house is afflicted our personal riches are stunted. The result is a poverty of consciousness, lack of money and a sense of something lacking in ourselves.
The 3rd house is a full and busy house because it concerns a multitude of factors. Primarily the Third House is associated with Gemini and the planet Mercury. In Mythology, Mercury was in charge of distributing information to and from the various gods. Likewise, all forms of communication come under this house’s rulership: relating to others, our verbal skills and the way we communicate our thoughts, ideas and opinions through the written or spoken word. The Third House deals with short journeys, elementary schooling and the people in our family that are closest to us: brothers, sisters, cousins and close, lifelong friends who are like siblings. Moon in the third seeks knowledge for the sake of security; Mercury in the third believes that knowledge is power; Venus in the Third describes one who seeks harmony from their environment.
The 4th House is associated with Cancer and the Moon. Traditionally it represents one’s mother and the domestic environment. It also reveals the emotional climate surrounding the birth and the early years of life. It is the key to the nature of our primary roots. It represents where we go when we settle back into ourselves. It is the base of operations from which we meet life. For this reason, the 4th house has been associated with the home. What kind of atmosphere do we create in the home? What qualities in the home environment are we most comfortable with? These questions can be answered by examining the planets and signs in the 4th. The Fourth House also reveals a great deal about what we have absorbed from the past: our family, race, nationality and inherited social patterns.
The 5th House is ruled by Leo and the Sun. It is the house of creative expression and represents the next stage in one’s individual development. The ruler of the 5th shows HOW we express our sense of personal identity in terms of what we create. This creative function has two primary forms: our children and all matters connected to their upbringing, and our other, nonhuman, creations. Creative arts, especially performing arts, pastimes, hobbies, and the joys of life are all ruled by this house. The Fifth IS the ‘party house’, as it is associated with gambling and social entertainment. It is definitely the house of romance and it is here that we find our lovers. The Fifth House is a place of power, where the universal life-force of creative power of the Sun finds its outlet.
The 6th House, the planets in this house as well as the ruler of this house and their aspects, reveals much about the native’s attitude toward work and service. With this information you can see how someone can perform useful tasks and determine the native’s ability to use their mind in a practical way. Here is where one learns responsibility and the part of learning responsibility that comes with the proper care and maintenance of a healthy body. The Sixth House indicates health, or lack of it, and the native’s attitude toward staying healthy. Diet, food preparation, clothes, which protect the body, and the neatness or lack of it are shown here. Everything having to do with a person’s appearance is shown here. The way we use our time and the kind of atmosphere we need in order to function happily in daily life is shown by the 6th. Pets – who are around us in our everyday life – are also ruled by the 6th House.
This house concerns all direct close personal relationships with others and reveals the nature of other people’s reactions to our actions. The 7th House reveals the kind of partners one is likely to attract, whether in marriage of other close relationships. In the 7th House two people come together for a purpose – to enhance the quality of their lives by joining with one another, to produce a family and gain greater security and stability. Planets and signs in the 7th describe the marriage partner. Close personal friendships, contacts with the public, legal affairs and the forming of contracts and agreements all come under the influence of the 7th House. Curiously, the 7th also is the house of ‘open enemies’, or people with home we find ourselves in frequent conflict of competition.
The 8th House is the house of joint resources, as its’ polar opposite, the 2nd House, is the house of personal property. The 8th House deals with corporate money, inherited money or property, insurance, taxes, money that results from combined effort, or money belonging to the marriage or business partner. This House is naturally associated with Pluto and Scorpio and thus contains some of the most challenging and compulsive areas of life: sex, death and regeneration. Although the 8th House describes much of the nature of one’s physical death – as well as one’s attitude toward death in general – this house also rules death in a spiritual and psychological sense. Here we can see one’s passing away from one stage of our evolution to another. Psychic ability is ruled by the 8th House.
The 9th House is most directly concerned with philosophy and religion – questions about the ‘whys and wherefores’ of existence. It is here that we seek The Truth! Suffering linked with a failure to live in accordance with the laws or truths of existence is seen by planetary placements in this House. The 9th House signifies what is known as ‘the higher mind’ = the part of the mind linked to the abstract and intuitive process. Journeys of the mind and higher education are associated with the 9th. The chosen field of study or the nature of the college or university experience in general is shown by placements here. The 9th House placements indicate relationships with one’s in-laws. Facts are collected in the 3rd House; in the 9th conclusions are drawn from them: isolated facts are organized here.
What the 9th House envisions, the 10th House brings to Earth. This is the house of ambition behind which lies the urge to be acknowledged. The nature of our contribution to society and our status and place in the world, the social level we achieve as we pass our adults years on this planet, are shown by the sign that rules the 10th and the planets placed here. Indications of career and vocation are seen here. However, one’s approach to his career – the manner in which the work is handled or packaged is represented here. Presiding over the top of the chart and opposite the 4th House which rules the mother, the 10th House represents the father archetype because it is the area of the chart of authority figures or authoritative social structures, such as the government or a corporation and their rules and regulations.
At its’ deepest level, the 11th House represents the attempt to go beyond our ego-identity and become something greater than what we already are. We do this by identifying with something larger than the self – such as a circle of friends, a group, a belief system or an ideology. Placements here will determine if one has the ‘right’ friends and is seen in the ‘right’ places. This is where we branch out into the world and integrate with the greater society. The 11th is also known as the house of ‘hopes, wishes and aspirations’. Its’ purpose is to stimulate the individual to experiment with creative impulses to enlarge his potential. The ruler of the 11th House – Uranus – signifies the amplification of consciousness beyond the five physical senses. Abilities toward intuition, mental telepathy and ESP are seen here.
Many call the 12th House the ‘House of Karma’, as well as the ‘House of Self-Undoing’. This is the storehouse of our secret treasures as well as the strength we have gained from life’s experiences. The 12th House is the house of convents and monasteries, insane asylums and torture chambers, jails and life-destroying addictive substances. This House tells us what we have to overcome from past lives and how to do it in this life. It also reveals some of our greatest tools with which we can accomplish this task. A strong emphasis with this house indicates people who have great difficulty in forming clearly defined identities. They are swayed by whatever they are around, or whoever they make contact with. Others distort their personal identities. There is confusion due to a lack of concrete direction.
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