Our zodiacal Sun Sign is known by the day and the month of birth. The Rising Sign according to the hour and minute of that day. Then we consider where the planets are positioned in the Chart in the areas known as the Houses.
A ‘house’ is the name given for each of the twelve divisions of 30° in the 360° circular Astrological Chart. Like slices of a cake, each serves to indicate a portion or area in mapping the heavens and is used to record the position of the planets at one’s time of birth. This is calculated through the aid of an Ephemeris. Information must then be adjusted to conditions pertaining at the time and the actual geographic location of the place of birth.
When your Astrological Chart is drawn up by the astrologer according to the information you have given of your birth date, time of birth and also the place of birth it appears as a large circular disc with a smaller one in the centre in which the individual is symbolically placed. The larger circle or 360° is usually equally divided into 12 segments of 30° . Each of the 12 segments is known as a ‘house’ with the first one being that on the left and in sequence going anticlockwise the following houses are numbered and named accordingly, establishing the 12th house as the segment on the left, immediately above the horizon. The House division remains constant although there are emerging two different schools of thought as to how the 360° should be divided – equally or unequally. For the present take the traditional placement with the First house as the first 30º in the horoscope below the horizon on the left hand side of the circle.
At the beginning of each house is one of the zodiacal signs which dominates that particular area. The ruling or dominant sign governing the First House, once having been established by astronomical calculation, is placed on the Chart on the left hand horizontal and this is called your ‘Rising Sign’. Your Rising Sign will occupy the First House in part or totally, depending upon the degree shown at your birth. The Rising Sign is considered to be of major importance as a factor in one’s chart. It indicates your physical make up and constitution and your material circumstances.
The Houses are actually positions along the ecliptic where the planets can be found on any date or time according to the calculations of astronomers and the records of the Ephemeris. During a single day there is little change in placement except for the fast moving bodies of the Sun and the Moon which have a powerful affect upon the chart. Because of earth’s rotation and a new zodiacal sign is rising above the horizon every two hours it becomes obvious that for accuracy, it essential to know the exact hour and minute, if that is possible, of one’s ‘first breath’.
Each house is comprised of 30° and is found to influence and represent a number of specific human interests and activities. The division of the astrological chart into these 12 houses is a vital part of the understanding of how these released energies are likely to affect the personality and circumstances and the human psyche. Such knowledge has been gained by long experience and observations over thousands of years of human culture and its study continues.