In continuing with the series on the houses, I feel inspired to write about the 1st House right now. This is an interesting one because while we generally see the 8th House and the 12th House as being the most misunderstood houses (my article on the 8th is coming after this one, all my fellow obsessive 8th House people), I don’t think many people realize that the 1st House is quite misunderstood, as well. Not as much or as dramatically as those two houses. But, still, when some people talk about the 1st, I don’t think they completely get it, which is ironic because this is probably the simplest and most straightforward house in a person’s birth chart.
This is not the house of “identity” or “personality.” This is just my opinion but I do like going against the grain of what is typically said about certain astrological placements. And the idea that the 1st House could be about your identity or your sense of self baffles me. Let’s look at the natural rulers of the 1st: by sign, its Aries and by planet, its Mars. Now, maybe because the Sun, which is what actually represents your identity and personality, is exalted in Aries, some astrologers decided that the 1st House was the house of your identity. But, the Moon is exalted in Taurus. So, why isn’t the 2nd House associated with emotion, which is what the Moon represents? It’s all very confusing and something that has never sat well with me when reading up on the 1st House.
If you would have to label a house in your birth “the house of your identity”, I would say it’s the 5th House. This is the house that’s actually ruled by the Sun, the planet of self, and Leo, which is the sign of self and expressing oneself. It makes total sense for me. I have the 5th House in Gemini and, without fail, I always describe myself as a “contradiction” when asked to describe myself or list my various contradictions and ways that I can be two different people. But, I’ve never even made that connection until just recently. There will often be conflicting opinions when it comes to astrological placements. So, believe what you want to believe. But, I’m just telling you that if you’re going to look toward a house to define your identity and self, look to the 5th House. And, most importantly, define your sense of self through your Sun sign and house.
Now, when it comes to the 1st House, it is about you. There is a certain self-regard to this house and I think that’s where the mix-up has come into play. This is the house of self but in terms of how you see things. The 1st House is your vision. Do you have 20/20 vision or do you need contacts? Are you near-sighted or far-sighted? Extended metaphor aside, no one can “see” the things around you for you. You have to do that for yourself and that sounds completely natural and sensible. Why would you expect someone else to read that novel for you? What would you do if they weren’t around and you had to read it on your own? So, this is where our self-reliance and independence kicks in. It’s how we have learned to do it ourselves. This is in juxtaposition to the 7th House, the opposite house of the 1st. The sign and/or planet(s) in your 7th are expressed alongside others or in partnership with others. Whatever’s in your 1st must be expressed on your own.
The sign on your 1st House is the Ascendant. Of course, you don’t just look toward the Ascendant sign. Look to any possible placements in the 1st House. Maybe you have the Moon in the 1st. This placement is about understanding and expressing your emotions in an independent, immediate way. Whatever you’re feeling, you just get it off your chest. 1st House Moon people do not have to be prodded into telling you how they feel, even if they have the Moon in a sign like Scorpio or Capricorn. It just flows right out of them, whether you ask for it or not. If Uranus happens to be in the 1st House, then you are highly independent because Uranus is already an independent energy. You definitely go off and act on your own eccentric or unexpected impulses, regardless of if it’s going to gain you anybody’s approval. Your 1st House placements don’t need approval.
Why would they? 1st House placements are like walking, talking, even breathing. Why would you need approval for that? There’s something very general about this house. It covers just about everything you do. That’s why Mars is the ruler of this house. The 1st House is not who you are; it’s what you do. It’s all of the actions that add up to the sum of your life aka your whole approach to life. Therefore, you look to your Ascendant and/or 1st House placements to tell you a lot about your behavior and your demeanor. This is the role you’re playing, not the person who you actually are. Unless you have the Sun in the 1st. Then, your role in life is your actual self.
But, some people hear things like “playing a role” and might attribute that to something fake or contrived. That’s not the case at all. There’s not a person alive who doesn’t play a role. How can you not? If you didn’t, then you would be a vegetable, unable to even move or speak. The 1st House is the particular script we’ve written for ourselves that gets us moving and speaking. This script follows us throughout our whole life. Without this role, we wouldn’t know what to do in any given situation. Sure, we have the consciousness of our Sun. But, the energy of the Sun does not have a vehicle of expression without the 1st House. While the Sun is who we are, the 1st House placements and/or Ascendant is the particular style with which we put forward who we are. It’s how we’re putting ourselves out there, which is why people who meet us or are just getting to know us are going to experience our 1st House so strongly. Yet, as I’ve said before, even people who know us very well are still going to get it. The 1st House touches any given situation in our life because we are always being required to take action and do something, a la this house’s ruling sign, Aries.
This energy has been present within us before we even developed the identity of our Sun. The Ascendant/1st House is there from birth and it usually describes the way in which you were born. We don’t start becoming conscious (Sun) beings until we’re about five or six. So, during those first handful of years, this is how we developed our 1st House role, in ways that we mostly won’t even be able to remember. It’s how we figured out our place in our environment, how we learned to walk and talk, how we learned to get what we want, and how we learned to approach situations. Children who are very advanced and precocious often have planets in their 1st House, particularly rising planets (which might also be on the 12th House side but still conjunct the Ascendant). The kids who walk and talk early or who just seem much more developed than average often are being sped up to action by an emphasized Ascendant or 1st House.
The role we learn to play sticks with us through life. It’s why I take issue with another over-stated description of the 1st House: that it’s a “mask.” A role is a better description than a mask because the behavioral element of a role goes deeper. It’s not as superficial as a mask, especially since you cannot simply “take off” the qualities of your 1st House. They’re always right there on the surface and they just can’t be shaken off or discarded. What you can do, however, is figure out who you are beyond that role. Some people can be trapped by their Ascendant or 1st House placements in a way that prevents them from really growing beyond that character that life has written for them. So, know the subtle difference between the character and who you are beneath that character.
If you have a Virgo Ascendant, don’t be so trapped in having to be the little helper or the “flawless” one all the time that you can’t embrace the casual messiness of your Sagittarius or Pisces Sun. With Aries Rising, make sure that your role as the fighter and the go-getter isn’t getting in the way of the kind thoughtfulness you’re meant to cultivate with the Sun in the 7th House. It’s your destiny in life to truly understand and embrace the matters of your North Node house. So, with my North Node in the 1st, maybe, this is why I have the attitude I do toward the 1st House. I know that it’s my destiny to find true fulfillment by playing a role yet not getting too caught up in it. The 1st House is about action and intent.
I have my 1st House North Node in Aquarius. And the funny thing is that I’ve always felt it. As I said, whatever is in your 1st House is there from the beginning. I believe that everyone’s North Node is deep inside of them. But, this has definitely been the case for me. I’ve always felt Aquarius-like. The 1st House is your point of view and your vision. My perspective has always been colored with Aquarius principles: I’ve always been very against any prejudice, I’ve always felt different and “weird”, and I’ve always felt ahead of other people mentally (not bragging, just true). The 1st House is how people see us, on an immediate level, and I’m regularly described, especially by people who don’t really know me, in Aquarius ways: strange, intellectual, chill, friendly yet a loner.
So, for those of you with a 1st House North Node, life will definitely keep on knocking to get you to answer the call of your North Node. We have come into this life with a very evolved (North Node) point of view (1st House), which is why we seem so mature from the start. Other elements of my chart have distracted me through the years from my Aquarius North Node. I know that my actual personality is that of a Leo. It’s actually why I’ve always described myself as passionate and had a hard time seeing myself as “cerebral.” I always used to call myself very right-brained and I am. But, in order to evolve, I’ve got to embrace my Aquarius left-brain. It’s just a way of being, of projecting and carrying myself, and of taking on challenges and various situations. I am getting better and better at playing the cool-headed, logical, impartial Aquarius role in life. It’s not exactly “me” but it’s how I “do me”, how I fly solo. When I get attached to all that Leo passion and self-focus, I actually feel less independent and more beholden to others, as my Sun is in the 7th. But, my North Node in the 1st means that the more rational I am and the more I focus on benefiting and helping other people, the more self-reliant and independent I become.
I have to engage in these actions in an impulsive way, too. It might sound contradictory to be impulsively logical. But, you have to “just do it” when it comes to whatever is in your 1st House. You can’t dilly-dally about it. The 1st House is used as a mode of attack. It’s how you pounce on whatever is in front of you. The energies in this house operate in this way. People don’t have to think about doing their 1st House. It’s quite instinctual, in this sense, especially because the 1st House played such a strong role in the part of our lives where we were largely unconscious. We didn’t think about our self-projection up until the age of six. We just acted on those impulses. So, that element of the 1st House remains. It’s why it comes out so immediately whenever we’re faced with new challenges or people. You can learn to control it, modify it, and manage it. After all, we must still manage our impulses. But, they never go away. The 1st House still rises to the surface.
This is why 1st House people are so impulsive and instinctual. People with 1st House planets are the kinds of folks that everyone stands back and watches in awe. The majority of them are singular individuals who really know how to take action. They are the forces to be reckoned with, just going out and getting what they want and/or doing what they want. Although 1st House individuals can appear to be so bold and fearless, it can often be the opposite. There is something compulsive and driven about 1st House planets. So, you’ll often see the 1st House person acting out of fear, not out of a lack of fear. The best way to conquer a fear is to do what you’re scared of. This is the 1st House person’s motto: if I’m scared of it, I have to do it. Therefore, what looks like raw courage to the rest of us is really just a lifelong stride toward becoming courageous.
1st House people are also definitely about their point of view. Since this house is how you view things, without the input of other people, these folks are very independent in their mindset. They have their own opinions, thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. and they’re not going to be influenced by you. Planets in the 1st House go their own way. So, if a 1st House person cannot find the satisfaction they are seeking alongside you, they’ll just head off in another direction. They might end up frustrating others, though, because they can be independent to a fault. Unless they have some Libra or 7th House placements in their chart, it can be difficult for a 1st House individual to understand the fine art of give and take as well as compromise. Yet, there are many situations in which their inability to compromise themselves allows them to be the winners that they are.
Meanwhile, people with an empty 1st House are often times going to have to work harder in order to develop that strong sense of self-projection and inability to compromise oneself. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to develop self-reliance, courage, and a can-do spirit. It just means that you’ll have to invest more energy in doing so. It’s truly worth the effort. Thanks to my North Node being here, I am quite in love with this house. It is my focus in this life. I’m discovering my ability to play the role that I want to play and to do it with gusto. With the North Node in Aquarius, it’s the role of the super-chill, somewhat eccentric intellectual who can mix it up with anybody and who is concerned with bigger, broader issues. As much as the 1st House is about impulse, it’s also about choice. This is where we make fast, hard decisions. So, it’s up to you to play your part.