Like a clock, the zodiac is divided into 12 segments, or houses, each one ruled by a different sign. The zodiac begins with the first house, and goes counterclockwise around.
Each house is associated with a set of traits, beginning from the self, and expanding outward into society and beyond. At the moment you were born, the planets were all in specific signs and houses. As each planet works its way through the twelve constellations (which make up the twelve signs of the zodiac), it passes through one of the twelve houses of each of those signs. Each house governs a different area of life, from relationships, marriage, and children, to your career, co-workers, study, travel, and the home - one of them even rules your identity and appearance.
At the moment of your birth, the planets were spread out in a specific formation, each one located in a specific house. This pattern made by the planets and their locations, called the “natal horoscope”, is nearly as individual to you as your fingerprint.
When planets visit a house, they light up that part of your chart, and energize that house’s traits. Astrologers use the houses to predict which parts of your life will come into focus, and where you can take the best possible action. To learn more about a house, read about the sign that’s associated with it.
The first six houses are known as the “personal houses,” while the last six houses are known as the “interpersonal houses.”
On your natal horoscope, some houses may have been full, and others empty. A house that is empty in your natal horoscope could be very full today!
The first house begins the zodiac, and covers the all “firsts”: first impressions, the self and appearance, leadership, new initiatives, fresh starts and beginnings. The sign on the cusp, or starting edge, of this house, is referred to as your rising sign or ascendant. (Ruled by Aries)
The second house covers all matters related to your immediate material and physical environment—taste, smells, sound, touch, sights. The second house also rules income, money, and self-esteem. (Ruled by Taurus)
The third house rules all forms of communication—talking, thinking, gadgets and devices (cell phones, pagers, Instant Messenger, etc.). The third house also covers siblings, neighborhoods, local travel, libraries, schools, teachers and community affairs. (Ruled by Gemini)
The Cancer-ruled fourth house sits at the very bottom of the zodiac wheel, and thus, rules the “foundation” of all things. This includes your home, privacy, your basic security, your parents (particularly your mother), children, your own mothering abilities, nurturing, and TLC. (Ruled by Cancer)
The fifth house is ruled by dramatic Leo, and it governs self-expression, drama, creativity, color, attention, romance, fun and play. (Ruled by Leo)
The sixth house is the domain of health and service. It rules schedules, organization, routines, fitness, diet and exercise, natural and healthy living, helpfulness and being of service to others. (Ruled by Virgo)
The seventh house is the sector of relationships and other people. It governs all partnerships, both business and personal, and relationship-associated matters, like contracts, marriage, and business deals. (Ruled by Libra)
The eighth house is a mysterious sector that rules birth, death, sex, transformation, mysteries, merged energies, and bonding at the deepest level. The eighth house also rules other people’s property and money (real estate, inheritances, investments, et. al. (Ruled by Scorpio)
The ninth house covers the higher mind, expansion, international and long-distance travel, foreign languages, inspiration, optimism, publishing, broadcasting, universities and higher education, luck, risk, adventure, gambling, religion, philosophy, morals and ethics. (Ruled by Sagittarius)
The tenth house is at the very top and most public part of the chart. The tenth house governs structures, corporations, tradition, public image, fame, honors, achievements, awards, boundaries, rules, discipline, authority, fathers and fatherhood. The cusp, or border, of the tenth house is also called the midheaven, and it clues astrologers into your career path. (Ruled by Capricorn)
The eleventh house rules teams, friendships, groups, society, technology, video and electronic media, networking, social justice, rebellion, and humanitarian causes. It also rules originality, eccentricity, sudden events, surprises, invention, astronomy, science fiction and all things futuristic. (Ruled by Aquarius)
The zodiac completes with the twelfth and final house, which rules endings. This house covers the final stages of a project, tying up loose ends, completions, the afterlife, old age, and surrender. It’s also associated with separation from society, institutions, hospitals, jails, hidden agendas, and secret enemies. And it rules the imagination, creativity, arts, film, dance, poetry, journals, and the subconscious mind. (Ruled by Pisces)