Placidus Vs Whole Sign

Placidus Vs Whole Sign: A Comparison

There are various ways of calculating the houses in astrology, and two of the most popular techniques are Placidus and Whole Sign. Before we look into the differences between them, let’s understand what houses mean in astrology.

Houses are twelve divisions of the zodiac wheel which show the different areas of life. They represent how we relate to the world, our private and social life, and the different roles we play in our lives. Each house is associated with different themes, and the zodiac sign that begins each house is called its cusp.

Placidus and Whole Sign are two distinct techniques of calculating the houses which leads to different house cusps and house systems. The difference between them is significant, and each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Placidus House System

Placidus house system is the most commonly used technique in astrology. It divides the ecliptic into twelve equal parts based on the time and longitude of birth. The placement of the planets in the houses is calculated using the cusps derived from the Placidus system. These cusps are based on the degree of the ascending or rising sign which is considered as the beginning of the first house. The remaining houses are calculated by dividing the ecliptic into 12 equal parts.

One of the advantages of the Placidus system is that it gives a more detailed analysis of the chart’s angles, which are the ascendant, midheaven, descendant, and nadir. This system, being a quadrant-based house system, correlates well with the seasons and equinoxes, and can provide insights into how we relate to others.

However, the Placidus system isn’t as simple as it seems. Its calculation is based on the birth location, and the slightest difference in longitude can lead to different house cusps. This can make it difficult to interpret a chart accurately, especially in cases where the birth location is uncertain or unknown.

Whole Sign House System

Whole Sign house system is an ancient technique that goes back to the Hellenistic era. It is a simpler, more straightforward method than Placidus. In this system, the entirety of each sign is assigned to one house, with the first house beginning with the ascendant (which is the sign on the eastern horizon at the time of birth).

For instance, if Aries is on the ascendant, then the entire sign of Aries is the first house, Taurus is the second house, Gemini is the third house, and so on, until Pisces becomes the twelfth house.

The whole sign system is easy to understand as it gives each planet one house without any complications. It is more focused on signs than angles, which is perfect for those who are more interested in understanding the sign energy rather than the cusp energy of a house.

However, its main disadvantage is that it doesn’t give a lot of detail regarding the angles, i.e., the ascendant and midheaven are not emphasized. This method can also give different results with different rising signs.

Differences Between the Two House Systems

There are significant differences between Placidus and Whole Sign in terms of interpreting the birth chart. Some of the key differences between the two systems are:

1. House Cusps: In Placidus, each house cusp is specific and unique to the birth chart’s time and location, while in a whole sign, each house cusp is exactly at one of the twelve signs, making it more stable.

2. Planetary Placement: Whole Sign attributes all the planets in the sign, regardless of the degree or minute, to the same house. In contrast, each planet in the Placidus system is given its unique house based on the degree on the cusp at the time of birth.

3. Interpretation: In Placidus, the house system revolves around the angles, making it more focused on the cusp energy, also called the house energy. The Whole Sign links the meaning of the planets with the sign, and not the cusp energy.

Which System To Choose?

Choosing which system depends on an astrologer’s preferences, training, and experience. It also depends on the questions being asked of the chart, personal style, and worldview.

The Placidus system gives more insights into the angles, and the cusps being closer to the actual degree can give a lot of clarity in specific areas of life. It is useful for exploring personal issues related to interpersonal relationships, family, work, etc.

Whole Sign is simple, and the signs don’t change. Whole Sign is perfect for exploring the chart’s energy related to elements, such as fire, earth, air, and water, and immersing oneself in the world of archetypes and symbolism associated with the signs.


1. Can I use both systems in one chart?

Yes, you can. One of the advantages of astrology is that it’s flexible, and you can use the house system that makes the most sense for you. If you want a more in-depth reading, try calculating the house chart using both systems and seeing how well they complement each other.

2. What house systems do professional astrologers use?

Many professional astrologers use the Placidus system as it is more commonly used in modern astrology. However, Whole Sign is still popular in traditional astrology circles.

3. Which system is more accurate?

Both systems have strengths and weaknesses, so there is not a definitive answer to this question. However, an astrologer’s experience and accuracy depend more on their interpretation and intuition than the house system.


The Placidus and Whole Sign house systems are two of the most commonly used techniques for interpreting a birth chart. Each has its pros and cons, so it is up to the astrologer to decide which one to use based on their preferences, training, and experience.

Whether you use Placidus or Whole Sign, remember that the interpretation of astrology charts goes beyond the house system. Astrology is a complex and layered system of understanding, and every technique is a tool that helps an astrologer to better understand the individual’s chart.