Houses are important to astrologers because they set the stage for the expression of the energies of the chart. Houses tell the astrologer which area of life will be influenced by the planetary aspects they are evaluating.

Houses are based on our perception of the planets as they move through the sky. There are many different house systems because there are many conceptions of how to best divide the sky in a meaningful way. Whichever house system you choose, the houses relate the location and the time of the chart to the position of the signs and planets along the ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun in the sky).

The houses are fixed areas of sky and fixed areas below the ground (or the other side of the Earth). The planets and the signs move through these houses every day. Just like the Sun rises and sets, the signs and planets rise into the sky and set on a daily basis. When we cast a chart for a particular location and time, the houses show us where the planet is in this daily cycle.

Houses have a correspondence with areas of our life. House meanings come from several concepts. An important source of meaning is the house’s position in this daily cycle of birth, death and rebirth that we see so clearly with the Sun. House meanings also come from the planet associated to the house in the Planetary Joys scheme. The relationship of the house to the Ascendant (Birth, Source of Light) is also meaningful to the house description.

As there are several different house systems, there are also several different conceptions of the houses and what the signify.


The angles anchor the houses and have meanings that correspond to a part of the daily cycle.


The Ascendant is on the left or East side of the chart. This is the horizon where the Sun and the other planets rise up into the sky. The Ascendant is the source of light in the chart, the birth of the cycle.

MC (Midheaven)

The Midheaven or MC is at the top of the chart. This is the culminating point of the cycle, high above us in the sky.


The Descendant is on the right or West side of the chart. This is the horizon where the Sun and other planets set and disappear from the sky.


The IC is at the bottom of the chart. It is culminating on the other side of the Earth. This planet is not in the sky in the chart location at this time.

House Meanings


The 1st house is the angular house associated with the Ascendant. Planets in this house are next to rise over the horizon and be “born” in the sky. The 1st house represents the self. The 1st house puts the focus on our health, body, appearance and vitality.


The 2nd house represents our resources, or possessions and our values.


The 3rd house represents our siblings, cousins, neighbors and close friends. It is the people we grew up with as equals. The third house also represents messages, short journeys and the neighborhood.


The 4th house is associated with the angle at the bottom of the chart, the IC. This house represents our foundations, our parents, our roots. This is our ancestry, land, non-moveable property, things under the ground. The 4th house is our foundation and ground to balance the heights of the MC.


The 5th house signifies, creativity, children, speculation and things done for pleasure.


The 6th house represents labor and things that we do out of duty. This is the house of our daily habits and routines. Pets and other small animals are represented by the 6th house. The 6th house is also associated with illness.


The 7th house is the house of the Descendant angle, where the planets set and leave the sky. The 7th house is opposite the first house, so it represents the Other. The opposition can be an uncomfortable angle, staring each other in the eyes. Psychologically, this is a house of Projection. The 7th house is the house of contractual relationships, including marriages. The 7th house is also the house of our open enemies, the ones that we know about.


The 8th house is the house of wills and legacies, debts and other people’s money. The 8th house is also associated with death, obsessions and fears.


The 9th house is the house of philosophy and religion and other big ideas. This is the house of foreign travel, expert advisors, divination and higher learning.


In the 10th house,, the planets are high in the sky. This is the house of our public accomplishments, our career and the things we are known for. This house ends with the Midheaven angle, MC, the height of accomplishment, the peak.


The 11th house represents the friends and benefactors that help us. The 11th house is also hope, good fortune and release from imprisonment.


The 12th house signifies things we can’t see. The 12th house signifies secrets, hidden enemies, imprisonment and self-undoing.

Houses link the chart to a unique moment and a particular place and the experience of the sky. If the birth time is known, houses add richness to the reading by anchoring the symbolism and relating it to specific topics and concepts of life.

Contributed by Christine Chase –