The Discussion of House Systems in Astrology

“The astrological houses do not exist as an astronomical reality; their application is symbolic. This presents a sharpened argument that to use their symbolism effectively, their basis should be clearly understood. Most of us can agree with this in regard to what the houses mean. But in addition we have the problem of choosing which system of calculation to use, a highly controversial issue due to the variety of methods available and the considerable divergence of cusp locations they present. This is often regarded as the most problematic component of modern astrology. With no clear consensus of opinion to guide us, it is an issue upon which each astrologer must take an individual stance, weigh up the arguments, and resolve at a personal level.” -Deborah Houlding

This blog piece will not be a doctoral thesis on house systems and their intricacies.

This article is one Astrologer’s perspective on how we may liberate ourselves from the shackles that can potentially bind us when dealing with the topic of how the cosmos is divided.

For those who are familiar with the houses, they serve as symbolism in our birth charts for our fields of experience. They represent our various areas of life activity and development.

You may also be familiar with the fact that they can be divided in several ways, according to several systems. Some of these systems are: Placidus, Koch, Equal, Whole Signs, Campanus, Regiomontanus,  Alcabitius and Porphyry.

To give you an idea of the heat surrounding this issue, if you ask most Astrologers what should NOT be discussed amongst Astrologers when time is of the essence, house systems is a sure shot to make the top 3 or 4 answers.

If we’ve looked at our birth charts in a variety of systems, chances are, we’ll notice some differences from one system to the next. The most visible changes will most likely be that certain planets will move from one house to another.

When this happens, one of the things to keep in mind is:

this doesn’t change who we are.

I am of the opinion that the specific house system is not the most important issue. After all, we’re human beings seeking integration and wholeness and the entire zodiac, which includes the houses, can be viewed of a continuum.

Often, the affairs or themes of one house seep into the following one, so whether we realize it or not, there are no dormant houses. Our birth charts are a symbol or a mandala representing us as a dynamic life force. Never static, always becoming.

I think our core being can be depicted accurately using a number of house systems and the magic resides more with the practitioner than the system.

If we think for a moment about broad and holistic patterns, we will realize that strong chart themes stand the test of any system of house division.

Astrology is a lifelong quest to learn about who we are and how we can unfold our potential as required by the times we’re living in. I take the position that there are no “good” or “bad” houses. The thought that they’re just might be sometimes plays a part in what system we will actually accept for examining our own charts.

We may even go as far as to take the  house system route which will reflect us to the world (or so we believe) as  more “intelligent”, “sexier” , more “psychic” or “prophetic”, and the like.

Following this line of thinking, it’s reasonable to ask if we would be any “less” in those areas if our planets were located in other houses that didn’t symbolize, by rote, what we wanted to confirm ourselves as being.

It needs to be stressed that house systems are a VIEW. I may be looking at a person from a frontal view, while another person may get the side view. While some of our notes may be similar, we may also touch upon observations which the other didn’t think of. This doesn’t negate the validity of either of our perceptions.

One of the most valuable lessons which Astrology has driven home in me is that we must be able to expand the limited ideas we possess surrounding our being. We are multifaceted human beings with boundless potentials, of which some- we’re not even aware.

As Dane Rudhyar states:

“If a person asks for knowledge or guidance, the asking is thus conditioned, or at least colored, by the level at which he or she mainly operates, or by a conscious or subconscious attempt to move to the next level by gaining a new perspective. To gain a new perspective means to look at life in general and at oneself  specifically from a new ‘place’ in terms of a different frame of reference-thus from a new level of consciousness and understanding.” (Source: The Astrology of  Transformation: A Multilevel Approach by Dane Rudhyar)

There’s immensely valuable information to be gained from the myriad of perspectives that Astrology’s house systems provide.

The key is to appreciate and enjoy the views without becoming slavishly attached to them. Allowing the insights to serve one’s interests as opposed to adopting a rigid, painstaking allegiance to one point of view.


3 thoughts on “The Discussion of House Systems in Astrology

  1. Beautifully expressed!

    I use Placidus. Works for me. I know quite a few people who don’t like it because they don’t feel it is right for them.

    This is a fascinating subject and I’m very glad you’re exploring it! There’s that Sag mind at work!

    For me the chart opens a dialogue between you and yourself, and that includes choosing a house system.

    So, does this post express your preferred house system when you read your own chart?

    1. hey hey!! thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them. I’ve actually explored my chart in a number of house systems and some of the changes are very pronounced as far as house locations go. That’s one of the reasons that I felt particularly motivated to write about this topic. I’ve learned that getting different views of ourselves can only expand our insights. I’ve also learned that we can become confused if we get too caught up in any of these particular views. I think the overall blueprint or cosmic instructions in our chart will permeate through any house system used.

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