The meaning of the 12 astrological houses

    By 12andus

    house icon_12.png Working with the Natal Chart involves exploring various dimensions of personality and potential life path.

    In order to delve deeper into astrology and understand how the planets and signs impact your life, it is important to consider which house each sign and planet is in. This requires knowledge of the birth time and place in addition to date and year.

    The Natal Chart is broken up into twelve segments called ‘houses.’ As the name suggests, each house is the domain of a particular aspect of life or personality. The potential strengths and energy of each house are activated by the presence of a particular sign in that house, given additional power or meaning if one or more planets are also in that house.

    House 1

    The first house is an important indicator of first impressions. The cusp of the first house is called the Ascendant and indicates the Rising Sign, or the sign on the horizon at the time of birth.

    The first house reveals an individual’s mannerisms, appearance and outward personality.

    Some astrologers consider the first house to be as important if not more important than the Sun Sign as it holds valuable information about the external appearance and personality of an individual.

    If someone’s first house is in a sign that is dramatically different from their Sun Sign, they may exhibit more traits consistent with the sign of their first house.

    This house is naturally ruled by Mars and associated with Aries, giving the flavor of these archetypes to whatever planets or sign are in this house.

    Planets in the first house can also add depth and power to the individual’s appearance and first impressions. People with Pluto in the first house convey dynamic power and can be stubborn but may also have intense near-death experiences or personalities shaped by obsession with power and control.

    Venus in the first house however can give one strong attraction energy, harmonious and beautiful, this individual may be preoccupied with love and romance.

    House 2

    The second house reveals what an individual values. Naturally ruled by Venus and the sign Taurus, the second house in an individual’s chart is considered ‘ruled’ by the planets or planetary ruler of the sign in this house. Generally, however, the second house speaks to income, money and financial priorities.

    When looking for clues about how an individual attains money or wealth or their attitudes toward finances or materialism, look to the second house.

    This house is associated with wealth or resources an individual attracts through their own efforts. It also represents how they find security. Attitudes toward materialism or things they are stubborn about are also conveyed by the planets or sign in the second house.

    House 3

    As this house is ruled by Mercury and the sign Gemini, it represents the individual’s communication style and process of learning. When we want to understand how someone thinks and their style of speaking or writing, look to the third house.

    The third house also reveals information about early education experiences. The third house tells us about relationship with siblings or peers including neighbors. A person’s tendencies when it comes to networking, socializing and their degree of introversion or extroversion can be determined by planets and signs in the third house.

    If someone is a quick thinker who can be impulsive and often speaks or writes without thinking things through, it is likely because of a planet such as Mars or the influence of the sign Aries in the third house.

    Someone who is a practical thinker who is efficient but also concrete, and who speaks minimally but directly may have a strong Saturnine or Capricorn influence in their third house.

    House 4

    This house is the lowest point in the chart and therefore represents the most private aspects of one’s personality.

    Ruled by the Moon and Cancer, the fourth house is further associated with home, tradition, family and deep longings for security. The fourth house reveals who one is when they are in the privacy of their own home, or who one is when no one is looking.

    Heritage, traditions, family influences or influences from childhood are revealed in the fourth house. This house reveals the earliest influences and what the individual perceives as their ‘roots’ or source of security.

    The nature of their emotional lives or issues with early nurturing or family connection are revealed here as is the attitude toward home and family.

    House 5

    Ruled by the Sun and Leo, the fifth house reveals the individual’s creative talents and enthusiasm for life. The fifth house reveals information about a person’s style toward affairs, romance (but not long term committed relationships) flirtation, playfulness and talents.

    Whether an individual is likely to have children or their relationship with children and young people is revealed in this house. The individual’s ‘inner child’ is also shown in this house.

    The fifth house represents what someone does for fun and recreation and their potential to relax and enjoy life. Someone with Mercury or Gemini in their fifth house will derive pleasure from speaking, learning, writing or reading.

    They will typically be popular because of their communication style and friendly nature. In contrast, someone with Saturn or Capricorn in the fifth house may be attracted to affairs with older people and derive pleasure from business and work.

    They may also have an austere nature and serious attitude which makes them appear to have anhedonia.

    House 6

    The sixth house reveals a person’s attitude toward mundane life, details, work and daily tasks and schedules.

    As this house is ruled by Mercury and the sign of Virgo, it shows how a person deals with tasks requiring service and analysis. Matters regarding physical health and potential for stress related health issues are revealed through this house.

    This house also rules one’s relationship to domesticated animals in particular small pets as opposed to animals kept as livestock.

    Tedious routines, how one organizes their day and the nature of one’s schedule are also revealed through the sixth house.

    House 7

    Ruled by Venus in and the sign Libra, the seventh house reveals an individual’s attitude toward partnerships. It is the polar opposite of the first house or Ascendant.

    As the first house shows the qualities an individual embodies, the seventh house can represent all the individual has not yet come to embrace in themselves, but finds in others. The energy and traits that complement an individual’s core personality are found in the seventh house. For this reason it is associated with ideal partnerships and the type of personality an individual tends to attract.

    The Seventh house gives clues as to an individual’s attitude toward partnerships and romance. This house reveals the traits that balance their personality. Information regarding partnerships and marriage are found in the seventh house.

    House 8

    Just as the Second House reveals how an individual attracts money through their earnings and efforts, the Eighth House reveals how an individual acquires money and wealth through shared resources of means other than earnings.

    This can include inheritances, settlements, lottery winnings and investment properties or earnings resulting from joint assets or partnerships.

    In short, this house reveals how other people’s money impacts an individual. It is also the house of taxes and financial Karma.

    Ruled by Scorpio and Pluto, this is the house of transformation and connection to the occult, spiritual and mysterious. This house is associated with personal power and issues with obsession and control as well.

    Persuasion, attraction, sexuality and power are also associated with this house. How an individual deals with authority figures or conveys their own power is revealed by the Eighth house. Traumatic losses or changes, one’s attitudes toward death and personal reinvention are also found in this house.

    House 9

    The higher octave of the Third House, the Ninth House is ruled by Jupiter and Sagittarius and reveals one’s potential for higher learning, wisdom and expansion. This house reveals insight into one’s philosophical and spiritual nature.

    The potential for long distance travel, exploration of new cultures and religions, humanitarian interests, as well as interests in science, law and publishing are conveyed by planets and signs in this house.

    The Ninth House shows the potential to take risks and pursue large scale dreams. A person’s ideals and optimism are described by the planets and signs in the Ninth House as well.

    Someone with Scorpio or Mars in the Ninth House will likely aspire to achieve power and mastery through deep exploration of philosophy and the occult.

    On the other hand, someone with the Moon or Cancer in the Ninth House will have an idealized vision of home and family life and may establish home and family connections abroad.

    House 10

    The Tenth house is the highest point in the Natal Chart, also called the Midheaven. As the polar opposite of the Fourth house, this shows an individual’s public image and potential to be in the public eye.

    Career, politics, achievement and success are described by this house. This house is naturally ruled by Saturn and Capricorn.

    The Tenth house is often associated with potential for leadership in career as well. It is the most public expression of one’s talents as well as their reputation.

    While the First house reveals external identity and first impressions, the Tenth house shows the reputation one earns through their efforts and work and not just their personal preferences and appearance.

    This is the image one strives to project as well as their potential for success in business and the type of industries in which they are likely to excel.

    House 11

    The Eleventh house is ruled by Uranus and Aquarius and shows how an individual is unique, eccentric or ahead of their time.

    It also reveals an individual’s attitude toward groups, networks, community and society at large. How one shows their humanitarian nature or whether one is a forward thinker is revealed in this house.

    The Eleventh house displays an individual’s potential to connect with groups and associations as well. Whether one is affiliated with professional or social organizations and their social status are shown by the planets and signs in this house.

    Popularity among groups and the ability to be a visionary or catalyst for change is revealed by this house. This house also shows the propensity for interest in technology, science and shocking or unusual subjects.

    House 12

    Ruled by Neptune and Pisces, the Twelfth House is the domain of spirituality and sublimation. It represents how an individual loses themselves and seeks transcendence.

    This house is complicated because it reveals the potential for healing, psychic connection and spirituality, but also for self sabotage, destructiveness and Karma.

    The Twelfth House is sometimes ominously referred to as the ‘house of self undoing.’ This title refers to the Twelfth House being associated with releasing attachment to the ego.

    This can be achieved through greater spiritual connection and healing, but can also be achieved through unhealthy means such as drug use, escapism and avoidance. The Twelfth house shows potential for creativity, intuition, empathy and exploring the deeper levels of the subconscious as well as the spiritual realms.

    It is also associated with defenses, illusions and situations which force an individual to see through deception. This can involve institutions, hospitals, jails or the legal system as providing the framework for stripping away the false layers and dealing with the truth.

    How one faces their deeper wounds and potential for self sabotage, whether an individual transforms difficulties into lessons and how an individual hides from reality are all present here.

    To know your houses placements and the meaning of your houses in the signs and the planets in the house, go to the Birth Chart's Readings box of the Reports page.