Understanding Astrological Houses
The chart’s houses symbolize different facets of the self. Think of them as the fields of experience upon which you live your life. Each relates to a certain environment and specific relationships.
One way to understand the houses is to consider the way you might act or dress if you were being interviewed by a prospective employer, and contrast that with the way you act or dress at home around people who know you on an everyday level. These experiences illustrate the differences between two different houses in your chart.
There are several methods for calculating the divisions of the houses, and different systems have been developed by the various schools of astrology. The most commonly used systems are Placidus and Koch; other popular systems in use are Campanus, Equal Houses, and Porphyry. There are strong advocates for each of these systems, and their divisions represent philosophical as well as mathematical differences.
The houses are divided into three different categories. The Angular houses (1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th) are considered strongly expressive; planets in these houses are more easily recognized by others or may be expressed in a more physical manner than other planets. Succedent houses (2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th) are more sensitive; planets placed in these houses are likely to carry a more passionate charge. Cadent houses (3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th) are said to be less forceful; planets placed in these houses may operate on a more mental or detached level.
The Ascendant (usually found at the cusp of the 1st house) and Midheaven (usually at the cusp of the 10th house) are especially significant points in the chart. The sign on your Ascendant (often abbreviated "ASC") indicates the way others see you, and can color the way you project yourself. Many times it describes the first impression others have of you. Your Midheaven (MC) illustrates your public persona, and the sign on your MC can signify the qualities you hope to satisfy through your career.
1st House: This is the house of personal expression. It can offer insights into your physical appearance and vitality, manner of dress, and basic personality traits. Your attitudes toward others and toward life are projected through this part of your personality.
2nd House: Your values, personal resources, and connections to the material world are illustrated by this house. Your spending habits and the way you use your resources are also shown here. (All manner of resources acquired or earned can be included, whether possessions, money, or other acquisitions.)
3rd House: This house represents everyday experiences, and is associated with communication, short travels, general education, writing, and mental interests. The manner in which you relate to general concepts is shown by this house. It also represents siblings, neighbors, and acquaintances.
4th House: This is your home, which is expressed through a sense of personal security. Your roots, the traditions which bind your family, and your father are all represented by this house. Land holdings and feelings of completion can also be seen in this segment of the chart.
5th House: This house represents your need to express love and creativity, and is related to romantic affairs, matters of the heart, children, and play. Your "inner child" emerges here. This area also extends to speculative interests (including gambling) and entertainment.
6th House: Your sense of duty is expressed in the 6th house (which is called the House of Service). Work, work environment, and employees all relate to this house. This area also rules physical health, and your body’s ability to adapt to change.
7th House: Partnership, marriage, and social relationships, as well as open enemies and competitors, are related to this house. Here you also find your "inner partner," and aspects of yourself which you tend to project onto others. The shift of the chart toward more outward expression begins in this house. The 7th house also deals with contractual agreements.
8th House: This is the house of personal alchemy, and relates to sexuality and deep emotional attachments, as well as inheritances, legacies, and your partner’s resources. Investments, taxes, and insurance are also connected to this house. The processes of death and regeneration occur in this area, which is also related to unseen forces and interests, and the occult.
9th House: Your mentors and inspirational teachers are connected to this house, which rules abstract thought, higher education, cultural exchange, philosophy, religious and spiritual pursuits, and travelóas well as publishing, legal affairs, and the courts. Relationships with in-laws are also highlighted here.
10th House: This is the most elevated house in your chart, and shows your public persona, status, fame or notoriety, and reputation. Your career is expressed through 10th-house activities, as are your relationships with authority figures, employers, and your mother.
11th House: Your satisfaction with your career is expressed in the 11th house; you also devise your hopes and wishes for the future here. This house rules relationships without boundaries (such as friendships), and shows the way you receive love and support from others. Clubs, organizations, special interests, and political activities are all related to the 11th house.
12th House: Known as the House of Hidden Enemies and Self-Undoing, here we are shown where we fall into denial. Secrets, addictions, and confinement are related to this area, along with institutions and activities which occur behind the scenes. This is where you connect to your inner self, and shows your dreams and sense of the mystical.
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