In Vedic Astrology, the zodiac is divided into 12 sections, wherein each section is of 300s each, and is known as a Rashi. As the earth rotates on its axis, the rashis rise on the eastern horizon of the sky in mornings and set in the western horizon of the sky in evenings, to simultaneously appear at some other location on the earth. At the time when a person is born, one of these rashis would be at the eastern horizon.
The sign that is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of one’s birth is known as the ascendent or lagna. This is determined by one’s time of birth, and this entire sign is considered as the first house. The rashi or the sign which follows is known as the second house, and so on. Just like there are twelve rashis in Vedic Astrology, this includes twelve houses, or twelve bhavas as well. The twelve houses are considered synonymous with the twelve rashis. And this may be expressed as one sign per house.
At the time of an individual’s birth, whatever sign is rising, irrespective of its degree, is taken as the first house. Each of the twelve houses is ruled by one of the seven planets. As an example, Neptune rules Pisces and Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo. The rising sign rules the first house, and the remainder of eleven signs respectively rule the other eleven houses. And for the particular individual, the ruling planet of the sign correspondingly becomes the ruling planet of the house as well. The process of knowing the ruling planets of houses is a very important part of Vedic Astrology.
It is this system which is most commonly used in Vedic Astrology, and is known as the ‘equal sign’ house system. Each house in Vedic astrology is synonymous with some specific areas, or dimensions of life. As an example, the first house is an indicator of beginning, or sprouting of a seed. Similarly the last house, which is the twelfth house represents the end, or the return to the source, to initiate a new beginning. It is with these twelve houses that we can represent the entire cycle of life.
Another very interesting way of looking at houses is as a location in the sky. When the sun rises at the eastern horizon, it is in the first house. It is the time we wake up and attend to our personal needs. Thus the first house also represents our physical bodies and appearance. From the first house, the sun moves to the twelfth house, and then to eleventh house and so on. When in the tenth house, it is noon time and the sun is directly overhead. At that time, people are carrying on with their lives at a frantic pace,…