Updated: Oct 5, 2021
If you are interested simply in learning more about the astrological houses, by all means, please read on. But if you are intrigued at how those houses relate to you personally, you need to have a copy of your natal chart in front of you. As mentioned previously, Café Astrology or Astro Library, are two of the many websites where you can get your astrological chart done for free. All you need is the date, time, and location of your birth. You will get the results sent back to you immediately.
Astrologers interpret your natal chart based on the location of the planets, the houses, and zodiac signs on the day you were born. There are twelve houses, twelve signs, and ten planets. Therefore, not every house or zodiac sign will contain a planet, but every planet will be in one of the twelve houses. Knowing the location of a particular planet in a specific house offers insight about who you are and how you interact with the world around you.
Just as we associate meanings and personality characteristics with each sign, each of the houses has a purpose or theme, relating to different aspects of our lives. Each of the twelve houses correspond with one of the twelve zodiac signs. For example, our Sun, currently in the sign of Libra, rules the Seventh House of Partnerships, whereas Leo rules the Fifth House of Pleasure. See the connection?
If you look at the circular diagram of your natal chart, you see symbols, or glyphs,
that represent each of the twelve zodiac signs, along the outside border of the wheel. They run sequentially counter clockwise from Aries to Pisces.
Along the inner border of your natal chart, you see numbers, running chronologically counter clockwise from one to twelve. These represent the houses.
Between the outer and inner borders of your diagram, are more glyphs, representing the planets and their location (signs and houses) at the exact time of your birth. On your chart, locate the Sun and identify what sign he was in. This should be easy as most people know their Sun Sign. Then follow along to the inner border and identify the house. You may, for instance, have a Sun in Pisces who is located in the seventh house. Do the same for the Moon. Next look for the personal planets – Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Then look for the transpersonal planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. You may have more than one planet in a sign or a house; or you may have none at all.
To interpret the planetary influences in the houses of your natal chart, you must know their major themes. The first six houses are considered ‘personal houses’ because they govern daily life, community and family.
First House - House of Self; Rising Sign or Ascendant (Ruled by Aries) Always located on the left hand side in the middle of the circular arc. As the very first house it is referred to as your Ascension. Whatever sign is positioned at this point in your natal chart, is your Rising Sign. This is the sign that was rising in the east the moment you were born. An astrological chart always begins in the first house and therefore this is the point where your personal zodiac wheel begins. So, if your Ascension (First House) is in the sign of Cancer, there is a really good chance that your second house is ruled by Leo, your third house by Virgo etc. This is the house that addresses all the ‘firsts’ – first impressions you make on others; your personal sense of style, how you choose to project yourself to the world, your temperament and approach to life.
Second House - House of Money, Values & Possessions (Ruled by Taurus) Anything to do with material possessions and personal resources. Your attitude toward money, income, wealth, and poverty. Your sense of stability, self-worth, and the concept of value. Anything concerning the five senses within your physical environment.
Third House - House of Communication (Ruled by Gemini) How you communicate and how you approach and analyse problems. How we first learn to express and convey our ideas to the world. All forms of interactions – talking, thinking, online persona, media, electronic devices. Your ability and desire to learn. Early education esp. primary, teachers etc. Relationships with siblings, neighbours, and local communities. Associated with travel and shorter journeys.
Fourth House - House of Home & Roots (Ruled by Cancer) Located at the base of the wheel, the fourth house is the foundation of your natal chart. Encompasses everything relating to your home, ancestry, and lineage. Represents security and your sense of belonging – what makes you feel safe and loved. Includes your parents (esp. mother), grandparents, children (your mothering/nurturing abilities). Relationships with people and pets who are family, (either by blood, or chosen).
Fifth House - House of Pleasure & Fun (Ruled by Leo) Expression of love and how much of yourself you invest in others. Personal pleasure i.e., what gives you joy and self-satisfaction. Creative expression and what you cultivate from it. The arts, including drama, music, dance, literature, and theatre. Romance, play and celebration.
Sixth House - House of Service & Health (Ruled by Virgo) How you serve others using your unique gifts. Rules schedules, organization, everyday tasks, routines, and time management. Describes how you work, not your career. Your approach towards personal health, diet, and fitness. Attitude toward self-improvement. Domestic pets and small animals.
After the sixth house the theme turns outward from individualistic self-improvement and development, toward the betterment of society. They are referred to as ‘interpersonal houses’.
Seventh House - House of Partnerships, Descendant (Ruled by Libra) Located directly across from the Ascendant, the House of Self. Traditionally called the House of Marriage it describes all relationships – business, personal and intimate, even your enemies; Includes relationship-associated matters like contracts, marriage, and business deals. Reveals the motivations behind your attitudes towards partnerships.
Eighth House - House of Sex, Death & Transformation (Ruled by Scorpio) Associated with all the fundamentals of life: birth, death, rebirth, separation, and loss. House of sex including your preferences and reactions to sexual experiences. Other people’s money and property e.g., taxes, debts, inheritance, investments.
Ninth House - House of Philosophy & Religion (Ruled by Sagittarius) How you understand the world and conduct your search for meaning. Religion, belief systems and philosophy. Attitudes and viewpoints on all topics and the effort to understand complex issues, including morals and ethics. Personal expansion and evolution. Higher-level learning and education. International travel and how you interact with foreign people, languages, and cultures.
Tenth House - House of Social Status, Midheaven (Ruled by Capricorn) Situated at the very top and most public part of the chart. The legacy we are meant to leave in this world. Professional aspirations and ambitions – the image you project to the world, your reputation. The drive to better yourself. Institutional structures, traditions, and authority (fathers and fatherhood).
Eleventh House - House of Friendship & Ideals (Ruled by Aquarius) What you seek to live by and achieve. How you relate to groups – teams, friends, social, networks, society – and how you make a difference within them. Humanitarian causes and efforts to correct social injustice. Your hopes and ideals. Also, the roles you play in the lives of others as a child, a parent, a lover, a spouse, a friend, a co-worker etc.
Twelfth House - House of the Unconscious (Ruled by Pisces) Anything to do with completions and endings. The last phase of a project, tying up loose ends, old age, the afterlife. Connected with life’s boundaries and what’s hidden or separated from society e.g., institutions, asylums, hospitals, prisons. Associated with secret enemies and hidden agendas. House of retreat, respite, isolation, and withdrawal. Governs all things that exist without physical forms like dreams, imagination, and the subconscious.
Gathering the information, you begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. If you are just starting out, begin with your Sun sign. Let’s take the example from the paragraph above. Look up all the characteristics for Pisces. Then look up the seventh house and what it means to have a Sun in Pisces there. Now look at the influences of the ruling sign of the seventh house (Libra); and so on, adding and stripping away layers until your personality begins to extricate from all the other Pisces you know. All of us are unique, and this is one of the reasons why.
There are many, many resources available to help in this process. The two books that I returned to again and again when I first started my stargazing journey were: The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Astrology. I still refer to them to this day. As a lover of books, there are many that pertain to just one aspect such as chart interpretations, or Moon signs, or even a specific branch of astrology. The learning is endless. But if you are just getting started, the two mentioned above won’t steer you wrong and will give you the footing you need to pursue further.
This may seem like a lot, but in fact it is only the beginning. There are aspects to take into account, and the number of planets you have or don’t have in one sign or house and a bevy of other factors and influences. The more you learn, the more you discover about yourself and those around you. Most of the astrologers I know have been doing the work for decades and are still learning. It is a most interesting and exciting science and perfect for self-study and reflection.