Belial 13: The Principle of Correspondence.

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If you think astrology is hokum, you won't hear any complaint from me. I think it's entertaining, but even a cursory review of the evidence shows that astrology is no more accurate at predicting events than rolling dice for random numbers. So no, I am not going to ask you for your date, time, and place of birth, nor will I ask you to tell me your sign.

But I will ask you to flirt with one of the most useful elements of astrology: the houses of the Zodiac. If this is news to you, the houses of the Zodiac are twelve equal segments which compose the visible portion of the sky through which one is able to see the passage of the Sun. This visible portion of the sky is called the ecliptic and is divided into twelve portions of two hours each. Because the heavenly bodies are viewed through these twelve windows, astrologers say that they describe how the heavenly bodies operate in our lives.

I have no faith in the power of astrology, but the twelve houses are quite useful for categorizing the people, situations, and things in our lives. To the best of my knowledge, the houses of the Zodiac were first used among the ancient Babylonians, but they also featured prominently in ancient Greece. Let it be known that there's no divine wisdom in the 12 houses of the Zodiac—they're totally arbitrary, and that's why they’re not the same as Mesoamerican, Chinese, Egyptian, or Hindu astrology—but ancient Greece played a pretty big role in the development of western culture, and as much as times have changed, a lot of things are still the same. No matter the passage of history, the 12 houses of the Zodiac remain useful ways to categorize what happens in our lives.

This is the beginning of a complicated discussion, so to keep things simple I'm introducing them one at a time. This chapter will discuss the houses of the Zodiac. You'll hear me make some references to element (air, fire, water, earth) as well as modality (cardinal, fixed, mutable.) You may not understand it all right now, but I promise I'll show you how all the pieces come together over the coming chapters.

1st House

The first house is the self. This includes outward identity, surface knowledge of the self, body image, personality, appearance, individual views on life, self-identity, beginnings, initiative, impulsiveness, and even the environment at the time of your earliest beginning. For the purposes of this book, the first house is assigned to cardinal fire.

2nd House

The second house is your own material stuff. This includes personal possessions (but not real estate), money, what you value, skills and abilities, how you value yourself, and attitudes about money. For the purposes of this book, the second house is assigned to fixed earth.

3rd House

The third house is communication and immediate environment. This includes brothers and sisters, people who live in close proximity to you, short-distance trips, and any method of transportation. Additionally, the third house refers to simple knowledge, lower education, learning through lived experiences, and all methods of communication (email, letters, packages, small talk, telephone calls, and more.) For the purposes of this book, the third house is assigned to mutable air.

4th House

The fourth house is about roots. This includes place of birth, place of residence, immediate and extended family, real estate, sense of personal security, compassion, and the more nurturing parent (usually the mother.) For the purposes of this book, the fourth house is assigned to cardinal water.

5th House

The fifth house is the juicy life. It includes creative passions, intimacy, the glory of children, romantic affairs, sexual relationships, physical activity such as sports and fighting, risky business, and gambling. Keep in mind, though, that the fifth house doesn't include marriage which is a contractual agreement and is therefore given to the seventh house. For the purposes of this book, the fifth house is assigned to fixed fire.

6th House

The sixth house is mundane affairs. It includes daily labor, service to others, the quality of your diet, sickness and health, responsibility to clean up literal and figurative messes, activities of daily life, the quality of your work, routine crises, hygiene and orderliness, and paid work that's not part of your ultimate career path. For the purposes of this book, the sixth house is assigned to mutable earth.

7th House

The seventh house is about relationships and the quality of exchange between two people or things. It includes all kinds of individual relationships such as marriage, financial partnerships, and contractual agreements, but also their flip-side: known enemies, arguments, and curiously even separation, divorce, and legal disputes. Also remember that the seventh house has nothing to do with romance because in the traditional sense marriage is an exchange of property (and not a union of hearts.) For the purposes of this book, the seventh house is assigned to cardinal air.

8th House

The eighth house is complicated. There are the classic themes here of death, loss, and debt, but the eighth house also includes regeneration, recovery, and inheritance (because inheritances are given only upon death.) Additionally, you'll find bankruptcy, taxes, sex (no relationship involved), sexuality, other people's property, deeply transformative experiences, and sheer force. Ultimately, the eighth house comes back to the ways that people, situations, and things undergo change and growth. And, if you care for them, the eighth house is where you'll find occult powers and psychic abilities. For the purposes of this book, the eighth house is assigned to fixed water.

9th House

The ninth house is the big picture. It includes things such as college and university education, morals and ethics, long-distance travel to foreign countries and unfamiliar destinations, wisdom, books and scholarly knowledge, ritual and ceremony, religion, law, and all manner of big ideas and things that expand your consciousness. And—as it happens—the ninth house is where you would find references to greater magic. Spoiler alert: sitters often ask if they've been cursed, and this is where you'll find the answer to such a question. For the purposes of this book, the ninth house is assigned to mutable fire.

10th House

The tenth house is status and reputation. It includes topics such as honor, integrity, professional accomplishments, social responsibilities and status, recognition, career ambitions, and the stricter, more demanding parent (often the father.) For the purposes of this book, the tenth house is assigned to cardinal earth.

11th House

The eleventh house is friends. This includes topics such as community, large groups of people, social circles, lofty ambitions, grand wishes, and special hopes. More generally than that, the eleventh house—like the second house—talks about things of value, but in this case refers to grand, immaterial hopes and desires such as self-realization, liberty, the social contract, regulation, and legislation. For the purposes of this book, the eleventh house is assigned to fixed air.

12th House

The twelfth house is about isolation, separation, and all those things that happen in the darkness. Topics included are crime and criminality, dishonest and shameful behavior, suicide, murder, and the theft of anybody or anything. Curiously, death is not included in the twelfth house because at the time these houses were created, death was not considered the end. Based on all observable evidence, I feel differently, but what do I know?

In the twelfth house we additionally find discussion of hospitals, government offices, jails, prisons, areas of confinement, and places where things happen unseen and out of sight. More generally, you'll also find find the unconscious, self-deception, mental health issues, the things we do to sabotage ourselves, material and immaterial limitations, and sacrifices made for the sake of others. For the purposes of this book, the twelfth house is assigned to mutable water.

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There are many excellent free resources on astrology to be found on the Internet, so if you want to expand your understanding of the 12 houses, your answers are only a Google search away. Ready to understand how the references to air, fire, water, and earth play into this? Read on to the next chapter.