The Equal vs Whole House System

havelock equal.pngThe Equal House house and whole House systems are the oldest astrological house systems in astrology.  The Equal House is based on the Ecliptic, and some astrologers actually call it the Ecliptic system  It has several features:

  1. All the houses are equally spaced, meaning that each house is exactly thirty degrees wide, so it very easy to manually construct.
  2. All of the houses start on the degree of the Ascendant
  3. There are no intercepted houses, as each sign gets its own house, i .e. the chart is divided into twelve equal parts.
  4. The tenth house cusp (cusp is the beginning point of a house) does not necessarily coincide with the Midheaven as in the case  of  Havelock Ellis, born in Croydon, Surrey, UK, at right.
    1. Dr. Ellis’s midheaven is the aqua lettering up top of the chart, right in the middle of the tenth house.

Download Havelock-Ellis here.

Dr. Ellis was an English essayist and physician who studied human sexual behavior.  He challenged 19th-century Victorian taboos against public discussion of the subject very similar to the much later  American Masters & Johnson studies.  Many of his books, including his best, The Task of Social Hygiene, can be found here on

We do not use the Equal House system because we disagree with its construction — everything thirty degrees and no consideration for the horizon. Nonetheless, the famous astrologer, the late Lois Rodden, loved it.  In Hellenistic Astrology, the Whole House system is de rigeur and the major difference is that all houses start on ZERO and the Ascendant is shows up at the degree within it.  We actually prefer this over the Equal House system, because we think that the Ascendant should not be tied to the first house — which is how you are seen by others.  Confusing the Ascendant and the house house we have found in our studies, is not an accurate representation, hence we typically use non-Ascendant based house system like the Zariel and Morinus and Whole House for Hellenistic charts.

As shown, under the Whole House System, Dr. Ellis’s midheaven is in the eleventh house of the public, which makes sense as his medical life was devoted to public health and hygiene; Venus the planet of sexuality is also there linking the two.

In the Equal House the  Midheaven is in the tenth house of career but Venus is separate in the eleventh house and does not clearly link the two.  The modern Koch system, available for download, approximates the Equal House setup btw and while we did use that for many charts on the site, we tossed that too because of its adherence to the Ascendant.

Other issues are in the Equal House Saturn is in the sixth house of work and labour; in the Whole House partners and opportunity.  While cases can be made for either, it is really the nuance we prefer, and astrology is nothing but nuance.  For further discussion of houses and interceptions, another thing we dropped as being meaning, look here and here.

  1. Havelock Ellis WHOLE house system
  2. Havelock Ellis EQUAL house system
  3. Havelock Ellis KOCH house system






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