The Houses and Angles

The sky above is a 360° circle that functions as a Cosmic clock. There are 12 signs of the Zodiac (Aries-Pisces) and each sign occupies a “house” that is a 30° portion of that complete sky circle. In other words, if you divided-up the circle into 12 portions it would result in the 12 houses.The signs of the Zodiac fall into these houses within your chart. The circle of the Zodiac and the circle of the Houses are two different circles. They may or may not align with each other. They are two different layers of one complex image; however, they are often drawn as if they are aligned. BUT, the first sign of the Zodiac does not always fall into the first house. 



The astrological houses start on the left side of the chart and progress in a counterclockwise fashion. Each house is associated with a specific sign and each sign has a specific ruling planet, which is known as the essential ruler of that particular house. At the very beginning of the first house is the Ascendant, or the sign that was on the Eastern horizon on the morning of your birth. The ruler of the ASC is considered the ruling planet of the entire chart and thus an important energy within your individual make-up. Each of the 12 houses and the four angles (points on the chart that mark the Eastern and Western horizons and the Northern most and Southern most points in space specific to you), have their own meaning and are colored by the sign that lands there. 


The sign on the Ascendant, the cusp (or beginning) of the first house, is the lens through which we tend to see the world.  Depending on the time of day and the place you are born, the ascendant (ASC) changes; that is why having an accurate birth time in Astrology is very important. The ascendant (ASC), or rising sign, is the entry point to your unique astrological chart; it corresponds to Dawn or sunrise. 

The four houses that fall on the four angles of the chart, houses 1,4,7 and 10 carry a bit more weight than the others in that they are entry points for energy coming into the chart; they are known as angular houses. They correspond to the Self (1), the Home (4), Relationships/ Marriage (7) and Career/Calling (10).  The entry point to the Self, or 1st house, is called the ascendant, or ASC, and we discussed it earlier. The entry point to the 4th house is called the IC or imum coeli (Latin for “bottom of the sky”). It is a grounding energy or our rooted energy, our Home; it corresponds to Midnight.  The entry point to the 7th house of relationships/marriage is called the descendant or DESC. It is the energy of tempering Self to relate to Other. It is where we lay down the Self and pick up the Other; it corresponds to Dusk or sunset. And finally, the entry point to the 10th house of career/calling is known as the MC or medium coeli (Latin for “middle of the sky”); it is also called the Midheaven. It represents our highest potential in the chart; it corresponds to High Noon.  

There are two axes formed with the angular houses. The first is the ASC-DESC axis, or the “I-Thou” or “Self-Other” axis; its focus is on individuation and relationship. Ultimately one learns about oneself through relating with others; the part of Other is contained in Self and vice versa, think Yin-Yang or microcosm/macrocosm. The second is the IC-MC axis, or parental axis. It represents the home/career and mother/father sectors of our lives. Who we are in private and who we are in the public world are reflected along this axis. 

Next we have the specific houses. 

The 1st house is the house of ego/personality. 

The first house is associated with Aries which is ruled by the planet Mars, the warrior. It is how we take action in the world. It is closely associated with the self. It is the way in which we present, how others see our physical attributes, our personalities and us. The question of the first house is Who Am I? How do I let myself be seen? Planets placed in this house manifest their essential nature powerfully; they have effect on mental attitude and outlook as well. The Sun and Mars are important to this house. 

The 2nd house is the house of self-worth and values.

The second house is the house associated with the sign Taurus; it is ruled by the planet Venus, the goddess of beauty. We look to the second house to explore our self-worth and values, our personal resources. The question of the second house is What Do I Have? We look to this house to see about money and possessions, of both body and soul; it represents our environment and material world. This house asks us how we value things in life, including our bodies and our “stuff”, as well as ourselves.

The 3rd house is the house of communications and perceptions.

The third house is associated with the sign Gemini and is ruled by the planet Mercury, messenger to the gods. It is the house associated with early childhood, school, our neighborhood, childhood friends, short trips and how we view the world. It is the house that asks the question How Do I Perceive? It rules siblings and cousins. It is concerned with learning and asking questions, inquisitiveness. All things communication fall here, books, writing, speaking, teaching/learning and the exchange of talking points and ideas. How do we make connections with what we perceive? 

The 4th house is the childhood home, our foundation. 

The fourth house is the house associated with the sign Cancer and our great luminary, the Moon. It includes a point on our parental axis (IC), the foundation we build ourselves upon so that we may jump off and launch into the world. It belongs traditionally to the mother but may represent the father; it is generally agreed that it is the parent who influences our home life the most, with respect to teaching us how to be in the world. It rules sentimentality, parents, feelings, and our home environment. It asks the question What Underlies? and points to the base of our upbringing, the good and the not so good. It represents where we are rooted and points to our home, ultimately leading us back to ourselves, our true home.  

The 5th house is the house of creative self-expression.

The fifth house is associated with the sign Leo and our other great luminary, the Sun. The Sun represents our Self in its greatest expression; the fifth house therefore represents our own personal Self-expression. The house is associated with fun, children, playfulness, creativity, light-hearted romance and affairs of the heart. The question of the fifth house is How Can I Give? The answer to that is how we unfurl ourselves into the world. How fun! This is also the house of actors and willingness to take center stage, to become the main character in our own play. After all, the Sun is the center of the Universe, so we find our center and use it to shine our light into the world in whatever way best expresses us.

The 6th house is the work done, AKA occupation, and health.

The sixth house is associated with the sign Virgo and the planet Mercury. It is the house of service and of work done behind the scenes. It also represents our body, health and physical status. It is the area where we look for holistic practices and ritual. The question of this house is What Do I Serve? It is about the work we do on a day-to-day basis, the routine and mundane aspects of our lives that are necessary, essential and practical. 

The 7th house is the house of relationships and marriage.

The seventh house is associated with the sign Libra and the planet Venus, named after the goddess of love. It is the house associated with one-on-one partnership and close relationships, both personal and business. The question asked here is How Do I Relate? Or How Do I Relate To Others With It? It rules marriage and relationships. It is concerned with seeing ourselves in others and they in us. It is about finding balance and harmony between self and other. All things relationship exist in the realm of interaction. Is the interaction harmonious? Conflictual? Adversarial? Or balanced? The sign on the DESC often points to whom we are attracted to in relationship and ultimately what we must balance within our own Self to be whole and integrated. 

The 8th house is the house of death and taxes, shared resources. 

The eighth house is associated with the sign Scorpio and the planet Pluto, god of the Underworld. It is the house of the occult and psychic inheritance; it rules sex and deep intimate relationship, physically, psychologically and psychically. It speaks to all things taboo and hidden, not to be discussed. The question of this house is What Do You Have That I Want? The answer to that question oft leads the individual to eventually realize they had what they wanted all along, though that lesson often comes after much deep work and personal transformation. Look to this house to discern inheritance, both material and psychic. It is a place of ancestors past and often highlights them in some way; this is the place of other peoples’ resources. Pluto and Mars are both important to this house.  

The 9th house is the house of spirituality. 

The ninth house is associated with the sign Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter, king of the gods. It is the house of higher learning, making meaning and love of God, a blend of warm human love and divine wisdom. This is the house of philosophy, higher education, travel, publishing and all pursuits, which broaden the mind and expand the boundaries of spirit. It is the house of religion and fanaticism. The question of this house is How Is The Divine Here? This is the house of beliefs and ideals, philosophies of life and scientific, professional and religious work. 

The 10th house is the house of our highest potential and our true calling.

The MC is the gateway to the tenth house, which is associated with the sign Capricorn and the planet Saturn. Saturn is associated with Chronos, or the god of time. In order to reach our true potential, our highest calling, we need to put the time and work in. Therefore the tenth house represents success in the material world, achieving the pinnacle of our endeavors and serving the greater good. Social role and status are represented here. The question of this house is What Has Authority? It is about shouldering responsibility and taking on our share of the cosmic workload; it is about contributing to the good of society through authority and position. Our reputation and position in the world is reflected here. 

The 11th house is the house of friendship, group and the community. 

The eleventh house is associated with the sign Aquarius and the planet Uranus. It represents our relationship to the world, the group, our friends, and the common good. It represents universal brotherhood, equality, equanimity and our individual contribution to the community. It is the house of the Bodhisattva. It is the house of hopes, wishes and dreams. It houses the concerns for all sentient beings and has reverence for all of life. Both Uranus and Saturn have significance to this house. The question of this house is How Are We All Connected In This? This house highlights our friends and social networks. It is the house that highlights all things electrical, technological, wired, wireless and advanced. It houses the Internet, social connections and networking.

The 12th house is the house of Self-undoing. 

The twelfth house is associated with the sign Pisces and the planet Neptune. It represents the collective unconscious; it is the house of the Cosmic unconscious and the collective Soul. It is the void into which we return. The twelfth house has been called the broom closet of the Zodiac, it is where all things we will get to later, sort through later or deal with later reside. It is the void into which things disappear only to resurface when we are ready to deal with them; karma is associated with this house. As many things reside here that we choose not to consciously deal with, it is also the house of addictions, escape and ultimately, surrender. This house rules prisons, confinement, institutions, hospitals and secret or hidden enemies. It is the house of complete self-surrender and acceptance, which brings peace and atonement. The question of this house is Where Is Grace? This is the house of mystery and the Divine. The planets Neptune and Jupiter are important here.

Mary Sutton