The 12 Houses of the Zodiac: A Definitive Guide

The 12 houses flow counterclockwise in a 360-degree circle, divided into 12 segments.

Each segment, or 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).

Each of the 12 zodiac houses is associated with a set of traits, beginning from the self, and expanding outward into society and beyond.

Do you have all 12 houses in your birth chart?

At the moment you were born, the planets were all in specific signs and houses. When an astrologer interprets your chart, she blends the meaning of each planet, the house it’s in, and the sign it’s in, to map the obstacles or gifts you’ll face in this lifetime.

When planets visit any of the 12 houses, they light up those parts of your chart, and energize those house traits. Astrologers use the 12 houses to predict which parts of your life will come into focus, and where you can take the best possible action.

To learn more about a house, read about the them below. And yes, you have all 12 houses in your birth chart, everyone does, but you may not have a planet in each of them.

What do the 12 zodiac houses symbolize?

The 12 Houses of the Zodiac and what they represent
The 12 zodiac houses, defined

The first house begins at what would be 9:00 on a clock. From the first house’s “cusp” (or beginning border), we travel around the zodiac wheel in a counter-clockwise direction.

This counter-clockwise journey represents our soul’s evolution, from the individual (1st house) to the collective/greater society (12th house).

Houses 1-6 are the personal houses

The first six zodiac houses are called the personal houses. They rule our private and immediate lives: individuality, our daily environments, our siblings and peers, parents, and our attempts to define and express who we are. A person whose chart has lots of planets in the first six houses may have trouble leaving the nest, or may remain nostalgically loyal to childhood friends.

Houses 7-12 are the interpersonal houses

The seventh through the twelfth zodiac houses are the interpersonal houses. They govern relationships, joint ventures, travel, career, society, spirituality and even our transition at the end of life. Someone with a lot of planets in the later houses might be very career-focused, perhaps leaving the past behind and growing closer to friends made in adulthood. 

What do the 12 houses mean in astrology?

1st House

The first house begins the zodiac, and covers the all “firsts”: first impressions, the self and appearance, leadership, new initiatives, fresh starts and beginnings. The sign on the cusp, or starting edge, of this house, is referred to as your rising sign or ascendant.

Read more about the 1st house

2nd House

The second house covers all matters related to your immediate material and physical environment—taste, scent, sound, touch, sight. The second house also rules income, money, and self-esteem.

Read more about the 2nd house

3rd House

The third house rules all forms of communication—talking, thinking, gadgets and mobile devices. The third house also covers siblings, neighborhoods, local travel, libraries, schools, teachers and community affairs.

Read more about the 3rd house

4th House

The Cancer-ruled fourth house sits at the very bottom of the zodiac wheel, and thus, rules the “foundation” of all things. This includes your home, privacy, your basic security, your parents (particularly your mother), children, your own mothering abilities, nurturing, and TLC.

Read more about the 4th house

5th House

The fifth house is ruled by dramatic Leo, and it governs self-expression, drama, creativity, color, attention, romance, fun and play.

Read more about the 5th house

6th House

The sixth house is the domain of health and service. It rules schedules, organization, routines, fitness, diet and exercise, natural and healthy living, helpfulness and being of service to others.

Read more about the 6th house

7th House

The seventh house is the sector of relationships and other people. It governs all partnerships, both business and personal, and relationship-associated matters, like contracts, marriage, and business deals.

Read more about the 7th house

8th House

The eighth house is a mysterious sector that rules birth, death, sex, transformation, mysteries, merged energies, and bonding at the deepest level. The eighth house also rules other people’s property and money (real estate, inheritances, investments, et. al. 

Read more about the 8th house

9th House

The ninth house covers the higher mind, expansion, international and long-distance travel, foreign languages, inspiration, optimism, publishing, broadcasting, universities and higher education, luck, risk, adventure, gambling, religion, philosophy, morals and ethics.

Read more about the 9th house

10th House

The tenth house is at the very top and most public part of the chart. The tenth house governs structures, corporations, tradition, public image, fame, honors, achievements, awards, boundaries, rules, discipline, authority, fathers and fatherhood. The cusp, or border, of the tenth house is also called the midheaven, and it clues astrologers into your career path.

Read more about the 10th house

11th House

The eleventh house rules teams, friendships, groups, society, technology, video and electronic media, networking, social justice, rebellion, and humanitarian causes. It also rules originality, eccentricity, sudden events, surprises, invention, astronomy, science fiction and all things futuristic.

Read more about the 11th house

12th House

The zodiac completes with the twelfth and final house, which rules endings. This house covers the final stages of a project, tying up loose ends, completions, the afterlife, old age, and surrender. It’s also associated with separation from society, institutions, hospitals, jails, hidden agendas, and secret enemies. And it rules the imagination, creativity, arts, film, dance, poetry, journals, and the subconscious mind.

Read more about the 12th house

All new daily planner format!

The 2024 Horoscope Books are here

🛼 Your ultimate guide to 2024

Plan your 2024 by the planets! Get our 2024 Horoscope book and a daily planner for your zodiac sign.


The AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.