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The houses represent the fields of experience wherein the energies of the signs and planets operate. Rather than symbolizing just the outward experiences and environmental circumstances specified by most traditional astrology, the houses are also revealing of the inner state and of one's personal subjective experience and attitudes.

They indicate how the person functions, whether in his interactions with other people, his work, or his love affairs, etc. As with the 12 zodiacal signs, there are 12 astrological houses, and each house is in analogy with one of the signs. However, contrarily to signs, which spread invariably over 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle, house sizes may greatly vary from one house to the other. House calculations are based on the exact birth time.

The cutting of the chart into 12 houses, referred to as "House system", varies from one astrologer to another. There are several methods: Placidus - the most ancient one, dating back to the 17th century - equal houses (with variants), Koch, Regiomontanus, Campanus, Alcabitius, Topocentric, Morinus, etc.

It is important to note that most astrologers consider that whenever a planet is near a house cusp, it belongs to the said house. The threshold from a given house to the next depends on the authors' approach. It may vary from 1° to 6°, sometimes 8° or 10°. Some astrologers, quite the minority, prefer not to follow this rule. I have chosen the Placidus system, and take a classical stand, as far as the threshold is concerned. Thus, a planet found at less than 3° of the following house is considered to be in that house. I apply 2° in the case of the AS and the MC. On certain applications or on the Astrological Portrait, we offer the possibility to change these options and to select the equal houses or the Koch system. You may also decide to cancel the shift into the following house. Please note that such shift never involves the sign: a planet posited at 29°29'29" Taurus is in this sign, and by no means in Gemini. When it comes to signs, total change is the rule, contrary to houses.

Incorporating the Astrological Houses

The other thing to remember is that the planet in the sign will focus on the House. This means that the activity denoted by the planet will take place in the arena of your life designated by the House in which that planet falls. (Remember, each House represents a sphere of life – i.e. work, home, friendships, etc.) The planet is the "what," the sign is "how" that "what" is done, and the House is "where" it takes place. Here is a handy reminder to use when interpreting your natal chart:

Planet = What? Sign = How? House = Where?

Planets = energies; what you like to do = “What”

Signs = the way you do it = “How”

Houses = areas of your life = “Where”

An example of why taking the House into consideration is so important:

Say a person has Saturn in Capricorn in the 7th House, which could manifest as a reserved (Capricorn) attitude in love relationships (7th House). Then, say this same individual has Venus in Sagittarius in the 11th House. This person will be friendly and outgoing (Sagittarius) in social situations and groups (11th House), but unemotional and detached (although dependable) in love relationships (Saturn in Capricorn in the 7th). (Astrology is a powerful tool for understanding those seemingly contradicting tendencies that we all have. The birth chart tells it all. With time and patience, you will be able to read all such details from a birth chart)

House Rulers (Signs on the Cusps)

Another influence on each House (in each department of life) is the ruling planet of the House. The ruling planet of each House in your natal chart is the planet that rules the sign on the cusp. For example, if you have Capricorn on the 7th House cusp, then Saturn is the Ruler of your 7th House, because Saturn rules Capricorn. The result is that Saturn will have an influence in the matters of your 7th House, regardless of which House Saturn is actually residing in. (Below is a table of the Sign Rulerships). The sign on each house cusp shows one's attitude towards the matters of that house, whereas planets in the house show actual circumstances. For example, Capricorn on the 7th House cusp denotes an attitude of reserve or caution towards forming partnerships. On the other hand, Saturn in the 7th house may denote actual problems transpiring in partnerships and in marriage. These are subtle differences that will perfect your interpretations when reading a birth chart.

So a House is influenced by any planets residing in that House, but also by the ruler of the House. Most of the time, the ruler will be in a different House. Many times, the goods of the House will be used for advantage in the House where the planetary ruler actually resides. For example, say you have Capricorn on the 7th House cusp, and Saturn (Capricorn's ruler) in the 2nd House. You may very well choose to marry (7th House) for money (ruler in 2nd House). This last statement brings us to our next point – a word of caution.

A Word of Caution

The celestial configuration that took place at your moment of birth is a powerful indicator of your motivations, drives, preferences, and psychological makeup, but it does not seal your fate. It does show the potential you were born with, but what you do with that potential is up to you.

Some astrologers mistakenly interpret birth charts by declaring the outcomes of the drives, or the external circumstances. They declare things that must definitively take place. But the correct way to interpret a birth chart is to declare the drives, strengths, weaknesses, preferences, needs, tendencies, and so forth. Astrology reveals our inner psychological makeup. The outcomes are for the individual to manifest for him/herself. For example, above it was mentioned that if you have Capricorn ruling your 7th House, and Saturn in the 2nd House, then you might marry for money. But the proper way to read that example is to declare that you "have a need for security in your relationships. You have a need for security, but it does not necessarily mean that you will marry for money. You may very well choose to marry a pauper for true love. But be assured that your need for material security in relationships (as shown in your birth chart) will continue as a nagging feeling you won't easily be rid of."

The natal chart never lies. The problem is when the natal chart is read incorrectly. Remember, instead of giving predestined predictions, you will be more precise to explain the potential.

As I wrote earlier, houses represent a specific area of life. I now provide their meaning here:

The First House and Your Rising Sign

The first house of a chart has the sign that was ascending over the horizon at the moment you were born on its cusp. This sign is known as the Rising Sign, or Ascendant. The first house has to do with how we appear or the way we come across, thus our appearance and personality. This is the essential stuff that bubbles up in us spontaneously and that is obvious to others as our trademark or activity. It is what makes us each so personally different. This house rules our personal self and everything about us that draws a reaction from our surroundings or others.It describes the personality, the natural demeanour of the native as he faces the outside world, and also his physical appearance. It is an essential component for the interpretation of the natal chart, and it is one of the four angles of the natal chart (the four most important houses, which are dealt with below). It is located on the left hand side of the natal chart and corresponds to the place where the sun rises. The first astrological house is in analogy to the first sign of the zodiac, Aries.

The Second House

The second house is concerned with how we respond to or field whatever impulses or unique and personal qualities we manifest via our first house. This is how we hold or "have" things (possessions, material goods, money, and the like). The second house always refers to how we secure ourselves, the kind of response we get from life and those around us.It describes material goods, how they are managed, and how money is earned. In brief, it includes all financial matters but also represents greed and all sorts of possessions. The second astrological house is in analogy to the second sign of the zodiac, Taurus.

The Third House

The third house is concerned with explorations, investigations, and inquiry and research of all kinds. It also rules connections, communications, wires, tubes -- anything that we can get through with our body, mind, voice, letters, what-have-you. It is here that we explore and search for the limits of our life, whatever we are working with at the moment. A very mental house, concerned with finding, furthering, peering, and all manner of questioning. Traditionally rules short journeys, siblings.It deals with communication, the close environment (siblings, colleagues, schoolmates), primary and secondary education, apprenticeship. It also describes short trips, transportation, modern means of communication and all practical things. The third astrological house is in analogy to the third sign of the zodiac, Gemini.

The Fourth House

The fourth house is where we send down roots, find our limits, and generally secure ourselves. It is the end of any searching we might have done in the third house. Here we find or end our search, settle down, and manage to get in possession of the whole situation. This is our home and the base from which we can work, feel, and experience. This is the root of our experience, the core or thick of it.It represents the native's family, ancestors, roots, and home, both the home he comes from and the one he will set up. This house also describes the real estate patrimony, childhood, and emotions. It is located at the bottom of the chart, and like the Ascendant, it is an angular house. For some authors, 4th house represents the mother instead of the father. The fourth astrological house is in analogy to the fourth sign of the zodiac, Cancer.

The Fifth House

The fifth house has to do with awareness, emotion (to move out), and expression (to press out). Here there is always a growing sense of self-confidence and even a pride of ownership, since we begin to recognize and own our experience. We know that we have had or are having an experience. All forms of expression and offspring are connected to this house -- children, animals, creative expression, and so on. A sense of direction and ownership takes hold at this point in our experience.It describes the person's creative and recreational activities, his hobbies, as well as his love affairs, his luck in gambling, his relationships with children in general, including his own. This house covers all pleasant things in the native's life. The fifth astrological house is in analogy to the fifth sign of the zodiac, Leo.

The Sixth House

The sixth house has to do with salvaging and preserving what is good and healthy in our experience. Here we separate the wheat from the chaff. We begin to care for ourselves and our experience and thus health, nutrition. The idea here is that we are able to analyze our experience and have thoughts about what is pure and what is not. The sixth house is an attempt to save the heart of an experience, one that already by that attempt is beginning to pass or not cohere.It describes the native's everyday life, his behaviour at work, minor obligations, servitudes, lower-ranking co-workers, and pets. It also concerns health, medicines and minor illnesses. The sixth astrological house is in analogy to the sixth sign of the zodiac, Virgo.

The Seventh House

The seventh house is the house of partnerships, relationships, social life, and all that carries us beyond our personal self into an awareness of other people, community, and the like. This includes spiritual awakening and the discovery that we are more than just our personality. Here we begin to respond to our personal needs (and those of others) for the first time. We can see what is going on and are committed to it; thus, marriage and yoga, or union, is indicated in this house.It is opposite the 1st house and thus, represents other people, the native's behaviour towards other people, his partner (spouse or associate). It concerns contracts, associations, marriage and open enemies. It is through the 7th house that the native perceives other people. It is opposite the ASC, and is located on the right hand side of the natal chart and corresponds to the place where the sun sets. The seventh astrological house is in analogy to the seventh sign of the zodiac, Libra.

The Eighth House

The eighth house, traditionally the house of death, is concerned with getting rid of excess parts of ourselves that we see we no longer need. Thus this house also covers initiation and any activities where we are transforming toward a more integral position, getting to the heart of things. The no-nonsense quality of the eighth house makes it good for business ventures since here we are stripping away the dross to reveal the truth or essence of the subject.It concerns the native's birth and death. However, it does not necessarily mean actual physical death. It may be a symbolic death, and thus, it is synonymous with evolution and transformation. This house also represents inheritances, money earned by other people, but also sexuality, power, all things hidden, and interest in occultism. The eighth astrological house is in analogy to the heighth sign of the zodiac, Scorpio.

The Ninth House

The ninth house covers long journeys and religion (the longest journey of all). Here is what remains of the purification that takes place in the eighth house -- the seed, or essence, of an entire cycle of experience. Religion comes from a Latin word that means to bind back, and thus refers to all things that last or endure, such as the truth. Essential ideas, philosophy, and all that is the very heart of things belong here.It is the realm of spirituality and philosophy, higher ideals, faraway travels, both physical and inner ones. Contrarily to the 3rd house, this house represents higher education and universities, as well as the understanding of abstract topics. It is also related to law and legality, and religion. The ninth astrological house is in analogy to the ninth sign of the zodiac, Sagittarius.

The Tenth House

The 10th house is a house of practical vision and clairvoyance, for here we can see clearly what is. Reputation and career are often connected to this house, since the areas where we can see with greatest clarity are those we most often can put to use to make a living. In summary, this house is where we have real vision and can see to do and work. Planets transiting this house may provide moments of insight and clear-seeing as well.It is opposite the 4th house and corresponds to the native's professional career, as well as his social elevation as compared to his family background. It symbolises his ambitions and his achievements in the society. It is also related to the general public, potential fame, and the mother's influence. The 10th house is in the Southern part of the natal chart and located at its top. The tenth astrological house is in analogy to the tenth sign of the zodiac, Capricorn.

The Eleventh House

The 11th house has to do with putting our visions and dreams to work. We have been on the mountain and had a vision (10th house). Here we take our vows never to forget what we have seen and to work hard to make these dreams into reality. Thus this house has always been connected with altruistic and humanitarian goals and trying to set them in motion. It is the house of friends and community, because when we are powered by a real insight or vision we share with all -- irrespective of differences.It represents the native's projects, his friends, and his protectors. It describes the nature of his friends, his group activities, and the place he occupies within the group, contrarily to the more individualistic 5th house. This 11th house is related to all kinds of humanitarian topics. The eleventh astrological house is in analogy to the eleventh sign of the zodiac, Aquarius.

The Twelfth House

The 12th house is about all that we go through in order to make our dreams into reality and manifest them in the world around us. It covers what we are willing to put up with, the sacrifices we will make in order to bring across what is really important. This is connected to prisons, institutions, betrayal, self-undoing, and the like, because it is here that we must choose to take some possible abuse for the sake of the message we are carrying, or blow it all away with a negative reaction. It corresponds to the native's inner self, ordeals underwent his whole life through, hidden enemies, and serious illnesses. It is related to places of confinement such as hospitals, prisons, convents, etc., and also includes solitude, sacrifices, and self-sacrifice. The twelfth astrological house is in analogy to the twelfth sign of the zodiac, Pisces.

The Tradition classifies houses because, on the one hand, their influence on an individual is not equally important, and on the other hand, they have different specifics in terms of characterology. There are three classifications. The first one deals with accentuation, and the other two, with quadrants and hemisphere emphasis. Here is a short outline of the three classifications.

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