What Are the Astrological Houses & How to Understand Them In Your Chart

May 27, 2019 4:02 am Published by

So you’re learning astrology and understand the planets and the astrological signs in your birth chart or natal chart. Beautiful! Now you’re ready to mix in another piece of the puzzle: houses.

[To download your own free printable birth chart, click here.]



If you look at your birth chart, you’ll see that it’s divided up into 12 pie pieces. You should see a circle in the middle of the chart with some lines, and branching out from that circle are the pie pieces. Each of these pie pieces is a house.


Depending on the software you use, there may be little numbers at the top of the pie pieces, closest to the inner circle of the chart. If not, you can find the first house by thinking of your chart as a compass, with the line extending out of the top of the inner circle as north (your midheaven), the line to the bottom as south (your IC), the line to the right as east (your descendent) and the line to the left as west (your ascendant). You can learn more about understanding your birth chart here.


The pie piece that starts with your ascendant line, that line to the left, is the beginning of your first house. The houses continue to move counterclockwise around the circle- so starting with your first house, move right to find your second house.

These astrological houses show us where in our lives certain energy may show up. Each house has a specific meaning and is ruled by a particular sign, which I’ll get into below.


The first house is ruled by Aries. This is the realm of the self, identity, appearance, leadership, fresh starts, and beginnings. If you have a lot of planets in your first house, you may bring a lot of pioneering or initiating energy to your life.

Shop Aries producs to connect with your first house.


The second house is ruled by Taurus. It represents income, money, self-esteem, and all things related to your material and physical world, like the senses. It’s said that if you have a lot of planets in your second house, you may manifest things easily in the physical realm.

Shop Taurus products to connect with your second house.


The third house is ruled by Gemini. This house is the guardian of all forms of communication as well as siblings, neighborhoods, learning, local travel, community, and the giving and receiving of knowledge.

Shop Gemini products to connect with your third house.


The fourth house is ruled by Cancer. This house rules the foundation of all things and is the foundation, the very bottom, of your birth chart. Think of it as the root chakra for your chart! It covers the home, your basic security, your parents (especially your mother), and how you nurture yourself.

Shop Cancer products to connect with your fourth house.


The fifth house is ruled by Leo. This house is the guardian of creativity, play, self-expression, romance, fun, drama and attention.

Shop Leo products to connect with your fifth house.


The sixth house is ruled by Virgo. This house governs health, service, and daily work. Think schedules, routines, organization, the health, and wellness of your physical body, and being of service to others.

Shop Virgo products to connect with your sixth house.


The seventh house is ruled by Libra. This house governs relationships, including all kinds of intimate partnerships (business, romantic, best friends), as well as things associated with relationships such as marriage, contracts, and business deals. This house begins with your descendent, the part of your chart I mentioned above on the far right.

Shop Libra products to connect with your seventh house.


The eighth house is ruled by Scorpio. This house is the realm of birth, death, and rebirth. It covers sex, transformation, bonding and merging at the deepest levels, as well as taxes and other people’s property and money.

Shop Scorpio products to connect with your eighth house.


The ninth house is ruled by Sagittarius. This house covers expansion, philosophy, religion, long-distance travel, the higher mind, inspiration, optimism, publishing, broadcasting, higher education, and adventure.

Shop Sagittarius products to connect with your ninth house.


The tenth house is ruled by Capricorn. This house is at the very top of your chart, beginning with the midheaven. It is the realm of structure, tradition, public appearance, rules, discipline, authority, and the father. With the border of this house as the midheaven, it can reveal truths about your career path.

Shop Capricorn products to connect with your tenth house.


The eleventh house is ruled by Aquarius. It governs teams, friendships, groups of all kinds, society, humanitarian causes and social justice, technology, and the internet. It rules all things futuristic, original, eccentric, and surprising.

Shop Aquarius products to connect with your eleventh house.


The twelfth and final house is ruled by Pisces. As the last house of the chart (which ends with your ascendent, bringing us back into the first house), it rules endings. It’s thought to be the most mysterious house, governing the afterlife and past lives, institutions, mysticism, the arts, imagination, the subconscious mind, surrender, hospitals, and jails.

Shop Pisces products to connect with your twelfth house.


Each house has a traditional rulership, as you saw above. This gives us insight into the meaning of the house. But in your chart, the house will likely be ruled by a different sign, which all depends on your rising sign.

Your rising sign is the sign on the ascendant — you should see a little AC to the left of that line, but it’s the line on the far left side of your chart that I mentioned above. Your rising sign will rule the first house.

For example, I’m a Virgo rising. So my first house, which has Aries energy, is ruled by Virgo. My second house will be ruled by Libra, my third house by Scorpio, and we continue around the wheel.


Now that you know what the houses mean, how do you interpret them with the other pieces of your chart: the signs and planets? (We won’t get into aspects in this post!)

You can weave these three aspects of your chart together by looking at planet + sign + house.

For example, my Venus is in Scorpio in the third house. So we can look at Venus + Scorpio + 3rd House.

Venus is the planet that shows us where we find great soul satisfaction. It shows us who, what, and how we love. Scorpio is an energy that is about transformation, deep bonding, mystery, and the occult. The third house, as we saw above, rules all things communication and community.

Astrology is an intuitive art, so use your intuition! I would say that this means there is great soul satisfaction for me in communicating about the occult, deep bonding, and transformation. It could also mean that I love to deeply bond with others through communication.

For another example, say you have your Mars in Leo in the 11th house. So we would look at Mars + Leo + 11th house.

Mars is the warrior in our chart, the planet of aspiration, drive, motivation, and willpower. Leo is a sign that loves to be seen, to express, to create, and to be an individual. The 11th house, as we saw above, is the realm of group energy, technology, innovation, humanity, and authenticity.

So one way to look at Mars in Leo in the 11th house is having a lot of drive and motivation to express yourself in a group setting, or to express yourself for the good of the collective – all of humanity.

Try this out with one placement at a time in your chart, and see what mysteries about yourself are revealed!

Want to explore more of your natal chart? Learn about your north node and how it can reveal your life purpose here.

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About Eryn Johnson

Eryn Johnson is a breathwork facilitator, tarot reader, and Reiki Master based in Fishtown, Philadelphia. She is also the host of the Living Open podcast for mystics and seekers, a storytelling tool here to help facilitate soul evolution. The foundation of her work is energetic and based on the belief that there's nothing wrong with you- we are simply programmed from a young age to forget the truth of who we are. She uses energy work, storytelling, and breathwork to guide you back to you - your heart, your power, your magic. Find her work at www.living-open.com and @erynj_ on Instagram.