View Full Version : Choosing a House System
I'm trying to choose a house system for analysing my natal chart. The advice I've generally seen on the web is to try out the various systems and to pick the one that works best for me.
(1) Apart from such empirical approach, are there any pointers you have for those perplexed by the variety of house systems? I was born essentially around the 49th Parallel North. I would use computers rather than a manual ephemeris, and therefore the availability of a house-specific manual ephermeris is not an issue.
(2) The house system that attracts me so far is the Equal House System, for its simple elegance and its historicity. Is that the system the same as the Whole Sign House system?
(3) A problem cited with the Equal House System (EHS) is that, under such system, the Midheaven, the highest point in the sky, is not the cusp of the 10th house which is important in view of the 10th house issues being similar to the Midheaven issues. That problem doesn't concern me much, but I'm wondering if there are any other negative ramifactions of using the EHS. For instance, does the EHS's Midheaven otherwise have adverse effects, e.g., calculating and interpreting transits, progressions, etc.?
Thanks in advance!
There's a lot of Astrological snobbery about House systems - especially the view that the Equal House system is for beginners and anyone with any knowledge will go on and use a 'better' system.
The Equal House System is not quite the same as the whole sign system - the latter takes the sign in which your Ascendant lies as being your first House, whatever the degree of your Ascendant. For example my Ascendant is 23 degrees 27 minutes Leo. Under the Equal House system my first House begins at that point and extends to 23 degrees 27 minutes Virgo and so on through the signs. Thus each sign has a House cusp at s3 degrees 27 minutes Under the Whole Sign System my first House begins at 0 degrees Leo, the second at 0 Virgo, etc Thus Mars, Saturn and Pluto all in Leo are in my twelfth House in every other House system but are in my first House using Whole Signs.
The 'problem' with the MC can be overcome as whether you use a computer or do the calculations manually, you will get the MC as part of the calculation and table reading process. You can incorporate the MC into your analysis of tenth House matters.
The EHS is better than any other system at high latitudes North or South, so for people in the North of Canada or Scotland or in Scandanavia this is a good system to choose.
Lastly if you do use a computer program, most will allow you to change the House System extremely easily (switching back and forth between systems) - so over time you can try out the other systems and see what effects they have on your reading. Then go for what works best for you.
Just a few more things about the Equal House system. I believe it became popular in Great Britain when some well-respected astrology educators decided to promote it because of its relative simplicity when hand-calculating charts, and thus many British students were taught this system.
I've recently read on the internet some astrologer saying that in his personal experience, of those astrologers who decide on a house system after experimenting with several (as opposed to using the system their teacher used), 90% of them choose the Equal House. But of course this is only anecdotal.
Personally, I'm drawn at this point to simplicity (as with the Equal House or Whole House systems), and I'm not sure I see the benefit of systems arrived at by complex calculations, when all of them seem kind of arbitrary.
Complexity of calculation is only worth it if the resulting system gives you better results. As I've posted elsewhere (in the Aeclectic thread to be precise), House systems can only be judged in relation to the reader (Astrologer) using them.
Any House system attempts to convert three dimensional space into two dimensional space and as such is only a representation of 'reality' (and it can obviously be argued that three dimensional space is not all there is to 'reality'). Therefore no House system is accurate. Each has it's strengths and weaknesses and therefore works better for some rather than others.
If the Equal House System works well for you then use it. It is always worth having a look at the other systems if you have a computer because it stimulates questions about any differences - but at the end of the day, it is the reader who matters, not the House system, which is only a tool of the reader.
I agree. I was only speaking for myself -- that's why I said "personally." :)
There have been prior threads on houses and which is best, etc.
The primary thing to keep in mind, IMHO, is that many of the house systems are based on the ASC and MC angles relative to the time and place one was born. This makes these types of house systems more "personel" than other types of house systems. The ASC-MC based systems utilize different calculation formats that divide the semi-arcs by distance or by time of sign ascention. There are systems that utilize the various measuring or locational approaches relative to the equator or the plane of the zodiac. Then there is the Equal House system and others that use a single reference point and apply even/equal spaces to each succeding house. There are reasons for using one versus another depending upon how you want to look at a chart or even depending upon the configuration of a chart. For instance, if you had a stellium of personal planets in your rising sign/house you might want to use a time based semi-arc dividing system to better appreciate the meaning of planet sequences. If some planets were outer planets and the declination was highly variable, you might want to use an MC based system or equatorial based system to see which one actually rose ahead of the others -- zodiac sequence does not always apply when we look at declinations when there is a higher birth latitude to consider. Its a complex subject. You might want to research the whole issue before just casually choosing which house system to apply to your chart. Dave.