If there's anything that astrology tends to do it’s give you too much information, which can easily boggle your mind.  However, it is this richness and complexity that makes it so valuable and the ability to understand each of the elements and its affect is essential to building the instinct necessary to integrate all the information into a meaningful whole. 

For example, it’s not uncommon to have numerous bits of conflicting information in a chart, its interpretation or a horoscope.  You could have a Neptune Trine Venus that would ordinarily put you in a very tolerant and easy-going frame of mind simultaneously with Mars squaring your Ascendant, which would normally make you aggressive and probably less than pleasant to be around.  Which one will be more strongly manifested can depend on numerous other factors, including the House in which they fall. 

The Chart to the right includes house placement, the House numbers running counterclockwise in the inner-most circle.

One of the most difficult things for someone new to astrology to understand is the concept of the twelve Houses.  Each House covers a specific area of our life, which can be very generally summarized as follows:

1st House – The Ascendant; influences the person’s appearance to the world, their general attitude toward life, outward personality and how they assert themselves.

2nd House – Influences a person’s values, how they handle money, and feel about their possessions.  It includes their belongings, finances, values, ethics and their physical body.  Peace, pleasures, comforts, needs, and liberty are also influenced.

3rd House – Defines the thought process and intellect.  It affects a person's understanding, learning ability and style.  It also covers brothers, sisters, relatives, neighbors, early education, short journeys, manuscripts, and letters; anything you get in writing other than the legal implications of a contract, which are covered by the 9th.

4th House – Relates to the home and family environment, past and present, including past lives, and what makes you feel comfortable.  It also includes inherited tendencies and subconscious as well as our mother and relationship with her. 

5th House – Colors the expression of personal creativity, sports, love affairs and relationships with children.  It also includes entertainment media, speculations, and games. Your ego is also in the 5th House domain. 

6th House – Affects work and other practical efforts, such as anything you do or produce.  Health and pets are also included as well as servants, inferiors, service, dress and hygiene.  I also suspect that time falls in this house.

7th House – Drives close relationships, partnerships, open enemies, and patronage.  Whereas the 1st house describes who we are within, the 7th house affects who we are with those closest to us and how we relate to them.

8th House – Governs other people’s money and shared resources, attitudes toward sex, death, healing and regeneration.  It likewise covers inheritances, legacies and secrets.  Also affects endings and new beginnings.  This is the house of transformations, where events and/or experiences occur that have a major impact on who and what we are, after which we are never the same.

9th House – Relates to higher education, long distance travel, relocation, and legal matters.  Also our core beliefs, expectations, ethics, philosophy, religion, teaching, politics, and other cultures.

10th House – Relates to reputation and standing before the community and your attitude toward authority figures.  Influences honor, worldly power, fame, promotion, calling, and position.  Some believe it represents the person's father as the 4th represents the mother, though some astrologers reverse them, depending on which parent held the authoritarian role.  "Status" is included in this house as well.  This rather vague term relates to such things as titles and labels, if you will.  For example, when you graduate from high school or college, get married, become a parent, earn a promotion (or conversely get fired), win an election or other contest, (heaven forbid) go to jail (also 12th House) and so forth, your "status in the community" has changed and will be reflected in this House.

11th House – Influences importance and interaction with friends, acquaintances, organizations, and groups including coworkers.  Hopes and wishes are also included as well as the person's attitude toward humanity in general. I've often wondered why goals, hopes and wishes are in this particular house and the primary reason I come up with is that these are those things that are dependent on acceptance or help from others.  There are some accomplishments that we achieve entirely on our own, but if we require any help, including kudos or other support from others such as accepting and purchasing a product we develop, then those "others" in the 11th House are going to come into the picture somewhere for us to succeed.  As has been said for decades, "No man is an island," a statement that summarizes the essence of the 11th House quite nicely. 

12th House – Includes spirituality, inspiration, enlightenment, dreams, hidden enemies, martyrs, insanity, institutions and the collective consciousness.  This is the house of inner struggles, self-undoing, confinement, anxiety, care and limitations.  It is also related to prisons, convents, and hospitals, which imply seclusion and limitation.

Zodiacal Houses
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius Capricorn Aquarius Pisces

An individual’s 1st House cusp is delineated by their Ascendant and the other Houses follow from there in a counter-clockwise direction around the Natal Chart.  Since each sign has its own character and personality, this will reflect on the House.  For example, if a person’s 3rd House, which rules the thought process and intellect, is placed in Scorpio, it’s very likely that this person will be very interested in subjects of a mysterious nature or the occult.  If their 6th House of Work, Health and Pets is in Aquarius, they’re likely to do well working for a large company of someplace where they’ll be interacting with groups of people as opposed to a more isolated career.  Planets placed in the Houses natally as well as current transits also affect these areas of your life.

If you're familiar with the general characteristics of the Sun Signs you probably noticed a strong similarity between them and the twelve houses described above.  Not surprisingly, Zodiacal House placement coincides with these signs as noted in the table above.  Some astrologers also consider the placement of the Sun Sign as defining the first house, especially when the exact time of birth is unknown or when casting a mass horoscope, such as those you'll find here. 

So, in summary, there are 1) Your Natal Houses, which are for you personally, based on your birth information, including your time and place of birth; 2)  The Zodiacal Houses which are noted above and based on Aries being the first House; and, 3) The Natural Houses for each sign, where the 1st House is denoted by the placement of the Sun, also referred to as "Sun Sign Astrology."


Cusps are borders between either Houses or Signs.  For Signs, the Sun typically crosses the cusp in the middle of the day or night, not at a nice clean cutoff at midnight.  The Houses also may extend over more than one Sign, but the one with the most influence will be the one where the cusp lies.

Four of the House cusps are significant energy points and more influential.  These are called the Angles and for most house systems occur at the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th Houses.  These are defined by a system of "Great Circles" which are specific to your location.  One is the horizon (whether or not you can see it); the Ecliptic (apparent path of the Sun); and the Meridian (parallel to the lines of longitude and passing directly over your head).  The Ascendant (1st house cusp) is the intersection of the horizon and the ecliptic in the east, or where the Sun rises.  The Imum Coeli or IC or 4th house cusp, is defined by the intersection of the Meridian and Ecliptic (where the Sun is at Midnight).  The Descendant or 7th house cusp, opposes the Ascendant and is the intersection of the Ecliptic and Horizon in the west, where the Sun sets.  The Midheaven or Medum Coeli, a.k.a. 10th house cusp, is the intersection of the Ecliptic and Meridian, or where the Sun is located at Noon, local time.  On your Natal Chart it represents which degree and sign of the zodiac was directly overhead when you were born.  Thus, these house cusps derive from your actual geographical location.

There are various House division systems, but for Placidus and most others, the 1st is your Ascendant. Your Ascendant has strong bearing on your appearance before the world; the IC relates to your home environment, memories, and cultural roots; the Descendant has significant bearing on the close relationships you maintain in your life; and the Midheaven or MC relates to your public image and community standing.  When natal or transiting planets form aspects to these cusps they will influence these respective areas of your life.  If the planets are personalized, their influence will be particularly influential.

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--Timing is Everything--

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