*originally published in 2014 on ladyofthestars.blog.com
Standard universal house ruler-ship starting with Aries ruling the 1st and going around the wheel counterclockwise with Taurus ruling the 2nd and ending up with Pisces ruling the 12th, never clicked with me. I didn’t know there were other possibilities that could make more sense, I just thought I wasn’t ready to understand it. Turns out, there is another possibility.
First, a little background on the concept of house ruler-ship:
Ruler-ship should not be taken to mean that one thing is exerting dictatorial control over something else, but rather that one concept is *measured* by the other. Ruled by = is measured by. There are two kinds of ruler-ship: natural and accidental. Natural ruler-ship refers to the intrinsic, universal ruler-ship of each house, the underlining design. Accidental ruler-ship refers to the individual’s natal chart and the signs on the cusp of their personal houses.
Accidental Ruler-ship: Refers to personal charts and is different for each chart cast. When we look at the sign that falls on the cusp of a house in any given chart, the ruling planet of that sign is said to rule that house in that chart, and this is accidental, not universal, ruler-ship. For example, the sign of Cancer covers the cusp of the 8th house in my chart, and the moon is the ruler of Cancer, so the moon, and the moon’s position in my natal chart is said to rule my 8th house.
Natural, aka Universal Ruler-ship: Refers to the universally accepted general meaning of each of the houses. Because there are a few different universal house ruler-ship systems, it is not *quite* universal, but whichever house ruler-ship system an astrologer chooses to follow, she/he will refer back to that universal house ruler-ship grid as a sort of key to the map of whichever personal natal chart they are reading.
Each of the 12 houses is said to be naturally ruled by its own sign and the planet associated with that sign. These universal/natural rulerships will be the main topic of this writing. Carl Tobey had some ideas worth talking about regarding universal house rulership. Where the standard universal wheel starting with Aries covering the 1st house never made sense to me, Tobey’s system made perfect sense to me immediately. At this point for me, this is just a different way of approaching the houses, not meant to replace the standard version entirely, but to be considered alongside as another layer, perhaps another lense through which to view the chart, a slightly different key to interpretation for some people. As for me, although this system makes much more sense to me and is my go-to for chart interpretation, I still consider the standard rulerships as well when delineating a chart and I go with what feels right.
Tobey believed this universal wheel was the way it was done in the past and that it was covered up and confused due to a mix of esotericism and what gets lost in translation. He had many arguments to support this, but the proof was always in my intuitive understanding of his system that didn’t come for me with standard rulership that I had been trying to learn inside of for a decade. One of his more interesting arguments that I dare someone to find further evidence on, is that Madam Blavatsky, Co-Founder of the Theosophical Society, mentions in her mystical compendium of knowledge The Secret Doctrine, that “everyone knows Capricorn rules the 10th, but it used to rule the 8th”.
In Tobey’s clockwise house ruler-ship system:
Leo rules 1st (the self, identity, ego), Virgo rules 12th (details, completion, research, problem-solving), Libra 11th (friends, love), Scorpio 10th (career, peak experiences, power), Sagittarius 9th (wisdom, expansion, courage), Capricorn 8th (father, duty, permanence, contracts, taxes, death), Aquarius 7th (co-existence, partnership, alternatives), Pisces 6th (healers, spirituality, pets, drugs), Aries 5th (children,creativity, play), Taurus 4th (family, roots, the home), Gemini 3rd (the mind, communications, siblings) and Cancer 2nd (emotions, mother, survival, food).
Sign/House Associations Detail
We’re going to flip the 1st & 5th house rulers, the 2nd & 4th, the 6th and 12th, the 7th and 11th, and the 8th and 10th house rulers to get from the standard system to Tobey’s clockwise system.
1st House………Leo/Sun House or Aries/Mars or/Pluto House?
The first house is traditionally associated in all astrologers brains as the house of Self. Identity. Ego.
Are the Self, Identity, and Ego not all Sun concepts and thus Leo concepts?
“Lets pause and consider the first house principle as it relates to Leo instead of Aries. Instead of associating the 1st house or ascendant with the head, it becomes associated with the heart to which the medical profession attributes the primary life factor. A person is considered alive or dead depending on whether the heart is still beating….” (CPT)
Leo is an extrovert. It likes to “show off” and the ascendant is the personality we show others. If someone has their Sun (their ego and self expression) in the 1st house, we say this is someone that “wants to be seen”. Whatever planets one has in the 1st house, are considered aspects of the personality that are not hidden, they are seen.
“The Aries counterclockwise system associated Leo with children and love affairs….I have never found reason to think Leo more associated with these factors than any other sign. I don’t feel Leo fits with what I have found out about the 5th house and its principles.” -CPT
2nd House……..Cancer/Moon House or Taurus/Venus House?
The 2nd house is generally excepted to be associated with Emotions, Food, Money, Liquid Assets (of which money is, and mother’s milk is), Resources, Values, Inner Resources (Emotional Resources), Nurturing and Fertility, “The kind of response we get from life and those around us”, and Survival, for which you Need the first 2 things in this list, Food & Money.
Standard astrology tries to fit Taurus, and thus Venus here in the 2nd house. Taurus is roots, family, the physical home, the earth, solid, beauty, creature comforts, building, physical structures and support. I have never heard or read or felt that Taurus is related to emotions. 2nd house is Emotions. So why would Taurus go there? Doesn’t make much sense to me, but what does make sense is Cancer/Moon being associated with the 2nd house.
Everyone agrees that the Moon represents the mother, so if we move Cancer and the moon over to universally rule the 2nd house, that means we get to move the Mother over there with them. So 4th house does not represent the mother, the 2nd house does. She who sets the standard for how we perceive “the kind of response we get from life and those around us”. Food. Sustenance. Survival. 2nd House. Cancer. Moon.
Both the standard universal house system and Tobey’s clockwise/Leo on the 1st system end up with Gemini on the 3rd and Sagittarius on the 9th, so there is no need to review these two here.
4th house………..Taurus/Venus house or Cancer/Moon house?
Standard astrology tells us Cancer and the moon rule the 4th house and it tries to associate Cancerian/Luna qualities with the 4th. But the 4th house is also standardly accepted to be associated with Roots. Family. Fixed Assets. The Home. Building. Domestic Affairs. Natural Environment, Support, and Support Structures. Support and Roots are both very earthy concepts. They are both also very Fixed concepts.
Tobey’s system puts the fixed signs on the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th house cusps, which is quite fitting considering the fixed signs are considered the cornerstones of the zodiac. Taurus is Stability. That which Doesn’t Change. Your Past. The past doesn’t change, just our perceptions of it. Venus seems far more comfortable here than the moon. The moon is emotions, not stability. Venus doesn’t ultimately make complete sense as Taurus’ primary ruler anyways, but its definitely more applicable than the moon as universal ruler of the 4th house.
Also, whereas Cancer is related to food and cooking (necessary for survival and has to happen continuously), Taurus is more concerned with the material. They like “stuff”. Sometimes stuff people don’t really *need* in the same way they need food. Cancer is better at hoarding/saving money and Taurus is better at spending it in exchange for fixed assets (of which a physical home is one).
“Cancer fits with a money house. Water flows. Money is like Water in that it flows. Land is fixed. Taurus is Fixed Earth.” CPT
5th house……….Leo/Sun house or Aries/Pluto or /Mars house?
Standard astrology says the 5th house is a Leo house, and thus a Sun ruled house. The 5th house is Creativity, Children, Babies, Play, Fun & Games, Romance, Passion and Passions, Hobbies, Recreation, Innovation, Risk-taking, Small Businesses, Pioneering, and Transformation.
It doesn’t get mentioned enough, but Aries are the alpha parents of the zodiac. They are usually instinctually good with kids and kids are at ease around them. Aries is also associated with the 0-7 age range typically.
From cafeastrology: “There’s a childlike quality to all Aries Sun people”.
Aries is also known as the athlete. I don’t know how to fit that into the first house, but athleticism does fit nicely into the 5th house.
I don’t associate any of these 5th house concepts with Leo or the Sun, but I do associate them with Aries. Aries *wants* to be first (but they are not necessarily 1st house!). Aries is the pioneer, wants to play, is passionate, and jumps into things, is a risk taker. All of these are Pluto coming through too. Pioneering and fresh starts are transformations. Pluto is known to be obsessive, aka Passionate. Transformation can be seen as taking a risk as well. We don’t talk about Pluto as the co-ruler of Aries enough, and its unique association with the sign.
The Mars principle is represented in 5th house/Aries as the sense of initiation, action, sportsmanship, the creative principle, and abundant energy.
Also, since I see Pluto as primary ruler of Aries, Mars secondary, this makes the 5th house a Pluto house, instead of a Sun house. The Sun is Self and Ego. Leo is Pride, The Star and Performance. You could fit them there if you wanted to, obviously, but they don’t make best sense there from my perspective.
6th house………Virgo/Mercury House or Pisces/Neptune/Jupiter House?
The 6th house is usually associated with Work, Health, Mental Health, Illicit Drugs, Alcohol, Addiction, Service (those who serve us along with those we serve), and those who Depend on us. Dependence. Pets.
If you search the internet for information on the 6th house, you will see the things I have mentioned above, in addition to such concepts as hygiene, routine and “the daily dealings of life: What will I wear today? Do I need a haircut? Has the dog been fed? These simple matters keep our engines humming and enable us to do the more important work of our choosing”
It will say that because it is trying to tie Virgo into the 6th house principle. One reason this doesn’t make sense to me, is because the 6th house is the end of the day, after the sun has set, when people are usually getting off from work and having a drink (Pisces!).
Tobey’s idea that Virgo might be the original ruler of the 12th house makes more sense to me. The 12th house is the first thing in the morning, the sun has just risen, the day has begun and those Virgo virtues of hygiene and work and daily chores are on one’s mind.
I like those concepts better in the 12th house than 6th, but if I/we do that, then it also makes more sense to me that those things associated with the the 12th house in standard, modern astrology, such as spirituality, meditation, and that which is unseen, I have to move to the 6th house. I have seen it work that 12th house is also that which is unseen, but its hard for me to reconcile with the fact that the sun has just risen in the 12 house and is seen! Maybe I’m getting too technical? Regardless of that, the 6th house is still way more fitting for those Neptunian concepts of Spirituality, Dreams, Mental Illness, Illusions, Meditation, Healers, Escapism, Drugs, and Pets.
Tobey presents many arguments based off planetary ruler assignation patterns, which I am not noting here. For a more complete look at this angle, I recommend reading a copy of The Astrology of Inner Space.