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UNLOCKING INTERCEPTIONS - Helen Adams Garrett, $12.95

Different House Systems
Interceptions Through the Houses
First/seventh houses
Second/eighth houses
Third/ninth houses
Fourth/tenth houses
Fifth/eleventh houses
Sixth/twelfth houses
Multiple Interceptions
Ten signs intercepted in two houses
More on Interceptions
Summary of Interpretation Method.


Garrett is the first (and only) author I have found who understood the mechanics of interceptions, which gives her small book a great advantage over all others.

Going chapter by chapter, the first chapter, on house systems, is a typical, and unsatisfying, survey of various house methods. Garrett, like most, has no concept of individual house systems, they are all just pretty faces in a crowd. This is a pity, because not only do interceptions change from house system to house system (mine change from Placidus to Koch), but interceptions also change when charts are rectified. These points Garrett does not cover. Instead, we are told, again and again, that almost all house systems fail above 66 degrees north latitude (also beyond 66 degrees south latitude), but are never told there are very few people born at such latitudes, virtually no significant events which happen at such latitudes, and that the peoples who live in these extreme places rarely venture very far south and so are virtually unknown to the rest of us. (Few people, small towns, no transportation, etc.) Why there is such fuss made about 66 north I do not know. Back when I ran charts for a living (some 10,000 charts over four years, 1986-90, in New York), there was precisely one person who had this problem. She was Norwegian, I remember her well. She was a frequent customer, I had to set all her charts in Equal. In Garrett's list of Interception/House System Facts on pgs. 4 - 5, of the 12 points, four of the points deal only with extremely rare polar charts.

In chapter 2, we get rules. Here, Garrett shines. Interceptions are things that are, well, intercepted. Instead of the quarterback passing the ball to the wide receiver, his pass is intercepted by the opposing team. The result is interruption, interference, misdirection. Garrett's rules are simple & direct:

What areas of life, in other words, what houses have the interceptions?
What signs are intercepted? These are what are missing in your life.
Where are the rulers of the intercepted signs? This tells who or what are responsible (from pgs. 10-11)
Garrett then hits on two very important points: When the ruler of the intercepted sign is itself intercepted, and when the ruler of the intercepted sign is found in one of the pairs houses which have duplicate signs on them. Garrett's basic concept is that intercepted signs "come to light" when the house cusps behind them, by progression, catch up and change signs. Thus, if you have an intercepted sign in the first house, you fundamentally changed when the ascendant progressed into the next sign. Some "hidden part" of you became apparent at that time.

Every chart with a pair of intercepted signs also has two pair of houses with the same signs on them, square (more or less) to the intercepted signs. So if you have Aries & Libra intercepted, you will have the signs of Cancer & Capricorn each claiming two houses. Garrett says the rulers of the duplicated houses (Cancer & Capricorn, in this case), will unlock the intercepted Aries & Libra. I'm not sure how this would work.

Includes many chart examples to illustrate her practical ideas. A common-sense approach to one of the mysteries of chart construction.

Garrett makes a good start. I would add the following:

If interceptions "unlock" when the house cusp progresses to meet them (1 degree a year, more or less), then by the age of ten all interceptions will be unlocked, as the house cusps in question are invariably 25 degrees or greater. But this is only potential. Subsequently there must be some sort of progressed aspect, either to the progressed cusp itself, or to the ruler of the sign, to trigger awareness of the underlying change. This would usually be done via the progressed Moon. This is, in fact, how one becomes aware his retrograde Mercury, retrograde at birth, has gone direct by progression. First it goes direct. Awareness of the fact comes some time later, when the progressed Moon makes an aspect to it. This happened to a friend of mine with a natal Mercury retrograde in 10. He was shy until two or three years after it went direct by progression (in his late 20's), when he suddenly discovered not only an ability to speak before the public, but an actual pleasure in doing so.

Such is what I would guess would be the case with interceptions, but the fact that I am still wondering, age 59, about my intercepted 11th house with intercepted Jupiter smack in the middle of it (where are my friends???), means this theory, while logical, cannot be relied upon.

Interceptions can be ranked. Some are more important than others. I am of the opinion that intercepted signs that have no planets in them can be ignored. No planet means no weight, means no interest in the affairs of the sign, so why bother?

If the Sun or Moon are in intercepted signs, the affairs of the houses they rule are blocked. Specifically, the adjoining houses with Leo and Cancer on the cusps are stranded. As nature abhors a vacuum, I would expect the affairs of the opposite houses, the ones with Capricorn and Aquarius on the cusps, to dominate them, as expressed by the house & sign of their ruler, Saturn.

If the ruler of the ascendant is in an intercepted sign, I would expect such a person to be unknown and not a little mysterious. Normally the house and sign of the ruler of the ascendant tells us how he expresses his ascendant. When the chart ruler is intercepted, we are denied that.

As I have remarked elsewhere my own private work suggests that intercepted signs, with planets in them, are areas of life which were not under our direct control as of the end of the previous life. Which is why they are now "intercepted". By the end of our previous life, we had needlessly thrown the ball to the opposing team and, in this life, they are now running with it. We must struggle to reassert control. The houses ruled by intercepted planets are those areas of life, the interceptions themselves are the means by which they gained control. If those houses (the ones ruled by intercepted planets) themselves have planets in them, the result can be quite complicated. This is not a theory that can be easily proven one way or the other, but Garrett does give this entrancing hint:

There is no indication that an interception is forever. It is only interrupted or taken away for a while after the team lost its ball to the other team. We have to wait for the proper time to earn the right for what the interceptions represents. Interceptions are karmic. (pg. 9)
Helen Adams Garrett died in 2002. I am surprised, and pleased, to see expanded versions of her books.

AFA, 75 pages.

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RULERS OF THE HOROSCOPE: Finding your way through the labyrinth - Alan Oken, $19.95


List of example horoscopes

1. Peeling the onion:
Planets, signs, houses, aspects, qualities, elements, gender, summary

2. Planetary dispositors defined:
Hidden rulers revealed; Planetary mutual reception; Determining the relative strengths of planets in mutual reception; Effects of aspects between planets in mutual reception; Multiple mutual reception; Final dispositor; Planets as final dispositors in the natal chart.

3. House dispositors & planetary rulers:
Overview; Mutual reception by house; Linkages by same house rulership; Natural & natal house relationships; Strengths & weaknesses of planets when posited in their houses of honor or dishonor; Aspects between house rulers.

4. The ruler of the horoscope & its dispositor:
Determining the ruler of the natal chart; The sign on the ascendant & the delineation of the ruler; Intent & theme of the ascendant; Essential meaning of the ruling planet & its effects on the horoscope; Ruling planet by sign; Ruling planet by house; Ruling planets in the houses; Secondary dispositorship.

5. The ruler of the horoscope & its aspects:
When the ruler of the horoscope is a planet conjunct the ascendant; When the planet conjunct the ascendant is the ruler of the sign on the ascendant; Final dispositor & the planetary ruler; Assessing the affinities between ruler of the horoscope & its dispositor; Assessing the effects of other aspecting planets to the ruler of the horoscope.

6. Summary of rulership & planetary compatibilities:
Leo rising (Sun); Cancer rising (Moon); Gemini or Virgo rising (Mercury); Taurus or Libra rising (Venus); Aries or Scorpio rising (Mars); Aries rising (Mars); Scorpio rising (Mars); Scorpio rising (Pluto); Sagittarius rising (Jupiter); Capricorn rising (Saturn); Aquarius rising (Uranus); Pisces rising (Neptune).

7. The placement of the rulers in the astrological houses:
Summary of astrological keywords & phrases; The nature of the second house; The nature of the third house; The nature of the fourth house; The nature of the fifth house; The nature of the sixth house; The nature of the seventh house; The nature of the eighth house; The nature of the ninth house; The nature of the tenth house; The nature of the eleventh house; The nature of the tenth house.

Recommended reading list

Comment This book tells how signs relate to each other by means of the planets that rule them. This is accomplished by an understanding of planetary dispositors. In other words, this sign is disposed by that planet in that sign. In other words, Venus in Scorpio can make a mess of Taurus. Oken does this part very well.

When he tries to add houses, he stumbles, as he does not have a clear understanding of them. Which surprised me, frankly, as I know how brilliant he is. He lists keywords for planets, signs & houses. His house keywords are sign-based, and excessively simplistic. Here are his keywords for the third:

The Houses - from a more Socially Evolved Perspective
... Third What I think & seek to communicate to others (pg. 193)
On the next page we have:
The Houses - from a More Traditional, Astrological Perspective
... Third method of communication, early education & environment, brothers & sisters, close friends (pg. 194)
Oken then proceeds to use the socially evolved perspective as if it was the only one. Here is the start of Ruler of the second in the third:
...the nature of one's self-worth or actual substance of value (money, for example) has to be communicated. The need to connect with people or with life situations that amplify one's opportunities is essential. Any planet found in the Third House is used to make connections. When it is the ruler of the Second, then such connections are sought that may increase the potential uses of one's personal talents & resources. If that planet is afflicted, then there is a limitation or difficulty with the connection-making process.... (pgs 196-7)
Yes, all of this is true, but, well, yes, houses two & three are more than this and, yet, less than this, too. Which means that Oken understands his socially evolved keywords, but, by what he does not say, seems not to understand those of the traditional astrological perspective.

In this book are a great many useful ideas & techniques that are grounded in astrological basics. Things you always knew but never knew what to do with, at least, not like this. Study of this book will be rewarding, up to the point where one grows frustrated with Oken's rather limited grasp of the houses, which undergirds his topic. At that point, this becomes the most excellent of all excellent books: One that forces you to go beyond what the author has written.

Ibis/Nicholas Hays/Weiser/Redwheel, 317 pages.

THE TWELVE HOUSES: Exploring the houses of the horoscope - Howard Sasportas, $37.00


Foreword by Liz Green (2007)
Foreword by Liz Green (1985)

Part 1:The landscape of life:
1. Basic premises
2. Space, time & boundaries

Part 2: Mapping the journey:
3. The ascendant & the first house
4. The second house
5. The third house
6. The Imum Coeli & the fourth house
7. The fifth house
8. The sixth house
9. The descendant & the seventh house
10. The eighth house
11. The ninth house
12. The midheaven & the tenth house
13. The eleventh house
14. The twelfth house
15. Grouping the houses

Part 3: A guide to life's possibilities:
16. General guidelines: The planets & signs through the houses
17. Ascendant types
18. The Sun & Leo through the houses
19. The Moon & Cancer through the houses
20. Mercury, Gemini & Virgo through the houses
21. Venus, Taurus & Libra through the houses
22. Mars & Aries through the houses
23. Jupiter & Sagittarius through the houses
24. Saturn & Capricorn through the houses
25. Uranus & Aquarius through the houses
26. Neptune & Pisces through the houses
27. Pluto & Scorpio through the houses
28. The Moon's nodes through the houses
29. The possible effects of Chiron through the houses
30. A case study

Concluding thoughts

1. The twelve houses: A summary of key concepts
2. The question of house division

Suggested reading
Sources for chart references

New in the Flare edition
Remembering Howard Sasportas:
Darby Costello
Laura Boomer-Trent
Erin Sullivan
Melanie Reinhart



This is one of the longest books ever written on houses. Sasportas overlays psychology onto the usual planet/sign pairings (Mercury, Gemini & Virgo all being about the same, for example, see the list of contents, above), as well as the usual "first house is sort of like Aries, the second is kinda like Taurus, the third must be like Gemini", etc. Specifically, we are born, take our first breath on the ascendant & forever after, that is how we see the world, through our ascendant. (Isn't that backwards? Isn't the ascendant how others see us? Nevermind.) The second house is when the newborn infant discovers it has a body, the third is when it learns to walk. The fourth is home. The fifth is fun. The sixth is a reaction to the fifth, the seventh is a contrast to the first, the eighth is what we share with a partner, the ninth is our reward for putting up with the eighth, the tenth is the ninth brought down to earth (?), or what we want to be known for, or maybe how we packge our career. The 11th is the Uranian/Aquarian house where we want to be bigger than ourselves. It is full of invisible organizing fields, and, oh, yes, friends. The twelfth is God & the Womb, which takes us back to where we started, ie, the ascendant (the ending of Kubrick's 2001, anybody?) And karma & reincarnation & all of that. Such are Sasportas's fundamental view of the twelve houses, in brief.

A good example of Sasportas's point of view comes in chapter 15, Grouping the Houses.

The 2nd - 5th square:
A number of conflicts can be stirred if planets in the 2nd square planets in the 5th. The need for security & a regular income (2nd) could interfere with time spent on more creative & recreational activities (5th). Conversely, the struggling artist or 'resting' actor (5th) often suffers from the lack of a stable income (2nd). Some people with squares between the 2nd & the 5th derive their sense of power, worth & importance (5th) solely through what they own & possess (2nd). Children (5th) might be treated as possessions (2nd) or experienced as a drain on resources. (pg. 93)
All of this may be true, but first we need to determine the specific signs which are in square to one another, and then consider the planets forming the square. In chapter 15 we also learn that houses 1, 5 & 9 are fire, houses 2, 6 & 10 are earth, houses 3, 7 & 11 are air, and 4, 8 & 12 are water. Which is the "houses as signs" parallel.

The final section of the book, giving delineations of each of the planets through each of the houses, is reasonably good. When Sasportas attempts to delineate signs on the cusps, the results are largely unsatisfactory. Sakoian & Acker do a better job of that. The problem with planet-in-house delineations, in general, is that they are only a fragment, a frustrating fragment, of the whole. On pages 109-110, Sasportas covers my own personal method of reading houses, but does so in a cursory fashion, as if he had never actually tried the technique. For example,

In the example chart, the sixth house is empty. Following the three steps outlined above, much can be learned about that house. Sagittarius is on the cusp of the 6th house: on one level, this could mean that Elliot should develop skills (6th) of a Sagittarian nature - techniques for expanding or broadening the vision of other people, for instance. The ruler of Sagittarius is Jupiter, which is placed in the 11th house of groups. The group setting could be an appropriate place to employ his skills (ruler of the 6th in the 11th). Since Jupiter is in Taurus & conjunct Mars, his temperament is suited to leading (Mars) the groups he might establish (Taurus). But we mustn't forget that Capricorn is also in the 6th house. Therefore Saturn's position in the chart will exert influence in relation to the 6th house as well.... (pg. 110)
If Howard had ever actually tried this technique, he would have discovered it to work rather well. He would have discovered, for example, that the tiny fragment of Capricorn in the 6th (the last 11 degrees) has no significant effect, at least, so far as the 6th is concerned. But he also would have been writing actual delineations, which, from the books of his that I've looked at, he rarely attempts. Sagittarius, for example, is first of all about enthusiasm. Ruler in the 11th, Elliot takes his enthusiasm for foreign foods & new medical techniques & shares them with his many friends. Or tries to, as Mars, debilitated in Taurus, hammers ceaselessly on frontal attack: You must like this new dish! A flaw which Jupiter, only one degree away, magnifies to Elliot's detriment. Howard uses this as an example of how to read an empty house. To me, Elliot's chart is more interesting for the mutual reception between Mars, in Taurus, and Venus, in Aries. Watch out for mutual receptions between those two!

In sum, this book reminds me of Dane Rudhyar, in that you will find all manner of things, many of them useful, if you read the book through.

Flare Publications, 323 pages.

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YOUR HIDDEN POWERS: Intercepted Signs & Retrograde Planets - Joan Wickenburg, $20.00

To the reader

Intercepted Signs: Environment versus destiny

Introduction to intercepted signs
1. What's it all about? House systems
2. Getting started
3. Polarity of the signs
4. Rulerships & retrogrades
5. Duplicated signs or intercepted houses
6. Are you out of your element?
7. Planets (in intercepted signs)
8. Aspects & phases
9. Relocation charts
10. Transits & interceptions: Inner planets; Outer planets
11. Environment vs: destiny charts
12. Interceptions in review

Retrograde planets: Your hidden powers

Introduction to retrograde planets
13. How planets retrograde
14. The retrograde dilemma
15. Eight stages of cyclic unfoldment
16. The planets:

  • Mercury - Mercury's retrograde transit
  • Venus - Venus' retrograde transit
  • Trans-Earth planets
  • Mars - Mars' retrograde transit
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Collective planets
  • Uranus
  • Neptune
  • Pluto - Retrograde transit of trans-personal planets
  • Progressions

Appendix: Retrograde ephemeris, 1920-1999

Comment: December, 2008: A customer brought this book to my attention a few days ago. Here are my notes on intercepted signs:

My view of intercepted signs is that they are house-based. You have one way of dealing with the house from the sign on the cusp. But for unclear reasons this doesn't work all that well & so, perhaps in your teens or early 20's, you found a work-around, by means of the sign intercepted inside that house. You are then unaware you have two different ways of dealing with matters of that pair of houses.

Wickenburg is grasping:

However, when signs are intercepted, instead of providing constructive feedback and encouraging you to investigate the needs of your intercepted signs ... to delve more deeply into the experiences available through your intercepted signs ... to uncover the hidden potentials they define ... the environment challenges you to move on to the next obvious step in life (the experiences of the next house). The environment simply does not see, or understand, the degree of complexity involved with finding fulfillment in the areas of life shown by the houses containing intercepted signs. Due to lack of encouragement, feedback or role models offered by the outside world, the needs of these signs are often hidden until later in life when some crisis (brought on by transits) brings them to the surface. The needs & potentials of intercepted signs, and the powers of intercepted planets, are sometimes delayed in expression because of lack of external stimuli." - (pg. 18, emphasis & ellipses in original.)
This is a nice idea, but only half thought through. She's saying that a house with an intercepted sign inside it won't work all that well, and I agree. She then says affairs of this house will be ignored, and here I disagree. There are only twelve houses. Intercepted signs come in pairs. One of them might possibly be ignored. One of them cannot be. All you need do is consider the six possible pairs. 1 & 7 ? Try to ignore the first!

It may be that one is unaware of the difficulties with the intercepted sign until it is touched off by some transit, but it may also be the intercepted sign is a long-running sore that never quite goes away. I do not think that resolution of this problem waits until one is 50 or 60. The problem is solved much earlier, but awareness of that solution may not come until much, much later.

In my case, Libra & Aries, in houses 5 & 11, are intercepted. Saturn sits in Libra, Jupiter in Aries. I was aware of 5th house problems, I was aware of a Saturnian influence in it, before I was 15. (Decades before I knew anything about Saturn or astrology.) My first efforts to work with the sign on the cusp of 5, Virgo, did not happen until I was in my 40's. I did not become aware of the true situation, ie, the dual nature of the house, until my 50's. I have still not figured out what is going on with Aries in 11.

Wickenburg's notes on intercepted houses (pgs. 52 - 58) are theoretical. In theory, houses with the same signs on them would be linked in some fashion, but we need to find the ruling planet & note the house & sign it is in, as well as any tight aspects it may have. Robert Blaschke has tightly linked 2nd & 3rd houses, by means of dispositors in mutual reception (his chart is published), which, for him, means the harder he works (3rd house) the more money he makes (2nd). (Read his book on the self-employed astrologer.) I have the same signs on 2 & 3 (Cancer), but I am not so driven (3rd), nor do I get rewarded (2nd) when I am. In my case, the ruler, the Moon, is in opposition to the Sun, which disposes it. The polarity between the Sun's house & the Moon's house, fueled by the luminaries themselves, dominates the entire chart.

Wickenburg's retrograde theory is that the first of the two signs a planet rules is its primary. The second is its "retrograde" position. Mercury is naturally Gemini. When it is retrograde, it functions more like Virgo. Saturn is just fine as far as Capricorn is concerned, but if you have it retrogarde, you have to deal with Aquarian issues. Uranus, when direct, functions like Aquarius. When retrograde, like Capricorn. (Would this not make Uranus the higher octave of Saturn?) Direct Neptune is Piscean, retrograde, Sagittarian. Direct Pluto is Scorpionic. Retrograde, Pluto functions in an Aries fashion. This is a novel theory.

The author covers the eight stages of retrograde. Which are:

1. Solar conjunction (superior) to retrograde zone
2. Pre-retrograde to retrograde station
3. Retrograde station
4. First half of retrograde phase
5. The solar opposition or (Mercury/Venus) inferior conjunction
6. Second half of retrograde phase
7. Stationary direct
8. Stationary direct to solar (superior) conjunction
(pg. 131)
Wickenburg's writing on the various planets when retrograde is quite good, and almost completely free of mythical references, which I found a welcome relief. The retrograde appendix gives the dates/locations the planets enter their retrograde zone (ie, area of the sky they are about to back over), the dates/locations of the retrograde station, the solar conjunction/opposition, the date the planet goes direct, and the dates/locations the planets left the retrograde zone. All of which will help you to focus more clearly on retrogrades.

AFA, 223 pages, paper.

UNDERSTANDING INTERCEPTIONS, A Key to Unlocking the Door - I.I. Chris McRae, $22.00
Interceptions are what happens when you have the same sign of the zodiac on two house cusps, and elsewhere in the chart, two opposing signs missing. The further your birth from the equator, the more common this becomes. This excellent new book examines this in detail. Contents: Value & effect of interceptions; Effect of house systems; How much of the chart is affected; Effect on signs, Strength of ruler; Interceptions developed by transit & progression; Interpretation of intercepted (missing) signs in pairs (eg, Aries/Libra, Taurus/Scorpio, etc); Interpretation of repeated signs, in pairs; Intercepted planets; Elements (air, fire, water, earth) & modes (cardinal, fixed, mutable); Horary & electional applications. 206 pages including bibliography. AFA, paper.

FROM ONE HOUSE TO ANOTHER - Sophia Mason, $11.95

First house
Second house
Third house
Fourth house
Fifth house
Sixth house
Seventh house
Eighth house
Ninth house
Tenth house
Eleventh house
Twelfth house
Sample charts

Comment: From the introduction: "New astrologers often anticipate a certain transiting aspect to a natal planet, only to have it pass without any noticeable effect. Then, after a few days or weeks have passed, favorable news is heard regarding a family member or friend. If the individual were to reexamine the natal chart and correctly apply the transiting aspect to its proper house, it would be viewed with a different perspective."

This book tell how transits to your natal houses effect those in your environment. Ie, synastric use of transiting planets in houses. If you never thought to ask yourself this, well, maybe you should. The introduction continues:

There are no explanations as to why natal & transiting planets are able to reveal the affairs of others through one's own horoscope; we know only that it works with amazing accuracy.

The slower moving planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune & Pluto) are more apt to influence the affairs of others, than are the faster planets. This is due to the many aspects that the slower planets are likely to receive during their prolonged stay in one house. Using transiting Neptune in Sagittarius as an example, suppose it were transiting through your second house of money. To a certain extent Neptune will have an illusive effect on finances during its fourteen year stay in 5the second house. On the negative side, you must guard against possible theft, deception, confusion & being easily led or influenced financially. On the positive side, Neptune will introduce a new and unique way of earning money. You may, for one reason or another, have to keep personal finances a secret.

To determine the illusive energy of Neptune's affect on the rest of the chart:

First, determine which individuals are governed by each house. Second, find the section of each chapter entitled, "Your second house is their..." and read it from the perspective of the individual in question.

For example, after reading the ninth house section, one notes that in-laws and grandchildren are listed. Your second house is their sixth house of health & work. It is possible that Neptune's stay in your second house will bring into view an illusion that is difficult to diagnose or a hospital stay for either or perhaps both of these individuals. (pgs. vii-viii)

Which makes this book an example of chart-turning, for those of you who use that technique.

AFA, paper, 74 pages.

PLANETS IN HOUSES, Experiencing Your Environment - Robert Pelletier, $24.95

Foreword, by Michael Munkasey

First house
Second house
Third house
Fourth house
Fifth house
Sixth house
Seventh house
Eighth house
Ninth house
Tenth house
Eleventh house
Twelfth house

Appendix: Thoughts on the use of house systems, by Michael Munkasey

Comment: From the back cover: "He discusses the meaning of each planet in each house as derived by counting from each of the other eleven houses, and he discusses the meaning of each house position in relation to the other houses with which it forms trines, sextiles, squares and oppositions, inconjuncts and sextiles. In each chapter, wheel symbols graphically show the seventeen different house relationships delineated for each planet. Finally, Pelletier delineates the Sun-Moon polarities in terms of the wheel of houses....The introductory material includes a discussion of such topics as hemispheres and quadrants, empty houses, planets transiting houses, the planetary ruler of the sign on the cusp of a house, direct and retrograde planets in houses, and the meaning of houses in circumstances, character and purpose in life."

I am trying, again, to understand this book. Here is the author's explanation of how houses work:

The ruler of the house - the planet ruling the sign on the house cusp - has authority over the affairs of that house, whether the house is empty or occupied, and is an active extension on those affairs. Since each planet rules one or two houses, the affairs of the ruled house are necessarily implicated in the affairs of the house occupied by the planets. If a planet is not in the house it rules, it must adapt to the circumstances of the house it is in, which modifies what it can do. For example, if the Sun is in the twelfth house, the solar energy is modified, and the individual must make certain adjustments in his or her self-expression. If the Sun is the ruler of the seventh house, then a person's self-expression relates to the welfare of others.

The more planets that there are in one house, the more complex are the circumstances. On the other hand, when there are no planets in a house, the circumstances represented by that house require less direct attention than the areas of activity indicated by the houses that do contain planets. The affairs of the unoccupied houses are woven into those of the occupied houses through the planets ruling the empty houses. Any activity that relates to an unoccupied house is integrated into the activity of the house in which the ruler is located. (pg. 4)

In my view, this is backwards, and muddled as well. Which is why I never understood the book, and maybe why nobody else ever has, either. The first problem is that planets do not rule houses, they rule signs. This is fundamental. A planet does not adapt to the house it is in, as much as it dominates the house(s) that bear the sign(s) which it rules. It dominates by means of the sign (primary) and house (secondary) in which the ruler is placed. By means of its rulership, it displaces whatever planets may be in the house(s) it rules. (Which, of course, find themselves occupied with the signs/houses which they rule.) In the case of stelliums, the affairs of the houses ruled by the stellium are dominated by the sign (primary) and house (secondary) where the rulers are located. Which is why stelliums are so powerful. Most of the chart can find itself wrapped into a single house. That can be intense.

In Pelletier's example, if the Sun is in the 12th & ruling the 7th, the seventh house has Leo on the cusp, which puts the Sun in Capricorn in 12. If this is a female nativity, her husband (or partner) works (Capricorn) quietly behind the scenes (12th), as the Sun in a female chart represents the men in her life. If it is a male nativity, his domineering (Leo) wife (7th house) must put up with his own self-imposed obscurity (12th) & the work (Capricorn) which he finds there. Perhaps she rescues him from institutional life, or maybe she joins him there. (Let keywords be your guide. Shuffle them about until they make a story.)

But you want to hear it from Pelletier. So be it. From Seventh House Sequence: Pluto:

2nd to the 6th: You generally know how to convince people of your skills, and you have the promotional ability to win their patronage for your services. But remember that without customers, you're out of business, so be sure to give them everything they pay for. (pg. 206)

February, 2011: I had a look at the Sun-Moon polarities. Each chapter ends with Sun in that house, Moon in each of the other houses. Since most of us have Sun here & Moon there, it makes it a snap to look up one's own Sun/Moon polarity. So I looked up mine, Sun in 9, Moon in 3. Here is what I read. Pelletier is in italics, my comments are in regular type:

Your faith in your ability to succeed is a strong point in your favor. . . - The polarity in this case is about raw knowledge. 9 & 3 are cadent. Cadent houses are the least likely to succeed.

but it does not completely override your anxiety about being ready when an opportunity is presented.. Anxiety would be an aspect from Saturn. Not an opposition from the Moon, as oppositions are always objective, ie, certain. Squares can produce anxiety. Opportunity comes from angular houses, not cadent ones. Cadent houses get dragged willy-nilly.

Consequently you strive to improve your qualifications by finding additional ways to use your creative ideas.. Qualifications are angular. Cadent houses don't have qualifications, they just try to hang on as best they can. Moreover, cadent houses don't "use" anything very much. These two particular houses (3 & 9) produce ideas. They have no idea how to use them.

To do this, you might form associations. [which is 11th house, not 3/9] with people [3/9 are not people houses. 3 is kin, but that's a restricted use of "people"] who are already involved in fields that interest you, so you have access to the means for promoting your ideas in the future.. - This again confuses 3/9 with 1/10.

You may also have to cope with powerful parental conditioning . . .. Well, NO. And now the problem has become clear. Pelletier is subordinating the house to the planet which is in it. Sun & Moon = Daddy & Mommy. I really wish that would get thrown out. A lot of other folks say that Saturn is Daddy. Can Daddy be both Sun & Saturn, or are we grasping at straws?

Planets are qualities. They are never persons, nor things nor places nor anything concrete. The Sun is authority. The Moon is receptivity. Put the Sun in 9 and, other things being equal, if you make an effort you will become an authority on religion, or philosphy, or foreigners, or travel - or astrology, etc. If your Sun is in 9, these topics will occupy a lot of your time. But the Sun in 9 as a description of your father & what he expects of you? No. My father left school in the 9th grade. So far as I can tell, he was only semi-literate. He was born, raised and died Catholic. His one big trip in life was to move from Minnesota to Kansas shortly after he got married. Where he stayed. He never visited me while I studied at university, where I spent five years. He had no interest in languages, nor foreigners, nor did he ever meet any, so far as I am aware.

Houses are concrete areas of life. People, places and things. Daddy has a house. Traditional astrologers think it's the 4th. Moderns think it's the 10th, as they have a simplistic understanding of the subject. In my case, as it happens, my 9th house Sun rules my 4th. So shouldn't this have resulted in a home envirionment (4th house) that had a pervasively 9th house flavor? Philosophy, religion, dreams, higher education, travel, foreigners, etc.? This takes us beyond the scope of Pelletier's cookbook, but bear with me.

No, unfortunately, and for several reasons. First, my Sun is in Aquarius, which means it is debilitated. Dave's Rule says debilitated planets want to be in the house opposite (which would be the 3rd, not the 4th), but Dave's rule does not work when the sign the debilitated planet seeks is not actually on the opposite house cusp. House cusps function as planetary "anchors", so if Leo is not on the cusp opposite, then the Sun has nothing to grab on to. Secondly, the house the Sun is in, and the house it rules, the house with Leo on the cusp, are inconjunct, 9 to 4. Inconjunct literally means, "no aspect". No aspect means no influence. In this case, the Sun's anchor sign, Leo, is beyond the Sun's grasp. Third, the sign on the cusp of the 9th is Capricorn, not Aquarius. Which means the sign my Sun is in does not control the house the Sun is in. Which further strands the Sun. Capricorn on 9 is not compatible with Sun in Aquarius. In this case, the cusp will not let the planets in its house get comfortable. Except for cadent houses, I say that planets in this situation want to be in the next house, are "running to get into" the next house, in this case the house with Aquarius on the cusp, but this does not work with cadent houses and angles. The angles of the chart are walls. You're either in the angular house, or you're not. When planets in cadent houses are not in the same sign as what is on the cusp (3, 6, 9, 12), they are stranded: Little power in the house they are in, no power in the nearby angular house. This is unique to the cadents, it's what the angles steal from them in order to be angles.

The net effect, in my personal case, is that I've never really felt "at home" (4th house), but, Sun debilitated - and stranded - in 9, the Sun could never quite manage to find a life abroad, either. YES YOU CAN read this level of detail in a chart. In fact you should be unsatisfied if you cannot.

Pelletier's book is from 1978. To think what he wrote was the best that could be done makes me sad. Judging by the books I see on my shelves, I'm not certain we've come very far since. For some years now I have been trying to find the concepts which will make this clear to you.

Whitford, 366 pages, paper.

HOUSES OF THE HOROSCOPE, An Introduction - Alan Oken, $15.95


What are the houses of the horoscope?
A house divided
The name, address & quality of a house
The first house: I am myself
The second house: I am my values & resources
The third house: I am my mind
The fourth house: I am my family
The fifth house: I am my creativity
The sixth house: I am my health & work
The seventh house: I am myself with you
The eighth house: I amtransformed
The ninth house: I am my beliefs
The tenth house: I am my profession
The eleventh house: I am my aspirations
The twelfth house: I am the universe

The secondary meanings of the houses

Reference guide


The word, "Introduction" in the title fairly sums up the book. First published in 1999, this is essentially an expanded treatment of what the author had previously published in the early 1970's, as part of Alan Oken's Complete Astrology. And while that's one of my top picks for introductory astrology books, in a specialized book, such as this, from an author twenty years more experienced, I expect something more than a warmed-over presentation of old material.

Even excusing the dated materials & limited scope, this is not among the best books on houses, and this despite the fact that Alan Oken is one of the very few astrologers to have impressed me with his wit & sheer brilliance. In addition to delineating the various planets in the various houses (lifted, with little change, from his earlier book), he also gives delineations of the various signs on the various cusps. Alas, in this Oken is bettered by Sakoian & Acker's Rising Sign Overlays in their Astrologer's Handbook (another of my top picks).

The chapter on secondary meanings is, I regret to say, merely the keywords that Oken used in the earlier chapters, ie, he presents nothing new. While Oken says that everything in the world can be found in one house or another - which is true, by the way, the houses are much richer than Oken's meager descriptions.

Ibis, 191 pages.

Houses, page 1

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