Rita De Abreu 24 January 2012

William Lilly

William Lilly states in Christian Astrology that “…he that shall learn the nature of the planets and signs without exact judgment of the houses, is like an improvident man, that furnisheth himself with a variety of household stuffe, having no place wherein to bestow them..”

William Lilly, Christian Astrology, (Astrology Classics, 2004) p50
William Lilly, Astrologer, (1602–1681)


Primary motion and secondary motion

Before we can begin with the houses themselves we need to look at the order which they follow.  We know that by looking up at the sun in the sky and also by looking at our charts that the sun rises in the east – at the Ascendant, He then moves up to the Midheaven at noon and sets in the West – at the descendant – this is known as primum mobile – primary motion – it is the movement created by the earth turning on its own axis creating day and night.  This is done in a clockwise direction around the chart. The movement of the earth and planets around the Sun – through the signs of the zodiac (the celestial houses), is known as secondary motion and this goes in an anti-clockwise direction around the chart – the direction the houses move in.

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Compass Directions
Compass directions in the chart are easy to work out once you realize that the chart is upside down and back to front.  Once that has sunk in – it’s easy!  The Ascendant is where the Sun comes up and is therefore the East and where it sets on the 7th cusp is the West angle.  When the Sun is at the MC or the Tenth cusp that is the South Angle and the IC is the North.  The angles come with a succedent house that supports it, the house just after it in other words, and a cadent house falling from it, the house just before it, these three houses therefore form a little package with the house on either side of the angle ‘belonging’ to that angle as it were.  This explanation helps then to understand that if the Ascendant is East for example and the two houses on either side of it belong to it, then the house before it, house 12 must then be East South East and the house after it, the second, is East North East.  With the North Angle, house Four is North so the house before it is North North East and the house thereafter is North North West and so on through the other two angles.
Finding Lost Objects @ Home
Finding lost objects in a chart is the stuff that most of our worst nightmares are made of and knowing exactly which room in the house to look in first is a very useful tool to have.  Remember that each house follows a natural and logical sequence.

The First House

If the first house is me and my immediate surroundings, then it follows that an object in the first house signifies the entrance hall and my room in the house.
The Second House
The second will be the room next door to the entrance hall, since the second is also the house of my movable possessions it is also my wardrobe, where I keep my possessions, the second also houses the throat leading us to the kitchen.
The Third House
The third being the house of communications and my daily rounds it would be the hallways and corridors that I use to get from room to room – keep in mind that it is also the house of siblings, so my sister’s or brother’s rooms.
The Fourth House
The fourth being right at the bottom of the chart naturally points to cellars and basements, the family room and granny flat since this is also the house of the father and family in general.
The Fifth House
The fifth being the house of children is the nursery and the house of fun and entertainment so look in the games room, the play room, the home theater!
The Sixth House
The sixth is the house of servants and so servants quarters, the tool room and remembering animals smaller than a goat, the dog kennel and any other place where your small animals are kept.
The Seventh House
The room belonging to the ‘other’ in the house, your lover or spouse is the seventh house, if you live with both, then the lost object is possibly the least of your problems!
The Eighth House
The eighth being opposite the second which held the kitchen where things went into your body then logically this is where things leave the body again, the toilet.
The Ninth House
The ninth being the place of learning is the study and perhaps also the prayer room or shrine in the house, the place in the house where you undertake your own spiritual journey.
The Tenth House
The tenth, at the top of the house is the attic and also the most formal room in the house.
The Eleventh House
The eleventh, the house of friends is the guest room.
The Twelfth House
The twelfth is where all the things you do not want to look at are found, the room where all the ‘junk’ is kept, also where animals bigger than a goat are housed, since carriages are rarely in use so not very many of us have a stable, it would also be the place where our modern steed, the car, is kept – the garage.

The significator is on an angle it is nearby or where it is meant to be, in a cadent house it is very far from where it is supposed to be and in a succedent house somewhere between those two poles.

House Cusps

In the tradition we use Regiomontanus house cusps with horary charts.  Regiomontanus was the pseudonym of Johan Müller, a mathematician born in 1436 and died in 1476 – he entered university at 11, and had 2 degrees by the time he was 16.  Although this way of house division is generally ascribed to him, it is unlikely that he invented the system but rather just adapted an earlier Arabic form and formulated the tables for this system.  Since these tables were then readily available and the Regiomontanus house system is based on a fixed point which could be engraved onto an astrolabe, this system because of its ease of use, became very popular.

The strength of the Houses

It is important to remember that the strength of the houses depends largely on their relationship to the ascendant – the most powerful aspects are the oppositions and squares, houses 7, 10 and 4
Next are the trines – 5 and 9
Followed by the sextiles – 3 and 11
The planets in houses that cannot ‘see’ the ascendant find the most difficulty in acting – houses 2, 8, 6 and 12
Also important was whether the house was above or below the horizon, the houses above the horizon held preference over those below – this is how we get Lilly’s order of houses.
1 -10 -7 -4 -11 -5 -9 -3- 2- 8 -6 -12

Now that we have covered the basic ‘housekeeping’ as it were, let us get on with the houses themselves

The First House

In the Liber de causis or “The Book of Causes” it is stated that “Soul is on the horizon of being, because it is attached to eternity from below and yet is above time. Soul is the bridge between time and eternity, between Intelligence and Nature.    The Ascendant is the point of incarnation, becoming physical and so it follows that in a horary chart the first is the house of the client at hand.

Ruled by Saturn the god of doors, of boundaries, it is fitting that he should rule the house where we enter into the physical world.  Mercury joys in this house since he rules reason which resides in the head which is also found in this house.

The Second House

In the explanation of the strength of the houses it was stated that the second house was also seen as unfortunate because of its position, the 2nd/8th axis was known as The Portal of Hades but the 2nd ‘rises up’ from the underworld and so is not quite as unfortunate as the eighth.  It should be remembered that according to Matthew 19:24 “…I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” The Eye of the Needle was a Gate into Jerusalem – the new Kingdom of heaven

The second house is a Succedent  house and shows the resources of the first, all the immovable and inanimate things that I can possess.  My money, my second in command, my aide or lawyer in a court case all fall into this house.

It also is the house of food and the throat and of my self-esteem – interesting how issues with a low self-esteem can lead to eating disorders. It is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of wealth and so suits this house.

As is becoming clear by now we are following the logical sequence of the planets when looking at the ruler ship of the houses and not the sequence of the signs.

The Third House

Dea or Goddess was the ancient name for the third house. It is the Joy of the Moon where she is best able to reflect the light of the Sun who joys in the ninth. The third is the lower part of the 3rd/9th axis known as the Axis of Truth.  It is ruled by Mars, natural ruler of brothers, therefore also known as The House of Brothers. The third is also the house of my neighbour, gossip, cousins, daily routine and short/routine journeys, letters and e-mails sent. Representing the body, the shoulders, arms and fingers are found here.
The Fourth House

Immum Coeli, the lower heaven in opposition to the Medium Coeli – the top of the heavens.  The fourth house is ruled by the Sun as it should be as this is the house of the father, the parents in general. At the bottom of the chart it rules immovable property, houses, gardens and hidden treasure, mines, and according to John Frawley, in a court case it is the end of the matter.  The chest and the breasts are found in the fourth.
The Fifth House
Ruled by Venus, it is the house of pleasure, sex and children, the natural product of sex. The fifth house also the resources of the fourth, as well as entertainment, and where Venus finds its joy, our creative children belong here too, fun and ambassadors.  The Dove being a Venusian bird and also the symbol of the Holy Spirit gives us an indication as to why this is also the house of the Holy Spirit.  Progressing through the sequence of the body, the stomach, liver, heart, back; back of shoulders and sides of body belong here.
The Sixth House
The house of Sickness and the house of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, not of your doing, the sixth is not a happy place. The place of servants and those who do a service to you including the plumber and the electrician It is the house of animals smaller than a goat.
The second of the Cadent houses it is ruled by Mercury, the natural ruler of servants.  Mars, the lesser malefic has its joy here; this is only natural since he is the ruler of surgery.  The lower part of the belly and smaller intestine, liver and kidneys are here.
The Seventh House

And so we come to the West Angle, the House of Marriage where most of us horary astrologers seem to spend our time.  It is ruled by the Moon, She is the partner of the Sun and it is only right that She be in house which reflects where He rises in the East.
In opposition to the Ascendant it is the house of open enemies, sweethearts and husbands, partners in your endeavors, the doctor who is treating you and the astrologer who is giving you a reading and anybody else, it is where you find the thief, and the other team in sport questions.  In the body it rules from the navel to the top of the legs, including the buttocks, lower intestines, bladder, womb, and reproductive organs.
The Eighth House
The Eighth, the house of death ruled by Saturn as we once again come full circle and he who rules our entrance into this world should also rule our exit out of it. It was known as the house of the Beginning of death since this house falls onto the descendant – opposite to the ascendant – life – it is also the house of the resources of others, my partner’s money and my bookie’s money.  Lilly says it is where you find ‘Fear and Anguish of Mind’, the significator in this house does indeed show us a glimpse of the querent or quesited’s state of mind.  It holds the genitals, bladder, and organs of excretion in general.

The Ninth House

Deus, the House of God.  The ninth is the house of Jupiter. Jupiter is seen as the bridge between the human to the Divine, and the Sun, who is the visible symbol of the Divine, joys in this house.  It is the house of long journeys and special trips, the place of religion and the religious, the learned and the wise, prophetic dreams and our knowledge. The buttocks, hips and thighs are found here.

The Tenth House

We are now at the pinnacle of the chart, the Medium Coeli, Midheaven, the 10th, is the house of  Profession – not necessarily our job but the ‘manner’ in which we do our work, our status – and being opposite to the 4th, the house of the Mother.  The place of rulers and leaders, presidents and bosses and is ruled by Mars, the planet of action, it is the place of the judge in a court case and the Profit from both our knowledge and our journeys.  It rules the knees to the shins

The Eleventh House

By far the happiest house in the chart is the eleventh.  It is the House of Good Fortune and friends, the most fortunate of all the houses. It is ruled by the Sun and where Jupiter joys.  Being the resources of the tenth it is where you find the gifts from God, Pennies from heaven, of good undeserved abundance, where your dreams and secret wishes are.  A big lotto win – the gift of the King, anatomically it holds the legs, knees to the ankles.

The Twelfth House

So we come to the last of the houses and also the most unfortunate, the twelfth is the
House of Bad Fortune and Enemies, ruled by Venus where all the hedonism of the 5th turns to addiction and sin, and where Saturn, the author of mischief, according to Lilly, finds its joy . Also the place of big animals and the places where you find yourself incarcerated for the consequences of your sins, prison and rehab.  It is the place of secret enemies, spies, witches and witchcraft.

This quick tour of the houses shows us that there is a natural sequence from house to house; all has its place in time and space.  The chart, like the world it represents in miniature, seems chaotic and random at first glance but is revealed to all who take the time to look.


William Lilly, Christian Astrology, (Astrology Classics, 2004)
Dennis J Brand, The Book of Causes (Marquette University Press, 1984)
Olivia Barclay, Horary Astrology Rediscovered (Whitford Press, 1997)
Benson Bobrick, The Fated Sky (Simon & Schuster, 2005)
John Frawley, The Horary Textbook (Apprentice Books, 2005)
John Frawley, The Real Astrology Applied (Apprentice Books, 2002)
Deborah Houlding, The Houses:  Temples of the Sky (The Wessex Astrologer, 2006)
Rita De Abreu has completed her Traditional Horary and Natal Diplomas under the tuition of Jacqueline Brook, she firmly believes the adage “as above so below’ and is in awe at how astrology perfectly reflects this.  Rita can be reached by mail:  r_de_abreu@polka.co.za