What Do The Houses Mean In Astrology?

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When astrology and astronomy were one, our ancestors correlated meaning with cosmic movement. Before space expeditions and probes explored the cosmos, we had one perspective of the stars—what we could see from Earth.

Contrary to our current understanding of the Sun as central to our solar system, this geocentric notion placed us at the center of it all. That perspective allowed us to relate our human experience to the cosmos in terms of what we see, what we feel, what we experience, and what we receive.

From this vantage, astrology was born. A system was created as a reference point to map the movement of celestial bodies upon the ecliptic, or the Sun’s apparent path. This reference point is what we now know as the zodiac, a term that comes from the Latin zodiacus, meaning “circle of little animals.” This celestial backdrop, as mapped by the 12 constellations or signs of the zodiac, is our unmoving reference point to observe that which does move, such as the planets. We track those movements according to which segment of the ecliptic, or which zodiac, they move within.

Based on the time of your first breath upon arriving in this world, the zodiac provides insights toward your inner world, your predispositions, desires and inclinations, personality and psyche. It also shows the ultimate potential of your expression, a direction of purpose and fulfillment.

From here, another distinction was created. In an effort to bring together the movements of the cosmos with the movements of the Earth and our daily experience, the houses were born. This is where astrology grounds itself into our everyday reality, with the houses acting as a framework for the cosmos to express themselves through our lives. All areas of our human experience can be found within these 12 houses, whether we are relating to the more mundane aspects of our life, such as health and routines or friendships and money, or the less easily defined realms of purpose and fulfillment, the subconscious or inner transformation.

In ancient astrology, the houses were referred to as “watches,” based on periods of time throughout the 24 hours of a day. The watches were linked to our everyday lives based on the Sun rising and setting—or, in reality, the daily rotation of the Earth around the Sun. They began the moment the Sun rose (ascendant and the 1st house), reached its peak at midday (tenth house), began to set (seventh house), and disappeared into the night (fourth house).

Ancient astrologers assigned aspects of life to each house by observing categories of life through the hours in a day. These 24 hours split into 12 houses represent the “landscape of life,” a term offered by psychological astrologer Howard Sasportas. They are categories of reality, both inner and outer.

A snapshot of the cosmos at the moment of your birth is depicted in what is called a natal chart or a birth chart. Within your natal chart, you will find a circular map split into 12 slices. These slices are the houses. As we start to bring the houses into the picture, our inner astrology starts to make sense in the context of our actual lives.

From this perspective, the houses can be seen as celestial instructions to unfold one’s dharma, or purpose, showing the roadmap of our higher Self. Are you here to communicate (third house) and teach (ninth house)? Or do you have an innate calling to build communities (eleventh house)? The placements of signs and planets within the houses upon the moment of your birth show us.

These insights gathered from our astrology are not an outside force driving us in a direction against our will, but rather hints to the tools and resources held within that can support our ultimate joy and the creation of our reality. What is found in the chart from the perspective of purpose is ultimately a reflection of our deepest inner wants and needs. By leaning into those, we lean into the blooming of our inner acorn into our unique version of an oak.

So, what does this all mean for you?

What Do the Houses Mean in Astrology?

1st House

Associated with: Aries, Mars

Attributes: Fire, Cardinal

The first house is also known as the ascendant. It indicates the sign of the zodiac, as well as any planets, that were rising on the eastern horizon at the moment of your first breath. Just as you came from darkness into light, this sign came from the darkness of night and was birthed into a new day.

The sign sitting in your first house, which you may know as your ascendant or rising sign, is the interface through which we meet life. Within each of us are entire worlds, contradictions, depths, directions—the worlds within us are endless—and to express all of that into your surroundings in every moment would be impossible. The ascendant helps you with this expression so that you can effectively move through the world by focusing all of yourself in a single direction and channelling you through one lens—the lens of the zodiac and planets in our first house.

Your first house also colors the style through which you birth yourself into the world through new and different chapters, phases, journeys, projects, and initiations as well as the many rebirths we move through in the one lifetime.

This house is the outer expression that best serves your inner needs. It supports you in moving through the world and channelling all your magic into a direction that helps you clarify who you are, who you are here to be, and your sense of purpose in this life.

2nd House

Associated with: Taurus, Venus

Attributes: Earth, Fixed

If the first house is where you birth yourself into the world, the second is where you learn to value, assign definition, and gain a greater sense of the worth and abilities of that initial spark that has entered life.

You have arrived. Now, how do you build lasting stability? How do you endure in this new life and create some sense of security? The second house is where you tend to your physical body and all that it needs to endure. It is here that you turn for resources, both inner and outer, that can offer a sense of self-value, security, and worthiness.

The signs or planets in the second house speak to the inherent skills, value, and capabilities that, when you lean into and begin to cultivate them, create a greater sense of self-worth. In the same way, it is these very skills that can support you in creating outer financial worth and lasting safety and security in the material world.

3rd House

Associated with: Gemini, Mercury

Attributes: Air, Mutable

When the foundation of the second house is set and safety is met, you can begin curiously exploring your immediate environment. As you do so, you are met with a rich world of information, knowledge, stories, and facts to gather and analyze. Welcome to the third house.

The third house is the house of perception. It is the antenna through which we take in the information of the world around you and the style through which you then share information with others, whether through verbal communication, the written word, art, bodily expression, or anything else. This house is where the mind explores and learns, interacts with what is available around it, forms ideas and opinions about what it has gathered, and then shares those ideas.

The signs or planets in the third house color the inner workings of the mind and speak to the lens through which you perceive your environment, your relationship with learning and knowledge itself, the style in which you communicate, and the topics that intrigue you. In this way, it holds a sense of purpose in showing you what direction of knowledge you are here to explore.

4th House

Associated with: Cancer, Moon

Attributes: Water, Cardinal

The fourth house is a profound and deeply insightful aspect of your chart and, therefore, your humanness. A representation of the rising and setting of the Sun, the fourth house is the darkness of midnight, when the Sun cannot be seen. It is mysterious in that way, inward, unknown to the activity of the day, and unseen to others. Fittingly, the fourth house sits at the very bottom of the chart, representing aspects of you that are often hidden from the outside world.

The fourth house represents your roots or your deepest inner needs. When those needs are met and nourished, your tree can branch far and wide, but you must start with the foundation. Within this space lie your deepest and most intimate motivations and requirements, the ones that can only be found through reflection and introspection. Once they reveal themselves to you, the fourth house is the space where healing can take place.

This house also represents your childhood, family, lineage, and ancestors. It is the home and safe spaces you create in your life as you journey into adulthood. The signs or planets found in the fourth house show you how to nurture yourself. Leaning into the archetypes in this part of the chart offer insight into how you can create the emotional safety you uniquely need to then venture out into the world with your dreams and passions.

5th House

Associated with: Leo, Sun

Attributes: Fire, Fixed

Now that you are nurtured and safely within a separate self and forming opinions of the world, what makes you unique, special,  different from another? And how can you become more of that?

The fifth house reflects our innate need, desire, and love of expression, creativity, fun, and sense of uniqueness. It speaks to the joy that can be found only in being wholly yourself, and the sense of aliveness found in expressing that self. As such, it is associated with the Sun and the zodiac sign of Leo.

The signs or planets sitting in the fifth house speak to the kinds of activities, environments, and adventures that make you feel most joyful and alive. It hints at how you can express and share more of what is unique and special about you. As you lean into your fifth house, you lean into self-expression. As you express more of yourself, you develop more of your sense of self and become more of who you are.

6th House

Associated with: Virgo, Mercury

Attributes: Earth, Mutable

While the fifth house holds an essence of expansion and expression, the sixth takes all of this goodness and begins to refine it, bringing self-definition, boundaries, and a clear direction and plan to how you express who you are.

The sixth house is a culmination of the five previous houses. It is where you begin to integrate everything you have learned, become, and realized so that you can then refine, purify, and ultimately become a better channel for who you are and who we choose to be in the world.

You accomplish this through grounding yourself in your everyday reality. Here you look to your everyday life, the steps you take day in and day out, and how they move you in a certain direction. You look to the habits that support you, the rituals and organization, and the health and wellbeing of your body, mind, and soul.

The signs and planets in the sixth house support you in refining, organizing, and grounding the complexity that is you into a clear direction. They also show you how you can take care of your body, your mental health, and the kinds of jobs and everyday routines and rituals that help you thrive.

7th House

Associated with: Libra, Venus

Attributes: Air, Cardinal

By the time you move beyond the sixth house, you are shown that nothing exists in isolation. You do not exist in isolation. The 24-hour spin of the Earth around the Sun is broken into two distinct phases, that of night and day. While houses one through six represent night, your inner world, and your individual self, houses seven through 12 represent day, who you are in the outside world, who you are with another, others, and humanity as a whole.

The seventh house is your first introduction into this awareness of others. It is the house of collaboration and partnership, where you come together with another to enhance the beauty and joy of the human experience. It is where you are exposed to other perspectives and are learning how to balance and live within those different, and even opposing, perspectives. This house is where you are allowed the opportunity to learn through the eyes of another through your vast and diverse experiences, opinions, and unique journeys.

The sign and planets in the seventh house indicate the kind of collaborations you desire with another human, whether that takes the shape of friendship, romance, or business. It gives insight into how you share yourself with another, what you seek in another, and the kind of personal evolution and growth you can experience through partnerships.

8th House

Associated with: Scorpio, Pluto

Attributes: Water, Fixed

While the seventh house is often referred to as the house of partnership and marriage, the eighth house takes you deeper into this collaboration. It holds the space for such depth and intimacy that you find yourself and your seemingly separate life merging with with others as one.

Representing intimacy, sex, death, regeneration, and even shared finances, the eighth house represents the death of “I” that gives rise to the birth of “we.” It is the transformation that meets you as you ascend into such love, intimacy, and often heartbreak, and the trust, surrender, and power dynamics involved with merging the physical body with another. This house is the realm of transformation and rebirth in all areas of life, and the undercurrent of unspoken energetic exchange involved in interactions.

The sign and planets in the eighth house provide insight into how you meet and interact with profound and catalyzing change in your life, and how you read or sense unspoken emotion, energy, or vibes. In intimacy and partnership, it mirrors what and who you find attractive, how you surrender to another, what kind of depth comes with this merging, and what kind of personality dynamics and experiences seem to feed your soul on a deeper level and catalyze you into inner transformation.

9th House

Associated with: Sagittarius, Jupiter.

Attributes: Fire, Mutable.

Through the depth and emotional waters of the eighth house, you emerge into the ninth. By the time you arrive here, you have moved through profound transformation, reached into surrender and rebirth, and from that have a certain capacity and hunger for meaning.

The ninth house is the house of meaning. It invites you to seek truth, to live enough so that your experience can teach you something about this vast life that you have somehow landed within. What is the purpose of it all? What is meaning? What is truth? The ninth house compels you to journey wide and far so that you may find these answers, whether this journeying is through teachings, philosophies, travel, or other enriching experiences that take you beyond what you currently know.

The sign and planets in the ninth house can support you in this quest to find meaning, pointing to different environments that will feed your hunger for wisdom and activities that will provide hope. By leaning into whatever is found here your chart, you will always be taken beyond yourself and your current perceptions, as the ninth house desires to do.

10th House

Associated with: Capricorn, Saturn

Attributes: Earth, Cardinal

The tenth house is known as Medium Coeli in Latin, meaning “Middle of the Heavens.” It is another profound and insightful aspect of yourself. As opposed to the fourth house, which represents the hidden inner parts of you correlated with the darkness of midnight, the tenth house sits at the very top of your chart and is connected to midday. It is when the Sun shines the brightest, is seen by the most people, and impacts the most people—influences that are mirrored in the meaning of this house.

As the ninth house gathers meaning, the tenth house builds from and creates change with this meaning. Here you find what you are pulled to contribute to the world, how you influence society, and the way in which you are perceived publicly. It is traditionally known as the house of status and influence, and today is linked to your career, purpose and vocation. It is the part of you that shines the brightest, is seen by the most people, and impacts the most people.

The sign or planets found in the tenth house show you how you are perceived publicly, and what career or direction will hold the most profound fulfillment and meaning for you.

11th House

Associated with: Aquarius, Uranus

Attributes: Air, Fixed

Within the eleventh house lives humanitarianism, community, groups, hopes, wishes, and innovation. The foundation that brings these aspects of life together is a desire to take humanity beyond its current self, motivating you to look toward a greater possibility. This is the house of interdependence, where you celebrate differences among others with the understanding that we each have our own contribution to the evolution of collective consciousness.

The sign or planets found in the eleventh house mirror your unique contributions to the progression of humanity. It can offer insights into the kind of social causes that live close to your heart, the groups and friendship networks that you may find a home in, and the bigger visions, hopes, and wishes that call your name. It also speaks to how comfortable you find yourself in group situations, and how to offer yourself a sense of belonging in society.

12th House

Associated with: Pisces, Neptune

Attributes: Water, Mutable

The final house of the wheel is the completion of the cycle. The first house thrust you into an individual self, a spark of the whole, and the twelfth house brings you home to this wholeness, the waters from which we all emerge.

Holding a deeply spiritual nature to it, the twelfth house speaks to an underlying intuition that beyond it all, your innermost nature is unbound, infinite, eternal and one with all of life. In the twelfth house, there is a blurring of individual boundaries where the self remembers its oneness not only with every other being, but with all of existence itself.

This house is where you merge with something greater than yourself. It is the home of transcendence and what Carl Jung referred to as the collective unconscious, the unseen waters that we each exist within that hold the memories, psychic impressions, and energetic motions not just of the entire human race, but also what exists beyond that.

The sign or planets found in the twelfth house speak to your connection with this unseen world, appearing as our intuition, sensitivities, and empathic nature. It is how you experience in your body the interconnectedness with all of life that is theorized about in the eleventh house. It is how you become that awareness.

Learn more about the influence of astrology in your life, including astrological events the Moon cycles, your Sun and Moon and rising signs, how journaling can help you connect with the current influences, and more with Jordane Maree at Girl and her Moon.

About Our Contributor

Jordane Maree is the founder of Girl and Her Moon, a platform and community exploring Soul through the lens of astrology, tarot, and energy healing. She is a writer, intuitive astrologer, energy and soul guide, and host of Girl and Her Moon, The Podcast. She is inspired, every single day, to be the mirror for you to see all that you truly are, you in all your infinite abilities, in total expansion, in infinite opportunity and love.


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