Have you ever wondered how come the 12th house, traditionally called the “House of Hidden Things” –or of “Hidden Enemies” is found above the horizon, in broad daylight?
When the Sun is in the First House, which is traditionally called the House of Self and has a lot to do with how we appear… It was still dark. As soon as the Sun crosses the Ascendant, there is daylight but we’re back in the House of hidden things. Strange inversion, don’t you think?
So, there is another way to look at what’s going on with the houses which makes much more sense.
I have never heard the houses explained in the way I am going to explain them now – you don’t have to accept my theory but you’ll see that my arguments are consistent with uncontroversial astrological knowledge.
If you have planets in the First House, what matters in my understanding, is that these planets will be the First ones to rise after you were born. This gives them super power. If the Sun is in your First House, it was still dark when you were born, but very soon the Sun would rise for the first time in your life, and that’s what matters.
You’re starting life with a Sunrise. If you were born just after the Sun rose, you missed the train. You’ll have to wait the whole day and night before the Sun rises for the first time.
The First House is called by Tradition, an Angular House. The Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Houses are Angular as well.
Planets placed in angular Houses, and especially near the angles themselves, Ascendant, Descendant. MC and IC are supposed to be especially powerful.
The reason for that, in my understanding, is that at every angle, something changes. On the MC, planets or signs culminate. They stop moving upwards and start declining. On the Descendant, they disappear under the horizon. On the IC, it is the opposite of the culmination. Planets and signs there have reached the lowest point and start moving upwards again.
When something changes, there is a special impact. This is true in our everyday life experience. When something remains always the same, we don’t notice. When something changes, we do! Life is constant adaptation to change. The same principle applies here.
In the diurnal cycle, the cycle of the day, the most powerful change happens on the Eastern Horizon, that is on the Ascendant: that’s where everything appears. That’s where the Sun, the Moon, the planets and even the signs make their entrance.
By the way, when the planets travel through the zodiac, the movement goes anti clockwise. When we look at a natal chart, we see a snapshot – and we may forget to see that there are two movements going on in opposite motions: the planets move anticlockwise through the signs, but the planets and the signs move clockwise through the houses, at the speed of the day, because of the rotation of the earth.
Thus there are four angles – four places of special impact, the most impactful of them being the Ascendant.
There are three kinds of houses. The Angular houses are placed just before the angles – From the point of view of a clockwise motion.
The Succedent Houses come next. Succedent mean that they follow, like in the word “succession”.
Planets and signs in the Second House for instance, will be second to rise, after whatever is placed in the First House. No house is empty, there is at least a sign.
After the Succedent Houses come the Cadent Houses.
Traditional astrology says that planets in these Houses have the weakest impact. They are considered unfavourable. The word “Cadent” comes from the Latin “Cadere” which means “Falling”. Cadent Houses are called so because they are falling away from the angles.
What I find important to emphasize is that these words – Ascendant, Rising, Succedent, following, Cadent, Falling away from… clearly describe the movement. It’s not the position that matters but how they move.
I insist on this point because when we interpret charts as if they were fixed pictures and we start counting how many planets are above and below the horizon, we end up associating placements in the First or Fifth houses as more introverted and placements in the Eighth or Twelfth as more extroverted, and I can’t help having serious doubts about that.
Imagine an Aries Sun in the First House with a Leo Moon in the Fifth. Compare with a Pisces Sun in the Eighth House with a Cancer Moon in the Twelfth. Which one is the more likely to be the introvert?
On the other hand, if we see movement rather than fixed position, things make more sense.
The most powerful angle is the Ascendant, and therefore the most difficult place is the 12th house of hidden things. For someone born with the Sun in the 12th house, it will take as much time as it takes for any planet in a cadent house to reach the next angle, and almost a day before the Sun rises for the first time.
I am a modern astrologer – and therefore I don’t consider the Cadent Houses as inherently unfavourable. Cadent houses are houses where we learn according to Arroyo. In the Ninth House, for instance, we are seeking the Truth, we are trying to see the Big Picture of Life through religious beliefs, knowledge or philosophy…It often starts with travels and explorations. It’s a really interesting house, definitely worth living, but let’s just notice philosophers are rarely kings. Philosophy is usually a consolation for those who don’t have enough power.
There is more power in the 10th house, from the point of view of down to earth life.
Now let’s not forget that we can allow a certain orb. A planet in the ninth house but conjunct the MC still benefits from MC power – I would interpret it as if in the 10th, with a 9th twist.
As a modern astrologer, I work with the concept of natural houses. Of course, I don’t see signs and houses as equivalent, not at all. This is a misunderstanding of the law of correspondence. I see the signs as universals and the houses as particulars. This is good old philosophy.
The signs are symbols of twelve phases of any life cycle. Whatever life does, there is a start. A seed sprouts, a baby is born, a business is created, a decision is made, whatever happens, in the beginning it has to come into existence. This is the Aries phase. Birth, start, initiation.
The second phase is to look for sustenance and accumulate substance. The little seedling gets busy with photosynthesis. The baby sucks the breast. The business needs material and investment. That’s Taurus.
Then there is interaction with the environment, exchanges. That’s Gemini.
Then we start again, but from a less individualized perspective. In Cancer, the second Cardinal sign, the theme is belonging to an environment. If everything goes well this leads to thriving. Energy radiates. Here comes Leo. Everything is organized organically, Virgo. With Libra comes the need to find and maintain balance which leads to transformations – Scorpio – as things grow and expand – Sagittarius. Structures happen in Capricorn, Integration in higher structures in Aquarius and Final Dissolution in Pisces.
Life, however, is far more subtle and complex than these few very approximative key words. In fact, the perfect way to express these twelve universal phases is… the zodiac itself, twelve symbols, twelve images illustrating laws that apply to everything, and we can spend lifetimes meditating on them to deepen our understanding.
Now if these twelve universals apply to everything this must include the cycle of the twelve houses. I see them as the repetition of the twelve universals – at a different frequency: one cycle per day for the houses, one cycle per year for the zodiac.
The houses are divisions of the day: they are about what manifests at the most immediate and concrete level.
If I asked you: what are you usually doing in the morning? You’re going to talk about your daily routine, getting up, doing some exercises, stretching or meditation, having breakfast, what kind of breakfast, going to work, how far is work… Your answer will be precise and full of details.
But if I ask you: What are you doing in autumn? You will talk about your life from a greater distance, in much more general terms. Maybe you’ll talk about going for long walks in the forest but not about lacing your shoes or brushing your teeth.
Similarly, houses are about the most particular details of the life we are manifesting.
Let’s take an example and compare Taurus, the second sign, and the second house. People with Taurus emphasized in their chart often love their food and value stability and security. We are talking about personality traits.
But when you look at the second house, its questions are concerned with earning money for food and security, one’s resources and how to go about securing these. Your value in the second house is concrete. Are you a good hunter? Can you feed yourself and a family? If you are not a good hunter, maybe you have healing talents? Or you know how to trade and negotiate a good price? Can you make people laugh? If your jokes are so good that people would pay to listen to you, you’ll be able to put food on the table and that will be very good for your self-esteem. We are very far from Taurus personality traits with the second house, but we are doing the Taurus things that everyone has to do.
As you see, Houses and signs are not equivalent but there are meaningful correspondences.
A last word: Seen in this light, it also makes sense to see correspondence between the 10th house and Capricorn. If we considered only the position high above of a Sun in the 10th, it wouldn’t make sense to associate it with the sign of the Winter Solstice when the nights are so long. But if we see the movement, a tenth house Sun gets great power from crossing an angle very soon after birth, but then it’s all decline and disappearance, an austere journey until the moment of Rising on the Eastern Horizon. Sounds Capricorn enough to me!
I hope you enjoy this little journey through the houses. I suggest now that you visit my website and check EVERYTHING! If you wish to talk with me about the houses in your chart, why not ordering a reading? There is an especially affordable option for small budgets, called the “spontaneous reading”. There is also a link to an astrology retreat in Egypt combined with visits of historical sites and lazy moments looking at the Nile flowing…
If you wish to support this blog, you may also buy my book…
It’s all here: https://www.jeanmarcpierson.com/