This is the ninth post in Astro DIY – our very own ‘learn astrology’ column. Your fabulous mentor-tutor is Tabby Besley!
Grouping the astrological houses in your birth chart
Last time on Astro DIY we learnt about the 12 houses in astrology – what they are, how to find them and the meaning behind each one.
This week we’ll carry on that learning to look at three different ways we can group the houses together, showing extra layers and focus in our personalities and lives.
These tricks are great to know if you want to get into chart interpretation and give other people readings (or just figure someone out very quickly) as once you know how to spot these groupings you only need to briefly look at a chart to get a feel for that person’s basic personality. Remember you need an exact birth time to look at the houses accurately and you’ll need your birth chart alongside you to interpret your chart with this post.
One simple way to look at the houses in your chart is to see how many are placed in the top of your chart and how many fall in the bottom, how many on the left side, how many on the right. This is where we look at the hemispheres in the chart. And yes you’ll notice the hemispheres in astrology are in the opposite places to what we would expect them to be!
The top half of your chart, which contains houses 7-12 is called the Southern Hemisphere. These houses are above the horizon, so it’s as if the planets in them can be seen by the world. They describe how we relate to society and everyone in it and are described as the collective houses. If you have lots of planets in the top of your chart then you are likely to be more outgoing and opinions and recognition from others will be particularly important to you. Your career, public life or role in a community will be a priority for you.
The bottom half is the Northern Hemisphere, which contains houses 1-6. These houses are below the horizon and relate to our personal development and our internal world. They are described as the personal houses and if you have a lot of planets in this part of your chart, you are likely to be introverted, private and draw strength from within yourself, having inner aims in life.
The left side of the chart is the Eastern Hemisphere, where you’ll find houses 10, 11, 12, 1, 2 and 3. People with lots of planets in this part of the birth chart tend to be independent and motivated, self-aware and more focused on their individual expression and their own needs and desires. You might find it hard asking for help and tend to do things yourself, preferring to mold circumstances than be molded.
The right side of your chart is the Western Hemisphere, where houses 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4 can be found. If you’ve got lots of planets in this hemisphere then other people and your relationships with them will be a big focus in your life. You’ll be a great team player, but sometimes to the point of detriment, where you may lose touch with yourself and become co-dependent or rely on others to motivate you. You are likely to be influenced easily by the people and surroundings in your life.
As you can see, the hemispheres of the chart overlap each other and so this is where we split the birth chart into quadrants, showing what happens when the qualities of two hemispheres comes together.
The First Quadrant – North-East
This quadrant consists of houses 1, 2 and 3 and is known as the quadrant of self-development. We begin to develop our sense of self in the first house, which continues into our possessions, values and talents in the second house and our learning and communication in the third house. If this quadrant is emphasised you value your independence but can at times be self-centered (though you wouldn’t want to admit it!). Having lots of planets here indicates that self-discovery will be a big focus throughout your lifetime.
The Second Quadrant – North West
This quadrant consists of houses 4, 5 and 6 and is known as the quadrant of self-expression. This is where we expand our awareness to include others – family in the fourth house, children and love in the fifth house and work, health and small animals in the sixth house. This quadrant shows our need for relationships with other people. A group of planets in the second quadrant shows a need to outwardly express your self in life creatively and receptivity to others.
The Third Quadrant – South West
This quadrant consists of houses 7, 8 and 9 and is known as the quadrant of self-expansion. In the third quadrant our awareness expands to bigger things – learning and travel, committed relationships. Here we develop our desire to be part of society and for our relationships to have a meaning. If you have lots of planets in the third quadrant you may place a lot of importance on other people’s opinions and may need to work with other people to achieve your goals.
The Fourth Quadrant – South East
This quadrant consists of houses 10, 11 and 12 and is known as the quadrant of self-transcendence. The fourth quadrant is where our desire to make a mark on the world, be part of social change or contribute to humanity in some way comes out. If you have lots of planets here you are likely to be independent, ambitious and focused on a cause and making change in society. You are motivated by doing good rather than wealth or materialism.
Now here’s another way to group the houses together. Just like how the zodiac signs are divided into cardinal, mutable and fixed signs, the houses can be divided into similar categories.
The angular houses are 1, 4, 7 and 10 and they correspond with the main angles on the chart. These are the most powerful houses in the chart and planets here are easily expressed. The signs associated with these houses are all cardinal, so in a similar way angular houses are about action and initiation, getting things done, living in the moment.
The succedent houses are 2, 5, 8 and 11 and they ‘succeed’ or come after the angular houses. They correspond to the fixed signs of the zodiac with a persevering, stable approach and they show focusing on what we value and taking the time to grow and develop it.
The cadent houses are 3, 6, 9 and 12 and are ruled by the mutable signs. The cadent houses are seen as the thought you have before you take action, all about thinking and reflecting. They deal with things like communication, providing the thought process that comes before the angular houses can take action. With cadent houses there is a lot more talk/thought about what you would like to do rather than the actually doing it, which we see in the angular houses or the working steadily on developing things that we do in the succedent houses.
Houses by the Elements
And finally, you can also group the houses by the elements! Count up your elements based on the houses you have planets in. How does that compare with the elements your signs are in? A bit more balanced after all, or much of the same?
My planets are nearly all in earth houses, with a few in fire, one in water and none in air! This relates pretty well to the elements of the signs in my chart too, where earth and fire are also the strongest elements.
Fire Houses – 1, 5, 9
The fire houses teach us about inspiration, love, creativity and action. Aries rules the first house of the self, Leo parades in the fifth house of love and creativity and Sagittarius is of course hanging out in the ninth house of travel and higher learning.
Earth Houses – 2, 6, 10
The earth houses are linked to the physical world, our values, resources, needs and day-to-day life. Taurus rules the second house of resources, values and money, Virgo rules the sixth house of work and health and Capricorn rules the tenth house of career and social status.
Air Houses – 3, 7, 11
The air houses are all about the mind and connection – relationships and communication with others. Gemini rules the third house of communication, Libra rules the seventh house of intimate relationships and Aquarius rules the eleventh house of groups and society.
Water Houses – 4, 8, 12
The water houses are where our feelings and emotions lie, our spirituality and intuition. Cancer rules the fourth house of home and family, Scorpio is at home in the eighth house of sex, power, death and rebirth and Pisces swims in the twelfth house of secrets and shadows.
Ta da, you’ve taken your knowledge about the houses in astrology to the next level! Did your findings in your birth chart ring true for your life and personality?
Your homework: Look at your chart and figure out which hemisphere/s, quadrants and elements you have the most planets in. Having seven or more planets in one hemisphere makes it particularly dominant in your life and personality, and the houses that your personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) are in have a lot more influence on you. Write out your discoveries and share them in the comments! Can you write a brief overview of a chart based on these findings?
The focus of the next post will be determined by how much time I can find to write it, as I’m running a national youth conference for LGBTQIA+ youth next week, so things are pretty busy at the moment! So I’ll leave it as a mystery for now, but let me know in the comments if you have ideas for what you’d like to look at on Astro DIY in the future!