William Lilly on the Houses

Of the twelve Houses, their Nature and Signification.


As before we have said there are twelve signs, and also twelve Houses of Heaven, so now we are come to relate the nature of these twelve Houses; the exact knowledge whereof is so requisite, that he who shall learn the nature of the Planets and Signs without exact judgment of the Houses, is like an impovident man, that furnisheth with variety of householdstuffe, having no place wherein to bestow them.

There is nothing appertaining to the life of man in this world, which in one way or other hath not relation to one of the twelve Houses of Heaven, and as the twelve signs are appropriate to the particular members of mans body; so also doe the twelve houses represent not onely the severall parts of man, but his actions, quality of life and living, and the curiosity and judgment of our Fore-fathers in Astrology, was such, as they have alotted to every house a particular signification, and so distinguished humane accidents throughout the twelve houses, as he that understands the Questions appertaining to each of them, shall not want sufficient grounds whereon to judge or give a rationall answer upon any contingent accident, and successe thereof.

Of the first House and its Signification.

The first house, which containeth all that part of Heaven from the line where the figure one standeth, until the figure two, where the second house beginneth.

It hath signification of the life of man, of the stature, colour, complexion, form and shape of him that propounds the Question, or is born; in Eclipses and great Conjunctions, and upon the Sun his annuall ingresse into Aries; it signifieth the common people, or generall State of that Kingdom where the Figure is erected.

And as it is the first house, it represents the head and face of man, so that if either Saturn, Mars or South Node be in this House, either at the time of the Question, or at the time of birth, you shall observe some blemish in the face, or in that member appropriate to the signe that then is upon the cusp of the house; as if Aries be in the Ascendant, the mark, mole, or scarre is without faile in the head or face; and if few degrees of the signe ascend, the mark is in the upper part of the head; if the middle of the sign be on the cusp, the mole, mark or scar is in the middle of the face, or neer it; if the later degrees ascend, the face is blemished neer the chin, towards the neck: This I have found true in hundreds of examples.

Of colors, it hath the White; that is, if a Planets be in this house that hath signification of white, the complexion of the Party is more pale, white and wan; or if you enquire after the colour of the cloathe of any man, if his significator be in the first house, and in a sign corresponding, the parties apparell is white or gray, or somewhat neer that colour, so also if the Question be for cattle, when their significators are found in this house, it denotes them to be of that colour or neer it: The house is Masculine.

The Cosignificators of this house are Aries and Saturn; for as this house is the first house, so is Aries the first signe, and Saturn the first of the Planets, and therefore when Saturn is but moderately well fortified, in this house, and in any benevolent aspect of Jupiter, Venus, Sun or Moon, it promiseth a good sober constitution of body, and usually long life: Mercury doth also joy in this house, because it represents the Head, and he the Tongue, Fancy and Memory: when he is well dignified and posited in this house, he produceth good Orators: it is called the Ascendant, because when the Sun commeth to the cusp of this house, he ascends, or then ariseth, and is visible in our Horizon.

Questions concerning the Second House.

From this house is required judgment concerning the estate or fortune of him that asks the question, or his Wealth or Poverty, of all removeable Goods, Money lent, of Profit or game, losse or damage; in suits of Law, it signifies a mans Friends or Assistants; in private Duels, the Querents second; in an Eclipse or Great Conjunction, the poverty or Wealth of the people; the Sun his entrance into Aries, it represents the Ammunition, Allies and Support the Common-wealth shall have; it imports their Magazines.

It represents in man the neck, and hinder parts of it towards the shoulders, of colours, the green.

So that if one make demand concerning any thing specified above in this house, you must look for signification from hence: It’s a feminine house and Succedant, called in some Latin Authors Anaphora.

It hath Cosignificators Jupiter and Taurus; for is Jupiter be placed in this house, or be Lord hereof, it’s an argument of an estate or fortune; Sun and Mars are never well placed in this house, either of them shew dispersion of substance, according to the capacity and quality of him that is either born or asks the questions.

The Third House.

Hath signification of Brethren, Sisters, Cozens and Kindred, Neighbours, small Journeys, or inland-Journeys, oft removing from one place to another, Epistles, Letters, Rumours, Messengers: It doth rule the Shoulders, Armes, Hands and Fingers.

Of Colours, it governeth the Red and Yellow, or Croceall, or Sorrell colour: It hath Cosignificators, of the Signe Gemini, of the Planet Mars; which is one reason why Mars in this house, unlesse joyned with Saturn is not very unfortunate, it is a Cadent house, and is the joy of the Moon; for if she be posited therein, especially in a moveable sing, it’s an argument of much travell, trotting and trudging, or of being seldom quiet: The house is Masculine.

The Fourth House.

Giveth Judgment of Fathers in generall & ever of his Father that enquires, or that is born; of Lands, Houses, Tenements, Inheritances, Tillage of the earth, Treasures hidden, the determination or end of any thing; Towns, Cities or Castles, besieged or not besieged; all ancient Dwellings, Gardens, Fields, Pastures, Orchards; the quality and nature of the grounds one purchaseth, whether Vineyards, Cornfielfd, &c. whether the ground be Woody, Stony or barren.

The Sign of the fourth denoteth the Town, the Lord thereof, the Governour: It ruleth the Brest, Lungs.

Of Colours, the Red: It’s Cosignificator is Cancer, and of Planets the Sun; we call it the Angle of the Earth, or Imum Coeli; it is feminine, and the North Angle: In Nativities or Questions, this fourth house represents Fathers, so doth the Sun by day and Saturn by night; yet if the Sun be herein placed, he is not ill, but rather shews the Father to be of a noble disposition, &c.

The Fifth House.

By this house we judge of Children, of Embassadours, of the state of a Woman with child, of Banquets, of Ale-houses, Tavernes, Playes, Messengers or Agents for Republick; of the wealth of the Father, the Ammunition of a Town beseiged; if the Woman with child shall bring forth male or female; of the health or sicknesse of his Son or Daughter that asks the Question.

It ruleth the Stomack, Liver, Heart, Sides and Back, and is masculine.

Of Colours, Black and White, or Honey—colour, and is a Succedant house; It’s Cosignificators are Leo and Venus, who doth joy in this house, in regard it’s the house of Pleasure, Delight and Merriment; it’s wholly unfortunate by Mars or Saturn, and they therein shew disobedient children and untoward.

The Sixth House.

It concerneth Men and Mid-servants, Gallislaves, Hogges, Sheep, Goats, Hares, Connies, all manner of lesser Cattle, and profit and losse got thereby; Sicknesse, it’s quality and cause, principall humour offending, curable or not curable, whether the disease be short or long; Day—labourers, Tenants, Farmers, Shepherds, Hogheards, Neatherds, Warriners; and it signifieth Unkles, or the Fathers Brothers and Sisters.

It ruleth the inferiour part of the Belly, and intestines even to The Arse: this house is a Feminine and Cadent house, unfortunate, as having no aspect to the Ascendant.

Of Colours, black colour, Mars rejoyceth in this house, but his Cosignificator is of the Signes Virgo, of Planets Mercury; we usually find that Mars and Venus in Conjunction in this house, are arguments of a good Physitian.

The Seventh House.

It giveth judgment of Marriage, and describes the person inquired after, whether it be Man or Woman, all manner of Love questions, our publique enemies; the Defendant in a Law—suit, in Warre the opposing party; all quarrels, Duels, Law—suits; in Astrology the Artist himself; in Physick the Physitian; Theeves and Thefts; the person stealing, whether Man or Woman, Wives, Sweetharts; their shape, description, condition, Nobly or ignobly born: in an Annuall ingresse, whether Warre or Peace may be expected: of Victory, who over-comes, and who worsted; Fugitives or run­awayes; Banished and Out—lawed—men.

It hath cosignificator Libra and Moon, Saturn or Mars unfortunate herein, shew ill in Marriage.

Of Colour, a dark Blacke colour.

It ruleth the Haunches, and the Navill to the Buttocks; and is called the Angle of the West: and is Masculine.

The Eighth House.

The Estate of Men deceased, Death, its quality and nature; the Wills, Legacies and Testaments of Men deceased; Dowry of the Wife, Portion of the Maid, whether much or little, easie to be btained or with difficulty. In Duels it represents the Adversaries Second; in Lawsuits the Defendants friends. What kinde of Death a Man shall dye., it signifies fear and anguish of Minde. Who shall enjoy or be heir to the Deceased.

It rules the Privy-Parts. Of colours, the green and Black.

Of Signes it hath Scorpio for Cosignificator, and Saturn, the Hemoroids, the Stone, Strangury, Poysons, and Bladder are ruled by this house; and is a succedant House, and Feminine.

The Ninth House.

By this House we give judgment of Voyages or long journies beyond Seas of Religiousmen, or Clergy of any kinde, whether Bishops or inferiour Ministers; Dreams, Visions, forraign Countries, of Books, Learning, Church Livings, or Benef ices, Advowsions; of the kindred of ones Wife, & sic e contrario.

Of colours it hath the Green and White.

Of mans body it ruleth the Fundament, the Hippes and Thighes, Sagittarius and Jupiter are cosignificators of this House; for if Jupiter be herein placed, it naturally signifies a devout man in his Religion, or one modestly given; I have oft observed when the Dragons tayle, or Mars or Saturn have been infortunately placed in this House; the Querent hath either been little better then a Atheist or a desperate Sectarist: the Sun rejoyceth to be in this House, which is Masculine, and Cadent.

The Tenth House.

Commonly it personateth Kings, Princes, Dukes, Earles, Judges, prime Officers, Commanders in chief, whether in Armies or Towns; all sorts of Magistracy and Officers in Authority, Mothers, Honour, Preferment, Dignity, Office, Lawyers; the profession or Trade any one useth; it signifies Kingdoms, Empires, Dukedoms, Countries.

It hath of colours Red and White, and ruleth the knees and Hammes.

Its called the Medium coeli, or Mid-heaven, and is Feminine. Its cosignificators are Capricorn and Mars; either Jupiter or the Sun doe much Fortunate this House when they are posited therein, Saturn or South Node usually deny Honor, as to persons of quality, or but little esteem in the world to a vulgar person, not much joy in his Profession, Trade or Mystery, is a Mechanick.

The Eleventh House.

It doth naturally represent Friends and Friendship, Hope, Trust, Confidence, the Praise, or Dispraise of any one; the Fidelity or falsenesse of Friends; as to Kings it personates their Favourites, Councellours, Servants, their Associates or Allyes, their Money, Exchequer or Treasure; in Warre their Ammunition and Souldiery; it represents Courtiers, &c. in a Common—wealth governed by a few of the Nobles and Commons, it personates their assistance in Councell: as in London the tenth House represents the Lord Major; the eleventh the Common-councell; the Ascendant the generality of the Commoners of the said City.

Of members it ruleth the Legs to the Ancles. Of colours, it ruleth the Saffron or Yellow.

It hath of the Signs Aquarius, and Sun of the Planets, for cosignificators Jupiter doth especially rejoyce in this House; it’s a succedant House, and masculine, and in vertue is equivalent either to the seventh or fourth Houses.

The Twelfth House.

It hath signification of private Enemies, of Witches, great Cattle, as Horses, Oxen, Elephants, &c. Sorrow, Tribulation, Imprisonments, all manner of affliction, self—undoing, &c. and of such men as maliciously undermine their neighbours, or inform secretly against them.

It hath cosignificators Pisces and Venus; Saturn doth joy in that House, For naturally Saturn is Author of mischief; and it ruleth in Mans body the Feet.

In Colour it presents the Green.

Its a Cadent House, Feminine, and vulgarly sometimes called Cataphora, as all Cadent Houses may be. This is the true Character of the severall Houses, according to the Ptolomeian Doctrine, and the experience my self have had for some yeers: I must confesse the Arabians have made severall other divisions of the Houses, but I could never in my practise finde any verity in them, wherefore I say nothing of them.