Astrology 101: What Are The 12 Houses Of The Zodiac?

If you’re a beginner in astrology, understand that every person has an individual natal chart unique to the time and place of their birth. That means in one person’s chart, Libra may be the ruler of the first house when they were born. (The ruler is the sign on the cusp where a particular house begins.) Another person may have Scorpio ruling their first house. However, each house has what is called a “native ruler,” that is the natural ruler of that house in the basic astrology chart before it is customized to a specific date, time, and place. The same goes for the planets, which are at home in the native house of their sign, such as Pluto being the planet associated with Scorpio, which rules the eighth house.

Even though each chart is different, knowing that basic chart is important because any time you have a planet or ruler of a particular house in its native house, it adds special significance to that part of your birth chart.

Thoroughly confused? Yes, it can be very confusing when you’re first starting to put the pieces into place. But rest assured, knowing the basic placement and rulers of the 12 houses of the astrology wheel will come in handy as you get deeper into the study of astrology.

First House Of The Astrology Wheel

Whatever sign rules the first house of your birth chart carries a special significance because that sign is also known as your Ascendant. The Ascendant and the ruler of your first house represent the face you show to the world. According to AstroTheme, the first house of the astrological wheel is all about your personality and your point of view. (Your Sun sign in the zodiac reflects more about your inner feelings and personality.) The first house will be related to physical characteristics, your health, and even how you dress. Any planets that show up in the first house have an increased significance along with the ruling sign. The native ruler of this house is Aries, whose corresponding planet is Mars.

Note that the three most important aspects in general for any astrology chart are your sun sign, your moon sign, and your Ascendant. So consider the ruler of this house just as important as your zodiac sign.

Second House Of The Astrology Wheel

The second house of the zodiac wheel deals with your possessions, money, and how you handle personal resources. The natural ruler of the second house is Taurus, and the planet associated with Taurus is Venus. In case you haven’t noticed the pattern, the characteristics of the zodiac ruler of the house correspond directly to the house meaning. So if you learn the basic zodiac signs, you can simply insert them into the 12 individual houses in order and have a good idea of what each house represents.

Third House Of The Astrology Wheel

Keeping with that pattern, Gemini rules the third house along with the planet Mercury. So that means the third house is all about communication, both written and verbal, and it’s the house that relates directly to your mind and intellect. It also comments on your nearby surroundings such as neighbors and even siblings. It’s what’s outside the home, but close to it.

astrology wheel
[Image by iStock]

Fourth House Of The Astrology Wheel

Cancer in the fourth house, ruled by the moon, is the home itself, with the moon being the representative of the feminine nurturing principal. This is the house of family and your physical residence. The ruling sign and planets in this house can also indicate relationships with parents and spouses, particularly the parent you’re closest to.

Fifth House Of The Astrology Wheel

The fifth house addresses children, whether actually having sons and daughters, or creative “children.” Anything that you bring forth into the world falls into the fifth house, with its natural ruler of Leo and the Sun. In addition to describing how you will relate to children, the fifth house can also relate to sports, hobbies, and games.

Sixth House Of The Astrology Wheel

The sixth house is ruled by Virgo, who is also connected to Mercury. Remember that this is another intellectual communicator, although a little more serious and hard-working than the Gemini. Hence, the sixth house is the house of work and service on a routine basis, according to Astrology Zodiac Signs, not the big picture of your career. It’s more about how you approach work and your co-workers than your career itself, which comes a little bit later in the wheel.

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Seventh House Of The Astrology Wheel

With Libra ruling the seventh house, the balance between opposites and pairs takes center stage in this house. This is where you look for relationships and partnerships, whether personal or professional. And when relationships go bad, sometimes enemies become an issue, which should be reflected in this house as well. Venus is also the ruler of Libra as well as Taurus.

Eighth House Of The Astrology Wheel

The eighth house carries that Scorpio intensity and is ruled by the planet Pluto, which involves regeneration and degeneration. Or to put it in more direct terms, sex and death. The eighth house deals with the veil between birth and death as well, which makes it a house that can indicate psychic sensitivity depending on the planets and the ruling sign of this house. It also deals with other people’s possessions, particularly in the form of inheritances and how you handle what resources are at your disposal.

Ninth House Of The Astrology Wheel

The ninth house is about the ways in which you broaden your horizons and is ruled by Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter. Broadening your horizons is not just physical travel, but also things like higher education, religion, philosophy, and encompasses mental and spiritual growth. It’s your inspiration and can indicate extensive travel and your highest ideals. Sometimes, this can also indicate legal matters depending on the planets and ruling sign of the ninth house.

Tenth House Of The Astrology Wheel

The 10th house, ruled by Saturn and Capricorn, is where the big picture of your career resides. It’s also about your public image and your reputation in the long-term. When it comes to parents, the fourth house of home usually represents the parent you were closest to, while the 10th house can represent the lesser parent.

Eleventh House Of The Astrology Wheel

Your hopes, wishes, and friendships take center stage in the 11th house, ruled by Aquarius and the planet Uranus. Remember that Aquarius tends to be a bit unconventional, to put it mildly, so this house can represent how you fit in with society and the general social order of groups (or how you don’t). The sign in this house will define how you relate to your friends.

Twelfth House Of The Astrology Wheel

Last but not least, the 12th house is the house of solitude and secrets. Some refer to it as the “house of drawn shades.” These are the things that challenge us or even confine us, whether metaphorically or literally. Hospitalizations or incarceration can manifest in this house. The more planets in this house, the stronger the indication of a life lived with a great deal of solitude. This is the house of Pisces and the planet Neptune, which indicates a lot of emotional fluctuations in turmoil at times.

A professional astrologer would mark your chart with signs indicating the house ruler and the planets within, then interpret the meetings of those relationships after the chart is cast. This is an example of a natal chart generated by astrology software for David Bowie.

astrology chart for David Bowie
[Image by Diana Price]

David Bowie’s natal chart, for example, has his Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Leo, and he was a Libra rising (Ascendant.) Saturn is in his 10th house which is its native home (house of career) as well as two other planets in the 10th house which would make the career the most aspected house in his chart. Plus those planets are in Leo, the sign most typical of show business.

Yet, that is only the tip of the iceberg in analyzing a chart. A quick glance also shows he had Venus in its native second house of art, luxury, and material wealth, and in the sign of Sagittarius, the adventurer bent on broadening horizons. Also in the second house is Jupiter in Scorpio, indicating great expansion in the area of art and wealth, exploring themes of birth, death, and regeneration. Mercury is in its native third house of communication and in Sagittarius, which broadens intellectual and spiritual horizons.

Note that although Bowie’s Mercury, Mars, and Sun are not technically in the same house, they are grouped together with Mercury, which is almost in the third house, and his Sun and Mars are “conjunct,” which means within three degrees of each other. This indicates an area of the chart that should be examined very closely if you were doing a reading for yourself or a client.

Astrology can get quite complicated, with each level of understanding laying the foundation to move on to the next level. Fortunately, we live in the age of the internet where so many resources are available for our study on pretty much any topic under the sun. Comment below if you have any questions or if you have any particular topics you’d like to see articles on in the future.

[Featured Image by iStock]