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The Houses in Traditional Astrology

Updated: Mar 10

Your birth chart is split up into 12 different sections, they represent 12 different areas of life.


Planets within certain houses can describe the sort of experiences you may have within that area of your life. In this essay, we'll get through

  1. The traditional significations of the houses, their traditional names, and the planetary joys. I don't go into too much detail on the reasoning behind the traditional names and the planetary joys but I hope with all the info I share, you can piece together what the ancients were getting at. If you wanna dive into the planetary joys scheme, I'd read more into Thema Mundi.

  2. How to work with transits relative to the houses

  3. How planets are enacted when they are in houses within your natal chart.

  4. I do not delineate the different manifestations of planets in houses but I do try to point you in the right direction!

Throughout this piece you’ll see me abbreviate the houses into something that looks like 1H. This just translates to “first house”. 2H = 2nd House, 3H= 3rd house, etc. It’s a cute shorthand I found on twitter! It also just looks so cool to me lmfao. Ok carrying on…


A brief note - within the hellenistic tradition, the signs do not equal the houses. Please read that again. The 12 Letter Alphabet is a teaching technique that originated less than 40 years ago and it was only supposed to be used as a conceptual tool. It doesn’t hold much weight once you get into the nitty gritty of your chart. Aries does not rule the first house, unless you have Aries rising. Taurus does not rule the second, Gemini does not rule the third. I know I know, most folks are very comfy with conceptualizing the houses based on this but I promise you, it’s not as helpful as you think, especially in the long run. Sure they may be similar but that similarity stops being useful when you want to chat about Scorpio energy independent of 8th house stuff. Sure they may be similar but solely depending on these similarities are harmful to your studies in the long run. Some traditions adopt this philosophy with no problem and it holds up within their framework but it holds up only ever so slightly within this context.


For the sake of keeping up with transits - every time you hear an astrologer say a planet is in a certain sign, that means that planet is transiting a certain area of your life/a certain house. So for example, mercury is in pisces right now so Mercury is transiting your Pisces house within your birth chart. Go check to see what house that is, maybe you have cancer rising and pisces is your 9H this means this transit will primarily impact your 9H of travel, life philosophy, higher education, or religion.


Classifications of the Houses

The houses can also be broken down into their different types or classifications - those being Angular, Succedent, and Cadent.


Angular houses are the most active houses. These are the 1H 4H 7H and 10H. They essentially represent who we are (1H) where we come from (4H) who we’re with (7H) and what we’re known for (10H). They also contain the 4 angles. Well, MC and IC can float anywhere but the ASC and DSC axis is always in the 1H and 7H. Planets that fall in these houses have what we call a Global impact, meaning the stuff that goes on there tends to have a very potent effect on the life of the chart owner. Transits through these houses are also quite significant.


Succedent houses are the houses of our things, our resources to some extent. Going counter clockwise around the wheel, they come after angular houses. These houses are the 2H 5H 8H and 11H. These houses aren’t as powerful as the angular houses but their presence can accumulate or increase over time.


Lastly are the Cadent houses, the 3H 6H 9H and 12H. These are the problem solving houses. They require a certain amount of maintenance and upkeep. They’re pretty busy places to be!


Something else you’re going to read in each house synopsis is where each planet of the 7 traditional planets have their joy. Simply put, each of the planets are happy in certain houses, they have a little extra functionality providing them with something we call Accidental Dignity. Referencing the significations of the 7 trad planets may help you to understand the places in which they find their joy and understanding the places will help you understand the planet!


Using Whole Sign House system (which is the house system I use) each zodiac sign is given 30 degrees on a wheel, the wheel turns as the earth rotates throughout the day.


Ok, let’s dive into each house… I also add the traditional name of each one, just for good measure. I don’t really get into the reasoning behind them here.


First House - The Helm

Angular

This is the house that is totally dedicated to you! It represents yourself, character, appearance, body, your immediate interface with the world. It represents your personal perspective and your general outlook on life. You’ll always find your ascendant (ASC or AC) here. Mercury has their joy here! Think about how it’s much easier to chat with folks face to face, mercury thrives in being at the forefront of your perspective so that you can analyze, think, and communicate with the world allowing you to express yourself effectively. Transits to this house will impact you personally and everything else that I mentioned above. If you reason with the idea of angularity that I mentioned above, you’ll note the impact of transits to your first house. Anything that happens to you, you’re gonna feel it and that’s most definitely going to have a global impact. It’s definitely going to impact how you are commuting, how you’re interacting with colleagues, etc. it’s gonna impact just about everything. Planets that fall in the first house natally can be considered to be planets you embody. For example, I have Saturn in the first house and I am almost always wearing something black, I’m always thinking long term, and I wake up no later than 7:15 AM daily without an alarm clock (this took years of practice).

Second House - Gate of Hades

Succedent

This is the house of your personal finances, possessions, income, personal values, livelihood, and self esteem/worth. It’s everything you own outside of your body. It’s all the things you need to survive, stay alive, and take care of yourself. In modern culture that can be boiled down to money. Planets in this house natally can tell you about your approach to survival/things that you need to feel like you're supported, like you're being is sustained and taken care of.

Third House - Goddess

Cadent

Siblings and sibling-like relationships, extended relatives (aunts and uncles), short distance trips, trips to familiar places, pre-k-12th grade, communication, your technical skills (knowing how to knit, skateboard, change a tire, etc), your neighbors and neighborhood. This is the house of learning the fundamentals, the basics, the ABCs of whatever you're studying. It's your daily blog or diary entries. The Moon has her joy here.

Fourth House - Subterranean

Angular

Home and immediate family, your lineage and connections to your roots. Your background, where you come from. Your private life, what you keep hidden from the outside world. It can be your parents or parental figures. Things you keep hidden from the outside world.

Fifth House - Good Fortune

Succedent

Your creations, creativity, and inclination towards creative expression. Children. Pleasure, romance, and sex all fall here. Hobbies, what you do for fun and amusement. Venus has her joy here.

Sixth House - Bad Fortune

Cadent

Illness and injuries. Work and work ethic. Injuries and sickness, your physical health and health related routines. Tasks and obligations that you need to stay on top of. People who work for you, people who you work for/those you are of service to. Pets and doctors appointments. Mars has his joy here

Seventh House - Setting

Angular

Partnerships, unions, the other people who are closely intertwined in your life, business and romantic partners. People you meet with one on one, clients. Contractual agreements and partnerships (marriage being an example). People you're comfy with getting intimate with.


Eighth House - Inactive

Succedent

Death, things you inherit from others, money and resources you share with someone else or that you've received from someone else. Support you give and the support you’re expected to give. The money, possessions, and values of your partners. Values you share w a partner. Therapy and navigating difficult times. Other peoples baggage.


Ninth House - God

Cadent

Travel to unfamiliar and/or far places. Your life philosophy. Experiences that broaden your horizons. College and academia, specified education, religion, astrology! The acquisition of knowledge and large scale understanding. Publishing, law, and foreign affairs. The Sun has her joy here


Tenth House - Midheaven

Angular

Your reputation. What you’re known for. Authority figures or those you look up to. What people on a large scale know you for. The notable actions you take in your life. The packaging of the Work you're doing in this world. Leadership and visibility. A big part of your overall Career.


Eleventh House - Good Spirit

Succedent

Alliances, acquaintances, friends, your network and community, a conference, your hope and wishes. Joy and affinity you share with those groups. Important friends in influential places. People who can help you achieve something greater than yourself. Being on apart of a board or group working to to something big. A collective. Professional relationships. Jupiter has his joy here.


Twelfth House - Bad Spirit

Cadent

Isolation and retreat, self sabotage, hidden enemies, mental health, institutionalization, All the things you don’t want to deal with or things you didn’t know you’d have to deal with. Mental health. Hospitals, prisons, travel to places you are unfamiliar with. Travel to places where you are the outcast. Spiritual reckoning. Pulling away from being visible in order to be more responsible of the problems left unattended to. Saturn has his joy here.


A note on empty houses - it’s impossible for each house to have placements in it. Well, if you start piling on Asteroids and the Lots then you probs don’t have any empty houses. They’re nothing to worry about! In order to understand what’s going on in that area of your life, check the sign that occupies that house, then identify the TRADITIONAL ruler of that house, next find that planet within your birth chart. Where that planet is, the sign, the house, and the aspects that planet is experiencing will tell you the general nature of the house it rules.

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