If you misunderstand the Astrological Houses, you misunderstand important parts of your personality

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A few months ago, my friend Dario, who is starting studying his own Natal Chart, sent me a whatsapp message: –  “Hey, I have to ask you something. My 2nd house is empty, there are no planets, is that means I will never have enough money? Or that am I not capable generating richness?”

First of all, it makes me smile, and then I reassured him about his attitude on financial affairs. But I also remembered that when I started learning Astrology I had the same problem with my “empty houses”,  so I searched for a deep explanation about the system of the Astrological Houses and their symbolism, which is the key to understand their psychological correspondences.

It was hard to find remarkable material about Houses, the most part was very rough and superficial, but after a long period of researches, I was able to fit all the good pieces together to understand their true mechanism.

A couple of weeks later after the message from Dario, it happened the same with my friend Carlo, who asked me about his “empty” 10th House, and 10 days ago even Giulia asked me about her “empty houses”.

So I understood that the “Houses System” is very often misunderstood or underrated by beginners, and it is normal, because they have often a superficial knowledge about it, received from some rough web articles or from those I define “profane astrologers”, and unfortunately there are many of them.

Then I’m here, because the psychological meanings of the Astrological Houses is really deep and it’s important understanding them.

They deserve a better analysis, because the informations obtained through them are really useful to complete the portrait of your own personality or the portrait of a friend, related, or others.

A Natal Chart, is a scheme representing the sky configuration of a human being and this sky configuration corresponds to the map of his psyche.

The psyche of a human being cannot be “approximative”, “superficial” or “simple”.

The psyche of a human being is very complex and deep, and the 12 Houses are often the true key to deeply understand it and to have a correct interpretation of it. 

So it’s a shame and a fatal error reducing the 12 Houses to some elementary concept, trivial words, or even wrong meanings, because Birth Chart interpretation, and then psychological interpretation,  will be surely incomplete or completely wrong.

So let’s start to understand some fundamental concepts about Astrological Houses analyzing the two frequent big mistakes profane astrologers and beginners do with them:

• Do not considering “empty Houses” because they don’t have Planets or other objects inside.

That’s a common mistake, especially for beginners that are starting interpreting birth charts: An astrological house is important or gives us informations about the psyche of the person examined, only if inside the house there are planets, or other astronomical objects like Lilith, Chiron, etc. Otherwise they ignore it.

Of course, that’s wrong.

The point is that Houses ARE astrological objects , so they have to be considered like planets themselves.

In fact, the real place of Houses and the area of their deepest influence, are the Cusps, that point on the sky where they “begin”, but that point it is the true core of the House’s meaning.

If you think about it, that is the “standard treatment” for the 1st House, Ascendant, or for the 10th, Medio Coeli.

If a Planet is 2 or even 5 degrees near the Cusp of the 1st House, (Ascendant) it is considered in conjunction with it, why should not be the same with the others House’s Cusps?

Simple: It is the same.

So if on a birth chart we find, for example, Venus 3 degrees near the Cusp of the 3rd House, we have to consider it in conjunction with the 3rd House, even if Venus is on the degrees before the Cusp and then before the “official” beginning of the House, Venus Is in the 3rd House.

I repeat, Cusps are the very core and so the best point of expression of the psychological meaning of the Astrological Houses.

The following degrees of the House, are part of it, sure, but their influence have to be considered not strong as on the Cusp.

Here is a Natal Chart with an example of it:

On the yellow area you can see Jupiter and the Cusp of the 11th House both in Aquarius. Jupiter is on 8°38’59’’ Aquarius, the Cusp of 11th House is on 11°31’15’’ Aquarius, so they are less than 4 degrees distant. Jupiter must be considered in conjunction with the 11th House and then, totally part of it.

That’s because as I said before, the Cusp area of the Astrological Houses is the true core of it and the place where expresses itself deeply.

How to define this area? Very simple, the 5 degrees before the Cusp of a House and the 5 degrees after it, define the area of the “House Core”. That’s a good range of tolerance.

The following degrees after the House Core are part of the House, but the influence of the House decreases progressively, until the House Core (Cusp point) of the next Astrological House.

You can see it here:

You could ask: Why is it not the same for both sides of the House Core?

That’s because Astrology, and especially Houses System, considers the planet Earth’s rotation on his axis, so the power of influence of the Houses can follow that direction only.

Now that we understood some of those concepts about Astrological Houses, we can understand that “empty houses” have to be fully considered during an interpretation of a Natal Chart, because the point on the zodiac where a House Core is placed, gives us many informations about the part of the psyche that House express.

It’s like for the Planets, it is the combination between the psychological meaning of the House and the psychological traits of the Zodiac Sign where the House Core is placed, that give you the nature of that House.  

So, if the Cusp of the 3rd House is on 16° Leo, we have to take that very point to define the basic nature of The House of Learning and Communication of the person we are examining, and we have to do that even if on the Cusp there are no Planets and even if there are no planets on the rest of the House’s area, because Houses are the true projection of the personality.

And so we arrive at the second big mistake many beginners do about Astrological Houses:

• Thinking that the Astrological Houses are just “sectors of life”.

I will be very direct and clear on that point: The 12 Astrological Houses are the 12 “pillars” of the human being’s psyche and then they are the 12 expressions of it.

Every human being posses them, without exceptions, for that reason it is important considering every House Core and in which Zodiac Sign they are to understand how that specific piece of psyche projects itself.

Luminaries, Planets and Houses form the structure of the psyche and it’s the same structure for everybody, but it is their place on the Zodiac Circle that tell you how a particular structure expresses itself, the way it works, and the way it projects itself on your life.

That’s why Astrological Houses are often considered just sectors of life, but that’s really reductive, superficial and totally inaccurate.

For example, when a profane astrologer is watching a Natal Chart where the 2nd House is on Virgo and there are no planets or anything else inside, he generally says something like: “Oh, money are not important for you, and you will never have a lot”.

He acts like if that part of the psyche doesn’t exist in the person examined, and he does that because he doesn’t know or he doesn’t understand the deep nature and symbolism of the Astrological Houses.

The 2nd House it is not just “money”, that’s ridiculous, the 2nd House is the House of Concrete Values, that part of the human psyche where needs are.

Need for a refuge, need for food, need for security, need for love, need for having something tangible that transmits us the sensation of safety and security, the need to have all those things that give us concrete satisfaction.

So, how could we think that a human being has not that part of psyche? And how we could reduce it in one single word like “money”?

Money are just one consequence of the projection acted by the part of the Self, Astrology calls 2nd House.

On that example, you have to focus on the Cusp Point of the 2nd House, that is in Virgo, and then on the rest of the House if it is even under another Sign, probably Libra.

After that, looking for the Ruler of the Sign where House Core is (in this case Mercury), and only after a deep study of the Rulers positions and the Aspects (trine, square, sextile, etc.) between them and the House Core, it is possible to attempt a psychological interpretation (and I wanted to be short here), and so we obtain that piece of the psyche of a person, a piece that every person on the Earth possess.

Yes, seems complex.

Astrology is complex, because the human psyche is complex. I have to confirm that.

But, step by step, level by level, keep learning it, I assure that you will be able to see the whole wonderful big picture, and then rising your awareness. 

So every Astrological House is important, cardinal or not cardinal, with or without Planets, and understanding the deep symbolism of them, you can master the true psychological meanings of them.

Trying to reduce in one single word the meaning of an House it’s pretty impossible because they contain many concepts, even if they are part of the same field, but what I can say now is that those who have studied Astrosophy and the others ancient disciplines, refuses the profane classifications like: Money, health, sex, children, career, travels etc.

We can give many names to the Astrological Houses to create the better connections between the concepts they represent, and we can make many associations looking at them from different points of view.

For example, this is one of the classifications of the Astrological Houses better expresses the psychological fields they belong:

As you can see, that is a perfect scheme of the structure of the Self, everybody has it, and the fields on that scheme activate every time we live an experience, we make a choice,,we formulate a thought, we feel something. So they actually create our personal reality.

If they create our reality through projection, every single piece of that structure and the interactions with others parts of the psyche (luminaries, planets, points…) are responsible for how the Self perceives and then creates every sector of life.

To understand that concept better, in the following scheme you can find every part of the Self with every fundamental declaration connected with every Astrological House.

You can use it even to understand your “Main Inner Declaration” checking in which House your Sun is positioned:

Every House represents a particular and fundamental inner impulse, an impulse that can have different natures according to the Zodiac Sign where the House is placed, while Planets or other objects inside of them amplify, exalt or give some particular emphasis to them inside our psyche.

Of course, each one of those 12 concepts deserves a complete study apart, I will make a deeper analysis of them in some of the next articles.


Very often, Astrological Houses are important pieces to understand the psychology of the person who is examined, because they form the complete scheme about “how he projects his inner world”, it’s the real expression of the Self, and tells you how every part of this scheme works, interacts each others, and what results it produces in real life.

Underestimating the true importance of the Astrological Houses on a Natal Chart and using a superficial knowledge about them, are mistakes that you cannot commit during an interpretation.

It is very important to beginners studying the real nature and the deep symbolism of every House under every possible point of view, especially how they are connected with Zodiac Signs and Planets and how they interact each other on the big picture, to become capable to see the complete psychological profile through the Birth Chart.

Do you want to know all the other pieces that compose your personality? Get my free guide – Know Your Planets, Know Yourself • Astrology Fundamentals – and you will understand yourself more deeply.

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  • Angel

    Does this work the same if you have 2 signs on the cusp of a house? Eg: Libra and Scorpio on Cusp of 5th? How do you interpret that?

    • iordanus

      Well, yes, it works almost the same.
      If the House Core is on the Cusp between Libra and Scorpio, the meaning of the House takes some of the basic traits of Libra, but you have to check the exact position (degrees).

      For example, If the Cusp of the 5th is on 0°53’Scorpio, the 5th House must be considered “scorpionic”, with some basic traits of Libra, especially if there are even Planets on Libra that give emphasis.
      If the Cusp of the 5th is on 28°51′ Libra, the 5th House will be more “hybrid”, we could say “20% Libra – 80% Scorpio”, but the Libra traits will be more intense in childhood or teen aging, and will become less intense during the adulthood, to become more Scorpionic.
      Houses consider that time passes and we grow, and so our psyche.

      If you want to know those concepts in deep, keep following this blog, I will produce some other free material for sure, because I want that you learn how Astrology really works.

      Thank you so much Angel.

  • This is well done. It’s time someone answered the ’empty house’ question that comes up so frequently.

    • iordanus

      Thank you so much Cheryl.

  • Alexander Seifts

    Thanks for clearing up what it means to have planets under a House! This was very clarifying!

    • Iordanus

      You’re very welcome Alexander.
      I’m glad that it has been useful to you.

  • Bernardo

    Hey, found this article on reddit. Great text, I am exactly that
    beginner who doesn’t give enough importance to Houses, so this clarifies
    a lot [=

    • Iordanus

      Thank you Bernardo, I’m glad of that.

  • Chandra Young

    I’m glad I found this sight, it has cleared up a lot of misconceptions for me. Thank you for what you do!

    • Iordanus

      You are very kind Chandra, thank you so much for your words.

  • ThePaganSun

    Your explanations of the Houses is quite good! But for me, Leo’s “motto” will always be “I will.” And I wonder why so many astrologers try to change it to “I want/I create/I shine/ or even I love.”

    Leo is admitted to rule the House of Will even here, so shouldn’t his motto be kept to its original “I will?” It does the best job in portraying his forceful character and willingness to work for his goals while “I want” sounds far more conceited.

    • Iordanus

      Thank you for your appreciations.
      The “mottos” that I showed here are just some of the possible associations with the Houses, there are multiple declarations that we can link with them. Here, I chose to use “I want” for the 5th House, just to underline its connection with the willpower, but also with the “libido” as creative (but even sexual) force.
      However, “I will” it’s also a perfect declaration for the 5th House, of course, I agree.

      • ThePaganSun

        Ooooh, I see. Thanks for the explanation!

  • Nuke

    Hi I am a new enthusiasts in Astrology. I like the fact that you introduced us with a fresh look/perspective of a natal chart.

    I also have empty planet in 2nd house, but not really worry about it. At first, I also think that “money” might not be my prime objective in life, which is true in a way. But that’s also incorrect in many sense. Firstly, i tend to go blindly correlating the 2nd house to money, cause I merely interested to know how is the money prospective for me. So “money” theme does important (as a matter of fact if I want to be fully honest with myself, it is one of my biggest drive in life, like most ppl are ofcourse).

    So how do I translate my initial assent to the notion that empty planet (in house 2nd) means “money is not important” if turn out I also acknowledged the importance of it? This, when your interpretation comes as a wake up call, for me.

    (But I hope u dont mind, if I stick to the discussion regarding house 2nd alone). What happen is ‘I tend to neglect’ my own basic needs (without neglecting the importance of it for me) and projecting it to others (thus inclined to self-sacrifice behaviour more). This is also correlated with other traits in my natal chart.

    So empty planet in 2nd house = I neglect my own (basic) needs compare to others.

    The above conclusion is coming not out of thin air. I have to learn the harsh way to finally see my destructive tendency. Being manipulated, being taken for granted. Even, despite from outer appearance i tend to project “a strong persona” (being aries rising, sun mars mercury aquarius, moon gemini – but talk about scattered mental energy though, lol), still it is easy for me to be “victimized” due to setting aside my owns and putting others first onto the table.

    So after learning and taking the lesson appropriately, i am now learning to self-love, self-worth and create firm boundary for myself. I learn to say “no”. I learn to put my needs first upon others.

    Back to the correlation to the empty 2nd house (in my case n ur example) – this is not a trait that can not be changed. It is a trait that urges us to wake up and to transform (for the better).

    And yes, earning ‘money’ is not an issue for the empty 2nd house (I have the ability to earn money quite easily compare to the average, either through my profession, my business, or my friends/family). However, since “i neglect my money” i tend to lose it easily – thus seldom become a possession for me. The phrase “easy come easy go”, really applied in my case.

    To associate that with specific “money idea” and the 2nd house, my current understanding is: to accumulate and to utilize money accordingly and constructively (thus getting to the goal of becoming financially free/stable) – the thing I need to do is mere to change my perpective on my money.

    No more “neglect” – embrace it as part of my basic and conscious need – and be more confident to feel deserving it.


    That is all. Will stay tune with ur articles as I already subscribed. Thank you.

    • Iordanus

      Hi Nuke, thanks for joining my subscribers, and thank you for your appreciation.

      Well, as I showed in this article, the concept of “empty house” does not exist, is a misconception of the Astrological Houses. Houses are astrological points themselves, so the Cusp of the House is the true important point to understand how that House expresses itself inside our psyche. If you look in which Zodiac Sign your 2nd House is placed, I bet that you will realize brand new things about your attitude for “money”, even if money is a bit an oversimplification.

      You can also read this other article where I go in depth with the true psychological meanings of the 2nd Astrological House itself, it could be useful for you understanding of this trait of your own life : http://iordanus.com/2ndhouse/

  • Danko Janicijevic

    Hello Iordanus! Great explanation about houses… Thank you, easy to understand approach and original work!
    Though one thing I didn’t understand enough… I have Mercury in the 10th house in Aquarius but it is near the cusp of 11th house, 3 degrees orb, should I consider it part of the 11th house or it is 10th house Mercury? To say in other words, where this Mercury operates more in 10th or in 11th house?

    • Danko Janicijevic

      And yes these wheels gave me some new perspectives.

    • Iordanus

      Hi Danko, thank you for your appreciations to my works.

      To answer your question: Yes, if your Mercury is 3 degrees near the Cusp of the 11th House it is totally part of it, the “influence” of the 10th House is irrelevant.

  • ivy

    hi Iordanus,
    thanks a lot for the wonderfully insightful article. I learned a lot from it!
    I have a question related to the houses. if each of two person’s 12 house has exactly the same cusp (same sign), what does that mean? does it mean the two person will have very similar personalities? thank you very much!

    • Iordanus

      Hi Ivy, thanks to you for your appreciations, I’m glad that my work is helpful to you.

      Well, the Houses represent the “where” our personality (Planets) work with more influence, so it means that 2 persons with the “same” 12th House (but same is relative; could be Planets or other factors in them) share the same vision of that field of life, it doesn’t mean similar personalities, but it is more correct saying similar point of views.

      In the Birth Charts, there are other signals that could suggest similar psychological traits between 2 persons, you can go in depth with those signals in this other article about Sinastry: http://iordanus.com/sin1/

  • Jean Jacque Lundi

    Hi Iordanus! 🙂 So if I understand correclty, me having Neptune 4 degrees before the 4th house cusp…means I can’t really say that Neptune is influencing my 3rd house (as I always believed) but that it is, instead influencing my 3rd house? I.e. – as far as the 3rd house goes, it would be the same as it not showing up there at all?

    But if that is the case, does that mean I’m also not a 12th house Libra sun as I always believed since it’s 5 degrees BEFORE my Ascendant (also in Libra)?

    • Iordanus

      Hi Jean Jacque,
      Yes, I can say you understood the concept. Your Neptune is part of the 4th House, not the 3rd and it’s the same for your Sun: you should consider it as in your 1st House.