Houses – Bhavas

The Sanskrit term “Bhava” is used as the word for the Houses of Vedic Astrology. It translates to ‘state of existence’ and is often understood in spiritual practices to mean ‘mood’ or a ‘devotional state of mind.’  The 12 Bhavas/Houses represent the domains of life where the Planets and Constellation find form and expression.

The 4 Purusharthas – The Four Aims of Life

The domains of life found in the 12 Bhavas/Houses are categorized according to what Vedic philosophy calls the Four Aims of Life, or the Purusharthas.  The ancient mystics of India realized that the austere path of the yogi was not for everyone.  They found that each human existence has four worthwhile goals in life:

Dharma – 1st, 5th and 9th Bhavas/Houses – The need to find our path and purpose.
Artha – 2nd, 6th and 10th Bhavas/Houses – The need to acquire the necessary resources and abilities to provide for ourselves to fulfill our path and purpose.
Kama – 3rd, 7th and 11th Bhavas/Houses – The need for pleasure and enjoyment.
Moksha – 4th, 8th and 12th Bhavas/Houses – The need to find liberation and enlightenment from the world.

Theses 4 aims of life are repeated in above sequence 3 times through the 12 bhavas/houses:
~The first round, bhavas/houses 1 through 4, show the process within the the Individual.
~The second round, bhavas/houses 5 through 8, show the alchemy between relating to Other people.
~The third round, bhavas/houses 9 through 12, show the Universalization of the self.


The diagram below shows how the houses are projected into the sky.  The 1st house is on the eastern horizon where the Sun rises. Then the next section below is considered the 2nd house and continues all the way around through the 12 sections.  These seems a little confusing at first.  Why wouldn’t the 2nd house be the next house above the horizon instead of below?   It is because the way that the constellations are sequenced in the sky is backwards relative to how the earth rotates.  For example, if the constellation of Aries was on the eastern horizon making the 1st house, then  Taurus, the next constellation, would be below in the section shown by the 2nd house.  The constellations and the grahas/planets rotate clock-wise from the Earth’s spin and the sequence of the constellations through sky go counter clock-wise.


We will use the Northern Chart style which has the Bhavas/Houses in a fixed position for every chart.  This is how it is from our perspective on Earth.  The Bhavas/Houses are fixed sections in the sky while the constellations and planets rotate clockwise in the sky.  Below is the Northern Chart style overlaid on the visual diagram of the house sections so you can understand the map of soul.  The Northern Chart style shows the universe within the soul. The patterns of the geometry reveal aspects that are more intuitive than the Southern Chart style where the constellations are fixed on the chart while the houses and planets rotate through.



Again, to understand the bhavas/houses, we categorize them through the 4 aims of life.  Below are diagrams of the chart location of each of the 4 aims of life.  Click on the picture/link to navigate to a more comprehensive description of each of the bhavas/houses.

Dharma Bhavas
Purpose, Duty, Direction

Artha Bhavas
Aquisition, Resources, Abilities

Kama Bhavas
Desire, Pleasure, Enjoyment

Moksha Bhavas
Liberation, Enlightenment, Fulfillment