Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Journeying into the World of Astrological Houses

This is not a discussion arguing on which house system is great and which is not.  Rather, I just want to share my own thoughts on how I became interested in exploring various house systems and ended up settling on one - one that I didn't expect to end up with at all.

An astrological birth chart is like a map showing a native's potentials and challenges.  It is basic astrology to know that a birth chart is divided into 12 sections, each slice representing an area of life to be experienced on this planet by the native.  I never paid much attention to the computational side of how the sphere is divided up, not until I dabbled into traditional astrology two years ago.

Equal House

I began my formal astrological journey with the FAS, where the Equal House system was introduced to me. It is a simple yet elegant way of dividing up the heavens into 12 equal parts, with each house cusp beginning on the same degree.  The simplicity is perfect for beginners.  One of the earliest system used, possibly dating back to the 1st century BC, this method is unaffected by altitude so there is no issue of interception.  The degree of the ascendant marks the degree cusp of all the subsequent house cusps.  This system has been criticised for having the MC falling in the houses other than the 10th, though this in itself can be advantageous as it can add another layer to the interpretation. 


As I continued with my astrological journey, I was keen to experiment with other forms of house divisions.  I opted for Placidus, the default system used by almost all the astrological sites online.  This system dates back to the 17th century (devised by the mathematician Placidus de Tito) and is among the popular option in modern time, especially in Europe and US.  Its rise to fame was likely to be attributed to the fact that tables for calculating this system became readily available.  I stayed with this system for the longest time - over a decade.  However, this system is latitude-sensitive and contorts the houses, rendering them unbalanced in size, giving rise to the concept of interception.  This is a quadrant house system, using the MC/IC as the 10th/4th house cusps. 


I briefly tried out this system as I convinced myself it is healthier to be more experimental and adventurous in seeking alternative views of analysing charts. I am a creature of habit (Moon in Taurus!) and found next to no significant difference between Koch and Placidus when applied to my own chart, so in the end, I abandon this quite quickly - entirely due to my personal preference and nothing to do with the system itself.  This system cannot work near the poles.  


Devised by a 15th century astronomer Johannes Muller, aka Regiomontanus, this method is based on the earth's movement around the sun, with reference to the equator and the horizon.  It was used by 'the most abused as well as the most celebrated astrologer of the 17th century' William Lilly, who had phenomenal results applying this system to his horary work.  I began to selectively use Regionmontanus for horary charts only, until I met another system....

Whole sign

As I began my journey into traditional astrology, I came face to face with Whole sign system, which, at first, I was rather suspicious about as it seemed too simple.  I gave it a go anyway, as it was the oldest house system used.  In the end, I found this is the system which works the best for me, my clients, friends and family, from the perspectives of natal, forecasting and horary work.  If whole sign is used, the data collected by Gauquelin would make much more sense too.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a house system, as each method comes with its pros and cons.  In essence, it's just using different ways of dividing up the firmament.  Instead of blindly defending one system, why not give the others a go and see if there is a hidden treasure within?  


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