Empty Houses in Astrology – What Do They Mean?

Empty Houses in Astrology – What Do They Mean?

By Margarita Celeste

So, you’re a student of Astrology. You’re either self-taught, or you’ve had a few basic classes here and there – and, of course, you’ve done a workshop or two!

You finally “get” what Houses are all about – they are the places where things happen. The planets describe the what of life (i.e. Venus = your relationships), and the signs, aspects and elements the how (i.e. Venus in Cancer is how you behave in said relationship).



The houses are where  all these energies play out. And perhaps you already know, for example, the meaning of, let’s say, Venus in the third house. But what if your fourth house is empty and has no planets? What if there are a whole bunch of houses that are “empty”?

Many of us may even think that an empty house means that we don’t experience whatever that house signifies. Let’s say our tenth house of career has no planets, and now perhaps you think that you will never experience a career.

The good news is that this is absolutely not true. There is a way of determining how that house is experienced in our lives.




 The Key - House Rulerships

Have you heard of House Rulerships? Maybe – or maybe not. The simplest way to explain this concept is that every house has a planet in charge of it.

And that planet dictates how that house will play out for you. So, let’s cut to the chase – how do we find out what planet is associated with which house? And how do we interpret that?


Quick Guide At A Glance

Let’s say your “empty” fifth house is in the sign of Cancer (you’ll have to know a little about planetary rulerships to know which planet rules which sign – provided below).

Cancer is ruled by the Moon. So, in this case, the Moon rules your fifth house, and will tell you how you experience the topics of the fifth house.

The fifth house is about romance, children, pleasure, hobbies and play. The Moon is about change, emotional expression, needs and nurturing.

In your life, you will experience an emotional need to be a mother, to be creative. Your relationships may change often (Moon is always changing!) and you can have strong emotional needs in a love relationship. You may take pleasure in Moon-related things, such as nurturing, caring, and home.

That is the starting point of understanding what an empty house means. You can methodically work though each other using this table of planetary rulerships:

  1. Aries is ruled by Mars
  2. Taurus is rule by Venus
  3. Gemini is ruled by Mercury
  4. Cancer is ruled by the Moon
  5. Leo is ruled by the Sun
  6. Virgo is ruled by Mercury
  7. Libra is ruled by Venus
  8. Scorpio is rule by Mars and Pluto
  9. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter
  10. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn
  11. Aquarius is ruled by Saturn and Uranus
  12. Pisces is ruled by Jupiter and Neptune

Here’s an Example

Take Lauren Hill’s chart. Her first house is in the sign of Sagittarius. First, let’s deal with what the house means –

The first house (also called your Ascendant or Rising Sign) is about your persona, attitudes, how you project yourself in the world and how others see you.

Step Two is the planet that rules the sign of the house. Who rules Sagittarius? If we look at the list above, we can see that it’s Jupiter. We then say that Jupiter rules the first house and is therefore going to be the planet that has the most “say” in how that house functions.

Jupiter is all about growth, expansion, teaching, philosophy, luck and fortune.

Step Three is how we tie it all together.

So, Jupiter “rules” the first house. Therefore, our persona and the way we are seen is very “Jupitarian”. We tend to be seen as growth – orientated, expansive and may be some kind of teacher or a philosopher. We are seen to be lucky and fortunate.

Step Four (here’s something a little more advanced!) is adding the planets inside the house to the “flavor” of that house. In our example, chart, we have: Saturn, Neptune and Uranus also in the first house. Phew! That’s a lot of personality!

We now just unpack each planet, one by one, in that house and use it to describe her persona and attitude in life.

For example, in addition to be very Jupitarian, Lauren is also a mystic and intuitive person (Neptune), structured and serious (Saturn) as well as individualistic and rebellious (Uranus). Yes, we can be many things at once – after all, humans are complex creatures and we can’t just be put into a box!


Going over the steps

Let’s recap – there are four important steps to follow when we are dealing with ALL houses, whether they’re empty or not. This technique helps to define how each house is played out in our lives:

Step 1: Ask yourself what the sign the house in question is in.

Step 2: Check the planet in charge of that sign

Step 3: Tie the two together – the formula is: planet + rules + house (i.e. Jupiter rules the first house)

Step 4: Check if any other planets are there to add to the description of that house.

And finally, once you’ve done this all, keep in mind that planets ruling houses are the landlords.  Planets inside houses are tenants.

Therefore, the landlords are actually more important and have more say in the houses than the tenants. And, every single house has a landlord who says how that house behaves!

Now you know that there is no house that doesn’t show up in your life. After all, how can we say that we don’t have a career? Or that money isn’t a part of everyone’s life? Or relationships? We all experience every single house in a different way according to which planet is in charge of it.

This all may seem like a lot, so maybe just start with four houses in your chart – the ones that are empty. Use this method, step by step, and find yourself learning to speak astrology on a much more advanced label Soon, you’ll practically be an expert!

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