When talking about astrology, the focus of most people is usually on the Zodiac signs, the planets along with the sun and the moon, and then the four elements. Most people already know their zodiac sign and its corresponding element. They also know their ruling planet and the influence these three have on their personality and events in their lives. Still, you probably have come across statements like “..Saturn will be on your 11th house..” or a particular zodiac sign is on a certain house number.
It makes you wonder what a house in astrology stands for and its role. Houses do play a significant role in interpreting the effects of other influences in your life. As a result, many astrologers regard reading your horoscope without knowledge and reference to your houses of the zodiac as an exercise in futility.
Meaning and role of the houses and how they are formed
In simple terms, zodiac houses are the expression of the planet’s influences in material form. General knowledge of astrology will tell you that much of astrology happens in the sky. After all, it is where we have the planets and other celestial objects. It also explains why the zodiac signs wheel traces the yearly rotation of the sun around the earth. However, to divine their influences, one has to determine how what is on ground relates to the sky. This need is what led to the creation of the houses.
The zodiac wheel of houses contains twelve houses each representing a significant area of your life. They are arranged in a developmental curve mapping one’s journey through life from the moment of birth. In doing so, each house provides a home for the planets and in doing so dictates which areas of your life will be affected by that planet as determined by the time of your birth. The wheel of houses is mapped on to the zodiac sign wheels to create a birth chart to determine which planets are occupying the respective houses. The zodiac sign on each house gives that house its ruling planet and also shares with the house its natural elements.
You are already familiar with the four elements; air, earth, water and fire, and their respective zodiac signs. You should also know that the zodiac signs are always listed in their natural order which is; Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces marking after the twelve, 30 degrees sectors of the ecliptic path of the sun across the earths sky over a year. The planets and the moon and other bodies also move in these sectors. This order is used to place the zodiac signs in their respective zodiac houses. The first house gets Aries, and the rest follow to the twelfth house which gets Pisces. Therefore the sixth house, for example, will have Virgo as its natural ruling zodiac sign and Mercury as its natural ruling planet.
The term natural ruler is used to highlight the order of the zodiac signs, but depending on your birth date the 12 houses will have other rulers at times called accidental rulers. To understand how all these aspects play out it is vital to know your birth chart and this, in turn, requires you to know the exact date and time of your birth. The time you were born is essential since the wheel of houses is designed based on the 24-hour rotation of the earth on its axis so an error by a couple of hours can put you on the wrong starting point.
There are a few things you need to know about the design of your birth chart. First, it is based as already stated on the earth’s 24-hour rotation which shows how the sun appears to be moving across the sky during the day. Secondly, the chart is drawn from the viewpoint of someone in the northern hemisphere looking south to the sun. As such, East is on your left where the sun rises from, and West is on the right where the sun sets. South is on top ahead of you and North behind you. The sun is depicted moving clockwise but when the houses are ordered anticlockwise because it is the earth which is rotating.
In designing the wheel of houses, three great celestial circles are used, the ecliptic, the prime meridian, and the horizon line. Their intersections provide the angles that form the basis of the chart. Just like the zodiac signs, the 12 houses are divisions of a 360 degrees wheel; thus each house is a 30 degrees slice of that wheel. The intersection of the ecliptic and the eastern section of the horizon creates the Ascendant, and it is the most important part of the chart. It determines the first house marked by the Ascendants horizontal line going counterclockwise.
It is also what gives you your rising sign which rules your birth chart and determines the order of the rest of the houses on the wheel. For example, if at the time of your birth coincides with Gemini in the Ascendant, your first house accidental rulers will be Gemini and Mercury and the second house following the order of signs will be ruled by Cancer and the moon and the order is followed to the twelfth house.
The other intersections of the celestial houses are the Imum Coeli which denotes the fourth house the Descendant which is occupied by the seventh house and finally the Medium Coeli or Midheaven where the tenth house resides. These four houses are known as angular houses, and the planetary influences here have a more significant impact on our lives.
Relationship between houses and the Zodiac signs
Besides getting their natural rulers from the Zodiac signs, houses have a close relationship with the zodiac signs. Primarily, houses are not energies or experiences, but instead, they are fields where the strengths of the planets, sun, moon, and the Zodiac signs are expressed. The various aspects of life found in each house have a semblance to the attributes of their natural rulers. On the other hand, the time of birth influences which accidental rulers will be present in each house and also the ruling sign of the whole chart. The interaction of these energies combines across the wheel and in each house to determine the events or provide clues to significant aspects of your life from hobbies to relationships and your career.
If you’d like to know more about the other Houses of Astrology, you might like the following series of posts:
The 1st House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 2nd House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 3rd House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 4th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 5th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 6th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 7th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 8th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 9th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 10th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 11th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes
The 12th House of Astrology – Astrological Houses, Zodiac Signs and Horoscopes