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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Agnes Scott chapter.

Welcome back witchlings! One of the second most common questions I’ve gotten about astrology is what ‘houses mean’ or ‘what do you mean first house?’ Well, I’m here to tell you what ‘first house’ means, but all 12!

1st House: The Ascendant/The Rising Sign: Putting our best foot forward

The 1st House is the traditional word for what we call our rising sign/ascendant. It’s the house that we use to present ourselves to the world and to strangers/potential friends. It rules your appearance in the metaphysical sense, how you’re perceived by not only you but by the world, consciously or not, your mannerisms that are seemingly instinctual or without conscious effort. Traditionally, this house is ruled by Aries/Mars (think 1st to 1st) and so is imbued naturally with Arian qualities like being self-advocating, fueled by ego, enterprising, how we defend ourselves and those we care about, our tolerance for criticism, etc.

2nd House: Home and material comfort

The 2nd house is where we manage and prioritize our finances, how we spend and procure our belongings, our basic aesthetics, and what comforts us: this can include how we like to eat, sleep, our self-care routine, how clean our houses/bedrooms are, how we decorate, and how we view our possessions overall. It also includes how we treat our possessions/finances, how clingy or frivolous you are with them. This house is traditionally ruled by Taurus/Venus, and so colors any placements in it with Taurean traits such as stubbornness, hedonism, steadfastness, sensuality, commitment, selfishness, homesteading, and naturalism.

3rd House: Thinking style and basic communication

The third house is where we develop our way of thinking and speaking, how we analyze and research, what we think is interesting and how we tell jokes, it’s developed during our childhood, and reveals how we socialize with our peers that we grew up with, how we contribute to our friend groups, and even how we type/text/email. It concerns our relationship with our siblings, neighbors, transportation and routine habits we form early in our lives. This house is ruled by Gemini/Mercury and imbues placements with traits such as flighty attention span, animatedness, humor, a quick wit, curiosity, and ambition.

4th House: The Imum Coeli:  Foundational values and home life

This is one of the key houses in a chart, along with the 1st House, 7th, and 10th. They form the axis of the circle, the 0/360 degree, the 90, the 180, and the 270. By itself, the 4th house is our childhood: how well we get along with our parents (specifically the mother), what our important values are as they’ve been taught to us, what makes us cry, how we overcome the struggles of growing up, the stability of our family, how comfortable we are in our first homes and our last homes, the backstory of your persona. Likewise, this house is ruled by Cancer/the Moon, and carries traits of intuition, emotional health, strength to lead a family/to stand by your values, how we comfort ourselves and those close to us, how impactful our mother was to us, good or bad, how we saw our childhood journey.

5th House: Fun and Creativity, Vices

This house is where we shine, how we engage our creative side, how we physically display humor, how we laugh, our luck when we take a risk, our sex drives if applicable, what we find attractive in people personally, not just physically, how good we are with children, how often we delve into vices like food or drink or gambling/gaming, and how we keep our hopes and optimism. This house is ruled by Leo/The Sun, which adds aspects of being larger than life, performative, charming and sensitive, of wanting to impress people as often as possible, of taking the chance of failure or displeasure very personally, of being protective of themselves and their happiness, and wanting only the very best for themselves and those they care about, and enticing people to join that second category in the pursuit of self-worthiness.

6th House: Work ethic, organization, managing ourselves 

After the fun and play comes to the bill, the 6th house is where we maintain our lifestyle, or where we might suffer from it, should we lose the balance between work and play. This house shows what our workspace is like, how we clean, how we study, how we take care of our health, how we help others, too, a peek into the house after it that focuses on not ourselves but the rest of the world. It also covers pets, how much we like or dislike them, which animal is drawn to us best.

This house is ruled by Virgo and also by Mercury, so while communication is something that comes up in this house, this house is more focused on management and organization, the cogs in the machine that is us.

7th House: The Descendant, the switch from I to Us

From this house to the 12th, we see a reflection of the first 6, but focus on how we incorporate others into our lives and the world around us. That means that the 7th house reflects the 1st. 

This house, one the key axis houses, represents the things that we subconsciously attract, of making connections of any kind to the benefit of both parties. This is the house of partners and equality. This house is ruled by Libra/Venus and to a small extent Saturn, signalling a drive towards making profitable connections and keeping true to one’s sense of aesthetics, fairness, of managing affairs and events, beauty, and the arts but also a rigid set of values and methodology.

8th House: Shared possessions, secrecy, the karmic merger

A reflection of the 2nd house, the 8th is how we handle others’ possessions alongside our own, sharing everything from homes to bodies (if sex is in the picture) but aside from sharing, the 8th is our house of secrets and transformation, where we learn to let go of our old conceptions of self and possession to change into something better. This house is ruled by Scorpio/Pluto, and brings with it strong aspects of power, the give and take of it, of emotional depth and intensity, interest in not often talked about subjects like the occult, taboo, sexuality, death, trauma, and a constant search for something deeper, something that exposes, forces transformation and a strong psychic connection.

9th House: Exploring the world and its philosophies

Reflecting the third house, the 9th house is about exploring all the world has to offer, learning new cultures and walks of life, higher education (college and beyond), long-distance travel, of learning and understanding the greater connection between people and experiences, even on such a large-scale as a whole generation. It rules all-embracing concepts such as morals, religion, law, and philosophy, one’s mentors throughout life, and overall, the reminder that we never stop learning. This house is ruled by Sagittarius/Jupiter, and introduces traits of spirituality and a constant craving for the next ‘big experience’ of a seemingly constant good luck streak and indulgence, of valuing life lessons over traditional schooling, of being eccentric, and a jack of all trades talent.

10th House: The Medium Coeli/MidHeaven: What we strive for in a career and as established adults

The last of the axis houses, the 10th house reflects the 4th. Armed with the basic foundations of our childhoods, the 10th house is our public self, what we strive to be and make our impact in the world.  This house is our career, not just our jobs, this has been groomed into us similarly to how our values were. This shows how we create an online persona or a public facade, what fields we’re naturally talented in, which parent played a stronger role in preparing us for going out into the world (traditionally, it’s the father). This house is ruled by Capricorn/Saturn, and represents discipline and hard work, but also being grounded, persevering towards success, a natural leader. It can also be where we can spend too much time being career-driven and forget to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.

11th House: Your squad and your drive to change the world

The 11th house reflects the 5th. Now that you’ve learned what your individual desires are, now it’s time to find like-minded people and network. This is your circle of acquaintances, friends, and organizations striving to change the world towards a common good of some sort. This house is where we actively choose who to become friends with, how we keep those friends, and how we find and function as a member of a group. These are the people you do volunteer work with, who help fundraise for a charity or work alongside you in an internship. This house is ruled by Aquarius/Uranus, and as such is always trying to shake up the status quo. Routine is seen as a dirty word, something can always be changed or remade, this house fuels eccentrics, contrariness for the sake of being different, but also a necessary drive for rebellion that reminds us to challenge the old ways.

12th House: The Shadow Self, Giving Advice but Never Taking It

The last house reflects the 6th house, where instead of seeing ourselves openly and maintaining ourselves, we hide, we turn away, we almost fear this part of ourselves. However, this house also encourages us to help others suffering similar repressive tendencies, ironically giving the right advice but never following it ourselves. This house is our shadow, where we want to get away from ourselves, we feel confined and confused, out-of-character because of unfamiliarity, the subconscious. This house is ruled by Pisces/Neptune, and is fueled with the need to escape reality, to enter a karmic dreamscape where the here and now is lesser, what matters is transcending to something better, someplace where nothing can hurt us, where we can heal and just be experiences and feelings, over-stressing over material matters. We can sabotage ourselves in the name of ‘stepping back’, or we can martyr ourselves in the name of helping others with their problems but not our own.

So that’s houses! I encourage any aspiring astrologers and witches to get a feel for studying your birth chart, and understanding how the houses are the stages on which all our planets perform. Till next time! 

Deja Gonsalves

Agnes Scott '20

Deja Gonsalves was born in Oakland, California, but raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia. She lives with her father, grandmother, and younger brother. She graduated from Shiloh High School and is currently a senior at Agnes Scott College. She will graduate with a degree in Creative Writing, and a double minor in French and History. She has a passion for fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, as well as singing, nature-based religions, and divination, which she capitalizes on by leading various clubs on campus.
Brianna Walton

Agnes Scott '21

Brianna graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Business Management. She has a passion for social justice issues, self-care, and self-expression via writing. Her favorite things to do are listen to music, draw, talk to friends, and take long walks in nature. She is currently working as a digital marketer and freelance social media manager.