Planets in houses A minor point

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By assuming parallels between the houses and the signs, so that the first house is equivalent to Aries, the second house to Taurus, and so on, you can classify the houses in revealing ways, as in Table 14-4. To consider your chart in this way, count how many planets you have in each trio of houses.

For an example, turn to Chapter 13 and take a look at Oprah Winfrey's chart. With three planets in the second house, one in the sixth house, and two in the tenth, a majority of her planets are in the houses of substance, which might help explain how an idealistic Aquarian got to be one of the richest women on the planet.

Table 14-4

House Classifications


Group Name


1, 5, and 9

Houses of Life (fire houses)

Fiery; dynamic; motivated to enjoy life and to squeeze as much juice as possible out of experience

2, 6, and 10

Houses of Substance (earth houses)

Practical; fond of systems and methods; motivated to seek security and recognition

3, 7, and 11

Houses of Relationship (air houses)

Communicative; other-oriented; motivated to create fulfilling relationships of all sorts

4, 8, and 12

Houses of Emotion (water houses)

Emotional; responsive; discerning; motivated to explore family connections and the past

Although the house divisions from Table 14-4 don't endow you with the same abilities and characteristics that the signs possess, they direct your interests in ways that can balance an otherwise out-of-whack chart.

For example, a person who has no planets in earth signs lacks practical abilities (and will have to struggle to make up for that lack). The presence of planets in the second, sixth, and tenth houses can counteract that inability by providing motivation. Such placements can't turn an aspiring poet into an accountant with an investment portfolio and a 401(k). But they can stimulate the poet to find some form of security (from planets in the second house), to get organized (from planets in the sixth house), and to seek public recognition (from planets in the tenth house).

You can also find parallels between the houses and the qualities, or modes, as outlined in Table 14-5.

Table 14-5 House Qualities


Group Name


1, 4, 7, and 10

Angular (cardinal) Houses

Enterprising, active

2, 5, 8, and 11

Succedent (fixed) Houses

Stable, determined

3, 6, 9, and 12 Cadent (mutable) Houses Thoughtful, flexible

3, 6, 9, and 12 Cadent (mutable) Houses Thoughtful, flexible

Astrologers traditionally view the angular houses (particularly the first and the tenth) as the strongest, while cadent houses (especially the sixth and the twelfth) are thought to be the weakest. As someone with many cadent planets, I always found that analysis discouraging until I learned about Michel Gauquelin, a French scientist who found statistical significance in certain planetary placements. Gauquelin noted the following trends:

^ Aggressive Mars is often prominent in the horoscopes of successful athletes.

^ The Moon, ruler of mood and instinct, plays an important role in writers' horoscopes.

^ Somber Saturn, the lord of structure and consistency, is conspicuous in the charts of scientists.

^ Jovial Jupiter, the planet of extravagance, is prominent in the horoscopes of actors.

These planets were often located in areas of the horoscope sometimes known as the Gauquelin zones. Those areas of power include large portions of the cadent houses, with the twelfth and the ninth ranking as the most important. Despite traditional astrology, which states otherwise, cadent planets aren't necessarily weak at all.

Step Two: Five Main Components of a Birth Chart

After looking at the overall patterns of your chart, you're ready to check out the specific signs and planets. To get a sense of your chart without drowning in detail, concentrate on these factors:

i The Sun: The Sun determines your basic identity — your motivations, needs, will, and individuality. Its sign describes the way you express these important aspects of yourself. Its house determines the area of greatest concern to you as well as the area in which you can most effectively express yourself.

i The Moon: The Moon describes your emotions, subconscious, instincts, habits, and memory. The sign it's in determines the way you experience the emotional side of your nature. Its placement by house points to the area of life that's most essential to your emotional well-being.

i The rising sign or Ascendant: The Ascendant describes the surface level of your personality — the face you show the world. (See Chapter 11 for more about rising signs.)

i The ruling planet: The planet that rules your Ascendant is the ruler of your chart, regardless of its location and regardless of anything else happening in your horoscope. As the ruler, it contributes both to your sense of self and to the impression you give others. Table 14-6 shows you the rising signs and their ruling planets. Turn to Chapter 9 or 10 for more insight into your ruling planet.

Table 14-6

Rising Signs and Rulerships

If Your Rising Sign Is...

, You Strike People as...

And Your Ruling Planet Is...


Impetuous, strong-willed



Stable, sensuous



Verbal, high-strung



Emotional, responsive



Confident, exuberant



Methodical, discerning



Charming, appealing



Controlled, reserved

Pluto and/or Mars


Cosmopolitan, irrepressible



Table 14-6 (continued)

If Your Rising Sign Is...

. You Strike People as...

And Your Ruling Planet Is...


Respectable, proud



Friendly, individualistic

Uranus and/or Saturn


Idealistic, receptive

Neptune and/or Jupiter

One of the most revealing qualities of the ruling planet is its position by house. For instance, Jay Leno is Aquarius rising (which may explain his bizarre hair as well as his love of machinery); his ruling planet, Uranus, is in the fifth house of entertainment. Courtney Love has Libra rising. Her ruling planet, Venus (of course), is in the eighth house of sex and death. Winona Ryder has Sagittarius rising; her ruling planet is Jupiter, which can be found hiding out in her twelfth house of self-undoing. And so it goes. Now, don't get me wrong: This quick and dirty method doesn't always work in such a blatant way. But it does provide a clue to the understanding of a chart, and its message shouldn't be ignored. No matter what your ruling planet is, its house position has an influence on you. Table 14-7 tells how this important factor affects you.

Table 14-7

Ruling Planet by House Position

If Your Ruling Planet Is in the

. . . You Are...

First house

A personality and a self-starter

Second house

A money-maker; someone for whom values

are primary

Third house

A communicator and a gossip

Fourth house

A family member and a homemaker

Fifth house

A romantic; an entertainer; a devoted parent

Sixth house

A workaholic; a worrier; a perfectionist

Seventh house

A confidante and a companion

Eighth house

An observer and a questioner

Ninth house

An explorer and a thinker

Tenth house

An achiever and a prominent person

Eleventh house

A friend and a joiner

Twelfth house

A spiritual seeker and a hermit

l Stelliums: A cluster of three or more planets in the same sign, and preferably in the same house, is known as a stellium (or, in England, a satellitium). Such a grouping is automatically important. When it appears in the same sign as the Sun, it reinforces the message of that sign. When it shows up in another sign, it adds an extra set of qualities and influences that can rival the Sun sign in importance.

The size of the stellium also makes a difference. Normally, a stellium consists of three or four planets. Seldom do you see more. But occasional planetary pileups produce monstrous stelliums, as in the case of the TV cook Rachael Ray (who has seven planets plus the Ascendant in Virgo) or the actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, whose extraordinary birth chart features seven planets, including the Sun and the Moon, in Aquarius. The scary intensity she portrays in her acting comes directly from the power of that stellium.

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