Astrology houses

If you’re learning astrology, I reckon you should focus on four at main concepts, at least to start with. These are planets, signs, houses and aspects. In this post I’ll look at astrology houses.

I’ve covered planets in the free eBook you get for signing-up to my email newsletter. And I’ve written about aspects in an earlier post.

When you look at most horoscopes, such as the ones on this site, you’ll see that the 360 horoscope circle is divided into 12 sections.

They look like a sliced cake, viewed from above.These sections, or houses, are mathematical divisions of the sky for a particular time and place on Earth. For a person’s horoscope, this is typically the time and place where they’re born.

Each of the 12 houses has a different meaning. But overall, we can broadly say that house meanings are about ‘experiences’ in the world.

Imagine each planet is an actor playing a particular kind of role. The sign a planet is posited in a horoscope is like the costume that actor is wearing and his or her general manner.

And the house where that ‘planet in a sign’ is located, is the stage the actor performs on, the environment.

And there’s another dimension to this. Each of the 12 houses have varying degrees of ‘loudness.’ Using the above metaphor, some performance spaces (stages) have 10,000 watt sound systems. So a planet located there will be very noticeable.

In other words, in a person’s horoscope, that planetary energy will be something you notice about them. It will be loud. Other houses are quieter. More on this below.

Houses are calculated automatically by astrology software as part of creating a horoscope. What can be confusing is the number of different methods for calculating astrology houses.

Each uses a different mathematical formula. The most commonly used house calculation (or ‘house system’) is called Placidus. If you’re learning astrology, start with this. Branch out to other systems later.

House meanings

The houses numbering starts at the left (or ‘East’ in a horoscope) and go anticlockwise. In the diagram below, I’ve put some keywords in each house to indicate that houses’s general meaning.

For a full breakdown of meanings, I suggest Deborah Houldings’ book, The Houses: Temples of the Sky (Amazon link).

Astrology houses

Angular, succedent, cadent

A second feature of houses is what I termed ‘loudness’. But more correctly, this is about grouping houses into three categories.

First, there are the angular houses (1st, 4th, 7th and 10th). These are shown in red, below. A planet in an angular house is loudest, most noticeable. Think of these as expressing 100% of whatever planet is in that house.

Next are the succedent houses (2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th). These are shown in orange, and express 50%.

And finally the cadent houses (3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th) shown in pale yellow. These are much quieter, about 25%.

Astrology houses

Astrology houses: examples

All of the above might seem a bit daunting. So I will use a few examples to illustrate some of these ideas.


I wrote about Pope Francis’ horoscope in a recent post. Take a look at what planets are in the angular houses of his horoscope. Which ones are ‘loudest’?

Astrology houses

We have Uranus (reform, red arrow), Mercury (communication, green arrow) and Pluto (power, blue arrow) all in angular houses.

And they are the ones that are closest to the start of each angular house.  So these planetary energies should be prominent in his life.

Furthermore, Uranus is in the house of career, the 10th. Indeed he has sought to reform the papacy and his career as part of that. And he is a unique pope in many ways (see my earlier post).

Mercury is in the 7th house, of relationships and other people. So communication and ‘reaching out’ to others is a key part of his communication. Again, this seems a noticeable feature of Francis.

And Pluto in the 1st house of self, of how I come across. Pluto in this house indicates someone with a powerful presence.


We can also look at these planets using our actor metaphor, above. For example, let’s look at Mercury.

Mercury is in Capricorn. Capricorn is the sign most associated with tradition, structure. So while our actor will be playing a communicative role (Mercury), the communication will be careful, sober and structured. The actor’s dress, and manner will therefore be modest.

But since Mercury is in the 7th, this modest communicator will have a central (loud) role, particularly on the ‘stage’ of dealing with ‘other people’ (a 7th house meaning).

You could look at every planet in this horoscope in a similar way to get a fuller picture. And bear in mind that a planet in a succedent or cadent house is not necessarily ‘weak’.

It’s just quieter, and is more likely to work behind the scenes. In Francis’ horoscope, you see Mars is there in the 3rd. So Francis is not overtly forceful or assertive. Because Mars is in a quiet house.

Unlike our next example…


He’s someone else I’ve written about (here and here). What planets are angular in his horoscope?

Well, Uranus in the 10th (blue arrow) – like Pope Francis! A reformer, someone who has a unique sense of their career (10th house), a non-traditionalist.

And Mars (red arrow) is very close to the 1st house, or Ascendant. This illustrates a good point. The boundaries are not considered to be exact. There’s a fuzzy border of a few degrees. And so a planet close to the start of an angular house, will act ‘angular.’

This is the case with Trump. We should consider his Mars as loud and angular. Mars denotes his most prominent feature – aggression, forcefulness, assertiveness. And it’s very close to the astrological house we associate with ‘self’ and how we come across — the 1st house.

Using the actor metaphor, this actor’s role is a Mars one (soldier, fighter, action-oriented person). His manner and general appearance speaks of a strong ego (Mars in Leo).

His stage (theatre of experience) is a loud 10,000 watt one because Mars is in the 1st house zone, angular). So we have a feisty self-interested fighter. Sounds about right!

Astrology houses

We can look at Trump’s Mars in a few other ways. For instance, what houses does Mars rule in his horoscope?

Mars rules the signs of Aries and Scorpio. Trump’s 9th house is Aries. And his 4th house is Scorpio. So this very vocal Mars is connected to his ‘religion’ or ideology (9th) and his family (4th). Furthermore, we could say it has something to do with Trump’s father, since one of the 4th house meanings is ‘my father’.


Trump’s father is Fred Trump. The New York Times says Fred Trump taught his son Donald ‘the essentials of showboating self-promotion.’ So Donald Trump’s Mars says a lot about his dad.

We can get a sense of Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, by looking at the 10th house. Trump’s 10th is in Taurus, ruled by Venus. Venus in his horoscope is in Cancer, very close to Saturn. Saturn is the planet we associate with tradition, hardship, formality and conservatism. And Mary Anne was indeed a conservative and traditional person, according to at least one online source.

Let’s move on, and look at Trump’s Moon (green arrow), which is also angular. This indicates his emotions (Moon) are loud in a grand (Moon in Sagittarius) way. Particularly in terms of ‘family’ and his sense of foundation (4th house). But notice that this Moon is a fair way from the 4th house cusp, which is in Scorpio.

So while the Moon is angular, it’s not going to be quite as strong as if it was a) in the same sign as the cusp and b) much closer to the cusp.

The very ‘loudest’ parts of the already-loud angular houses are planets close to the ‘cusp’ (boundary line) of that house. E.g. very close to the Ascendant line, very close to the M.C. (10th house cusp), or very close to the 4th or 7th cusps.

Astrology houses: summary

Houses are a big topic. And this is just a brief outline that scratches the surface. But I hope you get the general idea, maybe. Astrology houses are areas of life, theatres of experience. And a planet in a particular house will express through that area of life. And also in a way that expresses the sign of the zodiac it is in.


  1. Awesome way of describing the planet being the actor, etc. It makes it all seem so much more clear. My child has Neptune conjunct Ascendant, Sun in the 7th house and Pluto in the 10th. Looking at her chart now, I can understand her creativity, her dreaminess and her willfulness, dramatics and intensity. I can see why those planets are so intensely expressed.

    Thank you for the insight!

    • No worries, Josie. :-) Yes, the closer the planet is to the angles, or the cusps of the angular houses (1st, 4th, 7th, 10th) … the louder or stronger the influence. Just look at Prince’s horoscope (elsewhere on this site), Pluto right on the 10th cusp.

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