Astrologically I love reading houses on a sky map. I cannot imagine trying to read any sky map without the ability to use house placement for my understanding and delineation of the life of an individual. Yes, 6th house astrology is only one factor in reading any sky map, but houses put a human face on physical experience and that makes it a valuable asset to an astrologer.
Four of the five basic human questions: how, what, where and why are answered by what I call the astrological cornerstones. The fifth is answered by motion itself…when.
How The most popular segment of astrology is signs, which describes “how” something acts: a shading, a coloring of behavior, an attitude.
What The controlling factor (rulership) in a sky map is planets, the “what” of the wheel: energy, function, human urge.
Why Aspects tell us why things are happening the way they are happening. Some activations are pleasant, some are not; some lessons are pleasant, some are not.
Where Houses represent the arena of our lives, the place where experience occurs, the issues associated with or affected by experience.
When As movement occurs within a sky map by transit, secondary progression, primary direction, eclipses, etc. it can act as a trigger for experience. What do these activations trigger? Natal and sometimes progressed positions in the wheel.
Draw a large circle and divide it into 12 pie-shaped pieces. The easiest way to do this is to draw a centered vertical line and a centered horizontal line inside the circle. With each stroke you have divided the wheel into two segments: first left and right, and then top and bottom. The halves of a sky wheel (left to right or top to bottom) are called hemispheres (half a sphere). Using them together gives you four divisions called quadratures (quad = four). Divide each of those quarters into three grapefruit-shaped segments and you have the 12 house divisions. (Divide the circle in half and in half again, divided the quarters by three).
Briefly, the sky map you construct by hand or generate by computer will diagram the coordinates for each division at the cusp line that indicates the beginning of a house. Usually, we start with the ascendant (left, centerline, 9 o’clock position on the wheel) and list the calculated house cusps counter-clockwise around the wheel at each division line. Once the house divisions are complete, the planets and lunar north node are dropped into place by sign and degree.