Angular, Succeedent, Cadent
Most students are aware that houses are defined as angular (1st, 4th, 7th & 10th), succeedent (2nd, 5th, 8th, & 11th) and cadent (3rd, 6th, 9th & 12th), as shown in the diagram below.
The houses are not all equal in strength and power. If a planet is located in an angular house, it is much more forceful in its effects than it would be in a cadent house. On page 48 of Christian Astrology Lilly writes:
The angles are most powerful, the succeedents are next in virtue, the cadents poor, and of little efficacy: the succeedent houses follow the angles, the cadents come next [after] the succeedents. In force and virtue they stand so in order:
1 10 7 4 11 5 9 3 2 8 6 12
The meaning whereof is this, that two planets equally dignified, the one in the Ascendant, the other in the tenth house, you shall judge the planet in the Ascendant somewhat of more power to effect what he is significator of, than he that is in the tenth: do so in the rest as they stand in order, remembering that planets in angles do more forcibly show their effects.
The astrological angles - ascendant, midheaven (MC), descendant and lower midheaven (IC) - are the most potent and influential areas in any chart. Any planet that is in conjunction with an angle will have a marked influence that resonates throughout the chart and greatly colours its overall meaning.
Because of their primary importance the angles are often referred to as the 'cardinal points' and they relate directly to the cardinal directions east, south, west and north.
The word 'cardinal' comes from the Latin cardo meaning 'hinge', indicating something of primary importance. Ancient astrologers viewed the cardinal points as the great axis that held the earth in position; thus Manilius, writing in the first century BC, asserts:
These points are charged with exceptional powers, and the influence they exert on fate is the greatest known to our science, because the celestial circle is totally held in position by them as by eternal supports.
Angular houses (sometimes called cardinal houses) are those that begin with the angles. When a planet is placed in an angular house, it is performing more powerfully. Whatever it represents will show its force in a swift and dynamic fashion.
The succeedent houses are so named because the planets within them succeed by the diurnal movement of the heavens to the cardinal position. These planets experience a position of mediocre strength.
The word 'cadent' means 'fallen' and is the root of the word cadaver meaning corpse. A planet in a cadent house has been carried by the diurnal movement away from the cardinal position, symbolising something that has moved from a position of power into a condition of weakness, or a fall from grace.
The angular houses represent our own 'seats of power', places of familiarity and control. The further the distance between a planet and the angles the less potency it possesses and the more alienation it experiences in its environment. Originally, all of the cadent houses had some representation over foreign places and situations. The lack of familiarity was not just a denial of strength, it was also indicative of fear and danger.
Throughout Christian Astrology Lilly refers his judgements to the fact that planets are angular, succeedent and cadent. In timing of events, angular planets bring about a swift result, succeedent planets perform more slowly and cadent planets are so ineffective that often they don't perform at all or they take so long that you would despair of the situation first. You can understand the relevancy of this in a chart set up to enquire whether a missing person will be found safe and well. If there is a good application from angular houses you can expect to hear positive news or make a reunion very rapidly. If the planets are detrimented and the aspects are bad, the news may not be so good but the situation will still resolve itself quickly. If the significators were cadent however, there would be a long period of feeling as if nothing was happening and it may be that the querent is never able to fully resolve the situation. In lost property charts significators in angular houses are a strong indication of recovery, in cadent houses it is likely that the object cannot be recovered.
Angular planets are powerful, so the people or matters that they signify are strong and attract a lot of attention. If representing a person, such a planet would indicate someone with the power to 'get things done'. If it is signifying a disease, the disease has the power to do damage, which is why in illness charts it is better to find the ruler of the 6th house cadent. In commercial charts, the 10th house indicates the price of the transaction, so if the 10th house ruler is angular, the price will be high and attract a lot of interest, if cadent the price will be low.
The table below highlights some of the principles of angularity in horary judgments. Remember that these are general principles that only form part of the overall judgement.
|The Use of Angularity of Significators in Interpretation
|In determining strength in any situation
|In discovering lost objects or missing persons
|Indoors or very close to the querent
|A further distance, but not too far away
|A long way off
|Likelihood of discover
|Little hope of recovery
|In timing of events (from application of significators)
|Not so soon (weeks)
|In matters of price
|In matters of health/illness and death (for querent's significator)
|Strong vitality, denies possibility of death
|Reasonable, chance either way
|Suggests a lack of vitality and argues in favour of illness or death
© Deborah Houlding 2003