The Planets affect diverse areas of life and portray the individual’s relationship with those areas called the Houses. Unlike the planets, elements, or aspects, the houses do not actually exist. They are abstractions or archetypes for discrete areas of life experience. It is through the houses that individual characteristics are portrayed in the signs and planets.
The Houses are numbered in counter-clockwise order. The 1st house or Ascendant is located at about 9:00 o’clock in the astrological circle or wheel. The remaining houses each occupy approximately an equal amount of wheel space – depending on the House System used to determine where each house begins. The beginning of each house is referred to as a “cusp” and is numbered from 1 through 12 in this counter-clockwise direction.
Each house describes separate, discrete areas of life experience or activity. Not all houses will be utilized or “occupied” in a chart; some will have greater significance than others.
1st House Astrology
This is the House of the Ascendant or the “Rising Sign”, located at the cusp or beginning of the First House. This is the basic point of reference toward life and existence by the individual; it is how experience is related to and internalized.
It describes our self-awareness and how we respond to experience and people. It describes our personality, our physical appearance as seen by others. The Rising Sign describes how experience is related to and internalized.
The 1st House cusp is essential in providing expression of self with respect to others. It is through our personality that we engage with the environment and express our inner world.
Our physical appearance, health and vitality also serve to express our intentions to the world. The physical form is the transmitter of our will into the material world. It is the polarity point between the individual and the world; it is our self-image to the world, our “work- clothes”, so to speak.
Planets located in the 1st House, especially those close to the cusp, add extra definition, complexity and energy to the personality. This emphasizes a need for self-expression and initiative while downplaying receptivity.
2nd House Astrology
On a mundane level the Second House describes the area where we demonstrate the ability to earn money and meet our needs for survival; it also describes our attitude toward our acquisitions. Second House experiences ultimately teach the necessity to share resources rather than selfishly hoarding for pleasure or profit.
In this respect it reflects one’s values and attitudes toward material things versus the value of an ideal or philosophy – as would be described by the 9th House. As we value an object we place our personal stamp of approval on it. In a sense it is now a part of us – incorporated into our being as a valued extension of ourselves – our ego extension.
Forming extensive attachments to the material world is notoriously limiting for the personality (ego) and often produces greater material insecurity than security. The 2nd House, then, is the area in which we evolve our experiences and consciousness with the material substance of existence. It is here that we learn to master our involvement with materiality by justly meeting our needs and avoiding the pitfalls of greed.
Planets located in the 2nd House, especially a significant number, reflect an increase in one’s possessiveness and attachment to material possessions because the increasing presence of planetary energies increases the amount of activity in these areas of life.
3rd House Astrology
The 3rd House deals with the routine, everyday tasks of the mind and mundane communication with other people. For this reason, it is often referred to as the “lower” mind.
It is the arena for the mundane, everyday events of existence which require little conscious effort on the part of the mind. In this area of life we think our way along utilizing judgment, discrimination, perception and logic to manage our lives. We tend to focus our thoughts in these routines with little awareness. After all, how much consciousness is necessary to perform the same routines every day?
This can be a pitfall, however, by creating automatic, thoughtless responses and behavior that in turn create a very narrow, limited experience of reality. The experience of the 3rd House is intended to teach the discriminating capacity that Mercury provides so that we may choose the direction of our life effectively.
Planets located in the 3rd House describe an increase in mental energy, increased communication for its own sake or mental/verbal restlessness. Certainly communication with others is emphasized.
4th House Astrology
The 4th House represents the personal world we have created for ourselves. It is not limited to the home in the physical sense alone. It describes the emotional conditions that support our life. This is the unconscious mind of mankind which we are connected to; this is our ultimate home where we experience true intimacy and support.
Here we form intimate connections with home, families, childhood, and tradition, and experience a sense of belonging to them. They protect and nurture us.
Evolution urges us to explore the deeper connections to our collective consciousness so that we experience awareness of this source of connectedness and sustenance. The 4th House provides a continuum of experiences from the personal domestic environment of parents, home and hearth to experiencing the collective mind of all sentient life. It is here that we develop experiences that enable us to build emotional stability and evolve toward universality.
Planets located in the 4th House highlight issues dealing with nurturance; imbalances and/or strengths can occur. People can be stable and balanced, handling challenges to their security well, or when challenged, respond as though threatened.
5th House Astrology
The common ground of these experiences lies with the core meaning of the 5th House: Joy and the pleasure of expressing yourself. This house describes the release of our internal energies in the world, leading us to feel alive and fulfilled.
So, relationships are formed primarily to express ourselves; gambling is exciting for some because it releases the unique energy of the individual like nothing else can. Having children is an expression of the parent and vicariously places them in touch with the child’s play and enthusiasm, thereby releasing the creative energy of the individual.
The 5th House provides a continuum of experiences that links the individual with self-expression and creativity. When we create and express our unique individuality we transcend our limitations in the material world. We briefly enter the transcendent and mystical realms. Here we are provided experiences in co-creating with forces greater than ourselves.
Planets located in the5th House are descriptive of a strong need to be creative, self-expressive, fun-loving. The particulars of the planet will form the kind of energy here. Saturn may block self-expression while Jupiter could enhance it.
6th House Astrology
The 6th House is where we improve ourselves through devoted work and service to others. Here, practicality and responsibility provide disciplined training for the individual that lead to wisdom and compassion. It also determines profession, the work place and its day-to-day activities.
This is the polarity point of the 5th House which emphasizes freedom, fun and spontaneity. Nutrition and hygiene are expressions of responsibility to the body and the psyche. Sickness can be expressive of irresponsible actions and it can also describe burdensome responsibilities that diminish health and vitality.
The 6th House provides an array of experiences all unified through subjugation of freedom and self-gratification in deference to self-discipline and service with the ultimate goal of higher consciousness.
Planets located in the 6th House indicate that a great deal of the individual’s efforts and energy will be focused on work, service or health-related issues.
7th House Astrology
The 7th House describes close personal relationships with others and the way they react to us. It describes the kind of partners one attracts to oneself.
These partners are found in marriage, business and close friendships. They are the “Other” to us, the opposite; they repel and attract us. They influence us by reacting to our actions. We then gain knowledge through events not of our own making.
So, the 7th House is the house of Karma as well, for here the law of compensation (for our own actions) is at work. In the 1st House the individual expresses energy into the world. In the 7th House the world reacts and the individual intimately experiences the consequences of those actions. This “mirror” helps to define one’s place in the world and increases objectivity and self-awareness.
Planets located in the 7th House demonstrate an emphasized need for feedback from relationships. There is increased need for intimate interaction to provide information about the self and its expression.
8th House Astrology
Above all else the 8th House represents transformation. Here activity propels us forward to release our attachments, grow and change. Invariably this will occur in connection with other people.
Death is the least common form of transformation that we encounter. Death of the physical body and all practical matters related such as funerals and inheritances come into operation in the 8th House.
Resurrection is also related to the core meaning of the 8th House. Here, the old order undergoes dissolution and a new one is born, granting new opportunity for growth and change. In this respect inheritance results from the death of another and the resource (inheritance) is then shared.
Activity of the 8th House undermines attachments created by the ego – it is ego-denying. It manifests material world events that initiate transformation. It creates circumstances that require dissolution of our attachments to others and our possessions – as well as to the possessions of others.
Planets in the 8th House describe a life change and transformation. Much work is being undertaken by the individual to grow through the effect of the outside world on the self.
9th House Astrology
The 9th House embraces activities that enhance and support higher-order mental activity. It is concerned with meaning and understanding things that are integrated into larger systems of thought, such as the law, philosophy and religion.
Travel can support gaining knowledge so that human culture can be experienced and understood, therefore it is a 9th House concern.
Through the 9th House new ideas and perceptions originate. Here the conscious mind gains awareness and understanding of what it perceives. The mind derives meaning and creates a matrix to organize experience. The birth of social institutions takes place here.
Planets located in the 9th House describe a mind unfettered by the limits of the mundane world. There is a need to experience the new and expand the consciousness.
10th House Astrology
The 10th House symbolizes our journey away from the internal self (4th House) out to a role in the world. Here we develop a professional or public persona that is based on our performance in a role. It is a role that we identify with and certainly are identified with.
This is different from the 6th House, where work is performed out of necessity. Here it enhances our identity in the social areas of life. It deals with parenting in this respect.
Being opposite to the 4th House, it draws the individual away from childhood into the world of society. This “parenting” effect helps us develop our role in the world and to parent ourselves. It creates acting deliberately and with consciousness in the material world.
Planets located in the 10th House demonstrate ambition and need to achieve in the material world. A strong expression of direction and purpose is often instilled as well as a deep need to perform. The person will be busy externalizing their energy and efforts into the world.
11th House Astrology
The 11th House has as its core meaning the concept that the individualized self is a participating member of the larger whole. Self-expression of the ego is merged with the group to create a consensus for the larger whole which also forms expression for the individual. Ego identity is not relinquished; it is integrated with the group identity.
This house describes the groups of people that we relate to, the ideals, aspirations, hopes and plans that others share with us. It can be said that we are connected to humanity through the 11th House.
Planets located in the 11th House describe a life with strong connections to groups, friends or societies. This will not be a loner. Individuals with planets here will give and receive support from the groups they are connected to.
12th House Astrology
The 12th House represents the unknown and unintegrated aspects of the mind – the personal unconscious.
The unconscious contains old memories, experiences and habitual emotional responses that restrict us. Because they are hidden from us, they are not available for self-expression. They are secreted away and create pitfalls for us, that is, they become our self-undoing.
It is through self-knowledge that we free ourselves of this old karma. It is through sacrifice and altruistic work that we transcend the ego’s repression of the unconscious and gain self-knowledge. This allows those energies to be expressed in a healthy, productive way. Ultimately, the 12th House can create opportunity for transcendent knowledge and wisdom when its contents have been freed from repression.
Planets located in the 12th House can lead to repression and isolation or can lead to profound intuition, deep understanding and wisdom. It can be the source of inspiration and higher states of consciousness that are directly perceived by the individual.