House Meaning Theories

Q&A and discussion on Houses including house models and domification systems.
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Jim Eshelman
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House Meaning Theories

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:57 pm

Across the history of the dodekatopos, or 12-fold house division, several layers have been added, one atop the other, from which modern theories descend (sometimes clearly, sometimes not). This thread will present bullet points on these historic perspectives for each of the 12 houses.

Please understand that this is a collation of theories, not an argument that houses exist as astrological realities. In any case, it should be useful to be able to see how the layered meanings evolved historically.

The items given for each are: (1) Ancient title. (2) Aspect to Asc. (3) Joys. (4) Constellation correspondence. (5) Greek patron. (6) My thesis. (7) Typical modern assignments.

First House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29471
Twelfth House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29472
Eleventh House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29473
Tenth House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29474
Ninth House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29475
Eighth House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29476
Seventh House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29477
Sixth House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29478
Fifth House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29479
Fourth House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29480
Third House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29481
Second House viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3921&p=29470#p29482
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First House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:58 pm

Ancient Title: Stilbon, "Glistener," or Horoscopos, "View of the Hour," or Oiax, "Helm". Latin Vita, "life."
Aspect to Asc: Conjunction
Joy: Mercury
Constellation correspondence: Libra
Greek patron: Hephaestus (Vulcan)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: The body and general external character: Personality, natural disposition and tendencies, self-interest and worldly outlook generally.

It is also called "The Helm," which, per Manilius, steers "the various virtues of the stars." I like that: It implies "what we lead with."
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Manilius says that this house governs life and the formation of character; or, in his words, "Within its domain lies the arbitrament of life and the formation of character; it will grant success to enterprises, open up the professions, and decide the early years that await men from their birth, the education they receive, and the station to which they are born, according as the planets approve and mingle their influences." Therefore, he later says it is "commissioned with two charges; for in it nature has placed all fortunes of children and has made dependent on it the prayers of parents." (These seem, to me, the same charge.)

Firmicus summarizes as, "the life and vital spirit of men," advising that "from this house the basic character of the entire nativity is determined." It is "the cornerstone and basis of the whole nativity."
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Twelfth House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:58 pm

Ancient Title: Kakos daimon, "Bad (evil) Spirit"
Aspect to Asc: None.
Joy: Saturn
Constellation correspondence: Virgo
Greek patron: Demeter (Ceres)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Secret enemies, seclusion (hospitals, imprisonment), and obscure difficulties. Unseen or unexpected troubles; restraint, limitations, exile, seclusion, secret sorrows, silent sufferings and woe, self-undoing, secret enemies, hospitals, large animals; occult or hidden side of life.

Manilius called "a temple of ill omen, hostile to future activity and all too faithful of bane." It is "a portal of toil," in which one is "doomed to climb." Firmicus says from this can be "easily determined the nature of enemies and the character of slaves" and "defects and illnesses."

To say this another way, it is is "an unhappy seat," destructive to all events, an ill omen, toilsome, hostile to future activity, and "all too fruitful of bane," bringing a "spectacle of ruin" and doom.
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Eleventh House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:59 pm

Ancient Title: Agathos Daimon, "Good (Happy) Spirit"
Aspect to Asc: Sextile (weak)
Joy: Jupiter
Constellation correspondence: Leo
Greek patron: Zeus (Jupiter)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Friends, associations, hopes and wishes

Manilius said it "surges ever higher, being ambitious for the prize and triumphant."
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Tenth House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:59 pm

Ancient Title: Gloria, "Glory," or Mesouranema, "culmination."
Aspect to Asc: Square (very strong)
Joy: None.
Constellation correspondence: Cancer
Greek patron: Hermes (Mercury)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Profession, occupation, honor, fame, promotion, mother, employer; affairs of the country or government.

Of the Midheaven in particular, Manilius says is "first place" among the angles. It's title is "Glory (truly a fit warden for heaven's supreme station), so that she may claim all that is pre-eminent, arrogate all distinction, and reign by awarding honors of every kind. Hence comes applause, splendor, and every form of popular favor; hence the power to dispense justice in the courts, to bring the world under the rule of law, to make alliances with foreign nations on one's own terms, and to win fame relative to one's station."

Manilius seems (unique among ancient writers) to regard this (and not the 5th house, which he treats more shabbily) as the Joy of Venus and says, from here, she "rules the affairs of men and governs "wedlock, the bridal chamber, and the marriage torch." He called it "Fortune," a variation of the traditional name of the 5th. I think it was an intentional change on his part.
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Ninth House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:59 pm

Ancient Title: Theos, "God"
Aspect to Asc: Trine (strong)
Joy: Sun
Constellation correspondence: Genini
Greek patron: Apollo
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Philosophy, religion, travel. Long journeys, foreign countries and places remote from birth; dreams, visions, psychic experiences, education, intuition and higher development; philanthropic, philosophic and spiritual tendencies...

By classical assignment, this house shows the polarity of health or illness, strength or failure, reflecting the waxing and waning strength of Sun. From this we read "what ill or hap our bodies take."

Firmicus added "the social class of men," and connects it to "religion and foreign travel."
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Eighth House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:59 pm

Ancient Title: Argos, "no energy"
Aspect to Asc: None
Joy: None
Constellation correspondence: Taurus
Greek patron: Aphrodite (Venus)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Accidents, death, inheritances, others' money. Legacies, the money or goods of others, death, and all matters connected with the dead; astral experiences.

Manilius regarded it as unfortunate, one of two "dread abodes of Typhon, whom savage Earth brought forth when she gave birth to war against heaven."

This house of weakness, idleness, and loss of energy fittingly corresponds to Taurus.

By the time of Firmicus, this had evolved into something a little more akin to modern usage, though within the above definition. The 8th includes "the kind of death," and he advises that "no planet rejoices in this house except the Moon" - fascinating, since this house corresponds to Taurus, which is Moon's exaltation! (He then gives long rules about Moon in this house.)
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Seventh House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:00 pm

Ancient Title: Dysis, "setting"
Aspect to Asc: Opposition (very strong!)
Joy: None
Constellation correspondence: Aries
Greek patron: Athena (Minerva), plus Pluto
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Marriage and all other partnerships, and open enemies. Unions, partnerships, marriage, contracts, lawsuits, open enemies, dealings with others and the public generally.

Manilius speaks of this primarily in terms of finality and completion, saying that the house "is concerned with the consummation of affairs and the conclusion of toil." He also assigns it to "marriages" (which he elsewhere gives to the 10th) "and banquets and the closing years of life, leisure and social intercourse and worship of the gods;" that is, social relationships, recreation, religious festivities, and death.

Later, Manilius says that the "setting heaven" is "called the portal of somber Pluto and keeps control over the end of life and death's firm-bolted door. Here dies even the very light of day, which the ground beneath steals away from the world and locks up captive in the dungeon of night." He says the house "claims for itself the guardianship of good faith and constancy of heart." (Firmicus simplifies it to "the nature and number of marriages.")
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Sixth House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:00 pm

Ancient Title: Kakos Tuche, "Bad (Evil) Fortune"
Aspect to Asc: None.
Joy: Mars
Constellation correspondence: Pisces
Greek patron: Poseidon (Neptune)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Sickness, servants or employees, service, work, food, hygiene, clothing and small animals. Servants, food, clothes, and health.

Manilius regarded it as similar to the 12th (which he called "a temple of ill omen, hostile to future activity and all too faithful of bane"). It is "a portal of toil, in which one is "doomed to fall."

Firmicus says it discloses "the cause of physical infirmities and sickness."
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Fifth House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:00 pm

Ancient Title: Agathe Tuche, "Good (Happy) Fortune". Later, Latin Nati, "children."
Aspect to Asc: Trine (strong)
Joy: Venus
Constellation correspondence: Aquarius
Greek patron: Hera (Juno)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Pleasure, love-affairs, children, and speculation.

Firmicus is more classical than Manilius, emphasizing the title Good Fortune, the Venus rulership, and that it has a powerful, positive aspect to the 1st. He adds the number and sex of children.
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Fourth House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:00 pm

Ancient Title: Hypogeion, "under the earth," or Daemonium, "Demon, Spirit". Later, Latin Genitor, "parent."
Aspect to Asc: Square (very strong!)
Joy: None
Constellation correspondence: Capricorn
Greek patron: Hestia (Vesta)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Father, home, environment domestic affairs, and general conditions at close of life. The outlook regarding mines, lands, property and the end of undertakings. Home, the condition at the end of life, and one of the parents.

Manilius seems to imply that this is the second strongest angle even though "in outward aspect its influence is less;" but he deems it "greater in utility." He says it "controls the foundations of things and governs wealth," a very important, practical attribute. "It examines to what extent desires are accomplished by the mining of metal and what gain can issue from a hidden source."

Manilius rightly calls it "the foundations," at "depths of midnight gloom." Here, he says, "Saturn... wields as a father power over the fortunes of gathers and the plight of the old."

In general he gives it rulership over fathers, sons, their wealth, and respect for fathers and "the plight of the old." Firmicus later summarizes this as "family property, substance, possessions, household goods, anything that pertains to hidden and recovered wealth."
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Third House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:00 pm

Ancient Title: Thea, "Goddess". later, Latin Fratres, "brethren."
Aspect to Asc: Sextile (weak)
Joy: Moon
Constellation correspondence: Sagittarius
Greek patron: Artemis (Diana)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Brethren, short journeys, writings, studies, mental inclinations and ability, the 'lower' or practical mind.

Manilius notes that "it controls the fortunes and fate of brothers." Firmicus also cites "everything that concerns brothers and friends," then mentions the title Dea and links this to travelers.

As house of Diana, it "reflects human mortality," and, as best I can tell, was anciently a house of sickness. In other words, it shows the polarity of health or illness, strength or failure, reflecting the waxing and waning strength of Moon; or, at least this is true in the poetic rendering.
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Second House

Post by Jim Eshelman » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:01 pm

Ancient Title: Haidou pyle, "Gates of Hell". Later, Latin Lucrum, "gain."
Aspect to Asc: No aspect
Joy: None.
Constellation correspondence: Scorpio
Greek patron: Ares (Mars)
My thesis: @
Typical modern attribution: Financial affairs, money, gain or loss, material possessions.

Some further thoughts here: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=46#p11609

Manilius regarded it as unfortunate, one of two "dread abodes of Typhon, whom savage Earth brought forth when she gave birth to war against heaven." Overall, like the 8th is is called unhappy and portrayed as weak and fearful. The correspondence of the "gates of Hell" to Scorpio is obvious!

By the time of Firmicus, this had evolved into something a little more akin to modern usage (the most changed of any house). To the 2nd, Firmicus attributes "increase in personal hopes and in material possession" (even though he keeps "Gate of Hell").
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