See also house interpretations
A horoscope not only shows the position of the twelve signs of the zodiac at the time of birth but it also shows a division of the ecliptic into houses. The houses of the horoscope are shown in the chart wheel as "pie" shaped divisions. In order to determine the houses accurately, it is crucial to have an exact time of birth. Again, in horary charts it must be remembered that the birth is actually the birth of a question - the exact moment the question was asked. The houses represent the areas of life, whereas the signs describe characteristics and the planets basic urges. In quadrant systems houses are classified as angular (1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th), succedent (2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th), and cadent (3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th). Angular houses represent the potential for action, succedent houses give stability and purpose, cadent houses are communicative and enable change or adaptation. A planet is strengthened (dignified) if it falls within the astrological sign that it rules. If a planet is in the sign opposite that which it rules, it is said to be weakened (in detriment).
An angular house is one of four cardinal houses of the horoscope, which are:-
- The first house, of which the cusp is also the Ascendant. It rules the person in the chart, his personality, and his behaviour. Quite often the Ascendant can overshadow a person's Sun sign. For example, a person who has Leo on the cusp of his first house and Virgo as his Sun sign can be quite dymanic and dramatic, but the fastidious, efficient, self-effacing part of himself will not be readily apparent until people are able to pierce through his persona and see the real person.
- The fourth house, of which the cusp is also the Imum Coeli. It governs a person's home, security, family, and those things in his early life that served as a foundation for him. It also deals with endings, such as a person's end of life. This placement quite often reveals one of our parents, who is quite often our mother.
- The seventh house, of which the cusp is also the Descendant. It shows the type of mate the native is likely to be attracted to and the partnerships he is likely to form.
- The tenth house, of which the cusp is also the Midheaven. It refers to our careers, vocations, and how we would like the world to see us. It also relates to one of our parents, quite often our father.
The cardinal, or angular, houses of the horoscope are considered to be the most ardent, or forceful, and are considered to have the greatest impact in the chart because of the aggressive nature of the houses. To summarise, the cardinal houses rule those critical things in our life, such as our appearance and how we behave, our family life, our married life or partnerships, and our career.
- First house: Identity, self-image, movement and expression, physical appearance, and the impact of the personality on the environment. This is the way you present yourself, and how you start things. Planets here may also indicate the manner of one's birth.
- Second house: Values, substance, money, possessions, security, stability, the here and now, sense of self-worth, emotional resources, rewards, comfort, inner talents and resources.
- Third house: awareness, mental expression, early schooling, siblings, attitudes, daily life, companions, all forms of communication and short journeys, adaptability to new ideas, ability to relate to one's surroundings and environment.
- Fourth house: Home, foundations, parents, domestic matters, heritage, roots, sources of nourishment.
- Fifth house: Anything added or taken away from the fourth house, children, romance and love affairs, ego, creative expression, play and gambling, attitude to change.
- Sixth house: Housework, employment and employees, attitude to work, general health, purification, ritual, habits, hobbies.
- Seventh house: All kinds of partnerships, marriage, awareness of others, how one relates to people.
- Eighth house: Joint or shared resources, sex, inheritance, sex and regeneration, emotional union.
- Ninth house: Travel, religion, search for meaning, higher education, goals and aspirations, seeking and finding.
- Tenth house: Public image, profession, persona, reputation, values and standards, ideals, how one would like to project oneself.
- Eleventh house: Friends, social values and concerns, groups and group awareness, hopes and dreams, attitude to humanity.
- Twelfth house: Hidden motives, confinement, retreat, self-transcendence, service and sacrifice, escapism, charity.
There are many ways to divide the ecliptic into twelve houses. In most systems, the ascendant (eastern horizon) marks the beginning (cusp) of the first house and the descendant (western horizon) marks the cusp of the seventh house. In addition, quadrant systems (i.e. most systems except Whole Sign Houses & Equal House) use the midheaven (MC) as the cusp of the tenth house and the imum coeli (IC) as the cusp of the fourth house. Most quadrant systems fail or exaggerate the house sizes when a chart is drawn for a location in extreme northern or southern latitudes, but since these births are comparatively rare, this does not seem to worry most astrologers.
In the Whole Sign house system, the houses are 30Â° each, but instead of beginning at the ascendant, the first house begins at zero degrees of the zodiac sign in which the ascendant falls. In other words, each house is wholly filled by one sign, counting from the first sign on the ascendant. Note that in this house system the ascendant and the Midheaven are not necessarily the cusp of the 1st and 10th houses. This is the system used in jyotish (Vedic astrology) and Hellenistic astrology, and it is commonly agreed by to be the oldest system of house divison.
Each quadrant of the ecliptic is divided into three equal parts. This is currently thought to be the earliest quadrant system of house division, although it appears to have had a secondary importance to the Whole Sign house system in Hellenistic astrology. The first author to write about it was the 2nd century Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens in his Anthology, althought he ascribes it to an earlier astrologer named Orion. It is currently a mystery as to why it later came to be ascribed to the 3rd/4th century astrologer Porphyry.
The zodiac is divided into 12 houses of 30 degrees each starting from the ascendant. Note that in this house system, as with Whole Sign, the Midheaven is not necessarily the cusp of the tenth house. This system works for all locations although there will be anomalies in charts for locations within the polar circles.
The equator is divided into 12 equal parts and great circles are drawn through these divisions and the north and south points on the horizon. The intersection points of these circles with the ecliptic are the house cusps. This house system is used in many horary charts today by astrologers practicing late Classical astrology, because it was the main house system used by the highly acclaimed late Renaissance astrologer William Lilly.
Currently the most commonly used house system in Western astrology since the late 20th century. The reason for its popularity is that calculation tables were readily available in the early 20th century, while others were not, and thus several generations of astrologers began their studies using it and due to that it became the standard. The system is based on a division of time rather than space as in most other systems. The times taken for each degree of the ecliptic to rise from the IC to the ascendant, and from the ascendant to the MC, are trisected to determine the cusps of houses 2, 3, 11, and 12. The cusps of houses 8, 9, 5 and 6 are opposite these. The Placidus system is defined only for latitudes between 66Â°N and 66Â°S.
The prime vertical (the great circle taking in the zenith and east point on the horizon) is divided into twelve, and these divisions are projected on to the ecliptic along great circles that take in the north and south points on the horizon.
Time-based like the Placidean system. The Koch system is defined only for latitudes between 66Â°N and 66Â°S.
Similar to Regiomantanus, except that the east point is taken as the ascendant.
This is a recent system that its creators claim to have been determined empirically, i.e. by observing events in people's lives and assessing the geometry of a house system that would fit. The house cusps are always within a degree of those given in the Placidus system, which would seem to corroborate that system.
In Hellenistic, Vedic, Medieval and Renaissance astrology each house is ruled by the planet that rules the sign on its cusp. For example, if a person has the sign Aries on the cusp of their 7th house, then the planet Mars is said to "rule" their 7th house. This means that when a planet is aloted a house, it's nature comes to have some bearing on that specific topic in the person's life, and that planet is said to be very important for events specifically pertaining to that topic. The placement of this planet in the chart will have at least as much influence as the chart as the planets within the house.
In addition, some modern astrologers who follow the sign=house=planet doctrine first espoused by Alan Leo believe that certain houses are also 'ruled' by, or have an affinity with the planet which rules the corresponding zodiacal sign, eg. Mars is ruler of the 1st house because Aries is the first sign, Mercury rules or has an affinity with the 3rd house because Gemini is the 3rd sign, etc., and this is sometimes referred to as "natural rulership".
wikipedia article retrieved 6/8/2005