Astrology Beginners

What Do the Houses Mean In Astrology? Learning the Astrology Basics

In my last astrology installment, we covered what each of the planets represent in astrology. Now we seek to give context to the planets by discussing what each of the houses represent. Though each planet represents different aspects of the human character, the houses represent the human experience. The astrology houses are like the major arcana of the tarot with each representing a strength or struggle in life. This depends upon the planet(s) that are affecting or residing in each one. Now, let’s answer the question, what do the houses mean in astrology?

According to Joanna Woolfolk’s “The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need”, “Babylonian astrologers named twelve separate categories of life, which have come down to us from that time almost unchanged. These twelve divisions we call Houses.” Everyone’s birth chart consists of all twelve houses, it’s just what placements are within those houses that separates you from another individual.

What Each House Represents in Astrology


This is the house of the self and is where our rising sign is located in western astrology. Traditionally ruled by the sign Aries and the planet Mars, this house is our perceived identity of self. This includes our sense of self-awareness and self-image, our relationship and literal physical body, and our appearance. This house also shows how we appear superficially to others upon first impression. This is why the rising sign is tremendously important to a natal chart.


This is the house of values and resources. It’s traditionally ruled by the sign Taurus and the planet Venus. It showcases our relationship with material goods, money, and even our personal values. ‘Personal values’ means what do YOU value? You’d be surprised how many people would name everything but themselves. That’s why this is also the house that plays a huge part in your sense of self-worth in addition to your relationship with materialism. Wealth, poverty, and finances are also within the house of value. And, depending on what planets or transits affect this house, could mean the difference between affluence and poverty.


This is the house of communication and intellect. It’s traditionally ruled by the sign Gemini and the planet Mercury. This house includes all forms of communication including both written and spoken. Intellect, knowledge, detail and thought all reside in house three. Lesser recognized qualities of this house represent an individual’s immediate environment, siblings, early learning, and short distance travel. Look to this house for your communication style, how you relate with your siblings, and how your analytical mind works.


House four is the house of roots and related emotions. Traditionally ruled by the sign Cancer and the Moon, this house can show your current and past home life. It gives insight into what your relationship with your parents was/is like as well as the type of foundation you come from and have built as an adult. Look to this house to see how stable your home environment was as a child, wounds around parental relationships, and whether your current foundation is solid. This house not only shows the roots you come from but the family you’re building. This is also where the I.C. resides which is the counterbalance to the M.C. and guides us as to how we can connect to our soul self.


This is the house of joy and creativity. Traditionally ruled by the sign Leo and the Sun, this house highlights what brings joy to your life whether at birth or in the moment. Children, dating and romance, hobbies and sports are all featured in this house. These are the things that make us shine, bloom, and sing with bliss. Look to this house if you’re curious about your potential to bear children as it is also the house of fertility and procreation though you will need to know the sign of the house in your natal chart and any planets which live there.


This is the house of health, wellness, and exercise. Traditionally ruled by the sign Virgo and the planet Mercury (though Ceres in modern astrology), this house emphasises nutrition, workouts, and living as naturally as possible. Daily living routines, being of service to others, our response to crises, and the legacy we are striving to leave behind are also contained within house six. Look to this house to gain insight on incorporating healthy habits for day-to-day living as well as how you might use your talents to help others.


This is the house of all important relationships. Traditionally ruled by the sign Libra and the planet Venus, this house is where you can find intimate partners, friends, and enemies. Commitment and contracts also live in this house which is why it also denotes marriage, divorce, and business partners. The Descendant, a counterbalance to the Ascendant, finds its home in house seven. This point shows what we repress, deny, and push away from ourselves. Look to this house as a guide for recognising the shadow self and fostering intimate relationships.


This is the house of transformation and change. Traditionally ruled by the sign Scorpio and the planet Mars (Pluto in modern astrology), this house is known for it’s ability to aid in transcendence through the process of death and rebirth. I like to think of this house as the junk drawer of the zodiac wheel. It contains all manner of intense topics like occultism, mysticism, magick, death, sex, intuition, and loss. Although it seems like a jumble, they are all experiences which can transform an individual so much so that they can change the course of their life – for better or worse.


This is the house of exploration and expansion. Traditionally ruled by the sign Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter, this house governs the evolution of the self, philosophy, culture, and foreign travel. Any type of journey which leads to a greater understanding rest in this house. Planets and astrological signs in this house influences hopes, dreams, aspirations, and inspirations an individual may acquire can also lead to greater meaning of life. Look to this house for foreign study or job opportunities, personal philosophies, and higher education.


This is the house of the life path. Traditionally ruled by the sign Capricorn and the planet Saturn, the tenth house reveals the strengths and weaknesses of an individual as exposed within society. Career, life purpose, social status, reputation, and ambition all feature prominently within this house. Our relationship with structure and authority is here. This house is also host to the M.C., or Midheaven. The M.C. is traditionally placed in the tenth house. But it can appear in the ninth or eleventh depending on the house system in use. It indicates where an individual will peak in life, what kind of career to pursue, and how our colleagues and outsiders will perceive us within our chosen profession. However, the M.C. is much more than just our career and indicates our life path and how we get there.


This is the house of community, groups, and interests. Traditionally ruled by the sign Aquarius and the planet Saturn (Uranus in modern astrology), underscores the humanitarian issues we may be passionate about, groups that we may retain membership to, our friends and social life, and where we experience self-realisation. Look to this house to see if you are an introvert/extrovert/ambivert and to guide you towards a cause you can become and advocate for. 


This is the house of secrets and the unknown. Traditionally ruled by the sign Pisces and the planet Jupiter (Neptune in modern astrology), this house is where our subconscious, habits/patterns, hidden self, and the collective unconscious reside. This house also contains our personal limitations, fears, and methods of self-sabotage. Use this house to illuminate what is hidden, identify patterns of escapism, and recognize any other problematic patterns.

Listen to Allorah Teach about the Anatomy of a Natal Chart Here:

Wrapping Up: What Do the Houses Mean in Astrology?

A note on empty houses:

There is a wide misconception that empty houses (houses in the natal chart that do not contain planets) highlight areas of life in which a person is lacking. Empty houses do not equal misfortune in a particular area of life. They often express an area that has already been mastered or is not featured prominently in an individual’s life. We can often assume empty houses are areas of life the individual can navigate with variable ease. However, the sign that rules each house will also have an impact on the expression of the house.

Each house in astrology plays a vital role and affects our lives from day to day depending on which planetary bodies are transiting through the houses in our natal chart at any given time. Like The Fool’s Journey through the Major Arcana in the Tarot, the houses in astrology cover the whole of the human experience and can be used for change, growth, and evolution of the soul.

Meet Allorah Rayne

Allorah Rayne is a practitioner of amnestic and wayfaring witchcraft and has been part of the online spiritual community since 2012. Her introduction to tarot was the age of nine and she pursued more intensive learning at fifteen. Allorah is the founder of The Wayfaring Witch © where she offers soul origin profiles, tarot and oracle card readings, digital downloads, workshops, and mentorships in the ways of the witch. She is also the co-founder of The Otherworldly Oracle Official PodcastSpread This, Witches! and Witches in the Woods. You can contact Allorah at the following social media sites Facebook, Instagram, TikTokPinterest, on The Wayfaring Witch © website via live chat, or by e-mail at

What do the houses mean in astrology?

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