Simple Breakdown of The Houses
Something we have touched on many times but have not yet made a dedicated series towards is the houses in your natal birth chart. There's a lot more to them than fits in the body of this blog-post but to hold you over - or just for quick reference to supplement your existing knowledge - here's a quick little breakdown. To follow along with your personal house placements for reference, you can find your chart here http://astro.cafeastrology.com/natal.php
provided you have your EXACT birth time.
The 1st House/Ascendant/Rising - The House of Identity
If this is the first you're really learning about houses but you've heart the words "rising" and "ascendant" thrown around all the time, surprise! The ascendant is only the first of twelve houses in which the planets sit, lighting up and influencing that area of your life with their qualities. The area of your life which the 1st house or ascendant rules in that of your personality. Your personality in the sense of what you project to the world, the mask you wear, the first layer between you an the world. To some of you, this description might be confusing as you feel you don't wear a mask, that who you express lines up exactly with your ego, your sense of self, your sun. If this is the case you probably have a harmonious aspect between your sun and your ascendant and/or one or a few personal planets in the first house. But for those of you like Shaina and I who have ascendants that do not align with our sun/sense of self, you know very well the phenomena of feeling like you act like someone else completely upon first impression or outside of your comfort zone - like you unintentionally put on a mask when interacting with different kinds of environments, people, or situations. To know more about your personal ascendant, we have an entire series on our youtube channel!
The 2nd House - The House of Money & Self Worth
The houses line up with our development, naturally our ascendant is the first thing we develop as it's the first layer between us and the world around us and our second house follows suit. So wait, we're born and immediately we're preoccupied with money? Sounds counter-intuitive, BUT truthfully what is it that motivates us to make money and make money the way we choose to make money? Our sense of self worth. As we grow up we quickly learn what qualities we possess that make us useful to the world around us and this gives us a sense of self worth. Once we learn what we're good at, how it is beneficial to those around us, and how it affects our sense of self worth, we are inclined to pursue it as a career. So when looking at your 2nd house observe the ruling sign - and, if applicable, housed planet(s) - to give you an indication of what gives you a sense of self worth and in turn what attributes and talents you can capitalize on to make a living.
The 3rd House - The House of Neighborhood, Siblings, and Lower Education
Lower education in this sense is as in what comes before higher education, basic government required minimum schooling, like in the case of The United States: High School. The third house is ruled by the 3rd sign, Gemini, which is known to be intellectual and communal, wanting to know a little bit about everything and everyone. You can observe the ruling sign and possible planets in your third house to speak towards your relationship with your siblings, your community, and your years spent in lower education. If, for example, Virgo rules your 3rd house you were likely very analytical in your experience of lower education, perhaps a little shy in your community, and possibly quite critical or bossy towards your siblings. Finding Pluto (the planet of death and reconstruction) in your third house could mean that you were in a situation where you had to move neighborhoods, switch schools, and be uprooted from your community once or a few times throughout your growing up.
The 4th House - The House of Home and Family
When looking at a wheel version of a birth chart, as pictured below, the 4th House resides at the very bottom of the chart. The fourth house is considered to be your roots in your natal chart. It is an angular house, the angular houses are 1,4,7,&10 and are distinguished as such because they are ruled by the 4 cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn). They are the houses that have the most to do with your identity. In the case of the 4th house, your inner most identity brought on by your familial conditioning. By observing the sign and possible planets in your 4th house you can see an indication of how your early home life has an always will affect you. Furthermore, you can see how attached you are to that conditioning and to an extent your personal feelings towards the way you were raised.
P.S. I should mention that when I say a house is ruled by a particular sign, I mean in the allegorical sense, not in your personal chart. It is likely that your personal chart will not line up with the allegorical rulers unless you're an Aries rising (but even then there could be interceptions).
The 5th House - The House of Creativity
Everything you create will take on the traits of whatever lies in your 5th house, whether it's a book, a character, a piece of DIY wall art, or a child. For this reason the 5th house is where you can examine your sentiments towards children and the traits you will endow your children with should you have them. For example, if you have Scorpio in your 5th house you may be prone to reinventing your creative endeavors, destroying and recreating your ideas until they get stronger and stronger, and they may have a lot to deal with the themes of sex, the occult, or psychology. Your children will also take on the traits of Scorpios, heck they can even turn out to be a Scorpio! (or Scorpio ascendant, moon, 8th house influence, or have lots of Pluto contacts in their chart) You might end up having children that are natural born psychologists, find a passion for Tarot, or have a tendency to be a little manipulative.
The 6th House - The House of Health, Routine, and Work
As the 6th house, this house is ruled by the 6th sign of Virgo. The lack or amount of planets in this house can speak to how much you relate to the Virgo tendencies of being high strung, organized, and hardworking. In this house you see how attached you are to your routine, your work ethic, and your health. Each sign rules over a part of the body so examining which sign rules over your sixth house can indicate a more sensitive, illness prone part of your body. For example, if Leo rules your 6th house, watch your cholesterol intake as Leo rules the heart and arteries. The 6th house is best left as empty as possible as any planet in it tends to take on the anxious, high strung traits of Virgo.
The 7th House - Your Other Half
The 7th house represents your other half in the following ways: it speaks to your shadow side, your relationships, and possibly your soul mate. They say "You can Only Love Yourself" and the 7th house speaks to that. The 7th house shows that in any relationship you find yourself in, your partner is ultimately reflecting back to you the parts of yourself you don't see. Your 7th house is always ruled by the opposite sign of your ascendant, which is where you get the phrase "Opposites Attract". Any relationship you end up in, romantic or otherwise is a way for you to discover a part of your shadow side. In fact, many people are naturally attracted to people who's personal planets or ascendant reflect whatever is going on in their own 7th house. For this reason, people with a lot of energy in the 7th house in the form of a stellium or personal planet may find that they experience an ongoing identity crisis as they cannot access their planet(s) without the help of someone else to reflect their shadow side for them. If this is the case for you, astrology will help.
The 8th House - The House of Death, Regeneration, The Occult Taxes, and Inheritance
First let me clear up what I mean when I say "The Occult" I don't mean pentagrams and goat worshiping/sacrifice - or at least not necessarily - though that is the immediate image that comes into most people's minds when they hear the word "occult". The occult actually refers to things that are hidden, unseen, which can mean a number of things: death, astrology, sex, and underground pentagram goat worshiping to name a few. If you didn't know or couldn't already guess, the 8th house is ruled by Scorpio which means that it opposes the stability of Taurus and the 2nd house. For this reason the 8th house rules over taxes and inheritance, that kind of unstable, unpredictable money that contrasts the security and stability of the 2nd house kind of money ruled by Taurus.
Anyone with a lot of energy in the 8th house in the form of stelliums or a personal planet can't help but feel an intensity, heaviness, and existentialism that is often associated with Scorpio. But with that comes the great power that is also associated with Scorpio.
The 9th House - The House of Beliefs and High Education
Higher education being whatever you do to continue learning after your formal lower education is complete. Your higher education can be just as formal (i.e. University) or, since the 9th house is ruled by Sagittarius in the form of travel or adventure! Throughout lower education you are often taught what to believe to an extent, and this is very beneficial in some instances. Imagine if instead of taking it for granted that 2+2= 4 you questioned your teacher to no end - you wouldn't get anywhere! But now that you're done with lower education and are here in the 9th house experiencing more of what the world has to offer, it's time to stop taking things for granted, for face value, and to look beyond the horizon and find what resonates with you. What you discover and what you connect to become your beliefs. Your 9th house not only indicates what direction of higher education you might go in and what attitude you might have towards it, but also the beliefs you cultivate through your higher education.
The 10th House - The House of Career and Public Persona
Have you noticed how Instagram has overtime become one of the biggest business platforms? That's because your public persona (portrayed through social media) and your career are tightly related, at least in astrology. The 10 house is where you find your work ethic, your career strengths, and even your trajectory for success. If you have Saturn in the 10th house the road to success is not unpaved with lessons and hard work. If you have Pluto in the 10th house, you might have to constantly switch careers for some reason or another. If you have your Sun conjunct Jupiter in your 10th house success might just fall into your lap, dropped off by a carrier pigeon sent from the stars. But the 10th house is an angular house, so it also has to do with your identity, in this case your public identity, what you project in your career and on a public platform.
The 11th House - The House of Networking and Friendship
The 11th house is the house ruled by Aquarius, the humanitarian, and has a lot to do with collective consciousness. The idea of collective consciousness can be found in the way a group of friends all kind of fit together, how teamwork makes the dream work, and in philanthropy where there is the attitude of all for one and one for all. What lies in your 11th house has to do with your attitude towards the collective consciousness and the networks you belong to. If you have Taurus or Libra ruling your 11th house you may find that you are attracted to friend groups and networks with a lot of feminine power and energy. If your moon falls in the 11th house you may find that your friends tend to come and go like the phases of the moon.
The 12th House - The House of the Subconscious, Outer Realms, and Self Undoing
The 12th House is a loaded house, it is the last house so in a way it represents the last stage of our development in this lifetime. So by looking at what the 12th house means, what is the last stage of our development? The 12th house is all about other realms, the Neptunian fog that Pisces is so familiar with and likes to sit in. The 12th house has coined the name "The House of Self Undoing" because in a way it's associated with whatever "Nirvana" might await us after death, for I suppose we haven't reached our full development until we pass on. For this reason people with a lot of energy in the 12th house are prone to one form of escapism or another, from drugs, to video games, to sleeping, to fantasy novels. This, of course, can mess with their productivity (the opposite of Virgo) but as long as it doesn't get out of hand there's no need to fear the title "The House of Self Undoing". For those who don't have planets in the 12th house you can look to your 12th house's ruling sign to examine your relationship with the spiritual realm. For example, I have Gemini ruling my 12th house so I am constantly going after more and more information on anything spiritually related. It's also very hard for me to turn off, relax, and escape because there's a Gemini in my 12th house who won't keep quiet.
So that is my brief overview of the 12 houses, hopefully it satisfied your curiosity, taught you something, or can provide a good reference point when figuring out your own chart. However if you need a little help with the latter, you can always get a reading if you feel so inclined.