Meanings of the 12 houses

The 12 Houses in the birth chart represent a “where.” In other words where in your life does the planet express most strongly? In your public life, private life, health, finances? That is what the houses of the birth chart tell us.

A Guide to the Birth Chart Houses and their Meanings


First house: The house of Self
Planets here show the personality or character attributes. One’s outlook on life. Appearance, mannerisms. Identity. The first house often describes circumstances during birth or very early childhood.

Second House: The House of Possessions
Planets here show your sense of values and priorities. Earned income potential. How you handle monetary income. Material security needs. The physical substance of the body. The desire to accumulate personal resources.

Third House: The House of the Environment
Communication and self-expression. Day-to-day thinking. Intellectual interests. Primary education. Perceptions and speech. Your brothers and sisters, relatives and neighbors.

Fourth House: The House of Home and Parents
This is the house of things you inherit from your family. Your roots. The past. Family of origin, especially your mother. How you like your home to be.

Fifth House: The House of Love Given
This is the field of creativity and self-expression. It rules children of all kinds: physical offspring, as well as “brain children”— artistic creations or projects you love to work on. Also rules romance, love affairs, fun, and amusements. Your talents, hobbies, and pleasures.

Sixth House: The House of Duty and Health
People who work with you and for you. Duties, day-to-day responsibilities, and mundane tasks. Daily work. Servants and dependents. Pets and small animals. Diet. Sickness and health. Hygiene and sanitation.

Seventh House: The House of Partnership
One-on-one relationships. Duos and duels. Peace and war. Cooperation and lack thereof. Marriage and divorce. Open enemies. Joint ventures. Business partners. Legal contracts. Court trials.

Eighth House: The House of Renewal
Elimination. The extraction of essences. Expenditures. Death and legacies. Investments, other people’s possessions. Corporations. The stock market. Taxes. Sex and regeneration. Healing. Sexual attitudes and behavior. Marriage and shared resources. Inheritance. Insurance.

Ninth House: The House of Long Journeys
Sense of purpose and direction. Searches for new horizons. Distant travel. Residence in foreign lands. Philosophy and religion. Prophecy. Higher education, advanced training, teaching. Publishing, publicity. Law, the courts. Foreign travel. Organized sports.

Tenth House: The House of Public Standing
What the world remembers you for. Your public face. Positions of authority, honor, and prestige. Fame. Profession or career. Long-range goals. Your father. Affairs of state. Large-scale organizations.

Eleventh House: The House of Love Received
Detached or impersonal relationships. Humanitarian and philanthropic enterprises. Clubs, groups, organizations, and associations. Business connections and spheres of influence. The people who share your ideals. Altruism. The rewards derived from the ambition of the tenth house.

Twelfth House: The House with Drawn Shades
The private and hidden side of life. The unconscious and subconscious mind, dreams. Behind-the-scenes maneuverings. Deceptions, secrets. Hidden enemies. Solitude or confinement: prisons, asylums, and hospitals. Mysticism, meditation. Past life issues. Sacrificial service. Repression, neuroses, worry.

What’s on the cusp?

To interpret the meaning of a house in your birth chart, read the sign on the cusp of the house, the planet that rules that sign, and planets in the house.

Which line is the house cusp?

Run your finger counterclockwise around the birth chart. The first “wheel-spoke” line you come to is the cusp of that house.

What if a house is empty?

If there’s a house in your birth chart that has no planets in it, does that mean nothing is going on in that part of your life?

Well… no.

To read the story of an unoccupied house in your birth chart, note the sign on the cusp of that house. Then find the planet that rules that sign. That planet is considered the ruler of the house. Its placement by sign and relationships with other planets will help you tell the story of that house.

Leave a Comment


  • Molly Gauthier
    2020-06-22 09:09:49
    To learn more about an unoccupied house, read (1) the sign on the cusp and (2) the planet that rules that sign. If there are lots of empty houses in a row, there is likely a section or two of the chart with heavy emphasis. The affairs of the empty houses will draw on that emphasis in the way they operate.
  • Katie Rose
    2020-06-21 23:13:31
    What if there are several houses together that do not have a planet in it? Then what do you do?