Shakespeare once wrote that the entire world is a stage and all the men and women merely players. In a sense, one’s natal or birth chart is a metaphor for his or her personal play, complete with stage set, cast of characters, plot, or the story line, and of course both character growth arc and theme.
This post is about stage set ; astrologically there are twelve of them, known as ‘houses’. Each of these correspond to one of the twelve pie -like slices that divide up your natal chart. Just as with one of Shakespeare’s plays, each of the characters/planets act out their own part in the story these stage sets.
It goes without saying that those individual parts will be as greatly colored by the stage set (or house) inhabited as it is by the clothes/manners/customs each player brings to the stage, (determined by the Zodiac sign in which the planet is located). For example, Venus in Virgo will always dress and behave very differently than would Venus in Leo. But both will be challenged when play on a stage set run, for example, by Scorpio and it goes without saying that they will be challenged in different ways.
Also note that each of the player shares scenes with certain players but not others. In this sense, planets/players only interact with other planets/players when they form aspects with each other. If that Venus in Virgo makes an aspect to Mars in Taurus, then they have an opportunity to work together. But if Mars were in Libra, then chances are they’d pass each other without making contact, like ships in the night.
Sometimes, even when planets/players share the same stage/house they may not interact because they are not in aspect – for example Venus in Virgo stares off blankly into space whilst the remaining players including Mars in Virgo are engaged in a heated argument.
The twelve houses are divided up into four elements, which tell much about the nature of that stage set:
- Fire Houses show us how we ‘show up’ in the world; how we format, express, and assert ourselves as separate individuals, different from the crowd.
- It’s no accident that Fire Houses always follow Water Houses, where our personal identities have to some extent been compromised or even completely dissolved. In Fire Houses ,we ‘find’ ourselves again.
- Fire Houses offer opportunities to expand ourselves, to be joyful and creative. Planets in Fire Houses provide important clues as to how we express our vitality, our vision of self and the world.
- Planets in Fire Houses are always about potentiality although some are able to express this more easily than others. For example, Saturn in a Fire House may fear personal expression, thinking that his vision is not good enough, not worthy. Jupiter, on the other hand, is more likely to do better as is Mars although both might get carried away. If you know someone who is always ‘in your face’, then you’re probably experiencing this kind of fiery over-exuberance.
- Finally, it’s worth remembering that planets in the Fire Houses tend to be idealistic, similar to planets in Air Houses. The primary distinction between planets in Fire Houses and Air Houses is that those former usually take physical action whilst those in the latter, tend to caught up in their heads.
- Traditionally, planets in the Earth Houses show us how best to make money. From birth, we’re told the ‘sky is the limit’ but at some level we all suspect that might be true. But such understanding comes as absolutely no surprise for planets in Earth Houses; planets in Earth Houses are all about working tirelessly to produce results in the here and now.
- It’s through the planetary energies in our Earth Houses that we give form and definition to our personal values and surprisingly, given all the societal hype to the contrary, we must do this for our own benefit, expecting (and receiving) thanks from none.
- Similarly, planets in the Earth Houses are not concerned with giving form to the values of others. It’s nothing more than a happy coincidence if the outside world values our efforts.
- Unlike planets in the Fire Houses, that are concerned with pure potential, planets in Earth Houses are both immediate and practical. Unlike with planets in the Water Houses, there is no connection to past or future. Similarly, unlike planets in Air Houses, planets in Earth Houses are not concerned with the ideal.
- Finally, it’s worth remembering that in regards to the Earth Houses, values are not the same as morals or ethics. This may be difficult to comprehend for those with lots of Air in their charts, but in Earth Houses possession is prevailing ‘the law’; for planets in Earth Houses, there is no concept of ‘share’.
- Astrological air is about discerning patterns as well as words and ideas.
- In the Prologue to the Gospel of John, we learn that with the ‘word’, God created the universe from the formless dark, taming chaos through organization of matter according to the blueprint of His ‘idea’.
- Words have power, as every good magician knows. Once something is named, it is identified as separate from us and can be controlled and manipulated accordingly.
- Plato believed that timeless archetypal ‘ideas’ or ‘ideals’ format our everyday experience. Little wonder that planets in Air Houses are predisposed to to operate through ‘preconceived’ ideas of the ‘perfect’ world of Plato.
- Little wonder then that planets in the Air Houses are involved with informing our ‘idea’ (i.e. blueprint) of the world as well as debating with others who fail to hold our same ‘idea’. Planets in the Air Houses (especially the 11th) are also involved in bringing our ‘ideas’ to a wider audience.
- Finally, planets in Air Houses are often restless and discontented, and unless well controlled and focuses, act rather like the senseless ‘chatter’ you might expect from a group of adolescents on a school trip.
- Water Houses always follow Air Houses, dissolving (or at least unsettling) our thoughts and ideas. Let’s face it – we all love to cling to our beliefs but at some point we realize they no longer serve us well.
- Contrary to popular belief, planets in Water Houses are not unconscious so much as they feel ‘fated’. The problem isn’t so much lack of control over the energies represented by Water House planets but instead that we feel uncomfortable expressing them in the rational, everyday world.
- ‘Fated’ does not necessarily mean that bad things will happen. What it does mean is that we will have to work harder than usual to ensure things go well.
- Water House planets never operate alone; they are always about connections of some kind. In this regard, they represent our ‘inheritance’ – i.e. family background/patterns – and let’s face it not all of those are going to be nice.
- Thus when dealing with Water House planets we must always remember that their energy is not our own. In this respect, it may be better to think of then as sacred gifts from another realm, gifts that if we fail to give they due respect and honor, they may well prove to be our undoing. This is especially the case with 8th house planets.
- When dealing with Water House planets, look for compulsive behavior, impulses and urges that are extremely difficult to control.
- Finally, Water House planets crave a creative outlet so ensure that you develop some sort of structure/or form for that creativity to express itself. Perhaps it’s time for painting or pottery classes or even a course in interior design.
|House||Explanation||Natural Element||Example||Zodiac Sign Affiliation||Quadrant|
|1st / House of Self / Natural ruler is Mars||It's in this house that you find symbolised how you first met the world when you were born; this imprints on your entire life. Also how you present yourself to the world as the uniquely special individual that you are. Imagine the baby chick hatching from the egg and announcing his/her presence with his/her first chirps. Planets found in this house colour the first impression that you make on others, which may or may not be in keeping with the person that you ‘really’ are. Also the way that you INITIATE things. The natural planetary ruler of the zodiac sign on the cusp of this house determines your chart’s ‘ruler’ which in turn suggests much about how you’ll live your entire life as well as your physical appearance.||Those with Mercury in their 1st house will present themselves as curious and how they satisfy that curiosity depends much on Mercury’s zodiac sign. Mercury in a water sign will approach the world through emotional connections whilst Mercury in an air sign would operate by expressing his/her ideas. Those with Saturn in their 1st house may be reluctant to approach life at all, cautiously venturing out expecting to be met with criticism. By contrast, Jupiter in the 1st house will arrive on the scene accompanied by fanfare and a drumroll. Mars in the 1st house may present themselves as angry and argumentative. Uranus in the 1st house may manifest as being highly original and inventive whilst Neptune in the first house may manifest as being dreamy, confused, and potentially gullible.||Awareness of Self - Cardinal|
|2nd / House of Resources / Natural ruler is Venus||It's in this house that you find symbolised your personal values - that which you find beautiful, desirable, and of worth. This is also where you'll get in touch with your special gifts & talents. You'll need to cultivate a good working relationship with your 2nd house these planets and the energies they represent. If you don't, they can turn against you, most probably by negatively effecting your bank account.||Those with Neptune in their 2nd house, may be perpetually perplexed as to why their money just seems to slip away. Those with Pluto here may need to their resources in more constructive ways. For them, money may be a way of wielding power over others and with this placement, eventually that will backfire. With the Moon in this house, the individual may struggle with fluctuating financial circumstances. By contrast, Jupiter in this placement may achieve significant wealth only to unexpectedly lose or give it away. Equally, they many find themselves constantly on the verge of financial disaster, relying on luck to save the day. The Sun in the 2nd house meets her financial situation with vitality and courage. Developing their personal talents and gifts may take on much more importance than the size of their bank account.||Awareness of Self / Fixed|
|3rd / House of Exploration / Natural ruler is Mercury||It's in this house that you find symbolised how you explore your world and gather information about it that will format your ideas and beliefs. This house also symbolises the way you communicate your ideas/beliefs, especially with those who live nearby. Planets here benefit from a good education that provides exposure to multiple points of view.||Those with the Moon in the 3rd house will explore their world through feeling what others are thinking. The problem is that the impression of that world and the people who populate it maybe have much more to do with their own emotional balance than what is really ‘out there’. Jupiter in the 3rd can quickly make a proverbial mountain out of a mole hill, blowing everything they find during their explorations out of proportion. This placement can also indicate someone who travelled or changed residence many time during childhood. With Pluto in this house, early education is a deeply transformative experience during which even a school trip to the museum turns into a murder mystery worthy of thorough investigation. Saturn here may leave the individual struggling to express themselves in a wqay that can be understood and Neptune might manifest it what appears to be confused and scattered thinking whilst at the time providing uncanny insight.||Awareness of Self / Mutable|
|4th / House of Father & Fatherland / Natural ruler is the Moon||It's in this house that you confront your family inheritance, usually from your father's side. Planets here suggest how you can constructively deal with and build upon this inheritance. Dreams and memories may play a vital roll here. If you try to ignore the 'family ghosts' symbolised here, they will likely continue to haunt you with a vengeance.||Some with Jupiter in the 4th house are born into aristocratic families or at least had a few well-known ancestors in their paternal blood line. Often there’s a significant influence of a foreign culture. Others might travel from country to country, trying to find their spiritual home. By contrast, those with Mars in their 4th house may struggle with an inherited anger at the world. Whilst those with Venus in their 4th house may enjoy a positive family inheritance, both psychological and material. Those with the Sun in the 4th house may struggle to avoid identifying too closely with their family inheritance whilst those with the Moon find refuge by ‘going back home’. This is not to suggest that this is easily achieved and sometimes those with this placement wander restlessly in search of someplace that feels like ‘home’.||Integrating with Your Environment / Cardinal|
|5th / House of Creative Expression / Natural ruler is the Sun||It’s in this house that you find symbolised how you take joy in life – in being who you uniquely are and sharing what you uniquely have to offer. Planets found in this house suggest the hobbies or similar activities in which you fine most pleasure. They also suggest what and how you need to be creative (i.e. painting, playing a musical instrument, or writing novels) in order to show self and others that you are special. This house is also associated with children and love affairs – both of which are often perceived as avenues of pride and personal expression.||Those with the Sun in the 5th house will revel in creative self-expression, whether it be for professional purposes or just for fun. Romance is highlighted. Those with Saturn in this house also experience the urge for creative self-expression but often hesitate worrying if how they’re doing it is good enough. With the Moon in the 5th house, creative self-expression may feel effortless, innate, and natural. Often the creative potential of the 5th house Moon appeals to the general public. With Jupiter in the 5th house, creative self-expression is done with panache although it could become excessive. Pluto in this house adds an element of obsession whilst Uranus adds an air of unconventional.||Integrating with Your Environment / Fixed|
|6th / House of Perfection / Natural ruler is Mercury||It's in this house that you find symbolised how you can best be of useful service to self and others by honing in on and refining your special gifts and talents through the symbolism of your 2nd house. Planets here suggest how best to accomplish this. It's also the house associated with health and everday routine.||Those with Venus in the 6th house take pleasure ensuring everything in her life is neat and tidy. It’s not good enough to simply do a job; that job must be beautifully done. Jupiter here may feel cramped when forced to settle down to a daily routine but he does add an air of honest pride in any job well-done. Mars might approach honing his skills and talents like the proverbial 7-day wonder, pushing herself hard to get the job done. With this placement, an exercise routine is essential; aggression that fails to find a satisfactory outlet can lead to headaches and/or other illness. Neptune here suggests a sensitive nervous and/or weak immune system that may well benefit from alterative medicines like homeopathy, whilst Saturn here prefers a more diet/exercise regime.||Integrating with Your Environment / Mutable|
|7th / House of Partnerhip / Natural ruler is Venus||It’s in this house that you find symbolised what you’re looking for in your partnerships with others, business or personal. It also suggests how, in your partnerships, you’re likely to behave. While the 1st house is all about ‘me’ and how ‘I’ related to the world, the 7th house is about ‘we’. Given that the 1st and 7th houses are in opposition to each other, it’s a given that ‘me’ and ‘we’ will not always agree. It’s for this reason that the 7th house is also knows as the house of ‘open enemies’; for there are bound to be times that the tension and conflict inherent in this house, fail to be satisfactorily resolved. The 7th house is always known as the house of marriage.||Those with Mercury in the 7th house want their partners to be intellectually stimulating, albeit not necessarily faithful. By contrast Saturn in the 7th may attract controlling partners and then spend their time together complaining how their partner has tied them down. Pluto in the 7th may find their partnerships fraught with crisis and transition, although what they learn from these personal experience can often be translated in helping others in a similar position. Neptune in the 7th suggests some level of co-dependence as well as significant pain and disillusionment when their partner leaves or otherwise lets them down. Uranus in the 7th may find it difficult – if not impossible to commit. Equally, however, they may choose an unconventional partner of whom family and friends do not approve.||Awareness of Others / Cardinal|
|8th / the House of Shared Resources /Natural rulers are Mars & Pluto||It’s in this house that you find the natural extension of partnerships formed in the 7th house – shared resources and sex as well as the power both can wield. Like the 4th house, the 8th house is also associated with inheritances, albeit of a different kind. Sometimes these inheritances relate to financial assets. More often, however, they reflect the rewards and punishments that come as the result of family patterns operating over decades and even centuries. This is the stuff of Greek tragedy. It is also the stuff of what esoteric philosophers call the ‘astral plane’, where invisibe but powerful emotions collect and circulate often causing havoc here on earth. Finally, this house is often associated with death. Planets in this house might be taken literally to symbolise your physical death.||Those with the Sun in the 8th house are tasked to connect with something greater than self. Money and possessions are merely at the surface level of what is shared with others. A desire for deeper intimacy is what the Sun in the placement confers whilst with the Moon in the 8th struggles with this kind of intimacy. It can be so overwhelming that it threatens the Moon’s sense of security, without which the individual cannot be happy. By contrast, Mercury here is keen to explore the mysteries of life reflected in the 8th house. Venus in the 8th places great value on the more intimate exchanges between people. She’s a natural in the bedroom and also has a flair for make good business deals. She is likely to do well financially from marriage/partnership. Likewise, Jupiter in the 8th often benefits financially from marriage although he’s much more likely than Venus to take good care of it.||Awareness of Others / Fixed|
|9th / Natural ruler is Jupiter / The House of Exploration||In this house you will find the natural progression from that which you’ve learned in the 7th and 8th houses; the 9th house offers light at the end of the tunnel if you’re experiences in the 7th and 8th were bleak. It also offers understanding through expanding your horizons either through travel, advanced schooling, or reading. You might even become the ‘teacher’ in the sense that you’ve got wisdom gained through your experiences to offer. Because the 9th house is a Fire House and the Fire Houses are a conduit for bringing joy and creativity into our lives, expect whatever you choose to make of planets in this house to make you at least somewhat happy.||Those with the Sun in their 9th house may view their entire lives as a journey or pilgrimage; indeed they may never stay in one place for too long. Those with Venus in the 9th house may find great aesthetic beauty and value in all that which is foreign; likewise they may spend significant time contemplating the meaning of life. Mercury in the 9th may likewise travel or even study abroad and find his thinking and belief systems greatly affected by it. Uranus in the 9th is always looking for ‘truth’ and may hold progressive views on the nature of ‘truth’ and where it might best be found. Mars in the 9th may also be in pursuit of ‘truth’ and/or the meaning of life but may take a more personalised and perhaps aggressive approach.||Awareness of Others / Mutable|
|10th / The House of Status / Natural ruler is Saturn||It's in this house that you find symbolised how you make your mark on the world and for what you will be remembered. The nature of this mark will be reflected by the zodiac sign on the cusp of this house as well as planets that inhabit it. It is also in this house that you’ll discover where and through what mechanism you seek public recognition, keeping in mind that this is not always the same thing as your personal achievements. The planets in this house are highly visible to the world at large and difficult to hide even should you wish to do so. It’s worth keeping in mind that which for you will be remembered is not always the same as that for which you would like to be remembered.||Those with Saturn in the 10th house will probably have to work hard to achieve the respect and status that the desire and it may take much longer than they could have imagined. Those with Jupiter in this house may appear larger than life and enjoy more than their fair of luck achieving their ambitions. With Mars in this house, ambition is strong and possibly even ruthlessly asserted, Likewise, with Pluto in this house. With Pluto in the 10th house, the individual be a serious power broker, albeit sometimes behind the scenes. Uranus in the 10th house needs to contribute some original and progressive to society. Whatever that might be, they are unlikely to be remembered as ordinary.||Integrating with Others / Cardinal|
|11th / House of Shares Interests / Natural rulers are Saturn & Uranus||It's in this house that you find symbolised how you come together in groups with otherswith whom you share common ideas and beliefs. Planets in this house describe how and why you come together in these groups as well as where you might need to compromise in decisions regarding your group's common ideals and beliefs.||Those with Mercury in the 11th house, might be keen to join organizations that promote a common belief, concept or cause. With the Sun here, this cause, concept, or belief is likely to bring personal recognition, not the least because the individual identifies so strong with it. Mars in the 11th house brings with it deep passion for that cause, concept, or belief although this could well lead to disputes and arguments with other group members. Saturn in the 11th may similarly struggle fitting in; perhaps they are too black and white or insist on too much structure. By contrast, Neptune in the 11th is likely to identify so closely with the those causes, concepts, and beliefs, that she loses her sense of self. Venus in the 11th brings the ability to encourage a sense of co-operation amongst group members whilst Jupiter brings a sense of inspiration and well-being.||Integrating with Others / Fixed|
|12th / House of Seclusion / Natural rulers are Jupiter & Neptune||It’s in this house that you find symbolised how you are in touch with that which you share with the rest of humanity. In Jungian terms, this is referred to as a collective unconscious. Being too closely connected with this energy (or in some instances, lost in) carries serious dangers. Hence this house is often referred to as the house of self-undoing. To avoid disaster, you must always remember your personal responsibility with working this power. Planets found in this house should be expressed not for personal benefit alone, but instead of the greater good. But at the same time, you should never help others when to do so causes damage to yourself. Likewise, you must also never allow yourself to play the role of the martyr.||Those with the Moon in the 12th house may bind that like psychic vacuum cleaners, they ‘suck in’ whatever is in the atmosphere. They may think they are experiencing their own emotions when instead, they have absorbed those of another. The Moon in this placement might also suggest unfished emotional business from prior lives and/or a complicated relationship with their mother. Venus in this house suggests the love of that which is subtle hidden, or hard to grasp. In some cases, you may fall for someone who is not free and your love must necessarily remain hidden. Jupiter in this house may convey the sense of having guardian angel; the ‘get-out-of-jail’ card that shows up at just the right moment. It is also a placement oft-associated with gifted counsellors, psychics, and healers. Likewise, with Pluto in the 12th house although the energy involved will be more intense and in some cases, much darker.||Integrating with Others / Mutable|