Summary: Covering the Equal House concept in Jyotish, together with an analysis of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ houses, including topics on: Kendra, Trikona, Dusthana, and Upachaya houses.
The Equal House Concept
Jyotish divides the 360 degrees of the sky up into twelve equal sectors of 30 degrees width and this produces twelve equal width ‘Houses’. Jyotish always uses the Sidereal Zodiac.
Each house governs particular areas of life. Details about the main significations of each house are given in the article ‘The Twelve Houses’. Most chart interpretations are based on a house‑by‑house analysis.
In Jyotish, each of the twelve houses corresponds exactly with a particular sign. Therefore in Vedic Astrology a house cannot overlap between two signs.
Western Astrology usually starts the first house at the exact degree of the ascendant. Not so in Jyotish. In vedic Astrology the first house corresponds with the whole sign that contains the ascendant, irrespective of its exact positional degree.
So in Jyotish, if our exact ascendant position is located at say 1 degree Leo, or 29 degrees Leo, or anywhere in between, then the first house corresponds exactly with the whole 30 degrees of Leo: the second house will correspond exactly with the whole of the sign of Virgo: the third with Libra, etc. The house containing the ascendant is shown by a diagonal line on the birth-chart.
The South Indian chart format (probably easiest for beginners) numbers houses in a clockwise direction from the sign containing the ascendant (which is shown by the diagonal line in Leo in the above diagram)
The signs always stay in the same boxes in all charts, so Pisces will always be in the top left hand corner.
Houses do not have exactly the same meaning in Jyotish as they do in the Western system.
Errors in birth-times can throw the system out completely when an ascendant is near a boundary between two houses – but there are ways around this .
‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Houses
The planet ruling a particular house changes as the ascendant changes.
For example, the planet ruling the 1st house is the Moon for a Cancer ascendant but the Sun for a Leo ascendant (see article on which planets rule which signs).
Irrespective of the zodiacal sign to which they correspond, good houses strengthen planets placed in them and ‘bad’ houses weaken them.
Trikona or Trinal Houses
According to Jyotish the 5th and 9th houses (‘Trinal’ or ‘Trikona’ houses) are very good indeed in that planets occupying these houses do well and are strengthened.
Therefore the good, natural characteristics of the planet occupying either the 5th or the 9th are strengthened and can deliver the full benefits associated with them
Any houses associated with the occupying planet are also greatly strengthened.
The rulers of the 5th and 9th houses carry with them a positive energy.They bring this to the house in which they are placed.
They also benefit (with this positive energy) any planet they are near to (conjunct), or which they aspect.
Kendras or Angular Houses
The Kendras (Angular houses) i.e. 1, 4, 7 and 10 are ‘good’ houses. Planets placed in them are strengthened. These houses themselves represent benign things.
A good house has two effects: it strengthens planets in it and all of their associations; its ruler carries a positive energy with it and benefits wherever it is placed.
Dusthanas or Negative Houses
Houses 6, 8, and 12 (Dusthanas) are ‘negative’ houses.
The houses themselves do not represent anything inherently evil but they are said to be negative because they seriously weaken planets placed in them. So, the good natural characteristic of the planets occupying them suffer.
In addition, the houses ruled by planets occupying the 6th, 8th, or 12th are also weakened and damaged, so that matters connected with them are also harmed.
The planets that rule the 6th, 8th, or 12th houses are also considered to carry with them a negative energy – this disturbs the house in which they are placed, or planets they are near to (conjunct), or which they aspect.
The 8th is the worst of the three!
Although they are considered negative we should be aware that a good sixth house means we overcome our ‘enemies’, a good eighth indicates a long life, and a good twelfth means we have little expenditure and loss (and are making good spiritual progress towards enlightenment).
Upachaya or Growing Houses
Houses 3, 6, and 10 and 11 have been declared Upachaya houses (‘growing houses’) where any problems indicated get better with time and where malefic planets eventually do some good. Therefore malefics are generally best placed either in their Own, or Exalted signs, or in Upachaya houses.
Planets Ruling Two Houses
If we look at the chart on sign ruler-ship (sign ownership), we see that only the Sun and Moon each rule a single house (Leo and cancer respectively).
All the other planets rule two houses. So, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn, all rule two houses (because they each rule two signs).
Special rules govern these cases. The rules enable us to determine if the energy these planets carry with them, over and above their natural characteristics, is on balance, positive or negative.
This is quite a complex subject and will be dealt with in a separate article. Most books on Jyotish fail to deal with this subject clearly (if at all)!
If the overall balance from the above is positive we say the planet is a ‘ functional benefic’. If negative we say it is a ‘ functional malefic’. There are also degrees of positivity and negativity too.
This topic is really important when an astrologer prescribes ‘remedial measures’ for a person. Functional benefic planets for a particular ascendant can be strengthened (note: ‘strong equals good’) with appropriate gemstones, but functional malefic one’s can’t. These then have to be ‘strengthened’ in other ways such as chanting planetary mantras, acts of charity, or special Vedic ceremonies such as Yagnas (Yagyas). But not by using gemstones.
Note: Neither Rahu or Ketu rule or own any houses.
 The ascendant is located in the sign of the zodiac that appears to be ‘rising’ on the Eastern horizon at the time of our birth. So, if we looked at the Eastern horizon at the time of our birth and saw it was at 20 degrees Capricorn, we would say we had a ‘Capricorn Ascendant’. The ascendant is shown by a diagonal line in the chart. Note: this is in the Sidereal Zodiac used by Jyotish – not the Tropical one used by Western Astrology.