There are signs, and then there are houses. Signs and houses correspond to each other, but they’re not the same thing. The personalized version of your chart always starts with your rising sign, or your Ascendant, which is the sign that was rising over the Eastern horizon at the exact moment of your birth. Rising signs change every two hours or so, and they describe your physical body, your appearance, and how others perceive you.
They also more or less dictate where your Houses fall (depending on the house system you use, one sign might take up a larger chunk of your chart than another, but that’s advanced stuff you probably don’t need to worry about right now). Your Ascendant is where your First House sits, and the rest of the signs generally line up behind it. For instance, if you’re a Libra Rising, Libra will be your First House, usually followed by Scorpio as your Second House and Sagittarius as your Third House. That means when a planet’s in Libra, you’ll be dealing with First House-related themes; Scorpio with Second House things; and so on. You can’t know your house placements without knowing your birth time, but it’s a good idea to find out, because houses tell you all about the area of your life that’s being affected by the planets.
Your first house deals with you, your appearance, and at times, new beginnings. That’s because Casa Uno is part and parcel with your ascendant, or rising sign: otherwise known as the outer shell of your personal onion. Put simply, the first house concerns the self and the quality of the foot it puts forward.
Anything that goes down in this part of your chart is likely going down in your wallet as well. The House of Possessions pertains to your income, assets, and overall financial standing, but not in an overly shallow sense. Think: overarching relationship with the material world, questions of value, and the extent to which we “own” our potential.
The buzzy third house governs communication, electronics, and immediate connections (like siblings, neighbors, and our local communities in general). What’s highlighted here is the way we think and communicate — often with the people in our own backyard.
Home is where the fourth house is, but that doesn’t just concern your current plot of land. Your home is your foundation, your parents, your roots, your country or origin, or whatever brings you security. If it’s a family matter, it’s probably a Fourth House matter.
Fifth house, or fun house? Like Leo, its governing sign, the House of Pleasure is all about creativity, self-expression, hobbies, children, romance, sexy times, and play. In theory, creation should (and often does) feel good. That’s only partially innuendo.
The sixth house is where your attitude toward health resides. Even if you’re not the type to munch on kale chips, you probably have some tendencies where fitness, diet, organization, and routines are concerned. How you serve and help yourself (and others) is highlighted here, as is your day job.
Relationship stuff — everyone’s got some stuff. In the seventh house, partnerships and relationships come into focus, as well as any attendant negotiations or contracts (nuptial or otherwise). Like its ruling sign Libra, the seventh house concerns the “Other”; love and war are both fair game.
Not to steal the fifth house’s thunder, but the eighth house is more formally considered the House of Sex. There’s less fun and games in this realm, however. Think “deep, alchemical bonding” and anything that deals with mystery and transformation: birth, death, and rebirth — sometimes deep compulsions and obsessions too. A mysterious inheritance could also fit the bill, as the Eighth House rules other people’s money: taxes, investments, and debts need apply.
Your Nietzsche-loving ninth-grade nephew might have some stuff brewing in his ninth house. This area governs our quest for meaning, which we can accomplish through exploration, travel, higher learning, or even some risky business. Education is implied here — as are principles and belief systems.
The position of your tenth house can reveal much about your career path. When things are happening in that area of your chart, expect your career, public image, or social standing to be affected. The tenth house also deals with authority, governing bodies, traditions, and daddy issues.
The teams, groups, and communities you belong to are what’s at stake here. “Strength in numbers” is the bigger picture. How is your network advancing your cause, and how is your ability to advance humanity’s cause magnified by the people you associate with?
In the twelfth house, by baggage haunted. This area of the chart concerns endings, sleep, unfinished business, and all that’s left rattling around in our subconscious. Even though the potential for positive growth is marked, so is anything that can restrain you from passing through to the next cycle: hospitals, jails, institutions, hidden agendas, and secret enemies.