The Twelve Houses
The houses represent the fields of experience wherein the energies of the signs and planets operate. Rather than symbolizing just the outward experiences and environmental circumstances specified by most traditional astrology, the houses are also revealing of the inner state and of one's personal subjective experience and attitudes. By noting the planets' placements in the natal chart, an astrologer can tell which levels and areas of experience will be strongly emphasized in a person's life.

The keyword system discussed on the following pages is meant to clarify interpretation and understanding primarily of the psychological and inner significance of the houses. It is an attempt to perceive the essential meanings of the fields of experience known as the “houses." If the essential meanings are understood, they can then be applied to and illuminate all the diverse activities and experiences traditionally symbolized by the houses.

Emphasizing the type of house containing planets in a natal chart helps one to see the chart as a whole. One familiar way of defining the houses is to separate them into the classifications of angular, succedent, and cadent.

The angular houses (1, 4, 7, 10) are associated with a self-activating quality and have an immediate impact on the structure of one's life. The keyword for the angular houses is ACTION.

The succedent houses (2, 5, 8, 11) are associated with individual desires and the areas of life we want to control and consolidate. The keyword for this type of house is SECURITY.

The cadent houses (3, 6, 9, 12) are areas where there is input, exchange, and distribution of thoughts and observations. The keyword for these houses is LEARNING.

The progression of houses from angular through succedent and cadent and back to angular again symbolizes the flow of life experience: we act, we consolidate the results of our actions in order to gain security, we learn from what we have done and become aware of what remains to be done; and therefore, we act again. Thus, a person with a strong emphasis on one of these three types of houses by planetary placement invariably pours a lot of energy into and experiences many challenges related to action, security, or learning.

The houses can also be divided into groups of three, depending upon the element of the signs associated with that group of houses. Key phrases and guidelines for understanding these groups are as follows. (Psychic Trinity,' "Trinity of Wealth," etc. are quite old terms, and are used here primarily as convenient labels.).

Fire Houses ("THE TRINITY OF LIFE"—1, 5, 9)

These houses are associated with one's attitude toward life and the experience of being alive. They represent an out pouring of energy into the world and aspirations that motivate us to do so. The person with an emphasis on these houses lives in his or her enthusiasms, ideals, and dreams for the future. Faith and confidence (or the marked lack of it) and the need to see an effect on the world at large through one's initiatives dominate much of the person's life activity. The person experiences self most immediately through projecting dreams into the world and seeing them manifested as reality. Planets in the fire houses affect the individual's ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE ITSELF and the person's entire sense of faith and confidence in self. The keyword that sums up the essential meaning of the fire houses is IDENTITY; for our sense of identity, our sense of being, determines our attitude toward life in general.

Earth Houses ("THE TRINITY OF WEALTH"—2, 6, 10)

These houses are associated with the level of experience wherein we try to satisfy our basic NEEDS in the practical world. Planets in these houses indicate energies that can most easily be put to use in dealing with the physical world, and that can be developed as expertise in management of resources. The person with an emphasis on these houses lives energetically in the physical world, building, doing, achieving, acquiring, and defining his or her purpose in life by the status and security achieved. Those with a strong emphasis in the earth houses tend to want to settle into a niche in life, as they are searching for the place where they can be the most productive and most easily satisfy their practical needs. This person experiences self most immediately through work, through feeling useful, and through practical achievement. He or she wants to fulfill a calling or role in the great world outside. Planets in the earth houses affect the individual's attitudes toward vocation, career ambitions, and the capacity to produce effective results. The keyword for these houses is MATERIAL, for the earth houses deal chiefly with concerns of the material world.


These houses are associated not only with social contacts and relationships of all types, but also with CONCEPTS. The person with an emphasis on these houses lives in the mind and in relationships. Concepts and the sharing of those concepts dominate much of the person's life activity. The person experiences self most immediately through a sense of mutual understanding with others and through discovering and expressing the reality and importance of specific ideas or theories. Planets in the air houses affect the individual's interests, associations, mode of verbal expression, and social life. The keywords for the air houses are SOCIAL and INTELLECTUAL.

Water Houses ("THE PSYCHIC TRINITY"—4, 8, 12)

All of these houses deal with the past, with the conditioned responses that are now instinctual and operate through the emotions. Planets in these houses show what is happening on subconscious levels and indicate the process of gaming consciousness through the assimilation of the essence of the past, while simultaneously letting go of the useless memories and fears that hold us back. The person with an emphasis on these houses lives a great deal in the feelings and in his or her deeper YEARNINGS. The emotional and soul needs dominate much of the person's life activity and energy expenditure. Planets in the water houses affect the individual's emotional predisposition, how he or she copes with fulfilling private needs and confronting obsessive feelings, and to what extent the person lives in a private way or in the inner life. The keywords for the water houses are EMOTIONAL and SOUL.
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