Understanding "Empty" Houses in Your Natal Chart

astrology Apr 22, 2021
The title of the blog post along with an image of a man standing in an open field

When it comes to astrology, one of the questions I get asked the most, both by my students and my clients, is what to do about “empty” houses.

Empty houses refer to houses within your natal chart that are void of any planetary placements (this also includes asteroids). There are no aspects to this house and thus, it is otherwise dormant. Some people may not have any empty houses, and other people (like myself) may have five. It is all determined by the time in which you were born and both of the above circumstances are more than okay! Whether you have one empty house or ten, keep reading to learn about how to decode your empty houses.

In order to understand how empty houses work, it’s important to understand how the natal chart works at a glance. I go over all of this and more in my signature course, Astrology Basics, and I would recommend starting there for a much more in-depth look. But for now, here’s the quick-and-dirty version of how the natal chart works.

The natal chart is a 360 degree circle that has two distinct sections. On the outer section of the wheel are all of the signs of the zodiac, in order. And in the smaller, inner section of the wheel are the numbers 1 through 12. Between these two circles are glyphs of different planets and asteroids, connected by different colored lines called aspects. Each of these aspects link glyphs that “sit” within segments correlated to each of the numbers within the small wheel, and each of the signs within the outer wheel. The inner wheel rotates about every 20 minutes depending on the time of birth, which is why having an accurate (or as close to accurate) birth time is so important!

Here’s an example of a chart with several empty houses below. Notice how some of the houses are more concentrated than others and how that affects the way that the chart looks.

One question that comes up often, especially when looking at charts like these, is why empty houses present themselves in some charts and not in others. The answer really goes back to karma and karmic lessons that are presented in a chart and ties to theories presented in Evolutionary Astrology.

If we look at the natal chart as the progression of one’s soul-journey throughout lifetimes, with the chart placements indicating areas in which work is meant to be done within this lifetime, then we can come to see empty houses as representing the places in which the lessons we needed to learn have already been accomplished in other lifetimes. Meaning, in this lifetime, our emphasis is not meant to be on these areas, but on the areas that are “active” within our charts.

When I explain this to my clients, initially it tends to scare them. Does an empty 7th house mean you’ll never be in a relationship? No, of course not! Just like an empty 2nd house doesn’t mean that you won’t experience financial abundance. You can still reap the benefits of these areas even if they are empty or dormant. They just aren’t meant to be your main focuses in this life.

In order to analyze these areas, there’s a couple different roundabout approaches you can take. I’ve found that it’s a little hard to explain, but I’m going to try to map it out the best that I can.

The empty house chart above is actually the chart of Meghan Markle, also known as the Duchess of Sussex and wife to Prince Harry. Looking at her chart above, she has quite a few empty houses, but for this example, let’s focus upon her empty 7th house in Capricorn.

The 7th house is the house of love, relationships, partnerships, but also law and legal matters as well as political affairs. Since her 7th house is represented by Capricorn, well look to three different areas to help analyze her love life.

First, we’ll look towards the 10th house, which Capricorn rules. In the 10th she has Aries with her MC (midhevan), which would indicate to me that her partner may be someone who is a prominent persona or is well-known for their career. In fact, they may do good work together or have careers that intersect.

Second, we’ll look at her Saturn in 4th house Libra, which is the planetary ruler of Capricorn. Coincidentally it’s forming an opposition with her MC in Aries in the 10th. This would represent to me the potential for family scandal that will affect her work or issues that are taken into the legal system (Libra rules over the 7th house). It may be difficult for her reputation and may be hard on her relationship and home life. Since her Saturn is conjunct Jupiter, this will likely be related more to her husband, but being his wife, she will be roped into it and be associated. As a wife she may need to be extremely private in order to protect her family (Juno in the 5th house). I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but essentially, this is what this aspect is saying.

Finally, Libra’s planetary ruler is Venus, so we’ll look to her Venus to gain a bit more information as well. In this case, her Venus is in the 3rd house Virgo, sandwiched between Ceres and Vesta. It’s important that she be extremely nurturing in her relationships and play the role of the caretaker. If she were my client, I would advise her to make sure she takes care of her family first and foremost, instead of getting wrapped up in whatever circumstances are surrounding her husband and his family. She’s here to nurture and bring peace, be the “voice of reason",” if you will.

Empty houses can look scary and/or confusing but with a little work and attention to detail, they can be interpreted just as any “active” house can!

Comment down below and let me know - what empty houses do you have?

xx Hannah