A Brief Introduction To The Twelve Houses Of Astrology

Yesterday, I took a short drive down to the home of a long-time, treasured Aquarius friend/former coworker for a long-overdue let’s-hang-out-and-shoot-the-shit visit. As we sat chatting in the living room of her sprawling rural home, the topic of conversation eventually (and inevitably) turned to astrology when my Water Bearing amigo wondered aloud how, if her Jupiter (planet of luck and abundance) is in its dominion (the zodiac sign it naturally rules) in Sagittarius (a spontaneous, freedom-loving fire sign), which, theoretically, should enhance the associated characteristics of both Jupiter and Sagittarius, why is it that not only is she not a fan of spontaneity, but is actually more of a homebody who occasionally even finds herself wondering if she borders on agoraphobic. After all, this doesn’t fit the classic description of a Jupiter-Sagittarian at all.

My Aquarian comrade. But Jupiter in Sadge? It just doesn't fit. Why is that?

My Aquarian comrade whose Jupiter-Sadge placement just doesn’t fit. Why is that?

[…] Jupiter-Sadge is also big on travel, the further the distance and the greater the degree of spontaneity, the better! […] Between their far and wide wanderlust adventures, always ready to jump into new experiences with both feet…[…] ~ excerpt from Lucky Star: Jupiter In The Signs – Jupiter In Sagittarius


So: what gives?

Could it be that on the date and time of her birth, Jupiter was retrograde? Sure, it’s possible. After all, Jupiter stalls for several days at a time and then becomes retrograde for about four months each year, and if this is the case (whether it’s with Jupiter or any other planet’s retrograde motion) on your date of birth, it can influence your natal chart in a variety of ways, depending on numerous other factors.

Is it possible that Jupiter is somehow afflicted in her chart?

Or could those typical Jupiter-Sadge qualities be blunted by the House in which Jupiter’s placement Jupiterhappens to be in my Water Bearer chum’s natal chart? Furthermore, could it be due to all or a combination of the above?

“Um…okaaay…my…’house’ in my…where…uh…what is my ‘house?’” she stammered in bewilderment.

Not to worry, dear Water Bearing grasshopper. I’m going to explain to you exactly what I mean when I say “Houses” (well, I’m gonna nutshell it; we’ll delve more deeply into the meanings of each of the twelve Houses, what they represent, and their specific effects in upcoming posts.)  All treasured friends/followers/readers are invited and encouraged to come along for the ride as I illustrate an abbreviated overview of the twelve astrological Houses, using my Aquarian pal’s own natal chart as our example. Ready? Great!

First, let’s take a quick look at the twelve Houses in the astrological chart. They are:

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First House – House of self, physical traits, ego, first impressions, new beginnings. Natural ruler: Aries
Second House – House of money & possessions; also of property, acquisitions, self-worth. Natural ruler: Taurus
Third House – House of communication & short trips (ones not requiring an overnight stay); also of childhood, higher education, siblings, intelligence. Natural ruler: Gemini
Fourth House – House of home, family, mother or mother figures, ancestry. Natural ruler: Cancer
Fifth House – House of creativity, pleasure, love, sex, children, games, recreational activities. Natural ruler: Leo
Sixth House – House of health, acquired skills, routine tasks, services performed to benefit others, employment. Natural ruler: Virgo
Seventh House – House of close relationships such as marriage or business partners, known enemies, caregiving, pets. Natural ruler: Libra
Eighth House – House of reincarnation, death & rebirth, sexual relationships, deeply committed relationships, finances, occult or psychic matters, anything considered “taboo” by social standards, self-transformation. Natural ruler: Scorpio
Ninth House – House of long-distance or foreign travel, religion, culture, law, ethics, introspection. Natural ruler: Sagittarius
Tenth House – House of career, social standing, government, authority, father or father figures, how the public sees you. Natural ruler: Capricorn
Eleventh House – House of friendships, groups or clubs, hopes, wishes. Natural ruler: Aquarius
Twelfth House – House of self-undoing, mysticism, secret enemies, sorrow, the unconscious/subconscious mind, privacy, self-imposed imprisonments. Natural ruler: Pisces

My Water Bearing buddy was born on January 24, 1972 at 6:30am CST in Norman, Oklahoma. When we enter her specific birth info into a natal chart calculator, it spits out a personalized chart for her based on that info, as shown below:

DawnsNatalChartA natal chart (sometimes called a birth chart) is essentially a map of the sky at the location where you were born at the exact time of your birth, showing the placements of the Sun, Moon, and planets in the constellations. Therefore, what we’re seeing here is a map of the sky as it appeared on January 24, 1972 at 6:30am in Norman, Oklahoma.

Notice that the horoscope wheel is divided into twelve sections resembling a pie, consisting of 30 degrees per piece, each of which are ruled by a particular zodiac sign. Each of these sections are called Houses and in a natal chart, the First House is always governed by the individual’s Ascendant (or rising sign), which is the astrological sign that was on the Eastern horizon at the location and exact moment of your birth.

My Aquarian buddy’s Ascendant is in 18 degrees Capricorn; therefore, her First House is ruled by Capricorn (its symbol is shown on the far left side of the wheel, indicating the First House.)

The symbol for Capricorn, her Ascendant and ruler of her First House

The symbol for Capricorn, her Ascendant and ruler of her First House

Now, to address that pesky Jupiter-Sadge question she had. Looking at her chart, we see Jupiter’s placement is in 27 degrees Sagittarius in the Twelfth House. You’ll recall the Twelfth House has reign over our secrets, sorrow, and self-undoing. To summarize, any planet in the Twelfth House is often fraught with difficulties involving the qualities of that planet/sign. Allow me to expand on this statement.

What we first need to understand is that because the Twelfth House is naturally ruled by Pisces (twelfth sign of the zodiac), a planet in the Twelfth House — regardless of which sign governs it in the natal chart, in this case, Sagittarius — Piscean traits (self-undoing, creator of one’s own downfall, susceptibility to emotional issues such as depression, suicidal ideations, and struggles with addiction — many of which manifest secretly; after all, this is the House of secretive behavior) exemplify themselves in any planet(s) placed in this House. Because my friend’s Jupiter (planet of abundance) is in the Twelfth House, this suggests that she will find comfort in solitude, perhaps in seclusion from the world (agoraphobic tendencies?), places which others might find uncomfortable. This placement also gives us someone who is adept at healing or counseling. On that note, I can personally attest to the fact that, more than once, this amazing, intelligent Aquarian has opened my eyes with her uncanny wisdom, helping me to help myself through some extremely difficult times.

And there we have our answer.

Examining the possibility that Jupiter was retrograde on the date and time of my Water Bearer chum’s birth, however, indicates that Jupiter was not in retrograde at that time. It didn’t become retrograde until April 25, 1972 at 12:06am GMT, and this retrograde motion lasted until 7:18am GMT on August 25, 1972.

Again, this has been only the briefest of overviews on the Houses of astrology. Up next: we’ll take a riverboat journey through the details of each individual House and in which ways they affect your life. Stay tuned…

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