The globe of the heavens can be divided into twelve sections called astrological houses or simply houses. As the Earth rotates on its axis during the course of a day, any point on Earth will pass through each of these houses. The eastern horizon is the beginning of the first house. The second to sixth houses are areas of the sky below the horizon. The start, or cusp, of the seventh house is on the western horizon. Houses seven to twelve are above the horizon. Astrologers relate the houses to areas of life. Below are pictures that show the nature of each house and include some key words. Descriptions of the houses are given alongside the pictures. Astrologers use different house systems but each one works for the astrologer using it. This site uses the topocentric house system. An astrologer looks at the nature of a planet in the sign of the zodiac and astrological house as well as aspects to the planet when interpreting a horoscope.
The first house indicates how the person shows him- or herself to the world and how the world perceives the person. The outer physical appearance is strongly related to the first house. Similarly, the first house shows the general manner in which behaviour and habits are expressed. It encompasses mental attitudes and the outlook on life.
The first house is what a person is willing to let others see of the outgoing energies of spirit. It may be thought of as the house of self-expression, when that is taken to be expression of the higher self through the personality and then the physical body. It is the centre of ‘I am’ awareness. The first house is sometimes seen as the first house where a soul wanting to experience separation from Source ventures out into the great unknown in order to collect wisdom. This house can indicate the level of confidence that a person has in the inner power to carry the love of the spirit into the world through the outer vehicles of the personality and physical person.
The ascendant is at the start, the cusp, of the the first house. The planet ruling the sign of the zodiac on the ascendant is said to be the 'ruler' of the chart and is an important planet for the person. The first house being the first house in this quadrant of a chart is designated as angular. This implies action in the outer world. Aries is the sign of the zodiac linked with the first house. As Mars is the ruler of Aries it is sometimes called the 'essential ruler' of this house.
The second house indicates how a person develops the resources to maintain life on Earth. Physical resources include personal finances, money, and possessions. These affect emotional and inner security and contentment. A person learns a lot about the balance of material and inner security through the second house. Mental attributes are also part of the resources a person has. Use of the mind and mental dexterity may be necessary to earn a living.
A person's values also come under the domain of this house. These can include what the person values in the physical world such as material possessions but also qualities of character such as honesty or openness.
Spiritual resources may include unconditional love and infinite wisdom, or a desire to work towards these ends. Psychic abilities are spiritual gifts that can take many forms. Spiritual resources are inner resources that are beneficial for the outer life but cannot be measured in material terms.
The second house is succedent so it stabilises and builds on the outer attributes shown in the first house. The second house is associated with Taurus, which as an earth sign is linked with service. As Taurus is ruled by Venus, Venus is said to be the 'essential ruler' of the second house.
This house relates to the mind and to activities in life that use the mind and thought. Learning can come through everyday experiences. School trains the mind to think in certain ways and instils knowledge that is deemed worthy of learning and useful in adult life. The mind is vital for all forms of communication, which connect people to each other and their environment. Communication through whatever means, including verbal, written and electronic, is associated with this house. After the parents, the first communication a child has is often with siblings or cousins so these, together with neighbours, come under this part of the horoscope. Short journeys, such as to the shops, schools and work are third house activities.
The spirit continuously tries to communicate with both inner and outer life through the mind. Ultimately, the mind develops from only wanting to help self, to realise oneness of all life when all thoughts and actions are driven by unconditional love and infinite wisdom. At this stage of evolution, wisdom and brotherhood replace wanting to know ever more facts and information simply to interact with others.
The third house is also the third house of this quadrant so it is called a 'cadent' house. Cadent houses relate to the inner world of thought. Gemini is the sign of the zodiac linked with the third house. As Gemini is ruled by Mercury, this planet is the 'essential ruler' of this house. It plays a vital role in all third house activities.
The fourth house is associated with the home environment, the bricks and mortar where a person lives. Land owned by a person’s family as well as owned or rented property come under this part of the horoscope.
This house relates to the family into which a person is born and the domestic environment. Information about the parent that had an impact when the child was young can be gained from the sign on the house cusp. This house links with the urge to create a home and family in adulthood. Being at the bottom of the chart, the fourth house relates to the family tree, ancestry and cultural roots. It also links with personal and private affairs and can indicate the spiritual life, which is perhaps the most private part.
Late life, well into retirement, brings a time of relative seclusion for some people. This may be welcomed or it may leave them to ponder over life. It is a time to recharge inner strength and find the deep peace that nourishes and sustains the soul. This time can be associated with the fourth house.
The fourth house is another angular house so it denotes action in the outer world. As this house is linked with the zodiac sign of Cancer, the Moon as ruler of this sign, is the 'essential ruler' of the fourth house. The past is strongly linked with this house because it is essentially ruled by the Moon that reflects the past.
The fifth house is associated with love in its many forms. This includes love between a two people, so includes romance and love affairs as well as between a parent and his or her child. This house shows how a person expresses creativity. The ultimate form of creativity is having children as this is creating another human being.
Creativity also incorporates all forms or artistic expression: painting, music, creative writing, sculpture, cooking and projects that are creative to the person concerned. Many forms of art and entertainment are creative and provide the artist or entertainer with a joyful means of expressing the innate creative ability of spirit. This enables the person to revitalise his or her own energies. Fifth house activities include risk-taking, including the 'risk' of a new romance as well as more obvious risks such as gambling. These could be seen as 'playing' with life.
The source of love and all creation is spirit. Being able to express love in human relationships is a means of demonstrating the love of the Creator. The fifth house relates to how the soul is best able to manifest that love while in a human body. It is through experiences in life, the love it brings and the challenges that arise through love, that the soul learns more about the love of the Creator.
The fifth house is a another succedent house. It is associated with the sign of Leo. As Leo is ruled by the Sun, this luminary and indicator of spirit, is the 'essential ruler' of the house.
The sixth house relates to service, work and health. The link between these subjects is understandable when health is considered as service to the self through working to express the perfection of spirit while manifesting in a physical body.
The type of work and work environment can teach the soul what it needs to learn. It may be that the approach to work or mental attitude to a job is more important than the actual work in bringing soul wisdom. Service includes serving an employer, learning subservience and having to follow the authority of others. The sixth house can also show how a person relates to those who offer him or her service such as employees and tradesmen. Through learning about service to or from others, the soul is learning how it can best serve self. Small animals are connected to this house.
Too much or too little work, the wrong type of job and many other factors can cause stress. Resultant disharmony in the soul can cause a feeling of being unwell. Thought processes, emotional or physical behaviours and habits may need changing in order to align the soul more perfectly to the wonder of spirit and regain wholeness and health. A person may choose to serve others through working in areas to do with health.
The sixth house is a cadent house and is associated with Virgo. As Mercury is the ruler of Virgo, this planet is the 'essential ruler' of the sixth house.
The seventh house indicates how a person deals with other people in one-to-one relationships be they personal or business. Marriage, partnerships and known enemies are indicated by this house. A person may look to people in such relationships for qualities that need developing in his or her personality.
Balancing the first and seventh houses helps the person to realise his or her role as an individual within a partnership. The seventh house involves learning to love, honour and respect other people as individuals in their own right as much as self. By striving to manifest unconditional love and harmony in interactions with other people, the person is learning to express the love of spirit in the physical world.
Any planets present in the seventh house indicate the qualities a person wants to develop through interactions with others as well as the manner in which other people facilitate this process and are themselves treated by this individual.
The seventh house is the first of six houses above the horizon. The start or 'cusp' of the seventh house is also called the descendant. The seventh house is another angular house so involve with action in the outer world. Libra is the sign associated with the seventh house. As Venus is the ruler of Libra, this planet is the 'essential ruler' of the seventh house.
The eighth house relates to shared values, resources and finances. Values are determined by the culture and society a person lives in as well a individual choices. Learning about other people's values contributes to learning about the love and wisdom of spirit.
People value money so other peoples’ finances and money are linked with the eighth house. This includes the financial affairs of partners, be they personal or business partners. It includes money held by financial institutions such as banks, taxation and inheritances. As a person beings to appreciate that material resources facilitate earthly life but they are not life itself, a major shift occurs in that person’s consciousness.
Sex, birth, death and rebirth, beginnings and endings are all linked to the eighth house. Such major events bring about transformations in the person. Transformation can be encountered in everyday life as moving from being purely materially orientated and measuring everything in terms of material value, to being more spiritual in how life is led with corresponding changes in what is valued.
The eighth house is associated with Scorpio. As Scorpio has two rulers, Mars and Pluto, they are both 'essential rulers' of this succedent house.
The ninth house relates to activities that encourage the mind to think at a higher level than necessary for daily life. This includes higher education such as going to college or university, attending adult education classes or doing correspondence courses. Literature and publishing relate to this form of learning.
Philosophy and religion expand the mind and involve more abstract ways of thinking. Concepts of a non-material nature go beyond the three dimensions of physical life and incorporate belief systems or faith. An interest in spirituality is also associated with this position of the chart.
Studying foreign languages and foreign travel expand the mind through learning about other societies, cultures and religions. This brings greater understanding of why people from different backgrounds live and react as they do. This can lead to greater tolerance and increased brotherhood between people. Law comes under the ninth house.
Examining such topics not only develops the thought processes but also expands consciousness and can lead a person to become aware of other realms of life in creation.
The ninth house is linked with the sign of Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, so this planet is the 'essential ruler' of the ninth house. This is a cadent house, involved with mental activities.
The tenth house, the highest point point of the horoscope, resonates with ambitions and goals. At a material level this often means the career and social standing. It includes how a person deals with authority, responsibility and status. The tenth house can show what the soul wants to have acknowledged and be remembered for.
The tenth house indicates the more dominant parent or the one that has the bigger impact on how the child ultimately tackles the opportunities and challenges of life. This can be the mother or the father.
The house at the top of the chart allows a person to exhibit parts of the personality that cannot be expressed at home or in the family context. The soul can develop an inner calling that might need totally different conditions from the family background. This is where the deepest wishes and ambitions can find outer expression and the soul can get feedback on their worthiness and acceptability by society.
The start or 'cusp' of the tenth house is called the ‘mid-heaven’ in many house systems. This house is linked with Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. Saturn is the 'essential ruler' of this angular house of action in the outer world.
The eleventh house shows how a person interacts with groups of people including friends and social groups. Groups facilitate an interchange of thoughts and ideas on a common interest or purpose and a means of testing how personal thoughts are accepted by others. They can help a person to look beyond love of self and the personal need for love to think about the needs of other people.
This house includes larger groups: the community, society and humanity. Interests can include world affairs, humanitarian causes and activities with charitable organisations. This opens up the consciousness to consider those people whom the person may never meet. It encompasses care for other life forms as well as ecological and environmental issues.
The eleventh house is associated with hopes, wishes and desires at a personal level. As the collective consciousness is stimulated to do something about unsatisfactory or outgrown situations, humanity as a whole develops and advances. Motives move from self-based to selfless.
The eleventh house is associated with Aquarius, the air sign that is ruled by both Saturn and Uranus. These two planets are the 'essential rulers' of this succedent house.
The twelfth house completes the circle of the houses. This house offers the soul opportunities to overcome those blocks and obstacles, so called 'hidden enemies', that prevent it from merging with the oneness of life. This is a process that often requires change, mentally, emotionally and sometimes even physically. It may involve expansion of beliefs that leads to a greater understanding of the collective consciousness. ‘Hidden enemies’ can also include those people who are covertly against a person. Such people stimulate inner examination.
The twelfth house relates to 'places of confinement' such as hospitals, prisons and monasteries in which a person can contemplate those sides of his or her life that need attention.
Lessons associated with the twelfth house help a person transcend from duality to unity, individuality to collective consciousness and from physical orientation to appreciating the spiritual nature of being. At this level of life, there is unlimited, unconditional love and infinite wisdom, true power and deep, inner peace.
Large animals come within the domain of the twelfth house.
The twelfth house is another cadent house and associated with the sign of Pisces. As Pisces is ruled by Jupiter and Neptune, these planets are the 'essential rulers' of the twelfth house.