Astrology has been used for thousands of years to gain insight into our lives and personalities. A key component of astrology is the astrological houses, which represent different areas of life. There are several different house systems used in astrology, each with their own advantages and interpretations.
Choosing the best house system for your astrological practice can be confusing. In this post, we’ll explore the most commonly used house systems and look at the arguments for and against each one.
The Major House Systems
There are many different house systems in astrology, but several main ones are most widely used:
Placidus House System
The Placidus system is the most commonly used in Western astrology. It was developed in the 17th century by Placidus de Tito, and is based on calculations relating to the times and locations of astronomical events.
Some key features of Placidus houses:
- Uses a division of time rather than space to calculate houses
- Houses get larger towards the east and smaller towards the west
- The 10th house cusp is usually the Midheaven
- Often produces irregular house sizes and shapes
Whole Sign Houses
Whole sign houses take the entire sign that contains the Ascendant as the 1st house, then each subsequent sign in zodiac order forms the remaining houses.
- Oldest house system, used since ancient times
- Houses are always exactly 30 degrees each
- Emphasis on sign energies rather than house meanings
- All houses are the same size
Equal House System
In the equal house system, the ecliptic is divided into 12 equal 30 degree sections starting from the Ascendant to form the houses.
- Simple method divides zodiac wheel into 12 even parts
- Houses unrelated to house cusp meanings or ruling planets
- Can give very short or wide house sizes
Campanus House System
Developed by Italian mathematician Campanus in the 13th century, this system divides the prime vertical (Meridian) into equal house cusps.
- Balances time and space in its calculation
- Attempts to compensate for distortions of Placidus
- House sizes vary but less extremely than Placidus
Comparing the Major Systems
So which of these main house systems is the best to use? There are good arguments on both sides for each one.
Arguments for Placidus
- Most commonly used and recognized in modern Western astrology
- Takes time into account rather than just the space of the zodiac wheel
- House cusps connect to the Ascendant and Midheaven
- Provides more accuracy relating houses to life areas
Arguments for Whole Sign
- Oldest system with ancient roots
- Philosophically sound division based on 30 degree signs
- Simpler method less prone to errors or distortions
- Emphasizes signs which have clear meanings
Arguments for Equal House
- Logical division of the ecliptic into even segments
- Avoids very large or small houses of other systems
- Easier to work with and calculate
- Democratizes houses giving them all equal weight
Arguments for Campanus
- Attempts to find a balanced compromise between space and time
- Corrects some distortions of Placidus system
- House sizes vary but are more balanced
Overall there are good reasons to use each of these major house systems. Most astrologers recommend testing different ones to see which works best for your astrological practice and resonates with your personal perspectives. There is no definitive right or wrong house system.
Each has its own logic and provides a slightly different way of dividing the astrological chart into meaningful life areas. With experimentation and experience, you can determine which house system is optimal for your needs. The best system is ultimately the one that you find most accurate and meaningful in real life charts and astrological work.
DeYoung, Donna. “House Systems.” Astrology Club, https://www.astrologyclub.org/astrology-information/house-systems.
Arroyo, Stephen. “Astrological Houses: An Introduction.” Astrodienst, https://www.astro.com/astrology/in_houses_e.htm.
Coley, Henry. “Which Zodiac House System Should I Use?” Astrology Library, https://astrologylibrary.com/house-systems.
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