by Stefan Stenudd


The Houses in the Complete Horoscope

Life Environments in Classical Astrology

The Houses of the horoscope.

In the complete horoscope chart, the twelve Houses are environments, fields in life where planetary energies are expressed, according to those planets and the tendency given to them by the Zodiac sign they are in.


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Your Health in Your Horoscope

This book by Stefan Stenudd explains what your horoscope says about your health, according to the old tradition of medical astrology. The book contains a quick introduction to astrology, as well, and instructions on how to read a birth chart in general. Click the image to see the book (and Kindle ebook) at Amazon (paid link).

       Where the planet explains what, the aspect why, and the Zodiac sign how, the House says where.

       Here are the twelve Houses with keywords for what part of life they describe:

  1. Identity. How others see you.

  2. Resources. Your personal resources (economy, ability).

  3. Communication. Your friends and acquaintances, also education.

  4. Home. Your home and family.

  5. Pastime. Your personal preferences, pleasures and interests.

  6. Work. Your daily work.

  7. Partners. Your partners (in love and other relations).

  8. Unknown. What you cannot control (fate as well as bloodline).

  9. Travel. Changes in your life.

  10. Career. Your social status.

  11. Ideals. Your ideals, and your interaction in the community.

  12. Shortcomings. Your sacrifices, what you are unable to express.


The Houses are sort of mirrors of the twelve Zodiac signs, so that the part of life each House concerns is deducted from the quality of its corresponding Zodiac sign:

Blank horoscope chart with Zodiac signs and corresponding Houses.

Blank horoscope chart with Zodiac signs and corresponding Houses.

  1. Aries
  2. Taurus
  3. Gemini
  4. Cancer
  5. Leo
  6. Virgo
  7. Libra
  8. Scorpio
  9. Sagittarius
  10. Capricorn
  11. Aquarius
  12. Pisces

       In the complete horoscope chart, the House system spins around the Zodiac counter-clockwise. What decides the House positions is the Ascendant, the Rising point in the east. That's the cusp of the 1st House. The Ascendant travels a full 360 through the Zodiac each day, so it can be in any position in the Zodiac. The rest of the Houses follow in strict order.

Complete horoscope chart.
A complete horoscope chart, with the Houses numbered and marked as "cake slices" inside the Zodiac circle.

       Because of the fast movement of the Ascendant through the Zodiac, the House positions can differ considerably even for people born not too far apart. In the case of twins, for example, the House position difference is just about the only significant one in their horoscopes.

House systems

There are several ways of calculating the House positions. The most established ones in western astrology are Placidus and Equal House.

       In the former, Houses have differing sizes, and Medium Coeli (MC) is at the cusp of the 10th House. Also, the Descendant starts the 7th House, and the IC starts the 4th House.

       In the latter, all Houses are of the same 30 size, as its name suggests. The MC can be anywhere from House 7 to 12, but the Descendant is always at the cusp of the 7th House.

       I prefer the Equal House system, for several reasons. For example, it matches the sizes of the Zodiac signs, which are equal, and it is the oldest system, supported already by Ptolemy. Furthermore, it keeps the aspecting relations between the Houses intact — a relation that helps a lot in understanding the Houses and interpreting them in the chart.

Martin Luther's horoscope.

Martin Luther's horoscope chart, made in the envelope fashion that was the standard in the renaissance. Each triangle represents a House, with the cusp of the 1st House (the Ascendant) to the left, marked as 2 Virgo. The Equal House system is used.


Aspects are certain angles between planets or other points in the horoscope chart. The major ones are the conjunction (0), the opposition (180), the trine (120), the square (90), and the sextile (60). Also the Houses show relations that are expressions of aspects.


Opposition aspects A good example of the aspect relations between the Houses is the opposition, 180 apart. This aspect points out irreconcilable differences, opposing interests or perspectives that usually relate only as "either or".

       These are the oppositions of the Houses:

1st House — 7th House

2nd House — 8th House

3rd House — 9th House

4th House — 10th House

5th House — 11th House

6th House — 12th House

       The opposition is very clear and indisputable in many of the above — such as between one's home and one's career (4th and 10th) or one's personal interests and one's ideals (5th and 11th).

       The opposition is present also in non-Equal House systems, since opposing Houses are the same size also there, but that is not necessarily the case with other aspects.


Trine aspects The trine points out harmonious relations, things that work in accordance with each other. Here are the trines (120), which correspond to Zodiac signs being of the same element:

1st House — 5th House — 9th House (fire)

2nd House — 6th House — 10th House (earth)

3rd House — 7th House — 11th House (air)

4th House — 8th House — 12th House (water)

       The element fire signifies activity, earth signifies material matters, air thought, and water emotions. What each House signifies has a lot to do with these elemental characters.


Square aspects The square (90) points out conflicts, things that work against each other — either in a productive or a destructive way. In the Zodiac, signs at square distance have the same quality — cardinal, fixed or mutable.

       Here are the House squares:

1st House — 4th House — 7th House — 10th House (cardinal)

2nd House — 5th House — 8th House — 11th House (fixed)

3rd House — 6th House — 9th House — 12th House (mutable)

       The cardinal is the leading, the fixed is unwilling to change at all, and the mutable is the following. The Houses can be described accordingly.


Sextile aspects Finally, the sextile (60) describes cooperation, things that work well together. In the Zodiac this corresponds to signs that are said to have either a positive or a negative charge. Fire and air signs are regarded as positive, while earth and water signs are negative. Thus, in the Zodiac circle, every other sign is positive and every other negative.

       Here are the House sextiles:

1st House — 3rd House — 5th House — 7th House — 9th House — 11th House (positive)

2nd House — 4th House — 6th House — 8th House — 10th House — 12th House (negative)

       There's no preference or evaluation implied by the words positive and negative. Rather, they are to be regarded as complementary, sort of like the Chinese idea of yin-yang. Positive is expansive, negative is contracting. The Houses also show these tendencies.


So, much of the significance of each House can be told by the characters described above, shown by the aspects and the Zodiac signs they correspond to.

       Still, it must be remembered that the Houses do not equal the Zodiac signs. They just carry their characters in what environment, what part of life, they relate to. Here it is combined for each House:

  1. Aries   fire — cardinal — positive
  2. Taurus   earth — fixed — negative
  3. Gemini   air — mutable — positive
  4. Cancer   water — cardinal — negative
  5. Leo   fire — fixed — positive
  6. Virgo   earth — mutable — negative
  7. Libra   air — cardinal — positive
  8. Scorpio   water — fixed — negative
  9. Sagittarius   fire — mutable — positive
  10. Capricorn   earth — cardinal — negative
  11. Aquarius   air — fixed — positive
  12. Pisces   water — mutable — negative

The astrological houses. Woodcut after Georg Peurbach, 1515.

The astrological houses. Woodcut after Georg Peurbach, 1515.

House positions

Remember that in the complete horoscope chart, the Houses can be in any other signs than those they have gotten much of their characters from. The 1st House can be in Aries, but also in any other sign of the Zodiac. The rest of the Houses follow in strict order, so a certain position of the Ascendant leads to the Houses arranging themselves accordingly.

       One could say that if the Houses are indeed in their "natural" signs — 1st in Aries and so on — it would be the most agreeable position, but that is not necessarily so. When House and Zodiac sign match that well, it can tend to dim the dynamics of the chart, so that things get a bit too predictable, too typical, with little room for originality and surprise.

       If the Houses are instead in signs of opposite charge — positive in negative, and the other way around — already this stimulates, gives ground for creativity. In opposing signs there is a chance to accomplish balance in one's life, in trine signs different aspects of life can run quite smoothly, whereas in square signs it can either be very constructive or a mess... It is the unique mix of the ingredients in a chart that shows personality, and what makes life an intriguing challenge.

Split sign

Of course, it also often happens that Houses are split between two signs — rarely are the cusps of the Houses exactly at the cusps of the Zodiac signs. This must be taken into account in the interpretation of the horoscope.

       There are two major considerations to be done — that of time and that of dominance.

       Time works so that the environment of a House will at first have the character of the first sign, and later on of the next sign. Their extension in time will be comparable to the share the signs have of the House. For example, if the 6th House is one third Pisces and then two thirds Aries, then that person's work will first be a bit confused, searching for a way to do it right, and then active, intense, maybe rushing it. Each new work the person gets will follow this pattern, and in the same proportions — one third of the employment according to the first sign, the rest according to the following sign.

       Dominance is something less precise. If most of a House is in one sign, that sign character will have a tendency to dominate, through all time. Even more so, if one or more planets in that House are in one sign and not the other. The positions of the planets are the most important, when interpreting how things will be in the environment that House describes.

Empty Houses

Houses with no planets in them signal fields of life where not that much happens, at least not very significant things. Those environments are not the most important ones in that person's life.

The Houses

Here are the twelve Houses of the horoscope, with links to the webpage of each:

Astrological Houses

1st House

2nd House

3rd House

4th House

5th House

6th House

7th House

8th House

9th House

10th House

11th House

12th House

Horoscope Basics






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Houses — the "where" of the horoscope

Aspects — the "why" of the horoscope


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The twelve Zodiac signs and what they mean in astrology.

Aries Zodiac Sign


Taurus Zodiac Sign


Gemini Zodiac Sign


Cancer Zodiac Sign


Leo Zodiac Sign


Virgo Zodiac Sign


Libra Zodiac Sign


Scorpio Zodiac Sign


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Pisces Zodiac Sign



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Stefan Stenudd

Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction.

About me

I'm a Swedish astrologer, author and historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. My personal website:

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