The 12 Houses in Astrology and Their Meaning

The 12 Houses in Astrology and Their Meaning Girl and Her Moon

A time when astrology and astronomy were one, our ancestors revelled in observing the night sky and finding correlating meaning within cosmic movement. Before space expeditions and probes moving far out into the cosmos, we had one perspective of the stars – the view from our two eyes here on Earth.

From this view, Astrology was born.

As opposed to current knowledge of the Sun as the centre of our Solar System, from this geocentric view the Earth, and therefore we, are at the centre of it all. This perspective allows us to relate to our human experience of the cosmos; what we can see, what we can feel, what we receive here in our bodies on the Earth, what we live.

From this Earth-centred perspective, a system was created as a reference point to map the movement of celestial bodies upon the ecliptic. This reference point is what we now call the zodiac, stemming from latin ‘zodiacus’ meaning “circle of little animals”.

This celestial backdrop as mapped by the 12 constellations or zodiacs is our unmoving reference point to observe that which does move, like the planets, and to then track those movements based on which segment of the ecliptic, or which zodiac, they move within.

Based on the time of your first breath upon arriving in this world, we look to the stars.

The stars that ultimately embed themselves within providing insights towards your inner world, your predispositions, desires and inclinations, personality and psyche.

It also shows the ultimate potential of your expression, a direction of purpose and fulfilment. Just as an acorn must grow into an oak, within each of us at the moment of our birth, we have all that we require to bloom and become according to our unique nature.

From here, another step was then taken. In an effort to bring together the movements of the cosmos with the movements of the Earth and our daily experience, the houses were born.

The Meaning & History of the Astrological Houses

The houses are where Astrology grounds itself into our everyday reality, with the houses acting as a framework for the cosmos to reach into and express through our lives.

Whether relating to the more mundane aspects of our experience such as health and routines, friendships or money, or the less easily defined realms of purpose and fulfilment, the subconscious or inner transformation, all areas of our human experience can be found within these twelve houses.

In ancient Astrology, the houses were referred to as ‘watches’ based on periods of time throughout the 24 hours of a day. From the moment the Sun rises (ascendant and the 1st house), reaches its peak at midday (10th house), begins to set (7th house), and disappears in the dark night (4th house), the houses are linked to our daily lives based on the Sun rising and setting, or in reality, the daily rotation of the Earth around the Sun.

Based on these ‘watches’ ancient astrologers assigned aspects of life to the houses by observing categories of daily living through the hours in a day. These 24 hours split into 12 houses of the horoscope represent the ‘landscape of life’, a term offered by psychological astrologer Howard Sasportas.

They are categories of reality, both inner and outer. In some schools of Astrology, the houses also represent the development from birth to death and the chapters within that journey, like learning to speak (3rd house) or falling in love (7th house).

The 12 Houses in Astrology and Your Natal Chart

This snapshot of the cosmos from the moment of your birth is depicted in what is called a natal chart, or a birth chart. Within your natal chart, you will find a circular map split into 12 slices. These slices are the houses. As we start to bring the houses into the picture, our inner astrology starts to make sense in the context of our actual lives.

From this perspective the houses can be seen as celestial instructions to unfold one’s dharma, or purpose, showing the roadmap of our higher Self. Are you here to communicate (3rd house) and teach (9th house)? Or do you have an innate calling to build communities (11th house)? The placements of signs and planets within the houses upon the moment of your birth show us.

Each house will have a zodiac ruler of that house flavouring that area of life with the energetics of that sign, and some houses will have planets within them. If you have a house, or a few houses, that have many planets within them, we know that that is an important area of life for you.

These insights gathered from our astrology are not an outside force driving us in a direction against our will, rather beautiful hints to the tools and resources held within that can support our ultimate joy and the creation of our reality. What is found in the chart from the perspective of purpose and direction is ultimately a reflection of our deepest inner wants and needs and by leaning into those, we lean into the blooming of our inner acorn into our unique version of an oak.

So, what does this all mean for you?

1st House Meaning

Associated with: Aries, Mars

Attributes: Fire, Cardinal

The first House is also known as the ascendant. It is the sign, and possibly planets, that were rising on the eastern horizon at the moment of your first breath. As you came from darkness into light being birthed into the world, from the darkness of night this sign, too, was birthed into a new day.

The sign sitting in your first house, which you may know as your ascendant or rising sign, is the interface through which we meet life. Within us are entire worlds, contradictions, depths, directions – the worlds within us are endless – and to express all of that into our surroundings in every moment would be impossible. The 1st house helps us with this expression so that we can effectively move through the world, focusing all of us into one direction, and channelling us through one lens – the lens of the zodiac and planets in the 1st house.

Your 1st House also colours the style through which we birth ourselves into the world, into new chapters and different phases, new journeys, chapters, projects, and initiations, and the many rebirths we move through in the one lifetime.

This house is the outer expression that best serves our inner needs. It supports us in moving through the world and channelling all our magic into a direction that helps us clarify who we are, who we are here to be, and our sense of purpose in this life.

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2nd House Meaning

Associated with: Taurus, Venus

Attributes: Earth, Fixed

If the first house is where we birth ourselves into the world, the second house is where we learn to value, give definition to, and gain a greater sense of the worth and abilities of that initial spark that has just entered life.

We have arrived, now how do we build lasting stability, how do we endure in this new life and create some sense of security here? The 2nd house governs the tending to our physical body and all it needs to endure, and it is where we look to the resources, both inner and outer, that when developed offer a sense of self-value, security, and worthiness.

The signs or planets in the 2nd house speak to the inherent skills, value, and capabilities that when we lean into and begin developing, a greater sense of self-worth is found. In the same way, it is these very skills that can support us in creating outer financial worth and the material safety that can create our lasting security in the material world.

This house is the outer expression that best serves our inner needs. It supports us in moving through the world and channelling all our magic into a direction that helps us clarify who we are, who we are here to be, and our sense of purpose in this life.

3rd House Meaning

Associated with: Gemini, Mercury

Attributes: Air, Mutable

As this third house foundation is set and safety is met, we can begin curiously looking around to our immediate environment. As we do so, we are met with a rich world of information and knowledge, moving pieces, exciting stories, and facts to gather and analyse. Welcome to the third house.

The 3rd house rules perception. It is the antenna through which we take in the information of the world around us and the style through which we then share information with others, whether through verbal communication, writing, art, with the body or something else. This house is where the mind explores and learns, interacts with what is available around it, forms ideas and opinions about what it has gathered, and then shares those ideas.

The signs or planets in the 3rd house colour the inner workings of the mind and speak to the lens through which we perceive our environment, our relationship with learning and knowledge itself, the styles in which we communicate and the topics that excite us. In this way, it perhaps too, holds a sense of purpose showing us what direction of knowledge we are here to dive into.

4th House Meaning

Associated with: Cancer, Moon

Attributes: Water, Cardinal

The fourth house is a profound and deeply insightful aspect of our chart, and therefore our humanness. Returning to the houses as a representation of the rising and setting of the Sun, the 4th house is the darkness of midnight when the Sun cannot be seen. It is mysterious in that way, inward, somewhat unknown to the activity of the day, and unseen to others. The fourth house sits at the very bottom of the chart, representing aspects of us often hidden away from the outside world.

The 4th house are the roots of our tree, representing our deepest inner needs. When those needs are met and nourished, our tree can bloom with branches reaching far and wide, but we must start with the roots. Within this space lies our deepest and most intimate motivations and requirements, the ones that can only be found through reflection and introspection. And once they reveal themselves to us, is the space where beautiful healing can take place. This house also represents our childhood, family, lineage, and ancestors. It is the home and safe spaces we create in our lives as we journey into adulthood.

The signs or planets found in the fourth house of our birth chart show us how to nurture ourselves. Leaning into the archetypes in this part of the chart offer insight into how we can create the safety we uniquely need to then venture out into the world with our big dreams and passions.

5th House Meaning

Associated with: Leo, Sun

Attributes: Fire, Fixed

Now that we are nurtured and safe, within a separate Self and forming opinions of the world, what then makes us unique? Special? Different from another? And how can we become more of that?

The fifth house is naturally associated with the zodiac sign of Leo and the Sun, reflecting our innate need, desire, and love of expression, creativity, fun, and sense of uniqueness. It speaks to the joy that can be found only in being wholly ourselves, and the sense of aliveness found in expressing that self.

The signs or planets sitting in the fifth house speaks to the kinds of activities, environments, and adventures that make us feel most joyful and alive. It hints at how we can express and share more of what is unique and special about us. As we lean into our 5th house, we lean into self-expression. As we express more of ourselves, we develop more of our sense of self – we become more of who we are.

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6th House Meaning

Associated with: Virgo, Mercury

Attributes: Earth, Mutable

While the sixth house holds an essence of expansion and expression, the sixth takes all of this goodness and begins to refine it, bringing self-definition, boundaries, and a clear direction and plan to how we express who we are.

The 6th house is a culmination of the five previous houses and is where we begin to integrate everything we have learned, become, and realised, to then refine, purify, and ultimately become a better channel for who we are and who we choose to be in the world. And we do so through grounding ourselves in our everyday reality. Here we look to our daily lives, the steps we take day in and day out, and how they move us in a certain direction. We look to the habits that support us, the rituals and organisation, and the health and wellbeing of our bodies and minds. It is also the house of service through this natural healing essence.

The signs and planets in the 6th house of our natal chart support us in refining, organising, and grounding the complexity that is us into a clear direction, particularly so that we may be of service to others. They also show us how we can take care of our bodies, our mental health, and what kind of jobs and daily routines and habits we thrive within.

7th House Meaning

Associated with: Libra, Venus

Attributes: Air, Cardinal

By the time we move beyond the sixth house, we are shown that nothing exists in isolation. We do not exist in isolation. The 24-hour spin of the Earth around the Sun is broken into two distinct phases – that of night and day. While houses 1 – 6 represent night, our inner worlds, and our individual selves, houses 7 – 12 represent day, who we are in the outside world, who we are with another, others, and humanity as a whole.

The seventh house is our first introduction into this awareness of others. It is the house of collaboration and partnership, where we come together with another to enhance the beauty and joy of the human experience. It is where we are exposed to other perspectives and are learning how to balance and live within those different, and even opposing, perspectives. This house is where we get the opportunity to learn through the eyes of another, through our vast and diverse experiences, opinions, and unique journeys.

The sign and planets in the 7th house of our birth chart indicate the kind of collaborations we desire with another human. Whether friendship, romantic, or business. It gives insight into how we share ourselves with another, what we seek within another, and the kind of personal evolution and growth we can experience through partnerships.

8th House Meaning

Associated with: Scorpio, Pluto

Attributes: Water, Fixed

While the seventh house is often referred to as the house of partnership and marriage, the eighth house takes us deeper into this collaboration. It holds the space for such depth and intimacy that we find ourselves and our seemingly separate lives merging as one.

Representing intimacy, sex, death, regeneration, and even shared finances, the 8th house represents the death of the ‘I’ for the birth of the ‘we’. It is the transformation that meets us from descending into such deep love, intimacy, and often heartbreak, and the trust, surrender, and power dynamics involved with sharing finances and merging the physical body with another through sex. This house is the realm of transformation and rebirth in all areas of life, and the undercurrent of unspoken energetic exchange involved in interactions.

The sign and planetary placements in the 8th house provide insight into how we meet and interact with profound and catalysing change in our lives, and how we read or sense unspoken emotion, energy, or ‘vibes’. In intimacy and partnership, it mirrors how we surrender to another and the depth that comes with this merging, what and who we find attractive, and what kind of personality dynamics and experiences seem to feed our soul on a deeper level and catalyse us into inner transformation.

9th House Meaning

Associated with: Sagittarius, Jupiter

Attributes: Fire, Mutable

Through the depth and emotional waters of the eighth house we emerge into the ninth. As we arrive here, we have moved through profound transformation, reached into surrender and rebirth, and from that have a certain capacity and hunger for meaning.

The 9th house focuses on meaning. It invites us to seek truth, to live enough so that our experiences can teach us something about this vast life that we have somehow landed within. What is the purpose of it all? What is meaning? What is truth? The 9th house compels us to journey wide and far so that we may find these answers. Whether this journeying is through various wisdom teachings or diving into philosophies, or through travel and other enriching experiences that take us beyond what we currently know. With this desire to expand the mind and breadth of understanding, this house is also associated with long-distance travel – and the way stepping into a foreign culture naturally expands our perspective and framework of the world.

The sign and planets in the 9th house can support us in this quest to find meaning, pointing to different environments that will feed our hunger for wisdom and activities that will provide hope. By leaning into whatever is found here in the natal chart we will always be taken beyond ourselves and current perceptions, as the 9th house desires to do.

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10th House Meaning

Associated with: Capricorn, Saturn

Attributes: Earth, Cardinal

The tenth house, known as Medium Coeli or meaning ‘Middle of the Heavens’ in latin, is another profound and insightful aspect of ourselves. As opposed to the fourth house which represents the hidden inner parts of us correlated with the darkness of midnight, the 10th house, also often called the midheaven, sits at the very top of the chart and is connected to midday. It is when the Sun shines the brightest, is seen by the most people, and impacts the most people. Influences that are mirrored in the meaning of this house.

As the ninth house gathers meaning, the tenth house builds from, and creates impact with this meaning. Here we find what we are pulled to contribute to the world, how we influence society, and the way in which we are perceived publicly. It is traditionally known as the house of status, influence, and public image and today is linked to our career, purpose and vocation. It is the part of us that shines the brightest, is seen by the most people, and impacts the most people.

The sign or planets found in this angular house show us how we are perceived publicly, and what career or direction will hold the most profound fulfilment and meaning for us.

11th House Meaning

Associated with: Aquarius, Uranus

Attributes: Air, Fixed

Within the eleventh house lives humanitarianism, community, groups, hopes, wishes, and innovation. And the foundation that brings these aspects of life together is a desire to take humanity beyond its current self, motivating us to look toward a greater possibility. This is the house of interdependence, where we celebrate our differences with the understanding that we all have our own varying contribution to the evolution of collective consciousness.

The sign or planets found in the 11th house mirror our unique contribution to the progression of humanity. It can offer insights into the kind of social causes that live close to our hearts, the groups and friendship networks that we may find a home in, and the bigger visions, hopes, and wishes that call our name. It also speaks to how comfortable we find ourselves in group situations, and how to offer ourselves a sense of belonging in society.

12th House Meaning

Associated with: Pisces, Neptune

Attributes: Water, Mutable

The final house of the wheel, the completion of the cycle. The first house thrust us into an individual self, a spark of the whole, and the twelfth house brings us home to this wholeness, the waters from which we all emerge.

Holding a deeply spiritual nature to it, the twelfth house speaks to an underlying intuition that beyond it all, our innermost nature is unbound, infinite, eternal and One with all of life. In the 12th house there is a blurring of individual boundaries where the self remembers its oneness with not only every other being, but with all of existence itself.

This house is where we merge with something greater than ourselves, it is the home of transcendence and what Carl Jung referred to as the collective unconscious, the unseen waters that we each exist within holding the memories, psychic impressions, and energetic motions of not just the entire human race, but also what exists beyond that.

The sign or planets found in the 12th house speak to our connection with this unseen world, appearing as our intuition, sensitivities, and empathic nature. It is how we experience in our bodies the unity and interconnectedness with all of life that we theorised about in the 11th house. It is how we become that awareness.

Read this Next: Astrology and Your Soul Purpose: The North Node through the Signs

Jordane x

*article updated July 3, 2024.

Jordane Maree

Jordane Maree is Girl and Her Moon’s founder.

A devotee to the mystery and wonder of life, Jordane is a life-long learner and explorer, allowing each moment to be her greatest teacher.

From astrology, psychology, symbolism and energy work, to ancient teachings and poetry, she is here to sink into all that the divine human experience encompasses and connect with magical humans (you) along the way. Connect with Jordane in our Flow with the Moon Membership and Podcast.

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