Marc Edmund Jones Ph.D.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson had little reason to suspect that he was immortalizing himself when he took Alice down the rabbit hole, and created his wonderland of strange creatures. The young Oxford professor was making the best known contribution of the mathematical mind to pure symbolism, but he was too much the pedant in his own person to understand this. Lewis Carroll — that is, the fictitious individual of the nom de plume — might have grasped the matter, but the other self of the Reverend Mr. Dodgson never ventured very far beyond the covers of a book.

It is the second narrative, Through the Looking-Glass, that presents the astrologer with a truly neat explanation for the process by which his houses, signs and planets acquire what he terms their RULERSHIPS. Alice had been puzzled greatly by some lines of verse, starting off —

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

— and Humpty Dumpty didn't hesitate to interpret it for her, with assurance, at a later point in her adventure. "I can explain all the poems that ever were invented," he said, and then proceeded to account for "slithy" as meaning lithe and slimy. " 'Lithe' is the same as 'active,' " he continued. "You see it's like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word." Defining "mimsy" as flimsy and miserable, he added, "there's another portmanteau for you."

Astrology is a psychological method for charting or measuring experience. It operates through an analysis of character, and a deduction of the probable consequences of a particular individual's situation under a given set of relations. The astrological delineation of a person has its roots in the astronomical distribution of factors stemming from the moment and place of birth on the earth's surface, as has been explained in the preceding two chapters. Mere mathematical elements have no psychological meaning, however. Hence a technique of correlation is necessary, and it is here that the language of horoscopy comes into being, creating a series of especially inclusive terms. What has been shown, thus far, is the rationale by which the birth of a man is unique in its geometrical patterning, together with the way that mathematics may be used to identify him as an entity in his own right. The next step is to see how the factors of horizon or midheaven — of zodiacal signs or equatorial houses — can yield an actual significance in everyday potentials.

The individual creates and recreates his own world of reality, continually, through the sorting out of its elements in his understanding. The consequent entirely personal dividing up and ordering of experience is an operation of desire and choice, of reaction and self-integration. Since the mathematical mapping of this can go no further than a statistical linking of like things to each other, the evolution of meaning in astrology must come from experience, the limitations and permissions of time and space. Yet success is never more nor less than a matter, in one form or another, of General Forrest's famous getting there first with the most men, exactly as failure is the corresponding inadequate choice, response or act in the given case. Reality is always a convergence of relations, and activity a capitalization upon convenience. This is pretty much a matter of mathematics after all.

Astrological indications differ from those of other psychological charting, less deeply rooted in the common world of experience, through their broader spread of relations, their greater coverage of immediate pertinencies. Something akin to the stability of the heavenly vault is gained when reference is to elements persisting in the struggle of man throughout all time, since these cut across all lines of racial or cultural distinction. This is why the stellar art remains unusually naive, holding close to nature and patterning experience through the initial impulses in which it has its origin. Thus the horizon is the fundamental ground of being, or the underlying constant in self, permitting the most simple definition of character. It is also the special foundation for every detailed ramification of individuality. Mathematically, it provides the original dichotomy of self-existence. Astrology proceeds, in consequence, by comparing all men on the basis of their moments of birth, that is, of the individual origin in each case of this horizontal factor in time and space. The implications are ultimately empirical, of course, because it is what men have done in the past that remains the basis for any intelligent estimation of what they are apt to do in the present or future.

This means that the horizon in astrology is not only the ground of existence for some special person, but for all others as well, at least to the degree in which he shares his various human qualities with them. It is man generalized, with the particular but surprisingly slight modifications which constitute character per se. Here is a descriptive facility in sharp contrast with everyday convention. Ordinary language describes people by specific terms, such as carry a minimum of predictive implication. The one child is beautiful and talented, the other morose and ill-dispositioned. John Smith is tall while Larry Brown is short. Mildred is blonde, Mary a brunette, and so on. Horoscopy avoids this superficiality by seeing all men in the person of each, and so presents its immensely broadened reference. To indicate that Mr. X has a Leo ascendant, and Mr. Y an Aquarius sun, is to supply what is well nigh a dossier on each gentleman in question. The astrologer develops terms which compact a host of meanings within themselves. In the apt conceit of the Reverend Mr. Dodgson, he operates with portmanteau ideas and words.

Since the distinctions in horoscopy arise in the horizon and meridian, these primary agents in the sorting of experience must carry an implication which, no matter how abstract or general, maintains a root emphasis on the constants involved, that is, elements of dependability in man's day-by-day living.

Astrology indicates this by assuming the operation of two simple lines of symbolic force, or persisting direction of act and response, in all human existence. The first of these expresses the factor of horizon, and is pictured as an electric-like flow of life or animal energies around the surface of the globe, moving principally from east to west. These energies — holding to the symbolism — enter the field of immediate personal reality from the former direction, which is taken as identifying the positive pole of activity, and leave westwardly. By the same token the meridian circle, containing the midheaven and nadir of the horoscope, is imagined as vitalized by a similar stream of spirit, or celestial force, playing upon the earth and through to its center from the heavens. This is seen to reach the periphery of self at the north pole of the chart, or the nadir angle, and to pass out and on towards outer space again at the midheaven.

The two terms LIFE and SPIRIT are portmanteau concepts, carrying a technical astrological reference to the twin dichotomies of experience which, in the first instance, establish the level of events as (1) above or (2) below the threshold of consciousness, and in the second mark the distinction between elements of life (3) held in control and (4) dismissed to the management of other people or agencies. Popular occultism sometimes dramatizes the difference in the frames of reference represented here. When a man is asleep, or resting, the horizontal position of his spine permits the flow of the life energies through him for his refreshment, just as when awake, or active, his erect stand enables spirit to function through his backbone and thereby make him, to the extent of his capacities, a truly creative personality. Astrology sharpens the distinction in this imagery by giving a primary importance to the difference between the positive and negative poles in these theoretical streams of energy. This creates EAST and NORTH as special designations for the potentials of unconditioned impetus, and WEST and SOUTH for the complementary conditioned relationships.

The four equatorial triads can now be delineated, in terms of astrological implication, by adding the derivative houses into the consideration. This is done through the process of triangulation already charted in detail — as far as the mathematical phase of the symbolism is concerned — by the preceding chapter. The three designations angular, succedent and cadent are portmanteau adjectives common in the astrological literature, and it has been seen that they represent, in order and most simply or primitively, the present implication of the house axes (angular), the future potentials shown by the mansions lying on the counterclockwise side (succedent), and the dependence upon past or background elements which are charted by those next to the angles on the clockwise side (cadent). A more suggestive designation of these groups, however is TRANSMUTING, to stress the constancy of change as encountered at the angular or axial houses, and RESULTING and EXCITING, to emphasize the types of interaction revealed by the succedent and cadent groups, respectively. By resulting is meant an individual potentiality, a definite expansion of experience, and so not any mere general consequence of cause, such as is characteristic of everything. By exciting is meant simple encouragement to action, or response to various factors in experience because of the character and conditioning, not necessarily the more specific provocation to emotion or intensity of sensation.

The basic triadic relations, as represented in tabular form, use a past- present-future sequence from left to right to dramatize the actual rhythm of experience. This particular charting summarizes the structure of the houses as a whole, but is somewhat too abstract for any direct employment in horoscopic interpretation. However, the connections exhibited here, with the primary emphasis on the principles behind them, will give additional light upon every rulership of the individual mansions.


The Triadic Relations in the Equator

                CADENT: Exciting                     ANGULAR: Transmuting                     SUCCEDENT: Resulting

            IX Inward                                         I Life                                                V Life
                Impulse                                          Force                                               Expression

            III Outward                                    VII Life                                                XI Life
                Impulse                                         Relationship                                    Consummation

            XII Inward                                      IV Spirit                                            VIII Spirit
                 Compulsion                                    Force                                                Expression

            VI Outward                                      X Spirit                                               II Spirit
                Compulsion                                    Relationship                                    Consummation

Astrology unquestionably arose, in the beginning, as a wholly empirical science. Man began to observe correspondences between the events in his life and the seasons — or the phases of the moon, and other celestial phenomena — and to organize the correlations to the extent of his intellectual power. By the same token, the individual astrologer today learns his art out of experience, despite the extent to which he may read textbooks, attend classes and study abstract practice. Indeed, this is true no less of the physician, and every other professional of high training who deals with anything as complicated as human nature or the animal organism. The theoretical tabulation of house meanings is of little worth to the person who approaches horoscopy by rational analysis only, or who responds to some dilettante interest. The fundamental terms, no less than the portmanteaus to which they have been likened, must have something put into them before they can have any real value.

The east, west, north and south triads establish the four possible approaches to experience from an astrological point of view. They have been given diagrammatic form in connection with their mathematical origin, and now the simple naturalness of this quartering of reality must be recognized within the complex of ordinary everyday living. The four great worlds of man must be understood, not as mutually exclusive domains, but as areas of emphasis in existence. Each is real, and largely self-sufficient, in its own right. No one of them ever interferes with any of the others in even the least detail.

The proposition here should present no great difficulty. Thus a man has a home and a business, as examples of these great worlds. It is possible to say that the interests of the one collide with those of the other, and to document the case, but such a view is quite superficial. Actually, the individual in business disturbed by domestic upheaval is, as far as his money-making is concerned, the type of person he is from a commercial perspective. The simple fact is that the degree to which it is possible for him to neglect his larger affairs, because of home distraction, is a definite factor of his character, and not at all an interference in his money-making by domestic inharmony. This same man, being what he is, could be upset with equal disadvantage by many other things. The disturbance, astrologically, is part of the picture in the great world of trade. The instrumentation of this disturbance by the wife or children is something else, a convenience in the particular instance but always a reality on its own account, measured in its own proper place. Turning to the domestic domain, the fact that he may bring alien relationships into his private life, producing a greater or lesser upset, is again a reflection of temperament. The intruding reality may be the office, or something far removed from business, without effective difference as far as the simple inharmony in his home is concerned.

Thus a principle of real importance is revealed. None of the difficulties in life are a source of trouble because of the specific nature of any one of them, but rather and entirely because of the meaning each will have in some given person's case. The great power of astrology is its continual division or sorting of experience, until every factor of issue or crisis is exhibited primitively or naively enough to enable man to change it or direct it as he wills. This possibility of control depends upon carrying everything down to the point where it is detached from all its ramifying involvements in the total pattern of a moment's reality, much as a physician seeks to localize an ailment for treatment. 

Of the four great worlds of experience, two have been identified in the preceding paragraphs, namely, the domains of business and of home. The other two are much more primary, however, since the dichotomy of business-home is a social, psychological and exterior more than an individual and interior alignment. Man is of first importance as he exists in and of himself, that is, (1) in the world of his own personality — the self-sufficiency which can be divided off from his co-operative relationships with his fellows — and (2) as he refines himself as a personage in the world of his dependence on others in an individual way, i.e., the domain of the opportunity he gains through his partnerships and immediate or tete-a-tete relations with others. These are the two areas of experience with which existence begins, and with which astrology originates in consequence, as already explained. Hence the consideration starts with them, each in order.




Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;

The proper study of mankind is Man.

Pope, Essay on Man

The eastern triad consists of the ninth and fifth houses with a focus in the first, and it give the astrological indication of life per se, that is, everyday living in its positive phase. The most convenient definition of life, for the purposes of horoscopy, is the fundamental urge of every organism to continue in existence, or to perpetuate itself. An organism, from this point of view, is defined as a fundamentally self-contained, self-renewing and self-perpetuating continuum of energy. Here life force, astrology's portmanteau conception of basic organic activity, is distributed throughout experience, but within the strict periphery of self and its manifestation of itself.

When reality is taken this way, the logical account of it turns out to be somewhat circular, since it begins and ends in a private milieu of circumstances. It is almost solipsistic — that is, completely self-sufficient — but this is its nature in actual, hard and practical fact. Nothing is gained by any metaphysical excursus in this connection. To seek to derive the self from something else which, on its part, would have to be a self in some different aspect ultimately, would call for a further regression towards the supposed source, on and on to infinity. Astrological analysis gains its power from its capacity to operate, effectively and completely, within the confines of the problem or situation at hand.

Life, in its portmanteau positiveness, embraces the many familiar processes necessary to the achievement of a literal self-continuity. Eating, drinking, breathing and elimination in various specializations are all included. Reproduction is a part of this basic economy because it is one very effective way in which an organism perpetuates itself, i.e., by a physical self-reduplication. The idea of self-continuance reaches out, naturally enough, to comprise all possible creative or artistic expression. Anything or everything involved in memory, understanding, special skills and training, learning or teaching others, and an innumerable host of similar phases of self-functioning, are details of the simple living whereby the self, in and of itself, continues to be. The external totality of a recognizable entity, as well as the subjective continuum, is a necessary part of the consideration at the east triangle, so that the focal first house or ascendant rules the general appearance of a person, together with whatever helps to create this or refine it, such as the foundation conditioning which astrologers identify as the early environment.

The word rule or rulership is one of the most important of all terms in the horoscopic lexicon, a portmanteau of a sort somewhat different from those so far presented. It implies measurement or correspondence, of course, but also much more than mere parallel importance or pertinency. Thus the first house rules personality in the sense that any emphases of astrological relationship, occurring in this segment of the heavens, are reflected effectively in matters of self-esteem, of basic self-interest, and the like. This is not a case of cause and effect, although often so taken. Rather, there is a convergence of factors in the actual heavenly stresses and strains which, in statistical language, has a positive correlation with specific types of reality in experience. Rulership identifies those personal areas of potential relationship within which the given  probability of act or response is to be identified. An astrological LORD is an alternative term for a specific ruler of this sort,

The Ninth House

The ninth house is the general background of the personality — the inward impulse which preserves the self-fidelity, the inner consistency of identity — and in its simplest aspect the rulership here is over the accumulated experience of the particular person for whom the horoscope is cast. This means the aggregate of everything that has been learned, or those basic resources of consciousness which, normally, are established in the general attitudes of the NATIVE, as astrologers term the individual under analysis. Here is pure intellectual capacity, usually identified as the higher mind in the astrological literature. Most fundamentally, and whether in a broader sense or in the form of some narrowed cult or even private creed, this is a man's religion. It is his conscience, when it comes to his private morality.

The house is identified most advantageously by the portmanteau concept UNDERSTANDING, which astrologically becomes its KEYWORD. In the widest possible sense, understanding comprises those fruits of experience by which the personality has succeeded in anchoring itself within itself, consciously or subconsciously. This includes consciousness as such in every phase of ordinary thought and realization, except only the immediate focus of awareness, the point of attention or the act of being one's self, which is charted by the ascendant.

The ninth house rules long journeys, which by definition are those involving more than a day's traveling, i.e., requiring an overnight stay. The essence of the idea here is the generalized but personal significance of remote circumstances. These movements to a distance result from potentials, out of simple or immediate experience, which have become linked to the self, either through direct past activity or else secondary or accompanying ties in other and indirect personal relations.

What is indicated fundamentally, in all such cases, is the drawing of the self to some remote actuality brought into present importance. The house comprises all generalization in actual fact — that is, all bringing of things, otherwise scattered, to an immediate focus in consciousness—and thus includes the operation of the so-called subconscious mind, as in dreams, prophecy, inspiration, and visions, together with the normal expression of the conscious self in humor, perspective, philosophy, and the like. By the same token, its rulership includes knowledge in general, science as an established technique for the acquisition of facts, publications and lectures as certification of human wisdom, law as the codification of experience, and so on. It shows fame as the generally accepted valuation of self, and justice as the impartial adjustment of contributory circumstances to the broad reality of any given situation.

The First House

The first house rules the general focus of life force. This is personality in simple action or reaction as it endeavors, consciously or subconsciously, to continue to be what it is. IDENTITY becomes the principal portmanteau term or keyword for the eastern angle, and this concept comprises the immediate Gestalt, or whole impression, by which the native is revealed, whether to himself or others, in any given situation or issue. Most objectively, the identity means the bodily organism, and its general appearance, since these are the outer manifestation of the self's existence. Hence the native's physical type is characteristically modified in correspondence with the division of the zodiac through which the eastern horizon passes, commonly known as the RISING SIGN.

Because the totality of self is essentially borrowed at the outset, or is a convenient utilization or adaptation of materials taken from the general realm of immediate experience, the ascendant shows the early atmosphere in a literal sense, as well as in the case of every specific new phase of experience. This is the general self-revelation, or personality per se. The house, therefore, has domain over life itself as such, primarily, or the immediate status of things. It can be said to identify all undistributed experience, or the complete circumstances of existence at any particular point of interest or concern.

The Fifth House

The fifth house, as life expression, shows the direction or projective tendency in any experience of pure selfhood. Balancing the ninth, which is the tradition or background of the personality, this house charts the unlimited potentialities of personal existence, the chance for real adventure. It rules the outreaching, overflowing, self-finding, relatively instinctive or blind and unordered activity of the self ahead of itself, and for all this the keyword is OFFSPRING. If the corresponding cadent member of the triad, the ninth, is the ordering or generalization of simple selfhood, this succedent emphasis is prodigality, or a particularization of unalloyed self-being through ordinary trial-and-error experiment. In its most usual designation, the fifth house reveals self-expression. This means pleasure and sport of all kinds, from proper satisfaction to utter dissipation, and also the location and occasion for everything of the sort, that is, clubs whether country or town, eating places, athletic arenas and establishments, dance halls and social centers of all kinds, together with gambling places, race tracks, and the financial or commodity exchanges where stocks, securities, grains and various things are bought and sold in the course of speculation.

The house charts all representative or symbolical projection of the self, such as personal adornment, performance in the theater and on down the list to the everyday temperamental release of inhibition, including the varied mischief through which human character tests itself. All spectator amusements are indicated by this house, such as the stage, motion pictures, radio, opera, sports, the circus, carnivals and fairs, together with both amateur and professional participation in such activities as the artist, entertainer, contestant or definitely creative worker.

The projection of self on the succedent side, in the effort towards simple self-perpetuation, necessarily includes everything in connection with any possible reduplication of the identity, such as courtship, its perversion in the form of casual or preliminary intimacy, on to pregnancy and children. It embraces all childlike self-discovery, such as ordinary play in every form, and also the development represented by teachers, schools, the educative techniques and learning per se. It should be noted in this connection, parenthetically, that knowledge is placed under the ninth house only after it is gained, that is, put in reserve as part of the native's background or endowment. In the fifth, the rulerships persist through the progressive generalizations of simple self-expression above the animal level, comprising the special courtships, pregnancies and offspring of the emotions and mind, as in artistic creation, formalized art, literary work and esthetic activity.

The basic idea in all indications of the eastern triad is self-persistence in act or reaction. Thus courtship is a continuance of activity which, in its particular import, marriage terminates. Then the suit as such is ended. Differing from the romantic questing, however, children are a continuance of the self's rhythm in its reduplication, insofar as they have relationship with the parents. They are identified here at all times, even when grown, away from home and married on their own account. The fifth house shows the degree of persisting self-expression in general, and consequently — but in reverse, as far as outward appearance goes — the strength of the personality in declining to act or react, as in the instance of unadulterated resistance.

The portmanteau nature of astrological analysis is nowhere more revealed than in the intermeshing of relationships at all points in the horoscope. This, of course, is a true reflection of life, where nothing exists in isolation. The dichotomies, by which some things are divided off from others for analysis, are a function of the mind, not a charting of any fixed structures in nature. The twelve houses rule various matters because of some immediate, momentary and pertinent implication or emphasis in experience. Hence, what is found under any one of them may be placed under another, or even several others, as the frame of reference changes. The distinction between knowledge in the course of acquisition, and knowledge in reserve or as possessed, has already illustrated this mode of transition. 

The fifth house rules the creative dynamic of identity per se. In the case of a courtship, when the flow of life force ceases to be a mere projection of self, and is consummated in partnership, the new reality involved is charted by the seventh house. When the art expression, which normally belongs here, is sufficiently alive psychologically to be almost an entity on its own account — or to develop an organic self-determination or a species of immortal existence — the relation to its creator is that of a partner, and another transition to the descendant identifies the fine arts as distinct from the preliminary or relatively dilettante interest shown at the fifth. Moreover, and somewhat conversely, when creative effort becomes the mere manipulation of the esthetic tools for purposes other than the pleasure of doing so — whether these be words or symbols on the one hand, or paper, typewriters, brushes, cameras and what not on the other — the rulership shifts at once to the third. The astrological portmanteaus, therefore, are distinguished not only by what they compact within themselves, but by what they exclude, and by the changes they make in their content as circumstances shift in import.




There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

The western triad consists of the third and eleventh houses with a focus in the seventh, and it gives the astrological indication of life in its negative phase, or of everyday living as projected by the self into what psychology identifies, in general, as the other, i.e., not-self as opening new areas of experience to self in a sharing of reality, or an acting by proxy. This is life relationship in contrast with simple life force. Although a continuum, personality has no conscious or real existence except through a constant re-expression of itself. What it is, or does, must be illuminated, or have the co-operation of other being and doing. Mere identity, if established in any sort of a vacuum, is ultimately meaningless. The self is actual in its own experience as it not only continues to be, but as it does so with variation — more negatively, or receptively — by a progressive re-experiencing of its existence. The descendant's triangle charts circumstances in their provision of this continual and changing reassurance to the identity, a distribution of relationship by which self is reflected to itself, variantly and profitably, through its connection with things other than itself in a co-operative chance and hazard. Here is the eastern triad all over again, in a sense, but in an enlarged dimension of true
or personal reality.

The Third House

The third house rules the built-up background of these self-in-other relationships of life, establishing its keyword as ENVIRONMENT. The concept here represents, in the most organic form, the personal ties sufficiently anchored in the fundamental pattern of self to be manifest as blood relations. The specific indication is brothers and sisters, but all family connections are included, except parents or children, whenever they enter a given life pertinently. Because everything shown by this west triangle involves a functional equality, the mother and father are eliminated from any third-house aggregates. They distribute a socially superior reality, to which considerable attention must be given at a proper point in the text. Offspring have been seen to express, astrologically, a reduplication of the self on the creative side, and so must be excluded from classification here as socially subordinate.

The degree to which a shift in circumstantial emphasis will change the house rulership in a special case has been pointed out. Theoretically, of course, a child of the native can become his employer and so be indicated by the midheaven angle, but in such an instance the reference would not be to the blood relationship per se, which has become wholly incidental. It is possible to distinguish between particular brothers and sisters — and to trace out the special minutiae of relations here and elsewhere in the interlaced complex of the houses, to an indefinite extent — but this is fundamentally a recourse to HORARY rather than NATAL astrology, even if employed in delineating the horoscope of birth, and so is properly considered separately, although summarized in Chapter Five.(1)

(1) The author's companion volume in this series of seven major astrological textbooks, Horary Astrology Problem Solving by, Philadelphia, David McKay, 1941, devotes better than a hundred pages to more detailed meanings of the twelve houses or to the specific horoscopic orientation of special moments in experience. The natal astrology to which Astrology, How and Why it Works provides an introduction is the fundamental science that in the past has usually been termed judicial or genethliac astrology. The solar equilibrium chart is a method of proceeding in a general fashion under the handicap of a lack both of the precise time of birth by hour and minute and of the possibility of rectification by which such preciseness can be established in reasonable supposition. The rectifying procedure together with the three types of progressions or directions and the transits and three forms of horoscopic return constitute the dynamic horoscopy to which another volume of the author's basic textbooks, The Scope of Astrological Prediction, is an introduction. Mundane astrology is a popular application of astrological analysis to world affairs and is the concern of a further book of the sevenfold series, Mundane Perspective in Astrology, but this is still in preparation.

The environment is best understood in its contrast with the intellectual climate ruled by the ninth house and discussed in the preceding section. The third fundamentally charts the outward rather than inward impulse of the native, instrumented not only by blood associations, but all who manifest a fraternal touch of this background sort, such as fellow workers in an office, fellow riders upon a train, fellow delegates at a convention, and so on through every possibility of casual side-by-sideness. By extension, it covers all immediately-at-hand and practical conveniences of normal life, both the use of them and any movement by self for the purpose of putting them to use. Therefore, again in special distinction from the ninth, this house charts short journeys, or activity where no adjustment in either major consciousness or current routine is involved. Here is utterly simple by-proxy action, or the extreme tendency to dismiss things to automaticity.

The essence of meaning, both here and at the opposite cadent point (i.e. the ninth house) is a definite and often conscious cushioning of the self, in order to establish the set of affairs which might seem the best insurance for a favorable outcome in action. The western triad shows the success any given individual may have in compelling, from the life immediately around him, the ordering which is convenient for him at the moment. Two principal phases of this provide the third-house background in practical experience. One is the artificial structure of civilization itself, comprising all means of communication from language to telephones, and so involving manuscripts, letters, messages and such agencies, together with all the useful skills or arts of which mention has been made, indeed, every ordinary short cut or mechanization in mankind's daily functioning. The other phase of convenience revealed here is the establishment of fixed procedures, grooves of action and standards of response in the general milieu of life, or the common habits and mores of the individual, and of the geographical and ethnical groups to which he belongs.

The astrological rulership includes these things, not only as they are encountered in experience, but as the attempt is made to establish them. Therefore the third house rules change in general, that is,  all superficial shifts in environment, and also all minor manipulation of ideas, whether in connection with rumors or with more definitely personal notions as these become infectious and are shared in any way with others. As the ninth describes the deeper attitude toward life — manifest in philosophy, religion or science — the third in contradistinction shows the attempt to order purely transient things — through propaganda, advertising and salesmanship, as an example — as well as immediate impressions and prejudices, or second-hand ideas in general. Astrologers identify this activity as the functioning of a lower mind, and what they mean is the practical comprehension of life's everyday operations on a normal or common-sense level.

The Seventh House

The seventh house is the focus of the west triangle, and the center of the process whereby the native continually rediscovers himself in the other self or selves with which he may have equal relationship in joint interest or action. Thus it is the mansion of life-relationship, and it takes the keyword PARTNERSHIP. Nothing can live for itself alone, and man does not even attempt to have any being apart from his fellows. His first learning, as a child, results from imitation, or the process of parallel play, and he tends increasingly, as he matures, to bind himself to others in the convenience of a quite similar parallel living. Here is the whole explanation for mob psychology, and for any man's personal involvement through the group. The descendant, more generally, reveals the degree of a native's immediate efficacy, or his capacity for partnership with a given situation, as in the tide which leads to fortune. For this reason it is the ruler of opportunity, since all the relations it charts have their existence through some end result to be gained — or some idea to be fulfilled — among people who are peers in terms of their right to act. Seventh-house ties, in other words, are never the co-operation of superior and inferior in any respect, nor are they the active and passive one-way and almost wholly taken-for-granted convenience found at the third.

Partners are as important in business as in marriage, both astrologically and in life. All professional relationship through consultation, or basically public and democratic contact, is indicated by this house, as when advice is given for a fee by a physician, a lawyer or an expert in any particular line of human skill (not excepting the astrologer). In the case of strictly professional services, however, when the analysis is from the horoscope of the professionally trained individual in question, clients or  patients are shown by the sixth house. This is not because they are inferior, but because the personal relationship is subordinated to a process of adjustment, of which that particular mansion is ruler. The specialist is involved in a person-to-person contact only as long as a distinctly vis-a-vis issue is maintained, a fact with rather curious consequences. Thus the western angle or seventh house charts all the direct suffering as well as the benefit derived from a situation, and includes not only friendly relations with a lawyer, but unfriendly contacts with another person sued or suing. This means direct conflict of any sort, from war to a purely personal scuffle.

The descendant rules what the old books identify as the place of removal. Since it is the focus of the definite other, in the philosophical sense already explained, it obviously is the house of alternatives when this relationship of the other is assumed. In general, it is always the next step ahead, or what the ascendant is just about to be. The third house, in similar fashion, is the just-about-to-be-ness of the ninth, which is a way of saying that the environment — in terms of what it actually is, at any moment — is a continually shifting realization, or objective dramatization, of man's underlying or inner attitude towards life. The eleventh house, to be described next, is therefore the practical or correspondingly externalized stimulus to self-expression, indicated by the fifth, and every house is the detached or immediate alternative to its opposite.

The Eleventh House

The eleventh house in general rules objectives, or that to which the consciousness leans most assiduously. This, seen outwardly, is FRIENDSHIP. The mansion, in common astrological terminology, is the place of hopes and wishes. Here is life consummation in the broadest potentiality of person-to-person relations, including counselors and advice at large, together with the tendency to accept one or another type of counsel. Therefore the eleventh shows preferences, or favorites and favoritism of all sorts, whether these are an active and conscious choice of the self, or are something that has been strengthened or encouraged in consequence of other things. By contrast with the fifth, it indicates not so much a personal or articulate self-expression as, instead, the emphasis in life through which anyone actually reaches out to invite his ever-expanding experience.

Of all twelve equatorial houses, the eleventh is the easiest to describe or understand, a fact which sometimes obscures its real importance. As an extension of the counseling function, it comprises all organization or formalization of advice, especially when this takes form in legislation or enacted law as against that derived from precedent or out of experience (which is ruled by the ninth). Astrology here charts the factor of momentum in life, or of tendency towards the fullest and most instinctive co-operation of self and others, in contradistinction to the simple out-spilling of identity. Thus it indicates the statistical drifting or working together of the pertinent elements in reality, the underlying friendliness of whatever accepts and enjoys a common objective. The enriched or fulfilled personality is always that which has its interest centralized in the full flood of events, achieving success through a fellow rather than a separate coherence. The factor of accompanying drive in experience — first encountered in the third house, where necessary co-operation can be taken for granted, and then refined at the seventh in struggle or through the sharpening of self-discovery through others — is brought into the consciousness of the native in tangible fashion at the eleventh, enabling him to gain a genuine personal power through his direct visualization of a life dynamic.




Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand

before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

Proverbs 22:29

The southern triad consists of the sixth and second houses with a focus in the tenth, and it gives the astrological indications of spirit rather than life relationship, charting the negative experience of the native on the basis of the meridian distinctions. The transition from the horizon, in the astrological schematism, has been given considerable attention in the preceding chapter. There the meridian's function has been seen primarily as the matter of a dichotomy in the experienced materials rather than the time and space situation of self.(2) The developments of true or creative choice requires a plurality of potentials, which demands a social as in contrast with a primitive, one-faceted or largely solipsistic world. The requirement has been reflected, in the rise of human culture, by the division of labor in the community, that is, by the refinement of trading and business, handicrafts and industry, exploitation and public administration. The single-minded adventuring of the self and its special intimates, each of whom is no more than its other psychologically, must give way sooner or later in all experience — and all analysis of the problems faced by man — to the factors comprising a broader association with the many, or the illimitable potentials of the universe. This introduces a truly objective or impersonal type of activity into astrological judgment. It is the objectivity or impersonality which is emphasized by the negative-positive order of consideration given the two meridian triads, in contrast with the positive-negative order in which the eastern and western groups are presented. A metaphorical eye is applied to the large rather than small end of the telescope.

(2) Readers with a philosophical background will realize that the four triads have a very exact correspondence with Aristotle's four kinds of cause. The ascendant charts efficient cause, and the descendant, final. Material cause is now presented, to be followed by formal at the northern triad.

The portmanteau concept of relationship, as indicating the many rather than the one, comprises personal responsibility as this is socialized in a very real sense, that is, rendered either indeterminate, as far as any necessary reference to a particular individual is concerned, or else communal. At this point the native is seen in his ties with all people together. Whatever person is ever identified in these houses of the southern triad is always revealed not so much as an entity as an officer or lackey, an authority or messenger, a representative in some way of interests which ramify through a whole unit of human society in which the self is participating. The beginning is necessarily negative, arising from the borrowed conveniences of existence at birth, as well as at the inauguration of any special activity. Hence man makes a continual effort, through every detail of these social relations, to gain encouragement for expression. All activity given its pointing at the south triangle is joint action, the self moving in an impersonal and usually unwitting co-operation with other selves, thereby actually creating the materials of experience. Because movement in the midst of the many is negative, the self needs a continual adjustment in its practical, pertinent and everyday association with these materials. Hence its social activity creates the great world of concern, the first domain in which man becomes adult in any real sense. He must now consider others in general, rather than some given other in particular.

The Sixth House

The sixth house represents the total background of social responsibility or concern in the individual's case, charting that broad assumption of value to his fellows by which he demands his place in the world. The keyword DUTY comprises the two-way responsibility which astrologers usually dramatize by making the mansion a ruler of service and servants. The fundamental indication is the activity of an inferior, either self or other, up or down in a social hierarchy. It shows the adjustment rather than the disparity, the reaching across definite lines of difference rather than the maintenance of any artificial distinction. One man must serve another, properly, because the person who is served has a capacity for functioning in some focus of greater social complexity, and so is enabled to distribute the activity of the whole group through the particular instance. Whenever the levels in society are understood in this fashion by all parties concerned, no opprobrium attaches itself to a subordinate position. The relationship is entirely mutual, and at best is impersonally equated, showing the real nature of this third general dimension in human experience.

Work or labor is revealed in the sixth house, and properly is exalted as movement towards an achievement in social status. When ever effort of the native is outwardly unsuccessful, or obviously misdirected, the situation devolves on background considerations disclosed by the mansion as ruler of misfit occupations. Outward compulsion is then little more than pure negation. A man's struggles, at the worst, will be blind rebellion, a self-surrender of free will to an unfriendly  universe, but even the extreme agony charted here may become a creative determination to remake the world of experience by sharpening and expanding every individual skill or capacity.

Sickness, as ultimately a mode of adjustment in experience, is the most familiar instrumentality for the process of social reconstruction. As the degree of interaction between the internal and external energies of life, it includes hunger, fatigue and dissatisfaction as well as the miscellaneous aches and pains of an organism. It is the deviation from normality by which health is knowable on the one hand and useful on the other. In exactly the same way that the house indicates, quite impartially, the service gained from others or given to others, it reveals illness as an agency whereby the efforts at soil-expression in some particular social situation are impaired in the one case, or refined in the other. Any constriction of effort is, of course, protective in nature. A man gorging himself with food, continually abusing his digestive system, becomes sick and so momentarily loses interest in his gormandizing. Another person, ruining his eyes or other faculties through over-ambitious self-driving, develops the organic trouble which forces him to check himself. Contrariwise, it is common experience for some individual to rise to the special occasion, under circumstances where a proper mobilization of energy is achieved, and to drive himself to an unbelievable effort without suffering any ill-consequence other than his normal and healthy weariness.

The house represents the physical, commonly available and consciously developed energies of that group of which the individual is a part, as well as of his own animal organism in this social sense, and the consequent service to him, including food and clothing, medicines and the ministrations of a community, together with the smaller domestic animals and cattle, the farms and factories from which he is supplied, the army and navy which defend or conscript him, and so on. An important manifestation of the servant relation is the responsibility of pure custodianship, so that all tenants or stewards are found in the sixth. People served by the professions, the clients of a physician or psychologist, are ruled here, as has been indicated, together with the specific regimen of healing and any sheer drill or discipline.

The Tenth House

The tenth house is the focus of an individual's external situation in human society. It indicates his place in life, as expressed in the keyword HONOR, and as founded upon his concern over human values. Thus the angle reveals the relation between the native and his own total world, but it does not tell anything whatsoever concerning his circumstances in comparison with the status of others outside his common sphere of activity. A very fine horoscope possessed by a coal miner might indicate his position as a foreman, the same chart among the upper middle class of a small Midwest city might account for a person's place as president of a bank, and the same map among the aristocracy of India might identify a maharaja. The mansion essentially delineates man's persisting trueness to his own nature, under the impact of social compulsions. It rules his profession because, after all, a socially dignified activity is a body of special skills bound together in a code of honor, and activated by a group morale. This is the practical meaning of spirit relationship.

The midheaven, in more general fashion, represents authority. This is the power established by the successful individual in building a high degree of personal integrity, or in developing a superior professional place for himself, but it is no less the social compulsion to which the specialist as well as everyone else must submit. The house shows the native's employer, if he has one, and those who are his superiors in the political or business communities to which he must give allegiance, such as the president or governor, the manager or foreman. Here also is the immediate enjoyment of any preferential position in life, or aristocracy as such. The tenth not only rules the fact of all these things, but also charts the effort directed toward their achievement, or their continuous enlargement and fulfillment, thus revealing ambition, advantage, degree of special capacity and the like on the one hand, and credit, stability or administrative competency on the other.

Every house embraces whatever its rulership includes, and in addition the same thing in embryo, as has already been emphasized. There is no basic astrological differentiation between promise and performance, unless a given potential becomes a tangible stimulus with a definitely external impact, as in the just-about-to-be-ness described on page 51. Hence the midheaven charts the self's entirely nascent security, in the world at large, as symbolically represented by the mother. She is the parent who supplies the initial social matrix, in its complete all-sufficiency, through the functioning of her organism. The child remains in her custody after birth, and is only brought into larger and greater social complexes by gradual stages, until able to proceed on its own account in a relatively total independence. There are instances where the father is more a mother than the woman herself, or where a foster mother steps in and is thereupon indicated by the mid-heaven in her exercise of authority. Recent practice identifies the tenth house as ruler of the close-link parent. It is necessary, however, to be careful in guarding against a superficial assimilation of ideas, as in supposing that because the southern angle indicates business, and that because the father is the one of the parents usually found in the office, he should be described at the upper meridian. Since the child's chart is under consideration, any such correspondence is indirect and inadequate, as the older authorities well understood.

The Second House

The second house reveals the potentials of the native's general social position, or is spirit consummation as best expressed in the values of immediate and personal concern. All this is comprised in the keyword POSSESSION, including financial and similar fluid resources. Of all tangible things, money is probably the most spiritual or social, since it is the most generalized or universal medium of community experience. It can operate successfully as a basis of social linkage between people with the most diverse standards, hence preserving the impersonality of man's third great world. Its basic characteristic is that it distributes inequality in terms of freedom rather than limitation. No man is under compulsion, for instance, to wear a hat of any certain price. He may spend one dollar or ten. Except for quite minor differences, a hat is a hat. The mansion reveals negative social potentiality in this vitally important capture of experience in an almost infinite ramification, giving an individual the greatest possible facility in the use or scattering of pure social reality. Most inclusively, the second house rules ordinary wealth and prosperity, or its lack, charting loss and gain in general, i.e., freedom to change place in society. 

The resources shown here comprise not only money but also personal property in the sense of everything which, in one way or another, instruments the simple group activity of self. The wholly generalized nature of the mansion is expressed in the idea of assistance. This means allies, as distinct from partners in a formal alliance, that is, whatever help is received from others at the point where it becomes the native's own, without any particular strings of obligation. The capacity to call forth social aid of this purely impersonal sort is the astrological index of man's liberty. It is the potential of social manifestation, as distinct from freedom or a mere rejection of discipline and restraint, shown at the fifth, and also as in contrast with a more or less subjective self-release in what can easily become fantasy, such as is charted at the eleventh.




Come unto me, all ye that labour and are

heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

The northern triad consists of the twelfth and eighth houses with a focus in the fourth, and it gives the astrological indication of spirit in its positive simple and direct manifestation. Here self achieves a dimension of depth, recovering itself in a sense by its realization of itself in a context, or by its capacity to reach out through the ramifying impersonal potentials of a man's total experience, and so to give definite form of its own choosing to its own complete milieu. Thus, the overall circular logic returns the consideration to its beginning in what occultism dramatizes as an evolution from subconscious existence, or bare identity, into full self-awareness, or an immortal individuality. All these considerations are symbolical, or course. What is achieved by an analysis of this character is a mental construct, a way of describing reality and charting its relations so that the course of events may be controlled. Taken properly, the circularity comprises a return to center in selfhood, through a continual re-grasp and reconstruction of life and its context, and hence it becomes a preservation of the actual without any infinite regression or corresponding metaphysical escapism. Self without depth — or the simple continuum of organic existence — is merely life, but selfhood in an achieved and conscious depth is spirit in the special sense of the astrological portmanteau. As responsibility is individualized through experience, reality becomes private in a very special way. This privacy — as most commonly man's limitation, but more happily his spiritual opportunity — is charted and revealed, in every implication, by his world of reward.

Twelfth House

The twelfth house rules the built-up resources of spirit, or the inner experiences through which the self develops its true social independence, i.e., its consciously personal motivation as a member of society. Here is the all-important subjective sustainment of the life. It comprises both the rationalized flights from reality on the destructive side, with the continual sense of persecution or misunderstanding, and the far more mature and broadened dependence of the cultured individual on his own intuitions. The reflection of the inward compulsion of this mansion, when it comes to everyday relationships, is a tendency to institutionalize the life, and this establishes the keyword as CONFINEMENT. Putting things within artificially ordered bounds can be almost more for the good than the bad, or course, as in subjecting a disordered career to the discipline of an institution, and especially in accepting the kindly services of a hospital.

The house has been emphasized by astrologers in the past as the place of self-undoing, that is, a surrender to the unknown and the imaginary, and they have given much attention to its indication of hidden enemies and unexpected calamity. It necessarily comprises prisons and disciplinary institutions, and in the traditional descriptions of horoscopy shows malice, misery, crime, violence and surprise of every character, or what on the destructive side is every consequence of a completely inadequate subjective sustainment. In contrast with all this, it rules unanticipated help, the gaining or possession of so-called deeper or occult knowledge — the clear or disciplined intuition of the unknown and unknowable — together with a valuable and fundamental sensitiveness to those human relationships which, though below the level of consciousness, yet operate through conscious experience. Here are the immortal inclinations of an individual, as he is able to develop them and respond to their support. In other words, he profits by a self-directed limitation of his efforts to areas in which they are effective, or by a progressive acceptance of some particular cosmic ordering as necessary in his own experience. He makes his personal or essentially secret touch with the cosmos in that true subjective life which is revealed through the northern triad, and in this he knows himself as a microcosmos in a very literal sense.

The mansion charts all things stimulating or disturbing through their seeming size, weight or unmeasurable superiority, and as a result it is the best possible point of mobilization for the true inner spiritual resources of self against the very immensity of the potential as a whole. While it designates, superficially, the great beasts or those of cattle which are hard to handle — as the representative of the confining factors in nature — it has a much more important rule over the great common realizations which each man must articulate in association with his fellows, to some appreciable extent, if he is not to lose his individuality through the increasing pressure of pure over-all compulsion. It is in this final cadent area of experience that man cradles his own re-embodiment in social potentials.

The Fourth House

The fourth house may be described as the place of soul, or where the self in its own special positiveness, as spirit force, creates an eternal certainty in the HOME, the true estate of the native, both literally and symbolically. Soul is the characteristic act of being, in Aristotle's rather apt definition, or is what an individual becomes in his spiritual right, totally apart from his momentary dependence upon anything exterior to himself. Thus the mansion reveals selfhood in pure abstraction, or charts the end of life at the point where all external and immortal forces merge into the totality of self-existence. What is shown here is the individual's degree of conformity to ultimate expectation, therefore, or the immortality through which he keeps on living, not the termination of some cycle in time. Soul is cumulative, but it is always a present reality. 

The total drama of individual existence has often been outlined by astrologers through the transition from the baby's complete dependence upon the outside world, charted at the ascendant, to the adult's independent and largely subjective self-fulfillment, which is ruled by the nadir. It is thus that life force is metamorphosed into spirit force. The home, to some extent throughout the process, perpetuates the bondage of early life, but the child actually is able to establish a private reality, one entirely his own, at the very beginning of things, and far more in the home and with his family than anywhere else. In other words, he compels the maximum recognition of his individuality in the intimacy he enjoys with his parents and playmates. The nadir reveals the nascent individuality most importantly in these initial stirrings. They represent the ultimately spiritual impetus in selfhood as this is evident, by the curious circularity of the real, from the very start.

By contrast with the tenth house, the fourth rules the father or remote-link parent. This is the one who articulates for the child, under normal circumstances, the total groping idealism, or outreaching spiritual realization, in which the budding personality moves to establish itself. The father is no more an integral part of the home than the mother, and no less, but he is the very special ambassador, as far as the new entity is concerned, for a great and fascinating world beyond the walls of daily discipline and of ordinary physical limitations.

The Eighth House

The eighth house is the potentiality of the inner or ultimately immortal being. As the twelfth is the place of subjective sustainment, the succedent member of the triad is the point of similar transcendental out-spilling or inner self-discovery, establishing the keyword as REGENERATION. This is a psychological rebirth leading continually into the new or fourth dimension in experience. Most importantly and objectively the mansion shows the extent to which the native lives according to the ideas of others. As the completion of his life in the terms of these values, constituting its spirit expression, the eighth is the place of death, or that physical end by means of which the pattern of the given career achieves its set in spiritual continuance (as ruled by the fourth). Here is the unswerving outreach to the hope of reward in the inner sense of a work well done, the inarticulate if not conscious dynamic of human estate, the feeling of fellowship in the invisible company of all who have given good service in the past. It is the day-by-day sense of a need to be pleasing to the established ideals of man, or to have a sense of justification for living, and it is also the occasional self-pandering which can lead to a twelfth-house escapism whenever the anchorage in practical life or relations is inadequate.

The mansion fundamentally indicates the continuing and strengthening realizations of the larger social challenges of life, and presents the point of greatest call to real self-sacrifice. Primarily delineating an approach to the whole of things in pure inner or spiritual potentiality, it indicates fretting or creative concern, such as is manifest in sadness or regret on the one hand and by especially unrestrained delight on the other. The eighth reveals socially, in every respect, what the fifth shows in more personal fashion, and in consequence helps the astrologer in getting at unsuspected depths of possibility for those people who, lacking real ability to rise to the ideals of others, feel themselves defeated and without hope, and so often resort to violent or destructive action. The house rules the termination of all older cycles as essentially the guarantee and foreshadowing of what the new ones may be, and it charts the blind out-groping of personality, or the anarchistic rather than self-indulgent revolt against immediate limitation.

Because the eighth is the second or money house, counting from the descendant or ruler of the basic person-to-person relations, its rulership includes legacies, wills and the money of other people in general. This is technically a detail of horary interpretation, but one which is universally entrenched in the natal tradition, and so properly included in the exposition. It is a good example of the way in which the secondary indications of the twelve mansions are derived; and so a suggestion of the expanded implications which every expert in horary art will have at hand, almost instinctively, to fit any special case he encounters in his practice.

It is now possible to summarize the house rulerships, tabulating them in the common or chronological sequence.




I Identity and its persistence; immediate action and reaction; bodily form; general initiative; personality; early or undistributed experience.

II Possessions as the expansion of social self-establishment; money and its loss or gain; concrete assistance; personal liberty.

III Environment as immediately-at-hand and taken-for-granted relationships; minor skills, instrumentalities and conveniences; brothers and sisters; relatives in general; habitual procedures; communication by any means; local travel and change; simple perception.

IV Home; the permanent estate; final recourse in self and its immortality; spiritual realization or soul; sharable end-results of all experience; father or remote-link parent.

V Self-discovery and self-projection; offspring, literally and figuratively; courtship, experimentation and speculation; pleasure and the chance for pleasure; play and all educative processes; the creative dynamic in personal and esthetic relations.

VI Fundamental social and occupational responsibilities; obligations of service due to or from others; work and sharpening of skills; misfit vocations; army and navy; sickness and healing; food and clothing; domestic animals; adjustment to situations in general.

VII Equal relationship in joint interests; opportunity in general and outcome of act in particular; direct partnership in marriage, business, social enterprise, special consultation, or personal conflict; warfare; unusual achievement in the arts.

VIII Regeneration; challenging self-expectation and fretting; transcendental interests and spiritual self-discovery; death; money of other people and legacies.

IX Understanding as generalization, knowledge, and law; attitudes, religion and conscience; inspiration as self-orientation; personal movement or relation to remote things and places; consciousness generally.

X Place in life; honor and recognition by others; professional capacity; business; authority and superiority in general; mother or close-link parent.

XI Visualized ends of effort and objectives; potentiality in person-to-person relations; partiality in idea and act; advice, friends and friendship; legislation; general momentum in life.

XII Confinement, or experience through institutions, for good or evil; subjective sustainment or built-up spiritual resources; self-accepted limitation in experience, or underlying inclination; touch with the unknown or unexpected, both inimical and friendly.


Astrology, How and Why it Works


Mindfire Astrology