Houses and Rising Signs

In the instant you drew your first breath, one of the signs of the zodiac was just passing over the eastern horizon. Astrologers refer to this as the rising sign or ascendant. It’s what makes your horoscope unique. Think of your ascendant as the front door of your horoscope, the place where you enter into this life and begin your journey.

Your ascendant is based on the exact moment of your birth and the other signs follow counterclockwise. If you have Taurus rising, for example, that is the cusp of your first house. The cusp of the second would be Gemini, of the third Cancer, and so on around the horoscope circle in a counterclockwise direction. Each house governs a particular area of life, which is outlined below.

 The best way to find out your rising sign is to have your horoscope drawn up by an astrologer. For those of you with access to the internet, though, here's a site that provides free birth horoscopes.
In a horoscope, the ascendant (cusp of the first house), IC (cusp of the fourth house), Descendent (cusp of the seventh house) and MC (cusp of the tenth house) are considered to the most critical angles. Any planets that fall close to these angles are extremely important in the overall astrological picture of who you are. By the same token, planets that fall in the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth houses are also considered to be important.     
Now here’s a rundown on what the houses mean.

Ascendant or rising: the first of four important critical angles in a horoscope
How other people see you
How you present yourself to the world
Your physical appearance

1st house, Personality
Early childhood 
Your ego
Your body type  and how you feel about your body
General physical health
Defense mechanisms
Your creative thrust

2nd house, Personal Values and Finances
How you earn and spend your money
Your personal values
Your material resources and assets
Your attitudes toward money
Your possessions and your attitude toward those possessions
Your self-worth
Your attitudes toward creativity

3rd house, Communication & Learning
Personal expression
Intellect, mental attitudes, perceptions
Siblings, neighbors, and relatives, friends
How you learn
School until college
Reading, writing, teaching, verbal skills
Short trips (the grocery store versus Europe in 7 days)
Earth-bound transportation
Creativity as a communication device

IC or 4th House Cusp: the second critical angle in a horoscope
Sign on IC describes the qualities and traits of your home during early childhood
Describes roots of your creative abilities and talents

4th house, Your Roots
Personal, domestic environment
Your home
Your attitudes toward family
Early childhood conditioning
Real estate

The conditions at the end of your life
Early childhood support of your creativity

Your nurturing parent 

Some astrologers say this house belongs to Mom or her equivalent in your life, others say it belongs to Dad or his equivalent. It makes sense to me that it’s Mom because the fourth house is ruled by the Moon, which rules mothers. But in this day and age, when parental roles are in flux, the only hard and fast rule is that the fourth belongs to the parents who nurtures you most of the time. 

5th house, Children and Creativity
Kids, your first-born in particular
Love affairs
What you enjoy
Gambling and speculation 

Traditionally, pets belong in the sixth house. But that definition stems from the days when “pets” were chattel. These days, we don’t even refer to them as pets. They are animal companions who bring us pleasure.

6th house, Daily work and maintenance of health
Day to day working conditions and environment
Competence and skills
Your experience of employees and employers
Duty – to work, to employees
Health - how you maintain your health

Descendant/7th house Cusp: the third critical angle in a horoscope
The sign on the house cusp describes the qualities sought in intimate or business relationships
Describes qualities of creative partnerships

7th house, Partnerships and Marriage
Marriage partner
Significant others
Business partnerships
Close friends
Open enemies

8th House: Transformation
Sexuality as transformation
Death, taxes, inheritances
Resources shared with others
Your partner’s finances
The occult (read: astrology, reincarnation, UFOs, everything weird and strange)
Your hidden talents
Life-threatening illnesses
Past lives
Your creative depths

9th house, Worldview
Philosophy and religion
The law, courts, judicial system
Foreign travels and cultures
College, graduate school
Spiritual beliefs, worldview

MC or Cusp of 10th house: the fourth critical angle in a horoscope
Sign on cusp of MC describes qualities you seek in a profession
Your public image
Your creative and professional achievements

10th house, Profession and Career         
Public image as opposed to a job that merely pays the bills (sixth house)
Your status and position in the world
The authoritarian parent and authority in general
People who hold power over you
Your public life
Your career/profession
Your creative approach to your career

11th house, Ideals & Dreams
Peer groups
Social circles (your writers’ group, theater group)
Your dreams and aspirations
How you can realize your creative dreams

12th house, Personal Unconscious
Power you have disowned that must be claimed again
Institutions – hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, what is hidden
What you must confront this time around, your karma, issues brought in from other lives
Psychic gifts and abilities
Healing talents
What you give unconditionally