The Wheel of Life and the 12 Houses
The wheel of the zodiac is a cycle of experience. The 12 houses of the wheel represent different areas of your life as represented in your birth chart.
The zodiac wheel starts with your Ascendant (Rising) as the sign that was on the Eastern Horizon of your birth and creates the cusp of your 1st House. This is the base from which the remaining houses derive significance in your life. This house, along with the sign on the cusp (Rising sign), infuses you with the energy to cope with situations you face as you fulfill your purpose. Your Rising sign represents how you dawn on people.
1st House: The house of self. This includes self-awareness, the physical body, personality, appearance, personal views on life, self-identity, self-image, early environment, and beginnings; how we initiate, how we're impulsive. Any planets in this house will greatly influence your personality and how others perceive you.
2nd House: Refers to your own money and possessions, what you value, your hidden talents, sense of self-worth, self-esteem (how you value yourself, instead of describing your personality as in the 1st house). Possessions include anything a person owns or finds value in. The 2nd house specifies how you gain and spend your own money (as opposed to other's money in the 8th house), your attitude towards wealth and material possessions, and your potential for accumulating it/them. This is also the house of nourishing your physical body through food, connection to nature, and plant medicines.
3rd House: The house of communication, which by extension includes one's immediate environment: siblings, neighbors, short journeys, and all forms of transportation. The 3rd house also includes the intellect, the lower mind (details and small bits of information as opposed to the higher mind in 9th house), thinking patterns, and early education (before college). Communication includes messages, deliveries, phone calls, visits, reading and writing.
4th House: This house refers to the home and everything associated with it (both the childhood home & the current home): family, land, personal foundations (inner emotional security), your roots. It is a strong indicator of your parental influence in life, especially your mother. Any planets in the 4th house affect your home life, your emotions, your subconscious, and possibly your relationship with your parents.
5th House: This house refers to children, creativity, and the pursuit of pleasure. This includes personal interests, love affairs, sports, hobbies, risk-taking, creative self-expression, love given, etc. The 5th house is all about you being yourself and enjoying it.
6th House: This house refers to daily work, service, diet, health and physical illness, physical ability to work, employees. This includes volunteer labor, civil service work, caretaking, and mundane daily tasks. The 6th house really involves the quality of your work, the quality of the jobs you perform, as opposed to an actual career (career is represented by the 10th house). Daily mundane tasks include personal hygiene and our method of responding to everyday crises.
7th House: The seventh house is sometimes referred to as the house of marriage, but it encompasses all one-to-one relationships: marriage, business partnerships, contracts, and cooperative relationships. The 7th house includes the way you balance yourself with others. Planets in this house will influence your manner of relating. They also give clues to issues that arise in your relationships.
8th House: This house governs death, regeneration, taxes, inheritances, wills & legacies, sex (the actual act of sex), joint resources, your partner’s money and possessions, spouse's money, bankruptcy, losses, personal sacrifices, alimony, clairvoyance.
This house is a major player in transformation and healing. But transformation and healing require some type of “death” or loss. This house rules those processes and things by which we transform and become healed and more powerful in our truth.
9th House: This house refers to philosophy, religion, law, learning, higher education (as opposed to early education by the 3rd House), ethics, morals, long journeys, travel, foreign countries and interests, spiritual urges, visions, higher mind, ideas, understanding and wisdom, books, publishing, ceremonies, and rituals. This is the house of big thoughts and big ideas.
The 9th house includes experiences that we encounter when we search for the meaning of things. Whatever expands your field of activity or the scope of your mind – long journeys, contact with other cultures, great visions, and even esoteric experiences.
10th House: This house is the house of status, honor, community power, prestige, reputation, and professional career. In our society, this includes financial success, but only as it relates to community power and prestige. It's not about gaining "material stuff" as it is in the 2nd house. The 10th house wants success for the sake of honor and social status.
This house includes social foundations (as opposed to personal home foundations in the 4th), recognition, personal achievements, social responsibilities, sense of duty, authority figures, politicians. This house encompasses the most public areas of one's life, and the career that you grow into, as opposed to daily work and odd jobs ruled by the 6th House.
As with the other angular houses, any planets in this house are very important. Planets in the 10th house, the sign on the cusp of the 10th house, and its ruling planet will greatly influence your career and your general reputation in public.
11th House: This house is the house of community, large groups, and friends. It refers to memberships, hopes, goals, ambitions, wishes, social groups, associations, humanitarian interests. It also refers to self-realization, liberty, legislation and regulation.
12th House: This house refers to the subconscious, the hidden self that exists apart from our physical everyday reality. This includes the unconscious mind, subconscious memory, subconscious habit patterns from the past, mental illness, karmic debts, self-deception, escapism, spiritual realization, limitations, frustration, and ultimately our self-undoing.
The 12th house also refers to the collective unconscious of all humanity.
If you are interested in learning more about astrology, check out my online workshop The Fundamentals of Astrology or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the waiting list for my next course.
Ashley Tracey, MS RYT
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