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Okay, I admit it: I picked the title for this entry because it’s a lot more exciting sounding than “Derivative Houses: An Under-Appreciated Astrological Technique.” But if you are learning astrology, the Derivative Houses Technique really is a great way to bring depth to your understanding of a birth chart, and demonstrates just how much information you can get from a nice, accurate birth chart.

“Derivative Houses” is a technique that is often used in horary astrology — the art of interpreting a “birth chart” for the moment a question is asked in order to determine the answer. It’s also useful in natal astrology, as per this example where I wrote about how to find more information on your career strengths based on the Derivative Houses principle.

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Seriously: it’s THAT good.

Here’s how it works:

The Third House of a birth chart represents siblings (among other things), the Seventh House represents your partner (among other things), and the Ninth House represents Higher Education (among other things). So… to oversimplify… someone with Uranus in the Third House, Mars in the Seventh, and Saturn in the Ninth might have an eccentric sister, athletic (or cranky) spouse, and trouble paying for (or completing) college.

Derivative Houses is a technique where the birth chart is “turned” so that the House ruling the subject in question becomes the First House. So, we turn the chart so that the Third House becomes the “First House.”

And, by the way? Pitch out that Placidus House chart of yours and go Whole Sign for this. Yes, even if your ascendant is 29 degrees Aquarius, ALL of Aquarius is your First House. Yes, really. Whole Sign Houses work. Deal with it.

Now, re-count those House numbers, starting with the new First House as “one.” What used to be the Seventh House now becomes the Fifth House (the Seventh being five Houses away from the Third). There’s Mars… and there’s your eccentric sister’s athletic son and/or romantic taste for jerks. Saturn, which was in your Ninth, is now your sister’s Seventh… and sure enough, she ended up marrying one of those jerks she was attracted to and can’t get rid of the guy.

Oh well. At least she got a future Olympian out of the deal.

Try playing with the concept yourself, with your own birth chart and those of people you know well. You may find that the Sixth House Neptune that’s always messing with your immune system also explains why your sister (Third House) had a weirder relationship with your Mom than you did… the Sixth House being the Fourth House from the Third.

Your Third House Uranus is six Houses (Sixth House: daily details and work habits) from your Tenth… which might explain why you’re always having trouble with the software and procedures at work. And that Ninth House Saturn is the Twelfth House from the Tenth… so you might have a hard time getting work with the government.

Derivative Houses can add real depth to the interpretation of a birth chart, making you a better astrologer. Which, if you think about it, might be even better than being a Kung Fu master.

Well… it’s safer, anyway.

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