The 12 Houses

In Astrology, houses represent a way to make every moment in time personal and brought down to the level of planet Earth. They are a consequence of our planet’s rotation, and come to existence by division of the ecliptic plane into twelve pieces. In Western Astrology, there are several house systems that are still used, while the most common one at the moment is the Placidus system.

How They Come to Be

In one day, an Ascendant (1st house cusp) will move through all of the signs in the zodiacal circle. An Ascendant and a Descendant in each natal chart get defined by dawn and dusk, or moments when the Sun is rising in the East and setting in the West. This is why a person will have the Sun near their Ascendant if they are born at dawn and near their Descendant if they are born at sundown. In general, the Sun will be above the horizon and in one of the upper houses if you were born by daytime, and the Sun below the horizon if you were born at nighttime. Houses are numbered counter-clockwise from the cusp of the first house and always projected on the ecliptic.

Just Imagine

If you imagine yourself in the middle of your natal chart, you will see that above you are the planets above the horizon. If you need to feel a connection to the Universe you can see, look up in the sky at night, and you will see them in the same positions as they stand in the chart of the moment. The only difference here is in their orientation, since the chart drawing differs from our usual concept of the East and the West, putting East on the left and West on the right. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the houses since they are fictional lines used to divide the circle into twelve pieces.

Basic House Division

We can use space or time as basis to the division of houses. They are always numbered counter-clockwise from the cusp of the first house, and this cusp (the Ascendant) will be defined by the eastern point at a specific moment. If our division is based on space, the plane is divided into equal arcs of 30° each. If the basis is time, houses are either invariant, and represent 2 hours of the Sun’s apparent movement each, or temporal, when daytime and nighttime are divided into six equal parts.

Whatever their division, we are always aware that an entire chart has 360 degrees. The important thing to remember though lies in the fact that all systems will make sense up to some point. Placidus system has shown to be truly significant, as the leader in its use, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try out other systems too, and see if you get along better with some of the others.

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