A lot of people will say there is no right or wrong way to do astrology. This is because there are so many different ways that astrology has been applied during the course of human history. For instance, I practice Western astrology as opposed to Vedic astrology. Both schools have good arguments as to why they are the most accurate astrological system. However, as an astrologer you must make a choice as to why you think one has a better claim to authority over the other, or at least make some kind of compromise as to which you prefer.
I choose to practice Western astrology because it is sun based according to the cycles and seasons of the year, whereas Vedic astrology is more aligned with the actual position of the signs in the heavens at any moment in time.
Because of the progression of the equinox, overtime the signs in the heavens shift and fall out of the original alignment they were once in when astrology first began to be recorded in history. For some, this is a mental hurdle that causes Western astrology to seem false as it does not align with the stars anymore. For myself and others, this seeming complication is nothing more than a cycle that will realign eventually, and so the sun’s original astrological symbology (based on the seasons) legitimately rules the lives of those who fall under the sun’s dominion.
To add to the complication of choosing an astrological system an astrologer eventually has to come to terms as to what house system they will be using. Where Western and Vedic astrology make an astrologer choose where the actual signs will be located in the heavens, so too the house system chosen will make similar alterations to a natal chart because the house systems determine how a person’s chart is calculated and what those determining factors for the calculation will be.
For the purposes of keeping this post fairly simple I will focus on only three of the numerous house systems used to calculate a chart. These three are: whole house, equal house, and placidus. You could make good arguments for and against any of the three, but instead of getting into long drawn-out reasonings I am simply going to tell you why I choose to employ the equal house system.
Like most modern astrologers I started using placidus, not because I thought it was the best system, but because it was the default system. When I first started studying astrology I didn’t even give house systems a thought. It wasn’t until a couple years ago when I was learning about intercepts that I really started to question why placidus had houses that were larger and smaller. In placidus often you can have up to three signs represented in one house, or a house can sit within in a sign that is also shared by two other houses neighboring it. These incongruities didn’t really bother me–until they did.
Studying intercepts led me to hearing about the most ancient house system; the whole house system. In this system the rising sign determines the houses. It’s very simple for calculating a chart because it aligns to the 0 degree of the rising sign with the 0 degree of the first house in the natal chart. From there the following signs fall perfectly into the houses.
After hearing about the whole house system I applied it to my natal chart and quickly found that it did not seem to resonate with who I was. As a late degree Scorpio rising in the placidus system–with a lot of planets in Scorpio in my 12th house–the shift to visualizing all these planets in my first house was jarring to say the least.
This representation of my natal chart definitely does not fit my personality. If I had all these planets in my first house I would be a very different type of person. I would be a force to be reckoned with in the present. Not that I’m not a force to be reckoned with, but I’m more of a force to be reckoned with in the long term. This makes more sense for a 12th house person. So for me whole house was immediately out.
However, I did like the symmetry and the ease of how the system allowed an astrologer to calculate a natal chart on the fly. With whole house I would be free of needing a computer to calculate a natal chart. This was very appealing and caused me to see if I could find another house system that would give me the desired symmetry and ease of calculation, but would not compromise the value of having a specific degree where the rising sign begins, and with a couple more clicks on the internet I found my holy grail; the equal house system.
The equal house system had everything: symmetry, ease of calculation, but most importantly it had accuracy to my actual personality. I knew I had found something special. When I calculated my chart with this system almost everything stayed as it was in placidus except for a few profound differences. No longer was I an eleventh house sun. My Libra sun now resided in the twelfth house. Also, my Saturn moved from my ninth house to my tenth house, and my north node moved into my eleventh house. These seemingly subtle changes made all the difference in my understanding of who I was, and thus I knew right away I had found the perfect house system for me.
I would challenge you to look a little bit deeper into house systems and find the one that resonates with who you are. Yesterday I live streamed on this topic and I’m going to put the livestream in this post. I hope I inspired you to dig a little deeper into astrology and make a conscious choice which house system best fits you.