The 12 Houses of Astrology
THE ORIGINS IN ANTIQUITY
To the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, the houses had specific roles and titles, relating to broader concepts such as life, the family, and fate. Of course, the meanings we assign to the houses are not the same as when astrologers first assigned them meaning.
EGYPTIAN AND GREEK HOUSES
In horoscopes found at Medinet Habu, the first house was called the Place of Rising, and the second the House of Provisions of Life. The third house was known as the Part of the Brother, the fourth of the Father, the fifth Shepset,1 the sixth was called tʒ dni.t ḫne - the translator Neugebauer declined to translate this, although meanings such as Disconnection and Abomination have been suggested. Elsewhere, it was written as wry - Monster. The seventh house was the Part of Marriage, the eighth Death, the ninth the Part of God, the tenth the House of Goddess, the eleventh Shay2 and the twelvth was pʒ sšr the "Slaughtering Demon."

1.Goddess of nobility and wealth. Associated with procreation and material riches. There is some Demotic evidence of tꜢ špšy.t as a benevolent divine protector.

2. The Egyptian concept of Fate, viewed as a divine being. Often portrayed as a snake.

To the Greeks, the first house was the horoskopos. This is the house that is traditionally most associated with the native, so any planets in the it were considered prominent in the individual. They viewed the second house as Ἅιδου Πύλη, the "Gate of Hades," inferna porta in Latin. Both of these names indicate some sort of entry into the underworld. This house was also called βίος, "Livelihood" or "Manner of Living" by Paulus Alexandrinus and Vettius Valens, and sometimes it was called ἀργός, an "Idle Place." The third house was θεά,2 the Goddess. The fourth was ῾Υπόγειον, "Underground," because fate comes from here and the soul is evaluated until it reaches the fifth house. Often the idea of secrets are assigned to the fourth, as they are therefore in the most hidden part of the sky; another common signification, especially in horary astrology, is that planets here are like treasure to be found. The fifth was Ἀγαθὴ Τύχη, good fortune; the sixth Κακὴ Τύχη, bad fortune; the seventh was the settling place where the sun falls, indicative of quality of death as well as wedding preparations, possibly due to the setting Sun being symbolic of death. The eighth house was αρχὴ θανάτου, "dominion of death," also called an Idle Place, signifying the completion of life. The ninth house was called θεός, god (of the sun), and although signs and houses are not necessarily equal, this house is much like the original Sagittarius- the law is often associated with it; the tenth was Praxis or Midheaven, but associated with Venus3 by Manilius. The eleventh house was associated with Agathos Daimon, associated with property and acquisition, whereas the twelvth was κακὸς δαίµων, the Evil Daimon. This house was also called "rising before horoskopos," as said by Rhetorius, being metacosmic, and signifying things concerning enemies, as well as all things that transpire before the hour of birth,4 both to the mother and to the one that is about to be born, since this sign rises before the explusion of the child. It is a fitting correlation, as the ancient birth process was fraught with danger.

2. This was given the further meaning of "Place of the Goddess of the Moon" in Paulus Alexandrinus, 378 AD.

3. Here it is interesting to note that the Greeks put the god and goddess as opposites, while the Egyptians put them subsequentially: observe the Greek third and ninth houses, and the Egyptian ninth and tenth houses.

4. Serapion of Alexandria expresses this opinion: "The Hour Marker [Ascendant] shows the early age, and the 12th [place] from it, the things before the birth."