The houses in astrology are divisions that create wedge shaped areas that represent approximately 30 degrees of the 360-degree, circular astrological chart. Like so many pieces of pie, they comprise the astrological chart divisions. Each division links a planetary placement to an everyday aspect of mundane life.
To illustrate the way houses are used; take the sun sign for an example. Whatever the sun sign is, Pisces, or Gemini etc., that sign then starts to become unique to an individual according to the house placement.
Take for instance the zodiac sign of Leo. An individual born under this sign may have it coupled with the fourth house at birth. Generally, the fourth house represents home and family. This particular Leo person will have more of an emphasis in the domestic arena than other Leos who have a different house influence.
How and when the house system began leads to some fascinating speculation.
The written word was scarce when the study of the stars and planets began. Consequently, the house system of astrology is shrouded with mysteries as far as how and why it came into existence.
Though controversial, most contemporary astrologers know that the house system works. The understanding of the house system is similar to the discovery of electricity. When the use of electricity began – the only known fact about it was that it worked; yet exactly how it worked has remained a mystery for most of its existence until recently.
Also known as the round art, astrology deals with an in-depth symbolism dating back to days of antiquity and ancient Greece.
Speculation about the beginning of the astrological house system traces back to approximately a hundred years before Christ. Again, before the printed word, memorization was an extremely important necessity.
During his time (106-43 B.C.), a scholar from antiquity, Metrodorus of Scepsis, devised a system of memorization based on the round art. His system was founded on the same globular divisions that are used in astrology today.
Yet, it’s possible that this method took its roots even earlier on in classical Greek theatre when actors used the round shape of the theatre for visual memory tags. Certain positions, such as seat number 38 in the back row of section 10, for example, became a specific placement used for memorization. Metrodorus’ system gave him the reputation for being able to repeat everything he heard with complete detail.
Later in history, during the 1600’s, a man named Giordano Bruno came up with “memory wheels.” He believed that every human soul carried a universal imagery of the universe within. Evolving from this point, Bruno devised a mandala with numerous divisions, each being represented with symbolic visual imagery, including astrological symbols.
More recently, Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, published a book named “Mandala Symbolism.” Within this publication are multitudinous references concerning the subconscious mind and a whole score of links with the universal imagery of the mandala.
Obviously the round art is an endless source of fascination that goes on infinitely into the cosmos as do the concepts of astrology, which only begins with the house divisions of analysis.
"The Round Art" by A.T. Mann