House Systems and why all Astrology is not the same

People are often surprised to hear that all astrology is not the same. In fact, every astrologer has to choose what is known as a house system.

People are often surprised to hear that all astrology is not the same. In fact, every astrologer has to choose what is known as a house system. A different way to divide up the circle into twelve slices, or ‘houses’. I have experimented with all of them since I first began my career as an astrologer at Elle magazine.  I use the Natural House System for all personal readings. But what is it, how can you apply it to your astrological chart, and why has it become my favourite prediction method? And also my favourite way of analysing personality? I strongly recommend you try it, and it’s very easy to use.

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The Natural House System puts Aries on the cusp of the First House, which it rules. It puts Taurus on the cusp of the Second House, which it also rules. It puts Gemini on the cusp of the Third House. And so on, right around the zodiac. The Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven and Immum Coeli (AC, DC, MC and IC) are then actually placed inside houses. So, if you were born with the IC in Capricorn, it ends up in your Tenth House. This is true for the United Kingdom (below) which was ‘born’ or founded with the IC right at the top of her chart. She was born ambitious. So she created the British Empire.

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The 1801 horoscope for the United Kingdom using Natural Houses.



If you are lucky enough to have the Solar Fire software then you can choose Aries 0 Ascendant (the other name for Natural Houses) and create your chart this way. Otherwise try Premium Membership on this website for a week, and pick up all your planet, asteroid and angle positions. Find a cake or cookie/biscuit tin. Draw a circle with a pen. Using a ruler, divide up the circle into twelve houses and number them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 as you usually see on a computer chart. Draw Aries on the cusp of start of House 1, Taurus on the cusp of start of House 2, Gemini on House 3, Cancer on House 4, Leo on House 5, Virgo on House 6, Libra on House 7, Scorpio on House 8, Sagittarius on House 9, Capricorn on House 10, Aquarius on House 11, Pisces on House 12. Now, taking your data, you just enter all your usual placements into these new houses. This is your Natural Horoscope. And you did it with your own hands. What could be more natural?

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This chart connects you to the world. In other words, when the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, India or any other country has Pluto transiting Capricorn in her Tenth House of achievement and ambition – so do you! This explains why your career has been so intense and so full of change, ever since this Pluto cycle began in 2008. What is happening to the world as a whole, with its sweeping economic and job transformation, is also happening to you. I like the Natural House System because it also shows how you affect the world. 

Let’s say you do have planets or asteroids, or angles, in Capricorn – so in the Tenth House. Clearly, Pluto is going to conjunct, or sit right on, those chart placements for you. This means your career has been going through extreme change. However, you also affect the world as this happens. Your promotion, demotion, redundancy, retirement or termination has a ripple effect on your own workplace. This has a ripple effect on other businesses or companies too. And the ripples go on. Micro affects macro. Why does Saturn in Scorpio coincide with billions wiped off UK shares in August 2015? (See Daily Mail story below). Because bankers and brokers commonly have planets, angles and asteroids in Scorpio, the finance sign. So when Saturn conjuncts these placements in their horoscopes, thousands of them have a depressing Saturn time. Which hits the markets!

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Macro and Micro co-exist in this horoscope house system.



The most popular house systems in the world – Placidus, Equal and Koch – were popularised by men in the 20th Century and earlier. Old-fashioned male attitudes are unavoidably imprinted on old-fashioned house systems, invented by men, or adopted by them. Houses just reflect your perspective. They show your view of the world. Do you really want to look at the world through the eyes of  Placidus, for example? He was a monk. He never had sex. I point-blank refuse to use Placidus for my Cosmopolitan readers (I am a Contributing Editor at Cosmopolitan UK) because his system makes women unhappy.


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Cosmopolitan magazine, where I am a Contributing Editor.



Your Ascendant still functions as your Ascendant. It shows how you appear to the world. How you are profiled and judged by strangers. You have not lost it using this system. It just went into a house, or area of life, where you are showcased and presented to us all. Make sense? If you have an Aquarius Ascendant, it just went into your Eleventh House of groups and friends. And that’s fine, because if you have Aquarius Rising, you are seen through your teams, clubs, bands and social media. Your political party and your community. Your brotherhood and sisterhood. Right? (Aquarius, pictured below).  President Barack Obama did not lose his Aquarius Ascendant with this system, it just went into the Eleventh House. He’s the leader of the Democrats so it figures.

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Mr Aquarius Rising.



The classic Brian Innes book, Horoscopes (Macdonald & Co 1977) has an entire chapter devoted to what Innes calls The Vexed Question of Houses. He writes that the Babylonians (who gave us the core of the astrology we use today) divided the horoscope into twelve equal houses, comprising one-twelfth each (30 degrees) of the great 360 degree circle. They did this because the zodiac also divided the sky into twelve equal parts.

From this way of thinking, eventually Ptolemy gave us what we call the Equal House System. As time went on, a man called Ibn Ezra (Eleventh Century) gave us what we call the Regiomontanus House System. Then there is Placidus. Brian Innes says witheringly, ‘It is by far the most complicated and least logical system.’

All I can say is, the house system you use is just like a clock. I photographed this jumble of clocks in Paris. They all work. There is no doubt about that. They also show totally different times and were made by different inventors, to be used in different parts of the world, by different people. Without a clock, though, you know nothing. You have no life. So choose a clock. Everyone has their different tastes and preferences. Do you want a life-clock made by a man living in the Middle Ages, or do you want a life-clock that connects you to modern life?

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Why did Placidus (also loved by the celibate monk Placidus) take off? Because Raphael’s Ephemeris, the standard book of astrological information still published today, decided to use it, and all their tales of houses are calculated with Placidus. That’s all it takes, folks.

All these different circles and wheels are just symbolic maps of the heavens. They show how astrologers, and astrology fans, and astrology students, see things.  And here’s the kicker. They all work. They are all accurate predictors of personality and fate. They just show you a different flavour of reality, depending on which map you use, and through whose eyes you see.

Did Adolf Hitler have Leo on the cusp of his Eleventh House or Virgo? It changes his whole chart. If you use Equal House and Campanus, another system, he has Leo there. If you use Regiomontanus, Morinus and Placidus then he has Virgo there. If you use Natural Houses, none of this will apply. All you will care about is the fact that Hitler had a Leo MC (Midheaven) in the Fifth House and his entire life was about the fact that he never had children, but he was obsessed with being the King of Hitler Youth. And that’s a whole other story about Hitler astrologers can uncover.

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Quantum science tells us that we probably live in a multiverse. Countless parallel universes, based on the choices we make, every day of our lives. Even Professor Brian Cox and Professor Stephen Hawking believe that one. We live in an age when ‘choose your reality’ is not just a New Age cliche. It is actually true. So when you choose a house system, you choose your reality. Try the Natural House System and see if you want to switch universes. Report back!


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21 Responses

  1. Hi Jessica, This system makes sense but I have trouble wrapping my mind around it for me personally because I have a sun at 15*07 Aries and my ascendant is 28*33 Aries. How does it work when my ascendant is so close to Taurus? Am I simply stuck on another house system that makes it hard envisage the natural house system? Pisces Mercury is probably muddling my thinking. Deb

    1. Sure. Try this. Put your Sun and Ascendant into the First House. Then put Mercury in Pisces in your Twelfth House. If you want to test this, go back to the moment that Uranus entered Aries (your First House) and ask yourself what began changing about your profile, appearance, name, reputation. Something as simple as joining Twitter might have done it!

  2. Hi Jessica, thank you for your site and generosity. I am, however confused when reading my chart. I am 8-Oct-1968, 08:30 (-30.5143425,151.6669644). If I am coming into a year where I am working behind the scenes does this discount any recognition or success for artistic pursuits? Thank you

    1. You are almost out of this cycle now so I hope you found out for yourself that working behind the scenes, below the surface, can often make artistic pursuits very successful.

  3. Hi Jessica, this is a really interesting article. I had never thought of astrology as a social construction to try and explain our world but it makes a lot more sense that way. I have reworked the houses around my chart according to the natural houses system and one question I have is around houses where we have absolutely nothing (no planets of asteroids). For instance, I have nothing in houses 1 (self) and 11 (friends). Does that mean these areas are of little importance to my life? That sounds a bit strange and a bit worrying too. I am a premium member and my birthday is 31 August 1966. Many thanks in advance for any comment.

    1. Thank you. Empty houses don’t show a lack of action. You can have an empty Eleventh House and have a rich history of friendship (for example). It just means that you are not defined by your friends. At the end of the day, friends are not going to influence who you are, what you do, and why you matter. With your Leo stellium, you are much more defined by youth projects, children, godchildren, junior demographics and so on – for your whole life. It’s the generation born 20 years or more after you who will ultimately define you, and the decisions you make to have them in your life – or not.

  4. Forgive me – I’m slow. Does this mean that if my MC is in Taurus, it is in the 2nd house? Or is it more complicated than this?

    Thank you! I love your work.

    1. In the Natural House system (with Aries on the cusp of the First House and whole sign houses) your MC in Taurus is indeed in the Second House. So your highest achievement in this lifetime is fundraising, charity or philanthropy. And perhaps just as importantly – you can make money without selling out. Without selling your soul. Explore Taurus on this website – it’s your life’s highest mission.

      1. Thank you so very much! Certainly this explains while I feel so much tension in my work now, where I do not feel aligned with the mission.

  5. Thank you so much for turning me on to the Zero Aries chart system and theory! With my Ascendant at 29.5 degrees Cancer it has always “chaffed my hide” the way the Placidus method throws my personal solar system! It never sat right with me. And now, with a husband with Cancer Ascendant at 4 degrees, I really started to wonder. I also study the North Nodes a lot, and shifting the houses that the nodes are in makes quite a bit of difference in destiny focus, to me. If that makes sense.

    It never occurred to me to walk away from the Placidus system for natal charting, and yet I was not satisfied. Zero Aries makes SENSE to me. It’s exciting. I feel like a rebel, however, when I never meant to be one! (At least, not when it came to astrology, which has given me so much my entire life, as have every astrologer I’ve ever worked with.) Thank you!

    1. The reason I ‘sacked’ Placidus houses a few years ago was really my readers at Cosmopolitan magazine. Every time I read for them, about love, sex and relationships – they had pretty demoralising results. I then realised that Placidus was a monk at a time when women were second-rate citizens. I also realised monks took vows of chastity and poverty, which explained why so many men I knew working in astrology were a) broke and b) not in relationships. So…I tried every single house system in the world and used history to check the accuracy. The two that worked best were Natural Houses (Zero Aries) and Solar Houses (Sun Signs). I think you’ll enjoy experimenting with them.

  6. One quick follow-up: Do you recommend reading the sun sign dailies/weeklie ‘scopes for one’s Ascendant, in addition to reading for the sun sign? I believe it corresponds. But would like your input. Thank you!

    1. No, don’t read the Ascendant (or Rising Sign) information in a regular Sun Sign column. I use the Natural House and Solar House system, and these are quite different from each other. So – just read the Sun Sign.

  7. Hi Jessica.

    Minerva has been coming up a lot in my Astrology Oracle readings, although I fit the bill in my work, I am sensing that you too arr Minerva for me.
    In keeping with the wisdom I have just purchased my Solar Fire software and will be instituting your natural house system.

    I am learning a lot from you and cannot thank yoy enough for sharing your knowledge & gifts with the world.


  8. Hi Jessica,

    Endlessly fascinating, and I find the asteroids and so on bring the blue print of a personal chart into 3-D.

    How do the MC and IC relate to one another? My MC is in Aquarius where I feel a great sense pf purpose through raising awareness about a health condition in my family, and my IC is in Leo which has some reference to family an family relationships, which is what inspired my work in the first place. Coincidence?

    Thank you and happy holidays –


    1. The MC (Midheaven) shows your highest calling in life, taking you further and further away from your family tree, roots, background and heritage. The IC (Immum Coeli) shows you where you come from, in terms of your wider family background. Merry Christmas.

  9. Hi Jessica,
    Really,REALLYinteresting point of view! It s the best opinion about the subject I red.
    I m using Zet pro astrolgy software(really a good sw btw) and there are house systems named 12 ascendant and 12vertex. Do you know something about them? I can t find anyinfo…

    1. Thank you. I’m not aware of that software as I use Solar Fire to calculate Natural House system charts. I believe has an option which they call Aries 0 Ascendant which is the same.

  10. Hey Jessica,

    I am a little bit late here but I chanced upon your piece while making a research about natural houses. The thing is, on my birth chart, all houses are positioned in their natural rulers. 1st house is in Aries, 2nd house in Taurus, 3rd in Gemini and yes, well, you know the rest. This seems really interesting to me and I would like to hear a few things from you regarding this situation.

    Thank you!

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