Updated and Revised
June 1, 2016
Choosing an Astrological
Once upon a time
I received the following email:
Koch vs Placidus
I 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?
Rolling my penetrating,
mesmerizing Scorpio Sun Sign eyes... I shared Jon's earnest missive
with my Virgo Rising "Significant Other (S.O.)." I did this
so that she, too, could have a good chuckle over Jon's unwavering
faith in my investigatory Scorpio Sun.
Ever true to
pompous, pontificating Jupiter located on my Gemini Ascendant... I
then went on to enthrall (torture) my "S.O." by expounding
upon a few of my rationales for having chosen the modern Koch House
Finally - after
finishing my magnificent discourse - my long-suffering, ever helpful,
Virgo Rising "S.O." patiently responded: "See there...
you do have some very distinct reasons that you could share with Jon."
My S.O. has her
moments... and she certainly has a way of pricking a pin in my puffed
up ego, bringing me back down to earth, and then ever so gently, deftly
grounding me... ugh...
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...
Anyway... 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 (11th Century or earlier), Koch
(20th Century in the 1960s), 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 a few 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 over anything other than hockey.)
With The Confession of a Heretic
As much as I hate to admit it... I'm much too predictable. A good part
(not all) of why I use the Koch house system (as opposed to Placidus
or Equal) is (probably) because Koch was the original house system 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, Veronica, having not yet
fully mastered her knowledge of astrological software. 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 ever
confuse the Koch House System with the Equal House System. (She was
also adamant that I, with Gemini on the Ascendant, was Cancer Rising.)
In retrospect... I was probably due a substantial discount...
at a time when I started to further and dig deeper into my astrological
studies, the more modern Koch house system (although Placidus was then
and now clearly King of the Mountain) appeared to be rapidly gaining
a wider acceptance amongst many of my more prominent peers.
own personal favorite astrological writer, at that time and still today,
Stephen Arroyo, primarily used (during that time) Koch. It also appeared
that the honorary grand-dad of astrological software, Rob Hand, was
(during that time) primarily utilizing the Koch House System.
my Texas mentor at the time, Penny, with an extraordinary expertise
in working with Solar Arcs and midpoints, never made the mistake of
shoehorning a particular house system on me. She was wise (and patient)
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 most all authority and conventionality, 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 and
Campanus (endorsed by the likes of Dane Rudhyar and Gret Baumann-Jung)
are tied for second favorite. And when doing Horary charts I go
with 15th Regiomontanus. Also, the much more ancient Alcabitius
house system is generally very similiar to the Koch house system.
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
only been since the late 1970s - and the advent of astrological software
- 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
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 - I'm an Unabashed Heretic
My best heretical advice is try not to get too 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
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.