• Hitomi Ejima

Astrology 101: Houses and Planets

We all know that astrology is more than just your daily horoscope. Reading natal charts have become an increasingly popular way to know more about ourselves and other people, breaking the age-long misconception that you are limited to your sun sign.

If you've never seen a natal chart before, it can look pretty overwhelming at first. Like straight out of a trigonometry class, it's a circular chart full of numbers and symbols. There are many layers to be able to read and interpret a natal chart, but for today let's cover two of the core basics: the 12 houses and the planets.


The houses are basically the slices of the pie in the chart, named accordingly from 1 to 12 in a counter-clockwise fashion. Each house is ruled by a sign of the zodiac (Aries for 1st house, Taurus for 2nd house, and so on) and represents different aspects of a person's life, namely:


  • First house: Self-image, identity, appearances, attitude, approach to life

  • Second house: Money, income, material possessions, security

  • Third house: Learning and communication

  • Fourth house: Family and home life

  • Fifth house: Romance, creativity, recreation

  • Sixth house: Work and health

  • Seventh house: Relationships, partnerships, and marriage

  • Eighth house: Sex, shared resources, death, and the occult

  • Ninth house: Travel, philosophy, religion, ethics, higher education

  • Tenth house: Career, status, public image and reputation

  • Eleventh house: Friendships, ideals, hopes and wishes, the future

  • Twelfth house: The subconscious, spirituality, secrets, healings and endings


At the exact moment you were born (the reason why accurate birth time and place is extremely important), the planets were all traveling in specific houses and signs. When an astrologer reads your natal chart, they will take a look at which planets landed on which house, and how that placement can affect that aspect it rules over in your life. The movement of the celestial bodies have specific time frames, and will determine how fast they move from one house to the next:


  • Moon ☽: Every 2.5 days

  • Mercury ☿: Every 15 to 60 days (varies according to retrograde)

  • Venus ♀︎: Every 30 days

  • Sun ☉: Every month

  • Mars ♂︎: Every 2 months (except during retrograde, can last up to 7 months)

  • Jupiter ♃: Once a year

  • Saturn ♄: Every 2.5 years

  • Uranus ♅: Every 7 years

  • Neptune ♆: Every 14 years

  • Pluto ♇: Every 15 to 30 years


Every planet has a corresponding behavior or trait that can influence the energy in a house.


  • Sun: Ego, sense of self, preferences (your core personality) — "I am"

  • Moon: Emotions, inner self, instincts, habits (how you process feelings) — "I feel"

  • Mercury: Logic, intellect, curiosity (how you learn and communicate) — "I think"

  • Venus: Beauty, love, money, indulgence (your love language) — "I love"

  • Mars: Action, determination, passion (how you express strong feelings) — "I act"

  • Jupiter: Luck, abundance, expansion (the kinds of opportunities you will have) — "I grow"

  • Saturn: Career, ambition, perseverance (the kinds of challenges you will face) — "I achieve"

  • Uranus: Change, innovation, rebellion (how you reinvent the wheel) — "I evolve"

  • Neptune: Imagination, creativity, magic (your dreams, fantasies, and illusions) — "I dream"

  • Pluto: Power, transformation, destruction, rebirth (your karma/fate) — "I empower"


It's also important to take a look at which zodiac sign was moving in which house (e.g. Leo in 6th house, etc.). The zodiac signs can be found at the outermost layer of the chart, as indicated here:

(Chart generated from astro.com)


Take note that the symbolindicates your sun sign, ☽ indicates your moon sign, and "AC" indicates your ascendant (rising sign). Therefore in the chart above, the person is a Gemini sun, Sagittarius moon, and Scorpio rising.


While natal chart placements are not definitive, checking which planet/s and signs are in which house (e.g. Mars/Sagittarius in 7th, Venus/Cancer in 3rd, etc.) should draw a fairly well-rounded picture of a person. There are so many combinations (which we'll explore for another day), but this is a good baseline if you're just starting to learn how to read birth charts. Cafe Astrology is also a great resource to start.


This post is part of a growing series of articles on the basics of astrology. Stay tuned for more content soon.

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