The houses divide the zodiacal wheel into 12 segments that signify distinct areas of life on both a physical and non-physical level. Houses are central to our lives, being the terrain where our biography unfolds and the sign on the cusp of a house, sets the tone for how we approach a certain area of life and expect it to be fulfilled. Planets situated within the space of a house will energise it with their qualities and also seek optimal growth as part of our life’s journey.
1st House – action
This area of life is where it happens. The 1st house represents the physical body and active individual ‘self’ that is outwardly expressed to engage socially with others. As the 1st house is traditionally ruled by Aries, bravery and ambition can be found here, as well as impulsiveness, competition, impatience, leadership, external style, defence and the need to define an independent identity.
2nd House – values, resource, wealth
This house is traditionally ruled by earthy Taurus whose main preoccupation is security. On an external level this can be sought through the acquisition of money, food and possessions, while on an internal level, the development of one's self underscored by a firm value system. The second house is grounded in the physical world and highly determined to keep things routine and safe. It’s a place of seeking stability and embedded with a strong survival instinct. The second house also represents earned income, skills, talents and resources, early upbringing, speech and how we value others.
3rd House – communication and learning
Information transmission is the realm of the 3rd house, governed by the planet Mercury in which we gather, process and disseminate material that we encounter daily. This house handles our perceptions, communication and correspondence of many kinds like: writing, teaching, wordsmithing, journalism and digital media. This house also represents transportation, commerce, and short travel, education & study, siblings, courage and extended family.
4th House – home, inner foundation
This house represents the inner foundation like the root of a tree, as it relates to our early life conditioning and private self formed through domestic experiences. The 4th house is a sensitive area as it deals with our innermost needs - the past, childhood memories, family relationships and maternal influences, emotional experiences, traditions, culture and domestic propensities. On a material level the 4th house indicates the way we strive to establish a home and seek a place of refuge from external energies we need a daily respite from.
5th House – self-expression, fun and recreation
This house is governed by the Sun – the vital force in us that needs to shine. Moving past the foundational houses of building the self, the 5th is where we seek expression in the world through our personality and experiences that bring us joy. Their associates are celebration, sex and flirtation, recreation, risk-taking, friendship, playfulness, children, drama and performance. Being part of the fiery triad, the 5th house is independent and a place known for having high spirits and wilful ambition.
6th House – service
Traditionally this house is associated with sickness, accidents, routine, colleagues, servitude and anxieties. Yet in spite of such dreariness, the 6th is a fundamental area of life we develop ourselves and derive our vocation which gains employment. The consistent hard-work of this house supports all forms of skills development, routines, organisation and dreaded time management. Labour, apprenticeship, perfecting a standard, duties and mentors live here along with engagement in health and medicine, diet, nutrition, spiritual and holistic therapies.
7th House – relationships
In this area of the chart we find ‘the other’ as we extend our individual self (1st), to interact with people via social relationships, marriage or business partnership. The 7th house is a busy environment fraught with learning curves, as it provides fertile ground to learn about ourselves through others and see our 'stuff' mirrored. This territory is where we develop rapport with others and experience relational growth, dare to trust in the pleasantness (and not so) of mutual bonding that shapes our life experience. The 7th is also the place that governs litigation, commercial business, open enemies and moral conduct/obligations.
8th House – transformation
Reputed as the house of ‘death’, this area of life is where we experience life’s intensities. Crisis, endings, deep emotional bonding, sexuality and psychological breakdowns, debt, bereavement, other people’s money, fear, disease and dirty things (phew). The 8th house isn’t for the fainthearted, yet the intensity of it can be very illuminating - as it teaches us serious lessons in life that require resilience and unflinching honesty.
9th House – expanding horizons
Questing for higher meaning and greener pastures, the 9th opens up the borders to the wider world. It' associated with faith, luck and hopefulness thanks to its natural Jupiterian ruler. This house holds our concept of truth and beliefs that govern our life – higher knowledge and education, philosophy, universal/social laws, religion, dharma (duty), prayer, reflection and wisdom. The 9th house also refers to teachers or gurus, who inspire us on the path of life and guide us through higher principles.
10th House – position, title and accomplishment
The 10th is an exposed area of the chart being located at the highest point of it. Looking outward it signals the world and our public life that is cultivated through career or our version of it. This is the house of business, social growth, success and responsibility. It's also where we find honour and reputation gained from our working achievements. Influence, ambition, money, politics and prestige also live here, along with the 'shaping' parent that influenced our growth and ideas about how to engage in society.
11th House – social groups and causes
This area is traditionally known as the house of friendship, wishes and incoming gains. It’s a very sociable environment where people band together to meet certain objectives. As a ‘future’ oriented house the 11th is where we desire collective change and meet innovative thinking, raise awareness through activism and advocacy, seek to rectify injustices, uplift others and progress the ‘mission’. Unions, protests, idealism and networking live in the 11th house, along with friendship circles, cooperation, project work, diversity and ideals.
12th House – imagination, dissolution
This area of life is very deep and multifaceted. It contains the nebulous energy of Neptune and the dissolving effects that prompt us to let go of everything. The 12th house relates to our subconscious needs for emancipation from mundane things. It’s an ungrounded area that can feel chaotic as we find the energetic needs hard to define. As a place of solitude and reflection it yields many creative visions, charity, karmic debts, grief/loss, addictions, guilt but also healing. Physical spaces like hospitals, monasteries, asylums and retreat centres reside here too as well as martyrs who sacrifice their lives for higher spiritual values.
Light on Life – de Fouw & Svoboda
How to judge a nativity – A. Leo
The Inner Sky - S.Forrest
Understanding the Birth Chart – K.Burk
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