The Houses, Defined

The sign in which a planet falls tells us how we express who and what we are. The houses explain the conditions and areas in our lives where that expression occurs. Without them, we only have part of the picture. This is what makes your birth time so important to a natal chart; the time you were born personalizes your horoscope.

If you don't know your time of birth, your chart can be rectified according to particular events in your life. Beginning with the ascendant, each house falls within a particular sign. That sign is governed by a particular planet, which rules that house. The planet that rules a house exerts an archetypal influence over the affairs of that house, which are interpreted as psychological and personality characteristics. In the chart in FIGURE6–2 , Taurus lies on the ascendant so it rules the first house of Self. Since Taurus is governed by Venus, that means everything associated with the first house focuses on aesthetics, sociability, relationships, and tastes in art and literature.

In this same chart, the second house of money and material concerns falls in Gemini , ruled by Mercury. Everything that deals with second house affairs will be colored by communication and versatility, the characteristics of Gemini and Mercury.

In traditional astrology, “angular” houses indicate action, and planets placed in these houses motivate you to action. “Succedent” houses tend to be viewed as resource houses, the things that stabilize our lives. “Cadent” houses represent diversification. But not all astrologers agree with this.

Houses are classified into three types. Angular houses are the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth houses. Succedent houses are numbers two, five, eight, and eleven. The cadent houses are three, six, nine, and twelve.

Astrologer Robert Hand, for instance, believes these classifications are outmoded. He views houses in groups of threes. In his system, houses one, five, and nine are personal houses; houses two, six, and ten are practical; houses three, seven, and eleven are social; houses four, eight, and twelve are unconscious houses.

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