Author Topic: Whole-Sign House System, Robert Hand  (Read 154 times)

Offline Ken Haining

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Whole-Sign House System, Robert Hand
« on: September 23, 2023, 01:52:50 PM »
Hi All

This topic came up a while back when we were discussing various House Systems.  Robert Hand, who wrote the amazing book, back in 1976, Planets in Transit, switched to this system and wrote a pamphlet on the Whole-Sign House System in 2000.  He departed from using the Koch House System, and he explains why he went to the Whole-Sign House System in his writings. 

Here is the basic overview that he starts with:

"After several years of research into the oldest texts of our
astrological tradition we now know what the earliest house system
was. And in a way it was not a house system at all as we
understand house systems. Rather, it was the signs of the zodiac,
themselves, used as a house system. In this system the rising degree of the
zodiac marks the sign it is located in as the 1st house. The rising sign itself
thus becomes the 1st house, as we would refer to it, from its very beginning
to its end, regardless of where in the sign the rising degree may fall. The
next sign to rise after the rising sign becomes the 2nd house, the next sign
the 3 house, and so forth. Actually, to understand this properly, one has
to know that it is not that the signs were used as houses so much as there
were no houses at all, merely the signs of the zodiac used as we would use
houses, with no second, separate, twelve-fold division of the chart at all.
This has several important consequences:

* As stated above, wherever the rising degree falls in its sign, that entire,
or whole, sign is the 1st house.

* Therefore, the beginning of a house is always 0 degrees of a sign and the end
of a house is always 30 degrees of a sign.

* The culminating degree, or Midheaven, may or may not fall in the 10th
sign from the rising sign.

* There are no intercepted signs because every complete sign is a house.

* And last, but most subtle, the entire house system is based on the
ecliptic and not on some other circle such as the equator, horizon, or
prime vertical, to say nothing of the even more exotic methods of the
Placidus house system.

While some have called this system the Sign-as-House system,
I and others have taken to calling this the Whole-Sign House System."

Hand then goes into more details on how to use this system.  I am, bit by bit, taking a look at it.  The Whole-Sign House System really changes my Natal Chart, as I have 29 degrees 9 minutes Sagittarius Rising.  Thus, as my stellium in Libra, with Sun-Saturn-Neptune-Midheaven-Mercury, which are in the 9th and 10th Houses in Placidus or Koch, end up all in the 11th House. My Natal Ruler, Jupiter, moves from the 5th House to the 6th House.  So, it would be a very different way of looking at my Natal Chart, especially with having 29 degrees rising.

I am just curious if any of the astrologers who read and write here have tried using this system at all?  If so, what do you think?  I also wonder if it will catch on at all, or if just a few astrologers will end up using it?  I saw a video of Robert Hand, where he was asked why he was using this Whole-Sign House System, he gave a light, brief laugh, and said, "Because it works."  That's the best answer. 

I realize I may not get much response on this topic as there may be too little interest, and too little experience with this system.  If you want to read Hand's stuff on it, you can read it here: 

While I tend away from this system, I am endeavoring to examine it, as I never want to miss something just because I failed to check it out. 


Offline ODdOnLifeItself

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Re: Whole-Sign House System, Robert Hand
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2023, 10:36:05 PM »
In terms of my experiences in various forums and sub-reddits, whole sign houses is the bane of astrology. 

Decades of research 100% confirms topocentric house cusps (assuming correctly-timed chart, of course) as powerpoints.  Whole sign houses obscures these importantly crucial points. 

To me, whole sign houses appear to be what they did at some point in ancient astrology, because they hadn't yet figured out the true math.  ;)   And because traditionalists revere the classical approach by definition, those like Robert Hand (I suppose) are philosophically bound to this relative "pre-calculus" time in astrology.  ;)   No, the horoscope wheel is just as it looks...a large wheel with 12 SPOKES.  Each of those spokes (mathematically) have been exactly determined by Polich and Page.  Just as the Ascendant is the powerpoint relating to 1st House are the other cusps powerpoints relating to their respective House's issues. 

To me, the whole sign system is putting way too much emphasis on SIGNS, with HOUSES being directly defined by them.  Does it not make much more sense that the HOUSES would exist ON THEIR OWN, irrespective of SIGNS and not be directly subjugated to them?  Does Venus equal Scorpio?  Does Mars equal the 2nd House?  The 3rd House can't equal Cancer!!!!!

Here are three people I think you on some level respect... Noel Tyl, Isaac Starkman, Alice Portman.  Just as reasonable balance, consider their opinions relative to whole sign houses.  (remember, each one of the above uses different house systems, but none support whole sign houses) 

Lastly, a personal anecdote.  If I needed some Alexander Marr or Noel Tyl reference, I think I could grab hardcopy from my bookcase within a minute and in many cases a digital reference even quicker.  If I needed a Robert Hand reference (Planets in Transit, Planets in Composite, Horoscope Symbols), I'd have to rearrange the cellar and have zero digital references.   ;)   

Kudos that you check this out.  I predict it won't take long. 
« Last Edit: September 24, 2023, 12:48:32 AM by ODdOnLifeItself »
"If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed."  ~ Mark Twain

Offline Robynne

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Re: Whole-Sign House System, Robert Hand
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2023, 11:38:48 PM »
Hello Ken,

I think the problem I have had with Whole Sign House System is that it feels too generic.

Also it denies the Ascendant degree, (correct me if I'm wrong here) which is your own unique moment, that degree on the horizon at the moment you entered into the world, your own personal stamp. But that could just be an Aquarian ascendant talking.

For me personally it would put my Mercury in the 1st house, and I know it's in the 12th, I'm more of a reflective thinker and less immediate, also my mother was hospitalized (12th) for weeks prior to my birth and put on bedrest to avoid early labour and give my lungs time to mature, (how's that for Mercury cj Saturn).

Still, a topic worthy of debate.  ;D
« Last Edit: September 23, 2023, 11:47:05 PM by Robynne »
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'

Offline Ken Haining

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Re: Whole-Sign House System, Robert Hand
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2023, 07:42:40 AM »
Hi OD'd James Alexander

I expected that you would, as you always do, go to the House Cusps of the Topocentric House System as your reason for rejecting the Whole-Sign House System.  Do you consider the intermediate House Cusps to be nearly as powerful as the Angles? 

A while back, when the questions about House Systems came up, I found that Noel Tyl described someone looking at his chart in a different House System, and Noel said he was looking through a "different lens."  You use Lunar Return Charts, Lunar to Solar Return Charts, and Sun to Moon Angle Charts, to project a Lunar Month.  Perhaps you can look at a Natal Chart several different ways?  It is possible. 

As time and energy allow, I will look the Whole-Sign House System.  Robert Hand insists that it works, and that is the reason he is using it.  Very different from what I am used to, that's for sure.


Offline Ken Haining

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Re: Whole-Sign House System, Robert Hand
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2023, 07:56:19 AM »
Hi Robynne

Robert Hand treats the Ascendant as a point in the 1st House, when using his Whole-Sign House System.  It's still there, and very significant.  When he does certain calculations, he uses the Equal House Cusps.  For example, if he is calculating an Arabic Lot that uses the 8th House Cusp, then he would use the cusp generated by using Equal House. 

The Midheaven is also treated as a point in the chart, and as Hand points out, it will not necessarily land in the 10th House. 

The problem with the other House Systems, other than Equal House, is that they break down when you go to far North or far South Latitudes.  Noel Tyl said that he would switch to Koch for some of the far North Latitudes as the Placidus House System that he used would "break down."  You get some pretty ridiculous looking charts in all of these house systems at extreme latitudes, whereas with Whole-Sign and Equal House Systems you get the same balanced chart in any latitude. 

That being said, I will take a look at it.  And I will take my time.  There's no hurry, and I will slowly make my assessment.