Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 22, 2011

How Do House System Choices Affect Your Chart?

©by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 The following is an excerpt from my hard copy book, How to Read your Astrology Chart, available from the publisher, Red Wheel/Weiser.   Donna Cunningham, How to Read your Astrological Chart

For at least 40 years, astrologers have disagreed about house divisions, often vociferously. The more scientific-minded tend to espouse the Koch system, while diehards like myself stick with the traditional Placidus system.  There are trends in house cusp choices, and the current hottie is Whole Sign Houses. 

What makes this such a knotty problem is that intermediate cusps may be in different signs in one system than the other, and some planets may change houses, depending on which system you use. I’ve noticed that many people pick the one that puts their own planets in the best light. If their Venus falls in the self-defeating twelfth in one system and the friendly eleventh in another, they’ll swear by the one that puts Venus in the eleventh.

No one seems to disagree about the cusps of the first, fourth, seventh and tenth houses. They correspond with the four angles which showed up so sharply in the Gauquelin studies, and a planet sitting on one of them carries extra power. They are clearly demarcated and identical in all but the equal house and Whole Sign Houses, which bury the true Midheaven and IC.  

These angles also correspond with four major reference points in space–the two horizons, the zenith, and the nadir. Unlike other house cusps, they are given their own names–the Ascendant, IC, Descendant, and Midheaven. These four points in space are nearly as active as a planet. If the birth time is exact, when a transiting or progressed planet forms an aspect to one of them, an event will usually occur. A progressed angle making an aspect to a natal position will also coincide with an event. 

For all the above reasons, those four cusps are real. I am not much convinced of the reality of the rest of the cusps. There is no such clear demarcation of the intermediate house cusps–2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 12. Their degree and even their sign may vary with the house system. A planet which sits on one of these cusps does not gain in power.  

Events only occasionally occur when a planet crosses them by transit or progression. When they do, there is usually a natal planet in that numerical range that accounts for it. (E.g., the house cusp is at 8 Libra, but there are planets at 8 Cancer and 8 Leo.) Unlike the progressed angles, when a progressed intermediate house cusp forms an angle to a natal planet, it does not jibe with events. 

You will often see a meaningful development when a transiting or progressed planet crosses an angle, but don’t expect instant action when one crosses an intermediate house cusp. Generally, though new conditions are shaping up, no action will take place until an aspect is formed to a natal planet or angle. 

If the intermediate cusps were real divisions rather than artificial ones, there wouldn’t be such controversy about them–the truth would be self-evident.

Instead of crisp dividing lines, there may be gray areas shading gradually from one house into the other. I hold as suspect any planet within five degrees of an intermediate cusp.  

I then question the person as to which house seems to be the focus of that planet’s energy. What these interviews clarify, as often as not, is that the planet on the cusp affects and is affected by the matters of both houses.

Moreover, it appears to draw the two together. For instance, Venus on the eleventh/twelfth cusp often shows up as a tendency to have secret, unrequited crushes on friends or even–until the person learns better–to engage in unhappy, illicit affairs within their circle of friends.

 This has been an excerpt from my hard copy book, How to Read your Astrology Chart, available from the publisher, Red Wheel/Weiser.  

Readers, do you have a planet that changes houses depending on the system?  What systems have you tried, and in which one does the meaning of the planet correspond best with the house of its placement?  Share your experience in the comment section.

 More Posts about the Houses:


  1. Hi Donna
    My sun is on the 9th cusp in placidus.Veny«us-mars are conjunct Sun but in h8. In equal house system theyre all in h8 as gemini rising places capricorn planets in h8. I have a hard time knowing which works best cause anyway the lords of ascendant and capricorn planets mercury-saturn are conjunct in aquarius in h9 in both systems. Jupiter is on the MC but in Equal house it is the Moon in pisces that is at the h10 angle.Confusing.
    Would appreciate any hints?

    • Hmm. Well, the fact that the MC gets buried in equal house is one reason I don’t use it, as a planet conjunct the MC has a powerful effect on the career. Donna

  2. I’ve got Saturn conj SN in Aquarius. If I use Placidus, it’s in the 2nd, and if I use Koch, it’s in the 3rd. So in choosing between money being tight or trouble with siblings, I’d prefer it to be in the 3rd. However, it looks as if it’s in both since it clearly displays qualities that fits both houses.

    • Yes, Natalie, that’s what I often find–a planet in the cuspal area fits both houses. Donna

      • now that i think of it,i identify physically with foreigners(ASC ruler in h9) because i dont look typical of my country, but it`s also an Ego thing. I prefer the values and ideals of certain nations(sun?)

        Maybe thats why cadent houses have a bad rep. They make you a bit of a misfit

      • Why do you think that’s so, Paul? Because of the matters associated with the cadent houses? (If you’re not familiar folks, the cadent houses are 3, 6, 9, 12) Or because they’re more internal than pushing themselves out in the world? Donna

      • traditionally these are the weakest houses and normally said to cause a short life

  3. I tend to identify with foreign countries but dont know if that`s due to Sun in 9 or Asc ruler in 9

    • Both, probably–if I understand, you have as many as 3 planets in the 9th, so 9th house matters are bound to be strong in your life. Donna

  4. These are some of the changes that occur between the house systems with my planets especially with the planets I have that are close to the house cusps.

    In Placidus my Sun,Mercury,Mars are in my 6th house(I think my sun is on the cusp of the 6th/5th), Saturn is in my 3rd(on the cusp of the 2nd/3rd),Pluto is only 2 degrees from my 5th house cusp, moon conjunct IC by 3 degrees,venus is conjunct my descendant and Chiron is in my 11th
    Jupiter is in my 12th

    In Equal House and Koch I have Sun,Mercury,Mars in my 5th house, Saturn in my 2nd, Pluto isn’t within 5 degrees of my 5th house, Chiron is in my 10th in Equal house but not Koch, Moon is still conjunct my IC,venus is still conjunct my descendant, Jupiter falls on the 11th/12th house cusp

    In Whole sign uranus,north node, sun,mars,mercury all move into my 6th house, Pluto moves completely into my 5th house, moon moves completely into my 4th house, Saturn moves completely into my 3rd house,Venus moves to my 8th house on the cusp, Chiron jumps to what looks like the cusp of my 12th house but still in 11th, Jupiter falls on the 12th/1st house cusp

    It’s all really crazy. I have a fairly “cuspy” chart I think. I think that’s why I’ve had a tough time figuring out what house system to use because many of my characteristics/behaviors can be explained by one thing or another.

    • “many of my characteristics/behaviors can be explained by one thing or another.” So often the case–and a complication in rectification as well. Donna

      • If I’m allowed to say so, for me, the fact that it all fits/ works is one for the debunkers.

      • “So often the case–and a complication in rectification as well. Donna”

        I’ve read this before…hopefully this is a matter that will be remedied in the near future. *fingers crossed*

        Thank you for your response….doubly so,since your hands and wrists are inflamed like they are. Joyrjw

        @ VR, I agree…it could be one for the debunkers. 🙂

      • Look for the articles on rectification here–especially Polaris software. Donna

  5. I’m not getting the most simple things today – are planets ‘on the cusp’ meaning planets situated near the 30th degree of a sign?
    Neptune 28 Libra, or Pluto 29 Leo?

    Or planets within orb of a new house-
    1st house Can Sun at 22 degrees, near a 2nd house cusp that begins at 26 Can?

    • Here I’m talking about the cusps of houses not signs. So if the 2nd house begins at 26 Cancer, then the Sun at 22 degrees Cancer but in the 1st house might still have some of the concerns of the 2nd house. Donna

      • So if a Planet is one sign & a single degree from the next house Cusp does it become part of any (next house) stellium, even when that stellium is in the next sign?

      • Hmm. I think it might have to be conjunct a planet on the other side of the cusp. You’d have to try it out. Then, too, birth time could be off a few minutes, making it in the next house anyway. Donna

      • How many degrees?
        I got jupiter in MC but saturn and mercury are respectively 10 and 7 points away from MC in h9.Saturn rules my 6 capricorn and aquarius planets and Mercury the ASC but how close must they be to the MC to be deemed there?.Theres a big difference betwen being cadent in 9 and angular

      • regarding house systems,when we look at the sun at noon we see it at the top(MC) but towards south.At our latitude the Sun is only over our heads at the time of the equinoxes.So im not sure if the Sun is really in the mC for those born at Noon, at our temperate latitudes

      • The higher up in latitude you go, (seattle, e.g.), the more sharply the earth curves, so the more skewed the house cusps–ever see a chart for someone born in Alaska? Donna

      • since the sun rises in southest inthe winter i take it that in alaska it would rise in south,the mc would be in south too


  6. My Uranus is at the very end of the second house both in Placidus and Koch and my Venus is in the 11th house with Placidus and in the 12th with Koch. In both cases I feel these planets affects both areas.

  7. Thank you for this discussion. My 2nd house Pisces south node and its opposite have vexed and perplexed for ages..particularly with Martin Schulmans analysis of an eighth house north node which is simply awful..I have always felt I was far closer to the 7th interp. You have helped confirm that Donna. by the way..where have you posted ALL the answers to the Donna C interview questions? I have only found 4 that it?

    • There’s one post already (see “10 Quick questions…), but I am having a severe inflammation of my hand and wrist and can’t write now. Will return to the list when I can. Donna

  8. What effect does a planet located directly upon an angle have?

    Is one angle “stronger” than another?

    • Powerfully strong. Long story, Terri, and I am sidelined with an injury (hand). Use the search engine on this site and put in the name “Gauquelin.” Donna

      • Thank you Donna. I reviewed several articles and they were very interesting. I took two of the planetary tests. I have Saturn directly on my IC and Venus directly on my Desc., and they square each other. My score was 39 for Saturn and 44 for Venus.

        I’m curious as to why not add extra points if a planet is directly on an angle? Or does it really make a difference if it sits on it or whether being close is the same?

      • You get considerable extra points for a planet conjunct the Asc, MH, DSC, or IC. If I provided for every concievable way a planet could be stronger the tests would be incredibly complex. Donna

      • This should go iHi
        The first thing i noticed while in Germany and surronding countries,where the Moon falls in the MC and the new ASC is trine the Moon was that i felt a lot more grounded and receptive

        Also in my holiday home in the Southeast of Portugal, Jupiter is right on the MC cusp,and further away from Mercury-saturn- there i have a reputation of becoming more jolly. People always comment about my becoming less somber,moody and have a better mood than where i live,where the MC is 10 instead of 12 aquarius. It`s possible that although Mercyry-saturn conjuction at 0 and 3 of Aquarius is strong around the MC at 10 aquarius because they rule the ASC and important planets. Jupiter rules only the Moon in pisces
        Interesting that i tend to avoid cities further NE like Berlin as there the ASC is no longer in perfect aspect with the Moon and i feel more like ive been thrown to the wolves (Mars-Venus setting??)

        When i was in hamburg and then in Bergen,Norway the first thing i noticed was that guys around me tended to fight more,there was a Barman in Bergen whose first words for me pracatically were: ” we had 5 fights in this Bar” without my asking, only after just a few words, so theres clearly something about ACGs

        n the ACG section but i thought i should tell you

      • If there are no planets conjunct your angles but both ASC & MC have a high level of aspects (8+) to them does that work the same way as a conjuction to an angle?

      • Not qute as intense as the conjunction, in terms of making that planet stronger, but it does have an effect on career potentials if it’s the MC or on the way we project ourselves if it’s the Asc. For instance, I’ll sometimes encounter a person who projects quite a Pluto/Scorpio vibe, but I don’t see it in the chart, but then I notice that Pluto makes a tight angle to the Asc…even a semi-square or a quincunx.

        This post has unexpectedly turned into quite a nice Q&A, hasn’t it? Donna

  9. I have a stellium in Libra- Sat/Jup/Merc/Plu/Sun. Sun is always in 8th and Saturn in 7th no matter what system I use, but the rest are piled at the end of my 7th house. I’ve always used Placidus, since I “grew up” with that system, but in recent times I am not so sure. Since the planets are all in Libra, they have a 7th house flair about them anyway. I have had no romantic relationships (almost age 30) other than one of what I call a “consecutive hook up situation” with a married/effectively and now actually separated guy who lived 3000 miles away (ironically enough, we live in the same city now and I’ve seen him exactly twice, guess that one’s over). Saturn is covered for sure but I thought Jupiter is supposed to give me all these relationships, marrying multiple times, whatever (lol!). Either way I suppose I do look for a lot of things in a prospective partner (not anything I wouldn’t ask of myself though)- intelligence, wit, kindness, passion, ability to get along with all types of people, a generally laid-back fellow and probably a touch spontaneous. So these could be all these planets “describing” a partner that’s sort of hard to find in real life (or maybe giving me unrealistic expectations? I don’t usually have a hard time finding a guy to like though).

    On the other hand I have been attracted towards self-study and the esoteric for as long as I can remember- I guess it’s helped me to cope with my life and the less positive experiences I’ve had. I like to sum up the entire stellium with the phrase “who’s on first?”. (by the way the stellium pretty much aspects the rest of the planets in my chart as well)

  10. Hi Donna
    My 1st choice is Koch, 2nd is Placidus and 3rd is Porphyry – I check all 3 systems to see if natal planets change houses and if cusps and interceptions change. I’ve been checking my chart and the charts of family members to find out if house position of natal and transiting planets show timing of changes. I find it helpful to use the 3 systems for people born in the 1980’s and 90’s with tightly bundled natal planets, Koch, Placidus and Porphyry show house, cusp, and planet position changes that broaden the areas of life affected and how the areas are interrelated. It supports your position that plantets in a house cj the cusp of another house or placed in another house using a different system need to be interpreted for both houses.

  11. Hello Donna.Is your wrist behaving better? As far as house systems are concerned, I always use Placidius only because everybody I know uses it and trusts it. When I use the equal house system, MC is now in the 8th house which I find weird. However, there are no intercepted houses obviously which I find kind of nice. I have an innate dislike of my intercepted houses. Uranus moves from 2nd to 1st which is not entirely unreasonable and saturn sits on the 4th house cusp. That does not feel appropriate as Saturn tends to have a contracting effect esp in terms of my living quarters. However, Saturn could work for the 4th as well for other reasons. My Nept/Mars conjunction is now solidly in the 5th house. Also natal Jupiter Rx is in 9th and that could actually work as I have been twarted in my efforts at education. (I finally did complete it late in life, so could be a Saturn push as well) and I also consider myself very broad minded in many respects and do not think along mainstream notions of right and wrong. I attribute this to my Jupiter in Pisces and in my 11th Placidius house.
    If I use the Koch system, Jupiter is now in 10th , Uranus back in 2nd but the intercepted houses have moved from 6th to the 5th house and opposing signs.
    The Koch system actually appeals to me the most and also makes sense in terms of the 4th house and the Jupiter in 10th.
    To sum it up, I really dont know what to think about the different house systems and why one would work better for me over another.
    Would love to learn more about it.
    thanks for the thread.
    Love and Peace and Happy Healing.

  12. hi Donna,

    I’ve got Venus in the 12th (Placidus – house system I usually use) and/or 11th (Koch). I’ve never had secret crushes focused on friends….but then, Saturn is in the 11th too, and its insistence on setting boundaries might be part of that.

    But then again, my then-husband had a secret thing on with a woman he always insisted was “just a friend”, which blew our marriage to smithereens. This came up with Venus receiving a square from Uranus. Both my ex and his “friend” were students at the time (square from Uranus in the 9th).

    I’ll stick with Placidus until I see something with Koch that makes me say, “Ooooh, I never would have guessed THAT just using Placidus.” I can come up with lots of examples supporting the venus/11th Koch but all of them can be accounted for by some aspect of venus or other factor in the chart. I think it’s simpler and equally correct to pick one house system and use it, (but always stay open to the possiblity of improvement).

    On a tangent, some more words to go in the 12th with less negative connotations than secrecy might be:
    privacy, sanctuary, spiritual healing, inner world.


  13. Hi Donna
    Robert Wilkinson at Aquairius Papaers – Global Astrology has a recent article on this topic. His thinking is similar to yours. He looks at the span of degrees.
    “…When a planet falls in the zone where two houses overlap, that planetary function learns in both areas and has an impact in both areas. It is no longer simply that we have a part of us that is identified with one area more than others; we have to learn how those areas interrelate through the lessons and qualities of that planet…”

    Hope you’re feeling better

  14. My Saturn falls clearly in my 5th in Placidus houses and about a degree before in Koch. I’m sure most important to this is that Saturn squares my Sun, which would echo the 5th house effect. I haven’t thought too much about how the 4th house is also affected. My family’s role in hampering my self-expression?

  15. Oooh..,great topic. My two biggies are house cuspers. Sun: 10th/11th. Moon: 8th/9th. How would you interpret it when planets changing houses is a prominent theme in a person’s chart?


    • I might also add that Uranus and Pluto are also house cuspers, since they’re conjunct the midheaven, but they don’t change houses, since the midheaven is always the same regardless of house system. Yeah, I would say they’re solidly in the 10th, so maybe they don’t qualify as house cuspers.

    • That it would be really important to nail down the birth time, because a 5-10 minute window could make a difference in house placement? Donna

  16. Related to this, if house cusps change signs depending on the house system used, their ruling planets will change, which can significantly affect the birth chart.

    • Uh huh. Why the whole controversy is such a PITA. Have to confess, I don’t pay as much attention to house rulers as more traditional astrologers. IF HR is the ONLY indicator of something (as opposed to confirmation by planets, signs, and aspects in the house involved), then it’s not a strong indication.

      My voice recognition software just arrived, and I have a whole week to master it before Mercury turns RX, at which time I’ll write some of the articles languishing in my notebooks, the interview questions at last, and the contest ideas–perfect for my Mercury RX project this time. Today, Friends, IS the first day of the rest of my (writing) life! Donna

      • Truly happy for you, Donna.

  17. I like, and have used, the Porphyry house system mainly because I don’t understand the rationales and mathematics behind the other house systems. It uses the angles to define the quadrants, and then divides each of those four quadrants into three equal-sized wedges. It has the simplicity of the equal-house system, but incorporates the angles, which is quite appealing.

    • To me, the 4 angles (1st, 4th, 7th, & 10th) are the most crucial parts to the charts–as proven satistically beyond doubt by the research of Michel & Francoise Gauqeulin, two French Psychologists, and so any system that maintains the integrity of the 4 angles is likely to be right about four the the 12 house cusps–and that may be as good as it gets! Donna

      • I was at a workshop given by the NYC chapter of NCGR and something one of the presenters said, (her name was Moira Epstein or something like that), stuck with me. She said “in Astrology, everything works.” I think she was referring to all the different techniques astrologers use, whether it’s midpoints or Uranian or Tropical vs. Sidereal, or heliocentric vs. geocentric. No one astrologer could possibly become a master of it all, but whatever we work with, it works for us. I think this statement could also apply to house systems. Could it be that we’re drawn to the house system that fits best with the unique approach we each have to reading astrology charts? Or maybe since, as we learn astrology, we tend to retain the things that work, and discard the things that don’t work, we learn to read charts in the way that suits the particular house system we’ve chosen.

      • You’re right–interpretation of a chart isn’t a science but is quite subjective at times, like our perceptions in a mirror. Donna

  18. I have a stupid “theory” on house systems: a person is born as the “whole sign” (at least in respect to the inner psychology), but manifest as Placidus/topocentric way in the physical world. Assuming that the houses are roughly equal in size, the Placidus house may be about upto 1 house behind than whole sign house (for a very late degree Ascendant), and planets could straddle (or not) across different house systems.

    So a planet innately in second house (resource) may manifest as in first house (self). A planet innately in six house (work) may manifest as in fifth house (self-expression). A planet innately in 11th house (social ideal) may manifest as in 10th house (public image).

    This “theory” is entirely made-up by me. Somehow it makes sense to my and my son’s natal chart. I’m just throwing it out there for people to test and disapprove it.

    Regardless, a planet near the end of a house do affect both houses. I haven’t found examples for a planet near the beginning of the houses that affect both. Maybe it does.

    Even sign-wise, a planet near the beginning/end of a sign does seem to exhibit a little bit of characteristics from both signs. Not sure if that is true for other people however.

  19. Hello Donna,
    I am currently confused about which house-system to use. I was introduced to the Placidus Housesystem, so I guess that is the one I prefer.

    I live in Sweden and sometimes the houses can be really big in the chart. My daughter has her Mars trine her Ascendant in her first house, the second house cusp is trine her first house and her Midheaven is less than 30 degrees from her Ascendant.

    It feels strange to look at, but in a weird (?) way it makes sense… I’m confused. Do you have any advice? 🙂 Elina

    • Yes, I know northern latitudes can produce some very skewed charts. I haven’t any experience in interpreting them. What do the Swedish astrologers recommend? Donna

      • there’s an article by Michael Wackford about astrology in the poles at

      • Donna, Thank you for your responce. I once had my chart done by an astrologer and she used Equal Houses, but when a friend of mine had her chart done (by another astrologer) he used Placidus, I guess its up to the astrologer? 🙂

        Paul, I will search for Michel Wackford’s article about astology in the poles. Thank you 🙂

      • Yes, it’s up to the individual astrologer–but then they defend their choice vigorously! Donna

      • Hi Donna, I have a chart to interpret from Tromso, Norway, with the Ascendant and Midheaven conjunct. Any clues as to how to interpret this please?

      • Oh,my,no, not a clue! Life must be extremely strange at that high latitude! Donna

  20. depending on the system, I have mercury in the 8th or 9th, sun in the 7th or 8th.

    Seems to me my sun is really in the 8th house (as you say, if there is such a thing)
    Mercury in the 9th, I like that too! I think my Mercury is more like the 9th house.
    Not sure if i am sufficiently answering your question here.

  21. Hi, Donna,

    Good luck with the new software! Glad you are mending.

    Re:house systems. I started studying astrology with the Placidus system, then was “converted” to Equal House for a decade or so. Now I’m back to Placidus. Like you, Donna, I like to see a definite MC/IC axis, plus interceptions began making good sense to me . However, I haven’t done very many charts for People born at very high latitudes (north or south).

    Best, Amy

  22. Since my Ascendant is between 0 and 1 degrees Libra, my chart looks pretty much the same no matter which house system is used. Reminds me of Popeye’s statement, “I yam what I yam!”

  23. i dont tink life is different in tromso,been there and in sweden,theyre just like anybody else,thats why i use whole sign house system

  24. hi Donna,

    I have been using Whole Sign Houses (switching from Topocentric) for over a year now with all my new astrology clients. It produces amazing results for me. I have one point to quibble with…your use of the word”bury” when referring to the MC or AC in the WSH system. I absolutely agree with you that those 4 points are incredibly powerful natally, and by transits and progressions.

    So when I analyze a chart the MC/IC points and the AC/DC points and their axii are clearly present in my WSH derived charts and I use them without fail. Nothing buried about them – as they are still there and VERY potent. They just simply do not always coincide with the 1st and 10th house cusps. No problem for me there. A MC in the 9th house brings questions of vocation, “fame” and reputation, etc – into 9th house matters of higher learning, long-distance travel, etc.,etc. These dynamic points/axii are not buried in my mind – just moved.

    • Hi, Paul, I appreciate your clarifying how Whole Houses handle the Ascendant and MH work in that system. I must admit, I haven’t used it, for that very reason. Donna

  25. Just discovering this as I search for the meaning of whole vs. Plac My chart in Placidus is VERY different from my Whole Signs. My stellium in the 8th house moves to the 9th. I’ve kinda hung my hat on being a Plutonian like person – now maybe not? My Libra sun moves from the 9th to the 10th. I am Capricorn rising. I have played around some and a 9th house Libra Sun does feel right. However, I have spent my life struggling with work and where do I fit so it makes me wonder is the 10th house a fit as the Sun often is the area of work/struggle. I think 9th house is more me than 10th. Mostly because if I could find a way to make a living just traveling and seeing the world – that would be awesome! It seems if I was truly a 10th house sun I would be focused on making my mark in the world and embrace my current administrator role more than I do. It also moves my Plac 1st house moon to the 2nd house. My neptune & mercury from the 10th to the 11th. My 2nd house Saturn clear to the 4th and Chiron from 2nd to 3rd. Actually I think every planet switches houses. Signs no changes. It is a whole new chart. So being new to astrology…not sure what to do with that.

    • Hi, Jewel, just sit with the new chart for a few months and see how it feels – also how it works with transits. If you feel like a Plutonian person, examine the ways other than the eighth house that Pluto is strong in your chart. For instance, what are Pluto’s aspects, and what do you have in Scorpio? There is a test elsewhere in this blog where you can measure the strength of the planets. Go to the front page and there’s a tab that says, take the planetary tests. Donna

  26. In Europe, the Placidus house tends to be used a lot more. I have had both Placidus and Koch charts done. At first, i went with the Koch chart, but when I had a Placidus chart done, years ago, I could relate to it more. The Koch system has my Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo, in the second house, and it’s right on the 2nd house cusp, whereas in the Placidus, they’re both in the 3rd house. My moon is in Sagittarius the 4th house in the Koch chart, but in the 5th house in the Placidus. When I read up the interpretations, I realised I could not relate to the planets in the 2nd house planets, but it made far more sense with having Uranus/Pluto in the 3rd.
    And I feel more of a 5th house moon ( I like the arts, culture, enjoying being creative etc) than a 4th house moon – maybe it was more relevant to me, as I was growing up. Again, this moon was right on the cusp ( it could go at the very end of the 4th house, or at the very beginning of the 5th house).

    So for me, I like the Placidus, because it had a more accurate chart. It is possible, as others have said, if something’s on the cusp, it could be in either house, and astrologers have preferences.

  27. I started experimenting with house systems. There are some things about Whole and Equal (in particular) that make more sense to me when I look at myself.

    In both, Saturn moves out of the 9th and into the 8th. This feels like a more natural placement for me, because I’ve had many of these issues (particularly the financial). While I’d disagree with the “dad issues” I interpret when reading about this placement, it is true that my father was hugely important to me. We were temperamentally similar and understood each other well. However, he traveled a lot for work and/or worked a lot of overtime for the first several years of my life, meaning he wasn’t physically present. He spent the subsequent years trying to “atone” for not being there (his words, not mine), and I changed a lot as a result. I was 31 when he died, and I lost my best friend that day. I’ve changed a lot since he’s been gone. I’ve lost some of the confidence I credit him with helping me develop. Many years have passed and while I accept his death, I also accept the hole his absence has left. This sounds Saturn-in-8thish if I read it correctly.

    When I move to Equal, my Sun jumps backward into the first house. That’s different, and at the same time, it makes sense. I’ve never felt very Virgoish (apart from my analytical tendencies), and it would move into a house ruled by Leo (my ascendant/chart ruler). Other ways it fits: I am style-conscious (though not trendy), and have been concerned too much with what people have thought of me in the past (a Sun in the first bugaboo — working on it.) I don’t have the Sun-in-the-second drive to own stuff. I’m quite the opposite, actually; I’d rather purchase experiences and have less stuff to worry with.

    When I try Whole, Mars springs out of the 12th into the first. While I can be reactive and easily distracted (1st), but the rest doesn’t jibe with my personality. Mars in the 12th rings truer for me. Wish it didn’t, but no one’s perfect. My analytical-Virgo self wants to look at my family’s charts, but in my experimental group of one I’m intrigued by Equal now.

  28. Using the Equal House my stellium (5 planets) fall in the 9th house and from the meaning of that house – it is me! Using the Placidus it falls in the 8th house. How am I supposed to interpret that? HELP

    • Hmm. Most unusual. Are Jupiter or Sagittarius part of the stellium? That would give it a 9th house flavor, because they are naturally related. Donna

      • No Jupiter is in Cancer in my 7th and Sagittarius is in 11th – using Equal… Jupiter again in 7th but Sag in 10 and 11 using Placidus

      • Then I honestly don’t know what to think of it, Sylvia. For sure, there’s a vast and recognizable difference between an 8th house and a 9th house stellium, in terms of a major life focus. Donna

  29. Hi Donna!
    I wish to ask you about the mc/ic axis as in my chart. It changes from scorpio mc/taurus ic to libra/aries in 4th/10th, even if the mc is still pluto but 11th house. Do you take into view, the whole signs? Or I should just stick to placidus? I am also lucky to figure out my 6th and 12th because among the all popular house-systems they are gemini and saggitarius.

    • Hi, Narina, my biggest issue with whole sign houses is that they bury the actual Midheaven, and that is a powerful point in both describing the natal career indications AND the transits to the Midheaven that mark big career turning points and other life-changing events. Donna

  30. I’ve had some interesting results using the equal house system with Davison relationship charts…it seems to fit better in the few charts I’ve looked at. Otherwise I don’t use it. For natal and composite charts I always used to use placidus

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  32. I know the original post was years ago, but I am going to comment and hope for some direction. I am a novice of astrology at best; have had a natal chart cast at three times in my life when I needed serious guidance. The most recent was about two weeks ago. My natal sun (Taurus), and South Node jump from 4th House (Placidus, Koch), to 5th (Equal), to 6th (Whole); Moon (Leo), Pluto, Uranus also shift 8th (P,K,E) to 9th (W); North Node, Neptune shift 10th (P,K) to 11th (E) to 12th (W). Saturn shifts from 12th conjunct Asc (Sag) (P,K,E) to very nearly the cusp of 2nd House (W). These seem like big jumps to me, and I do not see the same when I set up charts for my friends in the differing House Systems… The interpretations are different, but they all reflect aspects of life as it has unfolded for me. Is this a common occurence. Thank you so much, in advance, if you happen to see this and respond.

    I have visited your site many times as I have tried to make sense of these shifts, and it has been helpful and reassuring.

    • For as long as I’ve been in astrology, astrologers have bickered about which house system is THE real one. I’ve observed that they often choose the one that puts their own planets in the most favorable light. In 45 years, I’ve used Placidus and been content with it, but Koch seems to be the most popular now. Equal house is an artificial construct, and it buries the Midheaven in either the 9th or 10th, so that you don’t see which planets are conjunct the Midheaven, a very strong career indicator.

      As for Placidus versus Koch, yes, there is some shifting of planets, but these are usually planets near the cusps. I’ve observed that when a planet is near
      the cusp of a house, it seems to act on both houses and seems to pull them together. For instance, planet on the cusp of the second/third can
      show that the person could earn money through careers that involve the 3rd house pursuits like writing or lecturing.

      The best clues, for me, are by asking the person which position makes the most sense in their life. Donna Cunningham.

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