12 Houses & Their Significations

This is where the basics of astrology start. The 360 zodiac divided equally into 12 divisions of 30 degrees each. Each division is called a sign. Starting from Aries and to Pisces. Each sign has a ruler (planet) and some planets have a dual ownership (of 2 signs)


‘Planet’ in vedic astrology stands for a heavenly body in consideration. Not all of them are real planets by the Physics definition. Sun and Moon are taken as planets and not as a star or satellite respectively.

The 9 main planets considered in vedic astrology are – Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Venus & Rahu and Ketu. The last 2 are not physical entities. These are imaginary points in space where the axis of moon and sun (relative to earth) overlap. These two entities are hence mathematical calculations as opposed to the other 7 objects which are observable entities in space. Rahu and Ketu effect a horoscope and individual strong enough to be considered as independent planets themselves. These are by definition always 180 degrees from each other.


Next step is the 12 houses. Each house represents/ rule over multiple things in a person’s life. These houses are called as ‘Bhaavs’.


Regarding ownership, when a planet rules 2 signs, one of its signs is its main or more important sign and the other is the lesser one. This is a relative concept, regardless of which the planet involved presides over both the signs. The more important of these is called the ‘Mooltrikona’ sign (MK in short from here on)

Rahu and Ketu do not own any signs as they are not physical entities. However they are co-rulers of some signs as mentioned later. They also act as ‘shadow planets’ implying they mirror the effects of planets they sit close to and signs they sit in.


Signs & their ownership-


Aries – Mars (MK sign)

Taurus – Venus

Gemini – Mercury

Cancer – Moon

Leo – Sun

Virgo – Mercury (MK sign) & Rahu (co-ruler)

Libra – Venus (MK sign)

Scorpio – Mars and Ketu (co-ruler)

Sagittarius – Jupiter (MK sign)

Capricorn – Saturn

Aquarius – Saturn (MK sign) and Rahu (co-ruler)

Pisces – Jupiter


The 12 Bhaavs (houses) represent hundreds of things each. Hence this list below is not comprehensive but aims at pointing to at least some important significations of each of the bhaavs-


1st House – The person themselves, head, hair on head, skull, brain, skin, general health/immunity/ vitality, overall wellbeing and success, place of birth, general characteristics of person physically, general characteristics of a person mentally (behavior wise), thinking and the mind, Power or status (or lack of it), starting or beginning of events etc.

2nd Bhaav – Primary house of Wealth, assets (savings/ checking/ brokerage/ retirement accounts etc.), material possessions like clothing, jewelry, household articles, family of the person, face, mouth, tounge area of the body and things from them – speech, ‘Maraka’ place (killer place, or house that has potential to end life), right eye for male and left eye for female, general eyesight (both eyes) also signified from here, very basic education (say upto Grade 3)


3rd Bhaav – Siblings (especially younger ones), Neighbors and surrounding people, Courage, Hobbies, Valor, Throat and Neck area and things we do from them – Communication, Singing/ dancing, Things used for communication – Media, Journalism, Internet, IT, computers, phones, Writing articles/ books, also handwriting, Short distance travel, Short term goals (which is why hobbies as well), things we do from hand and arm involvement, Zeal to work and activity levels, sexual prowess and activity, ears and hearing.


4th Bhaav – Mother, motherland, vehicles, fixed property (Land, houses, real estate), agricultural or other real estate, Emotions and happiness, Luxuries, Place of residence, Chest and Lungs area, Heart, Upper spine, Private life and feelings (as opposed to 10th house of public life), comfort (or lack of it), peace of mind, High school level education (say upto grade XII)


5th Bhaav – Creativity and anything we create, children (an important thing we create), imagination, emotions (especially romantic ones), memory, fluid intelligence (as opposed to crystallized intelligence of 9th house), speculation (gambling, stock markets etc), competition, past life good Karma, House of wealth (laxmi), diplomacy, royal or powerful positions, fame, college or higher education, Stomach, Lower heart area, Liver, Spleen, Lower back, kidneys


6th Bhaav – Anything that opposes us – enemies, short term or acute sickness, injuries, surgeries, debt, litigation/ courts, people who compete with us, break of relationships, day to day grind or work, agony, physical pain, service and servants, theft and thieves, animals, fire, diseases (especially acute), hygiene and medicine, Critical thoughts and being critical of others, Pancreas, small intestine, lower waist level, lower back, urinary bladder, kidneys, pregnancy for a female.


7th Bhaav – Relationships, how we relate to people, legal contracts, Business, partnerships, marriage, spouse, married life, foreign places (opposite of 1st bhaav of birthplace), foreign residence or a residence far from birth town, external sexual organs, sexuality, sexual habits, large intestine and anal area. ‘Maraka’ place (killer place, or house that has potential to end life)


8th Bhaav – Transformations, obstacles, turnarounds in life, sudden events, tragic accidents, serious accidents and injuries, deep emotions and turmoil, death and death like events, denegerate habits like addictions to drugs, alcohol, smoking, hidden things, occult/ metaphysics and interest in same, deep research or deep dive analysis of any area (trying to uncover hidden things), regenerate habits – detachment from materialism or success, loans or unearned money like legacies, inheritance, Change of lifestyle/ residence/ job or other activity, mental anguish and despair/ hopelessness, internal sexual organs, anal area, testis area for males, Chronic or long term disease, incurable disease, terminal sickness. Death.


9th Bhaav – Father, Guru, Boss/ employer, Destiny, luck, Higher education, Higher education institutes, universities, temples, research, crystallized intelligence – this implies belief/ religion, spirituality, meditation, long distance travel, foreign travel, good deeds of previous lives, Blessings and divine help, House of wealth (Laxmi), abstract thinking, crossing intellectual boundaries into new cultures/ beliefs/ faith, foreign residence, publishing, import-export, Hips, thighs, tailbone area


10th Bhaav – Career, job, status in life, Public life, external manifestation of our work, Fame, prestige/ honor, rise in life, Karma (our actions), energy levels at work, Image at work, Government, recognition from Government, Powerful positions like politicians/ CEOs/ Director of institutes, Management related positions, Knees and middle portion of legs


11th Bhaav – Gains, Income, Rewards from work/ job, promotions, wealth house (especially fluid wealth), long term desires/ goals and their fulfillment, elder siblings, ears and hearing, social circle, friends, social interaction, desires and ambitions, recovery from disease, ankles and lower feet area, prize or recognition from authorities/ Government.


12th Bhaav – Loss, expenses, letting go, isolation, imprisonment, loss of movement (hospitalization), loss of freedom (imprisonment), deep emotions, grief/ sadness, hidden life including sleep & sexual/ bedroom activity, foreign residence, far off-isolated places, dreams, meditation and meditative state, spirituality, lack of materialism, Moksha, long distance travel and settlement, hidden strengths and weaknesses, hidden enemies, intuition/ psychic visions, feet, left eye for males and right eye for females,  hospitalization, hard to diagnose diseases, sleep related diseases like insomnia, somnambulism, etc.



So above are some important things that come to mind regarding each bhaav, as I said this list is not comprehensive by any means and each bhaav might represent dozens of other things in a native’s life.


Also important is to note that the 3rd and 8th bhaavs are the bhaavs of ‘Jeeva Shakti’ (Life force) and 12th bhaav is a bhaav of loss or ending. Hence 12th to any bhaav is the loss of that bhaav. Thus the 2nd and 7th bhaavs (being 12th to the 3rd and 8th bhaavs respectively) are ‘Maraka’ or killer houses. Similarly as 9th house is house of good luck and destiny, 12th to it or 8th bhaav is the bhaav of destruction and bad luck.


With many other caveats, safe to initially assume that houses 1, 5 & 9 are good houses which give health, wealth, blessings, good luck, education/ wisdom, status etc.


1,4,7 and 10 are called ‘Kendra’ or in the Center or important houses as they rule over most of the vital things in our day to day lives


Houses 6,8 & 12 are called ‘dusthanas’ (or bad houses) as they represent things which oppose us and give us agony, losses, grief and pain.


Another way to look at bhaavs is in respect to our relatives. Example the 9th is the father. Hence a person’s 10th house will be the 2nd house for the father and the person’s 1st house will be the 5th house for the father, etc.


After this top level approach to signs and houses. Next I will write about the basic significations of the planets themselves, after which one can start running some gears in their heads. For example Sun signifies father among hundreds of other things. Since 9th house also signifies father, when sun rules or sits in the 9th house in a horoscope, the effect of father are now very strongly being represented by Sun.

57 Responses to 12 Houses & Their Significations

  1. jps says:

    Dear sir, It’s a good article,just connect this with the yoga,mudras theraphy,homeopathy, ayurveda, palmistry then it will really look good and more helpful if with vastu also, thank you

  2. Varun says:

    Hello Vivekji – I m not satisfied by the way my career is shaping and wanted to analyze my chart’s potential in terms of job status, fame and rise coupled with financial status. Since I am not satisfied in this front I am putting lots of effort in learning new things but somehow things don’t work out for me. It could also be possible that I m not putting in persistent effort and lack patience. This is also the reason why I m not able to devote time to further my interest in astrology.

    If possible could you please share some link that I could follow and analyze my chart’s potential in terms of career.

    Thanks for your time.

    • VS says:

      Hi Varun

      What I am planning to do is to make some case study videos in the form of screen cast and post the links here.
      This will be quicker and more efficient than writing longer articles.

      I believe learning theory is always better in text whereas learning case studies can be more efficient with me doing screencast videos while explaining a horoscope on the software

      Stay tuned

  3. Varun says:

    Thanks Vivekji. I will be keeping a close watch.

  4. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    Is the Bhava/Chalit chart acceptable according to BPHS?

      • Sundar says:

        Sri VS:
        If Jupiter is sitting in the 7th in D-1 but moves to the 6th in B/C, does this mean the houses aspected by Jupiter are original minus 1 ?
        I have also heard that this change affects only the Dasas when Jupiter will bring the significations of the 6th (quarrels etc) to the 7th house and cause issues in relationships.

        The latter seems more “palatable” to me because the former would mean changes in the functional natures as well.
        Thank you.

        • VS says:

          functional nature doesn’t change. Bhaav placements affects dasas and weakens any bad or good yogas caused by the planet as the bhaav is shifting. for example if 2 functionally benefic planets combine in 9th rashi and are causing a raj yoga, but the planets shift to 8th in the chalit chart, then their power decreases (for causing raj yoga). Doesn’t mean they will become completely negative, but the yoga will reduce significantly in power

  5. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    Does the nakshatra lord play a significant role (as compared to the asc lord)?

    • VS says:

      Always a good practice to see the ascendant nakshatra in addition to sign lord. The strength and placement of ascendant as well as moon nakshatra lord is important in the chart. Sign lords will still dominate. Only the KP school of thought, which is a very recent astrological school of thought believes that Nakshatra lord is more important than sign lord.
      Sign lord always more important that nakshatra lord which is more important that any divisional lord

      for any horoscope, look at the bhaav itself (Planets sitting or aspecting lagna) then look at the dignity of sign lord, then nakshatra of ascendant lord and finally the dignity of navamsa lord of ascendant in D1 (the lagna in D9). For example ascendant at 3 degrees in Taurus

      look at venus first, then sun then Saturn in the above example. All 3 will dictate the power of ascendant and hence the overall horoscope

      • Sundar says:

        Sri VS: Quoting “The strength and placement of ascendant as well as MOON nakshatra lord is important in the chart”. In the Taurus 3 degree example Sun is the lord of Krittika (ASC nakshatra lord). Please clarify..thanks.

        • Sundar says:

          Sorry VS for my earlier question:
          You have stated that “The strength and placement of ascendant as well as moon nakshatra “. Your Krittika example is talking about the ascendant nakshatra. I was led to think that the moon nakshatra is probably invalid in this context just because your example did not cover it. I understand what you meant.

        • VS says:

          yes that is correct for sun in the given example

  6. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    If saturn is sitting in the 8th house (Taurus asc, in good dignity), I have heard that Saturn (significator of fear) seated in the 8th (fear, emotional turmoil) removes the fear. If true, is this a positive effect due to Karaka Bhava Nash? I heard the same about Mars in the 6th..

    • VS says:

      yes true, but only if the dignity of the planets is good. For example mars in virgo or saturn in leo will not give your results but quiet the opposite

  7. Sundar says:

    VS, I realize that this question is a little hazy, kindly clear it up for me. When I look at chart that gives me the Bhava bala, I see one based on SAV in D-1. I see another based on Shadbala. The latter one makes me conclude the bala is not based on just D-1. Does it mean, for example, the bala of the 3rd house in D-1 also includes the bala of the D-3 (if there is such a thing?). Please bear with me and clear this mess in my mind.

    • VS says:

      this is a deep topic, which can not be covered by a few responses.

      if you wish to learn this in depth, please read “Graha and bhaav balas” by BV Raman. You can find it on amazon and Scribd perhaps

  8. Sundar says:

    VS, I have heard that Saturn’s (in good dignity) aspect on the 6th will prevent separation in marriage due to its disciplining effect. Is this correct? Is this different from it sitting in the 6th house (especially if it’s the 7th lord). Thanks.

    • VS says:

      saturn’s aspect on 7th might give discipline in marriage but it has to be a strong and well placed saturn and 7th lord also good. if 7th house is also affected by sun or rahu along with saturn, then its bad
      saturns placement in 6th house will give problems in marriage

  9. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    I read that the 8th from the Upapaada lagna (arudha from the 12th house) gives a pointer to the longevity of a marrital life. Is this correct? If so, assume that the 4th house from Lagna (taurus) has mars (manglik) and the 8th from the UL happens to be the 4th house; how would I assess that?

    • VS says:

      8th house from UL can be used to see the general longevity of marriage but more in context of the life span of the partner…cant answer your particular question as there are hundreds of things to be seen. So please stop asking such questions like what does mars do in Taurus or 4th or 8th from somewhere. It can do hundreds of things as you should know by now

  10. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    If the lord of the 6-th is Saturn and it not in good dignity, can it cause issues for maternal uncles..asking since even though it is the lord of the 6th it is not a karakatva for maternal uncles..

    Thank you.

    • VS says:

      yes it can, but you have to see it from a perspective of what all aspects are there on saturn and on 6th bhaav and then on Mercury and 6th bhaav from mercury. net some will be the result

      • Sundar says:

        Thanks VS. So, if you want to see how the n-th bhaav is doing, you will also look at n-th bhaav from where the asc Lord is posited? Is my understanding correct here?

  11. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    Does any planet do well in the 8th house? What is the 8th house is own or exalted?


    • VS says:

      exalted mercury in 8th can do well

      • Sundar says:

        Ss that because exalted Merc is very playful and will treat the dreaded matters of the 8th lightly? Curious…Thx

        • VS says:

          no because it still remains a functionally good planet being friendly with lagna lord and ruling the trine of 5th house.
          exalted in 8th, it will give great inflow of money due to aspect on 2nd and its karakatva being of money

  12. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    For an Cancer asc, if saturn sits in Capri, the 8th lord sits in the seventh, a pessimistic way of looking at it. What is your observation on this position? Does the 8th’s bad significations come fully into the seventh or…?


    • VS says:

      in such a scenario, Saturn will give results of only the 7th house mostly and not 8th.
      8th is neutral and since the planet sits in one of its houses, that house comes in focus. the spouse can be a self made person with a travelling job/ work profile. by itself if Saturn is not ill aspected by rahu/ ketu and not combust then Saturn will give good results of Sasa mahapurush yoga also in this case. the native’s spouse can have a long and successful life with a serious nature in life. Look at the planets in 1, 3 and 11 houses also. all these will affect Saturn, even if they don’t full aspect Saturn or 7th house

  13. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    I am able to understand the 4th from the 4th would represent the mother’s mother, 12th from the 11th is loss of gains, income. Correct me id I am wrong..

    From a similar reasoning, can we would look at the 11th (from an ill-effects angle) as the 6th from the 6th? What would be the logic? Wouldn’t 12th from the 12th be a loss of loss, namely, gain? So, 6th from 6th would be obstruction to obstruction (removal of obstruction)?

    You clearing up this tangle in my head is appreciated.


    • VS says:

      11th house is of gain no doubt
      but it is also an evil sthaan. Monetary gain/ income/ materialism are the roots for a lot of evil in our day to day life. It is Kaam trikona – represents desires, which are the root of all evil

      11th bhaav can always give gain in materialistic things – money/ income/ property/ relationships etc. but it can cause accidents, sudden negative events and ill health also. as per parasara, 3 6 and 11 are the evil houses and 11th is Most evil

  14. Adidam says:

    Sri VS,
    Having bhagyakara planets (FB) for a particular lagna in 11th house does give better results than in 12th house, is this true?
    say 3 planets in 11th house,no debilitated planets.
    as you said 11th house is most evil ,12th is house of losses as well as evil house .How can we understand the above situation,when both are almost similar kind of houses with both positives and negatives.
    Thanks .

    • VS says:

      any planet in 11th will tend to give gains related to the area it rules. 9th house in 11th is great, gives gain in luck, money, benefits etc. life is not black or white, it is shades of grey.

      say a Prime minister of a country is assassinated. Ofcourse when he is PM, he is having great Raj yogas operate making him powerful, famous and rich etc. but what can be worse than death, that too violent and untimely

      so if I ask you, was his time good or bad? likewise in life nothing is all good or all bad. it is relative and a person can have both type of periods operating at the same time…

  15. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    Does the 2nd house’s family include both the pre and post marriage family?

  16. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    is the 2nd house from a house a maraka house? Like..is 8th house a maraka house for the 7th? If yes, what is the 12th from the 7th?


    • VS says:

      3rd and 8th are houses of jeeva shakti or life
      12th to any house is loss of it…so 2nd and 7th become maraka (death afflicting) as they are the loss of life houses

      • Sundar says:

        Should the 8th be strong?
        8th is a dustana as well, so it should not be very strong from that angle. So, if the 8th is strong, one will have a long life, but will undergo the malefic significations of that house and understand that detachment will lead to moksha..is that correct?

        Re: the 3rd house, is that better to have a strong 3rd than a strong 8th house? The 2nd is a more potent maraka than the 7th, hence asking.

        Thank you

        • VS says:

          all lords are generally better to be strong than otherwise, just that dusthana lords should not be stronger than the kona lords in general

  17. Sundar says:

    Sri VS:
    I notice that for Steve Jobs – Leo asc, Mars is sitting in the 9th. On first glance, I would expect he would have a good childhood. I was trying to see the indications for him being orphaned.
    Moon is in the 8th, that might explain the mother part alone. Sun is in the 6th that could explain the father’s part.
    In the Chalit, the lord of 4th and 9th, Mars, has moved into the 8th. Mars should not be seen as sitting in the 8th except for Dasa predictions, hence Mars’ position in the 9th remains and it is not the reason for his childhood.
    Kindly let me know…

    • Sundar says:

      House counting is based in D-1 and not the chalit..that is really the crux of my doubt.

      • VS says:

        Don’t know what the question is. If a planet sits in 5th rashi in Taurus at 2 degrees and is moving back in 4th bhaav in chalit, its aspect will still fall 180 degrees from it. Meaning 2 degrees in Scorpio. Now the point of 2 degrees in scorpio will be 11th rashi but 10th bhaav. So keep these things separate. Understand the maths behind it for clarity

        • Sundar says:

          In this example you have mentioned (Capricorn asc), if Sun was in 2 degrees scorpio, we’d have to view that as the 7th lord sitting in the 10th (the bhaav-chalit would show that), yes? Before the advent of software charts, when the lagna degree could not be known, Sun would have been read as sitting in the 11th bhaav and that would have been very inaccurate..yet, predictions could not have been that inaccurate. Kindly opine.

          • VS says:

            again. you are not even trying to understand it seems. if it is a Capricorn ascendant. regardless of the degree of lagna, the bhaav Madhya of 8th will be in leo. Hence sun will always rule 8th house and not 7th!

    • VS says:

      For very early childhood – moon and adolescence/ teenagers – Mercury is to be seen in terms of effects in young life. But this is generic and the actual yogas/ dasas will modify general results. Moon in 8th and to some extent 12th and 7th also can be dangerous for longevity, especially before age 27 in case moon is dark and/ or afflicted by Saturn/ mars/ ketu/ rahu in the chart and placed in 8th

  18. Sundar says:

    This is about Rachel Maddows, MSNBC show anchor; “not” heterosexual.
    Cancer asc with Jupiter and Mars (Old and modern karakas of husband) in 7th 3 deg apart.
    7th lord Saturn, in Taurus is weak. Dispositor Venus Uchcha but strongly combust.
    Rahu – Ketu in 6-12.
    Is the 7th lord’s dignity the pointer? Is Jupiter/Mars in the 7th a weird combination? or both?
    Please opine.

    • VS says:

      this is a broad topic, not just as easy as mars or Jupiter.
      in a generic fashion for deviated sexuality, one has to look at the 8th lord, 7th lord, 3rd as well as shani and mercury.
      mercury is curiosity and experimentation and shani is perversion. Rahu is taboo breaking and odd. a combination of these planets/ rulerships affecting 7th and 8th bhaav and lords causes this predisposition in my research

  19. Sundar says:

    Sri VS: A basic question regarding the 3rd and 8th house which are Jeeva shakti houses:
    Does the 3rd house come under this category due to “sexual prowess and activity” which needs to be good to create children (5th house which is 3rd from 3rd) ?
    Why does the 8th come under this category? Is it because of re-birth (after death)?


    • VS says:

      3rd house is bhaavat bhavam of 8th or 8th from 8th. Hence it represents the life force as well. it is our initiative, courage, paraakram etc

      • Sundar says:

        Very cool. It’s truly like communicating to a Guru and friend with you. You ARE my maaanaseeka guru in this ancient shastra. I hope to meet you someday and make a sambhaavana…

      • Sundar says:

        Sri VS:
        Speaking of Bhavat bhavam, for example since 2nd to 2nd is 3rd. 2nd is wealth, 3rd is about effort; Does this mean that results of 2nd is (or is it could be?) a function of the 3rd?
        From a dasa/bukti angle, 9th from the 9th is the 5th, so during the dasa of the 9th lord, can one beget children?

        • VS says:

          yes both 9th and 5th can give children
          3rd is wealth thru sheer self effort or self made wealth. generally not good to have 3rd lord stronger than the 2nd. because that implies more effort and less wealth. same way as 12th should be weaker than 2nd and 11th for good wealth/ money

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