When erecting a horoscope, we draw a circle and divide it into 12 spaces. These spaces are termed houses upon which we write the signs and place the symbols of the planets according to their location at the specified time. The houses of a horoscope never move unlike the zodiac signs.
The houses relate particularly to the material interests and conditions of life on Earth, while the signs tell us more of the spiritual qualities which manifest as character, temperament and tendencies.
Each house has a distinct nature. The houses are numbered from one to twelve. The first one is located just under the Eastern Angle, or left hand side of a birth chart. The first house is called the Ascendant or Rising Sign as it is the house or sign located on the Eastern horizon at birth.
Inasmuch as parts of the human body are concerned, the signs and houses are identical in influence, that is, the first zodiacal sign Aries rules the head and face as does the first house in a chart. The sign Taurus rules the throat and diaphragm as does the second house, and so on.
The houses are known as angular, succedent and cadent. The angles are the four cardinal houses in a horoscope, i.e. the first, tenth, seventh, and fourth. The cusps (or beginnings) of each angular house are known respectively as the Ascendant, Midheaven (M.C. – Medium Coeli or Meridian), Descendant, and the Nadir or lowest point. These are the most important places to consider when judging a horoscope.
In an angular house, a planet is termed “accidentally dignified;” if cadent, “accidentally debilitated.” The succedent houses are those which follow or succeed the angles and are next in power. They are the second, fifth, eighth, and eleventh houses. Cadent houses are those which fall from the angles and any planets found herein are said to be weakly posited in the chart. The third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth houses are cadent.
Even though many house systems exist, astrologers don’t agree on which is best. The systems include Placidus, Koch, Whole Signs, Equal Houses starting from the Ascendant, etc. In my experience, astrologers usually arrive at the same conclusion and derive the same elements no matter what house system they use. The veracity is only limited by the skill of the astrologer giving the reading. Therefore, use whichever system feels most comfortable to you.
Click a heading below to gain more insight into that house.