Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Empty Houses


July 16, 2004



I have a question about general chart interpretation. I was looking at my chart wheel and noticed that I have several houses that don't have any planets in them (4,5,7,8,11,12). How does an empty house affect a person's chart and what does it mean for those houses in general?





Dear Nan,

This is a really common question. Charts come in many 'standard patterns' and I believe that Marc Edmund Jones has written quite a bit about some of the more common ones.


Now, you're saying you have empty houses, but really what you could say is that you have concentrations in certain houses.


In general, in my own experience, charts where there are concentrations of planets in specific houses make for interesting people with strong focal points of interest and activity. The drawback is that when a transit comes along, you can get a lot of very concentrated action, even over a long period of time. Let's say you have five planets in Virgo; Pluto in Sagittarius would do a lot with those planets over a period of years and life would be pretty intense. Look for how this might work in your chart.


Now, in terms of how to work with an empty house. Remember that while a house may be empty, there is always a sign on the cusp. The longer I practice astrology, the more important I see these house cusps as being, setting the theme for the house. Someone with Aries on the 5th house cusp is going to live quite differently than someone with Capricorn on the 5th, they will have distinctly different experiences from childhood, and so on. This is regardless of what planet may fall IN the house, which will modify the story.


Let's say you're trying to interpret your 7th house, which you describe as empty. The first thing to do is to look at what sign is on the cusp of the 7th (the descendent) and find out what the planetary rulers are. For the sake of discussion, let's say it's Pisces. Pisces has two planets associated with it: Jupiter and Neptune. Those planets exist somewhere in the chart, and wherever they fall, they will tell you something about how you process your 7th house (partnerships and relationships).


The house, sign and aspects of Jupiter will fill in this story, as will the house, sign and aspects of Neptune. This is actual chart interpretation, taken another layer deeper than just looking at what planet is in a house or sign.


It is well worth considering the relationship between the planet or planets that rules your rising sign, and the planet or planets that rule your descendent. What kind of aspects are they making? This will give you some clues about how you tend to seek and experience relationships.


One last point. When you begin to add planets to the chart, you will find that no house is really empty. By add planets, I mean getting your chart cast with extra points such as asteroids, centaur planets and what are called TNOs -- planets beyond Neptune or transneptunian objects. Yes, these planets take some time to understand, there are few decent books, and few astrologers who are capable of reading them creatively. However, I feel that it is both worth the effort, as well as one of the privileges of being a modern astrologer.


I suggest you start with the four major asteroids, and Chiron. Adding five points to the chart, all of which are very well developed by astrology and should be easy to suss out the basic meaning of, will provide you with much food for thought. If those turn you on, you can go further.


I recommend two books for exploring minor planets, which most astrology programs will calculate, and which you can find free at The first book is Mechanics of the Future by Martha Lang Wescott, which covers asteroids, as well as Saturn, Chiron and the Centaurs: To the Edge and Beyond by Melanie Reinhart. Both are fairly easy to get from any bookseller that specializes in astrology books.