Astrology, Part II: The House System(s)

A few months ago, I wrote an article about the basics of astrology, and I promised that the next time I wrote about the topic I would discuss the house system. Mercury is finally leaving the shadow period of its retrograde, it's Astrology Week here at HC Murray State, and it's time for me to divulge my knowledge.

You may think the signs and the planets are all there is to this system. However, there's another element: houses. Houses are based on what time of day you were born, like the stars and planets, but they also factor into account where on the face of the Earth you were born. This is why, if you've ever made a natal (birth) chart, exact time, date, and location of birth are of the utmost importance.

So, how do the houses work, anyway? That depends on who you ask. The most popular house system at the moment is the Placidus system, and it has been this way since the late 90s. If you're a fan of the astrology app Co-Star, it uses the porphyry method. There are many more, such as the whole house, or the equal house, just to name a couple. To some astrologers, it doesn't really matter what you use, and to others, it makes all the difference. This article will be examining the Placidus house system because that is the one I, and many astrologers in my demographic, are familiar with.

If the signs are "What energy is present in this facet of your life?" the houses are how that energy manifests itself. 

If you're an observant person, you may notice the first house (1H) has a similar description to your rising sign. That's because your 1H and your rising (otherwise known as the ascendant) sign are one and the same. Your rising sign and the Midheaven (10H, also known as the MC or Medium Coeli, literally meaning "middle of the sky") are used to calculate where all the other houses are placed.

In order to determine your house placements, look to the cusps. I know I went on a little rant in my last article about how cusps are not a thing, and that is still true. But in the house system cusps are used to show the placement of the house in the sign. Let's take a look at my birth chart (sourced from

Imagine the circle in the middle is Earth. Now, look at the lines coming out from the Earth. Those are the house cusps. You can see my 1H is in Cancer, my 2H and 3H are in Leo, and so on.

In addition, you can see that between the lines, the planets fall into houses as well. Look right above the 3 o'clock position at the moon symbol. My moon is in Capricorn, but it is also in my 7H.

To go through each interpretation of the signs would take a long time, so here's a great resource to learn about your placements and their meanings.

For now, happy stargazing!

(House meaning image credit of @astrobebs)