Description of the Twelve Houses

In order that the student may understand and make use of the New Horary Astrology, it is necessary to have a knowledge of the twelve houses, which might be considered the “mansions in the sky.” The circumference of the zodiacal belt contains 360 degrees; consequently, each house or sign contains thirty degrees. In Part I, we have considered the twelve signs of the zodiac, showing in what way they affect the body, the character, the disposition and the mental and moral attributes, as well as the possibilities for success or failure. The twelve houses describe the environment and circumstances, the possibilities and limitations of every phase of destiny with which each individual is confronted in his journey through life.

In order to determine the strength or importance of any particular house, it is necessary to examine, first, the lord of that house and his aspects, and, second, any planets that may be present in that house, and their aspects. There is also a third consideration, and one of great importance; i.e., whether the nature of the sign is itself sympathetic to that of the house. For example, when fifteen degrees of Aries are rising at New York, the signs lie in regular order without any duplication or cutting out; Taurus is on the cusp of the second, Gemini the third, and so on; this is an ideal arrangement, for there is then a natural correspondence between the meaning of the signs and that of the houses. Thus, the mercurial sign Gemini is obviously a good sign to rule the house that describes the {325} mind; Libra, ruled by Venus, is sympathetic for marriage, and its judicial character makes it sympathetic to partnerships of all kinds. Leo, the heart sign, naturally occupies the cusp of the house of pleasure (the fifth); Aquarius, the human sign, corresponds naturally to the house of friends (the eleventh). This arrangement, however, is very rare. Because of the difference in latitude in places either very far north or very far south, we never find these twelve signs on these twelve houses exactly; and, again, it is only in one horoscope out of twelve, or even less, since Aries is the sign of short Ascension, that we find Aries rising. We consequently very often find rather unsympathetic conditions confronting the average mortal. If we find a Saturnian sign (Capricorn) on the cusp of the house of pleasure, or a marital sign (Aries and Scorpio) on the cusp of that of friends, we must conclude that the native is to meet many disappointments in his search for pleasure, and encounter many clashes with his friends. The slow and obstinate Taurus on the cusp of the third house, which has to do with the mind, or the elusive Gemini on the cusp of the fourth house, which has to do with the early environment as well as with the end of life, would be undesirable both for the mentality and for the blessing of repose in the home. In some future volume, therefore, it will be necessary to discuss in turn the influence of every sign upon every house in the heavens.

Unfortunately, unless the exact hour of birth is known, it is impossible to draw a sufficiently accurate figure of the heavens to enable the Astrologer to use the cusps to any advantage; this lack of accuracy on the part of the average person in regard to their time of birth is responsible {326} for many of the errors of judgment in diagnosing a horoscope. The layman does not understand that a slight absence of harmony may interfere with the perfect operation of a powerful configuration. To borrow an analogy from a science of a different order, consider the automobile. The machine may be in absolute order, the engine going, the wheels ready to turn, but the machine does not move, because the clutch has not been let in. As an example, the great Napoleon had Sagittarius on the cusp of the third house; the lord, Jupiter, is in Scorpio, which gives great sense of reality and thoroughness to the mind, but the quickness of the mind is determined by the fact that it is Sagittarius and not Scorpio or Pisces which occupies the cusp of the third house. Had either of these signs been there, we should have had a mind much slower, more receptive, with probably some mystical turn to it. In other words, we might have had a great man of science rather than a great man of action. In the case of Cleo de Merode, we find the Moon on the cusp of the seventh house, the Sun,

Jupiter, Mercury and Venus within it. One could not imagine a stronger indication that the native would marry early and often. Jupiter is in opposition to Neptune, but otherwise there are no bad aspects. The only reason for her failing to undertake the great gamble is the presence of Virgo on the cusp of the seventh house. This, of course, is equivalent to saying that people with Pisces rising often remain unmarried, and this is usually the case, unless Mercury be aspected in such a way as to transform the ordinary indication, or unless Libra occupies a very large portion of the seventh house, so that by the time the native arrives at a marriageable age, that sign, by the operation of {327} directions, has come to occupy the cusp of the seventh house, when other combinations must be taken into consideration. We must therefore always be on the lookout for some lack of sympathy between the meaning of the sign and that of the house, so that we may see whether or no the ordinary influences of the planets will be inhibited from operating.

{Illustration on page 329: This is a naked, frontal human male. In a vesica around this figure are the symbols of the zodiac, with their elemental triangles, the names of the signs and the parts of the body corresponding. The illustration is captioned at bottom: “The Twelve Houses.” Clockwise from top: ARIES HEAD & FACE, TAURUS NECK, CANCER BREAST, VIRGO BOWELS, SCORPIO SECRETS, CAPRICORN KNEES, PISCES FEET, AQUARIUS LEGS, SAGITTARIUS THIGHS, LIBRA REINS, LEO HEART, GEMINI ARMS. The fire triangles are all enclosed in small circles.}


“Ascendant.” – The first house, which mundanely is Aries, and ruled over by Mars, signifies man's outward appearance and everything which has to do with the personality. It rules the head and determines the degree of activity or repression of the individual. In questions pertaining to affairs of nations, and universal conditions generally, the first house signifies the masses, or general state of that locality or kingdom where the figure is erected.

“The House of Money.” – The second house, which mundanely is Taurus and ruled over by Venus, signifies the financial circumstances or fortune, profit or gain, loss or damage, and all movable goods of the individual. It rules the throat and determines the degree of prosperity which the native will enjoy. In questions pertaining to the affairs of nations or conditions generally, the second house signifies national wealth, banking activities and matters which concern revenue in general.

“House of Relatives.” – The third house, which mundanely is Gemini and ruled over by Mercury, signifies brothers, sisters, neighbors, environment of the family, {328} short journeys, correspondence and messages of all kinds, the degree of mentality, perception and adaptability of the individual, and determines the native's relations with all these departments. It rules the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules over transportation, whether it be by railways, common carriers, post office, telegraph, telephone or radio. It also stands for libraries and public education generally.

“The House of the Home.” – The fourth house, which mundanely is Cancer, and ruled over by the Moon, signifies the father or mother, inherited tendencies, the environment during the early childhood and old age, fixed possessions such as real estate, of the individual. It rules the stomach and breast, and determines the native's relations with his father and mother, environment, and the state of his property holdings. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules over mines, agriculture, gardens, crops, public buildings, and determines the termination or end of anything.

“The House of Pleasure.” – The fifth house, which mundanely is Leo, and ruled over by the Sun, signifies love affairs, entertainment, speculation, and children, of the individual. It rules the heart and back, and determines the degree of success or failure in the native's love affairs and pleasures, his speculative operations, and matters concerning offspring. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules over ambassadors, banquets, theaters, and education generally.

“The House of Health and Service.” – The sixth house, which mundanely is Virgo, and ruled over by Mercury, signifies the needs, afflictions, and care of the body, servants, inferiors, dress and hygiene, grandparents, {330} uncles and aunts, and domestic animals, of the individual. It rules the intestines and solar plexus, and determines the state of the native's health, his ability to get on with servants and inferiors, and his relations with grandparents, uncles and aunts, and small animals. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules over the working classes generally; over industries, public health and sanitation.

“The House of Marriage and Partnerships.” – The seventh house, which mundanely is Libra, and ruled over by Venus, signifies marriage, business partnerships, and public enemies, of the individual. It rules the veins, the kidneys (and in the case of a woman, the ovaries), and determines the degree of happiness and success derived through marriage and partnerships, and the type of public enemies the native may have. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules over foreign relations, peace, war and international relationships.

“The House of Death.” – The eighth house, which mundanely is Scorpio, and ruled over by Mars, signifies the inheritance, legacies, wills and the goods of the dead, of the individual. It rules the organs of generation, and determines all questions regarding inheritance, and the type of death of the native. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it signifies the death of national rulers, and matters that may be involved because of such deaths. “The House of Religion and Philosophy.” – The ninth house, which mundanely is Sagittarius, and ruled over by Jupiter, signifies religion, philosophy, long journeys, particularly by water, and the relations with foreigners, of the individual. It has rule over abstract thought, dreams and visions, as distinguished from the {331} concrete concerns of the third house. It rules the hips and thighs, and determines the religious and philosophical beliefs of the native, and the amount of travel and success he will enjoy in distant countries. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules over churches, law-courts, shipping, cables, and the findings of science.

“The House of Business and Honor.” – The tenth house, which mundanely is Capricorn, and ruled over by Saturn, signifies ambition, fame, worldly position, power, promotion, elevation, the calling or authority, of the individual. It also signifies either the father or mother, as in the fourth house. (Some authorities claim that the fourth house rules the father, and the tenth the mother, but the author has not been able to prove that this is correct.) It rules the skeleton, and particularly the knees, and determines the degree of success in business and the honor of the native. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules over the upper classes, or those in power and authority (as did the sixth house the masses and those who serve), rulers, such as presidents, kings and dictators.

“The House of Friends.” – The eleventh house, which mundanely is Aquarius and ruled over by Uranus, signifies the friendships and the aspirations of the individual. It rules the legs, particularly the ankles, and determines the native's relations with friends, his position towards humanity, and the degree of harmony or inharmony of life in relation to his fellowman. In questions pertaining to national affairs it rules over the counselors, associates or allies of the nation.

“The House of Secret Enemies.” – The twelfth house, which mundanely is Pisces, and ruled over by Neptune, {332} signifies unseen difficulties, impairment of the senses, seclusion, forced or otherwise, and secret enemies of the individual. It rules the extremities, and determines the amount of freedom enjoyed by the native, and the degree to which he will be forced to submerge his own personality, in his subservience to others. In questions pertaining to national affairs, it rules prisons, hospitals and asylums, and all matters pertaining to such institutions. {333}

Previous | Astrology: Your Place in the Sun | Next

Tables of the Houses are given at the end of Raphael's Ephemeris.


If you have found this material useful or enlightening, you may also be interested in


Ordo Templi Orientis, O.T.O., and the O.T.O. Lamen design are registered trademarks of Ordo Templi Orientis.


All copyrights on Aleister Crowley material are held by Ordo Templi Orientis. This site is not an official O.T.O. website, and is neither sponsored by nor controlled by Ordo Templi Orientis.

The text of this Aleister Crowley material is made available here only for personal and non-commercial use. This material is provided here in a convenient searchable form as a study resource for those seekers looking for it in their research. For any commercial use, please contact Ordo Templi Orientis.