What It Means When Your Horoscope Mentions A "House"

Any astrology rookie knows the feeling: You innocently open your horoscope, ready for news of the upcoming week. And then, just as you're digesting what the stars have in store, you encounter a sentence like this: "Neptune will turn retrograde in your 10th house of career." Record scratch. What on Earth (or any other planet, for that matter) are these houses your 'scope is always referring to?

The 12 houses of the Zodiac may be more intimidating than, say, the planets, but they aren't a totally opaque concept. And getting to know them a little better will deepen your understanding of your horoscope and your natal chart.

According to astrologer Annie Heese, the houses rule different areas of our lives, from the relationships we'll have with others to the personal milestones that we'll hit. That sounds pretty similar to the role that the planets play in our lives, but here's the difference: The planets represent different properties (such as action, affection, and communication) and the houses can tell us where in our lives we'll feel them most intensely (in our work, in our relationships, or in our personality, for instance).

Planets move through the houses in the same way they do with signs, imbuing the houses with their energy along the way. For instance, when your horoscope states that "Neptune is moving into your 10th house of career," that means that your work life, public image, and your sense of structure will be affected by Neptune, the planet of dreams, intuition, and spiritual healing. So you may feel more introspective about your work or concerned about how your job is fulfilling your larger life goals.

But if you check your chart or 'scope only to find that one of your houses doesn't have any planets in it, don't worry — an unoccupied house doesn't reflect any kind of deficiency in your life, only a lack of emphasis. One Redditor suggests thinking of an "empty" house as the opposite of having a stellium in your chart: Having zero planets in your second house of money isn't a signal that you'll go broke — rather, it suggests that financial matters just won't play a huge role in your life.

Before you can become an expert in interpreting the planets' placement in your houses, you need to know what each house represents. Ahead, we've consulted Heese's work and our very own Astrotwins to break down the significance of each house of the Zodiac.

First House
The House Of: First impressions, appearance, the self.

Planets in your first house will affect how you present yourself to others and how they view you. Your first house can indicate your demeanor (whether you're shy or confident, for example), how you behave in groups, and how you generally view the world.

Possible Placement: If noble Jupiter is in your first house, you're probably a very optimistic person who values kindness and positive thinking.
Second House
The House Of: Finances, values, possessions.

This house represents how you exist in the material world, including how you deal with money and your senses of sight, sound, and smell. The planets that occupy the second house will certainly affect your financial standing, but they'll also influence your sense of self-worth.

Possible Placement: If Mars, a planet known for its passion, is in your second house, you probably place a premium on material goods — how you earn them, how you treat them, and how you can get more of them.
Third House
The House Of: Communication, thought, community.

Look to your third house to better understand how you process and share information. It can also indicate your early life and where you find a sense of belonging, perhaps among your siblings or in your hometown.

Possible Placement: Having Mercury, the planet of communication itself, in this house means you're adept at small talk and deep conversations alike, though you may be prone to overthinking.
Fourth House
The House Of: Family, instincts, foundations.

The fourth house — and the planets in it — reflect what brings you comfort and how you act in the safety of your own home. It's commonly associated with the maternal and may reveal more about your relationship with the mother figures and caregivers in your life.

Possible Placement: If sensitive Venus is in your fourth house, you treat your loved ones with incredible empathy and may tend to seek security in your own imagination.
Fifth House
The House Of: Creativity, pleasure, romance.

Simply put, the fifth house indicates what makes you feel good — in relationships, in how you express yourself, and how you spend your time. The planets in your fifth house can even reflect your need for drama and attention.

Possible Placement: Having Saturn, which is usually associated with discipline and pessimism, in this house can seriously hinder your sense of conventional "fun." You probably derive more pleasure from sensible discussion than hitting the dance floor.
Sixth House
The House Of: Health, order, service.

Planets in the sixth house reveal how you maintain your well-being in your everyday life — and how you support the well-being of the people around you. In a sense, this house can show how you work as a caregiver.

Possible Placement: Venus in the sixth house can make you a creature of habit, as it'll fuel your love for your regular lifestyle and routine.
Seventh House
The House Of: Partnerships, contracts, business.

Where the fifth house indicates romance and attraction, the seventh house is more concerned with longer-term, binding partnerships, from marriages to workplace collaborations. It can teach you about your ability to compromise and work with others.

Possible Placement: With rebellious Uranus in your seventh house, there's a good chance you don't play well with others, as this planet can make you commitment-averse and downright contrarian.
Eighth House
The House Of: Transformation, mystery, dramatic change.

The eighth house touches all the major, universal experiences: birth, growth, sex, death. It can clue you into the mysteries of life (or, at least, how you'll process them).

Possible Placement: If you have Mars in your eighth house, you're probably selective about your needs and desires — but once you make your selection, you're fiercely protective.
Ninth House
The House Of: Exploration, adventure, belief.

If the third house indicates where your "home base" is, the ninth house will indicate just how far from home you'll go, whether you expand your understanding of the world geographically or philosophically.

Possible Placement: Pluto, which rules the unknown, in your ninth house could explain your penchant for unconventional thought and experiences that go off the beaten path.
10th House
The House Of: Career, structure, public image.

Sure, this house might tell you if you're "management material," but, more accurately, it'll touch upon your place in society, your relationship with traditions, and your ambitions. It's also believed that, in the same way that the fourth house is linked to the maternal, the 10th house is rooted to paternal figures in our lives.

Possible Placement: You probably make a living talking or writing if Mercury happens to be in your 10th house. This planet could also foretell of multiple career changes.
11th House
The House Of: Groups, friendship, goals.

In a word, the 11th house is expansive. It indicates how you relate to the rest of humanity — and that could mean how you strive to make the world a better place or simply how you prefer to network at a party.

Possible Placement: If you have dreamy Neptune in your 11th house, you're probably a deep thinker who feels personally affected by humanitarian crises.
12th House
The House Of: Inner growth, vulnerability, conclusion.

This is your most spiritual house, as it rules introspection, healing, and your deepest thoughts and fears. It can even reflect how you'll live in your old age. Look to this final house to learn how your subconscious mind makes itself known.

Possible Placement: Jupiter in the 12th house indicates immense inner strength. You probably thrive during alone time and, if you don't already, you'll benefit from a meditation routine.