Signs, Planets, Houses

signs as adverbs

The signs of the zodiac are like adverbs. They describe a way of being, a mode of performance, a style rooted in certain core motivations. From an Emergence Astrology perspective, we learn from the signs when we consider them invitations to grow skill as a human being.

Signs as adverbs

Each sign is like a portal to a world of yourself. You have them all. You are them all. They want you to go exploring.


Aries is a way of being that centers forceful action. What motivates the Aries in you is the desire the feel your personal agency in the world. Aries is a portal for understanding your energy needs. Through Aries, you learn from what irritates you, what pisses you off, and what turns you on.


Taurus is a way of being that craves a rhythm of sustainability. What Taurus wants is to trust in the sensual experience of aliveness. Taurus is a portal for somatic healing and embodiment practices. Through Taurus, you learn to notice, name, and live your values, including your personal definition of beauty.


Gemini is a way of being that delights in what’s interesting to you. What motivates Gemini is a repertoire of stimulating choices. Gemini is a portal for trusting in your emergent quests. Through Gemini, you let yourself get distracted, knowing the circuitous route always leads you to the yummiest pollen.


Cancer is a way of being that centers personal feeling. What Cancer wants is to cultivate belonging in oneself and then extend that to others. Cancer is a portal for intuition and deep listening. Through Cancer, you attune to your felt senses in order to move from a place of self-trust.


Leo is a way of being that warms the world from a rooted place of self-love. What Leo wants is to lead from an open heart. Leo is a portal for cultivating radiant contentment in oneself. Through Leo, you learn to express your innate creativity and soften any contraction that comes up with the chaos of flow states.


Virgo is a way of being that attunes to processes of learning. What Virgo wants is to live devotionally to harvest cycles: preparing with care and preserving with diligence so that you can feel satisfied with how you showed up. Virgo is a portal for practicing presence. Through Virgo, you learn to adapt and refine.


Libra is a way of being that centers the beauty of good judgment. What Libra wants is to live artfully from an internal place of discernment. Libra is a portal for holding yourself through the disequilibrium of functioning as social beings. Through Libra, you learn to respond to the world from the truth that everything is relational.


Scorpio is a way of being that penetrates to the hidden truth. What Scorpio wants is to research, identify, and extract the root cause of a poison. Scorpio is a portal for expanding your capacity to stand what you see, including the more shadowy parts of you human behavior. Through Scorpio, you learn emotional bravery.


Sagittarius is a way of being that centers spirited conviction. What Sagittarius wants is to participate in the broadest possible experience. Sag is a portal for buoying trust in one’s path of passionate adventure. Through Sag, you learn to collage your stories to determine pattern and, beneath this, the meaning of why things happen.


Capricorn is a way of being that channels your winter self, the one that hardens and holds you together in order to endure. What Capricorn wants is to know its own authority. Capricorn is a portal to help you to turn your whole self toward what you care about and commit to it. Through Capricorn, you learn to show up.


Aquarius is a way of being the centers collective consciousness over personal gain. What Aquarius wants is action in service to higher principles and ideals. Aquarius is a portal for quitting participation in stale realities and dead paradigms. Through Aquarius, you learn to trust your unique frequency rather than the templates handed to you.


Pisces is a way of being that attunes to and identifies with the inner beauty in anything, even suffering. What Pisces wants is to tap into a dream and live it, whether or not other people think it’s possible. Pisces is a portal for the spirit to play. Through Pisces, you learn to see yourself as both ancient and childlike.

Planets as teachers

The planets are the teachers for all of life’s diverse experiences. If the signs are adverbs, then then planets are the nouns of astrological grammar. You can see, talk to, and learn with each of the planets as they show up inside of you and around you. The ancients called the Sun and Moon planets, because they had a different definition for planet than we do today.

Planets as teachers

Planet means “wanderer”, and the Sun and Moon, like the modern planets, appear to wander against the fixed background of the stars


The Sun is your spirit, which is unfathomably old and undying and also confined to a human body with its own rise, peak, and descent to the underworld. Just as you can never fully experience the Sun without burning your eyes, so you can’t experience the magnificence of your spirit all at once. We see it when your eyes sparkle. We see it in your dimples. We see it when you ugly-cry. Thank you for letting us see you. When I see your spirit, I wonder if it might be safe to show you mine.


The Moon is your capacity for caring for your emotional safety and security through states of change. It’s how you assure yourself that you are loved and validated. The Moonself listens within. The Moon in your chart has a lot to say about what particular superpowers you’ve developed in order to ensure you feel okay in whatever circumstances you find yourself.


Mercury is the planet of the mind, communication, word-making, exchanging ideas, and creative intelligence. To play with Mercury is to look for doorways to opportunity. To be as nimble and flexible as an octopus to slip through any hole in the net. Working with Mercury helps you grow trust that you can slither through or around whatever life puts in your way.


Venus represents your capacity to attract, magnetize, and receive what you want and desire. Venus is an energy that makes everything in our lives feel more alive, animated, and fertile. Venus helps you to identify and understand your preferences, and not let anyone tell you that your preferences don’t matter.


Mars is your capacity to go after what you want. Mars is your energy. It’s your enterprising, active will. Mars cares about the present moment. Mars isn’t out in the future worrying about what might happen. Mars isn’t in the past remembering how things didn’t work out the last time we tried something new. Mars is here now.


Jupiter is the one who teaches you about expanding, reaching, stretching, and growing. The most powerful gift that Jupiter offers is the trust that you are more loved and supported by seen and unseen forces than you can possibly imagine or fathom. Jupiter is alive in and through you where you are most gifted and blessed with a lot of something, the qualities that come naturally to you.


Saturn is the part of you that puts a container around your time and your energy output in order to get something done. Saturn is our discipline, and with the focus we need to concretize something on the earthly plane. Saturn is self-responsibility, the wise elder inside. Saturn holds you together, pulls you together, because you must in order to live through life’s many winters.


Uranus is the Great Awakener. Uranus represents your capacity for breaking out of boxes. Like the Aquarius in you, the Uranus in you must be free. Uranus must feel liberated to resist stagnation, boxes, and all chains of oppression and control. The Uranus in you embraces the creative potential of disruption.


Neptune lives the world through water: intuition, dreaminess, illusion and delusion, fantasy, possibility, intuitive connectivity, and altered states of being. Neptune can bring you to the heights of multidimensional consciousness as well as within the densest fogs of confusion. Neptune helps you transcend past pain and reach for the most glorious dreams of your imagination.


Pluto is a planet that teaches you about your power hidden within that has explosive possibilities for creation and destruction, transformation, and renewal. What Pluto wants is to help you shed all old forms of self that don’t serve you. On the other side of working with Pluto, we are more humbled, but also more empowered, because we know we can live through things that we had previously thought we couldn’t.

Houses As Domains of Life

The twelve houses of the birth chart represent domains of human life where things happen to us, in us, and through us. The houses are earthly and relatable because we can fit any experience you can name inside a house. Day to day, we live in all the houses, and it is within the houses that we experience the cosmic frequencies of the celestial bodies.

Houses As Domains of Life

Day to day, we live in all the houses, and it is within the houses that we experience the cosmic frequencies of the celestial bodies.

First House

The First House is the home of what we call the Rising Sign. It’s arguably the most important part of the whole birth chart because it represents the energy of what was at the eastern horizon the moment of your birth. This is where sky meets earth: where spirit meets matter. The First House is your first breath. It’s the invitation to embodiment in this lifetime. It’s how we make the path under our feet. We must live our Rising Sign in this lifetime as the way we do who we are. If there’s any sign to understand in your birth chart, it’s this one. Any planets in your First House are also crucial.

Second House

The Second House has to do with your personal assets, finances, and the resources you can access to provide for your security. It’s how you make sure you have a roof over your head and a fridge and pantry full of food. This is not a house to ignore. It’s difficult for the spirit to soar if we’re bogged down with 2nd House precarity or self-worth issues.

Third House

The Third House relates to your daily movement patterns: the neighborhood, the grocery story, your prayer rituals, as well as all of the communication that happens in a regular way with the people in your close vicinity. This now includes podcasts you regularly listen to and online spaces you visit weekly. Siblings and childhood friends are associated here since growing up these are the individuals that shape your thinking, vocabulary, and humor.

Fourth House

The Fourth House is the home world you experienced growing up as well as the way you set up your living space in adulthood. This is the zone of private life, and the vibe of the personal realm you create to fall back into when you’re not out in the world. You don’t let everyone see this part of you, but it’s foundational to who you are and deeply affects other zones of the chart.

Fifth House

The Fifth House illuminates all that you generate: your creative projects, your biological offspring, your hobbies, how you play, and what you like to do in flow states. The Fifth House is the part of life that’s about fun, and it helps you understand how you relate to opening yourself up to having fun.

Sixth House

The Sixth House speaks to how we negotiate the minutiae of our lives to support or ignore our mind-body-spirit health. The Sixth House spotlights the daily routine, especially work, exercise, and sleep. Health concerns are often revealed through the Sixth House.

Seventh House

The Seventh House has to do with our one-on-one social contracts. This is a very important part of life as relational beings. The Seventh House teaches us about the energetics and experiences of being in partnership: romantic, friendship, or business

Eighth House

The Eighth House represents a hodge podge of seemingly unrelated topics – including death, taxes, other people’s money, financial investment, in laws, psychological states, the occult – that tie together until the rubric of the taboo. The Eight House is what’s hidden from culture and the outside world. Mental illness, fears, and secrets are often described here.

Ninth House

The Ninth House is how you are shaped by philosophy, religion, astrology, higher education, faraway travels, and astrology. It’s how we stretch beyond the local and reach for a broader view of the world and our place in it. It also relates to teachers and teaching, publishing, and public speaking

Tenth House

The Tenth House is the realm of your public reputation and career. It’s how you test who you think you are out in the world. Does the Tenth House bring pride or shame, or does it not even matter to you? Tenth House information helps you understand what you’re learning as a public persona.

Eleventh House

The Eleventh House represents your social networks, organizations, and friendship groups. The Eleventh House has to do with how you constellate people together around your shared hopes and dreams. Through the Eleventh House, you gather favors to help you with your Tenth House matters.

Twelfth House

The Twelfth House is a space away from the world. It’s a behind-the-scenes zone where we do things that may or may not have anything to do with who we are out in the world. The Twelfth House calls you to get more solitude and to preserve time for sloughing off the rest of the day and regrouping. As a space away, this is home for nonrational, dream, and altered states of bring.

If you resonate with the way I speak the language of astrology, come learn with me! When you invest in the entire set of Living the Signs workbooks, you learn how to relate to every sign, planet, and house in the language of astrology. For deeper and more personalized engagement, consider joining one of my courses or workshops. Join the newsletter to find out about my teaching calendar.