Jyotish Houses – First, Second, Third

In a previous post, I introduced the houses in a Jyotish horoscope, including the various ways in which they are categorized according to various perspectives of interpretation.

Let’s get into the detailed description of these houses, starting with the first three.

First House

The first house is treated as a microcosm or “nucleus” of the entire chart, and is the most important house. (Which is emphasized by the house being both a kendra and a kona, carrying both dharmic and karmic significations.) A careful examination of the first house, and its ruler, is a must in order to interpret the rest of chart, since much depends on the condition of the first house.

The first house by itself represents the physical body, appearance and confidence. Since it represents the body, the first house plays a key role in matters of health. Also, taking the first house to be one’s literal presence, it is useful to note that the 12th and 2nd houses represent the kind of people and/or environment surrounding the person. For example, malefics in the 2nd and 12th houses might indicate someone who is surrounded (or has surrounded themselves) with people of questionable character.

The Sun is a natural significator or karaka of the first house. The Sun signifies the heart, so if Sun is adversely aspected by a malefic such as Mars, and the first house is also aspected by a malefic, there is an increased likelihood of heart problems.

Below is the chart of Paul Newman, famous Hollywood actor of yore.

Notice how his 1st house has two benefics Jupiter and Venus. Mercury takes on the character of the planets it conjuncts. Here it is closely hemmed in by Venus on one side and Jupiter on the other, so for all practical purposes we can take Mercury to be a benefic as well. This crowding of benefics in the 1st house surely had a big say in his appearance–Newman was widely seen as exceedingly handsome, and is still considered to be among the most good-looking actors that ever lived.

Second House

The second house is one of three artha houses, those that have to do with material things and interests.

The second house rules money (fixed assets) that is accumulated and held on to. (There are other houses that rule money, so it is important to get a little technical here in terms of exactly what kind of money we are talking about.)

The second house rules the food one eats (as opposed to one’s appetite, which is ruled by the sixth house.) Starvation, fasting, eating unhealthy foods, etc. can be seen from the second house.

It rules speech. Whether a person is truthful or not can be seen by benefic and malefic influences on the second house. It also rules the throat and voice.

It rules the right eye, and the vision in the right eye. It also rules the face. A significant benefic influence on the second house could make a person pretty or handsome looking.

The second house rules the family – the parents and extended family during childhood, and one’s own spouse and children during adulthood. Analyzing married life, for instance, takes into consideration not only the seventh house, but the second house as well. One could have a long-lasting marriage according to the seventh house, but the marriage may be troubled because the partners argue all the time, which may be seen from the second house.

It rules learning and the knowledge that is acquired as a consequence, and includes basic education up to the high school level.  A strong second house shows a person who is constantly trying to learn new things, whether as a hobby or in a formal sense.

Consulting is also attributed to the second house, in the sense of sharing knowledge as needed. (In the Western horoscope, consulting is attributed to the 8th house.)

The second house is said to be a maraka, or killer – in this sense, it signifies the cause of death.

Jupiter is a natural significator or karaka of the second house.

This following horoscope is that of the celebrated singer Barbra Streisand.

Take a look at the 2nd house. It has the Sun in it. The house that holds the Sun or Moon are of singular importance, and living the significations of the houses they are in goes a long way toward being fulfilled. The 2nd house also has Mercury. Streisand gave full life to the 2nd house signification of voice. “I was considered the girl on the block with the good voice”. In six-decade long career, she has earned awards in multiple fields of entertainment; she is one of a small handful that have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

From the Wikipedia page on Streisand, I can’t help but quote the entirety of the following writeup by syndicated columnist Robert Ruark on her 1963 performance at the Blue Angel:

“Her name is Barbra Streisand. She is 20 years old, she has a three-octave promiscuity of range, she packs more personal dynamic power than anybody I can recall since Libby Holman or Helen Morgan. She can sing as loud as Ethel Merman and as persuasively as Lena or Ella, or as brassy as a Sophie Tucker … and only Barbra Streisand can turn “Cry Me a River” into something comparable to Enrico Caruso having his first bash at Pagliacci. When Streisand cries you a river, you got a river, Sam … and she will be around 50 years from now if good songs are still written to be sung by good singers.”

About that Sun-Mercury conjunction in the 2nd house. I am getting a little ahead of myself here, but there are three very powerful factors that lift this conjunction to commanding heights. First, the Sun is exalted in Aries, and an exalted planet (as the name suggests) can deliver remarkable results against all odds. And second, there is an exchange of signs between Mercury and Mars: Mercury is in Mars-ruled Aries, while Mars is in Mercury-ruled Gemini. This is the so-called parivartana yoga, one of several yogas or combinations of planets that can add a lot of strengthen to the significations of the planets in the yoga.

Third House

The third house is a kama house, therefore signifying one’s desires. Desire is a strong motivator (who was it that said that the human condition can be reduced to two driving forces, desire and fear?) for action, and a person who has a string third house can be expected to be strongly motivated.

It is also a dussthana house, that is liable to cause undue trouble (especially if it is aspected by a malefic). But it is an upachaya house, so if there are troubles due to it, with effort they can be ameliorated over time and manifested positively.

The third house rules effort, adventure and courage. For instance, a person with a strong third house emphasis loves adventure, doing new things, going to places to which no one has gone before, expending effort and energy. So the third house is important for people who are in the armed forces, or pioneers in adventure, or even sports people.

I would add entrepreneurship as a modern manifestation of the 3rd house, because entrepreneurship arises out of a combination of adventure, courage (risk taking) and desire. This is especially true if the third house is strongly connected to the 6th or 10th houses, which are the other artha houses that have to specifically do with work and career. Connected to entrepreneurship are business agencies which are also ruled by the 3rd house, especially in advertising and marketing.

The third house rules writing and publishing.  Spiritually inclined individuals preach through the third house. If one interprets preaching to be religious or spiritual teaching, then the third house attribution makes sense instead of the second house since the third is the opposite of the ninth house of higher thinking, with Jupiterian overtones. Similarly, publishing attributed to the third house has Jupiterian overtones, since publishing is really an expansion of writing. That is, one can think of the third house as a communicative outlet for the ideas, perspectives, and vision of the ninth house.

This house also rules music, dance and drama, i.e. the performing arts. Thus the work of actors in movies and the theatre is signified by this house.

The third house also rules the right ear. A strong malefic influence on this house can lead to defective hearing in the right ear, perhaps leading to corrective surgery. (A benefic influence combined with the malefic could mean that the defective hearing is corrected by surgery or other non-invasive cures.)

A person with a strong third house has a lot of stamina. For instance, a strong third ruler in the fifth house indicates someone with great mental stamina. (The fifth house rules the mind.)

The third house rules the hands and arms. A connection between the third and the sixth house could then indicate healing (sixth house) through the hand (third house), as in acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractice, etc.

The third house rules younger siblings.

Mars is a natural significator or karaka of the third house.

A great example of a horoscope that shows the power of the 3rd house is that of famed astrologer Noel Tyl. Tyl was hugely prolific in his work. In addition to being a highly successful practitioner of astrology for many years, he was a lecturer, author, publisher, and editor who wrote 23 books and edited 10 others. This is a grand collection of 3rd house manifestations, so what does the 3rd house of his Jyotish chart look like?

To start with, the all-important Moon is in the 3rd house. (The houses where the Sun and Moon are place will have lifelong, amped-up significance.) What’s staggering are the aspects to the 3rd house: Venus and Saturn from the 9th house, and Jupiter from the 7th house. With such a loaded 3rd house, it is almost as if Tyl had no choice but to keep writing and publishing without pause, and that is exactly what he did for many many years.

It would be easy to miss the entrepreneurial angle that I mentioned in the significations. Tyl established an astrology business that was his primary source of income, which speaks loud and clear to his courage and grit to be go solo in a profession that is not exactly conventional.

Before I close, I want to add to the analysis of Barbra Streisand’s horoscope, now with a take on the 3rd house. The 2nd house gave her that amazing singing voice, and the 3rd house turned that talent into major performance. She was not just a singer, but also an actor in theatre and in the movies. First, the 3rd house has Jupiter and Saturn, therefore packing quite a punch. And Jupiter is the karaka of the 2nd house. Second, Saturn is involved in a parivartana yoga. Since traditional Jyotish does not work with the outer planets, Saturn rules Aquarius. (As an aside, many Western astrologers consider Aquarius to be co-ruled by Saturn and Uranus.) Saturn is in Taurus, the sign of Venus, exchanging with Venus in Aquarius. Third, Mars is the natural significator of the 3rd house, and we saw earlier that it exchanged signs with Mercury in the 2nd house, so there is a very tight connection between the 2nd and 3rd houses.

I hope you are getting a sense of we can analyze Jyotish charts using the very precise and rich set of significations attributed to the planets and houses, several of which are unique to Jyotish. I have gone a little farther afield here with the introduction of the exaltation of the Sun, and the parivartana yoga. I will return to the topic of exaltation, and yogas, later and discuss them in more detail.


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