an Astrological House System
upon a time I received the following email:
Koch vs Placidus
know as a Scorpio, you must have a logical or scientific reason for
your choice of house system. As a student I'm interested. Could you
point me toward materials that I could learn from?
my penetrating, mesmerizing Scorpio eyes... I shared Jon's earnest
email with my Virgo Rising "significant other." I did this
so that she, too, could have a good chuckle over Jon's unflinching
faith in my investigatory Scorpio Sun.
to my pompous, wordy Jupiter on a Gemini Ascendant... I then went
on to enthrall (torture) my "significant other" by expounding
upon a few of my rationales for having chosen the modern Koch House
- after I'd placed the finishing touches on my magnificent discourse
- my long-suffering, ever helpful, Virgo Rising "significant
other" patiently responded: "See there... you do have some
very distinct reasons that you could share with Jon."
you have to love 'em... as they do have a way of bringing you back
down to earth and grounding you... ugh...
Rather Be Nibbled To Death By Geese
Most of the current articles out there on this subject appear to be
relatively accurate as to details... so, yep, the reality is that
my Gemini Ascendant would rather be nibbled to death by geese than
to sit down and attempt to reinvent the wheel in this article... boring...
my best suggestion for Jon (and you) is to do an internet search for:
house system astrology
be able to read up on many of the various house systems... such as the
always popular Placidus (rumored to be as old as 13th Century but first
verified confirmation in 17th Century), Equal (pick your own date),
Porphyry (2nd or 3rd Century), Campanus (13th Century), Koch (20th Century),
Regiomontanus (15th Century), Alcabitius (sometime between the 1st and
5th Century), and more... and you'll be able to read up on their various
(fascinating) theoretical rationales as to calculation.
Publications booklet has what's likely the best treatment of the
subject, but be prepared to fork out some bucks.)
of a Woolly-minded Archetypal Astrologer
Which house system should you use? Which house system is the (mythical)
best house system?
to having previously moderated an active internet astrology forum for
7 years, I realize only too well what a burning question this can be
for folks relatively new to the study of astrology. For that matter,
it can be a highly heated (ie sometimes downright nasty and rancorous)
topic for those folks that have been around for a while.
According to astrologer
Hank Friedman, many years ago - during a gathering of Canadian
astrologers - an actual fist fight broke out over which house system
was the most accurate house system. (It's hard to imagine a bunch
of Canadians fighting about anything other than hockey.)
With The Confession
As much as I hate to admit it... I'm much too predictable.
good part (not all) of why I use the Koch house system (as opposed to
Placidus or Equal) is probably because Koch was the first house system
that I was introduced to.
The very first paid birth chart and birth chart reading I received utilized
the Koch House System.
Curiously, in hindsight, I have to wonder if my introduction to Koch
was nothing more than a "fortunate error" due to my still
"wet behind the ears" astrologer having not yet fully mastered
her ancient DOS astrology software (or her knowledge of astrology).
You see... I distinctly remember her telling me that she utilized
the Equal House System. And take my word for it... it's a wee bit
difficult to confuse the Koch House System with the Equal House System.
She was also sure that I had Cancer Rising. In retrospect... I was
probably due a discount...
at the time I started to further my astrological studies, the more modern
Koch house system (although Placidus was then and now clearly the most
popular) appeared to be rapidly gaining a wider acceptance and popularity
amongst many of my more prominent peers.
own personal favorite astrological writer, at that time, Stephen Arroyo,
primarily used (at that time) Koch. It also appeared that the honorary
grand-dad of astrological software, Rob Hand, was (at that time) primarily
utilizing the Koch House System.
my Texas mentor at the time, with an extraordinary expertise
in and gift for working with Solar Arcs and midpoints, never made the
mistake of attempting to force a particular house system on me. She
was wise beyond her years.
vs Internal - Maybe
Scuttlebutt, at the time, was that the Koch house System tended to work
better on an "external" level and (among other things) was
generally considered to be better for predictive and practical purposes,
while Placidus was primarily "internal" and "psychological"
find it more than a little amusing that nowadays, reading current material
on the subject, some of the more prominent and staunch advocates of
Koch now put forth the belief that Koch is more "psychological"
in nature and Placidus is more "external."
at the time, while choosing to hang in there with Koch, I nevertheless
experimented around with (primarily) Placidus, Campanus, Equal, and
the spirit of full disclosure... with my being Oppositionally Defiant
toward authority, the Placidus house system probably never had a fighting
chance. I eventually came to the less than scientific decision that
for most purposes I still liked and did my best work using Koch. (It
may surprise you to know that little used Porphyry is my second favorite
house system and Campanus is my third favorite.)
Is Placidus King of the Mountain?
Placidus is still the ruling monarch of the astrological house systems,
because old habits die hard. During the 19th Century - and much of the
20 Century - Placidus was the only house system that was easily accessible
to rank and file astrologers. This
easy availability of the Placidus house
system was via the well-circulated and popular Raphael's Ephemeris.
only been since the late 1970s that rank and file astrologers began
having the ability and option to make relatively pain-free comparisons
between the differing house systems. And it's obvious that we now have
way too much time on our hands...
whether or not they can bring themselves to admit it... most astrologers,
like me, tend to go with what they were first introduced to. Most folks
(even today) are first introduced to Placidus.
Line - It's Not a BFD
My best advice is try not to get worked up about the whole thing, as
it's certainly not worth coming to fisticuffs over... and then treat
the 8 non-angular house cusps as nothing more than (imprecise) rule
of thumb guideposts.
be known... it's the 4 angles of the chart (Ascendant, IC, Descendant,
and Midheaven) serving - in most house systems - as the cusps of the
1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses that you can reliably count on and should
probably be focusing on.
one is considering interpretation of the birth chart or looking at the
birth chart for predictive purposes, it's inevitably going to be the
planets located on (or passing over) the 4 angles of the chart (Ascendant,
IC, Descendant, and Midheaven) that are of the greatest import.
> Basics > Choosing House System
all of this is way beyond you, go here for
Dr Z's take on what the 12 houses of the birth chart represent.