houses

Equal House: what it is, how to get it, why you want it

Equal House is a house system where the ascendant is the first house cusp and then every house begins with the same degrees and minutes. With equal house, the ascendant degrees and minutes set the cusp for each house. All signs and houses are fully present. All areas of life are fully available.

When you get your chart cast online, the default is usually placidus. Change it to equal house and if necessary, make cusp margins zero, none or off. You want the same numbers around the chart, every house cusp has the same degrees and minutes.

Example of equal house

I use equal house, because I find it to be the most accurate. It is integral to the system of astrology I use. My readings are accurate and compelling because of the system I use. I’m not psychic. Everything I share with clients is in the chart.

I use a system of astrology that is based on what I learned from my mentor and others I studied with, as well as the thousands of readings I’ve done over 40+ years. In this system the timing, geography and details of other lives shown in the chart require equal house.

Here’s more on why I don’t use whole sign or placidus.

In ancient times, the early astrologers looked at the planets in relationship to the zodiac, and created a map starting with the rising sign. This soon evolved into equal house, where the ascendant’s degrees and minutes set the wheel of the chart.

Placidus started to become popular in the 17th century. Unfortunately it causes houses to be disproportionately sized and some signs get intercepted (swallowed up). Placidus also doesn’t work at extreme latitudes.

In the early 1980s some folks came up with whole sign as a simplified way to cast a chart that addressed issues with the placidus method. They promoted it it as the original house system.

In the 1990s, Robert Hand started writing about it, though he acknowledged that it was originally not a house system per se, rather a layout of the zodiac.

Whole Sign eventually became trendy, because it’s easy and gives you houses that are equal and all signs are fully represented. You start with the rising sign at zero degrees and use zero degrees for every house cusp.

The problem with whole sign is that it messes with your placements. If your ascendant is in the first few degrees of your rising sign, it may not change any house placements. For the vast majority though, it changes something, often several things, AND you miss the significance of having a planet placed in a house ruled by another sign.

When casting your chart using equal house, make sure you have the same numbers around the chart as you have on the ascendant. You may have to set house margins to zero to do this.

I use a tropical zodiac with an equal house chart. I find it to be most accurate, and love the wholeness of it. Also, in the system I use, determining the timing, geography and details of other lives shown in the chart requires equal house.

Ultimately you gotta do YOU! This is my groove and it works for me.

nodes

Karmic Nodes in the Houses

The karmic nodes are the two points where the moon’s orbital path crosses the ecliptic. No worries if that doesn’t make sense. What I want you to remember is that they are always exactly opposite each other. Only by doing something completely the opposite of what you’ve been doing over and over again will you generate new growth.

The south node is a snap shot of relevant karma, it shows karmic patterns that cross many life times.

The north node is the goal of this life. It’s your soul’s north star for this incarnation and is always directly opposite the south node.

Let’s start by taking a look at nodes in the houses. These are super short descriptions, meant to get you started thinking of how the nodes are expressed here. As with all things, for a more complete understanding we look at the house, sign, degrees and aspects to the nodes.

There’s a balancing act with your nodes. You want to use the knowledge and skills of your south node (SN) to head towards your north node (NN).

The south node is NOT a disadvantage (cue rant music). It’s a rich history that you are using as a launchpad in this life.

✨ SN first house / NN seventh house

Your goal (NN) in this life includes understanding how to partner and navigate one on one relationships. You will have a lot of growth in learning what you bring to them, and what you need from them.

Your history (SN) includes being self reliant, so in this life there are lessons around how to depend on others and show up for them while still retaining a clear sense of self.

✨ SN seventh house / NN first house

Your history includes depending on others and in this life you’re learning to rely on yourself. Your goal is about getting comfortable with who you are and to trust that you can count on yourself.

💫 SN second / NN eighth

Your goal is transformation. Your history has been about your physical needs and learning to find your worth. You developed perseverance and are a survivor. In this life, you are learning that loss is part of life and to draw your strength from who you are and not what you have. You are exploring personal empowerment.

💫 SN eighth / NN second

Your karmic history has been painful. You’ve been through a lot of loss and paid a high cost for what you’ve learned. In this life, your goal is to find safe ground and embrace your worth. You’re a survivor and you are learning how to thrive.

✨ SN third / NN ninth

Your goal is knowledge and expanding beyond the life you know. You came in choosing to move out of your comfort zone and explore what is beyond your experience. You are challenging your preconceived ideas and may find yourself struggling with the question “do I want to be right or happy? Do I want to be right or be at peace?”

✨ NN third / SN ninth

Your goal is communication. You’ve spent so many lives learning and becoming wise, and in this life you’re here to speak up, to share what you know. You are striving to be a good communicator and to find your voice. Sibling relationships may also be an important part of your life’s journey.

💫 SN fourth / NN tenth

Family has been front and center for many of your lives. They’ve defined where you lived, who you married, your job, your status in the community, nearly every part of your life became defined by family and what they needed of you drive much of how you lived. This life is about finding your place n the world and discovering the life you want to live.

💫 NN fourth / SN tenth

You’ve been focused on who you are in the world and now want to focus on building your own little corner of it. You are now turning your attention to having space and being with people where you feel supported. You’re learning what it means to be part of a healthy loving family, and to feel at home.

✨ SN fifth / NN eleventh

You’re seeking connection. You’ve spent many lives trying to figure out who you are and what makes you happy. Now you want to know how you fit in, how you’re connected to something bigger than you and the lives you’ve lived. You’re drawn to community and want to feel like you’re on a team, you’re working with others to achieve goals and make the world a better place.

✨ NN fifth / SN eleventh

You’ve spent a lot of energy trying to save the world and now you’re trying to figure out who you are and what makes you happy. What brings you joy? What inspires your creativity and what can you imagine for yourself? Time to take risks and do things without a safety net. You can rely on yourself to recover if you fail.

💫 SN sixth / NN twelfth

You’ve spent so much energy being in service to others that you came in a bit burned out. It’s as if you feel just living is exhausting. As you find ways to experience sanctuary and recharge, you will be able to allow your empathy and compassion to guide you to not not connect with others, but to face your fears and envision a fulfilling life.

💫 NN sixth / SN twelfth

Time to get real and fully step into your human experience, to put into practice the spiritual practices you’ve focused on. You’ve tended to escape and ignore much of the activities of daily life and this time you are here to embrace them. You’re learning lessons around service and healing and how to enjoy having an earthly experience.

houses

Full life includes empty houses

Houses are areas of life experience. Houses with placements show areas you came in giving specific focus. Your empty houses are important too and part of your life.

With an equal house chart, all areas of life are equally and wholly represented in your chart. You have all of it. You can have an empty first house and still be self aware. You can have an empty second house and still have stuff. You can have an empty seventh house and still partner.

You experience all the houses. The sign you have on the cusp of each house and the planet that rules that house give insight into that area of life even if you don’t have any planets in it. Also, your empty houses often get energized through progressions, transits and interactions with other people.

When an empty house gets activated you may find yourself surprised by new interests or feel like you’re “going through a phase.” With the 4th house you could find yourself particularly interested in cooking, researching your ancestry or changing something about your home.

Empty houses can sometimes show blind spots. For example, the first house is the zone of self. An empty first house often shows someone that doesn’t fully consider the impact on themselves or their life when they agree to something. There can be a delay in seeing it.

If you have an empty first house, it’s helpful to consciously ask yourself about the impact on you and your life when you agree to something. Give it intentional consideration. If this changes what you’re willing to do, own up to it. Looking at your Mars is helpful in understanding why the first house is empty.

If you have an empty 7th house you can still find a life partner. Many people in satisfying long lasting relationships have an empty 7th house. Likewise, people going through painful divorces or breakups often have placements in the 7th house.

When a house is empty, it just means you came in not initially investing in major life lessons in that house. With an empty 7th house, you may have a life partner, but your purpose and karmic contract do not require one.

Many people in satisfying long lasting relationships have an empty 7th house, and people going through painful divorces or breakups often have placements in the 7th house. People with an empty 9th still travel. Everyone has empty houses. Empty houses do not mean an empty life.

Understanding your whole chart, includes your empty houses. One of the beauties of an equal house chart is that all areas are fully represented. Empty houses do not equate to an emptiness in your life. We all have them.

If you are newer to astrology, the big take away from this post is to not worry about them. Having an empty 7th house doesn’t mean you can’t have a partner, an empty 9th doesn’t mean you won’t go to college or travel. Don’t sweat the empties.

As your chart progresses, empty houses get stimulated, so you will have lessons and experiences focused on that house. Where someone’s sun lands in your chart shows the area in your life where they can significantly impact your growth, so that’s another way that houses gets energized for you. Transits also can stimulate an empty house.

If you are farther along with astrology, I’m encouraging you to look at the empty houses as part of the stories in your chart. Looking at why a house is empty gives meaning and nuance to the rest of the chart. It’s too much to dig into a post, but here are a few tips.

Look at the natural sign and ruler of that house in your chart, as well as the planet that rules the sign you do have there for insight.

For example, if you have an empty first house, look at Mars in your chart as well as any Aries placements you might have. Also look at the planet ruling your rising sign, since it is the first house cusp. If you have an empty 11th house, look at Uranus, any Aquarius placements and whatever planet rules the sign on your 11th house for insight into why you left it empty.

You will often have placements in the sign that naturally rules that house, so an empty 1st with Aries placements or an empty 11th with Aquarius placements. The house could be empty, because you felt you were leaning on enough old history coming in that you didn’t need to focus your attention there this time. If you don’t have placements in this case in Aries or Aquarius, then look to the planets.

houses

Use Equal House

I use equal house, not placidus or whole sign. I strongly encourage you to use it too. It is integral to the system of astrology I use, and I believe you’ll find it’s more accurate.

Why I call whole sign whole fuckup …

In the early 1980s some folks decided that whole sign was the original house system and came up with the name. In the 1990s, Robert Hand started writing about it, though he acknowledged that it was originally not a house system per se, rather a layout of the zodiac.

In ancient times, the early astrologers looked at the planets in relationship to the zodiac, and created a map starting with the rising sign. This soon evolved into equal house, where the ascendant’s degrees and minutes set the wheel of the chart.

When the “whole sign” system emerged in the 80s and 90s, it offered a simplified way to cast a chart that addressed issues with the placidus method. Placidus causes houses to be disproportionately sized and some signs get intercepted (swallowed up). Placidus doesn’t work well at extreme latitudes.

Whole Sign eventually became trendy, because it’s easy and gives you houses that are equal and all signs are fully represented. You start with the rising sign at zero degrees and use zero degrees for every house cusp.

The problem – it messes with your placements. If your ascendant is in the first few degrees of your rising sign, it may not change any house placements. For the vast majority though, it changes something, often several things, AND you miss the significance of having a planet placed in a house ruled by another sign.

One of the drivers for me to write my book is to offer you a documented, cohesive astrology system that works. My readings are accurate and compelling because of the system I use. I’m not psychic. Everything I share with clients is in the chart.

With equal house, the ascendant degrees and minutes set the cusp for each house. All signs are fully present, every house is equal.

Also, in the system I use, the timing, geography and details of other lives shown in the chart require equal house.

houses

Empty Houses

Empty houses have value and meaning. The sign on the cusp shows the style you most often use in that area of life.

Empty houses are so interesting to me. Sometimes they show our blind spots, areas of life that have few conflicts and lessons, and parts of our lives that we kind of float in and out of oddly and easily.

Sometimes it’s more obvious why houses are empty, like when there are placements in the sign that naturally rules that house. For example, an empty sixth house with Virgo placements in the chart.

Sometimes it’s less obvious. I was talking with a friend recently about this and joked that when the house is empty and nothing is in the natural ruler, you’re screwed by blind spots. That’s not true. I have an empty second and nothing in Taurus. The whole chart always makes sense. There’s always a story and the why of an empty house is revealed just as much as those with planets.

Besides, there’s also always a way to deal with everything in the chart. In my experience, the folks that talk gloom and doom when looking at a chart just don’t understand it very well.

The crystal pictured is hiddenite. It’s a piece I’ve wanted for a while. I could see it in my mind and then for reals via VirgoGems which is perfect since the sign of Virgo seeks to make dreams real.

planets

Planets in Signs versus Houses

I just replied to someone in a discussion group. The question was how to use the interpretations for planets when they are written in the format of Saturn in Sagittarius and the 9th house, Saturn in Aquarius and the 11th house, etc. After I posted I thought, blog post! So here it is …

When you are first learning astrology, it can be frustrating when everything seems so generalized. That’s because you are learning so many basics. It’s like learning a lot of vocabulary when you are studying a foreign language. You need to learn the vocabulary, but the individual words aren’t as meaningful as the phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc.

Each house has a natural ruler. Starting with Aries on the first and going around the 12 houses with the 12 signs. Houses are areas of life experiences, and the natural ruler is sort of the most natural style for that house.

I’m not a huge fan of descriptions that are written as having a plant in Sag or in the 9th house and discussing them as if they are the same. They aren’t, though there are some basic similarities. Let’s look at your example of Saturn in Sagittarius and in the 11th house.

As background, I do karmic astrology, so the natal chart is seen as a painting of your past life beliefs and experiences.

Saturn is time and space. It’s how we define ourselves as human. It’s our energy that deals with limits, rules, structure, and our humanity. The sign of Saturn shows you how you come into this life expressing this energy. It reflects your old history. The house of Saturn shows your current life focus. It shows the area of life that you are specifically intending to develop this energy.

Saturn in Sagittarius is going to be someone that really wants to explore their limitations and in fact blow them up a bit. These are folks that need structure that can accommodate their need for change and action. They feel a kind of security in exploration. There’s also a bit of righteousness when it comes to rules and usually Saturn in Sag wants some kind of organized religion or religious community.

That kind of energy in the 11th house is going to be someone that is going to do what I just described in group, communities, causes, politics, social structures, friendships, co-operatives etc. I would guess that in your life you will be drawn to both the safety of a group, as well as a desire to explore the limits of groups. You can get energized working for causes and would be good at grass roots organizing.

Contrast this with someone that has Saturn in Sag but in the 4th house. This person feels safe at home. Their need to test their limits is more involved with family and how their home life fits with the entirety of their life.

Sign – style of expression.
House – area of life experience.

When you read the sign description, think style, how you express the energy. When you read the house description, think about the area of life this speaks to most.

Does that help?