System domow  
Astrology Software
Astrological symbols
Astrologers from Poland
House System
   Celestial Geometry
   House Based Astrology
Szem Gallery
Urania Blog
Astrology > House Based Astrology  

(Originally Published in 2003 at,
republished with author permission at on Apr 14th, 2012

In the House

Part 1


James Coleman

Hello Fellow Stargazers!

Welcome to my little corner of

Here, I am going to introduce a concept in writing that I’ve only introduced twice before in lectures. I call this concept House-Based Astrology or HBA. Even though it is very simple, the repercussions resound widely and they could mean a revolution in astrology. I certainly hope they mean a revolution in astrology for YOU.

Even though some astrologers, whom I respect greatly, make a convincing case for dropping Houses altogether, most of us take House positions into account. For those of us that consider Houses to be important, I assert that House positions are as important as Sign positions and maybe more so. Whereas your Planet’s Signs are shared with everyone born around the same time as you (sometimes that number is in the millions), a Planet’s House is much more personal, as Houses are based on the time of birth.

I can’t begin a discussion on something called House-Based Astrology without commenting on the controversial topic of House systems. Just as I don’t intend to argue for the use of Houses, I don’t intend to argue for the use of a particular House system. All that matters for you to benefit from HBA is to use Houses and to have a House system. HBA is valid with every House system. (With Equal Houses, there are some limitations, which we will discuss later.)

For the record, I use Porphyry Houses, thanks to Moses Siregar, who introduced them to me some years ago.

I hope that you stay tuned to these paragraphs as this column unfolds. I want to introduce you to an astrology that has been virtually invisible, and one that holds the key to almost half of what a chart is meant to reveal.

Why Houses?

There are strong arguments for not using Houses at all. The Magi Society, for one, doesn’t use Houses in their published works. When I discussed this with a leader of that organization, he pointed out that times of birth are almost always suspect, by any standards. And worse, there are no standards. He asked me “when is birth? Is it when the baby takes a first breath? When the cord is cut? When the baby clears the birth canal? And, if you and I can agree, what about everybody else? And, if we all agree, can we guarantee that those responsible for recording those times will get it right? These are major concerns, which led me to understand why many astrologers abandon Houses. I concluded that I won’t fix what has always worked for me.

On the other hand, the argument “for” is that I have seen them work. I have used Houses for almost 30 years and they have yielded tons of benefit for me, my clients, students, and loved ones. Flawed as they are, birth times have been useful more often then not.

I have observed the difference between a Planet in a House and a Planet in a Sign. There are several books on the market that have sections titled “Planets in Aries or the First House”, or some variation of that. Even though those works may be very beneficial (and I certainly learned from many of them), they blur the distinction between these two categories. A Planet in Aries is not the same as a Planet in the First House. They are certainly related and we’ll point that out as we compare and contrast Planets in Houses and Planets in Signs.

Where Planets in Signs help us define the different expressions of the universal energies, Planets in Houses, along with the Angles created by the Horizon and the Meridian (the two bisecting lines in the chart from which the Ascendant and Midheaven are derived), help us see, how, in a human’s chart for example, the universal energies tend to be used. So if we learn to read Houses well, we can better understand where a person’s energy is focused, just as learning to read Signs well, will help us understand that energy. So, for example, if a person has Mars in Gemini in the Seventh House, we will know that Gemini describes a certain style of behavior and the Seventh House is where that behavior will tend to manifest most often and most naturally.

Next time, we’ll begin with a discussion of the great Dr. Zip Dobyns’ Astrological Alphabet, and how it can be a great gateway to House-Based Astrology.

Stick around!

The Astrological Alphabet & Aspects Hiding In Plain Sight

Part 2


James Coleman

Hello Stargazers!

The last paragraph of the previous article in this series promised an introduction to The Astrological Alphabet, created by Dr. Zip Dobyns to serve as an entrée into the concepts of House-Based Astrology (HBA). I must note that since that article was written, Dr. Dobyns has returned to her Source. We lament the fact that there will be no new revelations from that fine mind, but we rejoice in all that she has left us.

My favorite concept of hers is the Astrological Alphabet. Zip, as most of us called her, postulated a twelve-letter alphabet, numbered Letters One through Twelve. Each letter contains a Sign, a House, and a Planet. This is in line with the ancient tradition of combining chart components into families determined by their shared traits (e.g., Elements and Modalities). We note that each Sign within the Element Earth, for example, is similar to the other two. We also note that while these three Signs are still distinct energies, we know that we can learn a lot about a person that has say, three Planets in Aries, three in Leo, and three in Sagittarius. They are three different Signs, but in a chart like the one described here, they combine to illustrate a “fiery” personality. Combining astrological components into “families” has been one of our greatest tools.

  • Letter One: Aries, The First House, and the Planet Mars.
  • Letter Two: Taurus, The Second House, and Venus
  • Letter Three: Gemini, The Third House, and Mercury
  • Letter Four: Cancer, The Fourth House, and the Moon
  • Letter Five: Leo, The Fifth House, and the Sun
  • Letter Six: Virgo, The Sixth House, and Mercury
  • Letter Seven: Libra, The Seventh House, and Venus
  • Letter Eight: Scorpio, The Eighth House, and Pluto
  • Letter Nine: Sagittarius, The Ninth House, and Jupiter
  • Letter Ten: Capricorn, The Tenth House, and Saturn
  • Letter Eleven: The Eleventh House, and Uranus
  • Letter Twelve: Pisces, The Twelfth House, and Neptune

In meaning, they are:

  • Letter One: Assertion
  • Letter Two: Survival
  • Letter Three: Connecting
  • Letter Four: Security
  • Letter Five: Pride
  • Letter Six: Maintenance
  • Letter Seven: Relating
  • Letter Eight: Uniting
  • Letter Nine: Broadening
  • Letter Ten: Status
  • Letter Eleven: Networking
  • Letter Twelve: Submission

Let’s imagine Seymour. Seymour was born with the Sun in Gemini in the Sixth House. Seymour, then, has both a Letter Three Sun and a Letter Six Sun, simultaneously. In this case, you could say that this person has the Sun in conflict with itself, since the concepts concerned with Letter Three have a square relationship with those of Letter Six.

We’ve already stated that Planets in Signs are not synonymous with those in Houses. So what is it we are observing with Seymour’s “Sun Square Sun”? The Sign the Sun is in shows us primary personality traits. The House the Sun is in hints at primary interests. There is conflict between who Seymour is and what he wants. Of course, we have always looked at Seymour’s chart and known about who he is, but the part about what he wants and how that interplays with who he is, is a big part of HBA.

We have just scratched the surface, though. What if Seymour had, say, Neptune in the Third House squaring his Sixth House Sun? All of a sudden, his Sun has not one but two connections with Neptune. No wonder I call the lecture I do on this subject “Hiding in Plain Sight”.

Further, when you run into someone who exhibits major traits that are not immediately visible in a chart, check for House/Sign aspects. A person with Uranus in a Sign that has a particularly strong relationship with, say the House their Moon is in, will have Moon/Uranus issues, just as surely as if they had one of the more obvious contacts.

We will also examine HBA with regard to Synastry and Dynamic Astrology (i.e., transits, progressions, directions, and returns). I discovered the seeds of HBA in synastry. My fiancée and I have charts that show very little conflict; two Gemini Moons, her Cancer Sun, my Virgo Sun, and her Mars EXACTLY conjunct my Venus. Yet, even though all those factors are evident, we had big disagreements nevertheless. (Actually, our priorities are still quite different.) She is often concerned with doing what is appropriate where my concern is doing what seems right to me. She has a Tenth House Sun and I have a First House Sun. What could be clearer?

As far as Dynamic Astrology is concerned, think of transits. Saturn just entered Cancer. Most astrologers will point out that Letter Four issues may be activated in your chart. I will take that a step further and say that Planets in your Angular Houses should be on the alert. Saturn’s transit through Cancer will trigger powerful transits to Planets in all of our Angular Houses, as well as, soothing energy to our 8th and 12th Houses.

In columns to come, we will examine these assertions in detail. The purpose here was to give you an overview of HBA and how it works in different areas of natal astrology.

Are you excited yet?