Metaphysics of the First House

I have often heard that the First House is the house of self....I would rather call it "house of incarnated personality". What's the difference between self and personality?

It seems to me that the ultimate being at the core of everyone, human, plant, animal and even mineral... is no other than the unique universal being, the Great Spirit, the Universe, Allah, the One or whatever you call It... Now, this ONE is dreaming many characters, one of these creatures is you, another is me…

There are two dimensions to these divine characters we are, a self which looks like how God dreamed us, perfect, beautiful and empty like a temple, and the incarnated personality, which is the self wrapped up in a heavy body of flesh and bones, inhabited by instincts, ancestral memories and weighted by karma.... the personality is our self - or soul - trying to express itself in the flesh, but not really succeeding yet...


It's a work of clay in progress. It's a process of self creation.

This is how I understand self and personality. If the words I'm using have different meanings for you, I hope it won't stop you from seeing the picture. Words are but conventions.

We are Russian dolls. The smallest one at the centre is the eternal same one for everyone. Surrounding it is our soul, made up of many layers like an onion….

The first house is the biggest Russian Doll. It is the house of our incarnated identity. It is the surface of our being, but it's not "just superficial", because it is an expression of what's inside.

Etymologically, expression means "pressing out" and to exist means “to be outside”. The personality is expressed. The creator is at the centre.

We usually associate self expression with the Sun and the fifth house. The Sun symbolises what is inside seeking expression. The first house is how Self is expressed by our very existence. This includes the appearance of our physical body, plus our most spontaneous attitudes and behaviours.

In the fifth house, we seek to enhance this self expression. We want to become more who we really are. Therefore we create, make children, perform, paint, sing, we let our "inner child" play around, fall in love...

There are more than just three Russian Dolls actually - I mentioned God, the soul and the incarnated personality. Actually, clairvoyants describe many layers in our auras.

The physical body, seen by clairvoyants is the smallest one at the centre of wider and more subtle auric bodies, but in the Russian dolls analogy things work the other way round, because our ordinary way to perceive reality is to see the material world as being outside, and we feel the psychic and spiritual dimensions as being inside. At the centre the heart.

We are going about in the world, and we meet other biggest Russian dolls. Sometimes what we see is what we get, and sometimes we can’t guess what's inside. A limit of my metaphor is that the Russian dolls we know are all the same. The biggest one looks just like the smaller ones inside.

In our reality, the challenge of manifesting in the material world is that no expression is perfect. Matter is slow and heavy. Things get a bit blurred and distorted in the process, unless we are saints, enlightened masters or someone like that with a golden halo around the big doll.

To express our spiritual selves is a fight against density, which is Mars' job. Mars is the natural ruler of the first house. Aries, the ram, the sign ruled by Mars, is the symbol of the struggle for expression (pushing out) of the spiritual being at the centre. Sacrificing a ram to God may mean nothing but making the effort….

All the other houses will be nothing but a series of footnotes to this first!

Now, the ego is the idea we have about who we are but the first house is our personality, Others can see it better than we do.


We can't get off our bike to look at how we push on the pedals. We can't look at our eyes looking. Our appearance is a blind spot. We need others as mirrors, and this is what the 7th house, which is just opposite the first is about.

The First House is the house through which everything comes up. Our behaviour shows, our inner life is partially shown. Our face shows, our feelings and intentions are partially shown. Our persona shows, what we really are is more or less shown. Our body shows, our soul is imperfectly expressed. We should believe appearances - if only we knew how to read them, without being blinded by projections and prejudices.

The Ascendant and the first house also work the other way round: we see the world and others through it, like through tinted glasses. If our Ascendant is pink, the world is pink. We all have a tendency to believe that others think or feel like us haven't we?

(You don't like onions? How come? I LOVE onions!...)

Let me add a level of complexity to the metaphor of the Russian Dolls. Imagine that all the dolls are translucent. Each doll has her own colours and motifs. At the heart/ centre is the Sun, the light giver. There are a few intermediate layers. The rising sign is surface personality. it's really us, and more of what's inside shines through.

If the Ascendant is a Fire or Air sign, what comes from inside will more easily and spontaneously find the way out than if it is a Water or Earth sign, more naturally secretive and introverted. This doesn't mean that Fire or Air are better. All four elements have their role to play, and for some individuals, being less transparent is the right thing at a particular moment of their evolution...

Any planet in the first house, especially if conjunct to the Ascendant, is especially emphasized. Planets that make tight aspects to the Ascendant, especially from the 5th house also get more immediate access to the surface of the being.

Let me suggest a meditation. The Rising sign is the sign that was rising on the Eastern horizon when we were born. Its meaning is associated with the symbol of this cardinal point. East is where the Sun appears in the morning, at the end of the night. Before he was hidden, travelling through the unseen. Now, a new day is starting. A new life, full of promises, a new era!...

I have tried to explain this First House as well as I could, which makes me more acutely aware of the limits of my own understanding. Symbols express deep meanings, they are the language of the Great Mystery, which is so wide and so deep! No explanation will ever be able to dispense you to deepen your own understanding though reflection, daydream and meditation, giving these symbols time and attention, as we do with whoever we love...

Jean-Marc Pierson

For readings, astrology courses or life coaching with astrology, visit

3 Mars, Aries and the 1st House

I told you that the planet is the energy itself. It can be understood through verbs. When Mars energy speaks through our mouth, we  say:


 I do! I am me! I fight! I go get what I want! I desire!  I compete! I attack! I start! I am first!  I lead! I defend!  I want! I conquer! I stand for.... !   (whatever we may be standing for)  


 If you are in a hurry, just remember these words. If you get the spirit, you know everything you need to know, and the rest can only follow. 


 Imagine how a person with strong Mars energy will behave in all kinds of circumstances. Imagine a character, as if you were writing a movie script.

 How would a Martian child behave at school? Would he or she be calm and focused or unable to keep quiet for too long? 

How would a Martian boy talk to a girl he feels attractive? Would he hesitate for ages or rather be direct or even inappropriate? 

 What if it's the girl who has a lot of Mars energy, how will she be? Girly or competing with boys on the sport court? 

What kind of jobs, what kind of hobbies would a Mars person more enjoy? Embroidery or boxing? 

 If Mars was an animal, which would it be? (A part from a charging ram which is the symbol of Aries)... 


You can ask yourselves all kinds of questions.. and if you've got the spirit of this energy, you know the answers. 

 What characters in novels and movies express Mars? Mister Bean? Not at all. Saint George, the dragon killer and patron of England does. 


 The best way to learn more about Mars energy is to observe life and put mental Mars tags wherever you think it may be relevant. For instance, you can walk in the street and look at the buildings. Which ones would you tag Mars? Probably not the church (which would rather be tagged Jupiter and Neptune). The Fire Station, the Police Station, the Sport centre deserve a "Mars tag"...

Everything in life expresses the fundamental energies. Play at putting tags on everything, objects, behaviors, events..... don't do it all the time though!! 

 Look at a body. What parts would you tag Mars? The fists indeed. The head as well. Why? Think of the expression Rushing headfirst into something...  The muscles and the blood will be tagged Mars. (When someone or something lacks Mars energy, we find it a bit "bloodless") The color is the color of passion, intensity, action, possibly violence... it's red of course. 

 What emotions among these five would you give a "Mars tag"? Sadness, anger, joy, worry, fear...  

 What symbols would you associate with Mars? In particular, what element among the four: Fire, Earth, Air and Water? 



 In mythology, Mars is the God of war. However, this energy of aggression and male desire is not necessarily negative. When it's well mastered, we attack problems or tackle tasks rather than people, and we have sex only with consent. It's possible to live in peace with others even with a strong Mars energy, and if we really need to fight, we can get on a ring or on a tatami and practice martial arts. 

 If you are a woman, Mars is somewhere in your chart, and it will not be stronger or weaker just because you are a woman. Nowadays, women are much freer to express this energy than they were in the past centuries. 


 Whether we are a man or a woman, we can be unable to handle this energy - or any energy. Sometimes we just can't integrate it in our personality. We don't allow ourselves to express it as much as needed, and we push it back into our unconscious. When this is the case, we are going to attract into our lives people who will express this energy for us. If we have a strong Mars but live the life of a bookworm, we may fall in love with someone who spend most of their time at the sport center, or even attract aggressors  and end up as the perpetual victim. This psychological mechanism is called "projection" - Whatever is not conscious is projected. Whatever energy is not integrated into our personality will be met through others.... Maybe that's how St George ended up fighting a dragon, which was nothing but his own shadow...


 We can't know for sure whether the Mars of a person is well integrated into their personality or if it's repressed and projected, but we can have a few clues. I'll talk about that later. 


  Aries is the sign ruled by Mars. Aries is somehow Mars' energy field. Mars as the energy itself can be translated into verbs.

The quality of the energy fields will be expressed with adverbs or adjectives.  Any planet passing through the energy field called "Aries" will be expressed: 


 Strongly - aggressively- courageously - impulsively- passionately - intensely - rashly - sexually - assertively-  

For instance, if Venus, planet of love, happens to be in Aries, you can guess that the native, man or woman, is very likely to

... or we can use adjectives to qualify behaviours, like

hot, dynamic, daring, straightforward, quick, strong, passionate, bossy, domineering, overbearing, rebellious, competitive, provocative, sexy,  independent, egocentric.... 



 To end  this chapter, a word about the first house. The cusp of the first house is the Ascendant, also called Rising sign. (A cusp is the point where a house starts) 


 The Ascendant, and the first house as a whole, describe our surface behavior. As Mars is the energy that moves forward, tackles issues, confront the world, likewise the Ascendant expresses how we confront the world, new people and new situations, our first spontaneous reactions to anything that happens. 

 The First House also gives indications about our body, as our body is somehow the front line of our whole personality. The first thing we see when we meet others is their body, not their heart or their mind. 


 If your Ascendant is very different from your Sun and Moon signs, people will need to get to know you better before meeting the "real you". What you see is exactly what you get. However, it would be wrong to call the Ascendant a "fake you". The Ascendant is also the real you, such as you are at first sight.

  Generally speaking, if you have planets in the first house, these planets are likely to be integrated in your ego (you conscious idea of who you are) rather than projected and met through others. Planets in the first house are likely to be part of the more extroverted part of yourself, and to express themselves... assertively. Everything happening in the first house is important. 


 Just remember the key words for now.  Write down those you remember, then check out.  That's the best way to remember. 

Astro Testi Stuart.png


Before I leave you to your astrological meditation, let me suggest you visit the main page in this website! If you are currently wondering what to offer to a loved one for a birthday or any special moment, I do creative writing on the basis of birth charts: an ASTRO STORY is a letter addressed to the native on your behalf, where I combine stories or fables, metaphors and analysis. It's design to touch...  It's HERE

Jean-Marc Pierson Astrologer