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In Astrology, there are 12 houses. These play a strong part in a reading. 

When reading a chart, understanding the planetary placement in a specific sign will indicate one’s character in general terms. This interpretation is a bit vague, and only when it’s interpreted in relation to one of the houses, will it a strong picture of an individual start to develop. 

The 12 houses of astrology rule a particular aspect of one’s life. Relationships, career, life purpose, attitude towards education and plenty more can all be revealed by looking at the specific house that a planet is placed in.

The following post breaks down the 12 houses of astrology.

What are the 12 houses of astrology? 

From a technical perspective, the houses can be seen as the space around the Earth. While the sign of the zodiac and the zodiac wheel relate to the ecliptic (the imaginary path of the sun’s movement around the Earth), the 12 houses of astrology relate to the Earth’s 24-hour-long journey or revolution on its axis. With this, the 12 houses appear as fixed, while the planets and signs that fall therein are in flux. 

The 12 houses in astrology relate to various areas in a person’s life. Attitudes towards love, social status, pets, children, even other people’s children can become clear when interpreting a chart in relation to a house. 

Where the planets and signs have a sort of characteristic that enhances the flavour of an individual, the houses are more the area or sector in that individual’s life that will be influenced by such energies.

While each house has one central theme, there can be multiple manifestations thereof, resulting in different characteristics playing out in someone’s makeup, or different situations arising in one’s life. For example, the Second House relates to value and money. This can be interpreted as one’s approach to their physical, material possessions and attachments, or it could shed light into how one’s emotional stability comes from financial stability. 

Whichever planets and signs are found in each respective house, will start to build a great picture of one’s life; what energies they’ll work with or develop, and where within their life these energies will play a part. 

House systems

Before diving into the 12 houses and their qualities, it’s good to mention the house systems. The house systems are basically just a few different methods for dividing the space around the Earth in order to create a chart. 

There are several different house division systems, including Equal House, Placidus, Regiomontanus, Whole-Sign, Topocentric. When reading a chart, an astrologer will use a house system of their choice. 

The houses and the four angles

The division of the 12 houses of astrology is based on four key sections or angles. These are:

  • The Ascendant 
  • The Imum Coeli 
  • The Descendant
  • The Medium Coeli 

The Ascendant  

When someone is born, this is the degree of the ecliptic as it rises over the eastern horizon. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. With this, the Ascendant is sort of like the sunrise of your life, in a way. 

When reading a birth chart, looking to the space of the Ascendant is key as it will shed light into one’s personality and potential in their life. Whatever sign is found in the Ascendant is often called the Rising Sign. The Ascendant corresponds to the First House. 

The Imum Coeli (IC) 

The Immum Coeli is the bottommost angle of the chart. At the time of birth, it would be an imaginary line pointing downward to the ground. It is sometimes abbreviated to ‘IC’, and translates to the ‘bottom of the sky’. The Immum Coeli reveals one’s attitude towards family, the home, one’s roots and foundation. The Immum Coeli corresponds to the Fourth House. 

The Descendant

The angle directly opposite the Ascendant is the Descendant. At the time of birth, the Descendant was the angle moving below the horizon line in the west. This angle reveals one’s attitude to relationships and partnerships. The Descendant corresponds to the Seventh House. 

The Medium Coeli (MC)

The Medium Coeli is the topmost angle of the chart. At the time of birth, it would be an imaginary line pointing upward to the sky. It is sometimes abbreviated to ‘MC’, and translates to ‘middle of the sky’. Often called Midheaven, the Medumi Coeli reveals one’s status, achievements, career and standing in society. The Medium Coeli corresponds to the Tenth House. 

Together with the four main angles, the other eight segments of the elliptical make up the 12 houses of astrology. 

A break down of the 12 houses

Numbered from one to twelve, the 12 houses correspond with a different area of a human’s life. Each house also corresponds to a sign of the zodiac, adding a particular quality or flavour to the house itself.

1First HouseSelf, personality, identityAries
2Second HouseValue, money, material possessionsTaurus
3Third HouseCommunication, close relationships, education, transportGemini
4Fourth HouseHome, roots, foundations, origins, petsCancer
5Fifth HouseCreativity, pleasure, fun, lovers, childrenLeo
6Sixth HouseHealth, work, jobs, daily tasksVirgo
7Seventh HousePartnerships, relationships, one-on-one relationshipsLibra
8Eighth HouseTransformation, sex, death, taxesScorpio
9Ninth HouseHigher learning, travel, philosophy, religion, explorationSagittarius
10Tenth HouseCareer, authority, societal status, achievementCapricorn
11Eleventh HouseFriendship, community, humanitarian qualities, innovationAquarius
12Twelfth HouseSpiritual Self, hidden realms, secrets, unconsciousness Pisces

Placement of the houses

When drawing out a chart, one would typically mark off the Ascendant first. As the cusp of the Ascendant signals the realm of the First House, one would then mark off the zodiac signs corresponding to First House, then the rest, one through twelve, until complete.

When I first started researching the houses, I got transfixed on the link between the house to the corresponding zodiac sign. One book that I used for research referred to the zodiac connection by stating ‘The Second House is the House of Taurus’. I found myself defaulting into thinking that the Second House was strictly Taurus, the Third was strictly Gemini and so on, but this is not correct. 

The First House will always be the sign of the Ascendant. This can be one of the twelve zodiac signs, not strictly only Aries. The First House itself is Arian in nature; of or relating to Aries type things; however, whatever sign falls inside the house is not affected by Aries qualities and does not take on Aries-type qualities.

My Ascendant is in Libra, so my First House is Libra, Second is Scorpio, Third is Sagittarius and so on. Now, the fact that my Ascendant is Libra means that the parts of my life that are governed by the First House (things such as my personality, view of myself etc.) will take on the feel of Libra or have a Libran quality to them. Even if First House aspects relate to Aries type things, they will take on the flavour of whatever sign is governing the house, despite the house’s connection to its ruling sign

A natal or birth chart that has Aries as the Ascendant or First House is called a Natural Chart. Here, Aries is First House, Taurus is Second House, Gemini is Third House and so on. 

I have another reference book that phrases the same House break down as “The Second House corresponds to the sign of Taurus” which, to me at least, makes more sense and relays better. I wish I read this first rather than “The Second House is the House of Taurus”, as it paints more of an idea that the zodiac sign is related to the house, but not is the house. 

IDK why, but for some reason, this took me some time to understand so I’m being a bit extra in this explanation. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the 12 houses of astrology. It took me quite some time to understand even the basics of the houses, so I hope my explanation is clear.

Do you have questions about the 12 houses of astrology? Share them below!

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