Book Review: Houses of the Horoscope by Alan Oken

August 1st, 2017


For 50 years, Alan Oken has practiced the art of “reading” the energy of the cosmos through the lens of astrological charts. A chart depicts the placement and relationships of planets and other heavenly bodies at a particular moment in time, stopping them in place. From that picture of a frozen slice of time, astrologers apply the ancient Law of Correspondences – As above, so below – to look at how the dance of the planets affects events and relationships here on Earth. As Oken says in the introduction to this excellent book, “Astrology is a very complex system of interweaving energies. It takes time and dedication for the student of this ancient science to be able to unravel astrology’s symbolic codes and to comprehend its very special language.”


Having only 3 years of astrological study under my belt, I was delighted to have the opportunity to dig into this book from the author of “Complete Astrology.” “Houses of the Horoscope” focuses on one of the essential elements of chart structure; without an understanding of what the houses represent and an ability to look at the relationships of the houses to planets and signs, it is difficult, if not impossible, to approach the fundamentals of the chart. In astrological parlance, the houses are the most concrete part of a chart, with each planet moving through them according to its particular orbital cycle. The astrological signs also move through each house daily according to the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. The houses themselves don’t move. But their function in the chart is important nonetheless. So when we freeze a moment, for example, a date time and place of a person’s birth, the planets and signs drop down into the chart from their position in the heavens and take up residence in particular houses. The planets are the “actors” – defining the style or manner in which that person will approach life. Mars, for example, is active and forceful, maybe aggressive. Neptune is traditionally thought to be dreamy and less able to focus than Mars. Oken says that the planets tell us what type of energy is at work – an excellent way to describe the expression of the planets. The signs, he says are adverbs to the planets’ verbs – the signs describe how the planet’s energy is being modified. So Mars in Aries expresses boldly, Mars in Cancer timidly, for example. The houses define the area of life where this action is taking place – – the family and home (4th house); daily work (6th house) or values and resources (2nd house). So it is easy to appreciate how important an understanding of this very basic factor is!


Oken gives a brief but thorough description of the traditional associations and rulerships for each house – the people, places and things that “live” in each house. Even better, he provides a view of each house and its inhabitants through the lens of each sign – what the family will look like if Taurus “lives” there instead of Gemini, for example. This makes the book an invaluable reference for those who are getting started in their practice as well as for those who read charts for fun. There is an introductory chapter that outlines the quadrants, hemispheres and other basics of a house’s “address.” This basic and helpful information creates a good grounding in understanding the bones of a chart that underlie the planets and signs’ placements once they drop in.


I found this book to be a real resource – basic, clear, quick and easy to digest, with a good reference list for digging deeper. There are also some quizzes, with good explanations for the answers – I was able to see where I went wrong! I recommend it for those who want a basic understanding of how the key role that houses play in chart reading. I will refer to it often!






About the Author:



Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanic Arts. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. Art, exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Flying to the Heart

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