November 2019

Where Do Your Planets Live? Astrology’s Horoscope Houses
Astrology is more than just zodiac signs. Horoscope house systems can map life concerns to specific celestial regions.

Astrology is more than just zodiac signs. Horoscope house systems can map life concerns to specific celestial regions.

When many people learn about astrology, they focus mostly on the signs in which planets are positioned. Yet for professional astrologers and many enthusiasts, there’s much more to a person’s birth chart than just zodiac signs. With collections of unique energies and traits, horoscope houses can reveal much more information about an individual’s personality and life path.

A Quick History of Horoscope Houses

The Babylonians had developed a form of horoscopic astrology for drawing up natal charts by the end of the Iron Age. Astrodienst explains that the ancient Greeks were among the first to use astrological house systems. Kepler College adds that more than 20 house systems exist, each using a different approach to divide the natal chart. Today, the most popular ones are the Placidus, Koch, Equal House and Whole Sign systems. Each house represents a specific area of a person’s life.

Drawing the Houses on a Birth Chart

Birth charts are typically drawn as circles, each with two concentric rings on the perimeter. The 12 zodiac signs are placed on the outer ring, but horoscope houses are mapped on the inner ring. Astrologers use the ascendant, or rising sign, to determine the first house’s placement.

Finding an ascendant requires the person’s exact date, time and place of birth. Remember that the birth chart contains a snapshot of planet and point positions in the sky when an individual is born. The ascendant on the left side represents the eastern horizon, and the descendant on the right side signifies the western horizon. While the horizons are fixed, the zodiac sign sitting at that point shifts as the earth rotates.

Horoscope Houses and Their Meanings

Astrostyle offers a quick guide to the 12 horoscope houses. If you draw a straight line between the ascendant and descendant points on a birth chart, this splits the chart horizontally into two halves. The six horoscope houses below this axis represent personal concerns:

  • First house: self, beginnings, identity, and appearances
  • Second house: money, material concerns, and self-esteem
  • Third house: the mind, communication, siblings, and education
  • Fourth house: privacy, security, self-care, and nurturing
  • Fifth house: romance, love, creativity, self-expression
  • Sixth house: health, fitness, work habits, and service

Meanwhile, the six above the axis are referred to as interpersonal houses. This makes sense since the birth chart area below the axis denotes the night and the area above symbolizes the day. What’s personal remains below the surface, while social aspects are more readily seen by others in the light. Astrostyle briefly describes the six interpersonal houses:

  • Seventh house: relationships, partnerships, contracts, and marriage
  • Eighth house: transformation, sexuality, inheritances, and shared finances
  • Ninth house: travel, higher education, wisdom, and philosophy
  • Tenth house: career, long-term goals, status, and reputation
  • Eleventh house: social awareness, friends, technology, and the future
  • Twelfth house: endings, closure, death, and spirituality

The Blending of Planet and House Energies 

Just as planet and zodiac sign energies combine, the same is true of planet and house energies. Each house has a ruling sign, so the sign’s and house’s traits tend to be similar. To understand how this works, consider a planet-house placement with compatible energies: a natal Sun in the fifth house. The Sun is Leo’s ruling planet, and Leo rules the fifth house. Self-expression, creativity, and romance would probably feel natural to a person with this placement.

Planet-house placements can also bring together less compatible influences.  One example is restriction-minded Saturn appearing in moon-ruled Cancer’s fourth house. Saturn’s limiting energies could impact familial love and nurturing. A person with this placement may experience a childhood that seems cold and unloving.

Celestial Movements and Divination

Astrology is more than zodiac signs. Horoscope house systems map life concerns to specific celestial regions. Using planetary positions in these houses, astrologers try to make sense of how these energies impact our personalities and lives.

Meteor Showers: Unpacking Their Scientific and Astrological Impacts
Meteor showers have many scientific and astrological impacts on Earth and its inhabitants beyond putting on a show in the night sky.

Meteor showers have many scientific and astrological impacts on Earth and its inhabitants beyond putting on a show in the night sky.

If you’re an astrology buff, you likely follow horoscopes with close interest. You comprehend planetary transits, and retrogrades are no longer a mystery. But when astrologers mention meteor showers, you may draw a blank. What do these streaking balls of dust and light mean? Understanding their scientific astrological impacts requires a little bit of background knowledge.

The Science of Meteor Showers

Space.com describes meteor showers as remnants of broken comets or asteroids traveling through our atmosphere at high speeds. During their atmospheric entry, air friction heats up and illuminates this debris. These objects can achieve average speeds of around 30,000 miles per house and temperatures of about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meteor showers are named after the constellations in which they’re visible. The American Meteor Society lists several regular showers, including some within zodiac constellations such as Taurus, Gemini, Leo, Capricorn, and Aquarius. Most are visible at night, but one shower, the Arietids, can only be seen during daylight hours. The Perseids are some of the most popular and brightest showers, active during July and August each year.

Showers’ recurrence and visibility result from both their parental bodies’ and Earth’s orbits. That’s because our planet must be close enough to the comet or asteroid for its debris to enter our atmosphere. The Leonids are a yearly shower, for instance, but they’re the brightest when their parent body Comet Tempel–Tuttle is on its closest approach to our sun every 33 years.

Meteor Showers in Ancient Times

Scientists theorize that a comet or large meteor may have crashed about 66 million years ago, contributing to a mass extinction that killed dinosaurs and around 75% of other life on Earth. We still see possible evidence today: a 93-mile-wide crater on the Yucatan Peninsula’s northern coast.

Typical meteor showers don’t leave such earth-shaking impacts. However, historian Eve MacDonald explains that our ancestors regarded them as omens of either great promise or impending doom. In ancient times, humans referred to many celestial objects as “stars” regardless of their actual makeup. Because some meteors trailed brilliant streaks across the sky, people eventually called them “shooting stars.”

Some comets and meteor showers were thought to herald royal births or deaths. Roman historian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus claimed that a comet was observed after Julius Caesar’s assassination in the spring of 44 BCE. Experts propose that if this “Caesar’s Comet” truly existed, it was traveling through our solar system on a parabolic escape orbit. In other words, it made a one-time-only trip past Earth and likely won’t return.

What Do Meteor Showers Mean Today?

While modern astrologers don’t regard comets and meteor showers as bad omens, they can assign a variety of meanings to these celestial events. To comprehend their interpretive approach, consider the nature of meteor showers. They’re always trailing their parent bodies, but we don’t always see them. Well+Good’s Allie Flinn quotes astrologer Rachel Lang, who says they may signal hidden or repressed things that must resurface: emotions, spiritual insights, or unforeseen changes.

Showers can also take on different meanings depending on the constellation in which they occur and who’s doing the interpretation. Since Leonid showers appear in Leo, they could indicate new shifts in a few key areas of life: the arts, theatre, creative expression, wealth, or even seats of power. Their magnitude of visible brightness from Earth can amplify these effects.

Astrology’s Keys: Symbolism and Interpretation

Meteor showers can have a significant effect on our planet, and ancient cultures once viewed them as major portents. Today, their physical impacts are mostly limited to curious spectators viewing meteor showers in our night skies. While they no longer necessarily signal bad news in an astrological sense, they can indicate significant cultural or individual developments affecting our lives.

Understanding Yourself: What Your Rising Sign Can Tell You
Astrologers believe that each part of our birth charts tells us about ourselves and our lives. Taking a closer look at your sign can reveal some surprises.

Astrologers believe that each part of our birth charts tells us about ourselves and our lives. Taking a closer look at your sign can reveal some surprises.

Peruse astrology websites or hang around some enthusiasts and you’re likely to encounter a lot of discussions about rising signs. Perhaps you’ve pulled up your birth chart to find out your rising sign or heard the term “chart ruler” tossed around. Yet what does this all mean? Answering that question involves some science, geography, and a peek into the human psyche.

What Is Your Rising Sign?

Your birth chart shows quite a bit of information. Mastering the Zodiac briefly explains what each detail means, focusing on four primary elements: the Sun, the Moon, the rising sign, and the chart ruler. Mastering the Zodiac and other astrology sources sometimes refer to the rising sign as the “ascendant,” but it’s more than just a fancier word for the same concept. As Astrostyle reveals, it’s the zodiac sign that’s ascending above the eastern horizon at the time each person is born.

As you may already know, some planets and points change position more slowly than others. Consider our Moon, which makes its trip around the Earth in only 27 days. With such a short orbital period, our speedy satellite stays in each zodiac sign for only 2.5 days. The ascendant changes signs even faster than that. Depending on a location’s latitude, each sign takes anywhere between 30 minutes and three hours to cross the horizon. The earth’s axial tilt of 23.5 degrees also causes these differences, with the ascendant jumping 180 degrees or disappearing completely in extreme northern and southern locations.

Because of how quickly the rising sign changes, finding it requires knowing a precise time and place of birth. Even twins born a minute apart can have different ascendants if a sign finishes crossing the horizon before the younger one is born. If you’re not sure about your ascendant, check your birth certificate to get an accurate time of birth. You can plug this data into any free birth chart generator to see your results.

What Your Ascendant Means

You may have heard that our ascendants represent the masks that we wear, the faces that we choose to show to the world. This is one basic interpretation, but Astrostyle adds that it’s the sign of first impressions. The way you dress, your interpersonal style, your demeanor, and even how you style your hair are connected to your rising sign. It adds another layer to how you can be perceived by others. Astrologers often say that it’s one possible reason you could be mistaken for a zodiac signifier other than the one under which you were born.

Mastering the Zodiac suggests additional meanings for you. While it may speak to how you present yourself to others, it can also reveal the qualities you’re developing as you age. If we look at both points of view, the ascendant represents both the personality you show to others as well as the personality shaped by your life experiences.

Your Rising Sign and Chart Ruler

The rising sign has another important function: determining the chart ruler. In astrology-speak, the chart ruler is simply the ruling planet of your rising sign. For instance, someone with an Aries ascendant has Mars as a chart ruler. This planet exerts its influence over the entire natal chart in areas such as personality, goals, desires, and strategies for learning, relating to others, and solving problems. In our Aries ascendant example, Mars will significantly impact whatever signs and houses it’s in. This individual may love competition, testing oneself, and pushing the limits.

Astrologers believe that each part of our birth charts tells us about ourselves and our lives. The rising sign represents the impression we make on others, but it also speaks to central life themes. Taking a deeper look at your ascendant can reveal some surprising details.

Astrology 101: Signs and Planets

What does it mean to have a Gemini rising sign, a Capricorn Moon, or your Venus in Leo? Astrology buffs may already get it, but you may be wondering about the significance of planetary positions in your birth chart. Understanding how sign and planet energies blend is key to comprehending how interpretive astrology works.

Why Are Planetary Positions Important in Astrology?

Astrologers examine and interpret how a planet’s energies combine with those of its resident sign. This synergy produces certain effects based on the date, time, and location of a person’s birth. Think of these combined energies like an equation: planet plus sign equals meaning. For reference, Mystica Astrology briefly explains the qualities represented by each planet. Astrostyle also offers an extensive guide to each of the astrological signs.

The Basics of Interpretation

While celestial energy combinations are an important basis of astrological interpretation, looking at how they specifically play out in someone’s chart can also be useful. A key starting point is the primal triad consisting of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs. Together, these three compose the core of an individual’s personality. The three planets that follow, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, represent concerns in our personal day-to-day lives. The five outer planets exert long-term effects and can impact generational groups due to their longer orbits.

An Example of Basic Astrological Interpretation

For an in-depth example of how interpretation can work, let’s examine the natal chart of an individual born on August 14, 1976. For brevity’s sake, we’ll only look at the first six planets and points in this chart:

  • Sun in Leo
  • Ascendant in Aries
  • Moon in Aries
  • Mercury in Virgo
  • Venus in Virgo
  • Mars in Virgo

The Primal Triad and Its Meanings

The Sun speaks to one’s personality, ego, and self, but it can also represent the search for identity. Meanwhile, Leo represents creativity, generosity, loyalty, and charisma. With these two energies combined, the individual in our example prefers to be passionate, generous, devoted, and expressive.

Yet the Sun is just one component of the primal triad. You’ll notice that this person’s Ascendant and Moon are both in Aries. The Ascendant, or rising sign, signifies our external selves: the masks we wear and how we present ourselves to others. Conversely, the Moon stands for our inner selves, emotions, and deepest needs.

Aries symbolizes energy, drive, will, and direct action. Others may view an Aries Ascendant personality as direct and straightforward. Those with an Aries Moon value emotional independence, direct expression, and the desire to act. Because this individual has the same rising and Moon signs, outer presentation and inner emotions won’t usually conflict with each other.

Mercury, Venus, and Mars

Astrologers also view Mercury, Venus, and Mars as critical planets. Mercury stands for communication, thought language, information gathering, and analysis. Venus represents desire and attraction on many levels: love, sexuality, and even our preferences in art, politics, and culture. Finally, Mars symbolizes human drives, motivations, aggression, and even how we choose to fight.

In our example, the natal chart shows that Mercury, Venus, and Mars are all in Virgo. As you may remember, Virgo is the sign of details, service, practicality, and modesty. This individual likely prefers a precise approach to communication and easily keeps track of details. Partners shouldn’t expect showy romantic gestures, but they’ll enjoy dedication and lasting commitment. Virgo energies temper Mars’s natural aggression, resulting in someone with focused, disciplined, and sustained efforts in reaching goals.

Putting It All Together

It’s one thing to know what zodiac signs your planets and points are in, but it’s quite another to recognize potential interpretations. That’s part of the fun with astrology: divining meanings and possibilities. Everyone deciphers details differently, but basic principles can help you understand the core meanings behind planets in your natal chart.