Anyone who veers far enough into the art of astrology will eventually confront the question of which house system to use. Houses are divisions of space and time in the sky that denote various sectors or topics in one’s life, for example money, partnerships, career, etc. They are usually divided into twelve sections around the wheel of the zodiac using different methods. Which system do I use? All of them.
When I became a serious student of astrology, I began by using the Placidus system as do most astrologers. Not understanding the seemingly convoluted system of house cusps and unwieldy visual aesthetic, I was attracted to using whole sign houses which emphasize the signs and functions of the planetary bodies. However, I didn’t want to abandon Placidus while learning about other systems such as Equal House. As it stands now, I use a combination of whole sign and Placidus house systems, inspired by an approach based upon the French astrologer Morinus. I also stay flexible with the use of other systems. Let me demonstrate.
I had a client recently, a very successful creative professional. She’s a Scorpio Rising, with classical Mars rulership, and her Mars is in the fifth house of creativity. Right off the bat this seemed a fitting aspect for a creative professional, and her fifth house is dominated by Pisces. This further buttressed her basic makeup as a creative person. Her work is very “Piscean” fluid and colorful with a spiritual bent. In the course of her session she expressed that often times she feels like a servant to her work duties. In that moment of this session I realized that Mars rules her sixth house of work and daily conditions, being dominated by the sign Aries. In whole sign, Hellenistic astrology, Mars finds its “joy” in the sixth house. She had a day chart, so Mars can be troublesome during the day, but being below the horizon, functions a little bit better. This seemed to fit being that she has success in her daily conditions, but she is a servant in her work, Mars finding his “joy” in the sixth house being a positive and negative. If I were to interpret her sixth house activity using a more Placidian framework, I might have interpreted her sixth house as having a driving, active quality which also fits as well, as her work is very active and physical, with a little bit of self-undoing thrown in as Mars in Pisces is the twelfth sign and ruling planet of Aries. Nevertheless, it was the client, the moment, and the use of two house systems at once that led to these insights.
Astrology is the contemplation and interpretation of the heavens, but that star stuff lives on in each human being. Coming to understand a client through each moment as a creative and revelatory process can yield great results if one is open to the practical application of different methods, including various houses systems. It is my hope that the field of astrology can avoid the property disputes that come with debating the different pros and cons of different house systems and instead adopt a more flexible, practical, and creative approach in the application of the largesse of techniques we now possess in the modern era.