In astrology the term house division is used to refer different systems or methods of dividing the houses in an astrological chart into discrete sections.
The houses typically consist of 12 discrete sectors of the chart, although historically there has been much debate about how to divide the houses. This has led to different systems of house division being employed.
Different Forms of House Division
There are many different forms of house division. Some of the more popular ones are listed below:
- Whole Sign Houses
- Equal Houses
The History of House Division
Whole Sign Houses appears to be the original form of house division, being used in the Hellenistic astrological tradition by the 1st century BCE. After that Equal Houses and Porphyry Houses seem to have come into use, although they originally appear to have been designed for use with specific techniques, rather than as general-purpose house systems.
At some point in the Medieval period there was a shift towards using the quadrant forms of house division as the primary means of house division. The quadrant systems, such as Porphyry, Alcabitius, and Regiomantanus, involve trisecting the arc between the degrees of the ASC, MC, DSC, and IC. The widespread adoption of the quadrant systems had the effect of displacing Whole Sign Houses as the dominant method.
After the Medieval period subsequent arguments about house division largely focused on the means by which the four quadrants should be trisected, leading to a variety of different quadrant systems being in use. Whole Sign Houses were completely forgotten about in the West, although it continued to flourish as the primary system of house division used in Indian astrology. In the 1980s and ’90s researchers rediscovered Whole Sign Houses, and it has subsequently seen a resurgence in Western astrological practice.