What Do The 12 Houses Mean In Astrology?

12 houses of astrology red text plus chart

Whether you’re an astrology devotee or a casual observer, you’re probably familiar with sun signs and horoscopes. But what would you say if someone asked what zodiac sign resides in your eighth house?

Houses are kind of a big deal in astrology, but we aren’t talking about the ones with roofs and walls. These houses contain zodiac signs and planets that can tell you more about your personality and relationships, according to the stars. If you’re newer to astrology, you might not know what it means when your horoscope forewarns of an eclipse in your Second House of Value and Possessions, and that’s OK.

Keep reading for a crash course on the 12 major houses in astrology that will take your understanding of the zodiac to the next level.

What does house mean in astrology?

In astrology, each person has a sun sign—the sign you use to check your horoscope, which you can find in this chart below. This sign denotes where the sun was at the time of your birth and based on the zodiac.

Zodiac chart for 2023

Sign Symbol
(in emoji form)
2023 Dates
Capricorn December 20 (2022) – January 19
Aquarius January 20– February 17
Pisces February 18 – March 19
Aries March 20 – April 19
Taurus April 20 – May 20
Gemini May 21 – June 20
Cancer June 21 – July 22
Leo July 23 – August 22
Virgo August 23 – September 22
Libra September 23 – October 22
Scorpio October 23 – November 21
Sagittarius November 22 – December 21

Each person also has what’s known as an astrological birth chart, which includes different zodiac signs, planets, and constellations that help astrologers learn more about them.

A birth chart is drawn as a 360-degree wheel that’s divided into 12 houses, or sections. At the exact time of your birth, each planet and constellation in the zodiac was located inside a specific house or section of this wheel. Astrologers believe that knowing these placements can give you more insight into the ways astrology influences key parts of your life, like your health, career, or relationships.

How do zodiac signs relate to the houses?

To understand houses, you also need to know that each person has an ascendant, or rising, sign. This is the sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the exact time of your birth. In your birth chart, the ascendant sign is present on the cusp, or edge, of the first house, and that placement determines the location of every other planet, sign, and constellation in your personal chart.

Your ascendant sign and its related house can offer clues about your outward expression and how you relate to others. In fact, the first six astrological houses are known to astrologers as the personal houses—the ones that help you learn all about yourself and how you relate to the world—while houses seven through 12 are typically viewed as the interpersonal houses.

Here’s what each of the 12 houses represents:

1. House of self

The first house is often called the house of self. It is ruled by Aries and the planet Mars, and the placements in this house can give you a window into understanding more about your outward appearance, traits, characteristics, outlook, and sense of expression. In other words, this house tells you a lot about your personality—not only the “visible aspects of your character” that make you who you are right now, but also clues to the ways your personality may evolve in the future.

2. House of value and possessions

The second house, ruled by Taurus and the planet Venus, relates to your possessions, but it’s not only focused on tangible things. Placements in this house can help you gain insight into all that belongs to you, be it your money, investments, and material environment or your inner self, needs, wants, and abilities. Value in the name of this house refers to both your finances and your internal values.

3. House of communication

The third house is called the House of Communication. Some astrologers may also refer to it as the House of Sharing. Ruled by Gemini and the planet Mercury, this house governs how you communicate and connect with others. Communication isn’t just talking or texting. It means “something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.” For that reason, astrologers look to this house for more on someone’s written and verbal communication styles and how they might interact with themselves, their environment, and those they know well.

4. House of family and home

Ruled by Cancer and the Moon, the fourth house focuses on family, history, traditions, and ancestry. In other words, it tells us about home, or “the place in which one’s domestic affairs are centered.” This house sits at the “bottom” of the astrological wheel and is thought of by many astrologers as being foundational to a person’s self, life, and beliefs. You might look to this house for insight on how you relate to your parents or your own children and how you nurture yourself and others.

5. House of pleasure

Leos are known for being charismatic, outgoing, and dynamic, so it makes sense that the fifth house, ruled by the Sun and Leo, governs all things related to expression and creativity. Pleasure in this house’s name refers to “enjoyment or satisfaction derived from what is to one’s liking.” The fifth house tells you about things that create joy and fulfillment in your life, like art and culture, romance, games and hobbies, and even your family and children.

6. House of health

Pragmatic Virgo joins Mercury in ruling the sixth house. This house deals with health, or “the general condition of the body and mind,” on all levels. That means it can give you insight into not just your physical health and relationship with your body, but also your mental and emotional self, such as how you react to adversity and areas where you may experience personal growth. You may also look to this house to learn about your ideal career and ways to be of service to others.

7. House of partnerships

In the seventh through 12th houses, your birth chart shifts away from personal insights and begins to focus on the interpersonal, or how you interact with others. For that reason, the seventh house, ruled by Venus and Libra, is all about partnership. This doesn’t only mean romantic partnership. The astrological placements in this house are believed to govern your interactions in business relationships, contracts, and negotiations as well. Other names for this house are the House of Relationships and the House of Balance.

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8. House of transformation

Passionate and mysterious Scorpio leads the eighth house with Mars and Pluto. This house also focuses on relationships, but it’s less on how people behave in relationships and more about how those relationships transform them.

This includes insight into one’s birth, death, sexuality, and karma. This house also governs joint property that has transformational abilities, like inheritances, debt and even joint finances.

9. House of purpose

Ruled by Jupiter and Sagittarius, the House of Purpose is also sometimes called the House of Philosophy. That’s because it centers on the higher mind and philosophy, or “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conducts.” This house focuses on our religion, morals, ethics, and dreams. Insights gained by studying the placements in this house may also relate to travel, culture, and even our ancestors, as these are all things with potential to contribute to our personal growth and search for meaning.

10. House of social status

Capricorn is among the hardest working signs in the zodiac, and that’s why the 10th house, ruled by Saturn and Capricorn, is where you look to learn more about your career, achievements, and your social status, or how you “relate to, [are] devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations.” The cusp, or border, of the 10th house is known as the midheaven, and it can tell astrologers more about your career path. Placements in this house can also help you determine professional goals and ambitions, as well as how successful you may be. Some astrologers think of this as the “fame” house, as celebrities often have several placements in this house.

Have you heard of Ophiuchus? Some astrologers consider it to be the 13th astrological sign. Learn more about this mysterious constellation.

11. House of friendships

The 11th house, ruled by Saturn, Uranus, and Aquarius, deals with the ways in which our friendships and how we find harmony with others. Astrological placements in this house can tell you more about the clubs, social groups, and organizations to which you are drawn. This house is all about collective beliefs and actions, and how those contribute to self-actualization, or “the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.”

12. House of subconscious

The 12th house, also sometimes called the House of Unconscious, is ruled by Pisces and the planets Jupiter and Neptune. Pisces is associated with emotions and creativity; therefore, you can look to this house to learn more about your imagination, feelings, and subconscious mind, which “exists or operates beneath or beyond consciousness.” Placements in the 12th house indicate private strengths and weaknesses and how people confront and learn from their past actions. Some astrologers also believe you can look here to find clues about old age and the afterlife.

Take the quiz!

Right now, the stars are aligned in the House of Quizzes—the Dictionary.com quizzes, that is! Follow this link to our challenging quiz on the astrology of houses. Gold stars for all who pass!

Learn the meanings behind each zodiac name and symbol, plus a bonus constellation, which will surely leave you starry-eyed.

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