What’s your true north? The tenth house sits at the peak of the zodiac wheel, the most ascended point. This is the public part of the chart.
The 10th house rules the things that we are known for in the world: our career choices, social status, achievement and prestige. Image actually is everything in the 10th house, so you’d better serve up on a polished, sophisticated platter. Your reputation depends on it!
The meaning of the 10th house in astrology
The 10th house is one of the three “earth houses” of material matters and shares similar traits to Capricorn, the tenth zodiac sign. This is where we leave a legacy and provide for our families. This sector was historically associated with the father, but could also be read as any “provider figure” who skews more rational and stern rather than soft and nurturing.
Speaking of which, what’s your relationship to authority and authority figures? If you want to cultivate yourself as a boss, study your 10th house for clues on your leadership style. As the sector of career achievement, there’s competitive quality to the 10th house. You’re in it to win it here! But first, check your ego at the door and roll up your sleeves. No one rides to the top for free in the 10th house.
Regardless of where you land on the professional food chain, the 10th house demands structure. The bones, skin and teeth are ruled by this house, which literally hold our organs in place and help us break down matter so our bodies can receive the nutrition they need to sustain themselves. There’s a rule-abiding rigidity to the 10th house, but for good reason! This is the place where we learn to adult, creating lasting security through discipline, ambition and hard work. Boundaries are a must if we’re going to achieve our goals without getting distracted.
The 10th house is the last of the four angular houses, along with the 1st, 4th and 7th houses. Like the NSEW points on a compass, these houses start each of the four quadrants of the zodiac wheel, which set us in clear, new directions. Angular houses are a lot like the cardinal zodiac signs. They give us the courage to initiate—in this case through establishing ourselves as professional experts or leaders.
The sign on the cusp, or starting edge of the 10th house—located near the 12o’clock point on the zodiac wheel—has a special name: the midheaven, or MC for short. Whatever zodiac sign was positioned at this point when you were born determines your midheaven, which is an important point on the chart for discovering your “true north.”
What are the houses in astrology?
The zodiac wheel is a 360-degree circle, divided into 12 segments, or houses. Each house represents a different essential aspect of our lives. In the Movie of You, the houses are like the different sets or stages where the planets (actors) play out their roles (given by the zodiac signs).
You must know your time of birth to accurately determine the houses in your chart. If it wasn’t recorded on your birth certificate, you may have to work with an approximation, as in “My mom says it was sometime right around 4:30.” Or find an astrologer who does rectified charts. This intuitive, investigative reading can suss out what your closest birth time may be.
If you use the Placidus method (which we prefer and recommend), you may notice that the houses of your chart are different sizes. This takes into account the Earth’s tilt. The further from the equator you were born, the more unequal your houses will be in size.
How do you know which planets are in your tenth house?
Each house is like a movie set of your life where different types of action are taking place. When a planet is in that house, it’s like an actor on that set. To find out if you were born with planets in your 10th house, run a free birth chart here on our site. Then, look to see if there are any planet glyphs occupying that segment.
Here’s a handy guide to the planet glyphs for checking out your own chart:
Example using Oprah Winfrey’s birth chart
The meaning of the planets in the tenth house
Which planets do you have in the 10th house? Here’s what each planet means in that position.
Which planets do you have in the 10th house? Here’s what each planet means in that position.
You often see life as an uphill battle, with the ultimate reward arriving only through suffering and sacrifice. You’ll skip the good stuff today if it means getting the reward tomorrow. Maybe that explains why you have more trophies and loyal friends than most people.
Read more about the Sun in the 10th house
You don’t get involved with people unless you sense there’s a promising future. Even then, you’ll run them through an extended checklist of requirements: financial stability, integrity, family values? Yes, please. This moon placement is focused on long-term success.
Read more about the Moon in the 10th house
With Mercury in the 10th house, you are businesslike in your communications. With this goal-oriented placement, you like to focus like a laser beam, sharp and direct. Easy does it! You may come across as harsh and officious, or worse, imperious or dismissive.
Read more about Mercury in the 10th house
Relationships are an investment, as far as you’re concerned. You’re looking for a partner who wants to build something stable and fruitful together. No, that doesn’t come along every day. As such, your vetting process is strict and thorough.
Read more about Venus in the 10th house
Being born with driven Mars in the 10th house can be a double blessing of sorts. You’re as creative as you are productive, drawing inspiration from a deep well, then finessing it to the heights of success. Warning: until you’ve “made it” (as you define success) you’ll find it hard to rest.
Read more about Mars in the 10th house
This achievement-oriented Jupiter placement makes you naturally competitive. But sometimes you NEED to throw in the towel in order to get to the next stage of the game. Cultivate humility while learning to set aside perfectionism and your tendency to worry about every move.
Read more about Jupiter in the 10th house
With Saturn in this family-focused placement, having time to spend with your nearest and dearest is essential to your internal balance. Starting (or joining) a business with relatives is not a bad idea, since you’ll combine two of your favorite things: working and enjoying their company.
Read more about Saturn in the 10th house
Uranus can be a dystopian rebel and this placement could spawn periods of discontent with the “system,” especially if you’ve compromised any of your ideals for financial gains. You may drop out of the “game” to define success on your own terms.
Read more about Uranus in the 10th house
Your true healing takes place once you stop looking to others for validation. But that doesn’t mean you should go it alone. Surround yourself with supporters who help you stay purpose-driven when you want to drift—or run away and sabotage your well-deserved success.
Read more about Neptune in the 10th house
You’re in it to win it! But with Pluto imbalanced, you risk becoming cutthroat, possibly acting upon a revenge fantasy in regrettable ways. Your evolution may involve redefining “success” as more of a collective victory than an individual gain.
Read more about Pluto in the 10th house
What do the planets mean in the houses?
First and foremost, there is no “right answer” to this question. In fact, you could speculate on at least ten ways a planet is influencing a house at any given moment. This impact will also evolve over time.
To get you started on reflecting, below are some key words for each planet.
- Sun: Self-expression, ego, creativity, vitality, leadership, passion, what excites you
- Moon: Needs, desires, intuition, what comforts you
- Ascendant/Rising: The first impression you make, initial instincts, appearance, attractions
- Mercury: Communication, curiosity, thought processes, what you like to talk and learn about
- Venus: Romance, seduction, fashion sense, what brings you pleasure, what you’ll spend money on
- Mars: Instincts, turn-ons, lust, drive, motivation, pursuits, what you’ll fight for (and about)
- Jupiter: Luck, inspiration, adventure, risk-taking, travel style, expansion, what you like learning about
- Saturn: Time and karma, caution, challenges and struggles, boundaries, what you learn the hard way
- Uranus: Innovation, originality, idealism, where you’re a rebel and a revolutionary
- Neptune: Dreams, the subconscious, fantasy, glamor, addiction, healing, boundless imagination
- Pluto: Secrets, wealth transformation, evolution, the unconscious, power (struggles)
- North Node: Destiny, soul evolution, dharma, the new “language” you are learning to speak
How does each planet influence my tenth house?
If you were born with any planet in your 10th house, it will influence the following areas of life:
- Career Success
- Public image
- Long-term goals
- Authority figures
- Father figures
- Men and Masculinity
- Competition/desire to be the best
- Family (providing for, building for)
When a planet is transiting (orbiting) through your 10th house, these subjects will likely arise.
These areas of life are thoroughly described in the 10th place planet links above.
Another example using Oprah Winfrey’s birth chart
Oprah Winfrey has boundary-dissolving, Neptune, the planet of empathy and soulful exchanges in her 10th house of achievement and career ambition. Through her compassionate broadcasting—from her eponymous talk show to Super Soul Sunday to her celebrity interviews—and the production of Academy-Award-winning films like Precious, she has shattered glass ceilings and built a media empire to elevate countless women and Black creators.
Oprah also has unstoppable, hardworking Saturn in this chart zone, an astrological testament to her devotion to her craft and her incremental rise from news anchor to multi-hyphenate media mogul and billionaire.
Planets in the Zodiac Signs
There’s one more layer to this! The zodiac sign that the planet is in directs the role that it plays in your life. For example, if motivational Mars was Lady Gaga (the “actor”), Mars in dreamy, artistic Pisces would cast her— far from the shallow—as Ally in A Star Is Born. Mars in calculating, status-hungry Capricorn could turn her into Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci.
Or in the case of Oprah, Neptune is in Libra, the sign of partnerships. From Eckhart Tolle to Brene Brown, she has helped turn thought-leaders into cultural icons. Her gently personable interview style allows guests to relax and open up.
We can thank Oprah for giving the world a glimpse into the real emotions of some of the most iconic celebrities from Adele to Harry and Meghan. Oprah’s Saturn is in powerful, possessive Scorpio. This may have informed her decision to not simply be an on-screen star, but to build her own network and production house, giving her control over the media she creates—and sidestepping censorship in the process.
Keywords for the zodiac signs that appear in your chart
- Aries: independence, assertiveness, gutsiness, self-direction, novelty, trailblazing
- Taurus: stability, tenacity, values and ethics, routines, material comfort, sensuality, luxury, tradition
- Gemini: communication, curiosity, dynamic duos, variety, mobility, ingenuity
- Cancer: nurturing, sensitivity, emotions, home, family, roots, children, security
- Leo: passion, romance, self-expression, courage, loyalty, charisma, childlike spirit
- Virgo: wellness, efficiency, service, systems, organization, common sense, innocence, cleanliness
- Libra: commitment, partnership, equality, balance, mutuality, fairness, give and take
- Scorpio: intimacy, sex, secrecy, power, control, intensity, depth, obsessiveness, wealth, joint ventures
- Sagittarius: adventure, travel, expansion, wisdom, entrepreneurship, cross-cultural relationships
- Capricorn: ambition, structure, goals, long-term plans, achievements, prestige, status, time
- Aquarius: teamwork, originality, social justice, the future, technology, community, society, ideals
- Pisces: healing, dreams, fantasy, intuition, artistic ability, mystery, psychic abilities, compassion
What if my 10th house is empty, has no planets in it?
Empty houses still play a role—and we think of them like blank canvases where you might even have a little more freedom to say what goes. In some ways, this might even be a relief!
But no house will ever stay empty for long. The moon transits (orbits) through all 12 houses in the span of a month. The Sun visits each throughout one year. When a planet transits through a house, it lights it up with its energy. That area of your life will feel the influence!
For example, if abundant industrious Saturn is transiting your 10th house of achievement, you may be inspired to put in extra time to earn your professional credibility. Liberating Uranus moving through the 10th house could inspire you to leave your 9-5 and explore work as a digital nomad or consultant—or change careers to something altogether different than what you’ve done for years.