What Each House Means in Astrology: The game of life

Houses in astrology are 12 areas that the birth chart is divided into. Every house describes a particular area of life. Planets and signs in a house suggest the ideal way to navigate those parts of life. Houses indicate what to expect in that area, but also clues to best move through them.

The houses in astrology can be described as the verbs in your life. They symbolize what you have done, are doing, and will do in your future. The character of the signs and motivations of the planets in your birth chart are put into action through these 12 houses.

a row of pastel painted houses

Each house represents a distinct area or realm of life, specific relationships, or personal, reflective work you must do within. Just like with anything in life, there are positive ways to approach things and not so positive ways that create more challenges. The houses system is no different. Below is a very generic description of the territory of life each house represents.

What Each House Means in Astrology

HouseAstrological House Meaning
1st HouseHouse of Self, Ascendant or rising sign, identity, personality, our social mask, how we come at life, how we perceive the world
2nd HouseHouse of Money, finances, investments, earnings, possessions, spending, how we view money, our sense of self-worth
3rd HouseHouse of Communication, interaction with familiar people and environments, thinking, talking, listening, learning, common sense
4th HouseHouse of Home, IC or Imum Coeli, the soul, our home, self-knowledge, the unconscious, environment we make for ourselves
5th HouseHouse of Children, self-expression, play, our children, how we parent, pleasure, how we find joy, need for attention
6th HouseHouse of Servants, work, tasks done to help others, those who do work for us, our health, how we do our jobs
7th HouseHouse of Marriage, Descendant or DC, ability to see from another’s perspective, marriage, business partnership
8th HouseHouse of Death, our feelings about death, transformation, instinctive feelings, and behaviors, sexuality
9th HouseHouse of Long Journeys, faith, values, world view, higher education, long-distance travel, new routines, finding meaning in life
10th HouseHouse of Career, Midheaven, Medium Coeli or MC, our reputation, social status, career, achievements, our destiny
11th HouseHouse of Friends, social groups, future plans, goals, aspirations, direction in life, teams
12th HouseHouse of Troubles, transcendental experiences, seclusion, mysticism, letting go to a higher power, addiction

How to Read a House

These are very broad generalizations of the houses, but they can begin to give you a taste of how your life’s astrological map could unfold. Here is a quick guide to get you started reading your houses!

1. Get a copy of your natal chart

If you don’t already have a copy of your birth chart, you can get a free birth chart at Astrodienst. Sign up on the website, enter your exact time and place of birth, and your chart will be created. You can also have charts made for your friends and loved ones and Astrodienst will store them on their site for free!

2. Choose a house to explore

Choose a house that you would like to work on. This could be an area of life that you are curious about, or you could select a house that looks like it has one or more planets in it as these will be significant houses for you. Write down the keywords for that house from the table above.

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3. Find which sign is on the house cusp

Your house may cover more than one sign. Some astrologers take both of these signs into consideration when reading a birth chart, but not all of them. To keep things simple, just figure out which sign is on the “cusp” of the house. The cusp is a birth chart line that has the house number next to it.

the 11th house in a birth chart

You can see that in the chart above, Aries is on the cusp of the 11th house. Whichever sign the cusp line is pointing to is the sign that is in that particular house in your chart.

Find information about the characteristics, needs, and motivations of that sign.

4. Do some astrological brainstorming

Now that you have figured out the sign of the house and have gathered some information about the traits of that sign, it is time to use your intuition as well as your logic!

Ask yourself, how would the archetype of this Zodiac sign, or the character of the sign, handle the areas of life that this house covers? What would be their fears? What would motivate them? How might they react to some of these situations? Write down any scenarios or possibilities you can think of.

Astrology doesn’t come with clear-cut, defined answers. It really is something that requires a little psychology, some analytical thinking and listening to your instincts.

EXAMPLE: Capricorn on the cusp of your 2nd house. Capricorn is a sign that is responsible, persistent, goal-oriented, and has a strong work ethic. They are motivated to push themselves to overcome a challenge and are capable of an incredible amount of self-discipline. Capricorn fears not living up to its potential and not “making something of itself.” So in the 2nd house that covers finances and feelings of self-worth, Capricorn may bring a great ambition to earn and save money. They may set financial goals and deny themselves impulse buys so that they can take care of their responsibilities and have enough savings set aside for retirement.

5. Consider planets sitting in that house

Find the house on your chart and see if any planets inhabit it. Planets in houses indicate that the territory of that house will be significant in your life. There are lessons that needed to be learned there and the planets will help you understand what they are.

Find information that explains the qualities of that planet and what kinds of lessons or questions it will challenge you within life. We have articles on our site that explain each planet’s personality and you can find them on the Astrology category page here.

Write down what this planet is asking you to learn or explore further in your life? What effects may this planet have? Next, read over the information about the sign of that house and ask yourself, how may this character deal with the lessons of this planet through actions taken in this house?

Sure, it seems like it gets a little tricky here, but don’t sweat it as you are learning something new! Plus, astrology uses themes and characters that we are all familiar with. You know the answers inside, you just have to dig them out!

EXAMPLE: let’s use the same example from above and say that Capricorn is on the cusp of your 2nd house. Now, let’s put Mars in the 2nd house as well. Mars compels us to see where we must face conflict in our life? Where will I need to fight for what I want? Now let’s ask ourselves that question from the perspective of Capricorn in the 2nd house. They will need to fight or battle in the area of their finances, personal property, or their own sense of self-worth. They are responsible, mature, and concerned with saving for the future. However, Mars is going to encourage them to bring a little more fire to their financial life. They may have to be a little more aggressive, a little more eager to grab the resources they need in life.

This starts to paint a much more detailed picture of the 2nd house.

Again, the information given above are very blunt tools and simplified descriptions of each astrological house, but they can get you started in exploring your soul’s map, the birth chart, a little more. And, hopefully, you can learn more about yourself in the process!

I encourage you to keep reading and continue learning because every detail you gain more understanding about will help you get a clearer picture of the story a natal chart is telling.

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