The Houses

An astrology chart is divided like a pizza into twelve sections called houses. They're calculated using the highest point the sun reaches in the sky that day, wherever you are. Each house represents, or rules, different areas of life. A natal astrology chart places the zodiac position of the sun, moon, planets, and other significant points at their correct location in the twelve houses of the chart. Simply stated, the houses are the realms of life within which your personality traits play out.

To calculate the houses, start by noting the Ascendant, the horizon at dawn, 6am. Then, find the Midheaven by seeing how high in the sky the Sun gets that day (in the summer the sun reaches overhead; in the winter the sun doesn't go as high in the sky). Once you know those two points, divide the distance between them into 3 sections, and you've got your Houses! Houses are counted in a counterclockwise manner around the circle from 1 to 12, starting with the Ascendant. The opposite houses have the same degrees.

To understand the houses, begin counting with the Ascendant, the line at 9:00. The zodiac sign on the cusp of the first house is the constellation that was in the East at the time of your birth. Astrologers say that you will project yourself into your life based upon the sign that was ascending. In the chart above, Virgo is rising.

Just as the houses are counted in a counterclockwise fashion, so too are the signs of the zodiac. In the chart above, Virgo rules in the first house; the next sign in a counterclockwise direction will be Libra in the second house, followed by Scorpio in the third house, and so on around the chart circle.

You'll notice that when the sun, moon, and planets are placed in your chart, some houses will be loaded and others empty. Houses containing planets require greater attention during your life. Empty houses do not mean that you can ignore them; and, they do not indicate that nothing happens in the area of life represented by the house. For example, an empty 7th house (represents marriage, partnerships) does not mean that you will never get married. It may mean that your primary life emphasis is not focused on partnership issues, or that it is only emphasized during specific life cycles called transits and progressions. So don’t worry if you have an empty part of your chart. It is common. Keep in mind that you must look at the entire chart before making any determination.

Houses one through six are located in the bottom half of your astrology chart. They represent subjective matters. In other words, you view life in a highly personal way when you have an abundance of planets in houses one through six. If you work for a living (sixth house), you want to get paid. You want personal feedback for you efforts.

The top half of the circle is the objective part of your astrology chart. Planets located in houses seven through twelve were above the horizon when you were born. If you were born around lunchtime, the sun in your natal chart will be located near the “high noon” 10th house cusp. Planets in the upper hemisphere represent the larger world. For example, the 11th house represents your life goals and ambitions in the world, whereas the opposite 5th house represents personal fun, creativity, and romance.