Take an even closer look at your birth chart, and you'll notice that the planets aren't just located in certain signs; they're also each placed in one of 12 sectors or houses of astrology, which reflect different arenas of life. That said, they're not typically evenly spread across a chart, leaving certain sectors without a planet. Cue: empty houses in astrology.
- Ambi Kavanagh, Reiki practitioner, astrologer, and author of Chakras & Self-Care
- Chani Nicholas, astrologer and author of You Were Born For This
- Maria Sofia Marmanides, astrologer, tarot reader, and intuitive
- Stefanie Iris Weiss, writer, clinical sexologist, professional astrologer, and co-author of Surviving Saturn’s Return
Upon spotting one of these empty or blank houses in your own chart, you might assume that this means you're missing a particular planet—and, in turn, missing some essential part of your personality reflected in this cosmic blueprint. But, rest assured, this is not actually the case.
"It's impossible to not have a planet represented in your chart," says astrologer Ambi Kavanagh. "At any given point in time—including the one at which you were born—a planet is in one part of the zodiac, so there's no chance that you were born without a particular planet's influence."
"At any given point in time—including the one at which you were born—a planet is in one part of the zodiac, so there's no chance that you were born without a particular planet's influence."—Ambi Kavanagh, astrologer
In fact, astrologer Maria Sofia Marmanides says all a planet in any astrological house means is that its particular energy will influence that area of your life more. “You’re going to experience all of the things happening in the twelve houses, so a planet being in a house means you have a more acute focus in that area,” she says. But a planet’s absence doesn’t mean nothing is happening for you in that house.
Moreover, she says not to look at empty planets as proof that nothing of note is happening in that realm of your life. For example, a 10th house Venus placement signals that your career might touch on certain Venutian qualities, like being very artistic or fashionable—not having any planet in this house doesn’t mean you’re not going to have a career.
The relationship between planets, signs, and houses
As a refresher, astrological houses reflect different arenas of life. For instance, the 7th house in astrology governs close romantic and platonic relationships, while the 10th house rules over career and public reputation. The 8th house in astrology is about sex, death, and rebirth, while the 6th house in astrology is your habits and routines.
Each of these houses is ruled by a zodiac sign, meaning that sign and house vibe particularly well together, and a ruling planet. According to Marmanides, every house will always have a sign in it. Keep in mind that you can have house placements in planets or signs that are not their ruling ones. Here is a quick refresher on which planets and zodiac signs are associated with each astrological house:
- Sun: 5th house of pleasure and creativity; Leo
- Moon: 4th house of family and home; Cancer
- Venus: 2nd house of personal possessions and finances and 7th house of relationships; Taurus and Libra
- Mercury: 3rd house of communication and 6th house of routines and rituals; Gemini and Virgo
- Mars: 1st house of the self; Aries
- Saturn: 10th house of career and reputation; Capricorn
- Jupiter: 9th house of long distance travel and expansion; Sagittarius
- Uranus: 11th house of friendship and the collective; Aquarius
- Neptune: 12th house of the subconscious; Pisces
- Pluto: 8th house of sex, death, and transformation; Scorpio
The easiest way to understand the influence of these different houses is to consider your entire chart as a stage production: "The planets are the characters, the signs are the costumes they’re wearing, and the houses are the stages or areas of life where they’re lived out," astrologer Chani Nicholas, previously told Well+Good. "Planets express their energy in the style of the sign they are in and show up prominently in whatever domain of life, or house, they are located [in]."
For example, someone with their sun in Aries located in their 10th house of career would likely have a core identity (sun) that has some degree of intensity or fire (Aries), which tends to show up most often in their work ethic or career passions (10th house). But if you were to check your chart and find that you lack any planets in that house, that doesn't mean that you lack direction, energy, or some other version of cosmic juice when it comes to your professional life.
What causes empty houses in astrology?
If all the planets are moving through the zodiac at all times, then you might still be wondering why certain houses have none of those planets reflected in your astrological chart. To understand why, consider the fact that there are only 10 planets in astrology (the usual eight from astronomy, including Pluto, plus the sun and the moon), and there are 12 houses in astrology, so that difference means everyone will have at least two empty houses in their chart, even if the 10 planets were spread evenly across the rest of them.
But even that distribution is unlikely because of the way that planets move through the sky in relationship to each other. Given how close Mercury and Venus are to the sun, for instance, they often show up in the same house as the sun or the one right next to it, increasing the chances for multiple planets to appear in some of your houses—and leaving more of the other houses empty as a result.
Having some empty houses in your birth chart isn’t anything to worry about. "It's something that people are fearful about, but they shouldn’t be," Kavanagh says. If you have a planet in a house, it means that planet's traits and themes are infused into that house’s life areas. If you don't, it simply means that you may not have the energy of a specific planet infused into a life area. But that doesn’t mean you won’t experience any "action" in relation to the sectors of life ruled by that house.
Why an empty house in your chart isn’t a reason to panic
An empty house doesn’t mean nothing is happening in that area of your life. Even an empty house in astrology is governed by a planetary ruler, which can influence activity in that house's relevant domains of life. To find it, pull up the circular version of your natal chart (you can plug in your birth date and time here to get yours), and then locate the sign on the cusp of an empty house. Whatever planet rules that sign also rules that house in your chart, lending insight into how these areas of life will manifest for you.
For instance, if you find that your seventh house of relationships is empty, but it has Libra on the cusp, then the ruler of your seventh house is also Libra's ruler: Venus, the planet of love and affection. From there, you'd identify where Venus lies in your chart to understand its influence. If it's located in your ninth house of travel and broadening horizons and in Sagittarius, for example, then you might suspect that you could meet a significant other while on a trip or by way of a cultural experience. Which is all to say, in this case, your empty seventh house is meaningfully connected to your ninth house (and not an indicator of being doomed on the relationship front).
The second reason why empty houses won't leave you lacking in certain life areas is that planets are transiting in the sky at all times, and your natal chart simply reflects one moment in time—"a screenshot of the sky above us at the moment of birth," says astrologer Stefanie Iris Weiss. So, even if certain houses of yours were, in fact, empty of planets when you were born, they'll still be populated by various transiting planets throughout your lifetime.
"Transits begin at the moment we are born, and planets will dance through the empty houses of our charts on a regular basis, activating those houses and triggering events or emotions therein," says Weiss. For example, a lengthy Pluto transit could have the transformative planet parked in one of your empty houses for years, whereas Jupiter could lend its optimistic vibe to another empty house for a few months at a time. And planets like love-oriented Venus and communication-focused Mercury (which orbit more quickly) visit all of our houses—including empty ones—multiple times a year.
That's all to say, even empty houses in astrology get "hot planetary action at regular intervals," says Weiss. And any of that action could spark poignant happenings in the areas of life over which those houses rule.
FAQs about empty houses in astrology
How do I determine if I have any empty houses in my chart?
To find any empty houses in your birth chart, plug the details of your birth like the location, date, and time into a free chart generator like this one. Any readout will clearly list whether you have any empty houses. To figure out which signs are in each of your houses, it's particularly important to know your rising sign, or ascendant sign; your rising sign is always your first house placement, which you can use to count forward through the zodiac to figure out your other house placements.
For example, someone who is a Sagittarius rising will have the fire sign in their first house, Capricorn in their second house, Aquarius in their third, and so on. You can use these placements to "fill your house," says Marmanides, by looking to the traits and movements of the sign and its ruling planet in your empty house. For example, if you have no planets in your third house but you have Aquarius there, you can glean info about your communication methods and tendencies from looking at the air sign's traits and the transits of its ruling planet, Neptune.
What if my 9th house is empty?
The 9th house is the house of higher learning and international travel, and is ruled by Jupiter and Sagittarius. An empty ninth house simply means there was no planet in your ninth house at the moment of your birth, but events that will broaden and deepen your knowledge will happen in your lifetime. Look to the sign in your ninth house and its cusp to assign yourself a planet for your ninth house if it’s empty.
Don’t let an empty ninth house cause you worry, and Marmanides advises not taking a “fatalistic” view of an empty house in your natal chart. Again, an empty house doesn't mean you won't experience anything in that realm of life. “I think people need to be more empowered about how they view their chart,” she says. “If someone told me I’ll never travel I can just book a flight [and prove them wrong].”
What happens if there is no planet in my 7th house?
Even if you don’t have any planets in your seventh house, which corresponds to relationships, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening there. Remember that each house is always in a sign, so “you have a planet that rules that house by sign,” says Marmanides.
Marmanides doesn't have any planets in the seventh house in her natal chart. However, Pisces, whose traditional ruling planet is Jupiter and modern ruler is Neptune, is in her seventh house. As a traditional astrologer, Marmanides considers Jupiter to be her ruling planet here, and she uses Jupiter’s activities to glean insights about her relationships. “Transits to my natal Jupiter are going to give me relationship issues or events, and my natal Jupiter sign and house placement will shed some light in terms of what I look for in relationships,” she says.
You can use this transitive property to fill your seventh house if it's empty. If you have an empty seventh house in your natal chart, start to work backwards and fill in the gaps using the information you do have. Look at which sign rules your seventh house, and work backwards to find its ruling planet. From there, you can start to ascertain information about what’s happening there for you. Additionally, you can look to the sign on your cusp, as in the example above, to figure out which sign and planet
Again, don’t despair about an empty house in your natal chart. “The seventh house is always the one that gets people upset because it’s like ‘I’m going to be single for the rest of my life,’ but it just doesn’t [mean that],” says Marmanides.
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