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Traditional Rulerships
of the Planets

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mars Mars
the sun The Sun
venus Venus
mercury Mercury
the moon The Moon

The Life & Work of William Lilly

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William Lilly

Of the Twelve Houses, their Nature and Signification

by William Lilly

Extracted from
Christian Astrology,
published 1647

PDF file View in pdf format (or go here to view the whole of books I & II of Lilly's text in modern format)

The page numbers indicated refer to the original manuscript

Quicklinks to the houses:

House 1 House 2 House 3 House 4 House 5 House 6 House 7 House 8 House 9 House 10 House 11 House 12

Of the First House and its Signification.

CA., p.50
It hath signification of the life of man, of the stature, colour, complexion, form and shape of him that propounds the Question, or is born; in Eclipses and Great Conjunctions, and upon the Sun his annual ingress into Aries; it signifieth the common people, or general state of that Kingdom where the figure is erected.
And as it is the first house, it represents the head and face of man, so that if either Saturn, Mars or South Node be in this house, either at the time of a Question, or at the time of birth, you shall observe.....
CA., p.51
.....some blemish in the face, or in that member appropriate to the sign that then is upon the cusp of the house; as if Aries be in the Ascendant, the mark, mole, or scar is without fail in the head or face; and if few degrees of the sign ascend, the mark is in the upper part of the head; if the middle of the sign be on the cusp, the mole, mark or scar is in the middle of the face, or near it; if the later degrees ascend, the face is blemished near the chin, towards the neck. This I have found true in hundreds of examples.
Of colours, it hath the white; that is, if a planet be in this house that hath signification of white, the complexion of the party is more pale, white and wan; or if you enquire after the colour of the clothes of any man, if his significator be in the first house, and in a sign corresponding, the party's apparel is white or grey, or somewhat near that colour, so also if the question be for cattle; when their significators are found in this house, it denotes them to be of that colour or near it: The house is masculine.
The cosignificators of this house are Aries and Saturn; for as this house is the first house, so is Aries the first sign, and Saturn the first of the planets, and therefore when Saturn is but moderately well fortified in this house, and in any benevolent aspect of Jupiter, Venus, Sun or Moon, it promises a good sober constitution of body, and usually long life: Mercury doth also joy in this house, because it represents the head, and he the tongue, fancy and memory: When he is well dignified and posited in this house, he produceth good orators: It is called the Ascendant, because when the Sun commeth to the cusp of this house, he ascends, or then ariseth, and is visible in our horizon.

Questions concerning the Second House.

From this house is required judgement concerning the estate or fortune of him that asks the question, of his wealth or poverty, of all movable goods, money lent, of profit or gain, loss or damage; in suits of law, it signifies a man's friends or assistants; in private duels, the querent's second; in an Eclipse or Great Conjunction, the poverty or wealth of.....
CA., p.52
.....the people; in the Sun his entrance into Aries, it represents the ammunition, allies and support the Common-wealth shall have; it imports their magazines.
It represents in man the neck, and hinder part of it towards the shoulders; of colours the green.
So that if one make demand concerning any thing specified above in this house, you must look for signification from hence: It's a feminine house and Succeedent, called in some Latin authors Anaphora. [1]
It hath cosignificators Jupiter and Taurus; for if Jupiter be placed in this house, or be lord hereof, it's an argument of an estate or fortune; Sun and Mars are never well placed in this house, either of them show dispersion of substance, according to the capacity and quality of him that is either born or asks the questions.

The Third House.

Hath signification of brethren, sisters, cousins or kindred, neighbours, small journeys, or inland-journeys, oft removing from one place to another, epistles, letters, rumours, messengers: It doth rule the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.
Of colours, it governeth the red and yellow, or croceal or sorrel colour [2] : It hath cosignificators, of the signs Gemini, of the planets Mars; which is one reason why Mars in this house unless joined with Saturn is not very unfortunate. It is a cadent house, and is the joy of the Moon; for if she be posited therein, especially in a moveable sign, it's an argument of much travel, trotting and trudging, or of being seldom quiet. The house is masculine.

The Fourth House.

Giveth judgement of fathers in general and ever of his father that enquires, or that is born; of lands, houses, tenements, inheritances, tillage of the earth, treasures hidden, the determination or end of anything; towns, cities or castles, besieged or not besieged; all ancient dwellings, gardens, fields, pastures, orchards; the quality and nature of the.....
CA., p.53
.....grounds one purchaseth, whether vineyards, cornfield, &c., whether the ground be woody, stony or barren.
The sign of the fourth denoteth the town, the lord thereof, the governor. It ruleth the breast, lungs.
Of colours, the red: Its cosignificator is Cancer, and of planets the Sun; we call it the Angle of the Earth, or Immum Coeli; it is feminine, and the North Angle: In Nativities or Questions, this fourth house represents fathers, so doth the Sun by day and Saturn by night; yet if the Sun be herein placed, he is not ill, but rather shows the father to be of a noble disposition, &c.

The Fifth House.

By this house we judge of children, of embassadors, of the state of a woman with child, of banquets, of ale-houses, taverns, plays, messengers or agents for republics; of the wealth of the father, the ammunition of a town besieged; if the woman with child shall bring forth man or woman; of the health or sickness of his son or daughter that asks the Question.
It ruleth the stomach, liver, heart, sides and back, and is masculine.
Of colours, black and white, or honey-colour, and is a succeedent house. Its cosignificators are Leo and Venus, who doth joy in this house in regard it's the house of pleasure, delight and merriment; it's wholly unfortunate by Mars or Saturn, and they therein show disobedient children and untoward.

The Sixth House.

It concerneth men and maid-servants, galley slaves, hogs, sheep, goats, hares, conies,[3] all manner of lesser cattle, and profit and loss got thereby; sickness, its quality and cause, principal humour offending, curable or not curable, whether the disease be short or long; day-labourers, tenants, farmers, shepherds, hogherds, neatherds,[4] warreners;[5] and it signifieth uncles, or the father's brothers and sisters.
It ruleth the inferior part of the belly, and intestines even.....
CA., p.54 the arse: this house is a feminine and cadent house, unfortunate, as having no aspect to the Ascendant.
Of colours, black colour. Mars rejoyceth in this house, but his cosignificator is of the Signs Virgo, of planets Mercury; we usually find that Mars and Venus in conjunction in this house, are arguments of a good Physician.

The Seventh House.

It giveth judgement of marriage, and describes the person inquired after, whether it be man or woman; all manner of love questions, our public enemies; the defendant in a law-suit, in war the opposing party; all quarrels, duels, law-suits; in Astrology the artist himself; in physic the physician; thieves and thefts; the person stealing, whether man or woman; wives, sweethearts; their shape, description, condition, nobly or ignobly born. In an annual ingress whether war or peace may be expected: of victory, who over-comes, and who worsted; fugitives or run-aways; banished and out-lawed men.
It hath cosignificator Libra and Moon, Saturn or Mars unfortunate herein show ill in marriage.
Of colour, a dark black colour.
It ruleth the haunches, and the navel to the buttocks; and is called the Angle of the West; and is masculine.

The Eighth House.

The estate of men deceased, death, its quality and nature; the wills, legacies and testaments of men deceased; dowry of the wife, portion of the maid, whether much or little, easy to be obtained or with difficulty. In duels it represents the adversary's second; in lawsuits the defendant's friends. What kind of death a man shall die. It signifies fear and anguish of mind. Who shall enjoy or be heir to the deceased.
It rules the privy-parts. Of colours, the green and black.
Of signs it hath Scorpio for cosignificator, and Saturn, the haemorrhoids, the stone,[6] strangury [7] , poisons, and bladder are ruled.....
CA., p.55 this house; and [it] is a succeedent house, and feminine.

The Ninth House.

By this house we give judgement of voyages or long journeys beyond seas; of religious men, or clergy of any kind, whether bishops or inferior ministers; dreams, visions, foreign countries; of books, learning, church livings, or benefices, advowsons [8]; of the kindred of one's wife [9], & sic e contrario [10].
Of colours it hath the green and white.
Of man's body it ruleth the fundament [11], the hips and thighs. Sagittarius and Jupiter are cosignificators of this house; for if Jupiter be herein placed it naturally signifies a devout man in his religion, or one modestly given; I have oft observed when the Dragon's Tail, or Mars or Saturn have been unfortunately placed in this house; the Querent hath either been little better than an atheist or a desperate sectarist: The Sun rejoyceth to be in this house, which is masculine, and cadent.

The Tenth House.

Commonly it personifies kings, princes, dukes, earls, judges, prime officers, commanders in chief, whether in armies or towns; all sorts of magistracy and officers in authority; mothers, honour, preferment, dignity, office, lawyers; the profession or trade any one useth; it signifies kingdoms, empires, dukedoms, counties.
It hath of colours red and white, and ruleth the knees and hams [12].
Its called the Medium coeli or Midheaven, and is feminine. Its cosignificators are Capricorn and Mars; either Jupiter or the Sun do much fortunate this house when they are posited therein, Saturn or South Node usually deny honour, as to persons of quality, or but little esteem in the world to a vulgar person, not much joy in his profession, trade or mystery, if a mechanic.

The Eleventh House.

CA., p.56
It doth naturally represent friends and friendship, hope, trust, confidence, the praise or dispraise of any one; the fidelity or falseness of friends; as to kings it personates their favourites, councillors, servants, their associates or allies, their money, exchequer or treasure; in war their ammunition and soldiery; it represents courtiers, &c., in a Common-wealth governed by a few of the nobles and commons, it personates their assistance in council: as in London the tenth house represents the lord Major; the eleventh the Common-council; the Ascendant the generality of the commoners of the said city.
Of members it ruleth the legs to the ankles. Of colours, it ruleth the saffron or yellow.
It hath of the signs Aquarius, and Sun of the planets, for cosignificators; Jupiter doth especially rejoice in this house; it's a succeedent house, and masculine, and in virtue is equivalent either to the seventh or fourth houses.

The Twelfth House.

It hath signification of private enemies, of witches, great cattle - as horses, oxen, elephants, &c.; sorrow, tribulation, imprisonments, all manner of affliction, self-undoing, &c., and of such men as maliciously undermine their neighbours, or inform secretly against them.
It hath cosignificators Pisces and Venus; Saturn doth much joy in that house, for naturally Saturn is author of mischief; and it ruleth in man's body the feet.
In colour it presents the green.
It's a cadent house, feminine, and vulgarly sometimes called cataphora, as all cadent houses may be.

This is the true character of the several houses according to the Ptolomeian doctrine, and the experience myself have had for some years: I must confess the Arabians have made several other divisions of the houses, but I could never in my practice find any verity in them, wherefore I say nothing of them.

Notes & Annotations by Deborah Houlding:

  1 ] 'Rising up'. Firmicus refers to the house by this term, where it is translated as meaning 'rising up from the underworld' a reference to the diurnal movement of the houses, which takes the 2nd house away from the lower midheaven (connected with the underworld) and up towards the ascendant.
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  2 ] The word 'Croceal' or 'saffron' describes an orange-yellow colour; the word takes its root from the colour of an autumn crocus, also known as a meadow saffron. Sorrel describes a light, orangy-brown colour.
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  3 ] Rabbits
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  4 ] Cowherds; a 'neat' is a domestic, ox-like beast.
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  5 ] A man in charge of a rabbit warren; sometimes extended to any gamekeeper. The word 'warren' in Anglo-Saxon England described an enclosure where small game animals or birds were kept for breeding.
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  6 ] Gall stone.
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  7 ] Painful excretion of urine.
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  8 ] An ecclesiastical term meaning 'the right of presentation to a vacant benefice'.
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  9 ] Because it is the 3rd house from the 7th, which represents the spouse.
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  10 ] '[and] so on the contrary'
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  11 ] Buttocks.
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  12 ] The 'ham', 'hamm' or 'hamme' describes the back of the leg above the knee.
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Horary Astrology