There are many different schools of thought in astrology. Strange as it might seem, in the right hands all of them seem to work, even ones that contradict each other. Western Tropical astrology versus Vedic astrology is perhaps the classic illustration – those two systems can’t even agree on where Aries is! I think of myself as a Capricorn, but in Benares I am transformed into a Sagittarian. It’s confusing, but I like to keep the word “versus” out of the discussion as much as possible. Both systems, Western and Vedic, can help people. Both can illuminate the mystery we call human life. Reading an astrological chart is not linear and logical like reading a newspaper or a column of figures. I always despair when someone asks if I can “take a quick glance at their chart.” There is no such thing as “a quick glance.” Deciphering the message of the planets is a lot more like interpreting a dream or a poem – there’s more than one right way to make sense of it, in other words.
The last time I had a reading myself, it was actually with a Vedic astrologer. That was intentional. I knew that if I asked an evolutionary astrologer to look at my chart, my ego would get in the way. I’d be too busy “correcting” the person to learn anything. But Vedic – I know almost nothing about it, so I was able to simply listen. It was helpful, so long as I focussed on the plain English of what the astrologer was saying, and ignored the discordant astrological language. Me, a Sagittarian? Mister work-all-the-time Capricorn? Forget about it.
Anyway, I am writing all of this because in this newsletter, I am going to jump into one of the bloodiest shark tanks in the whole chaotic, contentious astrological community – the question of which house system to use. There are at least a dozen different ways of laying out the houses of a chart, maybe more. When I was a young astrologer, I tried as many of them as I could find, naturally always using my own chart – and the realities of my own experience – as the acid test. Very little in astrology is ever totally clear cut – again, a chart is more like a dream than a computer manual. But during those early years Placidus houses won the battle for my heart and my mind. I’ve used them ever since, successfully, with thousands upon thousands of clients over the past fifty years. Nowadays, I rarely even consider other systems.