View Full Version : Houses: Backwards?

15-11-2004, 14:36
Recent questions concerning Houses have caused me to wonder
whether anything about these systems is valid insofar as Houses
are specifically seen as a determining factor in any consideration.

To begin with, rather than providing a convenient reference they
are arranged so as to occur in a weirdly backwards progression...

House-wise, the Cons are beginning to outweigh the Pros. :(

isthmus nekoi
16-11-2004, 01:59
Hi Fulgour,

You might want to talk to dadsnook2000 about this - he does great interpretations by focusing on planetary aspects instead of signs or houses.

Also, I'm curious - it sounds like you've compiled a mental list there - what would you consider the pros or cons to be for house systems? Also, I'm not sure what you mean by backwards, would you mind explaining?

16-11-2004, 07:58
Thank you, isthmus nekoi, and Dave!

Quoting: dadsnook2000
14-09-2004 (http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p=360677#post360677)

Consider first the zodiac and the equal house system. Both are defined as having 12 equal segments measured as 30 degrees. Now consider the standard aspects -- most are based on one or more 30 degree increments. There are, of course, the semi-square (45 degrees) and the 135 degree aspects that are also quite common, but the most common aspects used are multiple increments of 30 degrees. One could look at these characteristics and decide that the equal house system is the most natural.

So, what is the rational of all the other house systems? We know that they are more or less distorted in terms of house size/coverage relative to locational latitude. What does this mean to us? We experience seasonal changes wherein the Sun is above the horizon longer than below it, and then it all flip flops. We have to ask, "Is change and distortion more natural than evenness and regularity?

Now that we have two right answers (or two wrong answers), do we have other choices? Yes! Don't use any house system. How could you not use any house system? You could just use the angles (they are the same in almost every house system). Now, we have three choices -- Equal segments, Unequal segments, or just the chart Angles which are often bigger unequal segments unless the ASC to MC arc happens to be 90 degrees.

If, at this point, one is confused about house systems (even before we get deeper into them) we could choose to abandon conventional charts and use the awesome mid-point system wherein signs and houses are not primary factors. And then there are other choices, for instance you could go vedic. Or just rely on Tarot.

If we wish to get back to actual house systems, then we should look at several of them, understand in broad terms how they are different, and then consider what their strengths are and where we should or might apply them.

*** The Porphory House system divides the ASC-MC arc and the MC-DSC arc equally. This leads to narrow houses on one side of the MC and wide houses on the other side -- all the narrow houses being equal in size and all of the wide housed being equal in size. This doesn't fit with equal house, zodiac or aspect relationships AND it doesn't make for a smooth distortion of the houses. Perhaps we should throw the Porphory system out or at least hold judgement on it.

*** Regiomontanus and Campanus House Systems. The Regiomontanus House system divides the equator equally and projects the house cusps onto the ecliptic -- a blend of equal and distortion systems. This may not be bad. The Campanus does the same thing except that it projects from 30 degree segments from the Prime Vertical. Perhaps we can say that if you want to do an experience or sensation oriented chart you should use Regiomontanus (based on the ASC & equator) and if you want a consciousness based chart you could use the Campanus (based on houses projected from the prime vertical and MC/IC axis.

*** The Morinus House system uses a different method of equal-equator divisions and projections wherein the ASC is defined as being 90 degrees from the MC's longitude -- perhaps this is a balanced Self and Experience system, perhaps useful for a spiritual chart reading.

If there is a valid basis for any house system then there has to be a reason for using it and not another -- hence astrologers use that which "feels" good. In fact, they ought to know why they choose and use a house system and how to interpret the chart based on that house system. As far as I can see almost every astrologer makes no difference in interpretation based on the house system they use. This should give you something to think about. Dave.

16-11-2004, 08:20
...I'm curious - it sounds like you've compiled a mental list there - what would you consider the pros or cons to be for house systems? Also, I'm not sure what you mean by backwards, would you mind explaining?
A Progression of Temporal Models

I have begun to feel the stars by facing east and flowing forward.
The imagined ring of Signs extends forward also, in as much as
if the Sun is in Scorpio, continuing eastward travels to the next
higher Sign (Sagittarius), while if I look straight up, we go back
through Libra, Virgo, etc.

But what of the Houses? They remain fixed in place, so that facing
to the east the horizon is forever 1st House down, 12th House up,
and so on, not at all following the course of the Sun or time of day.
Yet Houses are given attributions modelled on a temporal progress.

"Houses" end up as simply "areas of influence" based upon the
Natural Signs and Rulerships ~ such as 1st House Aries & Mars.
Whatever it is one is supposed to do when applying a House to
events other than its Natural Sign and Rulership seems abstract.

16-11-2004, 10:17
"Houses" end up as simply "areas of influence" based upon the
Natural Signs and Rulerships ~ such as 1st House Aries & Mars.
Whatever it is one is supposed to do when applying a House to
events other than its Natural Sign and Rulership seems abstract.
End of Quote

I would tend to look at this quite differently. We are born, our consciousness is more fully and sharply tuned to a larger and more complex enviornment which we are not very familiar with. IF, if astrology has meaning as it is construed for us and by us, then the eastern horizon -- as it rises, or as the earth line falls relative to the star field -- exposes us to new stars, planets and what the astrological influence is. This is an immediate imprint upon us. Over the next hour to two hours we are taking in an imprint. This is the first house experience. (We wont't consider for now what "sign" may be there).

As moment pass we take in other experiences; we are fed, taken care of, comforted, etc. All of these things tend to calm us down from the birth experience and make us feel "one with the world." This is our second house experience; feeling good, liking our environment.

Another hour or two passes and we better realize and experience sensations and sounds and touch, including our own noises and touchy-feely experience. This is our awareness of communication basics.

We can go through all of the houses in such a way. Lets not. But, lets now consider what might happen as planets rise within these houses. The Moon rises at or just after birth. The astrological influence, what ever it actually is, addes the force of "need" to our experience of selfhood. We may be imprinted with a stronger than typical NEED to experience and become aware of what is around us. Later in adult life this may emerge as autism (we want to be cared for), emotional outbursts (we want the world to pay attention to us), exhuberance (we want to experience everyone elses life as well as our own and to share in it), acting (we want to give our life to others and to influence them), etc.

Lets us now say that no other astrological body rises up over the horizon for several hours. Then, presto, up comes Saturn in a zone we measure as and call the fourth house. We had the Moon, then nothing, and now we have a letdown, a disappointed, an energy that we don't know how to internalize, an energy that leaves us feeling wary, uncertain, less sure of how to reach out. We have, now, fourth house values that prompt us to be protective about who and what we are, less prone to pursue those needs that we felt earlier. We have a conflict. Inside us. Ouch. And I'm only fiver hours old or so. Of course I won't realize this problem and be able to nicely articulate for some period of time but -- maybe I'll be picky about who I respond to. I'll like Mom cause she feeds me but I'll hold back from Dad and the others cause they don't give me anything I want.

So the scenario goes. We can visualize a progression of influences that fits with the first day, and which can be expanded up and paralleled to apply to bigger chunks of life, longer periods of time, etc. This is how I see the basis of the house systems in terms of their meanings if not their measurements.

Edited to add the following.
I don't see a basis for applying the natural signs of rulership to the houses such as Mars/Aries to the first house, etc. The signs were originally markers in the sky for an agricultural and hunter based society. Certain stars and star patterns that rose or set at given times of the year related to floods, cold weather, or other natual changes that people had to adapt to to take advantage of some things and avoid other things. After awhile, records and folklore pointed to planets taking on certain modified expressions when located in those signs or star patterns. Those were whole, outer-world influences. The houses seemed to be more inner and me-you relationship oriented influences.

I hope this helps to either make things clearer or to promote a dialog that is useful. Dave.

16-11-2004, 11:38
Over the next hour to two hours we are taking in an imprint. This is the first house experience. (We won't consider for now what "sign" may be there).
As moment pass we take in other experiences; we are fed, taken care of, comforted, etc. All of these things tend to calm us down from the birth experience and make us feel "one with the world." This is our second house experience; feeling good, liking our environment.
Another hour or two passes and we better realize and experience sensations and sounds and touch, including our own noises and touchy-feely experience. This is our awareness of communication basics.

Excellent points, and I was glad that your earlier post was available
for this thread, a very fine synopsis on the various House constructs.

Yet if I were born at 6 a.m. my first few hours would be in the 12th
House, followed by the 11th House, and by Noon, through the 10th.

All through the first day, I would be experiencing each of the Houses,
but in reverse order (12th through to 1st) up to 6 a.m., my second day.

Similarly, if I were born at Midnight, my first hours would be in the
3rd, 2nd, and 1st Houses. All why I now find myself questioning this.

Unless... (aha!) I'm moving Eastwards!

16-11-2004, 12:17
At the moment of birth, or at any moment such as "now, there is a whole hemisphere (or six houses) above us. That's a lot to take in, perhaps an "impossible lot" to realize in terms of six unique houses.

Meanwhile we have a single new house, a new zone of influence coming into view bit by bit -- this is new, this is different from all that is above. That is a broad, too much to uniquely experience amount of space. What is rising is narrower, newer, more impactful. This is what sinks into our being.

But, wait, perhaps there is some thing to consider here. Let's say that Jupiter is right overhead as the Moon rises. Moon run amock, crazy great stuff here. I'm bursting out. My NEEDS are highly fueled by Jupiter.

Several hours later as the Moon reaches high overhead, Jup is falling out of sight, out of influence. Where did Jup go? And who is this Saturn that poping up. Yuk. Now the complex is really charged. Saturn-Moon-Jupiter T-Square -- ooooh. It's going to be 12 hours before Jup comes into play again, just in time to kick Saturn out. Of course, Moon will be long gone. Now we a Jupiter influence re-established but now driving Need and no Limitation forces. Then it all happens again. Moon, then Saturn in conflict with Jupiter who leaves again. One, then the other. Is this what an opposition is about. We gain, we lose, we wonder, we experience, we change.

So, what's above can influence us. But that is not a house influence. The house influences are sequential and continuously rise into experience. The planets are individualizing forces within that experience of houses. Dave.

17-11-2004, 00:07
I always think of the Sun as moving, but for practical purposes
it does not ~ it is the Earth that moves, turning ever eastwards.

So, at the moment of birth, what "fixes" our place isn't the Sun,
but the Point of the Ascendant ~ poised on the cusp of the 12th
house and the 1st. Then as the Earth turns eastwards we begin
to move through the houses. Not the Sun's height or position,
not its seeming movement across the sky, but our "fixed" spot,
beginning from the position of due East at the moment of birth.

The Houses remain in position, as the Earth turns eastwards, and
this requires a huge amount of concentration for me to imagine.

Daily we are going "down, under and around, counter clockwise"
moving through the Houses, regardless of the position of the Sun.

In a twenty-four hour day, each House gets a two hour daily visit.
But how would any of that make a difference simply all by itself?


17-11-2004, 01:12
The "house" or zone of space and star-field that appears to rise up as the eastern horizon falls down presents something new to the person just born or relative to the event that has just happened. What is this "newness" that is presented?

If the Sun, at that moment, is up in the sky somewhere above and visible, the Sun will change its position. Likewise, any other astrological bodies that are above will change their position(s). As time passes, things change. It is the "change" that makes an impression on us in my opinion. What changes? Well, the Sun or other astrological body may "set" or disappear at the western horizon. All of a sudden at some moment following birth, and after we have taken in an astrological pattern, something is different. The rising House has therefore associated itself with a "change" -- that is one single component.

The second component of that or any "change" is that some period of time has passed. During the time that the first house rises in our new physical experience we are just beginning to experience life and this environment. Whatever changes makes a strong personal impact on us -- we may not understand it but we can sense it.

The same applies when an astrological body rises or appears at the eastern horizon -- a change has occured. And it has occured just as we are getting used to being here. It grabs our attention in some way.

Now, as time passes (perhaps several hours later) and we are a little more laid back and feeling somewhat more at ease with our new life (or following a new event in our life), another change may occur. A planet may rise or fall into sight or out of sight, or it may culminate at the high point above us. OR, and I repeat -- or, two bodies may appear, culminate or disappear at about the same moment. This is an important change. Note that these bodies do not have to be in a close aspect as measured along the zodiac. They just do something at/about the same time.

This last statement leads us to the possible discussion about why "aspects" are not the only power behind planetary relationships and patterns. Most software programs can provide a listing of when planets rise, fall, culimate or reach a nadir position. If you check these tables and find two/more planets that do something at/near the same point in time -- well, you need to view these as being very much like a powerful aspect. They are the "change" events that were talked about above.

So, in summary . . .
Houses are a personal reference framework to measure our experience. They measure change in two ways; by the relative passage of time (and we are very aware of the 24 hour cycle long before we are born) and by the change that occurs at various points within the 24 hour cycle -- change being primarily the astrological bodies that come and go singly or in combination.

Fulgour, your questions have provided a nice framework for this discussion which is being followed by a great number of other list members. It is the sort of topic that does not seem to be covered deeply in books, so I believe it is helpful to all of us to review.

Now, I would like to propose an exercise for those who have observed our conversation! Imagine in your chart that either the Moon or the first planet that would rise after your birth was not there, but somewhere else in your chart. How might you be different? This is the same as asking what would you be like if born a day earlier or later? It can be an interesting exercise for many as it would astrologically impact our personality and the approach we take to living our lives. Try it. And join in, all of you, in this conversation. Dave.

17-11-2004, 01:32
Hi, Fulgour. Just wanted to add that you might enjoy reading The Real Astrology and The Real Astrology Applied by John Frawley, available through Amazon and one of my favorite places to purchase astrology books and tarot materials, http://www.astroamerica.com. Frawley offers an excellent explanation of the differences between signs and houses, how they came to be differentiated, and what the two frameworks represent from the allied standpoints of astronomy and philosophy. While Frawley practices medieval astrology and has very strong opinions regarding some modern practices, it is not necessary to accept those in order to appreciate his lucid explanations of the relationship between "mechanics" and human understanding. Also, Deborah Houlding's book about houses provides a wealth of information about the astronomy and rationale underlying house systems; you can download her book (entitled The Houses) or read it on-line at http://www.skyscript.co.uk.

17-11-2004, 02:02
Published in 1973, before computers were available to most of us, Dona Marie Lorenz wrote her book, "Tools of astrology -- Houses." While much of the book is given over to tables of houses, significant coverage is given to charting out the relative sizes of different house systems for different times of the day/year as well as explaining the technical aspects of how the houses and measured and calculated and what the philosophy behind those approaches means.

Michael P. Munkasey wrote a nice piece on the use of house systems in the appendix of Robert elletier's book, Planets in Houses.

Thanks for your information, Astraea. I'm off to check the links you provided. Dave.

isthmus nekoi
17-11-2004, 03:13
Fascinating discussion :)

Your question, Dave, touches a little into astrocartography. For those who don't know, the practice proposes that if you were born somewhere where Jupiter was placed weakly for example, you could move elsewhere, where Jupiter *would* have been placed more strongly - on your ASC, for example and hopefully you would be able to feel Jupiter's influence more - if that's what you'd like.

I was born in Toronto, so that puts Mars on my ASC/1st and Uranus on my MC. But if I were born elsewhere at the exact same time, a different planet(s) would have been on my ASC/MC............ Unfortunatly, I love this city too much to move lol.

Back to the original question. I'm not sure I would have liked a different planet on my ASC. Mars in 1st gave me an incredible defiance, will power and aggression in my youth which was very necessary then although we could probably attribute a good deal of this drive to a Mars-Pluto square. But perhaps having nothing there in 1st, or worse, a wimpy planet like Neptune (sorry) would have made me weaker and too empathetic and receptive for my childhood environment. I also wouldn't like to do w/o my moon's sextiles...

17-11-2004, 03:50
I've started going through the Skyscripts book on houses. I'm happy to see an author who understands the fundamentals and doesn't just run off at the mouth as if he/she had just finished a day's study of astrology. Unfortunately we see a lot of the shallow stuff being repeated by many who are starting their astrological studies -- I hope this discussion and others on this list, as well as the thoughtful work of our moderators will help to correct simplistic approaches to astrology. Real astrology can be simple, but it first has to be true to itself and stay within its evolution of development of proof. Thanks again for that link. I've placed it in my "favorites" and will continue my reading of it. Dave.

17-11-2004, 04:47
I couldn't agree with you more, Dave! Glad you are enjoying Houlding's book and site. It's easy to spend hours at Skyscript, and every minute there has been rewarding to me.

18-11-2004, 10:09
As hard as I am trying to separate Houses from Signs
they keep coming back together ~ as if magnetized...

It really seems to me that the Sign and House are the same.
Scorpio is all about the 8th House: how can they be apart?

18-11-2004, 11:21
The astrological SIGNS are, or were, based on star patterns that rose at sunset in the ancient world. At the time of their rising they acted as time or seasonal markers that were directly related to the yearly cycle of rains, floods, best time to plant, start of the harvest, hunting seasons, change of seasons in terms of weather, etc. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the star fields or constellations have shifted and do not mark as accurately the seasons as they once did. No big deal as we now have calendars that tell us when to plant, etc.

The SIGNS rise at sunset at different points in the year because (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT) they relate to the orbital path of the Earth around the Sun. This is a world-wide phenomena, this is common, shared experience for everyone at the same times during the year. The signs, as they are now mathematically defined and as they were visually defined in ancient time, are used as a measuring reference for placing the location and marking the movement of the planets.

Now, for HOUSES. Houses are divisions of the daily rotational cycle of the earth. One of the early reasons for dividing the daily cycle in parts was for military watches and for swapping rowers on ships that were powered by oars. While an eight-fold division of the daily cycle was used, yielding 3-hour segments, the more common twelve-fold division was adopted more widely. This provided two-hour segments.

About the time of the Greek's establishment of city states, there was some attempts to correlate these divisons of time into astrological charts to show what was rising, culminating and setting at the time of birth. Of course, some signs in the northern hemisphere rose slowly while others rose more quickly -- this is mathematically dependent upon latitude and the tilt of the earth relative to the plane of its orbit during the year, and the rotational placement of the earth during the daily cycle for a particular location. That aside, (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT) house divisions relate to a daily cycle for a given location and is therefore personal instead of widely shared by the world. As a house rises, any portion of any sign may be congruent with it. For the most part, there is NO MATCH UP BETWEEN A HOUSE"S ZONE AND THE STAR-BASED SIGN'S ZONE. Yes, once a day there is a match up that last for a couple of minutes, about 1/2 of one percentage of the 24 hour period -- a little more if you want to fudge it and be overly generous.

The HOUSE FRAMEWORK is one of personal experience. The SIGN FRAMEWORK is one of shared, world-wide communal experience. SIGNS move smoothly and progressively across the sky. HOUSES move faster, slower and variably (in terms of time/speed) across the sky. Houses are not signs, signs are not houses.

Signs have gradually become associated with "temperments and forms of expression" that are abscribed as modifiers of planetary energies. Houses have become associated with "areas of life and the expressional focus" of planetary energies. If you remember anything, remember this.

The Moon will tend to be quick to respond to stimuli when in Aries, but it will seek approval and attention when in the first house. Those are two totally different statements.

Hope this helps you, Fulgour, as well as the large number of readers following this thread. It is a very important distinction to be able to grasp if one is to become adept at astrology. Dave.