The Twelve Houses of Astrology
What Are Astrology Houses?
The twelve houses represent the patterns of vibration caused by the way the planets and signs of the zodiac relate to the auric field of the Earth at the time. The houses are coordinates in space that orient the planetary and zodiacal positions on the east and west horizons. The plane of the meridian is the line going directly from north to south passing through the zenith (the point directly overhead at the birth time). This line also passes through the point in the opposite direction from the zenith where these four directions intersect the ecliptic—the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
Now we have the four angular house cusps. Where the ecliptic crosses the eastern horizon, we have the Ascendant or First House cusp. Where the ecliptic crosses the western horizon, we have the Descendant or Seventh House cusp. Where the ecliptic intersects the meridian overhead, at the top of the chart, we have the Midheaven or Tenth House cusp. Where the ecliptic intersects the plane of the meridian underfoot, at the bottom of the chart, we have the Nadir or Fourth House cusp. These four angular house cusps are the most important and sensitive points in the horoscope.
The other eight house cusps divide the four quadrants to make twelve houses of thirty degrees each in total. The houses are numbered in a counterclockwise direction. Each is a portion of space that looks like one-twelfth of a circle. When the time of birth is not known, the Astrological sun sign on the birthday becomes the Ascendant, and this is called a Solar Chart. A chart where the birth time is known is called a Natal Chart. So we will use Aries as our Ascendant in this example of a Solar chart, and use it to explain the meanings of the twelve Astrological houses. My Sun Sign is Cancer, and my Ascendant is Scorpio. I have my original chart with the Scorpio Ascendant, but also have a Solar one with a Cancer Ascendant. They each have value, and even if a person doesn't know their birth time, by casting a Solar chart they should see many similarities or issues that say the same things in different ways than the Natal chart. It just won't be as detailed.
Aries: The First House
The First House is ruled by Aries, and is the personality that we show to the world, the face or façade, and the physical appearance. It shows our dispositions and mannerisms, and general outlooks on life. It represents our sense of self awareness, and how we respond to other people in social situations. Is this person shy or outgoing? Are they quiet or chatty? The body parts ruled by this house are the head and face. You can see if someone looks healthy or sickly, or if they have straight or curly hair. If a serious, karmic planet, such as Saturn, is in the First house, the person may have some kind of birth defect, perhaps a limp or a birthmark on the face.
Since this house is ruled by Aries, it affects the person’s early years, the environment in which they have grown up, and what attitudes they acquired. A person with a Moon or Sun in the First house is someone who will go through many changes, and will do many things to attract attention. Whether the attention is positive or negative depends on the transits of the planets (the distances apart). The energy level of the person will be ruled by this house as well. This house also predicts whether a person will be thin or heavy. A water sign on the Ascendant leans towards gaining weight easily.
Taurus: The Second House
The Second House, or Taurus, deals with financial affairs and how we deal with money and possessions. Do we spend money freely and pay the check when we go out to dinner with friends? Or do we stay at home often to save money? Money means security for some people, so the second house is also where you see how secure you feel about life. Do you need many possessions to feel safe? Or just a few, special keepsakes that remind you of happy times with families and friends? Or does being able to call your family and loved ones for advice and just knowing they are there comfort you? The resources necessary to sustain oneself and self expression are ruled by this house.
Depending on what planets are in the second house, our chances of gaining and losing money can be predicted. Whether there will be many job or career changes will show up here too. The second house rules the throat and ears. Since we are using a Solar Chart that will place Taurus on this house, you will be a hard worker, who makes good money, and will save for the future, but not deprive yourself of spending a bit to enjoy the present. A person must learn to be responsible with money and possessions, and find their own sense of security and peace about them. It can be seen in this house whether they are selfish, or use their wealth and security to help people around them who are having difficult times. How generous are you with things?
Gemini: The Third House
The Third House, being ruled by Gemini, has a lot to do with communications, especially those with your family, neighbors, members of the clubs, committees, and hobbies that are a big part of your life. You will be someone who joins small organizations where people are close. Writing, e-mails, texting, and all ways of keeping in touch with others rule this house. The assimilation, processing, and circulation of information is ruled here. Concerns about your ability to think and communicate, your way of expressing ideas, the people you come into contact with in your environment everyday, and your reaction to them are ruled here. You are always up on the latest gossip.
It is also the house of brothers and sisters and how your communication with sibling relationships will be. Short journeys, such as the kind where you run your daily or weekly errands are Third House concerns, anything that brings you into contact with people you influence mentally and who influence you. Writing is also ruled here, so you will like to be caught up with your correspondence, or may be a writer by trade, or win a writing contest in a good transit. If you have a long or short attention span, that will show up here, as will the accuracy of your perceptions and logic. It is you who must choose which subjects you allow yourself to dwell upon. The body parts ruled by the third house are shoulders, arms, hands, lungs, the collar bone and the nervous system.
Cancer: The Fourth House
The Fourth House of Cancer rules your home life, environment, and family affairs. The kind of environmental conditions we create for ourselves shows as we build our base of operations at home, and see what kinds of possessions we keep there. This house rules homes, food, laundry, and household items you care about or need to be comfortable. It is easy to tell a lot about a person’s emotional makeup from seeing what kind of environment they create for themselves. A messy area indicates a confused and disorderly state of mind.
The Fourth House also has to do with any real estate and land that you have or may acquire. The land itself is the stage that the drama of your life plays out upon. This psychological home environment is what we carry with us wherever we go. Our emotional responses and habit patterns that we learn early in life are Fourth House affairs. This is the house that gives a clue about how you get along with your Father, and how your early years of life will be in general. Some Astrologers differ and say it is the house which shows how you will get along with your Mother. I think it's the Mother, but to each his own. It can also predict what your circumstances may be at the end of your life, as in terms of the physical body, this house represents the final resting place within the Earth. The Fourth House rules the breasts, stomach, and digestive system.
Leo: The Fifth House
The Fifth House is ruled by Leo, so is a sunny place filled with children, love affairs that most likely are not too serious, (but could become so), parties, and all pleasurable emotions. This is the house of creativity and its expression. Here you can see if you will enjoy performing arts, enjoy going out to shows, gamble, (and win or lose) or if you will speculate in the stock market or play horses. This house also rules a deep love of sports and all kinds of physical and outdoor events. These vibes make you feel like dressing up and going out on the town. You may throw parties for no reason. It pertains to your children and all aspects of their upbringing and education. The Fifth House is a house of power, as it rules love affairs and the joy of life that continues on through the children that may come from our love affairs. You can see if you will be popular and how well you express your creative energies. Decorating and buying new things to show off have a place here. It rules the body parts of the heart, sides, and upper back.
Virgo: The Sixth House
The Sixth House, ruled by Virgo, has to do with health and hygiene issues, and whether you will be healthy or sickly. Diet and food preparation are concerns of this house too. It also rules clothing, and the neatness or lack of it in your appearance. Part of learning responsibility comes with the proper care of a healthy body, as it is essential to be healthy if we want to accomplish our goals in life. Work and jobs are also Sixth House issues, but jobs that are less important than careers, which is a Tenth House concern.
Much can be revealed here about our attitudes toward work and service. This is where we can see if people are humble, can live without fancy things, and can forego the spotlight. Here is where time is freely volunteered. Discipline and the training of the mind help us understand the necessities that life requires.
Pets and our love of them are ruled by this house, and if we have planets in the Sixth House, we may be a veterinarian or get involved in pet adoption services. The solar plexus and bowels are the body parts related to this house.
Libra: The Seventh House
The first six houses have personal significance, and the last six houses are concerned with group relationships.
The Seventh House is ruled by Libra, and has to do with marriage, partnerships, contracts, unions, open enemies, lawsuits, and wars. I have always found it odd that marriage and war are ruled by the same house, but then all’s fair in love and war! Here you are mostly interacting with the public. The ovaries, lower part of the back, and kidneys are Seventh House body areas. This house is all about close personal relationships with others, and the way other people react to our actions.
Bonds of love and harmony can be established when good planets are in this house. Lawsuits may come your way, or custody issues if you have children. Many people marry during transits to the Seventh House, as it gives off a vibe where people really love being in a partnership, especially a romantic one. Since this house rules war, you may have enemies, but you will know who they are so you have a head’s up. If you have Saturn in this house, you may have a loveless marriage, and if Pluto is there, marry more than once.
Scorpio: The Eighth House
The Eighth House is ruled by Scorpio, so sex and death are the big themes here. Inheritances are likely if you have any good planets or aspects to this house, such as from Venus or Jupiter. It also concerns money of the partner, such as in a marriage or business relationship where two or more parties are involved in ownership and money matters together. So both parties in a marriage will benefit if a relative passes on and leaves money to both of them. This can also mean corporate ownerships, insurance, taxes, or any monies a couple has or owes from combined efforts.
It rules the muscular system, bladder and sex organs. Practical matters having to do with death come under Eighth House jurisdiction, so wills, life insurance, and funerals happen now. The occult, metaphysical, or esoteric interests are important to people that have planets in this house, as they will be ones who are searching for answers to what happens to the life energies after death. They will also have experiences or intense dreams with departed loved ones.
I know several people who have their natal moon in the Eighth House who are morticians. My Sun is there, and I have been present at the deaths of several people I loved very much. I was married, but having dinner at my parent's home when my Father had a fatal heart attack, and was helpless to do anything. I was twenty seven at the time, and regret we didn't have more time together. I was holding my husband in my arms when he collapsed and fell into them when we were in the foyer of a doctor's office. I actually saw and felt the life force leave his body. It was like a wisp of silvery/white light. But in both heartbreaking situations, I know for sure they left this life peacefully. I am clairsentient, and have some bit of knowledge when events like this will happen to those close to me, but can't exactly pinpoint it, and it doesn't make it hurt any less.
Sagittarius: The Ninth House
The Ninth House is ruled by Sagittarius, and has to do with foreign cultures and long journeys. The study of many philosophies and religions are also a matter of interest in this house. Higher education and learning are very important here, as are philanthropic and spiritual matters. Legal matters and systems, and all institutions where social concepts are developed are studied here. The liver and thighs are the body parts ruled by this house. The teaching and publishing professions are important here, as communication with close family was important in the Third House, in the Ninth House communications with the whole world come into play.
Much can be learned by long distance travel and the meeting of people from other cultures. The Ninth House embodies the love principle, where people can gain much from spiritual inspiration to govern their consciousness, learn to live in harmony, and develop a social conscience. You may be having book drives to send to poor countries, learning a new language in preparation for a trip, or taking a course in a philosophy or religion that interests you.
Capricorn: The Tenth House
The Tenth House is ruled by Capricorn, so occupation, career, recognition from others, and fame matter in a big way. People who have many planets in the Tenth House are either famous or infamous. Here we see if people live up to their commitments, and are concerned with their professional and personal reputations. A person’s ambition is shown in this house, their desire for power and status, or the desire that one attain it because a loved one expects it from them. One must be careful not to be ruthless in their ascent to the top, and may find they do not like it so much once they get there. These are people obsessed with status and have to outdo other people. President Donald Trump has his Sun in this house. On the upside, they are achievers, and have practicality to bring to the table. Saturn rules this house, so hard work, self-discipline, organization, and patience are important to these people. Those with many planets in The Tenth House will go far in life, whether for good or ill. Your knees and joints are the body parts affected here.
Aquarius: The Eleventh House
The Eleventh House is ruled by Aquarius, and is the house of friendship, hope, and wishes. Your dreams can and will come true now. People will get together for humanitarian causes and fight for personal self expression now. When we work towards spiritual goals together, we bring more power to the Universal Mind. Higher mental and communication levels work easily in the Eleventh House. Truth is a serious issue and it will come out in this Aquarian house. People will be able to fulfill their mental aspirations now. This house rules the ankles. You may find yourself in a situation that you love and never have realized it was something you wished for. This is a good time to join new clubs and meet new friends.
Pisces: The Twelfth House
The Twelfth House is ruled by Pisces, and is the house of secret sorrows, the ones you bear alone and never tell anyone. It has to do with your mental health and habit patterns. This house rules the subconscious mind, so you may have dreams that help uncover emotional blocks. You must be careful to avoid addictions and irrational pain-avoiding behaviors and face the truth, even if you must ask for help, there is no shame in that. The Twelfth House is the one where we try to deceive ourselves and make excuses, because of things that hurt and make us want to escape. You can find great wisdom and understanding, and now is a good time to volunteer as you realize you have it better than many others.
If you can connect with your mystical inspiration, it favors artistic creativity. Hospitals, mental institutions, religious retreats, rehabs, and all places of solitude are part of this vibration. It is a time to work out your karmic problems and you can do it, and be able to contact inner realms of being if you try hard enough. All your memories of past lives are in this house, although you are not consciously aware of it. It also rules secret enemies, so be careful who you trust. The limitations of the Twelfth House can only be overcome by facing your karma, and the seeds of it lie within you. If you do not work it out, then you are your own enemy and jailer. Try hard to draw on the contents of your unconscious mind to find inspiration, through clairvoyant visualization and by avoiding destructive behaviors. Meditation is a great aid in this.Sometimes it is we who are the harshest judges of ourselves, and it is ourselves we must learn to forgive.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
My birth astrological chart shows both my Sun and Moon sign in the twelfth house. What are your thoughts?
Well, it's the house of secret sorrows. The Sun and Saturn rule the father, and the Moon rules the mother. Have you had unfortunate family experiences? Conflicts?
It really depends on the rest of the chart. This is a Q&A on a group site, and people are asking me questions here because I write astrology teaching articles. It's not MY site, and it's hard for me to answer some of these questions without a whole chart.
Sun in the 12th house can mean you will be successful in what you do, but experience disappointment. Hillary Clinton's Sun is there, and I knew she would lose the election. It can also mean your work will be behind the scenes in an institutional kind of place, a hospital, hospice, jail. Moon in 12th means you hide your emotions, try to get them out in the open more. I wish I knew what signs the Sun and Moon were in. I hope that helps a bit. You just tend to be secretive and like to be alone.
© 2011 Jean Bakula