If you go for a reading to an astrologer, they will talk in terms of Houses and Signs. For most people who have had minimal exposure to astrology, it is not easy to comprehend what the astrologer is talking about. What is a House and what is a Sign and how to look at your chart? Full zodiac is 360 degrees. In Vedic astrology, there are 9 Planets, 12 Houses and 12 Signs. In Equal House system, each house spans 30 degrees along the ecliptic. The picture below shows the North Indian style of representing a horoscope. First House is on the top in the middle and you go counter-clockwise to 2nd house, 3rd house and so on all the way to the 12th house. Houses are imaginary, Signs are real. 12 imaginary Houses overlay on top of the 12 Signs of the zodiac in the background. The Sign of the First House is known as the Ascendant or the Rising sign – it is the Sign or constellation that was rising on the eastern horizon when you were born. The position of Houses remains fixed in every chart i.e. the 1st House will always be on top in the middle, 2nd house next and so on. But the Sign that each of these houses falls in may change from one person to another depending on their time and place of birth. Houses represent different areas of our life. For example 1st House is the house of our self, our physical body and intellect. Whereas Signs are the environment and tools that are available for the 9 Planets to deliver karma.