The 12 Houses/Bhava of the zodiac are an influential aspect of the Vedic Astrology system. A brief outline of some of the general characteristics of each house will give the reader insight into the complexity of Vedic astrology.
The Houses/Bhava of the Hindu horoscope are defined by a twelve part division of the Universe (recall Nakshatras combine to yield 12 Houses) beginning with the Rising Sign/Ascendant which can be calculated exactly based on the time of birth. The twelve houses/rashis of the Vedic horoscope define different areas of life and each house corresponds to a specific aspect of life.
The Vedic Astrology system looks at the position of the planets with respect to one another and records their position in the appropriate section of the chart. It is interesting to note that many of the houses remain empty and planets may cluster in one or two houses.
An empty house symbolizes that there is a tendency for this house to be in balance and that the individual does not need to focus their attention on aspects ruled by empty houses. This suggests that the Karma associated with the particular aspect is not required in the current incarnation. If many houses are empty, the individual need only focus on a few karmic issues.
The moon sign/house is a determinant of an individual’s particular character, tendencies and challenges. Each of the houses has many possible characteristics which are in turn influenced by other variables, such as life-purpose and dosha. Many volumes exist which describe the aspects of each of the houses in depth. A comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships is only achieved through extensive study. For this introduction to the Houses a brief description will be sufficient:
The First House: Mesha/Aries
Known as the Ascendant, the first house is determined by the sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the precise moment of birth. This astrological house indications include health, mental constitution, body structure, personality and appearance. Commonly referred to as the House of Self the First House looks to realize one’s full potential.
The Second House: Vrishabha/Taurus
The Second House is commonly referred to as the House of Possessions. This includes intangible things like feelings, emotions, self-worth and wants as well as material possessions. The 2nd house pushes one to challenge their values, morals and behaviors. An empty second house results in little value for material wealth.
The Third House: Mithuna/Gemini
As the House of Communication, this Bhava corresponds to interpersonal relationships, siblings in particular. Analytical and intelligent the 3rd house promotes early education, sharing knowledge and innovation. Generally stable natives, those with an empty 3rd house will have challenges communicating with others, may be prone to flights of fancy and may lose their siblings at a young age.
The Fourth House: Karka/Cancer
The 4th House of Family represents family, home life, education and a grounded Self. Seeking to comfort and nurture the soul, those individuals with a strong 4th house are known for their welcoming homes which are often more like a sanctuary or a sacred place than a usual residence.
Natives of the fourth house are often keepers of the family tree and may take on the role of matriarch/patriarch in their family. Those with an empty 4th house may not be very welcoming to others and prone to unstable living situations.
The Fifth House: Simha/Leo
The Fifth House is commonly known as the House of Pleasure. This implies pleasure in a broad sense which includes aesthetic pleasure, the creation of art and expressions of culture, in addition to the creation of children and romance. Emotional creatures, these natives can be risk takers if they sense satisfaction of some kind can be gained; love or money for example.
Wonderful parents, their love of play is ignited, and they are well loved by children. If out of balance, these natives may be prone to financial risk taking, gambling and short-term love affairs.
The Sixth House: Kanya/Virgo
Good health and resilience characterize the natives of the Sixth House, or House of Health. Able to manage diversity effectively, Kanya natives do best when living a life of service to others, eating a healthy diet and staying fit. A strong sense of duty and responsibility for others is inherent to these natives. Those with an empty 6th house may have career and health issues.
The Seventh House: Tula/Libra
The House of Partnership changes a native’s nature significantly as this is the first house with an outward focus on the partner. Cooperative, communicative and self-motivated Tulas seek unity in all things great and small. They value purposeful living and believe that through partnership we are able see themselves more clearly. An empty 7th house manifests in stubborn attitudes and a tendency to argue.
The Eight House: Vrishchika/Scorpio
The Eighth House is commonly referred to as the House of Sex, or Longevity. Characterized by its focus on relationships, sex, communal living, new beginnings, the house focuses on the cycle of birth and rebirth. Sharing is also an important aspect of this house, as are finances and supporting others. The unbalance 8th house native will act inappropriately, be hyper-sexual and self-absorbed.
The Ninth House: Dhanus/Sagittarius
Referred to as the House of Philosophy, it is concerned with understanding the world with the hope of making things better for all. Dhanu’s tend to face life head-on and seek clarity; particularly with respect to spirituality. Self-acceptance is the key to success for the Dhanu native. When out of balance, these individuals may be over-ambitious and greedy with a grandiose sense of self.
The Tenth House: Karma/Capricorn
Symbolic of career, power, honour and prosperity, the House of Social Status relates to one’s place in society as a whole. This house, promotes the manifestation of the Self through career, leadership and achievement. Karma natives do great work when in balance and truly benefit society. However, when out of balance, they can be willful, reckless and self-absorbed.
The Eleventh House: Kumbha/Aquarius
The Eleventh House is commonly referred to as the House of Friends, the Kumbha native is concerned with groups, collective strength, and friendship. These individuals often have a strong affinity for children and are known to make great step-parents. The native of the 11th house is more likely to adopt or foster children. Often misunderstood, they will have a few close friends and though related to groups, the tend to avoid large group activities.
The Twelfth House: Vyaya/Pisces
The House of Subconscious is related to the subconscious state and how our intuition can assist us in life. Known for philanthropy, spirituality and love of freedom this house has dominion over positive change. Vyayas are visionaries and able to determine the correct course of action from their understanding of the past and experience in the present. Imbalance may plague these natives and they will become indecisive, co-dependent and stuck.