View Full Version : House Systems

22-04-2003, 08:34
I was wondering how other astrologers deal with the subject of house systems. I have never been able to fully embrace any house system due to the lack of consensus about which system is best. I can't really accept the idea that they're ALL valid in their own way, so up to now I've pretty much abandoned house systems and use planets, signs and aspects for my work. Does everyone here basically accept Placidus or Koch on faith, or is there any new evidence of a better house system? Equal seems most fair, but the problem of the MC not being on the 10th cusp is confusing. Every time I start researching this, I give up due to the lack of real evidence for any of them!

22-04-2003, 09:30
There are a few books out on the subject in fact I believe Lois Rodden has written one of them. You may want to check the online sites that sell astrology books.

I use Placidius and have for about 100 years. I've tried the others and always go back to my favorite. My astrologer friend swears by Kock and he uses only that system, some others use Equal.

If you would like to search the archives (here), there was a similar post a few months ago, or so.


22-04-2003, 09:55
Littleneptune, you might want to check out the whole sign house system, used by classical Greek astrologers and such excellent modern practitioners as Robert Hand, Robert Zoller, Joseph Crane, and many others. This system is essentially a wheel within a wheel: the Ascendant and MC are important points, but they do not represent house cusps; rather, 0 degrees of every sign is the cusp of each house, meaning that the entire sign is associated with the affairs of any given house. This differs from the equal house system, in which the Ascendant degree determines the cusps of all the houses.

For example, for a chart with an Ascendant of 15 degrees Libra, the Ascendant would fall within the first house, but would not be the cusp of that house; rather, 0 degrees Libra would be the cusp of the first house. So the degree on the Ascendant determines the sign of the first house, but not its cusp.

The whole sign system has the advantage that it does not break down at extreme latitudes (meaning that there are no intercepted houses).

There is also nothing wrong with not using houses. Strict cosmobiologists do not use them.

22-04-2003, 12:00
Here is a link to a fascinating article on the subject of whole-sign houses in classical astrology by one of its leading exponents: http://www.projecthindsight.com/fate.htm

Incidentally, Vedic astrology (also known as Hindu and Jyotish astrology) utilizes whole-sign houses.

22-04-2003, 12:26
Bless you AquarianGoddess and Astraea, I'm on it!

22-04-2003, 19:36
Here is a link with a tiny bit of info about a system invented by Dan Lorey in which he uses neither houses nor signs, just angles and the aspects between planets. A book by him is mentioned, and I actually ordered a used copy of the book from Amazon, just 'cause I was curious about the system.


-- Lee :)

24-04-2003, 05:34
A good book on the origins of the Houses is Deborah Houldings - Houses - Temples of the Sky. You can learn more on her web site http://www.skyscript.co.uk/houprob.html in some detail.

I also use Placidus and I've tried several of the others. As part of one of my Astrology courses I did a comparison of the readings for the same person using three different House systems. Essentially they came out much the same - though the emphasis was shifted in some ways.

The main problem with systems like Placidus is that it breaks down near the poles - where you can end up with the same sign on the MC and on the Ascendant. However, in such cases I tend to fall back on the equal house system.

The ancient Full Sign system is quite an interesting one and a useful book which makes implicit use of it is The Astrology of Rising Signs by Carl Sargent

01-05-2003, 09:50
Hi There. I use houses only when doing a natal chart -- and even there I keep it all to a minimum. I start with the angles, ASC and MC, add in the ASC-to-MC arc and project it towards the DSC angle -- where it falls I lable it a Co-Descendant. This mirror-arc position from the MC seems to be a back door into your chart where fate can just walk in and diddle with you. Its not the DSC where we tend to project onto others, but an unwanted "input" area where others intrude on us.
I use the houses only after first evaluating the angles and planets near the angles, and the stronger aspects in the chart. I believe that this planetary energy provides the basic framework that houses and rulerships have to work within. Since much of my work involves precessed Solar Returns (where the angles move forward each day between one Solar Return and the next) I tend to work only with angles. When an angle and transiting or natal planet contact each other both the basic planet/angle meaning and the natal chart meaning (with all of its aspectual and house meanings) come into play -- and only those planets and angles. This simplifies astrology greatly, doing away with sign and house considerations in 90 percent of your chart work. Its radical but highly workable. I like simplicity probably because I first learned mid-points before conventional chart applications. Dave.

02-05-2003, 01:03
Dadsnook2000--thanks for your feedback! If you're still out there, could you please clarify what projecting the Asc-to-Mc arc means? I'm not familiar with this term, but is seems a very interesting technique. I'm all for simplifying the chart!

02-05-2003, 02:53
Let's use the following example: MC at 5 Pisces, ASC at 0 Cancer. The arc is 115 degrees. Projecting this arc from the MC towards the DSC area of the chart, we would end up at 10 Scorpio. I call this a "Co-Descendant." The important point is that this a sensitive as it makes the mid heaven the mid-point between the the Ascendant and a point in the opposite hemasphere. Instead of a point of "personal expression of one's goals" (the ASC-MC arc) it represents a point of "other's expression impact your personal goals." There are a lot of significant "points" in space and time. If you use solar returns I'll share some more with you. Meanwhile explore the Co-DSC point in your chart for 1) transits and progressions, and 2) interaction with other's charts. Let me know what you might find. Dave.

02-05-2003, 03:50
dadsnook2000--could you tell me if I've calculated correctly?
My MC is 17' Capricorn, my ASC 03' Taurus, therefore the arc is 106' (?).
So my Co-Descendant point is at 01' Libra, right?

I am fascinated by the concept of midpoints, but never know exactly how to interpret what the third point means!

02-05-2003, 04:05
The math is correct, your co-descendant is 01 Libra. Any mid-point combines the expression of the two planets involved or planets and sensitive point (example Mars = Asc/Venus). The mid-point only gains energy when it is transited, progressed or occupied by an natal planet or important point. By itself, the mid-point does nothing but mark a point in space or time. Not many people use Equal Arcs in their practice except as an unrecognized part of Ebertin's Mid-Point process. Noel Tyl did some work with Solar Arc's and a little with equal arc's. Equal arc's can define interesting relationships between sets of planets that otherwise appear to be unrelated. In essence, two pairs of planets, wherein each pair as the same arc between them, actually have a common mid-point -- when it's triggered all four planets (and their natal chart meaning) come into play. Dave.

02-05-2003, 06:57
Thanks dadsnook2000--I certainly will need some time to look over what you've said, and perhaps research Ebertin (again). I've tried learning about mid-points previously, but gave up as it seemed really complicated. I think I'm in over my head...I wonder if there's a "Mid-points for dummies" book out there!

02-05-2003, 08:48
I do know that Noel Tyl has written many books where he uses mid-points and solar arcs. Other than Ebertin's books and some Uranian texts there just doesn't seem to be much. Everyone uses them and shows them in their writings but few talk about them for those that are relatively new to the subject. If you can get a mid-point dial -- a plastic wheel divided into 90 degrees and mounted on a plastic plate. You can purchase paper wheels to mount on them and then just mark in pencil or grease marker the planet positions. After a few minutes it all comes naturally. Dave.

02-05-2003, 18:58
There doesn't seem that much out there - I looked through the catalogue of the Wessex Astrologer - one of the best book suppliers in the UK and couldn't find any book dedicated to midpoints.

Robert Hand does cover them in 'Horoscope Symbols' and they get passing mentions elsewhere but clearly there's a real gap in the market here. I for one would certainly be interested in such a book.

02-05-2003, 19:48
Isn't there a book called "Dial Detective" that approaches midpoints from a beginner's perspective? I don't know firsthand, I'm just parroting what I've read from other sites. I think the author's last name is Simms.

-- Lee

02-05-2003, 21:44
Ebertin's "Applied Cosmobiology" was translated by Heidi Langman and Jin Hove, and edited by Charles Harvey, and printed in Germany. My copy was printed in 1972. This is the most complete and detailed coverage of mid-points that I have seen. Others have covered mid-points which have been known since the practice and writings of an Italian astrologer, Bonito? possibly, several hundred years ago. Just about every computer software program dealing with astrology can calculate and display mid-points, many can also print out the round 90-degree wheel (and a few can do others for harmonics like 5, 7, etc.). The best approach seems to be 1) do a little reading, 2) calculate a chart on your computer, and 3) just plunge into it. The hardest part for some students, in my experience, is adjusting to interpreting three planets in combination. For example, what does Sun/Mars = Saturn mean? While Ebertin has a famous cook book of meanings, the Combination of Stellar Influences (CSI), there is another lesser known book that I greatly value. This book is called Planets in Containment by John Sandbach and Ronn Ballard which doesn't deal with mid-points as they are defined by Ebertin but which deals with planets in sequences of three no matter what the distance or arc is between them. In other words, there doesn't have to be any significant aspect or mid-point, just that three planets are in some sequence. This book is very useful and insightful. Dave.

02-05-2003, 23:19
I noticed 'Planetary Containment' in the catalogue - I'll try and get hold of a copy on your recommendation. I've tried getting Combination of Stellar Influences for some time but it seems to be out of print at the moment.

03-05-2003, 00:51
Before you purchase the book I'll give you a sample of the readings for planetary combinations.
PIC for Saturn-Jupiter-Pluto (Saturn/Pluto = Jupiter): These individuals have an inate capacity for controlling their energies. Rather than getting carried away by their positive urges they have the ability to discipline and temper their exhuberance with caution. They fear getting totally caught up in anything because it would mean losing control. At worst this constitutes a tremendous inhibition of their ability to be spontaneous. They need to allow themselves to be swept away by their own positive force while still maintaining the basic discipline which is natural to them. POSITIVE: Steady enthusiasm persists until victory is won. NEGATIVE: Forcing enthusiasm into an overly narrow channel becomes obsessive.
CSI for Saturn/Pluto = Jupiter: Plainess and simplicity, excessive modesty, the inclination to sacrifice oneself for others, religous and social fanaticism, difficulties caused through illness. PRICIPLE: Hard labour; cruelty. POSITIVE: Tenacity and toughness, endurance, the capability to make record efforts of the highest possible order, the ability to perform the most difficult work with etreme self-discipline, self-denial and renumciation. Magicians and adepts. NEGATIVE: A hard and unfeeling disposition also cold-heartedness, severity, tendency to violence, a fanatical adherenceto one's priciples oce they have been adopted. A martyr.
You can compare these two for their style of expression for the Saturn-Jupiter-Pluto combination. Ebertin's CSI reflected his view of the combination when a mathematical/spatial mid-point existed. PIC reflects the author's experience of planets in sequence no matter what the calculated distance is between them -- in other words, they would rise or culminate in the sequence given. THIS IS IMPORTANT because if the sequence is reversed, there is a different meaning !!!
PIC Pluto-Jupiter-Saturn (Pluto/Saturn = Jupiter): These individuals have a firm belief in the idea that life and the universe are inherently good. The manifest powerful and intense oportunism and enthusiasm. They are learning in this lifetime to combine these factors with a heightened ability for patience and perseverance. At worst, their exuberance can be their most limiting qulity unless they are willing to realize that everything happens in its own good time, and hence there are some things for which they will have to wait. Their absessive enthusiasm achieves power through self-control. POSITIVE: Tremendous enthusiasm manifests outwardly as patience and perseverance. NEGATIVE: Obsessive enthusiasm leads to depression and frustration.
From these excerpts you can see why I hesitated recommending this book to anyone who was new to midpoints. The changes of sequence and the changes in reading the combination do make a difference and may be too much for some. If you, or anyone else reading this post, wants to explore a combination that is in their chart I'll try to respond as long as I don't get overwhelmed. Dave.

03-05-2003, 01:39
dadsnook--that is a very generous offer, and one which I will accept immediately! I won't get into mid-points, I'll just present the sequence idea. Any information you can give me about the pattern in general would be helpful, so speak to any point you like, all info is deeply appreciated. Here's my basic chart pattern:

In Pisces: Saturn (9') Venus (11') Sun (19.6')
In Virgo: Uranus (12') Pluto (15') Mars (18')
Both square Moon in Gemini (17')
A classic 't-square' pattern.

03-05-2003, 05:08
Lee -- the book you are referring to, Dial Detective, is by Maria Kay Simms. It's a great introduction to finding midpoints with a dial, but Simms is a Uranian astrologer, meaning she uses the hypothetical planets postulated by that school -- so, even though the math and wheels are presented in an easy-to-understand fashion, beginners might become confused.

Ebertin's Combination of Stellar Influences remains the classic in the field of midpoints, but Michael Munkasey has written an updated work which frames Ebertin's understandings in a more modern way; the name of the book is Midpoints.

03-05-2003, 05:17
D**n, another one out of stock :(

I tried to get the Munkasey book but Amazon UK say they can't get it and Amazon US only have a CD Rom version offered ABOVE list price (and one only of those).

Anyway its on the (increasingly long) list of books I'm going to buy.

I think the powers that be are conspiring to stop me buying books at the moment. Ah well back to the catalogue.........

03-05-2003, 05:36
sorry dadsnook2000--(darn this mercury retrograde!) when I say 17' I mean degrees, not seconds. I can't find a degrees sign on this keyboard!

03-05-2003, 12:35
We are taking about mid-points and about "containments." Your Moon in Gemini is square the groupings Saturn-Venus-Sun and Uranus-Pluto-Mars. In terms of mid-point structures, you have Moon = Sun/Mars (wide orb) and Sun/Pluto (tighter orb). The other planets are close but not significant in terms of standard mid-point practice.
SUN/PLUTO strives for power; with MOON it surpresses feelings and tends to over-react. SUN/MARS expresses itself with vitality, and purpose; with MOON it is attracted to men-women situations and participation in that polarity. In these cases MOON has to express the SUN/PLUTO and SUN/MARS energies in a MOON-like manner. Where the two SUN combinations can express as leadership, agressive behavior, intense plans on a large scale, etc., the MOON cannot easily adjust to this. As a politician, the MOON would lead based on polls and the advice of others. As a actor, the MOON would portray agressive roles. In any subordinate role, the MOON would identify with and carry out the actual or perceived orders and wishes of the boss.
In your chart, Moon is in a "containment" pattern of JUPITER-MOON-URANUS. MOON will take from, and build upon, the JUPITER energy and direct it thru or toward an URANUS expression -- all in a MOON-manner. This translates into: These individual impressions are expansive and varied. Rather than be overwhelmed by emotions, they need to attain comple freedom from them. By manifesting enthusiasm in a forthright manner they can accomplish this. They year for a rich liveliness, within and around themselves. They will find it where they function as completely liberated uninhibited sprits. In this lifetime they desire social conact yet need freedom from social restrictions. (This is "book.")
We can briefly look at several other pairings.
SATURN-VENUS-SUN: Values well gronded. Possible limiting of vision and slowness to make decisions about goals. Balanced, knows self-worth. Cautious in love and relationships.
URANUS-PLUTO-MARS: Individualistic. Compulsive. How to guide this energy away from self destruction. Independent initiatives lead to accomplishments.
VENUS-SUN-MERCURY: This common pattern (thank heaven) communicates love. Constantly. Hopefully love is directed and purposful -- not wasted where it can't grow. Avoid vacilation.
Using these "containment" interpretations, we'd have to shade their meanings from the mid-planet taking from the first and expressing it through the latter, to the first and last planet expressing itself through the middle or second planet. THIS IS THE DIFFERENCE. Why is it important to understand this? Mid-points express a basic combination through the mid-point planet whether it is capable or not. Containments do not require us to do calculations but to just take the first planet's energies and modify them by the second planet's qualities to express themselves through the third planet. It is easier, doesn't require calculations, and can be used in sun-sign charts without a time of birth. NOW, look again at your chart. Your moon is reasonably square two groupings of planets, both groupings being basically opposite each other. In mid-point structures, only the Sun, Mars, and Pluto have a mid-point occupied by the Moon (given the tight orbs used for mid-points). Do you express the bigger t-square? Do the containment pictures I noted "ring true" for you. Note that we haven't considered the ASC and MC angles in any of this. Let me know what you think about all or any of this. Dave.

04-05-2003, 03:05
dadsnook2000--thank you so much for your analysis of my chart pattern.
Your comments about midpoint Moon=Sun/Pluto and Sun/Mars make a great deal of sense to me. I am very interested as an artist and activist in issues of gender equality, domestic violence, gay rights etc. This is a perfect expression of these powerful, aggressive energies and how they don't 'work' with softer Moon qualities! Would trines or sextiles to Sun, Pluto or Mars help this rather dire aspect pattern? (I have Neptune at 19.9 degrees Scorpio and Jupiter at 21.5 degrees Taurus). Perhaps this is too wide an orb? Also, you asked about the ASC axis. My ASC is 3 degrees Taurus, which I believe lies at the midpoint of Sun and Moon...is this significant?

You spoke about Jupiter-Moon-Uranus and Venus-Sun-Mercury containment patterns which confuses me as I didn't give you those planetary positions in my original post. My mercury is "unaspected" at 3 degrees Aries.

The other "containment patterns" Saturn/Venus/Sun and Uranus/Pluto/Mars struck me a somewhat accurate, although not as specifically accurate as the midpoints. I will definitely take some time to blend the energies (of middle planet as taking from the first and expressing through the last etc.) to see if this rings true.

In summary, I have always tried to interpret the T-square mentioned in light of the houses they fell in, and I never really got a satisfactory understanding. Your mid-point analysis seems accurate and well worth pursuing. Perhaps if others are interested, we could start a thread on midpoints (if you're up to it dadsnook!)?

04-05-2003, 06:40
For littleneptune and any others interested . . .
We could do a listing for mid-points & containments both. Some use the book translations interchangably although that isn't exactly appropriate. I learned mid-points almost before I learned about houses and signs, so I've always done "simple" astrology. Most of my work in astrology (since I'm shifting strongly to tarot) is in the use of Solar Returns (precessed) and prediction. But in the interest of sharing my expereiences with both mid-points (extensive) and containments (modest, growing use) I would be glad to get a thread going. I'm not sure if those of us who are "new" to this listing are encouraged to start threads, but I'll check into it. The only way to determine interest may be to just start a thread going with a statement of interest and see shows up. Dave.

04-05-2003, 07:31

By all means feel free to start a thread - as often as you wish, this is your forum as much as anyone elses and you have lots to offer

04-05-2003, 08:06
Dave--please don't feel pressured to continue in astrology if you need to focus on tarot! I just thought that IF others are interested in asking questions about mid-points, you would definitely be a source of great expertise...I will leave it to others to ask questions, as I have taken up much of your time :)

06-05-2003, 12:38
For littleneptune and other interested.
You asked several questions. I'll answer some following this quote:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by littleneptune
[B]dadsnook2000--thank you so much for your analysis of my chart pattern.
Your comments about midpoint Moon=Sun/Pluto and Sun/Mars make a great deal of sense to me. I am very interested as an artist and activist in issues of gender equality, domestic violence, gay rights etc. This is a perfect expression of these powerful, aggressive energies and how they don't 'work' with softer Moon qualities! Would trines or sextiles to Sun, Pluto or Mars help this rather dire aspect pattern? (I have Neptune at 19.9 degrees Scorpio and Jupiter at 21.5 degrees Taurus). Perhaps this is too wide an orb? Also, you asked about the ASC axis. My ASC is 3 degrees Taurus, which I believe lies at the midpoint of Sun and Moon...is this significant?

First, Sun/Moon = ASC. This pattern fits with your previous comments as you (Asc.) express both the male-female concerns and roles in society (Sun and Moon), ones sense of individuality versus ones reactive role with others, leadership and support roles. Some would view this as an integrated personality, others might see a dynamic balance where several individual roles favoring one or the other contribute to an overall balance, while some might find a push-pull aspect to this mid-point pattern. Secondly, the Neptune-Jupiter trine is supportive in that it can bring satisfaction to neptune-related situations -- but it can also result in an "overfeeding" and later unsatisfaction if expectations become unproductive. Jupiter and Neptune suggest that larger groups of people are involved in your life. Trines and sextiles don't "work" within mid-points as commonly practiced. This brings us to a third point. Mid-points, IMHO, should not be totally relied upon for chart deliniation. The Sun-Moon-ASC-MC parameters should always be kept in mind as a significant backdrop for the mid-point structures to work within. Just as your large T-sqaure pattern can't be ignored when assessing your chart, the mid-point structure does not bring all of those planets/groups together. They can provide a focus but not an exclusive picture. Dave. PS: I am still thinking about initiating a mid-point and containment thread. I have a Boy Scout web-site to finish and an exhibit to finish planning for the local Historical Society on carousel horses (a hobby of mine; a circle of beasts -- carousels and the zodiac have much in common).

06-05-2003, 21:43
Going back to the original subject, I prefer Alcabitus or Porphyry house systems. These two systems produce results that are quite close to each others. I haven't ruled out Placidus yet. Koch is out of the question for me, I was born at quite a high latitude so my chart doesn't work at all with the Koch system.

06-05-2003, 22:10
Hello C.N. Isn't it interesting that the two house systems you prefer are both calculated differently. The Alcabitus method projects hour circles onto a diurnal circle that cuts through the Ascendant while the Porphyry method more simply trisects quadrants of the ecliptic. According to my limited resources there is actually a big difference between the house sizes of these two house systems. There would seem to be more of a resultant similarity between the Porphyry and Placidus. This seems to hold true for most latitudes below 60 degrees. May I ask, do you time progressions or transits against house cusps? If so, which seems to work best. I haven't experienced much success with most house systems and have given up -- just working with the angles of the chart and "eye balling" the inbetween areas. Dave.

07-05-2003, 01:00
No, I don't do detailed prediction work with house cups. About Porphyry & Alcabitus, the variations in house cups is about max 4 degrees in my natal chart, while it reaches 12 degrees between Porphyry & Placidus. There could be something wrong with my astro calculation program, however.

07-05-2003, 04:56
The resultant house cusps and apparent arc-size of the houses are greatly affected by which signs and degrees are on the angles. As an example, if you had Aquarius rising your MC might be in Sag, only some 60 plus degrees away where if a summer sign like Cancer was rising your MC would be some 110 degrees or more away from the Asc. These arcs, because of the way they are tri-sected can vary greatly in some cases given the two differing calculation methods for your favorite houses. AS A FUN EXERCISE run several birth charts for each system where you change the "birth time" by, say, three hours and then see what kind of distortion occurs between the house systems. Dave

07-05-2003, 06:30
dadsnook2000--Your insights about Sun/Moon=Asc are again spot on. I HIGHLY value the "integrated personality" as you put it, both in myself and in others. This has even spilled over into my tarot interpretations, where I cannot separate so-called 'masculine' and 'feminine' traits so easily. I always seem to find the potential in every person for the expression of BOTH, in order to obtain a 'complete' person!

Next, you said: "The Sun-Moon-ASC-MC parameters should always be kept in mind as a significant backdrop for the mid-point structures to work within." I would be fascinated to see your method for chart deliniation in action, ie. the steps you take in analyzing the angles, planets, so as to understand how the mid-points come into the picture (I'm assuming you don't place great emphasis on signs). If you ever feel like sharing your method, you can even use my birth date as"guinea pig" if required. P.S. I love to photograph carousels. I never understood why until you mentioned the astrology wheel...perhaps there is a subconscious connection!

To CN--I had never heard of the Alcabitus house system until you mentioned it in your post. I will definitely try this house method if it is available as an online chart deliniation option. It's interesting that you still consider Placidus but not Koch. I was under the impression that both systems dissolved at high latitudes...

07-05-2003, 06:59
Littleneptune, both dissolves above the polar circle, but Koch looks ridiculous (two houses occupies 50% of the chart) at my birth latitude (63:50N), while Placidus still looks acceptable.