There are 12 houses/bhava and 9 graha/planets in the chart. So its obvious that a few houses in your chart are going to look empty. So how do you interpret these aspects of your life?
A single house represents several things, for example the 8th house represents death, longevity, situation and circumstances of death, surgery, accidents, the family assets of the first spouse, the actual third spouse, tantrik tendencies, occult, legacies and bequeaths from deaths of others, research related professions, you can be a surgeon, an archeologist, secrets and explorations, movement of vital energy/pran, secret spiritual practices, witch! and so on. So how do you interpret all these things from just one house? If this house is well placed will you get all these things at once? Or perhaps not! Or will you?
To fine-tune the results possible from a house you will need to look for more pointers. But first the very basics. It sounds boring, but it will open up all the possibilities related to the house, so you can then focus on which aspect of this house you need to analyse in detail. First analyse your own horoscope, because doing so much work for a client’s chart at the beginning will be a bit much.
(I will just describe how it is to be done, I have never asked my students to learn the combinations by rote, it scared me as a child and it scares them too. First try to understand the process and think about it. Astrology is very simply matching keywords. You have 12 houses/ bhava, 12 signs/ rashi and 9 graha/ planets, very do-able! Then if you feel like it, learn the astrological combinations from the reference books by rote. My Dad gave me this ‘300 Important Combinations’ by B.V. Raman when I was 10yrs old or something, to my child-mind it took away all the fun, made astrology just like school work.)
So in interpreting any house of your horoscope, you will start with the 1st divisional chart, the birth chart where the rising sign occupies the first house. This is what you should be looking at.
- The sign/rashi occupying the house.
- The results will be a mix of the house number and the sign both.
- Eg, Taurus occupies the 8th, you will consider the energies of the 8th more as a resource. Keep on storing them, till the trigger point arrives and then undergo a very balanced, measured, deep, but a partly-publicly visible transformation of identity.
- to check out if this sign and house are comfortable together, count the houses between them. e.g. Virgo ascendant is sign number 6 sitting in the house number one, this is a 6/8 axis and is a bit uncomfortable. This applies to Virgo and Scorpio ascendants as every house number and sign number is in the adversarial 6/8. There is a sense of discomfort in every house.
- The planetary owner of that sign, his ‘comfort’ levels!
- where he is placed in your chart
- any planets conjoint/aspecting him, benefic or malefic influences?
- if he is exalted, debilitated, combust, retrograde or in the house of his friend/ enemy/ neutral planet etc.
- and count the number of houses that he is placed away from his this house he owns (6, 8, 12 houses away is not very comfortable, rest is ok.). e.g Mercury placed in Capricorn is counted 8th from Gemini, so he is a bit uncomfortable with respect to matters of Gemini.
- The planets placed in that house itself,
- the nature of the planet, its comfort levels.
- also correlate these planets to the houses they own in your chart
- eg. if the ascendent lord himself in the 8th, you will accept that change triggered by the factors of the 8th is the essential and participate more effectively in its matters.
- if this house is vacant then obviously nil analysis for this point.
- The natural sign of the zodiac of that house will always subtly add its influence from wherever it may be located.
- and the number of houses this natural sign is away from this house he owns (6, 8, 12 houses away is not very comfortable, rest is ok.) (read this post on Libra ascendant to know the logic behind this)
- eg Aries will influence the 1st house always, Taurus will subtly influence the 2nd house and so on till Pisces influencing the 12th house.
- The natural owner of that house and any significance that you can draw from its position.
- eg. Mars will subtly influence the 1st and 8th houses always. If he is well placed these houses will get a positive push.
- Find the emotional context related to the house.
- eg. The 8th house from the ascendant will give the changes in the physical environments and your response to it. But to find out how the matters of this house affect you on the emotional levels check out the condition of the house 8th from the birth moon.
And then finally the most tedious but complete analysis, reorient the chart with this house as the first house to analyse it completely. The empty house is not your focus house.
- Use a paper and pencil to make it easier. For each house now pay attention to the its sign, its planets and owner planet.
- You merge the keywords like this, suppose you are analysing the empty 8th house, write the 8th as the first house. Merge the keywords of the 8th with those of the first house. Thus you will know how you are able to handle and participate in the catastrophic transformations of the self-identity.
- the 9th house of your original chart is now counted second from the 8th focus house. the treasures, assets, the publicly acknowledged resources and those that you will receive from your family etc. All that can be derived from the keywords of the 8th. Also how your peers, paternal figures and your philosophies are linked to all this. eg If you have Jupiter here in Gemini, your 8th house stuff will give you significant legacies from your extended family.
- the 10th house of the birth chart is counted third from the 8th, everything about it will indicate the communications, trade, money-making, practical aspects, your similar minded local group, local businesses etc related to the matters of the 8th. Also how these are linked to your profession, social mobility and salary.
- the 11th house is now counted fourth from the empty 8th house, will be a good indicator of the traditional mores, culture, societal norms, the emotional security, the comfort and protective aspects of the 8th house matters. Also how this gets linked to your luck, your social groups, your like-minded groups, your ability to market yourself, to make money from several sources.
- and so on for every house
- till you reach the 7th house of your chart (this will be counted twelfth from the 8th house). Here this house will indicate the losses of the stuff indicated by the 8th. 8th is a very personal, individual, secret house. 7th is where secrecy and individuality fails, loses out to alliances, beauty, fairly crafted open negotiations and balance.
So you see even if your this house seems vacant, there is a lot of stuff you can use to predict about it in your basic birth chart itself.
But if you are not satisfied with this, (for your personal chart you should not be satisfied, the more you know the better you understand yourself!), and if you have your exact birth time, draw your Navamsha D-9 chart. This gives the real you, your innermost sub-conscious expectations regarding your current life. Every house from this chart will give you the inner workings regarding it. This is the sum of the astral energies you have at your disposal as regarding this house. (You can analyse the other divisional charts too if you feel up to it.)
A secret now, you can trigger these energies of the Navamsha consciously. For example
- your 8th house owner is debilitated in your D-1 but in your D-9 he shifts to more comfortable position,
- or your 8th house gets occupied with a more comfortable sign/planet,
you can actively focus on this D9 placement and trigger better results in your manifested physical reality as represented by your D-1. If you want to be a good surgeon and your 8th house in the D-9 offers you the potential you can actively focus on the 8th of the D-9, do planetary remedies/beej mantra etc of the concerned planets from here to trigger your success as a surgeon!
There are other divisional charts too that you can refer to if you wish, each will add more to your understanding of your chart, including the empty houses. I have written about the D-60 here but for a beginner if it feels too tedious, leave it. I want everyone to enjoy reading and learning Jyotish!
So here is how every individual house of the chart is completely analysed. There may or many not be planets placed in it, but still the analysis holds.
A planet placed in a house adds more focus to it. This planet-chart (like moon chart) will be a variation of the basic birth chart D-1 but drawn with that planet’s sign as the first house. Having a planet in a house will mean that more of your life experiences will be focussed around this house. The ‘karmic focus’ so as to say!
But the ’empty houses’ are important too, having no planets in that house will not make that aspect of your life nil, less intense in the physical manifested life perhaps. But what if the owner of the vacant 8th house goes and occupies the 1st house or is conjunct the ascendant lord? Your entire personality will be influenced by the matters of the 8th!
Then again you will always have some sub-conscious expectations from this seemingly empty house (D-9).
So give equal importance to all houses of your chart.
Do this long-ish exercise with your own chart sometime (This is Vedic astrology, so please use a Vedic software for calculating the charts) and see if your life events match up.