The 12 Houses
a brief outline using the wisdom of Ancient Astrology

The Ascendant, speaking exactly, is the singular degree (portion) in which the horizon, an horizontal plane, comes to meet with the vertical sky through means of the rotation of the globe, upon the backdrop of the fixed stars. The Sign on the horizon is the Ascendant Sign, and the exact location is the most auspicious place in the entire chart. The Ascendant is called the Life and the Breath. It has significations over the appearance, and is the foundation of the native's life, since everything in the chart is determined from this starting point.

It should be stated early on that each house operates, in all instances, in relation to the others, but especially is it important to always consider the sign standing across from it, for these two form a bind with one another. Thusly, while the Ascendant is called life, the Descendant is called ending.

Planets that aspect the Ascendant will influence the appearance.

Speaking straight-forwardly, you must properly read the houses the way the ancients did it, apart from the unfortunate errors occurring in the transmission of translated books in the late Arabic period. Quite simply, each Zodiac Sign is one House. If the Ascendant degree is 24 Capricorn, then the 1st house is that which is contained within itself, all the way to 0*0'0" to 29*59'59" Capricorn (each sign is 30 degrees). The Ascendant degree is the actual vital point itself, the point of the horizon and ecliptic.

The Ascendant reveals that conscious exists in the world. This indicates that from out of something, someone was born. Thus, when you were born, you came from out of the sea of potential and, drawing in the breath of life, pulled into the matrix of your mind body and spirit the very fabric and thread of the cosmic patterns existing within that instant. From that moment onward, the universe is a mechanical thing, with free will being the true star quality generating happiness for the individual.

The Ascendant is called the Helm. This refers to the part of a ship which, upon its voyage, stirs the ship to go in a particular direction. Note that in modern times, an error in language exists ignorantly when the planet ruling the ascendant is referred to as the "chart ruler". In point of fact, the ruler of the Ascendant is the Helmsman. The planet which is chart ruler is the planet most capable of doing work, and is called the Almuten (Arabic meaning 'the strong one'). Then there is the owner of the nativity (oikodespotos) which determines what the ship's purpose is for (eg Mars, a military ship, Mercury a ship generating maps or storing ideas, etc). Suffice to say, the role of the Helmsman is to direct the life itself. Therefor, in each and every chart you should hope that the Almuten, Chart Owner and Helmsman are in aspect (communication) with one another, so that the life will go smoothly. When the ruler of the first house is in aversion (in 12, 2, 8 or 6) then the life goes off course since the Helmsman is not at the wheel!

The Helm is the wheel on which the hands are placed. See this image for an abstraction.

Whereas the Ascendant is subjective, the Descendant is objective. In order to be objective, something must stand for something as a symbol or abstraction. It is the notion that to know yourself, you must become the thing that you are not and work back up where you were before you left. This principle is inherent in the genesis of astrology, and is seen reflected in the polar principle.

Planets in the 1st, 2nd and 12th houses have signification over the youth and how they were raised. The opposite houses, 7, 8 and 6, have to do with the end part of life. Thus, if Venus and Jupiter benefics planets - literally meaning do-gooder or good-doer) are in the 1st house and Mars and Saturn are in the 7th, then over the course of life this person would go from good to bad, especially if the benefics are dignified while the malefics are possessing contrary attitudes. For the benefics, Jupiter and Venus are called good-doers while the malefics, Saturn and Mars are called bad-doers. If the malefics are rising while the benefics are setting, then the first part of life will be full of hardship and damage, while in the old age the native will have victory over her enemies and lack nothing. Notice the simple elegance exhibited in this phenomena. 

When Saturn is near the Ascendant degree during the night, the child will born with a loud cry and it will have been difficult and miserable for the mother and child alike. Mercury rejoices in this house, especially in its own boundary in the degree of the Ascendant, for this makes virtuosos and those to whom the abilities of the god's (in terms of mental phenomena) are given. When the Moon is near the Ascendant in a night chart, in Cancer or Taurus, the mother and child will be best friends for life, so long as no malefic aspects it. When the Moon is out of sect or in a sign in which it experiences no dignifcation, the mother will be harmful to the native, although constantly present, and the native will flee from the home. Mars in the 1st house is favorable for masculinity and execution of tasks, if born at night, except the native will lose his possessions, suffer accusations and will cause reckless fights in his youth. Out of sect and in the Ascendant produces criminals, those not easily grasping their similarities with others except in ideation of war, hunting etc. The native will drink alcohol in order to balance the temperament (hot and dry is balanced by cold and wet). Venus in the Ascendant makes the native comely, especially in Pisces, Libra and Taurus. Note that each of these 3 signs are said to be licentious (prone to lust) and that Pisces is the only Image that the ancients actually stated was "sexy". This is not hard to observe! These people marry young. Jupiter in the first house, if born during the day, in a masculine sign and rising before the Sun while still being free from the rays of the Sun, or else in his own degrees, will make the parents proud and will either be the first born or come to take first place. This child will be precocious and depending on other factors, can lead to making a very successful career. Note that Jupiter is exalted in Cancer (who shows the Ascendant in the Thema Mundi) while Mercury rejoices in the degree of the Ascendant. Thusly, should you find Jupiter and Mercury in the first house, especially in the air Air-like trigon while being chariots, the native will possess superior intelligence and abilities from youth so that they surpass other's in their life course. The Sun in the Ascendant beneath the horizon usually makes the native lower-middle class. Above the horizon, the native is favored by the father, if the Sun is in a masculine sign.

These descriptions are always assuming that there is no counteracting malefic force, for the aspects of malefics always decrease, decimate or otherwise blunt the good shown by the benefics.

The 12th House

This is the house that rose just prior to being born, and for this reason it indicates that which happened prior to the birth. Namely, it is the container of past lives and also indicates the plan for the life and any karma that must be dealt with. When planets are shown in the 12th and 6th houses, it is an indication of intensive planning or lessons to be achieved during the life time. Although the 9th house is called God and relates itself to spiritual matters, the 12th house is even more spiritual, for it relates to the direct experience of the native in relation to his Genius, that is, his Spirit Guide.

The 12th house is also the place of enemies. People with 12th house planets have some form of handicap at the mental or spiritual level. Although it is true as well that it may not be a handicap but a gift. Nevertheless, only Saturn and Mercury and possibly Jupiter seem to do well in this house. The South Node is excellent in this house, for it indicates the native is aligned to their evolutionary plan which was set in motion even before the first breathe was drawn.

The 12th house, like all cadant houses (12, 9, 3, 6) is said to be 'in between worlds'. This means that it does not have a direct-direct bearing on the life, but rather shows up in the manner in which the native adopts a stance towards life. For example, if Venus is in the 12th during the day in a man's chart, he will feel that all women do him harm, and in fact, he attracts it. This may be an indication then, that the stance he takes towards women needs to be dealt with so that in the next incarnation - depending on how well he was able to use his will to improve the condition of his soul - he need not be born with such an unfortunate condition. I am friends with one Yogi who has Venus in Virgo (it's depression) in the 12th. I asked assumedly "... and you never married?" He said, "No! Sex makes me sick!" It is interesting that astrology can reveal the causes of certain attitudes within the mind of a person, and God willing, objectively validating these the person is able recognize the pattern and release it to some extent. This is not to say that astrology will cease to have dominance over the course of life! For who can stop the hands of time unceasingly ?

The Second House

Because of the rotation of the earth, the second place rises up and refers to the Ascendant. This means that it supports and stabilizes the things of the Ascendant. The second house, then, governs money, movable possessions and also influences the health and what the native takes into his or her body. The ancients called this place "the gate of hell" presumably because of their belief that the material world leads to trapping a person and keeping their heads down, so to speak. In other words, if you are totally focused on material things, you are excluding Spirit, and Spirit is the way out of suffering. Thus it may seem ironic that the 2nd house is both good in that it rises up and brings the native support for their existence and bad in that the 2nd place does not actually bear witness to the Ascendant. (diagram) 

Saturn in the 2nd house out of sect will make persons who deny they own anything. This will cause difficulties and lack of nourishment. Jupiter in the 2nd house, in sect, is favorable for possessions, since Jupiter reveals abundance and zest for life. The 2nd house it trine to the Mid Heaven (the career sector), and thus it often is the case that people having planets in the 2nd house but not the MC will get jobs that do not bring a lot of recognition but rather money is their primary concern for work. Thus the 2nd house relates to one's actions as well as what they own and take into their bodies. Mars in the 2nd house, out of sect, especially in cardinal sign, will cause the native to quickly burn their money and they will destroy the property of others and be ungrateful. Venus in the 2nd house is good for possessions and comfort. Out of sect, however, it causes accusations and troubles in court on account of women. Mercury in the 2nd house, if Rising before the Sun in intelligent portions, makes the natives scientific. Mercury coming after the Sun makes the native question the validity of what is learned and come to find their own path. The Sun in the 2nd house will make the native fit and healthy. The Moon in the 2nd house will cause the property to be unsteady and the native will be soft if it is a feminine sign.

The 12th, 1st and 2nd house form the Eastern Direction.

From the native travels from the 12th house (previous life) to the 1st house (this life matrix) to the second house (the gaining of substance) and upon reaching the cadant places, just like as when in the 12th, there is sudden leap to another place. The native crosses a bridge and goes from the 3rd place to the 9th, where they adopt a stance to life, to the 10th where they are in their power to take actions in the world arena, to the 11th where they win the support of others in their quest for 'dominance' in the world through their career and life purpose.

The 1st house and 10th house are called the first angles, while the complimentary opposites are the second angles. The 1st and 10th houses are the most powerful places, followed by the 11th. Authors vary on the next best place, some saying it is the 5th while others the 9th. Nevertheless, having planets in chariots in the 1st, 11th, 10th and 9th indicates a highly capable, possible regal nativity.

The Tenth House -- the Mid Heaven

Before giving any delineation of the 10th house, I should probably explain how the ancients observed this place, and all places. It took me many years to comprehend. Although the 10th place is called the Mid Heaven or Praxis, the actual location of the degree of the Mid Heaven is not necessarily placed in the 10th house! In my own chart, the MC falls in the 11th house. It is common also to have the MC in the 9th. And at extreme latitudes, the MC can fall in the 12th or 8th house!

The closer a planet is to the actual degree of the MC, the more energetic it is. This planet will produce more events, for good or bad. A planet in such a position is very fit to conduct business, although the business that it conducts will depend on whether or not it is in its own places and if it is sect. This diagram reveals the actual use for the house systems which modern astrologers use, mistakenly, to designate topics. However, it is true indeed that when a planet is in a support, but highly goaded, it will act as though it were upon the pivot. But the once the planet is on the less energetic sector located 1/2 way between the two angles, that planet losses its punch, so to speak. This is actually favorable in some instances, namely, when the planet has the potential to inflict harm on the life-force. In my own chart, I have such a scenario where if Saturn was more energetic, I'm not sure I would have survived a fall I suffered to my head (precisely what is predicted as the cause of death by the ancients) at age 15! Also, thanks to modern medicine, the length of life predictions can be extended.

Now that that matter is out of the way, and we realize that planets can be energetically strong or weak, we can move unto the description of the topic signified by the 10th place. Remember the Ascendant and Mid Heaven form the first angle. This seems to be a metaphysical constant and salient in grasping. In order to do this, as to explain unerringly, the 10th will be described in its relationship to the 1st (the basis).

The Ascendant is where the Sun rises to create the morning; it signifies the native has been born into the world. As the earth rotates, it eventually comes to shine from its highest peak, the true noon, where its anthropomorphic arms reach down and cause the grass to lift in life. Thusly the student is compelled to contemplate the primary relationship between birth and purpose. A planet in the 10th house is like a flag, or a totem pole. It stands for something, it has meaning. The 10th shows the career, but more especially, judging from this place you can see what are the kinds of actions the native will take, especially when they are in power over others, for there is nothing higher than MC, and it must refer to everything else as being beneath it. Thusly, a person born during the day with the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn in the 10th house will strive greatly to reach a placement of status in life. While the Ascendant is how you direct your life, the MC is what you are directing your life for. Thus, through the MC, a person comes to be known to others, for it is also the place of fame and recognition. This is because the Sun is most visible and powerful at solar noon than in any other position.

Saturn in the 10th, during the day, rising before the Sun, in its own degrees, will make doctors and leaders of organizations. They will handle the most important matters in life. If the native was born with Saturn in the 10th without being in its own places, all this good is taken away and the native will suffer the loss of important persons and will be much grieved and held back through hidden pains. Jupiter in the 10th during the day makes magnanimous personalities who easily win the confidences of others. If the Moon in increasing in light and in conjunction to Jupiter in Cancer, the native will not be born wealthy, but will amass a fortune before the age of 40. Jupiter in the 10th by night in its signs of exile produces those who are independent and contrary to social norms, especially if Jupiter is retrograde. These people intentionally walk against the traffic, simply to draw attention, since the ability to achieve is much lessened. Mars in the 10th during the day can make military persons, or common persons, but they will be commanding and able to set others in motion. If Mars is in exaltation (Capricorn), then the native will be a leader in war, not the type who fights in battles but who executes others to fight (and die) on his behalf (rather, on behalf of the country; in fact, importantly, one's country and their relationship to it is shown by the 10th). Venus in the 10th is not as good as one might think. Venus is always out of sect in this place, and this brings accusations from females, hostilities from women. If Venus rises before the Sun in a licentious sign while Mars is also on an angle, then the person would be rather promiscuous, and if Mars and Mercury aspect Venus from a superior position, then the native will suffer accusation. In her own places, the native is not bothered by the attention she receives and the recognition comes from more than the superficial aspects which commoners so often limit their accusations of. Mercury in the 10th is good for a position in teaching, math or organizing. Even if Mercury is retrograde, it is still powerful in this place. Mercury is always stronger when Jupiter assists it; turns criminal when Mars assist; musical, artistic or poetic when Venus assists; and serious minded and sometimes a bit lame when Saturn assists.

The place directly opposite to the MC is the IC. Thus the reader is reminded that the sum total of all actions one takes in this lifetime and sum total of their relationship to the world at large (positive or negative I do not judge, only the extent to which one goes in either direction) will be accounted for in the after world. Therefor, the actions you take this lifetime will result in the kind of life you lead in the future (assuming you are re-incarnated by necessity or by choice).

The 11th house

This place is named the Good Spirit. Note that Spirit relates to that which is above the horizon and Fortune relates to that which is below the horizon. This is a deep metaphysical concept where the Sun is seen as the true giver of motion, while the Moon is seen as being a counterfeit mirage. Thus, the Sun is Spiritual and having to do with one's ability to make something true objectively. While the Moon is Physical/Emotional and having to do with the perception, dreams and potentiating. The Sun is steady, the Moon constantly changing. The same is true of the Spirit and the Body/Emotions, relatively speaking. Thus the 11th is Good Spirit, while the house opposite to it is Good Fortune. The 12th is Bad Spirit, the 6th Bad Fortune. Thus did the ancient establish that generally it is in principle better to have planets in the 11th or 5th than in the 12th or 6th! Again, the function of the 12th and 6th houses seem largely karmic and having to do with the programming of catalyst, be that bodily sickness or necessary toil (eg Mercury in the 6th) or communicating with unseen forces (eg Jupiter and Neptune in the 12th in Sagittarius).

The 11th house is one of the very good places. This is the support of the MC; thus it shows the people and forces of nature which rise up to give credence to the person's life agenda. When Jupiter is in this place during the day, it reveals that the person dreams big and has large aspirations for his or her future. It also indicates a wide association to friends and like-minded groups of people. This place shows the nurturing aspects we receive from others in social encounters. Note that the Moon is exalted in Taurus (Taurus being the Good Spirit in the Thema Mundi), and Venus is the domicile. These planets are notoriously helpful ones. Jupiter also rejoices in the 11th. In fact, this house is so good that when Mars and Saturn are there, they lost most of their injury causing abilities! The same is true with the 5th house regarding the decrease of malefic energy. Except with Mars in the 5th, if the native has a child, that one will be temperamental and cause the father grief. This is not true of Mars in the 11th. Commonly in the ancient books, similar things are described for planets in the 11th and 5th houses, again I refer you to the fact that the houses always are considered by the relation to its opposite -- eg Spirit relates to Matter (referred to above).

The Sun or Moon in the 11th shows that the native was loved by his or her parents. Saturn in the 11th during the night time says that the native will take 30 before any tremendous strides are made. Venus in the 11th, following the Sun, makes for close friends; rising before the Sun, if Venus is in her own places, it indicates the mother shares the interests of her child and she will be popular, charming, well mannered and well liked.

The 9th house 

The 9th house is the cadant -- in between worlds -- house related to the South Direction. This place deals with spiritual matters, with revelation and understanding of universal systems. It is also the place of Universities and so-called higher learnings, those who actively pursue their education. This place reveals the relationship has to their own Divinity. Mars and Saturn in this place makes atheists, those who strike fear into others or are cold in reference to love. The Sun in this place makes priests and preachers, those whose voice speaks the Word of God. Venus in this place makes hipsters. Mercury here can be operate quite variantly according to the many factors in the individual horoscope, but the native will be considerate of many things. The Moon in this place out of sect makes the native dream of things that are impossible. The Moon there in sect allows the native an easier time getting touch with their subconscious, so long as the Moon is in a feminine sign. You should always hope to see a female with the Moon in a feminine sign and a man with the Sun in a masculine sign; when it is contrary, distortions are introduced. In order to a perfect manifestation of the Universe, the closer the energies align to the Ideal -- pedagogically illustrated in the Thema Mundi, our beloved reference point -- the more an individual possess the Will of the Cosmos. The more contrary the figure at birth, the more eccentric the path. The presupposition here is that the universe itself IS divine, and that in mimicking its display, one realizes they possess that same loving will to imbue and bestow life unto others, and thereby increases happiness across the broad spectrum. Planets in depressions have the hardest time manifesting the Will of the Cosmos. The 9th house alongside the 12th can reveal a person for whom meditation and/or trance is important. The 9th house is also noted to place people at large festivals and gatherings of music. In modern times, this gathering is a reflection of divinity, perhaps more-so than you would find at a church! Such people often use elicit substances and have experiences. Of all the houses, the most clearly transcendent is the 9th, although the 11th, 6th and 3rd relate to growth. Revelation is unspeakable, for it is direct communion with the Creator. The 9th is where the Sun rejoices, and Venus is exalted and Jupiter is the domicile master. How similar to the 11th! That Venus is exalted in the Image related to God is telling. It demonstrates that the proper way of relating to people is to perceive them as though your salvation depended upon you seeing them as possessing salvation and atonement in the very moment you are seeing them. Venus rules music as well, and it indicates that the real purpose of music is to worship or give praise. Music causes trance states, does it not? So too, in seeing others as enlightened, a kind of trance is evoked, for at that level, one is aware of their own Divinity, and it should be noted that the Divinity has to travel from their place on high to be with you! The word Genius actually means "to be guided by a spirit" and likewise "inspired" means to "have spirit enter". All these things relate to the 9th house, and on one's attitude and reflection of the universal picture of the reality they live in. Thus Mars and Saturn are bad here, generally speaking. Mars into 9th will make exorcists and those who command 'evil spirits' out of people using force. Most often when a native has Mars in the 9th they were raised Catholic, for this is the symbol for that particular religion.

to the reader -- the second half of the houses, those in opposition to the one's just discussed will come soon, as well as illustrations 

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