Using the Equal House

The Equal House house and whole House systems are the oldest astrological house systems in astrology.  The Equal House is based on the Ecliptic, and some astrologers actually call it the Ecliptic system. It has several features:

  1. All the houses are equally spaced, meaning that each house is exactly thirty degrees wide, so it very easy to manually construct.
  2. All of the houses start on the degree of the Ascendant
  3. There are no intercepted houses, as each sign gets its own house, i.e. we equally divide the chart into twelve equal parts.
  4. The tenth house cusp (cusp is the beginning point of a house) does not coincide with the Midheaven. You can see an example of this in the case  of  Havelock Ellis, born in Croydon, Surrey, UK,

Download Havelock-Ellis in Placidus format here

Who was Havelock Ellis

Dr. Ellis was an English essayist and physician who studied human sexual and criminal behavior.  He challenged 19th-century Victorian taboos against public discussion of the subject following up on the studies of Sigmund Freud in Vienna. Many of his books, including his best, The Task of Social Hygiene, are on for free.

We do not use the Equal House system because we disagree with its construction — everything thirty degrees and no consideration for the horizon. Nonetheless, the famous astrologer, the late Lois Rodden, loved it.  In Hellenistic Astrology, the Whole House system is de rigeur and the major difference is that all houses start on ZERO and the Ascendant is shows up at the degree within it. 

We actually prefer this over the Equal House system, because we think that the Ascendant should not be tied to the first house — which is how you are seen by others.  Confusing the Ascendant and the house house we have found in our studies, is not an accurate representation, hence we typically use non-Ascendant based house system like the Zariel and Morinus and Whole House for Hellenistic charts.

Whole House System

The similarities to the Equal.

  • All the houses are equally spaced, meaning that each house is exactly thirty degrees wide, so it is very easy to manually construct.
  • There are no intercepted houses because each sign gets its own house, i.e. we equally divided the chart into twelve equal parts of thirty degrees.
  • .The tenth house cusp does not coincide with the Midheaven because the Midheaven is typically not Zero. We do not show it on the chart above.

The dissimilarities to the Equal.

  • The Equal starts always at the Ascendant. The whole always starts at 0.

As shown, under the Whole House System, Dr. Ellis’s midheaven is in the eleventh house of the public, which makes sense as he devoted his medical life to public health and hygiene; Venus, the planet of sexuality, is also there linking the two and is the handle to his bucket.

In the Equal House, the  Midheaven is in the tenth house of a career, but Venus is separate in the eleventh house and does not clearly link the two.  Other issues are in the Equal House Saturn is in the sixth house of work and labour; in the Whole House Saturn is in the seventh house of partners and opportunity. 

While we can make cases for either, it is really the nuance we prefer, and astrology is nothing but nuance.  For further discussion of houses and interceptions, another thing we dropped as being meaning, look here and here.


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