House systems (1) from December 2020

I wanted to do a post on my checkered past with astrological house systems:

In the seventies I used Campanus houses because my aunt and uncle were professional astrologers and that’s what they used. I was not yet an astrologer in the seventies.

In the eighties, I decided I wanted to cast my own charts. This was a bit before the time astrological software was commonly used, so with the aid of my trusty copy of The Only Way to Learn Astrology (Vol 2) by Marion D. March and Joan McEvers, I learned the math for casting charts by hand.  March & McEvers recommended using Koch houses, and the Table of Koch houses book came with a handy form by Robert Hand that one used to do the calculations.  Hand said he liked Koch because it put his Mars in the fifth house, rather than the sixth! Since it did the same for my Mars, and because I figured if Koch was good enough for Robert Hand, it was good enough for me, I started using Koch houses.

Then the 90s came and astrological software made using house systems as easy as pulling down a menu.  I started using Placidus because that’s what most of my friends were using.

The readings I got from astrologers who read my chart using Campanus were accurate and spot on.  When I started reading charts myself using Koch and Placidus, aside from sometimes putting planets in different houses, I got consistently good results.

Then, about five or six years ago I was having coffee sitting in a Parisian café with my friend Lynn Bell, who was telling me about her work with the planetary joys and the good and bad daemons of the eleventh and twelfth astrological houses. At that point in time, I didn’t fully understand what a planetary joy was, so Lynn helpfully explained that it was a concept coming out of traditional astrology. I figured I had better find out more about this branch of astrology…

So I downloaded a workshop by Demetra George entitled “Traditional Astrology 101”.  Looking back, I think it should have been called “Ancient Astrology 101”, since what it covered was Hellenistic astrology, but I found it fascinating and eventually enrolled in Chris Brennan’s Hellenistic astrology course, which covers the subject exhaustively. I also took some workshops with Kelly Surtees and Austin Coppock, all of whom used whole sign houses in their work, so I started using whole sign houses, too. 

I got good results using whole sign houses.  After completing his full Hellenistic Astrology course, I took my first introductory horary course with Brennan, and whole sign houses were used.  Horary is an area of astrology where you one can’t fudge around.  You either get it right or you don’t in horary, it scary that way for the astrologer. I got consistently good results using WSH in horary as well as in natal charts.

About twenty years ago, I apprenticed with a Welsh magician and studied ceremonial magic with him, eventually joining a lodge based in the UK. Through Brennan’s Astrology Podcast, I became aware of astrological magic and a magician who had been practicing it for many years, Christopher Warnock. My own work in magic only touched on astrology, so about two years ago I began my studies with Warnock, who specializes in the astrology of the Renaissance and all things Lilly! It is normal when we study with an astrologer that we use their house system, so I started working heavily with Regiomontanus. After studying magic for about a year with Warnock, I embarked upon and completed his full horary course; and it being astrology of the renaissance, we worked with Regiomontanus houses.  I got good results from this system also.

The point I’m making here is that I got good results from using a wide variety of house systems.  What gives? Is one better than the other? Why would I use one over another? Is deciding which system to use a matter of fashion or taste? Or peer pressure?

Well, of course it could be any of those things. But one likes to think, when we move past our teachers and start thinking for ourselves, that there might be a deeper reason for choosing one house system over another than doing so because it is what another astrologer used, be this astrologer a modern one or one of yesteryear.

I have ideas concerning how to go about doing this that I would like to share, which I will do the next time I post.