Category: Astrology Basics Views: 1112
Over the years many have wondered what it means when they don’t have a planet in certain signs, houses, or even quadrants. Knowing the relationship of the planets to the houses is a key to understanding how to look at a chart.
First, it would be impossible to have a planet in every house, as there are 10 traditional planets (12 with TransPluto and Chiron), and 12 houses associated with the 12 signs,. Unless the planets are spread out across all the signs, it is impossible to have a planet in every house. By the same token, it is impossible to have all the planets in one house unless they all occupy the same sign at the same time.
While this might happen for a few hours once every 10,000 years or more, it’s safe to say you’ll never know anyone with either of the two scenarios described. That means we have planets spread out in various sectors of the map, some clustered, some widespread with lots of unoccupied space between them.
The Signs Are Filters For Planetary Expression
We all have all 12 signs distributed across our 12 houses of life experience. Even if a sign is “intercepted” (where an entire sign is within a house and different signs are on both cusps around it) we still have that sign active in our lives. We all must deal with all the sign energies within us, just as we must deal with our “inner lights” we call the planets. Think of it as the sign shows a range of responses, while the planet is the actual responder which must function according to its “department of labor.”
Saturn in Leo operates in an entirely different manner than Mars in Leo. The Moon in Aries is an entirely different expression than Sun in Aries. While all signs share their traits, how those traits are expressed deals with whether our planets are healthy or unhealthy, as explained in Saturn: Spiritual Master, Spiritual Friend. Our inner planets show our personality qualities as they learn via the sign qualities of the natal and progressed positions. The outer planets show the larger social and spiritual field. Studying the transpersonal spiritual planetary sign positions is important if we want to understand the larger spiritual part to play in the collective field within which we grow and function.
The transits are ever-changing, moving in and out of various phase relationships as they enter and leave the signs. Our natal chart shows how the patterns were arranged when we were born. Our progressed chart shows how those patterns evolved in the weeks after we were born. The current transits show the patterns of the moment. Each of the inner planets makes countless aspects with the outers as they move from conjunctions to squares to oppositions to squares to conjunctions which I explain in the section in my book on “The Whole Cycle.”
Each of these cycles plays out in our chart. When we were born, the planets were in certain signs and not in others. Where the planets are show our natural means of expressing the planet’s function through those sign filters. Some of them progress into other signs, giving us a progressed sense of those energies as well. And of course in the course of a year the inner planets will move through all the signs and therefore through all our houses.
Natally, a house with one or more planets in it shows an area of specific focus, where we learn and express those planetary qualities. Our natal house positions show where we begin our journey of Self-realization, both through the house positions of our outer planet social, cultural, and transpersonal experiences as well as the house positions of our inner planet “matrix of personality.” Obviously, there are spaces between the planets, and some signs are unoccupied. How do these unoccupied signs and houses fit into our pattern of growth?
The unoccupied signs and houses show voids where we are not as familiar with the energies of that life area as others. Still, because all the houses have all the signs available to us, we learn about a sign through the planet ruling that sign. The sign on the cusp of a house shows us its ruler, and the placement of its ruler shows how we learn about that house. So even when we don’t have a planet in Cancer, we learn about that sign through our natal and progressed Moon, as well as the transiting Moon, especially when it occupies Cancer.
If Virgo is unoccupied, we learn through Mercury, as Virgo is one of the signs Mercury rules. If we don’t have a planet in Scorpio, we learn through Mars, as Scorpio is one of the signs Mars rules. Even an unoccupied house is still revealing its part in our lives through the sign on the cusp and the movements of the ruler of that sign. My 6th house has Capricorn on the cusp, and I have no planet in Capricorn. Still, I've had to learn about work, service, and health through Saturn, both internally (natal/progressed) and externally (transits.)
Examining the empty signs and houses in a chart shows us why we’re not familiar with certain energies, or may not know how to respond to life’s challenges represented by our experience of transits through our houses. But because we all have a sign on each house, we have a gateway to understanding our natural orientation to those life experiences.
There Are No Permanently Empty Houses
While the empty house is always a source for new discoveries about how to respond in that area of life, we have to remember nothing has ever been permanently unoccupied. For example, I have no natal planets in Gemini, but I have learned a lot about that sign through my progressed Venus, Sun, and Mars in that sign. I have no planets in Scorpio, Sagittarius, or Capricorn spanning my 4th, 5th, and 6th houses, but I’ve learned about these from two sources: a) my progressed Moon, and b) transits through that sector.
My natal references to these sign/house experiences are of course my Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Over my life, when my 4/5/6 quadrant was not occupied by a transit or the progressed Moon, I would still have to use my natal planet responses modified by both progression and various aspects made to them throughout my life. When the empty quadrant was occupied by my progressed Moon, I was filling in a lot of direct internal experience about those life areas as interpreted by my level of emotional maturity.
When the empty quadrant is transited every year by the inner planets, I get experience in those areas of life through the rulers of Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, and Libra (Sun, Mercury, and Venus) with a boost by the Moon each month when it moves through those signs. When Jupiter and Saturn transited that span, larger social, cultural, and spiritual forces were a factor in what I had to deal with in those areas. Again, the planetary departments of labor are at work here, and the outer planets take longer to transit a house than the inner planets.
My empty 4/5/6 spans 1 Scorpio through 13 Aquarius, with Scorpio, Sag, and Cap unoccupied. Jupiter crossed that span between October 2017 and December 2020, giving me a series of Jupiter experiences in those parts of my life. Saturn was in my unoccupied span between October 2012 and (for all practical purposes) December 2020. Those we times when the social, cultural, and spiritual lessons with Jupiter and Saturn were the focus on my life.
Houses with our natal Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto show life areas where as children “forces beyond our control” have been at work bringing about the spiritual lessons we need to grow. Houses where transiting Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto occupy show life areas where “forces beyond our control” in the outer world are shaping ALL of us. That’s why we can’t take them personally, even if we are challenged to respond spiritually as best we can.
We Always Have A Natural Response
I regard unoccupied houses and signs as where we learn what we weren’t born with. We always have a natural response to any house, whether occupied or unoccupied, via the sign on the house cusp. My unoccupied 12th has Cancer on the cusp, so I have the Moon as the “first responder” for all 12th house matters. My unoccupied 5th has Sagittarius on the cusp, so I have Jupiter as the “first responder” for all 5th house matters.
In traditional astrology, the sign on a house cusp indicated the ruler of the house, but a planet in a house was considered the “Lord” of the house. That’s because the planet is the primary responder, while the ruler of a (sign) tendency is a secondary responder.
An example of this is my Saturn in Virgo in the 2nd. Saturn is the lord of the house, while Mercury is the ruler of the house. Of course this means Mercury is the dispositor (ruler) of Saturn, but that doesn’t mean Mercury alters Saturn’s nature. It’s more like Saturn is familiar with that facet of Mercury’s nature, and is comfortable expressing those qualities to fulfill its function.
(On the other hand, it is also equally true to say that if you’re having a hard time with one of your planetary functions, you can approach it through the planet ruling that sign. But that’s another article for another time.)
We’ll close today’s lesson with a reminder that all experiences, internal or external, are grist for the mill of Soul. Whether we’re familiar with a life area or not, whether we’re comfortable with our responses or not, we’re all on a journey of Self-discovery, and the houses show us how we prove our skills in mastering life on our highest terms. An empty house is certainly not irrelevant in our growth, and may in fact be exactly what we need to become more well-rounded in those areas of life. A void demands to be filled. That’s the value of empty houses.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Robert Wilkinson. Copying this article to other blogs is strictly prohibited. It is copyright protected.
© Copyright 2020 Robert Wilkinson - https://www.aquariuspapers.com
About the author:
Robert wilkinson An internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca. with persmission from Robert Wilkinson.
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