Astrology Houses Give You Even More Insight Into Your Identity

How to Use Astrology Houses to Get More Insight Into Your Zodiac Identity

Learning about the astrological houses in your birth chart can teach you even more about your place in this world and what lies ahead.

When you first dip your toe into learning about astrology, you pinpoint your sun sign — the zodiac sign that the sun, which represents core identity and self-image, was traveling through when you were born. From there, you might learn two more signs that make up your "big 3" — your moon sign and your rising. And while there's quite a bit you can do with these primary building blocks of natal astrology, anyone who wants the full picture would do well to look at their whole circle (or wheel) chart.

Even a quick glimpse at your natal chart in this form makes it clear just how many intricate details and layers there are. One of the main building blocks: the houses. There are 12 houses in every natal chart, each ruling a different part of your life.

While knowing that your moon is in Cancer or rising is Virgo can offer truly valuable insight on how you move through the world and relate to others, ultimately, understanding the houses can help you gain even more nuanced and satisfying understanding of your astrological portrait. Here are the basics on what you need to know about astrology houses.

Birth Chart and Astrology House Basics

Your natal chart is a visual map of what I like to refer to as your "astrological DNA." Although you can usually determine your sun sign based on your birthday alone, your natal chart utilizes your exact birthdate, year, birth time, and birthplace to render what is essentially a snapshot of what the sky looked like when you entered the world. And the location of every celestial body — as well as their relationship to the other planets — has something to say about your disposition, goals, challenges, and other aspects of your personal wiring.

To get your natal chart, you can consult a professional astrologer or plug your info into an online service such as

What to Know About Astrology House Systems

Because your natal chart serves as a snapshot of the sky when you were born, the houses serve as a way to divide up that sky into 12 pie slices — the 12 houses — each of which represents a particular aspect of life. The ascendant, or rising sign (aka the sign that was rising on the eastern horizon when you were born) is always the cusp of the first house.

When you run your natal chart, you or the astrologer you're working with can choose from a variety of house systems, including, for example, Placidus, Whole Sign, and Koch. The difference is basically how they're calculated. For example, Whole Sign considers the whole sign of the zodiac that contains the ascendant as the first house, the next sign all of the second house, and so forth and so on. (You can read more about that here on Astrodienst.)

Basically, there is no one universal system, so if you go on to study at a more advanced level, you can experiment with which you like best, based on anything from how it looks to how your own chart resonates with you when it's cast in a particular system.

And, for the record, if you don't have any planets in a given astrological house, it doesn't mean that part of your life is lacking. The things covered by that house may not be quite as emphasized as if you did have placement(s) there, but it's still very much a part of your chart (and life!). (Want to learn more? Dive into these best astrology apps from beginner to advanced.)

What It Means When Planets Move Through Your Houses

You look at where the planets in your natal chart fall for insight into your personality, but that's not all. When you or a pro astrologer are working with predictive techniques like reading transits — aka how the current astrological "weather" is interacting with your chart — houses factor in, big time.

For example, you can see which house Jupiter, the planet of expansion and luck, is moving through to get a sense of what you're itching for — and bound to get — more of right now. If it is in your fifth house of romance, expect your dating and sex life to blow up. If it's in your second house of income, more moneymaking opportunities could come your way. (

Every planet moves at a different pace, so while it'll take the sun a year to work its way around all 12 houses, the moon takes about a month to complete a lap. To understand how current astrological aspects are interacting with your placements, you'll want to get a personal transit reading with a professional astrologer.

The Meaning of Every House In Astrology

The first six houses all fall at the bottom of the chart, aka below the horizon line, referred to as the northern hemisphere. Each of these houses deals with private, self-focused pursuits.

The southern hemisphere, or the latter six houses of the zodiac, represent public life and image. If you have a lot of planetary placements here, you're likely quite comfortable in the spotlight.

The First House of Self

The first house deals with your physical body, your appearance, and your outward temperament. It's associated with Aries, the first sign of the zodiac and cardinal fire sign ruled by Mars.

If you have natal planetary placements in the first house (meaning, if there are any planets there in your chart), their energies are very apparent from the moment someone meets you. For example, say someone has go-getter Mars and social Venus in their first house (hi, it's me) — they'll likely come off as quite driven, action-oriented, and personable. If they have Mercury in their first house, they'll be quite loquacious.

The sign that rules your first house is your ascendant or rising sign, and the planet that rules that sign is considered your chart ruler. So if it's Virgo or Gemini, both of which are ruled by Mercury, then your chart ruler is Mercury. If your rising is Aries, ruled by Mars, then your chart ruler is Mars. (See which planet rules your sign in this guide to the 12 zodiac signs.)

Your chart ruler is basically a planet you'll want to pay special attention to, as it's like your guiding light.

The Second House of Income

The second house oversees material possessions, self-worth, personal finance, and how you relate to the concept of value. It's associated with Taurus, the fixed earth sign ruled by Venus.

If you have natal planetary placements here, they'll express their energy in the material world and by prioritizing security. For instance, if you were born with Mercury — the planet of communication — in your second house, then you might use your communication skills to make a living. (For more on your career, look to your astrological midheaven, which speaks to your professional dreams.)

The Third House of Communication

The third house oversees communication, transportation, short-distance travel, siblings, and local community. It's associated with Gemini, the mutable air sign ruled by Mercury.

Natal planetary placements here manifest their energy through expression. For example, if you have the emotional moon in your third house, you might process feelings through lengthy conversations or writing.

The Fourth House of Home Life

The fourth house deals with family, security, your roots. It's associated with Cancer, the cardinal water sign ruled by the moon.

When you have natal planetary placements in the fourth house, they will speak to your bond with maternal figures in your life and your take on domesticity. For instance, if you have revolutionary Uranus in your fourth house, you might have a rather rebellious, eccentric, innovative approach to home life.

The Fifth House of Romance and Self-Expression

The fifth house oversees romance, self-expression, how you have fun and experience pleasure, and children. It's associated with Leo, the fixed fire sign ruled by the sun.

If you have natal planetary placements in the fifth house, they'll point to how you express yourself creatively. If you have lucky Jupiter there, you might find artistic pursuits bring you fortune and optimism. (More here: How to Decode Zodiac Sign Compatibility)

The Sixth House of Health and Daily Routine

The sixth house oversees health, daily routine, and wellness. It's associated with Virgo, the mutable earth sign ruled by Mercury.

Natal planetary placements in the sixth house tend to express themselves by seeking organization and being useful to others. For instance, if you have Venus — the planet of love — in the sixth, your love language is probably acts of service.

The Seventh House of Partnership

The seventh house rules all of your one-on-one relationships — romantic, platonic, and professional. It's associated with Libra, the cardinal air sign ruled by Venus.

Any natal planetary placements in the seventh house express themselves best through partnered connections. If you have Mars — the planet of action and energy — in the seventh, you might find you're most motivated to take care of business and assert yourself when you're working in tandem with someone else.

The Eighth House of Sex and Joint Resources

The eighth house oversees a whole slew of deep, complex topics: sexual intimacy, death, transformation, and joint resources. It's associated with Scorpio, the fixed water sign co-ruled by Mars and Pluto.

If you have natal planets in your eighth house, you're probably quite comfortable with occult subjects, the shadow side of life, seek intimacy on a physical and emotional level, and might be subject to major spiritually-charged transformations over the course of your life. The planets that live here function through this lens. So, for example, if you have your natal Mercury in your eighth house, you won't really be content with superficial conversation, preferring to go deep and engage with others by discussing what's under the surface.

The Ninth House of Higher Learning and Adventure

The ninth house oversees higher learning, adventure, travel, and philosophy. It's associated with Sagittarius, the mutable fire sign ruled by Jupiter.

If you have natal planets in your ninth house, you might experience quite a bit of wanderlust and thirst for knowledge. For example, if your sun (aka your core identity) is in the ninth house, you see yourself as a teacher and an explorer. (

The Tenth House of Career and Public Image

The tenth house rules your professional path and public image. It's associated with Capricorn, the cardinal earth sign ruled by Saturn.

If you have natal planets in your tenth house, they're the main tools you'll use to make your mark in the world and to seek recognition for your hard work. For example, if you have Venus — which lends itself to personal charm — in your tenth, you'll tend to find it easy to be personable as a leader and make a positive impression on higher-ups.

The Eleventh House of Friendships and Long-Term Wishes

The eleventh house oversees networking, community, groups, platonic relationships, and long-term wishes. It's associated with Aquarius, the fixed air sign ruled by Uranus.

If you have natal planets in your eleventh house, you're likely quite personable, have a diverse friend group, and thrive when you're working with others and toward the greater good. Say your natal moon — aka your emotional compass — is in the eleventh. You'll find emotional fulfillment through teamwork.

The Twelfth House of Spirituality

The twelfth house oversees the unconscious, dreams, secrets, and spirituality — all things unseen and under the surface. The twelfth is just before the rising, after all, so it represents the darkness before the dawn. It's associated with Pisces, the mutable water sign ruled by Neptune.

If you have natal planets in your twelfth house, you might be quiet, imaginative, and very much in your feelings. Planets here seek to express themselves through intuitive (even psychic) and imaginative pursuits. Say you have Mars, the planet of energy and anger, in your twelfth. You may have a very active daydreaming life, but it could be tough for you to express anger or to assert yourself, and you might be at risk of turning those emotions inward.

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