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The First House. There are houses on the coast built right to the cliffs, with breath-taking views of sea and sky. What would life be like being born into such a home? Or how different might one’s perspective be, starting out in the desperate tangle of a South Bronx tenement, or a bleak stretch of the Australian outback? As in life, in astrology, one’s birthplace has a shaping power. When you’re born arranges the planets into signs and degrees. Where you’re born drops them into particular houses. The Second House. Like a mischievous boy releasing a mouse in a roomful of cheerleaders, try dropping the subject of money into a gathering of metaphysical people.

Watch how many scramble for the tabletops. When you're discussing the 2nd house, you have to talk money. Yet in most spiritual circles, money is a dirty word. Craving dollars is an affront to spirit and decidedly uncool (except of course, for those spiritual teachers whose hands are always open for donations). Nor is astrology exempt. Whether money is dirty or evil--or spirit-inspired--or as is more likely the case, energetic but neutral, “How do I get more of it?”

In Sacred Contracts, medical intuitive Caroline Myss identifies the energetic ground of the 2nd house. (1) Though Myss is not an astrologer, she has a keen grasp of archetypal energies. The Third House. When my son was three, we'd often walk to the small park fronting the neighborhood swimming pool, so Branden could ride the “wee!” (his toddler word for "slide"). I remember the time we were joined by an elderly woman. She was chauffeuring her grandson in a little red wagon, or as Branden called it then, a "ride. " The boy was some months older than Branden, and as the boy crawled out of his wagon, my son studied him carefully. The Fourth House. When I was growing up, at least once or twice a summer my mother would command my sister and I to toil on the big hill in our backyard, weeding the dandelions and mustard grass that flourished there. Weeds must be pulled by the roots or they'll just grow back again. The Fifth House. If you've seen the movie Chocolat, you'll understand an essential problem with the 5th house.

The Fifth House

This is the house of joy and spontaneous self-expression. It's the house of risk-taking, creativity, children, and love. There's a simplicity and innocence in this house that revels in the unbridled pleasure of being alive. What could be wrong with that? This is the house about which many are curious when they schedule astrology readings: Is a romance on the horizon? In the movie, Vianne Rocher is a scandalously single mother, whose wanderlust takes her to a sleepy village in post-war France. Vianne is a wild one. There is vital life force energy in the 5th house. People often come to astrology readings because they feel stuck. Among working adults in particular, this disease may have reached epidemic proportions. At some point people realize something is missing from their life. The Sixth House. Anna Lee was one of my first clients.

I gasped when I saw her chart. She had five planets in the 6th house: the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Pluto and Uranus. What’s more, they were all in Virgo, the natural sign of this house. To my novice mind this information jumped from the page with exclamation points. But what did it mean? I'm alternately envious and suspicious of those who can make instant analyses of a chart with no knowledge of the person who’s living it. Work or health problems often appear during transits to the 6th. Over the next few months, at Saturn's grueling pace, Anna Lee struggled with her situation. " So why didn't you leave?

" Her eyes flickered. The Seventh House. Dear April, Writing about the 7th house of partnership, I don't trust myself.

The Seventh House

That is why, dear friend, I'm asking you to share my column. Not only are you happily married, you have an expressive 7th house Moon. If anyone can balance my approach, it’s you. You know how I squirm when clients request “relationship readings,” how I try talking them out of chart comparisons (“Tell me--are Jake and I a perfect match?”) You can see why I don’t trust myself. So if by soul mate one means that idyllic partner who, just like us, loves anchovy sandwiches and hates The Lord of the Rings, who appreciates fine Italian marble and is undaunted by our moods, who understands us, as no one else can, then to hunt this person down in the house of opposites is a risky proposition.

But why should this be so? The Eighth House. Writing about the 8th house isn’t easy.

The Eighth House

“After all,” says my friend Geraldine, “who truly feels comfortable talking about their experiences of love, death, and sex outside the privacy of personal conversation?” The 8th comes up in most of my astrology consultations. But usually I’ll enter through a side entrance, discovered in the course of conversation, without announcing I’m going in. I’ll step out just as gingerly. The Ninth House. I like to think of the 9th house as a happy place. Here’s where we don lederhosen, toss a knapsack on our back, and stride gaily through the wide world, singing as we go, “Valderee, Valderah, Valderee, Valderah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.”

Here we feel adventurous and free. The Tenth House. "I coulda had class.

The Tenth House

I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody-instead of a bum, which is what I am. " Who among us does not ache with Marlon Brando, as the has-been prizefighter Terry Malloy, when he utters these famous lines in On the Waterfront? Every astrological house has its secret anguish. In the 10th house it's failure, the discovery that we didn't make good on our dreams. What you make of yourself is a 10th house matter. So intimately is the 10th house tied to success or failure, we can use it to predict success in simple horary questions. The 10th shows how others see us-especially those who don't know us too well. The Eleventh House. From my cozy vantage in one of the overstuffed reading chairs at the local Barnes & Noble, I heard a strident voice, followed by a distinctly snotty laugh: "No you're not.

That's silly. You're just a little boy. " Likely it was the seven-year-old girl who'd been holding court at the children's table, organizing puzzles and, with an oozing superiority, instructing the three and four year-olds not to fold pages or run in the aisles. What poor child was she humiliating, I wondered. Then I heard the voice of my then three-year-old son: "I am too.

The Twelfth House. Over the years, I’ve received more inquiries about the 12th than any other house. The ones who write are usually in distress. Sometimes they’re new to astrology and are panicked to learn they’ve got planets here: “I’ve heard the 12th is a terrible house. Am I doomed?”